I can do too…

That morning, I was walking past this coffee shop and I decided to drop by to see if there was anything at the chu-char (cook and fry) stall inside that I could tapao home. Much to my surprise, the young boys were doing all the cooking and everything. The fat guy who used to sit be the side fiddling with his smartphone and would come over to cook once the boys had got all the ingredients ready was nowhere to be seen. I asked one of them and he said that the guy had called it quits and they had taken over the business.

Incidentally, some people have taken over the kampua mee stall in front too – the photo of their tomato kway teow looks good. Perhaps I will drop by and give it a try one of these days.

I saw an alluring slab of stewed pork…

Syariket Kiong Chuong Cafe stewed pork
*Archive photo*

…so I asked for it and I requested that they packed the sauce separately.

I also bought their siew yoke

Syariket Kiong Chuong Cafe siew yoke
*Archive photo*

…and when we had that for lunch that day, my girl remarked that anytime we want to buy this, we should go here – obviously she liked it very much and enjoyed it a lot.

On my way home, I stopped by my favourite kompia shop at Rejang Park to buy some home. The lady, the mother of the young boy, was so very nice. I bought RM6.00, now 50 sen each, and without my asking, she gave me 15 pieces instead of 12. I wanted to deep fry and eat them with the stewed pork.

At most places here, they would just have them oven-toasted and fill them with minced meat but I prefer them deep fried…

Kompia, deep fried

…till golden and crusty on the outside, still nice and soft on the inside, stuffed with stewed pork belly like the nice ones here except that once, they were soaked through with oil till they were not edible and of course, I took the whole basket back and gave them a piece of my mind. The oil must be very very hot before the kompia goes in – obviously the people in the kitchen there did not pay enough attention to what they were doing that day.

My friend, Annie, in KL loves the ones here, also deep fried but they have minced meat filling. I watched the lady doing it once and I was quite sure I could do it too. She actually sliced the kompia first before deep frying. Probably that would make it easier to handle and stuff the filling as it would be very hot, straight from the wok. That was why I did the exact same thing that morning and in no time at all, everything was ready…

Ready to serve

Yes, everybody enjoyed it very much including my girl who had two for breakfast…

Deep fried kompia with stewed pork belly filling

…and for one who is more into bagels than kompia, that sure is saying a lot! I certainly would want to do it again sometime.

SYARIKAT KIONG CHUONG CAFE (2.291062, 111.827381) is located along Jalan Kampung Nyabor at the bend where one turns right when coming from Brooke Drive, a stone’s throw from Malaysia Hotel in the next block and SENG WAN BAKERY (2.307484, 111.836558), the kompia shop, is located at the Rejang Park shops/commercial centre facing the Rejang Park Market, back to back with Quality Cake & Bread Factory .

The simple things…

It was Rudyard Kipling who wrote, “Teach us delight in simple things…,” and I would be one who would go for those instead of following trends and spending a fortune on what everyone seems to enjoy drinking or eating…and taking selfies of themselves doing that and sharing on social media, Facebook or Instagram, for instance.

Unlike today, we did not have much – I do not recall eating paos (steamed buns) as a child but I do remember the ones with red (coloured) meat at one coffee shop, Kiaw Siong, at the corner on the right opposite the fire station in Sibu, where we would go after the church service for our weekly kampua mee treat, not that we bought it very often to enjoy – kids way back then were not so fortunate as the ones today.

The only cakes we got to enjoy were the ones my mum made come Christmas or Chinese New Year. No, we did not have birthday parties every year – I had one when I was small and another later when I was in primary school and one more when I was 20. My mum made the cake for that last one and a cousin of mine helped with the icing. I can remember the “cupcakes” at Kiaw Siong though – wrapped in red paper all around the sides and at the bottom.  It was very nice, something like what my friends got me from a bakery in Kapit but no, we did not get to enjoy that all that often, once in a blue moon, perhaps.

We had bread, the sandwich loaf, and buns with tau sar (red bean paste) filling. If I am not mistaken, there were those with coconut filling too. These days, I often buy the buns…

Buns

…from this bakery…

Lian Yu

…here, RM4.30 for 9 buns so that works out to less than 50 sen each. They do have red bean paste, butter, peanut, yam but I prefer their kaya (coconut jam)…

Kaya filling

…and they are very generous with it. The texture is not quite the same as the buns in the old days, finer and not as airy, but I guess we cannot expect everything to stay the same as time moves on.

I love their cupcakes too, only RM4.30 a pack…

Cupcakes

…with 6 inside so they are a little more than 70 sen each. I would say they are not that cheap actually but definitely a whole lot cheaper than those cakes from the modern bakeries and the ones served in the cafés here, there and everywhere.

The texture…

Texture

…is nice – soft and fine and not dry, which is more than what I would say about some trendy ones that I had had the displeasure of eating. I like the light buttery fragrance though chances are they would use some butter alternative, not real butter especially at that kind of price.

I do think this is good…

Served

…to serve as dessert at dinner parties or gatherings like the one that we had not too long ago.

I guess those more into those buns and cakes that are more fashionably acceptable, never mind that they cost a bomb, would frown on these but on my part, I am quite happy to have these simple delights in the house for tea.

LIAN YU BAKERY CAKE STORE, according to the wrapper, is located at 35A, Jalan Berjaya but I have not seen any bakery around the area of houses, houses and more houses, just a block with a shop making kway teow and somebody makes paos (steamed buns) somewhere there too, available in the mid-afternoon. However, you can easily get these buns and cakes from them as they are delivered regularly to most shops and supermarkets in town.

Always a first time…

I went back to this bakery again the other morning as when I shared the photograph of the Swiss roll on Facebook not too long ago, my foodie friend commented and said that their coconut roll was very nice.

It was just past 6.00 a.m. – VERY early but it was already open. When I went in, I spotted, among the others, one strawberry Swiss roll…

RM6.80

…so of course, I had to buy it because my girl really enjoyed it. It was a bit chilled so my guess was it was left over from the day before and they put it in the fridge overnight. That was perfectly all right by me as it was still good, still very nice though it got me wondering as to why there was a layer of white on the outside of the roll…

Strawberry with a layer of white

Perhaps that was the last one they made and there wasn’t enough of the strawberry batter and they used the vanilla one. Whatever the reason was, it did not matter one bit as it was just as good, the soft cake with the light strawberry essence fragrance, not very sweet and the salty butter cream…

Very nice

…in the middle. I could tell it was real salted butter as it had the taste and the fragrance plus it hardened when put in the fridge, not that we had to do that as it was all gone before the day was done!

I looked at what there was in the cabinets, nothing that tickled my fancy and then I saw the coconut rolls on the racks, piping hot from the oven. The baker was busy at the back but I think he noticed me and he quickly came out to see what I wanted. I asked for two of the coconut rolls (RM1.20 each)…

Coconut roll

…but I did not want any of the buns – he only had the pandan lotus, the butter and the red bean paste and I wanted the ones with the pek tao sar or mung bean paste.

Yes, the coconut roll was very nice – I could detect the nice buttery fragrance. Probably they brushed the bun batter with it before coating it with grated coconut and putting it into the oven to bake and I liked the toasted coconut and how the bun was very nice and soft.

I have seen these coconut rolls here, there and everywhere since God knows when but I never felt inclined to buy. Well, there is always a first time and I sure was glad I did.

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.

Silly…

My girl had something to send to the department’s office in Selangau so I went to the POSLAJU office near my house to do it for her. I do recall sending stuff there before and as far as I know, they did get everything in the end, no problem at all.

However, that morning, the young man at the counter told me that it would be outside their delivery area and they would redirect the mail to the General Post Office in town and the people from the office in Selangau would have to come all the way to Sibu to go there to collect. I don’t know if that was what had been happening all this while and this time around, it was addressed specifically to an officer at the office and the guy said that she would be contacted by phone and asked to collect the mail personally – somebody else from the office would not be able to get it for her.

I told him that would be so silly as if she had to come to town to get it, she could just go straight to my house and I could hand it to her, no need to pay them all that money for doing nothing. Over the years, driving to and fro between my house and my girl’s school in the jungle, I did see the POSLAJU van a few times but I did not know where it was heading, Bintulu perhaps…and as far as the van was concerned, it certainly was LAJU (fast) though I would not say the same about their service and their delivery.

Anyway, the wife of an officer at the Selangau office, an ex-student of mine, is my girl’s colleague so I asked my girl to ask her if she could pass the letter to pass to him to take to work and pass to the officer concerned…and of course, that was not a problem at all so things worked out o.k. in the end.

Well, it so happened that the other day, I decided to drop by this bakery…

Yat Bakery

…in town in the area of shops behind the medical centre where my mum used to be warded everytime she was unwell. My dad loved the buns…

Yat Bakery buns

…the ones with the pandan lotus paste filling…

Pandan lotus paste filling

…while I prefer the pek tau sar (white/mung bean paste) but these two were not easily available, always sold out.

That day, there wasn’t any of the latter left but there were two packets of the pandan lotus, RM2.20 each (probably RM2.00 only in the past), so I just grabbed them both. There were others like the red bean paste, the peanut and the butter but I was not interested in those.

In the meantime, I thought I would just buy their swiss roll for the aforementioned ex-student’s wife to show a bit of appreciation for her/their help. I remember we used to buy them before and they were very nice, RM6.80 each (maybe it was RM6.00 before) but they certainly were a lot bigger than the rest. I got her the vanilla and I decided to try the strawberry…

Yat Bakery swiss roll, strawberry

…which turned out really nice – so soft, very nice subtle fragrance of strawberry, definitely much nicer than the strawberry cakes that we bought before from the more upscale bakeries in town as far as the texture and taste went except that it did not have any fresh strawberries inside. I think should anybody’s birthday come around, I shall go here to order the cake…or I’d stick faithfully to Marcus’ – his cakes are, of course, second to none.

A friend on Facebook saw the above photograph of the swiss roll when I shared it on my timeline and he commented that their coconut roll bun was very good too – I think I did see that that day but I was never into that. Perhaps I’ll grab one to try the next time I drop by there.

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.

Serve…

Last Thursday night, we had prayers at the house in conjunction with the 2nd anniversary of my dad’s demise the following day – Friday, the 12th of July.

My sister went to this bakery…

Sweet Factory

…to order a few things for the light refreshment to serve to those who came.

Everyone gasped at the size of the curry puffs…

Sweet Factory curry puff

– they were huge and they could not believe their ears when told that they were only RM1.00 each.

The pastry was all right…

Curry puff, inside

and though we could hardly detect the curry in the filling, it tasted o.k. We really can’t complain when it was so cheap and it tasted pretty good too.

I just bought some curry puffs from this shop here a few days earlier and the pastry had that lovely buttery fragrance, much nicer and the filling too, though there was so little of it, an almost paper thin layer inside…and those were RM2.50 each!

The sio pao (RM1.70)…

Sweet Factory sio pao

…was very good, both the pastry and the filling…

Sio pao, inside

…and it had quite a lot of meat in it.

The filling…

Chicken pie, inside

…in the somewhat much smaller chicken pie (RM1.80)…

Sweet Factory chicken pie

…was nothing like that in the regular chicken pies that we are more accustomed to but it tasted great and of the three, I loved the pastry of the chicken pie the most.

Considering that everything was reasonably priced and seeing how everybody seemed to enjoy them all, we certainly wouldn’t mind going back to order more in future.

SWEET FACTORY is located right next door to NIANG JIA, formerly LADOREE CAFE & EVENTS (2.302891, 111.842997), at Wisma Liberty, Lot 4047, Block 3, Jalan Pedada (now Jalan Dr. Wong Soon Kai). There are a few tables by the side for anyone thinking of having tea there.

It’s rising up…

That day, I heard that the price of bread has gone up. One loaf of plain white sandwich bread has gone up by 10% to RM3.30.

Well, the prices of virtually everything have been rising up and up so of course, that came as no surprise at all, like when we went for the sotong kangkong that day

Thomson Corner prices

It was RM9.00, BIG [SIC], in 2017, RM9.50 in 2018 and now it is RM10.00 – no prize for guessing what it will be next year!

I was in the vicinity of Rejang Park…

Rejang Park pigeons

…early that morning to drop by my regular florist there – she opens real early, at 7.00 a.m. unlike the rest that will not open till at least 9 or 10.00 a.m. I placed my orders for the flowers and while she was arranging them, I walked to my favourite kompia shop, a stone’s throw away.

I saw these mang ngee (horse’s hoofs)…

Seng Wan Bakery mang ngee

They are making these now, in a limited number, but the shape did not look quite right so I was not impressed. Just then, an old lady came by to buy some and she was praising them to the skies and I heard a friend saying that they would be sold out if one were to go there a while later. That was why I ended up buying three to try – they were RM1.00 each, not cheap at all but yes, they were very nice and quite like the ones we used to enjoy in the good old days. I did not mind having to pay more for the quality of the texture and the taste and the satisfaction.

There is a bakery in town that makes these too, also around that same price. They will bring them out at around 1.30 p.m. and they will be sold out in no time at all. Theirs are HUGE and taste really nice but I don’t think they are all that authentic – the texture is more like that of a doughnut.

While I was at the kompia shop, I saw this…

2 for RM1.00

Yes, somebody did tell me sometime back that their kompia

Seng Wan Bakery kompia

…is now 50 sen each, 2 for RM1.00. Obviously that has not affected their business one bit as I saw a whole lot of people stopping by to buy even though I do know of other places that are still selling theirs at 3 for RM1.00. Personally, I do think that theirs is extra fragrant and crunchier and maybe  a little bigger and thicker too, plus they are certainly a lot more generous with the sesame seeds on top.

I, for one, do not mind one bit that they are jacking up the prices here, there and everywhere as long as they maintain the quality of what they sell…unlike the nasi lemak I had the other day – I have yet to go back to check if I caught them on a bad day or they are scrimping on the santan (coconut milk) despite having raised the price.

SENG WAN BAKERY (2.307484, 111.836558), the kompia shop, is located at the Rejang Park shops/commercial centre facing the Rejang Park Market, back to back with Quality Cake & Bread Factory.

Shocked…

I’ve blogged about these pretty ugly curry puffs…

Ugly

…from a bakery here before but to be fair, the bakery people are not the ones making those. Those baked puffs and also their sio pao (equally ugly) are homemade, delivered there for sale

Homemade curry puffs & sio pao
*Archive pic*

…every day (except Fridays – the bakery has its off day on this day once a week).

They must be rather popular as they have been around for many years now. A curry puff was 80 sen each initially and then it went up to a ringgit and soon after, it was RM1.20. The other day, my sister gave me some and I asked her how much it was now and she said RM1.50. Blimey!!! I was utterly shocked!!! That is almost double the price when it first started!

To give credit where credit is due, despite the appearance, I rather like the shortcrust pastry and  though the filling is mostly all potatoes…

Puff filling

…hardly any meat, I like the curry, slightly spicy, taste but if it is RM1.50 each, I sure would think twice about buying it all that often.

Personally, my favourite would be the ones here

Farley curry puffs
*Archive pic*

…but it’s on the other side of town and usually, I hardly venture all the way there. They were RM1.00 each at first but if you buy 10, you get one free. The same term & condition apply when the price went up to RM1.10 and then RM1.20. I don’t know how much they are now as I have not gone to buy for quite a while now.

Some people like the ones here – I did go and buy once, giant ones and I did think theirs were nice too but they were not cheap either and deep fried. I prefer the baked ones. There are a lot of deep fried ones at the Malay kueh stalls here, there and everywhere and if I am not wrong, they are quite cheap too but I have yet to come across one that is nice enough to get me going back for more.

Ah well! Actually, it is not all that cheap to make one’s own either – remember the puff pastry that I bought and used once? It was RM6.00 for a packet of 10 and I bought some more the other day but it was over RM6.00 now. I guess that’s the way things are these days – prices of things keep going up and up…and we’ll just have to learn to live with it. Sigh!!!