Hammer…

With a hammer at hand, I would have no problem at all eating crabs as I could hammer away to crack the hard shell and that is exactly what you will get…

Hai Bing Seafood Restaurant crabs and hammer

…when you drop by here…

Hai Bing Seafood

…for the crustaceans.

We happened to be in the vicinity that day and I asked my girl if she would like to have crabs for lunch. She was reluctant initially as she knew this place was never known to be cheap – they have the reputation of having the best crabs in town but at a price.

The last time we had it was when my brother in New Zealand was home in 2012 and I did have it again once with some relatives of mine in 2014! I told her not to worry as we seldom had crabs so we just threw caution to the wind and sat  down at a table…

Hai Bing Seafood table cloth

…and placed our orders and waited.

This plate of sweet potato leaves, ching chao (fried plain)…

Hai Bing Seafood sweet potato leaves

…came first and yes, it was very good, perfectly done with its nice wok hei fragrance.

We also ordered their deep-fried ikan bawal hitam/or chio (black pomfret)…

Hai Bing Seafood or chio

…and got a huge one but it did not matter one bit as it was very fresh and so very nice – we certainly enjoyed that very much! We asked for it plain so as to be sure it was gluten-free.

I asked for the crabs and I did not know what the guy meant when he said that because I was my father’s son and because I wanted it, they would have to cook it for us. Maybe they do not usually have it for lunch, just for dinner but since he said we could have it, so we did…

Hai Bing Seafood - a feast of crabs

Oh my!!! There were TWO crabs, two BIG ones – I had expected just one to be shared among the three of us and I could not help thinking that this would cost quite a bit, over RM100, at least but never mind, we just ate and we really enjoyed ourselves to the fullest.

When we were done, absolutely satisfied and happy after that very delightful feast, I went to pay the bill…and I was so shocked when the old boss told me the total – only RM68.20 for all the dishes and three bowls of rice and our drinks. I paid him RM70.00 and he gave me RM3.00 back – never mind, he said. Goodness gracious me!!! That was so very cheap – almost as much as what I would have to pay at a lot of places elsewhere for nothing really special – no fish, no prawns, no crabs.

Looks like we will be back here again a lot more sooner now, not after around half a decade or so.

HAI BING SEAFOOD RESTAURANT is located right beside Eden Inn (2.285223, 111.831256), to the left, along Jalan Maju, right across the road from the Rejang Esplanade.

Perfect picture…

I mentioned this outlet of our very own Sarawak’s fast food franchise…

Sugar Bun Drive-thru 1

…in my blogpost a  long time ago, way back in early 2015 and yes, it is very much alive and kicking to this very day.

I had never dropped by there…

Sugar Bun Drive-thru 2

…before though – as a matter of fact, I hardly ever drop by those franchise places, never mind which one. The last time was at this one in May last year and from my personal point of view, that one looked like a much nicer place inside…

Sugar Bun Drive-thru 3

…than this one.

There is the regular Sugar Bun counter…

Sugar Bun counter

…and my missus went for their roasted chicken set…

Sugar Bun roasted chicken

…that came with a free drink. She was not all that impressed and I think she said that it all came to over RM12.00. I am sure she would derive a lot more satisfaction from her favourite – the grilled chicken chop here and that one is only RM9.50 a plate with all the sides.

Just like at that other place, there is also a pizza counter…

Pezzo Pizza counter

…here but we did not go for that – the crust is not gluten-free.

What took us there that day was this photograph…

Featured in Borneo Talk

…in a complimentary travel magazine distributed at airports and local bookstores here. My girl saw it and pointed it out to me and I could guess that she was keen on giving it a try.

We placed our orders at the counter…

Sabah Kertang counter

…and I was surprised that she wanted the tom yam bihun (RM12.60)…

Sabah Kertang tom yam bihun

…as she used to enjoy the milky one when she was in Sg. Petani and also the one here and the one here wasn’t too bad as well.

I ordered the one in a claypot with the milky soup with hung ngang, the big bihun (RM8.50)…

Sabah Kertang claypot fish hung ngang 1

…and because she said that hers was way too spicy for her to handle, we swapped so I had hers and she had mine. Both our orders sure did not look anywhere near as perfect as the one in the picture that we saw in the magazine.

I did try the milky one initially and I felt it was way too milky…

Sabah Kertang claypot fish hung ngang 2

…like drinking milk and in dire need of some more ingredients to make it a lot more tastier.

The fish was pre-fried…

Sabah Kertang fish, pre-fried

…and my girl liked it that way but yes, the fish on the whole was very nice – this giant garoupa or kerapu in Malay or as it is known by its local name, ikan kertang, anytime better than dory, so I gave most of what there was in my bowl of tom yam bihun to her to enjoy.

I would say it wasn’t too bad, definitely not anything to get us running back for more, just not too bad, that’s all I would say. Period.

SUGAR BUN DRIVE-THRU (2.301506, 111.850243) is located beside the traffic lights junction of Jalan Ulu Oya and Jalan Pahlawan, past SM St Elizabeth on your left if you are coming from the town centre.

Seldom…

I seldom get to see my good friends, Lim and his missus, and family these days. I remember vaguely that they did drop by to pay their last respects when my mum passed away earlier this year and before that, we did get together on my birthday…in 2016…and yes, they would drop by for Chinese New Year every year but we were not celebrating this year nor next year, for that matter.

Well, both of them are working and with three kids in tow now, school, tuition and what not, they hardly have much time left but the other day, they did manage to drop by my place…and that was after dropping the children off at the tuition centres and in the meantime, they had a little time to spare.

They brought us some fruits and these Sibu Foochow-style sio bee (meat dumplings)…

Yong Chuan sio bee

…thank you so much to them, and I could tell from the way they were packed that they were from here.

My missus did buy a few then and they were very good – if I remember correctly, they were RM1.10 each but I don’t know how much they are going for now. We went back there another time but the sio bee was all sold out…and once, we went on a Tuesday but their noodle business was put on hold and they were so very busy making the sio bee. They told us to come back at 3 that afternoon but we never did. From what I gathered, they would make the dumplings every Tuesday and those would be available as long as the stocks lasted.

I do know of many who would sing praises of the ones here

Hock Chu Leu sio bee

…but personally, I feel theirs are overrated and there is a dire need for some quality control. My sister-in-law bought those in the above photograph one Chinese New Year and they were so very salty and not nice at all…and I did not always enjoy them when I had the chance to eat them at their restaurant, just sometimes.

Personally, I prefer the ones here

New Capital sio bee

…but there too, once or twice, I felt they were not all that great but generally, we did enjoy theirs and of course, both of them are a lot more expensive – RM1.60 each or is it RM1.80, I’m not so sure…that is if they have not jacked up the price again lately.

Well, the next morning, I took some from the ones my friends gave us…

Yong Chuan sio bee, ready for steaming

…and steamed them, taking care not to over-steam – this is very important if you are not keen on wet, soggy and not very palatable sio bee skin and once they were done, I had a few…

Yong Chuan sio bee, served 1

…with the super hot chili sauce from Payung.

Yes, they were very nice, very meaty…

Yong Chuan sio bee, cross-section

…and not overly so. Unlike the regular dim sum siew mai, they would have what-we-call mangkuang here, sengkuang (turnip) elsewhere and Bombay onions too in the filling so if you go for the cheaper ones, they would have more of these or worse, they would use very/mostly fat minced meat so theirs would not be nice at all.

I sure would not mind going back for more…

Yong Chuan sio bee, served 2

…sometimes but I guess that will not be all that often as the skin is made from wheat flour so it is not gluten-free.

YONG CHUAN FISH NOODLES HOUSE (2.308016, 111.848896) is located among the shops on the right (next to WikiTea) along Lorong Sena 8, off Jalan Sena, directly opposite SMK Deshon.

Try something new…

My girl wanted the biryani rice here with their butter curry chicken (RM18.00)…

The Cafe IND butter curry chicken with biryani rice 1

This will usually take a while as the Indian chef will have to cook the tandoori chicken first and then use it to cook the butter curry…

The Cafe IND butter curry chicken with biryani rice 2

…but it is well worth the wait. We feel it is really very nice with the added taste of all that they use to cook the chicken in the tandoori plus the barbecued fragrance of the meat roasted in the traditional stone oven.

Much to our delight, it did not take very long that day nor did my missus’ order – their ikan kembong sumbat (stuffed fish, bones removed)…

The Cafe IND ikan kembong sumbat

This dish may take sometime too for them to go through the process of removing the bones of the fish and preparing the stuffing.

I loved the satay peanut gravy-like sauce on the skinless brinjal…

The Cafe IND ikan kembong sumbat, sides

…and they did seem a little more generous than usual that day. I would ask them for more of it if I were to order the dish, that’s for sure, as it can go well with the rice too in this otherwise kind-of-dry dish.

In the meantime, we were served this cheese egg roll…

The Cafe IND cheese egg roll

…to try. According to the boss, they are currently trying out new things in their Indian kitchen and owing to the success of their cheese naan, they have come out with this which was some Indian bread wrap with egg and creamy melted cheese inside…

The Cafe IND cheese egg roll, cross-section

…and I enjoyed it a lot. I tried their cheese naan before but I thought I would prefer naan with dhal dip or curry gravy but this one was different – it was good on its own. It’s not officially on the menu yet though but when it is, I sure would want to order that sometimes – it’s not gluten-free though as there is wheat in it.

Of course I did have something myself that day and browsing through their menus, I decided to have a go at their tom yam soup (RM13.50)…

The Cafe IND tom yam soup 1

…and I had rice with it.

It was very nice, super spicy upon special request, but it was mostly soup and there was one huge bowl of it. Inside, there were a couple of very fresh and nice prawns…

The Cafe IND tom yam soup 2

…and a little bit of this and that – sotong (squid) and fish, cauliflower, celery, golden needles, black fungus and whatever else but nothing really substantial. Of course, I could not finish all that soup so I had it packed to take home to add our own ingredients and enjoy.

Of course, we’ll be back again…and again – this is one place in town where we do enjoy what they have on their Indian and Indonesian menus…a lot!

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 (2.290561, 111.829071), is located.

Nothin’ new…

No, there’s nothing new in this post and as a matter of fact, we were here in early June when my Kuching cousins and friend and her family came to town. Our friend’s mum (and children), like many others before them, loved the food so much that they kept wanting to come back for another round before leaving town but there were other plans and they never did come back again. I guess that will have till their next trip to Sibu whenever that may be.

Well, that day, my girl asked to go there for the bitter gourd that is now the favourite of many and we decided to have it fried with the three types of eggs…

Ruby Restaurant tri-egg bitter gourd

– fresh egg, salted egg and century egg. Normally, we would have it with salted egg but I guess it is high time we have it a little different for a change…and yes, it was very good too!

This is currently one of our favourite dishes here – their salted egg spare ribs…

Ruby Restaurant salted egg spare ribs

…and I so loved the curry leaves that seemed kind of crispy – I wonder if they deep-fried them or something.

My girl said she would love the Thai-style mango chicken…

Ruby Restaurant Thai-style mango chicken

…and it was really very nice that day. For one thing, the mango was very sweet – I probably would not enjoy it as much if it had been sour. Fat people don’t like sour things. Hehehehehe!!!

All in all, the bill came up to RM38.00 for the food – I did not ask for servings for 2 as I was quite hungry when we got there that day. Anyway, the nice boss gave us a discount of RM2.00, so it was RM36.00 altogether.

Business was pretty good and there were quite a lot of people that afternoon which is good – these days, I get quite worried at places where there are very few customers as the way things are going, I would not know how long they would be able to stay in business.Needless to say, as far as this place is concerned, we will most certainly be coming back again…and again…and again!

RUBY RESTAURANT  is located at No. 71, Jalan Kampung Nyabor right next to HOME COOK CORNER  (2.292756, 111.825335) with the AmBank Tunku Osman branch in the very next block.

O Captain! My Captain…

We dropped by here…

Cafe Cafe@Swan Square

…for lunch that day because I saw on their Facebook page that they were having some salted egg promotions and I thought I could give it a try. Besides, we wanted to browse around the supermarket there as well.

Unfortunately, when I asked the girl, she knew nothing about it so I commented on their Facebook post to ask – it turned out that they did not have it…or not yet, according to them and they would be having it the coming weekend. Tsk! Tsk!

Left with no other choice, we ordered from their regular menu and as always, my girl opted for their grilled Norwegian salmon (RM38.90)…

Cafe Cafe@Swan Square grilled Norwegian salmon

…her favourite here and for sure, it would be something she could eat and enjoy, being gluten-free but I noticed that the price had increased quite a bit, from RM30.90 around this same time last year but of course, it did not matter – as long as my girl enjoyed it and besides, we do not go for it all that often, just once in a long while. As always, it was nicely done and to my girl’s liking and they certainly were very generous with the potato salad.

The mum had the grilled chicken (RM19.90)…

Cafe Cafe@Swan Square grilled chicken 1

…with two slabs of the meat…

Cafe Cafe@Swan Square grilled chicken 2

…and she could only manage one so we had to ask them to pack the other one for us to take home.

I had their beef rendang rice set before and also their masak hitam but not their Kapitan or Captain curry chicken though my missus had that once so I decided to give it (RM16.90)…

Cafe Cafe@Swan Square Kapitan chicken rice set 1

…a try, up from RM15.00 in 2013.

It was very nice and they gave two big chunks of the chicken…

Cafe Cafe@Swan Square Kapitan chicken

…one drumstick and the other, a big piece of the thigh and I would say that I enjoyed it very much, everything in that platter except those absolutely tasteless mini keropok (prawn crackers) that they seem to like to use as garnishing at some places here. I certainly would ask them to leave those out next time and maybe give me a few more slices of the freshly cut chili as on the whole, it was not spicy and the bits of chili did help give it that extra kick…

Cafe Cafe@Swan Square Kapitan chicken rice set 2

…in some small way. Perhaps I could have asked them for more from the kitchen but I did not bother.

All in all, we enjoyed the lunch and if you’re wondering why there wasn’t a single living soul in the photograph above, as always, we were there early and even so, there was a group at a table at the other side and by the time we were through, more had come in to have their lunch there.

CAFE CAFE, Swan Square formerly Giant Hypermart outlet (2.325540, 111.853538), is located on the ground floor of the mega mall located to the left of SMK Bandar Sibu along Jalan Ling Kai Cheng.

End up here…

The other day, we dropped by one of the malls…

Medan Mall Departmental Store, window display

…because I was thinking of trying out a place there with a peculiar name , on the 1st Floor, that sounds like what someone would say when they cannot pronounce the name Beatrice.

Yes, it was open but no, there was not a single customer at the time. I hear it can be very crowded round lunchtime. The employees were there, idling around and none came to greet us and encourage us to take a seat and suggest what we should try there. We did look at their photographs on display – they had the Sarawak laksa, nasi lemak and a whole lot of rice sets (rice with a dish by the side).

My girl was not all that keen and that was why we ended up at this place

Sibu Thomson Corner, Medan Mall

…right round the corner.

Being inside a mall, it is air-conditioned so it is more comfortable than their main outlet. However, it is a very small place and can get extremely crowded, not that the main one (their Pedada outlet), though very big – two shop lots at least, is any better actually as they do draw quite a crowd on any day.

Of course, we had our favourite, the Sarawak laksa (RM5.70 now, down from RM6.00 because of the 0% GST)…

Sibu Thomson Corner, Medan Mall Sarawak laksa 1

…but when it was served, I thought it did not look as good as what we are used to at the other place…

Sibu Thomson Corner, Pedada Sarawak laksa
*Archive photo*

Other than being kind of oily, obviously, they did not sieve the broth well so I could see all the “impurities” in it…

Sibu Thomson Corner Medan Mall Sarawak laksa 2

…Besides, they were so miserably miserly here with the belacan (dried prawn paste) and gave us just a teeny-weeny pinch of it. Thankfully, it tasted great and yes, we did enjoy it.

I also loved the ang tao peng or iced red bean (RM3.30)…

Sibu Thomson Corner Medan Mall ang tao peng 1

…that I had, very generous with the gula Melaka (palm sugar) and santan (coconut milk) with the beans done to perfection, soft and mushy but still whole…

Sibu Thomson Corner Medan Mall ang tao peng 2

…just the way I like it and there were a whole lot of it underneath all that shaved ice.

I noticed the absence of their usual ethnic Dayak employees here that day and the ones they had were definitely not the friendliest of people. One came to take our orders and while we rattled through what we wanted, she just keyed in everything on her tablet in stone-cold silence and left, leaving us to wonder whether she got it all correct or not. What put me off was when she started talking to her colleague – boy, was she loud and she sounded like she was quarrelling or something! I was feeling somewhat uneasy with all that noise…and all things considered, next time, I would much sooner go to the other place instead, not here.

MEDAN MALL (2.292803,111.842068) is located along Jalan Wong King Huo and the Sibu Thomson Corner outlet there is in one corner on the 1st Floor.