Just a little bit better…

This…

WeLove Bakery, Pedada

…used to be my girl’s favourite – they did have quite a lot of stuff that she enjoyed but of course, she can’t go for those anymore as they are all not gluten free….and I do know for a fact that my friend, Peter, gets his bread for his café by special order according to his specifications from this bakery too.

They have opened an outlet in the area of shops near my house, back to back with this Sarawak’s own fast food franchise there, right across the lane from this newly-opened bakery. We did drop by a couple of times, though not all that frequently. My girl went once to buy my birthday cake from there, my favourite Japanese baked cheesecake…

Japanese baked cheesecake

Well, it so happened that I popped into the place sometime ago and saw some ang ku kueh and deep-fried Chinese yam cake and I bought a few to try. They turned out to be really very nice, nicer than the ones that I would always buy from here but since then, I did not see them there anymore until that morning when I was walking  past after doing some business at the bank round the corner.

I’ve stopped buying the or koi from that other place since they increased the price from RM1.00 to RM1.10 but it was not so much because of that. The last time I had theirs, they seemed a little bit more wobbly than usual probably because of the addition of more flour, less yam. The ones here (RM1.20 each)…

Or koi

…did seem a lot nicer and I certainly would choose to buy these instead.

The ang ku kueh (RM1.20 each)…

Ang ku kueh

…had a nicer texture, the skin, that is and I also thought the filling inside tasted a little bit better, just a bit. However, it looked smaller and it is more expensive by 20 sen. I am not so particular about the difference in price – if I am here, I will just buy the ones here and if I am there, I will grab the ones there.

I also bought one pulut panggang (RM1.40) to try that was very much longer than the RM1.00 or RM1.10 ones at the Malay kueh stalls but though it was quite nice – it had that much coveted panggang-ed fragrance, it was not all that lemak, nowhere near those that we called Kate panggang which, unfortunately, aren’t that regularly nor easily available anymore these days.

I must say that I am delighted that there is another place here now that is near my house where I can buy some nice tea-time delights to enjoy.

WeCare Bakery, Pedada outlet (2.311098, 111.846125) is located at the corner shoplot where this coffee shop once was, back to back with the Sugar Bun outlet in that area to the left of Delta Mall, Jalan Pedada (now Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai).

On the other end…

I dropped by here that day to buy the yam puffs (RM2.50 each)…

My Bistro Cafe yam puffs

…that my girl likes a lot and since she was home those few days, she could enjoy them for breakfast or for tea. They are very nice and I like the fibrous exterior, the char siew filling is like what is in their steamed buns – I do like theirs a lot, RM2.00 each.

Incidentally, if you are thinking of dropping by for these, they are usually available around 10-10.30 onwards and they get sold out real fast. That day, I was there around noon and there were only 5 left so I sapu-ed (swept) them all. I hear that they get sold out very quickly and that was why there were times when we dropped by later in the afternoon, there were none available.

In the meantime, since I was in the vicinity, I decided to check out this new place…

C & C Gallery

…in that block of shops at the other end to the right. It started off as a bakery here at that chicken rice place that we like a lot and do frequent quite often but they have taken over its present location, formerly occupied by a furniture shop, and moved there and they have extended their business to include a coffee place so you can actually go there and order something to eat and drink your coffee – if I am not wrong, they have free wifi here.

They had a lot of doriyakis, the buns made famous by that Japanese cartoon character, Doraemon and I bought one (RM2.50)…

C & C Gallery doriyaki

…to try. Yes, it was very nice even though they were not very generous with the cream cheese filling…

C & C Gallery doriyaki, cream cheese filling

…but I thought that was quite enough for me to enjoy it as a whole.

This…

C & C Gallery dirty mochi bun

…looked good – I did not know what it was. I could see the chocolate and what I thought was coffee dust on top and I was thinking that was a variation of the Mexican coffee bun but it turned out to be their dirty mochi bun (RM2.50) with whatever filling they had inside…

C & C Gallery dirty mochi bun, filling

…and yes, it was very nice but it was so very messy to eat. I did enjoy it more than the croissant version that I bought from here once. I liked the texture of the Korean mochi bun more. I shared half with my missus and yes, she liked it a lot too!

The coconut tart (RM1.80)…

C & C Gallery coconut tart

…was really good, a tad nicer than my favourites here but those cost around RM2 something only for two and are much bigger so they are definitely cheaper.

I thought the egg tart (RM1.50)…

C & C Gallery egg tarts

…wasn’t anything to shout about plus the pastry was a little hard but the Portuguese egg tart (RM2.20) was really good. I expected them to use the same pastry but no, the one they had for the latter, even though it wasn’t the usual layered Portuguese egg tart pastry, was crustier/crumblier and very much nicer and I enjoyed the custard egg filling with the caramelised top a whole lot more.

I certainly would want to drop by again to see what else they have to offer but since everything is not gluten-free, I wouldn’t want to go when my girl is home as she can only see but mustn’t touch, poor thing!

MY BISTRO CAFE & BAR (2.311574, 111.846440) is located right beside Delta Mall among the shops at Pusat Pedada, the first shop at the corner in the block to the right of the mall if you are facing its back entrance and C & C GALLERY is located at Lot 62 in that same block of shops on the other side/end to the right.

Stir it…

The other day, a dear and thoughtful friend sent me some gluten-free stuff for my girl as well as this bottle of peanut butter…

Clearspring Organic Peanut Butter

…which, other than being organic, is also gluten free…

Gluten free

Even before I opened the bottle, I could see the layer of oil on top…

Oil separation

…but that is not a problem as according to the label…

Label

…such oil separation may occur.

That reminded me of the Pied Piper peanut butter that we enjoyed so much during our growing up years, way back during the colonial days. Unfortunately, that was the time of the Apartheid and there were trade sanctions by countries in the world against that African nation so we never saw that brand of peanut butter again.

I remember how everytime my dad opened a new bottle, there would be a layer of oil on top and he would take a chopstick to stir it and mix it really really well. These days, we can get this South African brand

Black Cat Peanut Butter, South Africa

…here but no, it does not have that layer of oil so even though, it does taste pretty good, the memories aren’t really the same.

Anyway, going back to the one my friend sent me, it seems that it is a UK product and after I had opened it, I took a chopstick and did the same as what I used to see my dad doing. It was not as easy as it looked…or maybe the one those days was not so hard but after much effort, I managed to mix it altogether well till it was nice and creamy and smooth like this…

Smooth & creamy

To try it, I went to this bakery in town and bought a croissant…

iBake croissant

Good grief! It was RM3.20 EACH! I could buy a loaf of sandwich bread for that kind of money and still have a little bit of change…but I had not had a croissant for a long time now so I just went ahead according to plan. I guess it is all right to pamper oneself once in a while.

I cut a slit in it, toasted it in the oven till it was nice and flaky, stuffed in a slab of butter, Golden Churn no less…and  a generous amount of the peanut butter…

iBake croissant with butter & peanut butter

…and ate. Boy! That was so good! Gotta go out and get some plain white bread, bananas and jam and bacon so I can indulge in some of that absolutely awesome out-of-this-world Elvis Presley sandwich soon!

Yes, I would give this brand my double thumbs up but being organic AND gluten-free AND being a product of the UK, I am sure it does not come cheap. Nothing in those organic or health shops is cheap – it sure is expensive trying to eat and stay healthy! Sigh!!!

Moon…

The Mooncake Festival also known as the Mid-Autumn or Zhongqiu Festival falls on the 4th of October this year which means that there are some two to three weeks to go.

Needless to say, they are getting more expensive by the year so I will not bother getting any of those “branded ones”. With the kind of money, I could go out with my family and have a really nice dinner and derive a lot more pleasure from that instead. As a matter of fact, I saw somebody sharing a post on Facebook that day that there are imitations/counterfeit not only in Hong Kong or elsewhere in China but right here in Malaysia so that would be another reason not to go for those.

We do have a bakery here that makes very nice ones but the last time I bought some…

Famous Bakery, Sibu mooncake
*Archive photo*

…from there was 5 years ago in 2012 mainly because it is located at the far end of town, very far!

I’m sure the prices have gone up by leaps and bounds now – my Miri friend ordered from them for sale at RM38.00 for a box of 12. Back in 2012, they were only RM11 for a pack of 6 or RM13.00 for the ones with salted egg yolk…

Famous Bakery, Sibu yolk puff
*Archive photo*

…inside.

Even our local Foochow Mooncake Festival biscuits or what we call Pek Guek Tong Chiew pia

Pek guek tong chiew pia
*Archive photo*

…are selling for RM6.00 a pack now. I remember at one time they were priced at only RM4.00. My cousin in Melbourne, Australia calls them Foochow shortbread and she loves them so much, more than the Scottish ones, it seems.

I did buy a pack of those mooncakes, lotus paste, from a manufacturer in Johore, halal ones, selling at only RM10.00 for 4. I would not say it was great but at that price, I shall not complain.

I also bought these…

Sibu home-made mooncakes

…the other day from a shop round the corner from my house, RM3.00 for a pack of three, just RM1.00 each. They said they were home-made, somebody made them and left them there for sale.

Kids would probably love the Doraemon mould used…

Doraemon mooncake

…but they only had two types of filling – or tau sar (red bean paste) or pek tau sar (mung bean paste) and I bought the latter which I do prefer.

Yes, the pastry was indeed kind of thick…

Thick pastry

…but I did not mind – for one thing, I do enjoy eating it and for another, it sure helps to reduce the sweetness of the filling. I cannot understand why people would insist on it being paper thin as an indication of a very well-produced top quality mooncake. One would hardly be able to taste the pastry at all so much so that he or she might as well go and buy the filling and eat it straight, just like that.

These days, they have the snow skin and the agar-agar (jelly) but no, I am no fan of those. It has to be the real thing, the original, authentic mooncakes…or nothing at all.

Right now, I am not sure if I would be getting more to try – maybe I will, maybe I won’t. We’ll see! I still have a few weeks to look around to see if there are any other affordable ones available but one thing I am certain of is that I will not be buying those worth-their-weight-in-gold ones, thank you very much!

FAMOUS BAKERY (2.250418, 111.84679) is located at No. 8, Lorong Upper Lanang 29A in the Grand Height area of shops between Jalan Mantis and the aforementioned lane..

Butterscotch…

Anybody coming back to Sibu via KLIA2 would cart home lots of the loaves of bread, butterscotch especially, the one that is claimed to be so nice you can eat it on its own. I used to like it a lot but eventually, I grew tired and did not quite like the smell…or maybe, some people would say that is the fragrance.

A bakery here came out with their own and I did buy theirs once to try but no, it was a long shot – nowhere near “the real thing”. Then there was another bakery where they made butterscotch muffins and yes, I did enjoy them and I went back for more a couple of times – I have not gone back for a while now though.

Now, there is this bakery here that is affiliated to our Sarawak-own fast food franchise and I rather like their buns and my favourite is their butterscotch…

UniqBUN butterscotch 1

…but they do have other flavours as well. The blueberry and cream is nice too but I never tried their taro nor their durian.

The bun is very cushion-y soft, very nice…

UniqBUN bun

…and inside, there is the butterscotch plus a bit of cream…

UniqBUN butterscotch 2

I do feel that their buns are pretty good and I would buy once in a while for breakfast or afternoon tea, something different sometimes for a change.

Their cakes are also nice, I must say. I’ve bought their red velvet, and maybe some of the others as well, before and I do like the fact that now, they have this assortment of little cup cakes of different flavours…

UniqBUN assorted cakes

…for sale in packs of 6. There is the red velvet, top left, and the green velvet is in the middle with the chocolate on the right while in the bottom row, from left to right are their banana, vanilla and orange. This way, one can buy a pack and try to see which one one likes best …

UniqBUN green velvet 1

…before going to buy the whole loaf…

UniqBUN green velvet 2

…without having to throw the whole thing away if it is not to one’s liking.

Looking at how these are available at most supermarkets and elsewhere, even at the Sibu Airport, it sure shows that they are doing well…which is good.

Got me some more…

My father loved the steamed char siew pao (barbecued meat bun)…

Hong Kong Puff steamed char siew pao
*Archive photo*

…that I bought from here so I happily went back and got some more, not for me, but for him. Why happily, you may ask? Well, he can’t chew very well so he has not been eating much of anything properly. I do think that this would be good for him as there are bits of meat inside, not too big or tough for him to manage, and the skin is soft too.

While I was at the shop, I saw these yam puffs or woo kok (RM2.50 each)…

Hong Kong Puffs woo kok

…and I decided to buy two to try. I ate one, a little bit too crusty for me on the outside but otherwise, it was very nice and I loved the filling…

Hong Kong Puff woo kok, inside

…which I guess, would be the same as the one in the steamed char siew pao or the sio pao (baked buns).

The butter “biscuits” (RM2.00 each)…

Hong Kong Puff butter biscuits

…were all right, the pastry was really very nice but I prefer the ones here as theirs would have a lot more filling. However, I have not bought any from there for a long time now so I do not know if they are still as good or how much they are selling them for now. They used to be only RM1.00 each way back in 2009.

The tau sar peah (RM1.50 each)…

Hong Kong Puffs pek tau sar

…did not impress me much though. I bought the ones with pek tau sar (white bean paste) and I would say we have better ones elsewhere here like at this stall, for instance – they would have some very good ones, I’m sure.

The coconut tarts (RM2.50 each)…

Hong Kong Puff coconut tarts

…did not get me all excited either. The pastry was nicely done…

Hong Kong Puff coconut tart, pastry

…but they had egg custard with the grated coconut in the filling unlike the ones that I love here, all coconut and theirs are a lot cheaper too. I did buy some from the latter the other day though and I found that the tarts had grown smaller and the pastry was so hard that my gums hurt when I was eating them. If that is what they are going to be like from now on, I don’t think I would be all that keen on buying them anymore.

So far, we like the steamed char sio pao here best, and the sio pao and the egg tarts that I bought on my previous visit were all right as well. As for all the aforementioned, I probably would buy the yam puffs/woo kok again but I do not think it will be all that soon.

Puff puff…

This is new in town…

Hong Kong Puff 1

…located along Ramin Way (2.291180, 111.826634), beside Sin Kiaw Coffee Shop, right behind the petrol station across the road from the HSBC Building, Sibu branch…and it so happened that I was around that part of town very early in the morning that day so I decided to walk over to check it out.

Gosh!!! Even though it was only around 7 something, there were so many cars and it was quite difficult to even cross the road! There is a primary school nearby but I thought at that time, classes would have started already. Tsk! Tsk!

There was this tall and friendly young man running the place…

Hong Kong Puff 2

…with a few helpers who would assist him with the baking and what not. Yes, as you can see in the photograph, they have those bamboo steamer baskets by the side and yes, they do have steamed paos or buns here. I guess they are kept warm in that metal and glass case inside beside the counter.

I bought the ones with char siew (barbecued pork) filling (RM1.50 each)…

Hong Kong Puff steamed pao, char siew

…and yes, they were very nice. I sure would not mind going back for more.

The guy said that the baked stuff was not ready yet – I was too early – but I was in luck. Some came out of the oven when I was there so I was able to grab some to try.

I got some Portuguese egg tarts (RM2.50 each)…

Hong Kong Puff Portuguese egg tarts

…which were nice except that they had layered regular egg tart pastry instead of the usual ultra-thin and flaky layers of puff pastry one would usually get for these Portuguese variation. I did not buy any of the green ones but my guess is that they’re pandan-flavoured.

The sio pao, baked buns with char siew filling (RM2.00 each)…

Hong Kong Puff sio pao

…were nice too. The pastry was something like what one would get when buying those celebrated Seremban ones but I find the filling in the ones here…

Hong Kong Puff sio pao, char siew filling

…a whole lot nicer. However, I noticed that they were not very consistent with the size and while some were rather big, others were somewhat small. Perhaps if you happen to drop by here to get some, you could insist on picking your own so you could choose all the big ones. Hehehehehe!!!!

I also got these sio bee (90 sen each)…

Hong Kong Puff sio bee

The guy said they were from Kuching and if I am not wrong, they are the ones from the Open Air Market (only 70 sen each the last time I had them in 2014) and yes, they’re nice.

As a matter of fact, the guy said that they got everything from Kuching including the ingredients for the baked stuff and they just make and bake or steam here for sale. I would say that I liked what I managed to buy and take home to try that day so I wouldn’t mind going back there again for more of the same…