At the end of the holiday…

It was on Sunday, the last day of the week-long Chinese New Year holiday when we had to go out for lunch. My late cousin’s wife, whom we had met here and also here previously, invited us to dim sum here

Dim sum? I didn’t know they had dim sum there? I went and checked their Facebook page and it looked like they had just started in early January. Of course I was keen on going – hopefully, it was going to be good because the last time we went to the very good one here in Sibu, it turned out to be rather disappointing.

I met Iggy, my ex-student, now a practising lawyer, there – he was just leaving with his wife and daughter (and one more on the way) when I got there. Thank goodness!!! Otherwise before I knew it, he would have paid my bill for me like what he would do everytime we got to meet somewhere.

Also there that day was our very popular and most outstanding and pro-active politician, our YB Datuk Dr. who was having his lunch there with his parents and others in his family. My missus and his mother, both retired, were colleagues in the Sibu General Hospital many, many years ago (she’s 88 now) – she was the Nursing Sister and my missus was a nurse attached to the Nursery (the ICU for babies). My missus went over to their table to see her and yes, despite it being so long ago, she could still remember her.

I went over as well to thank our YB Datuk Dr. for all that he did to help when my girl was at that God-forsaken school in the jungle in Selangau, the one with no electricity nor water and everything was falling apart. All this while, we merely communicated via Facebook (and at times through his admin, probably his political secretary, on Facebook) – I never got to meet him personally face to face.

I wonder what the school is like now because it was shortlisted as one of those dilapidated schools in the state in dire need for repair, renovation and rebuilding. It sure was a relief when my girl got her transfer to a school in town and I had a feeling at the time that they couldn’t wait to get rid of her so the YB Datuk Dr. would not come breathing down their necks anymore. LOL!!!

Anyway, back to the dim sum, unfortunately, they had run out of their steamed char siu buns and their lotus lava buns. We only managed to try their mushroom buns…

…which were very good. The filling had a strong taste of shitake mushroom…

…and I loved the very nice pao skin. Hopefully, I will get to try the other two types of steamed buns the next time I drop by here for this.

The sui mai

…was very good! I certainly would want to order more than one storey (basket) next time so we would have more to enjoy.

My girl asked for the deep fried spring roll…

…and also the dumplings…

– things that she enjoys a lot!

My late cousin’s wife, our host, ordered the otak otak

…and she also insisted on ordering the satay

…and the fried kway teow (flat rice noodles)…

…from their regular menu.

The otak-otak was the Muar version – people in Singapore and the southern states of the peninsula would be familiar with this. I thought it was so-so – I prefer the one here, of course. The satay was nice and the fried kway teow was quite good except that despite there being so many cockles, they were hard and dry and were not all that nice.

I like how the drinks here are stevia-sweetened or as in the case of the iced soya bean milk (in the above photo) that I had, unsweetened.

While we were sitting there, chatting and eating away, one of the waiting staff came over to inform us that the YB Datuk Dr. had paid for our bill. Goodness gracious me! We felt so bad and of course, we went over to his table to thank him profusely for his generous gesture. If anyone should treat anybody, we should be the ones treating him for all that he had done for us. Thank you so much, YB – may God bless you and your family abundantly in the days ahead throughout the Rabbit Year.

And thank you, Ai Chang, for the invitation! It sure was a fitting end to a wonderful week. Even though we did not go anywhere and stayed at home most of time, all in all, I would say that we did have a great holiday.

PappaRich (2.291606, 111.821291)…

…is located at Lot 23-35, Jalan Lau King Howe in the block to the right of the Lau King Howe Hospital Museum, to the left of the Sushi King outlet there

One more for the road…

My niece, the one working in Singapore, was home for around one week for Chinese New Year but I hardly got to see her as she was working from home all day but the night before she left, she invited us all out for dinner here – her dad had never been here, she said so she would like him to go and give it a try.

I quickly browsed through my blogposts on what we had at that place to refresh my memory as to what we should or should not order. I remember we loved the babi tuno

…so we had that again. Yes, it was good – not as nice as the babi bakar here and a bit too fat that night but it was very good.

The lokan was good so we had it…

…again. My girl loved it – she liked that raw seafood taste…

…but I had one and that was it! LOL!!!

The umai (our Sarawak Melanau sashimi)…

…was my favourite. They used ikan perang here and many would tell you that that is the best fish for this dish. Yes, it is raw, raw fish skillfully filleted and deboned before they cut it into strips and slices and add lots of calamansi lime juice (the acidity would cook the fish), chili and sliced Bombay onions. I believe they add tuak (ethnic Iban rice wine) to the one here too…and it was so so so good, great with rice!

The midin (wild jungle fern)…

…was good too. According to the menu, there was langkau in the dish – that’s another ethnic rice wine and it’s supposed to be stronger, a lot more potent than tuak but somehow or other, I could not detect all that alcohol in the dishes here. If I am not wrong, it evaporates in the process of cooking so if you want to get the kick, you should add some more upon serving, prior to eating…like our mee sua in traditional red wine & ginger chicken soup or the super-intoxicating kacang ma chicken here.

The brinjal…

…was served whole in the photo and looked a lot better. It was, to me, all right but my girl loved it – she loves brinjal! I do think the one we had here was very much nicer.

My missus suggested ordering their kasam ensabi buah kepayang but of course, I stopped her right away. We had that once and it was extremely sour, almost inedible! I thought their daun ubi gosok, the mashed tapioca leaves, was too green – not cooked enough so we did not order that either…and yes, we stayed away from their extra-sour tempoyak (fermented durian) as well.

This…

…is a typical ethnic/Dayak dish – pork belly with pig’s intestines, tongue and all the rest, fried with dried chili and soy sauce and yes, they do it really well here. I certainly would order it again the next time we come here.

These barbecued chicken wings…

…are a must at any Dayak barbecue alongside the pork (babi tuno) and everything else. My sister-in-law was talking about barbecued chicken wings marinated with gula apong – I wonder where she got to eat those. I loved those at a stall at Simpang Tiga here but they are no longer doing it there. Perhaps they are selling them at the pasar malam (night market) or some place else.

All in all, the bill for the 6 of us that night came up to RM139.00, pretty reasonable for the delightful dinner, very much to everyone’s satisfaction, thank you so much, Mary, for the treat! I certainly wouldn’t mind coming here again – I had stopped after the disappointment that last time.

MAK BORNEO (2.301301, 111.843548)…

…is located at No, 21, Ground Floor in the block of shops behind Nam Heong Ipoh/Kim Hock Premier Food Court, Lorong 4D, off Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai (formerly Jalan Pedada).

Let’s have another round…

I did mention in an earlier post that they would have this nasi pengilan every week on Friday and yes, we did hop over once again the other day last week for another round (RM15.00, with a complimentary drink)…

Once again, it was very good, very much to our liking and satisfaction and yes, as they had promised, they made sure that they had different items in the platter this time around.

The ayam masak merah

…was very good but personally, I am not so into masak merah anything. Gimme our Sarawak’s own daging masak hitam

…anytime and yes, I must say theirs was very good, better than many of the rest. However, even though this was very nice too, personally, I would prefer the curry and the kurma that they had in the set last week.

I loved the pajeri nenas

…though and yes, theirs, if compared with all the rest all over town, would win hands down just that I was wishing the whole time that they had been a bit more generous with it, the same thing with the salted fish pickle…

…that we enjoyed so much the last time. It looked like they had given even less this round!

The rice…

…was even nicer this time, more flavourful, a lot more fragrant and tastier.

My missus had what I had but my girl wanted something different for a change. She tried their nasi goreng pattaya (RM11.00)…

…but she found the rice a little on the hard side…

…so she did not finish it. As for her drink, she had their teh tarek ais (RM4.00).

And now the question is: Will we be going back for more next week? I’m afraid the answer is no because we would want to go back to our usual no-meat Friday, now that Chinese New Year and everything is over and the season of Lent will begin soon on Ash Wednesday, February 22nd, a day of fasting and abstinence.

I was delighted that day to see my favourite busker (the girl in a wheelchair) there entertaining the lunchtime crowd. She probably read my blogpost the last time because when she saw me, she started playing Teresa Teng’s “Yeh liang tai piao woe ti sing” right away and of course, I went and gave her an ang pao…and she said Kong Hee Fatt Choi. She sang a lot of English songs while we were there, enjoying our lunch and the music – my favourite, of course, was this favourite song of mine by Adele/Bruno Mars. Well, in the words of William Shakespeare, “If music be the food of love, play on!

MAT LAKSA (2.308351, 111.820696)…

…is located at No. 67 & 69, Jalan Kuda 2, Kampung Nangka, right across from Cabe Ijo in the next block, both facing the main entrance of Bisonte Grocer & Deli.

The fifth day…

Thursday was Day 5 of the Chinese New Year and school would reopen soon. We had been staying home almost all of the time so I suggested going out for lunch that day before my girl gets bogged down with all that schoolwork and everything all over again.

There is a sparkling new Japanese restaurant in town and we decided to go and check it out. Generally, it was quiet all over town, no jam, no crowd – I guess most everybody who was back for the festival had gone back home – until we reached the vicinity (Hanns Residence). There was a very long queue of cars going into the place but we were in no hurry so we just followed everybody else in the line patiently. We were in luck because a young girl was leaving and her car was close by and I was able to turn in the instant she vacated the space.

Unfortunately, when we got to the Japanese restaurant, we saw that it was packed and there was a whole lot of customers lining up at the door. We did join in for a while but it was not moving at all so I told the ladies that we might as well go to this place opposite…

…and have our lunch there.

My girl had their fish & chips (RM32.00)…

…and yes, it was very good. They use sea bass here and it came across to us like those very nice fish fillet that we bought not too long ago, the barramundi (ikan siakap) aka Asian sea bass. Unlike the battered ones at that place where we loved their version of this dish, here, they used bread crumbs and looking at the colour and the texture, it seemed like they made their own, not what came out of a box.

The mum had the sea bass fillet (RM32.00)…

…which did not look as good but yes, it was great! She said it was probably just grilled in butter in a pan but the fish was good – very fresh and sweet and there was no fishy smell.

Mine was disappointing – their classic pork chop (RM25.00)…

It was a bit hard and dry, probably because of the very lean cut that they used and though dipping it in their own-made black pepper sauce did help a bit, I don’t think it was anything I would want to order again the next time we drop by here.

My girl wanted to try the pork nuggets (RM23.00)…

…that she saw in one of the banners hanging outside – she has this soft spot for the chicken nuggets at McD or KFC. Unfortunately, they did not look that enticing, those huge chunks of what came across to us like their own-made luncheon meat. It was nice but no, it did not sweep us off our feet.

Our favourite here is still their babi bakar (RM25.00/200 gm)…

…which I also ordered to share and yes, we all loved it! No, we did not manage to finish the last two so I asked the girl to tapao (pack) them up for us to take home. It sure was a delightful lunch – the total, inclusive of drinks, came up to RM146.00. Service was great, very prompt and cordial and the sweet young things were conversant in English, no problem at all in communicating with them.

As we were walking back to the car, I noticed that the queue outside the Japanese restaurant was even longer than when we got there earlier. Looking through the window, I saw one empty table and one table where the customers had left but they had not cleared everything on it nor cleaned it yet – I guess the new brooms simply could not cope with the crowd and were not sweeping well. I sure would not bother to come back here, not so soon, that’s for sure!

OINKS Sibu (2.286075, 111.847044)… 

is located at Sublot 7-01, Ground Floor, Hann’s Commercial Centre, Jalan Wong King Huo.

I remember it well…

When I was little, everytime there was a wedding in the Malay or Melanau kampung (village), my mother would bring me along to what she called the “pengilan” (wedding reception). Of course, I was so very delighted – who wouldn’t be when there was all the nice food to enjoy! I would just go and eat and more often than not, I would not even get to see the bride and the groom…nor the hosts, the parents, that is, not that I was thus inclined. LOL!!!

I always admired the communal spirit of the Malays or the Melanaus. The whole village would show up and set up the kitchen in the house compound to cook the food in HUGE cauldrons…using (boat/rowing) oars as the ladles. They would shop for everything for the feast and one would not even need to use one’s own crockery and cutlery – they would bring everything and all throughout the pengilan, they would do the serving, the clearing up and the cleaning…or in other words, everything!

Upon reaching the house, all the guests would have to sit on the floor in groups of 4 and the food would be served. I cannot remember exactly now but of course, there was curry – four big chunks of beef, one each but the whole time, I would be wishing nobody would join our group so I could eat more than one chunk. Hehehehehe!!! Everyone had to eat with their hands but more often than not, I would just take one of the (serving) spoons from the dishes served and use that. I did not know how to go about it – eating with my hand and I would get the rice all over my face whenever I tried!

It was the general practice then to give money as gifts, around RM3.00 only. I thought that was so cheap compared to what they would give at a Chinese wedding, RM10.00! Of course, people give a lot more now! Once done, we would have to leave and vacate the space so other guests would be able to sit there and eat when the food was served. This would go on and on and on the whole day.

Gosh!!! That was so long ago though I remember it all so well. That was why I was delighted when the people here were having a promotion here last Friday – their nasi pangilan (RM15.00)…

…and I wasted no time at all in making a beeline there for it right away to give it a try.

It wasn’t quite the same though. They used to serve the dishes in separate small plates for four persons to share – here, we got everything in one plate, to each his/her own! There was ayam kurma (chicken korma)…

…and beef curry, both of which were so very nice and even though I am supposed to stay away from red meat, I simply did not have the heart to leave the meat by the side of my plate. I was glad they had potatoes…

…too – I always love potatoes in my curry.

The nasi minyak (oil rice)…

…was so good, bursting with the flavours and fragrances of all the spices that went into the cooking.

I do not recall any soup served at the pengilan I went to and I never had this pineapple soup…

…before. They call it kecini nanas and according to a Malay friend of mine, she had not had it for a long time and she loved it so much!

All in all, what stole the show was this salted fish pickle…

It was very nice and there I was, wishing that they had given a bit more. LOL!!!

All of us loved everything in the platter that came with a complimentary glass of grenadine syrup…

The very friendly lady proprietress, for reasons unknown, came over to our table the instant everything was served and took this photograph of us…

…that appeared eventually on their Facebook page.

The promotion was a success – everything was sold out so fast that they had to apologise on their Facebook page. They did mention that they would have it again the following Friday and there would be different dishes in the platter the next time around. Who knows, I may just show up there for another round of this!

MAT LAKSA (2.308351, 111.820696)…

…is located at No. 67 & 69, Jalan Kuda 2, Kampung Nangka, right across from Cabe Ijo in the next block, both facing the main entrance of Bisonte Grocer & Deli.

Came all the way…

I was at their wedding, my nephew, Nick and Jean’s, in Kuching in June, 2016 and in April, 2018, they did come all the way to Sibu. The pandemic in 2019 put an end to any kind of travelling, near or far, across land and sea and all this while, they were stuck there in Shanghai, China.

Finally, at long last, they opened their borders and Nick and Jean and this time around, with their little cute and endearing boy, Nathaniel, were finally able to spread their wings and fly! They stopped in Hong Kong before proceeding to Singapore and from Singapore, they took the now-available direct flight here to Sibu! Nick’s mum now residing in Kuching flew over to join them here before going back together to Kuching, all of them, for Chinese New Year.

Of course I was delighted when Nick sent word inviting me and my family and my sis to dinner while they were in Sibu so I went and booked a table for all of us that evening. I made sure the menu that night would include some of our local delights, such as our Foochow fried noodles…

…for instance and our wild jungle fern, the midin

Nick was delighted that what we were served that night was fresh, plump and crunchy! It looked like they had something quite disappointing elsewhere.

I did not forget the cangkok manis fried with egg…

…either and the Foochow tauhu tear, the tofu with canned oysters soup…

I could not resist ordering the dishes that I fell in love with when we were here on our previous visit a few days earlier – the kangkong (water spinach) fried with pork fat crusts…

…and the sweet and sour spare ribs…

Yes, Nick said that they do have kangkong in China, thick, huge leaves with big hard stalks, definitely not as palatable and enjoyable as what we had that night.

I did not miss out my girl’s favourite, the lemon chicken…

…which we all feel is the best in Sibu and I also ordered the or chio (black pomfret/ikan bawal hitam) with taucheo (fermented beans) sauce…

A friend, a retired teacher like me, had it here and she said it was something not to be missed and it certainly was good, very very good! She was the one who got me to try the pek chang kay (steamed/poached chicken) here, saying that it was addictive…and true to her word, we had been coming back here for more again and again since. I did not include that in the menu that night though as we already had chicken in the list.

Nick’s mum’s eldest sister, residing in Sibu, joined us for the dinner that night and the wife of another cousin of mine, since deceased, as well. We had a group photo taken towards the end of the dinner…

The empty plates on the table would bear testimony to how good the food was that night.

Nick insisted on picking up the tab but I did ask the lady boss and she told me that the total, inclusive of rice and drinks, came up to RM297.00. That was very reasonable, don’t you think?

Thank you so much, Nick & Jean for the treat. It sure was good seeing you all again and I enjoyed the company so much, all the chit-chatting and catching up with one another’s lives, that I hardly felt the time fly by! I don’t know when we will meet again – in the meantime, may the good Lord bless and keep all of you wherever you may go throughout the coming Rabbit Year. 恭喜发财 新年快乐!!!

Y2K CAFE 千禧餐馆  (2.294220, 111.825753)…

…is located at No. 16, Jalan Tunku Osman, round the corner from that block of shops where the branches of AmBank & RHB Bank are located, with its back entrance facing the side (right, not the main one) entrance/exit of Methodist Secondary School.

Nothing can stop us…

My girl did not get the day off last Saturday because they had to go back to school to conduct replacement lessons. They will have to do that again another time in February so they could have two extra days off during the Chinese New Year holidays to enable them to enjoy a week-long stretch instead of going back before the following weekend. Well, we always go out for lunch every Saturday and we were not going to let this stop us from doing just that.

My missus and I picked her up after school at around 1.00 p.m. and we had our lunch here…

Yes, the Chinese New Year decorations…

…were up but unlike in previous years, things were somewhat toned down.

We did not bother to go elsewhere as many of the stalls in the coffee shops in Sibu would call it a day by noon and many cafés and restaurants close at 2.00 p.m. and will open again at 6.00 p.m. in the evening. Here, they open at around 10.00 a.m. and stay open till 9.00 p.m. or later, if there are customers around.

Of course, my missus wanted their kacangma chicken with rice (RM16.00)…

…and my girl wanted the ikan keli, their Payung fish (RM15.00)…

I asked for a serving of rice and helped myself to a bit of the two dishes that the ladies had ordered.

We also had the pomelo salad (RM9.00)…

…that day.

My girl wanted their coconut milk shake (RM9.00) but I did not take a photograph of it. I noticed that there was a sprinkling of crushed peanut in the drink and they loved it…a lot! I did not see anything like that before so I asked Andy about it and according to him, in India, where he came from, they would sprinkle crushed peanut, cashew nut or almond in their milkshakes.

It seemed that he blended too much so my girl got one tall glass of the milk shake and my missus got it in a regular glass, on the house. Of course, I did not touch a drop, not when I was on a no/less sugar diet. I had this…

…on another day though when I dropped by and Andy treated me to this special pomelo juice with mint and black salt added. It was very nice but I did feel it would be a lot more refreshing with crushed ice added to it. Andy said he did not add any as it seemed (from my croaking voice) that I had a sore throat so he decided against it.

Our bill for our lunch came up to only RM49.00 – I noticed that I was not charged for the rice I asked for and of course, they never insisted that I paid for the drinking water I would always order when I come here.

Later that same day, we went for the evening service at our regular church as usual and when it was through, at past 8.00 p.m., we went here for a very late dinner.

A friend of mine, a regular here, kept telling me about her favourite dish – the sweet and sour spare ribs…

…but on our previous visits, I kept forgetting to order that to try. Yes, it was VERY nice so now we have a new addition to our list of must-order dishes whenever we drop by here.

I asked for their fried kangkong (water spinach)…

…for a change from our usual midin (wild jungle fern) and cangkok manis fried with egg.

I remember those days in the early 70’s when we used to go dancing at the SRC (Sibu Recreation Club). When it all ended at 1.00 a.m., we would adjourn to the hawker centre on top of the Sibu market (opposite Palace Theatre at the time) for Teochew porridge. We would always order their fried kangkong and it tasted exactly the same as what we had here that night. What lovely memories of those good ol’ days!

They fried the kangkong with pork fat crusts and those sure brought the taste to a whole new level. It was so good! That’s another one going into our must-order list, that’s for sure!

For our soup that night, we had the sea cucumber…

…and even though I could hardly spot much of the coveted stuff in it, mostly egg, it tasted so good! I loved the fragrance of the black vinegar that they added to it – that sure made me enjoy it even more!

Coincidentally, the total for the food that night was the same as what I had paid for our lunch that afternoon – RM49.00 altogether. It sure looked like I was right when I said we could just order a meat dish, a vegetable and a soup here and the total would be very reasonable, not expensive and definitely worth it, value for money, especially when everything would be to our liking.

FOOTNOTE:
If anyone is home for the Chinese New Year holidays and would like to drop by Payung or is looking for a place to hang out with friends, it is open every day as usual from around 10.00 a.m. until 9.00 p.m. or later depending on whether there will be customers loitering around and chit-chatting away.
Normal prices will apply (unlike at some coffee shops that may be open around this time.)

PAYUNG CAFÉ (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River and Y2K CAFE 千禧餐馆  (2.294220, 111.825753) is located at No. 16, Jalan Tunku Osman, round the corner from that block of shops where the branches of AmBank & RHB Bank are located, with its back entrance facing the side (right, not the main one) entrance/exit of Methodist Secondary School.

Big shot…

The first time I dropped by this café was towards the end of 2011. I guess I was not too impressed at the time and I never went back again. In June the following year, 2012, my friend, Annie in KL, came home to Sibu and her mum took her there. She was wondering why I had not featured it in my blog – I guess she missed that earlier post of mine. She liked it a lot, it seemed and because of that, I decided to go there again and there has been no looking back since.

To this very day, this is one of the few places that we would go to again and again and again. My girl loves the biryani rice from the authentic North Indian chef, Ravi so everytime she feels like having that, no prize for guessing where we would head to. In her opinion, the biryani rice at the local Indian as well as the Malay shops and stalls is more or less like their yellow rice or nasi kuning or nasi minyak or whatever they call it, not quite like the real thing.

The dishes from their Indonesian menu are very good too. My missus, who is not so into Indian cuisine, has her favourites and will order those same few dishes over and over again everytime we drop by.

This was on Sunday that day when my girl said she would like some biryani rice so there we were, like so many times before. Business has been pretty good lately unlike before when many did not even know there was a restaurant behind the Bank Simpanan Nasional branch here in Sibu…and sitting at one of the tables with his family enjoying the food was this big shot, the so-called “Mayor” of Sibu, the Chairman of the Sibu Municipal Council!

He said he went there after seeing all my posts on the place, probably on Facebook – I don’t think he follows my blog but I did hear somebody mention something about his son wanting to go there. If I am not wrong, the boy has migrated overseas or is pursuing his studies abroad and is currently home for Chinese New Year. Of course, I asked them whether my reviews were reliable or not and they said yes – they thought the food was really good. I guess that means that they will be coming back again for more.

I ordered the lumpia (RM14.00)…

…the Indonesian popiah (spring rolls) from the Indonesian menu that day to share and yes, they were very good.

Unlike the popiah which is more vegetable, mostly sengkuang/mangkuang (turnip), this is mostly meat…

In fact, I thought it was more like our ngor hiang (meat rolls) except that instead of the bean curd skin that we use to wrap those, they used the popiah skin for these. I thought they were much nicer than the Vietnamese deep fried spring roll that we had here but those were cheap and at a coffee shop, with not much filling inside.

At the same time, I asked for their Indoneisan mee tek-tek (RM16.00)…

…which was somewhat disappointing. It was nice, just that it wasn’t anything exceptional, a little bit on the sweet side and I was wishing the whole time that they had given me a calamansi lime to squeeze the juice all over the fettuccine like what I did here and it sure helped enhance the taste of the noodles I was having that day.

I was somewhat put off by the added ingredients too which turned out to be nothing more than slices of fish cake and a couple of imitation crab sticks…

…made to look like the claws. It tasted exactly like those long cylindrical ones that never tickled my fancy! Other than those, there was a plain omelette, rolled up and placed by the side…

This was a far cry from their mee nyemek

*Archive photo*

…with all those prawns, sotong (squid) and what not. That was really good and of course, you simply can’t go wrong with all that seafood in your dish, can you?

Incidentally, that last photograph was taken outside in natural daylight. They took in all the tables and chairs on the shaded pavement outside during the pandemic but they have not bothered about them since. Hence, the photographs that I have been taking lately are not nice at all, yellowish and not very clear because of the dim lights inside. As a matter of fact, I did not bother to take any photographs of what the ladies ate that day. They were having those same dishes that I had featured many times before…and they would not look great in the snapshots taken inside, anyway.

My girl had the Indian mutton masala biryani (RM27.00)…

*Archive photo*

…while the mum had their Indonesian ayam bakar berempah (RM16.00)…

*Archive photo*

With the escalating prices of everything, lamb and beef (and pork) are all much more expensive these days so it came as no surprise at all to see that they have increased the price of what my girl had.

This…

…was new! They had those by the side in my missus’ ayam bakar berempah. Frankly, they might as well don’t bother as it was purely for decoration. Those rice crackers were bland, quite tasteless…and came across like styrofoam/polystyrene.

Incidentally, if anyone is home for the Chinese New Year holidays and is thinking of dropping by here, this place is open every day as usual, around 11.30 a.m.-2.00 pm and from 6.00 p.m. onwards but it will be closed on Monday (23rd), their weekly off day.

The CAFE IND (2.290813, 111.829294)…

…is located along Laichee Lane, right behind one block of shops facing the main road (Jalan Kampung Nyabor) where the Bank Simpanan Nasional, Sibu branch.

Today is your day…

Last Friday, the 13th of January, was my sister’s birthday so of course, we went out for dinner together that evening.

She invited two of her friends as well and yes, we had the traditional Foochow longevity noodles, the mee sua, fried…

…with the “golden” eggs by the side.

The Thai-style midin (wild jungle fern) with mango and jellyfish…

…was a hit – everybody enjoyed it a lot and the Four Heavenly Kings (四大天王), fried with canned pork…

…as well. It sure was a nice change from the usual fried with sambal recipe.

My girl said that this tofu dish…

…was as nice as what we had at another place recently and yes, this one had a lot more toppings or added ingredients.

The sweet and sour fish…

…was great too – I liked how the sauce was on the light side and did not taste like tomato ketchup straight from the bottle. This was the threadfin or ngor hu in Hokkien that I do enjoy a lot – no fishy smell, no small bones and an absolute delight to eat.

We also had the Guiness stout pork…

…which was one dish that I had had a few times before but if I am not wrong, the last time was a few years ago in 2017. We also had it when my dear friends from New Zealand came to town in 2011 and in the midst of our conversation that night, somebody mentioned that previously, the owner of this restaurant was the chef at that one that unfortunately, did not survive the pandemic.

This was our 2nd time at this restaurant…

the 1st time was also on my sister’s birthday in 2020. We certainly enjoyed the food and one thing’s for sure, we would definitely be coming back here again. We also enjoyed the company that night, catching up with lost times…and yes, a very Happy Birthday once again to you again, Bea. May God bless you abundantly in the year ahead. Cheers!!!

MJ HU SEAFOOD RESTAURANT(2.291971, 111.834740) is located along Lorong Mahsuri 2, the second shop on the left after Kuching Cafe, opposite Bateras Supermarket.

Whole lot of people…

The first time we were here, I did not take a snapshot of the restaurant’s sign…

…as it was pouring cats and dogs that evening. We decided to stop by a second time the other night and yes, the weather was good so I did not have a problem taking a photograph of it to share here.

When we were here on New Year’s night, I did clarify with the lady at the cashier’s counter as to whether this place is their branch or not as that was what I heard. Well, she said the owner is her nephew, Hong Kong trained and worked in the UK for a long time before coming home and opening this restaurant here. She confirmed that it is not a branch nor will one be able to get all the nice dishes there – they have their own exclusive menu.

My good friend, Robert, did tell me to try some of the dishes here but I could not remember what they were. I think there was a tofu dish so we ordered their signature own-made egg tofu…

…which turned out to be really very nice, so very soft, smooth and light. My girl loved it a lot.

I enjoyed the Mongolian chicken here but that restaurant had since closed down. That was why we wanted to order their Mongolian spare ribs…

…to see if it was any good and indeed it was! We sure did not have a problem licking this plate clean as well.

I thought the bitter gourd fried with three types of eggs…

…did not look very nice but it tasted o.k. We did not manage to finish all of it though as the servings were rather big and we were feeling very full by the time we finished eating the two dishes I mentioned earlier.

We had had nicer midin (wild jungle fern) ching chao (fried plain)…

…elsewhere. This one was kind of skinny and did not look very fresh so it was not actually crunchy and nice.

Last but not least, we had the fish maw soup…

…and yes, it was clear, not the cornstarch-thickened sharks’ fins soup look-alike. We definitely liked it this way and managed to finish it till the last drop!

Gosh! There were a whole lot of people that night – probably there were around two tables left, if I am not wrong but despite there being such a big crowd, it was not unbearably noisy unlike some restaurants around here. The first time we came, there were only two other tables besides ours but perhaps, that was because of the heavy rain outside or it had just opened and a lot of people did not know about it then.

The total for the food, rice and drinks came up to RM101.90 altogether. No, I don’t think it is very cheap eating here but the food is nice, parking and getting a table without any prior booking are not a problem and the service is cordial, fast and efficient. Despite there being so many people that night, we did not have to wait very long for all the dishes to be served.

JING DU RESTAURANT (2.293190, 111.835860) is located on the ground floor at No. 17, Lot3545, Lorong Chew Siik Hiong 1A.