Savoury…

Not everything is sweet here – they do have some very nice savoury pastries as well. My sister is a regular customer here – she likes the sio pao (baked buns) and curry puffs…

…and she likes how theirs are a lot cheaper than what one can find at the other bakeries in town, not that theirs are necessarily nicer. I’ve been here a couple of times but no, I am not a regular. There are many very popular eateries in the two blocks of shops and at times, parking may be a problem.

Well, it so happened that somebody gave my sister a box of these savoury delights including the sio pao

I suppose these would be something like the celebrated Seremban sio pao

…which I am not particularly fond of – I prefer the ones from Kai Joo Lane in Kuching…

…a lot more!

My girl did try the mini ones…

…or perhaps, these were the chicken ones. The shape may be different but the pastry and the filling taste and look the same.

I tried one of the curry puffs…

…and I loved the tasty curried potato filling. The pastry was kind of hard though – they would need to work on it to improve but as it was, I did enjoy it a lot more than some of the so-called curry puffs that they sell at some bakeries around town.

I guess with all the favourable reviews I’ve heard and what I tried was, on the whole, quite nice, I shall be dropping by there a lot more often now

SWEET FACTORY… 

…is located at Wisma Liberty, Lot 4047, Block 3, Jalan Pedada (now Jalan Dr. Wong Soon Kai).

Not by choice…

I guess everybody knows by now that I am staying away from a lot of things, not by choice but because of health reasons. For instance, I am off red meat and I’m staying off noodles – I will eat just a bit of rice and anything made of rice e.g. bihun, kway teow and dianpianngu. and I shall have to control myself when eating those as well – a little bit is fine, not too much! Of course, I have to stay away from sugar and go low on salt. I guess it comes as no surprise that what I eat these days isn’t very appetising, not anything that I would be looking forward to at all.

I eat a lot of fruits but I have to be selective – some are too high in their sugar content, others have too much potassium and phosphorus. Sweet cakes and cookies are out which leaves very little that I can eat for breakfast or for tea in the morning. No, my weekly tests show that I do not have a problem with my blood sugar but of course, it pays to be careful when it comes to these things.

The other day, I saw them selling these tausar peah (bean paste biscuits)…

…at a coffee shop here. They said a lot of things but in Mandarin and they insisted that they were not sweet. In the end, I decided to buy some to give them a try.

They were only RM1.10 each, the skin was very flaky and very nice, not sweet at all…

…but as far as the tausar filling was concerned, even though it was not very sweet, to me, it was sweet enough to be of concern. I think I would have to spread them out, one piece a day for breakfast or tea…or less and I would give some of them away.

I also dropped by this bakery that day – they make the nicest Swiss rolls in town. My girl loves the strawberry…

…but they have not been making that since those one or two times when I managed to grab one from there. They only had the coffee/vanilla so I bought one…

…and took it home. The ladies in the house said it was very nice but of course, I was very good and kept my distance the whole time. I felt I could do without the sweetness, never mind that it was not VERY sweet.

I’m eating the buns that I bought from there though, the pandan lotus paste…

…and the butter buns…

They’re very nice and we have enjoyed eating them all this while. The filling is a little on the sweet side so just like the tausar peah, I shall have to control myself and spread them out instead of eating too many at a time.

I don’t know if it was just my imagination but things did not look too good at the bakery. It was rather dim inside – they did not switch on all the lights and the Indon helper who used to man the cashier’s counter was no longer around. They probably sent her home already.

Other than that, there were not many things available, all placed on a small table beside the door – they used to fill the shelves but this time around, whatever was available was quite limited. There was only one pack of each of the buns that I bought, for instance. I did see the nice coconut roll…

…that I bought from there once, just one, but I did not feel like having that so I did not buy that.

YAT BAKERY (2.293035, 111.835887)…

…is located along Lorong Chew Siik Hiong 1A, directly opposite Uncle Dom, at the other end of the block of shops where Sushi Tie is in the commercial centre behind the Rejang Medical Centre.

It’s not too late…

My girl loved the chai kuih

…that I bought from here a few times but lately, when I stopped by the shop, they were not available.

I used to walk over from the pharmacy when I went there on Saturday mornings, before 8.00 a.m., to stock up on my prescriptions. The last few times I went and checked the place out, it was a Sunday, I think and I was told that the nyonya kuihs would not be available on Sundays and Mondays so I went on a Tuesday and there was none as well. That was Hari Raya and I thought it was because of the public holiday.

Finally, it dawned on me that at around 7.00 a.m., I was way too early. That was why after I had gone to get my car washed that morning…

…at around 8.00 a.m., I drove to the shop and yes, to my delight, the kuihs were available.

Thankfully, it was not too late as there were only two packets of the chai kuih and one or two of the rest left…

There was the kuih lenggang or what they call ketayap over in the peninsula…

…but I was not keen on buying those.

As I was taking those that I wanted, a lady came and it seemed like she wanted what I wanted as well so I quickly grabbed all that tickled my fancy and left the rest for her to sapu (sweep). Gee! It was still so early in the morning and they were all sold out!!!

The serimuka/kuih salat

…was all right by our local standard, a lot nicer than all the rest sold all over town, but paled in comparison with the nice ones in Kuching.

I think I liked the kao teng koi (9-layer cake)…

…a bit more.

In comparison, I would give full marks to the chiew chu koi (tapioca cake)…

It was very nicely done – the texture was perfect and it was lemak (rich with santan/ coconut milk) enough.

The kim kua koi (pumpkin cake)…

…with its lovely hint of the hay bee (dried prawns) in it got our thumbs up as well. I certainly would want to buy these two again the next time I see any on sale here.

I am not so sure but it seemed to me that these kuihs available on Tuesdays and Saturdays only came from a different source, not the same as the one I always featured in my previous posts on them. They are mono-lingual at that shop so our conversations are always limited to some very basic stuff, no thorough discussion possible.

On a previous visit, I bought the Portuguese egg tarts from the shop and I did see my girl eating and enjoying them. That was why I walked over to the glass display cabinet to see what they had and yes, because I came a little bit later that morning, there were a whole lot of things already ready.

I asked for one blueberry egg tart…

…for my girl to try. It turned out that she liked it a lot – there was a lot of blueberry inside, she said. I did not get to try it myself but yes, since she enjoyed it, I certainly would buy more for her the next time I go to that shop.

HONG KONG PUFF is located along Ramin Way (2.291180, 111.826634), beside Sin Kiaw Coffee Shop, right behind the Petronas station at Kpg Nyabor Road (formerly Esso) across the road from the HSBC Building, Sibu branch. 

Last stop: this town…

When my blogger friend from Penang was in town, he rented a car and went around on his own and among the places that he ventured to was this one. He liked the sourdough bread that he had there but he felt that the cinnamon roll was just so-so. I told him that I have never been there especially when I am not into these classy coffee joints serving all those sweet cakes and desserts.

Much to my surprise, after he had checked out from the hotel on the day he was leaving town, he stopped by there again and he bought me this lovely loaf of raisin bread…

He said that they were out of sourdough at the time and they would only come out with their fresh bakes at around 6.00 p.m. in the evening.

He also grabbed the solitary cinnamon roll…

…left and I shared that with the ladies in the house. All of us agreed that it was very nice. I guess by our local standard, this one stood a head above the rest – as a matter of fact, I do not remember any other place, bakeries included, making these cinnamon rolls. If they were any, I guess they were all quite forgettable and we never went back for more.

There was this yam Swiss roll too…

…but I let my girl enjoy all of it. I guess there are things I can do without now that I’m on a low sugar diet and talking about that, I sure would not mind dropping by here to check the place out now that they are serving a lot more than just those sweet cakes and desserts. I saw somebody sharing a photograph of their pizza and it sure looked good!

While he was in Sibu, my blogger friend managed to drive to Sarikei and Bintangor and he bought some old school stuff from the latter including these biscuits…

…and he gave me two packets to try. I do enjoy munching on these but I think the ones that I used to buy came from Sarikei.

I didn’t know what these…

…are called, this very old school Chinese rice cake. Usually, they are rectangular and come in layers, stacked up one on top of the other and there are other colours, pink and purple perhaps, other than white. I went around asking and was told that it is called pek ko.

My friend gave me these round ones…

…from Bintangor, with crushed peanut filling…

…inside. Nice touch! I thought that brought the taste up to a whole new level.

When he was in Sibu, my blogger-friend sent me a message asking me what this…

…was, something that he picked up at the Sibu Central Market. I told him that was our traditional Foochow engagement sweet, the lay peang, and he said he enjoyed it!

He came across this same thing in Bintangor so he bought a few to take home to Penang and he passed me one…

…to try.

There is a lot available from all over Sibu, the local ones as well as those from Sarikei and maybe, Bintangor…

…too and generally, they are all all right but my favourite is the one from that small shop in the Dewan Suarah area selling lung ngor, kompia and chu nu miang and a lot of other things as well, across the lane from Mother Cafe, same row as Aroma Bakery.

That sure was a whole lot of stuff that my blogger-friend gave me before he left town. Thank you so much and do come again – perhaps you can venture into the Melanau territories of Mukah and Dalat or the Iban territory of Kanowit the next time you come.

THE COFFEE CODE ROASTERY WORKSHOP (2.304459, 111.831098) is located at No. 1, Jalan Bintang Selatan.

The shape of you…

The other day, I decided to drop by one of the bakeries in my neighbourhood to see if there was anything that would tickle my fancy.

I spotted these ma ngee (horse’s ears), call it whatever you want (RM1.20 each)…

…but they were not quite the same shape as the traditional ones that we grew up enjoying, almost like it but not exactly. The old school ones had bigger “bags”, if you catch the drift. LOL!!!

I have not come across any really good ones from the stalls outside lately, nothing like those back in the good old days. These few weeks, I saw a lot of people coming home for the Ching Ming Festival and they were delighted to get the chance to enjoy some of these childhood delights. I must say that the ones in their snapshots looked rather pathetic, so small and all shrivelled up. So kesian!

The ones at the other bakery right across the road are very nice, HUGE but the shape and taste are somewhat different. The problem is they come out from the kitchen at around 1.30 p.m. and you would have to be there at the time to grab as many as you want. Past 3.00 or 4.00 p.m., there will not be any left and you will have to go back and try your luck the next day.

I did not get my hopes up too high that day but when I sat down to try these here…

…when I got home, I found that they were really good, just like those long ago except that they were smaller and the shape was a bit out, just a bit. I certainly would not mind dropping by here for more whenever I feel like it.

I also picked up this very small and cute “Great Britain pie” (RM3.80)…

…for my girl to try. I did not know if it was beef or chicken (I did not ask) but it had that smell that one would associate with western cuisine (ang moh ciak) probably because of the cheese in it and yes, my girl enjoyed it a lot, just that at that price for something so small, I don’t think you will see her or me running back there for more.

She was complaining that the bakery across the road was not selling their very nice Japanese cotton cheese cake anymore so I went to have a look and yes, there was none – I don’t know if they were all sold out and whether they have it at their other branches all over town. Much to my delight, I saw them selling it here (RM12.90)…

…so I quickly grabbed one and took it home.

My girl quite liked it…

…and personally, I thought it was pretty good too. If I remember correctly, this one here is slightly cheaper than the ones at that other bakery.

I also bought their croissant (RM3.80)…

…for my girl – she enjoys these things but the ones here lacked the buttery fragrance and were not nice and flaky as the more expensive ones here. They used to be RM3.00 each a long time ago but the price had gone up. Ah well! What’s new?

I also bought this chicken ham croissant (RM4.30)…

..as well that day. Hopefully, that slice of chicken ham…

…inside would bring the taste up to a whole new level.

C & C GALLERY

…is located at Lot 62 at the extreme end of the block of shops to the right of Delta Mall, back entrance.

I will wait for you…

The other day, my girl had a dental appointment so I dropped her off at the clinic and I went to wait for her here…

…at the end of that same block of shops.

I’ve been wanting to drop by here for sometime now, ever since I kept receiving those special gifts from those wonderful people for the Mooncake Festival last year and later, for Chinese New Year this year. Yes, I did order their sets for my missus’ birthday dinner last year too and we sure enjoyed everything to the max.

It was late afternoon, too late for tea and too early for dinner, so I decided to just have something to keep myself busy while waiting for my girl. However, there was a little problem – I am now on a low sugar diet and all that they had in their glass display cabinets were sweet – their macarons, mille crepes, cakes and gelatos. The very nice and patient boy who took my orders was kind enough to tell me what was not as sweet as the rest.

In the end, I settled for this slice of basque burnt cheesecake (RM8.80)…

…that I did try before once here. I liked it then and yes, I did like it again this time around. I was glad that it was not sweet, maybe just a little, but I guess just a slice would be all right.

They did give us this yogurt gelato (RM7.20 single scoop)…

…once but I did not get to try it. My girl had it and she enjoyed it very much. It was not as sour as the yogurt ice cream that we had here but therein lay the problem – I was kind of worried that it was a little bit too sweet for me but I just finished it, anyway…just that, I would have to think twice about ordering it again.

It did not take my girl very long and soon, she was done. I asked her to order what she wanted but she did not feel like having anything from the glass display cabinet, all the sweet stuff. She asked for the menu and she picked these fried chicken dumplings, 4 pieces (RM9.80)…

…and these loaded cheese fries (RM11.80)…

Hey! I did not know that they had these savoury snacks on their menu – I certainly will browse through it to pick what I may enjoy the next time I come here instead of going for the sweet stuff.

We did not order any drinks but the very nice boy brought us two glasses of warm water and a dispenser of tissue paper for us to use even though we did not ask for them. Service was very polite, prompt and efficient – I would give them top marks where this was concerned.

Before we left, I picked up this tub of chocolate chip cookies (RM18.00)…

…for my girl. I know she would enjoy that and of course, I would have to keep my distance, definitely too sweet for my own good.

I don’t know if it was the time of day but I wouldn’t say it was very crowded. Yes, there were quite a lot of people, a comfortable number, generally the young and trendy, no senior citizens like me but no, there were no problems at all when it came to physical distancing. We certainly enjoyed the experience and yes, we would love to drop by again when we can.

NICA+ or NICA PLUS (2.296883,111.825859) as it is called, is located at No, 18 & 20 Lorong Intan 6, on the ground floor of the block of shops to the right of the Old Sing Kwong Supermarket (Kin Orient Plaza) along Jalan Tun Abang Hj Openg, directly below the Kimchee Korean Bar.BQ restaurant on the first floor.

The way you want it…

My girl likes the burger buns from this bakery so everytime I see any on the shelves at our neighbourhood shop, I would grab a pack (of 4) for her to enjoy. That was exactly what I did the other day and that evening, she said she would make a burger with the Ramly beef patties that I still had in the freezer.

I think she had it kosong (empty) for breakfast the next morning. She said it was nice and she liked it that way.

The following morning, she wanted to make a scrambled egg sandwich the way she wanted it. She took another one of the buns and cut it into halves…

…and taking two eggs, she broke them into a bowl and after adding a bit of evaporated milk, she beat them well…

She added some strips of spring onions and chives and poured it all into a non-stick pan that she had greased beforehand with a little bit of butter…

It is not easy cooking scrambled eggs – one would need to keep watch and stir it vigorously…

…all the time or it would end up becoming something like a badly-messed up omelette.

That is why when I make egg sandwiches, I would just cook the eggs in boiling water till hard on the outside (the white) but still runny inside and break them into a bowl with grated cheese and butter and mash them altogether – the heat from the eggs will melt the cheese and butter and you will get something like scrambled eggs for your sandwich filling.

Once done, my girl added a bit of salt and pepper and some cheese…

…before transferring it onto the bun…

…and sitting down to enjoy eating it.

She did let me try a bit and yes, it was very nice but knowing me, if I were to make that myself, I would surely add this and that to bring it up to a whole new level like my bak kua sandwich that day.

FOOTNOTE:
All the photographs in this post were taken using my smartphone. Any comments, anyone?

Long live…

On the 1st Day of the Year of the Tiger, of course we had to have our longevity noodles, the mee sua (thread or string noodles) in the traditional Foochow red wine and ginger chicken soup…

…and of course, we had the hard-boiled eggs…

…to go with them.

When eating these noodles, we are supposed to slurp them all in one length without biting and breaking them – eating these long noodles in this way is believed to be a sign of good luck and the key to a long life.

Other than that, we just eat all the leftovers all these days following our reunion dinner on the eve of the festival and will continue to do so till we have finished everything and no, we have not gone anywhere outside to eat. For one thing, most of the shops would be closed and the few that are open would be so packed with customers especially those who have come home from afar and simply must have their fill of kampua mee before they leave town.

Anyway, we are never short of things to eat at home with all the things that I’ve blogged about – the cookies, the nuts, keropok (crackers) and so on and so forth and yes, we have cakes too even though we did not buy nor bake/make any.

We had those given to us by my cousin and also the ones from my girl’s coursemate/friend and my sister gave us some of the very lovely blueberry cheese kek lapis (layer cake)…

…that her friend gave her. The blueberry is very sweet though so each time I eat, I shall have to confine myself to just a slice or two.

My brother-in-law gave us these – the chocolate cake topped with almond slices…

…and this coffee kek lapis (layer cake)…

…from this bakery.

It appears to me that many of the bakeries in town have gone into making kek lapis (layer cakes), once a domain dominated by the Malays, be it at a shop or stall or at home. We did get to try some nice ones the other day but I am afraid I can’t say the same about this one or all the rest that I am not all that keen to try because of the high sugar content.

I’m a tiger…

新年快乐 Xīn nián kuài lè!!! A very Happy & Prosperous Year of the Tiger to one and all.

Yes, we have some oranges on display in the house, the small ponkans…

…that are so very sweet. We have been buying these from the fruit and vegetable sundry shop in the next lane from my house to enjoy long before the festival drew near.

Their round shape and golden colour are considered auspicious, symbolising wealth and good fortune; and they are conveniently-sized for giving and eating. Other than that, the Chinese word for oranges —kam—sounds similar to the word for “gold” so, having these around the home for the New Year is said to bring riches into your life. We did not buy any of the old school Mandarin oranges that came in wooden crates, in fact, I have not seen any this year, nor any of the larger varieties of ang kam (red oranges/Mandarins) or ponkan this year for the simple reason that everyone enjoys these small ones a lot more.

Pomelos and pineapples are auspicious too. According to one website, pomelo in Chinese is called ‘da ji’ which means ‘to have’ so it is like a wish to achieve prosperity. That is why pomelos are held in high esteem as it is believed that this fruit is a symbol of prosperity and good luck. The Hokkiens consider certain fruits auspicious, and they are particularly fond of pineapple, ong lai in the Hokkien dialect, which literally means fortune come

No, we did not buy any pomelos nor pineapples for display in the house but I did stop by a bakery among the shops in the commercial area near my house because every year, for many many years now, we have been buying these pineapple nuggets…

…from there. For one thing, there is pineapple jam inside and for another, the golden egg wash makes them look like gold nuggets and that would be considered auspicious as well. Unfortunately, they were all sold out!!! They only had a few tubs of peanut, almond and peppermint cookies left and the girl said they would not be making anymore. When I was there, I saw that they were so very busy cutting and wrapping their kek lapis (layer cake) and putting them in the fridge – it did look to me like those were their best sellers this year but no, I did not bother to buy any, not when I am on a low sugar diet.

In the end, I decided to drop by the bakery in the next lane from my house, the one where they make the most awesome croissants in town, to see what they had there. I was thinking that since they were able to make such nice croissants, their cookies shouldn’t be too shabby.

There was only one tub of these pineapple cheese rolls…

…left so I grabbed it to give to my sis. I also bought her these pineapple nuggets…

…and I took two for ourselves. I’ve opened one already and we’re already halfway through it – I would say it is nicer than the aforementioned, the ones we always bought before. If only they were a bit more generous with the egg wash so the nuggets would be gold in colour all over.

I bought their peanut butter cookies…

…and I gave my sis a tub as well. Gee!!! These are really very nice and as the name implies, I am quite sure they used peanut butter to make them, not just crushed peanut. My girl prefers these to the pineapple ones.

Incidentally, the other day, she asked the mum to cook the sotong (squid) that I bought

…when I managed to buy those gorgeous crabs that day and nasi lemak (coconut rice) to go with the dish.

For some reason, the mum did not use the sotong to cook the nasi lemak sambal and came out with some other recipe instead. Thankfully, it was very nice and anyway, I still had the sambal tumis

…so we could enjoy that with the rice with some cucumber…

…by the side.

That was on our no-meat Friday last week. As for what we had for our Chinese New Year’s Eve Reunion Dinner yesterday evening, my girl’s good friend, Dayang (a teacher like her but in another school) dropped by yesterday afternoon to give us the ayam masak merah (red-cooked chicken)…

…that she cooked herself. I remember we had that when we visited her one Hari Raya before the outbreak of the pandemic and it was so very nice so we had this for our dinner in the evening.

She also gave these green tea mini puffs…

…and charcoal kuih kapit/sepit (love letters)…

…both of which are very nice, not really sweet, plus the latter is very lemak, the way I like it, thank you so very much to her.

My brother-in-law also came by to give us the daging masak hitam (black-cooked beef)…

…that his friend in the kampung cooked and gave to him. He liked it so much that he insisted on sharing a bit of it with us for our reunion dinner, thank you so much to him too!

As for the rest that we had and during these few days throughout the festival, you will have to wait awhile. In the meantime, here’s wishing everybody once again, Gong Xi Fa Cai (恭喜发财/wishing you happiness) ! Wan Shi Ru Yi (万事如意/good luck in everything)! May God bless all of us abundantly throughout the coming year! Cheers!!!

A cut above…

This bakery in the next lane/road from my house makes the most awesome croissants, a cut above all the rest in town, second to none. I did blog about them here and also here.

Yes, I’ve been dropping by to buy all this while but not for myself. My girl loves eating those croissants so much so I would get some for her once in a while for her to enjoy. Incidentally, one afternoon not too long ago, I dropped in to see if there was anything of interest. Much to my surprise, there were two plain/regular croissants in the glass display cabinet. Of course, I had to buy those for my girl and needless to say, she enjoyed them so much.

The girl at the shop told me that if I wanted more, I could just wait for a while. Their second batch for the day would be coming out soon, piping hot from the oven. That was around 4 something in the afternoon. In the past, the croissants would be ready at around noon, just once in a day and if you did not make a reservation, you might be in for a disappointment – there might not be any left for you to buy.

Probably they have decided to bake two batches in a day, the first batch at around noon for people going home for lunch to stop by and collect and the second around 4 something, for those coming by after office hours. Good marketing strategy, don’t you think?

It so happened that I was passing by that day and I saw a crowd in the bakery, probably those who had booked the croissants beforehand and were waiting for them to be ready. I went to another shop in that same block to grab a few things and by the time I was done, I saw that the crowd had dispersed so I went in to try my luck.

Yes, there were a few flavours available, one each and I did manage to grab hold of two of their regular ones and this one…

…with all the almond flakes.

Unfortunately, school has reopened and my girl will just eat two eggs in the morning and will not eat anything else the whole day till she comes home for lunch at 1 something in the afternoon. I would have died of starvation if I were to do that. LOL!!!

In the end, I put the two regular ones in the fridge in the hope that she would get to eat them over the weekend perhaps and I took the almond one to make this…

…for myself to enjoy.

I boiled an egg and mashed it together with a knob of butter and two slices of Cheddar cheese, cut into tiny bits…

…and then I threw in all the almond flakes…

…that had fallen off the croissant. Waste not, want not.

I cut a slit in the middle of the croissant, lengthwise and stuffed it with the egg filling…

…after which, I put it in the oven to toast for a while.

When I saw that the cheese had melted…

…I took it out and sat down to enjoy the fruit of my labour, served with a few slices of the very nice tomato from our garden. We did not have any lettuce in the house, otherwise the touch of green would certainly make the presentation a bit nicer.

Yes, it was very nice and I sure enjoyed it to the max. You can see how perfectly done it was – the beautiful flaky layers…

…of the croissant plus its holey airy texture and the buttery fragrance!

Many so-called “croissants” at some of the bakeries in town are just regular bread, rolled up to look like croissants while a sprinkling do come out with some decent ones but sadly, they still need to try a little bit harder to come up to this standard. For one thing, I found that those are cheaper but if you want the best, you will just have to pay for it.

LOUIS BAKERY LW.Pattisserie (2.316411, 111.839847) is located at No. 20, Jalan Ruby in the same block of shops as Kim Tak Co., right next to Ah Kau Cafe at the end of the block to the left.