We found love…

This bakery here used to be called WeCare but they have progressed to WeLove…

WeLove

…it seems. I do like the new name better, I must say, as the old one always reminded me of some nursing home for the elderly. I asked one of the girls there whether there had been a switch of owner or management or what but she said no, everything’s still the same – only the name has been changed.

This is one of my favourite bakeries in town and we would drop by quite regularly for some of the things here that we enjoy like these so-called Italy pockets…

WeLove Italy pockets

…which are actually slices of ham, cheese and lettuce in some kind of pita-bread. If anyone is wondering where this is, the main one is located in the Sibu Bus Terminal area, opposite the Public Bank branch there but they have branches at the Medan Mall (in the supermarket) and also at Sungai Merah, near the Everwin Supermarket there (next block) and I know there’s one in the Farley (Salim) area as well – somewhere on the other side of the road from the MayBank branch, next to the 100% Discount Store.

Of course, being this time of the year, the place was flooded with all kinds of cookies…

WeLove Chinese New Year cookies

…and layer cakes…

WeLove layer cakes

…for Chinese New Year.

No, we didn’t buy any. My girl bought one of her favourites here – the sandwich bun to the right of the Italy pockets which basically has the same filling. She probably prefers the bun to the pita bread. That day, I was delighted to see that they still had a few ma-ngee (horse hoof) aka butterfly fritters…

WeLove ma-ngee

…left. Theirs are so popular that every day, they would be sold out so very quickly…and they are only available at 1.30 p.m. daily. Do make sure that you go there around that time and not later than 2.00 p.m. if you hope to get hold of some. The ones here are really HUGE and though I would not say they are exactly like the traditional old school ones that we used to love, these are very nice as well. The locals have a not-very-flattering name for them – pelir kambing (goat’s testicles). LOL!!!

I spotted some pulut panggang

WeLove pulut panggang

…as well, RM1.20 each which is 20 sen more expensive than the price elsewhere generally. They sure looked good so I simply had to grab some to try. Unfortunately, I would not say it was a whole lot nicer than those I had had elsewhere – yes, it was very well cooked with the very nice panggang (cooked over hot burning charcoal) fragrance but no, it was not lemak (rich with santan/coconut milk) enough. The one I had was a tad salty but my girl had one and hers was all right – I guess they did not mix the salt too well.

And talking about Chinese New Year, I must thank my cousin in Perth, Australia and her family and my old friend in Kuching (we go all the way back to the 70’s and he has never failed to send me one every year) and his family for the lovely Chinese New Year cards…

Chinese New Year cards

My cousin sent me one for Christmas and it arrived around a fortnight later so this time, she’s not taking any chances and sent hers early – with our snail mail, literally, these days, one just can’t take any chances. It’s the early bird that catches the worm, they say. Qong Xi Fa Cai from me and my family to you two and yours as well – may God bless all of you abundantly with good luck, good health and prosperity in the coming Year of the Goat. Cheers!!!

Wait for a minute…

I dropped by this bakery…

Aroma Bakery

…on Sunday morning as I wanted to get their very nice chicken pies for my girl to take back to her jungle school to enjoy during the course of the week. In fact, we had gone there to check a few times in these few past weeks but they were always sold out. We could have placed an order but we did not fancy doing that and having to go back there again later to collect. For the uninitiated, it is located among the shops in the vicinity of the Dewan Suarah (Civic Centre) here in Sibu.

This time around, they only had one left (RM3.50 each)…

Aroma Bakery chicken pie

…but when I asked, they said that the second batch for the day was almost ready and if I could wait for a minute, they would be out of the oven pretty soon…and I decided I would do just that.

Meanwhile, I went browsing around looking at what they had at that point in time. Their coconut tarts…

Aroma Bakery coconut tarts

…are very nice too. I never like those elsewhere but theirs, I love! They used to sell them at RM1.80 for a pack of two but the price has since gone up to RM2.00, RM1.00 each.

I also like their egg tarts…

Aroma Bakery egg tarts

…and I’ve bought their cup cakes…

Aroma Bakery cup cakes

…before and enjoyed them as well – just get the plain ones, they’re good enough without those bits of chocolate chip or blueberry.

Of course, here too, you can find the usual bread and buns…

Aroma Bakery buns

…and stuff that you will see in most other bakeries…but these curry puffs and sio pao (baked buns)…

Aroma Bakery curry puffs

…are homemade – somebody makes them at home and leaves them here for sale every day. I wouldn’t say they’re the best in town but they’re not bad…and are quite cheap.

Well, if anyone is interested, their business hours are as follows…

Aroma Bakery business hours

True enough, the chicken pies that I wanted…

Aroma Bakery chicken pies

…were ready in no time at all and because they were still piping hot from the oven, they placed them in a cardboard tray like this for me to take home.

Ooooo….the fragrance of those pies filled the whole car and the moment I got home, I could not resist sitting down right away to enjoy…one.

Not what you think it is…

Well, this certainly was not what I thought it was…

Bintulu pineapple cake 1

My friend, Jimmy, from Bintulu gave me these and I thought they were those pineapple cakes from Taiwan (currently on clearance sale at Ta Kiong, Sibu at over RM3.00 a box). The box certainly looked very impressive and to my surprise, it was from a bakery in Bintulu itself (Oopsss!!! Pardon the spelling error there! LOL!!!)…

Bintulu pineapple cake 2

The pineapple cakes were very nice, very generous with the soft and moist pineapple filling…

Bintulu pineapple cake - inside

My missus loved them a lot – she said they were really very nice but personally, I would prefer more cake and less filling as it was a tad too sweet for my liking.

Jimmy also gave me this jar of cincaluk (fermented shrimps)…

Jimmy's cincaluk 1

I thought he had bought it from somebody he knows in Bintulu or one of his students’ mums like those that he had given me before. These would usually be of a higher quality and a whole lot cleaner than those sold at the market. Boy, was I surprised when he told me that he made it himself and instead of plain water, he used air kelapa (coconut water) instead…

Jimmy's cincaluk 2

It tasted nice – it was different somehow but I only tried a teeny weeny pinch that day – maybe if I really take it and eat it, I will be able to say more about it.

Now if you’re guessing that I got these from him too…

Rempeyek from Kuching

…then I’m afraid that it isn’t what you think. LOL!!! They’re from my friend, Clare, in Kuching – she was home for the long weekend and she brought me a HUGE pack of these rempeyek. They were nice – lots of ikan bilis (dried anchovies) and peanuts and very fragrant with all the spices used in the making…but they’re a bit hard though compared to the ones here. Ours would be thinner and so brittle that they may crumple easily, even upon touching…but for one thing they’re much kinder to my old gums. Wink! Wink!

Now, after my post on the Hokkaido cupcakes the other day, Annie-Q commented that her mum got some that were cheaper – at 3 for only RM4.00 and eventually, she told me that she got them from the shop where I would go and get those yummy chicken pies.

Aroma Bavaria cupcakes

Of course, I wasted no time in dropping by there to grab a packet to try but it seemed that they called them “Bavaria cupcakes” and they did not have any “snow” or the sprinkling of sugar on top like those Hokkaido ones…and they looked somewhat sunken, don’t you think?

Aroma Bavaria cupcake

Comparing the two, there was less cream in these…

Aroma Bavaria cupcake - inside

…but I thought they tasted a little bit nicer. The texture of the cake was nicer too than those previous ones that I tried…but all things considered, though they were pretty good, to me, they were both nothing more than just cakes with cream inside…with or without the sprinkling of sugar on top and I wouldn’t think I would be going back for more. I would much sooner go for their chicken pies instead…

I said it before…

I had a post on these chicken pies (currently RM3.00 each)…

Aroma chicken pies

…before and more recently, on the new variety – the ones with the cheese curry chicken filling.

I bought a few for my friend, Mandy, when I hopped over to KL and she said that she heated up one for dinner and it was so good that she heated another one up and had it for supper. I also bought a few for my ex-student, Xavier, the other day and soon after, I received a text message from him saying that he was “chastised” by his parents for not asking me where I had bought them for they loved them so much and would want to head back there to grab some more. I also bought some for my cousin who was here from KK not very long ago but he said that he would prefer the original chicken pies. Well, he did not try them the very same day, perhaps a day or two later…so I wouldn’t know if that had affected the taste or not.

Anyway, I went back to the bakery a couple of times to get some for myself but it was closed for the holidays and when it reopened, the boss said that they had used up all the filling prior to their holiday break and had not got down to cooking some more yet. In the end, I had no choice but to buy these curry puffs (90 sen each)…

Aroma curry puffs 1

…instead which I would say aren’t too bad though I would not insist that they’re the best that I’ve had. I had a post on them before and I must say that I still have not changed my mind about how I feel about them.

They’re not made by the bakery people themselves actually – I understand that somebody makes them at home and leaves them at the shop for sale. As you can see from the photograph, whoever makes them is obviously not very good with his or her hands and the curry puffs do not look all that great as far as the shape is concerned. They taste o.k. – nice curry filling except that it’s all potatoes…

Aroma curry puffs 2

I can’t seem to detect the presence of any meat, be it chicken or beef, at all and the price has gone up by 10 sen – from 80 sen to 90 sen now.

I like the fact, however, that they are baked, not fried but I don’t think any butter is used in the making of the pastry…

Aroma curry puffs 3

…as there is the absence of the fragrance that one would get when eating the bakery’s own chicken pies but they’re definitely a whole lot better than the curry puffs from other bakeries that I’ve had the displeasure of trying before.

All things considered, personally, I would rather pay a bit more for those lovely chicken pies and derive a whole lot more satisfaction from eating them than to pay much less for these…but of course, some people may beg to differ. Well, it is, after all, a free country and it is up to one to do as one pleases…

Nice change…

I dropped by the Aroma Bakery here the other day to get their very nice chicken pies and the lady told me that those with the black toasted sesame seeds…

Aroma curry chicken pie 1

…were the curry ones. They did not have those before and at first, I thought of not buying, but she said that they were very nice and there was cheese inside as well. Cheese? With curry? Hmmmm…pretty strange combination, don’t you think?

In the end, I decided to go ahead and give it a try. Inside, there were a lot of meat and potatoes…

Aroma curry chicken pie 2

The curry flavour was very light and putting all that together, it did indeed taste very very nice and I loved it a lot! I would say it was nicer than their plain chicken pies which everyone who had tried fell in love with at first bite. They’re RM3.00 each now though – for either plain or curry chicken. The pies used to cost RM2.60 – 2.80 each…but considering that they do taste really great, I would say it is value for money and worth buying once in a while.

Moving on from the pies, I received an sms on my handphone one fine day from my satellite tv provider asking me to drop by their office to collect this voucher…

Astro food voucher 1

Usually I would not bother about such promotional stuff that I get frequently on my handphone. Furthermore, it said in the text message that the offer would expire in a few days so I decided to just ignore it.

Around the middle of the year, one petrol station was giving out a lot of these vouchers. I think for every RM20 of petrol that you pumped, you would be entitled to get 1, so for every time I went to fill up at a station, I would get at least 2 or 3. I thought I could collect all of them and then give them to my daughter to use in Sungai Petani to go and eat and enjoy with her friends.  Unfortunately, when I read the fine print, it was in conjunction with the Gawai Dayak Festival and would be valid for use only in Sarawak and the vouchers were due to expire in a week or two or so. Eventually, it left me no choice but to throw them all away. Anyway, they were discount vouchers that would entitle you to buy certain set meals at reduced prices and they were not really that cheap, actually – maybe just a few ringgit less, that was all.

Now, in this particular case, it was different. It so happened that I was passing by the office two days before the expiry date so I just popped in to see what it was all about.. The sweet and friendly girl at the counter asked to see the sms. Good grief! I have this habit of deleting every message that I have read but somehow, this one was still in my inbox and I could show it to her. So she promptly did what she had to do and gave me the voucher. The best part was the voucher was given in conjunction with the current “sports season” aka the London Olympics and I don’t even subscribe to any sports channel! Hehehehehehe!!!

When I got home, I looked at the terms and conditions at the back…

Astro food voucher 2

Hey! It is valid till 31st July next year. Now, that’s more like it! Frankly, I do think that if they want to give people such things, it should stay valid for at least 3 months…or 6 perhaps. This certainly was a nice change from the ones that I got from the petrol station, I must say.

And talking about vouchers, I am expecting one in the mail soon but that will have to wait till another post. Has any of you been getting any lately…like me? Wink! Wink!

UPDATE:
I bought a few of those chicken pies for my friend, Mandy, in KL and she ate one of the curry ones for dinner…and she loved it so much that she could not resist having another one for supper! That, I must say, certainly speaks volumes and was indeed a compliment, coming from someone who insists she’s not really a “foodie” and would eat everything and anything and most of the time, nothing’s good or bad to her as long as it is edible.

Expect the unexpected…

Actually I’ve long given up on the char siew pao available at the bakeries in Sibu – most of them aren’t worth the calories at all, so to speak. My favourite would be the ones from Kai Joo Lane in Kuching and more recently, I got these really very nice mr.siew bao ones from my ex-student, Xavier, who brought them back all the way from KL…

mr.siewbao's char siew pao

The other day, however, I dropped by this bakery near the centre where I’m presently attached too. The chicken pies there are great but they’ve increased the price by 20 sen and now cost RM3.00 each. Normally, they would all be sold out by late evening or at best, there would only be one of two left but that day, I saw quite a lot on the counter, no less than 10. I’m sure it was not because of the increase in price…but more likely, times are bad and people are a bit more careful these days with their money.

Anyway, I decided to give the char siew paos a try…

Aroma Bakery char siew pao 1

…and I was pleasantly surprised. They were really good!

I wouldn’t say that they’re better than mr.siew bao‘s but they’re very good and for one thing, they’re definitely bigger by at least one-third and they’re very generous with the filling…

Aroma Bakery char siew pao 2

…and they’re only RM1.40 each. I don’t know how much each of mr.siew bao‘s costs but I think I can safely assume that they’re not so cheap, correct me if I’m wrong.

I’m not sure what meat they use but coming from a bakery, I would guess that it’s chicken. Well, never mind! Whatever it may be, you can expect that I will be dropping by there time and again for more. Anybody want some?