For such a long time…

We did drop by here a couple of times, the first time in 2015 and again here but we had not gone back for such a long time for the simple reason that I did not quite like the themes they would have periodically. I guess the kids would be attracted by those but personally, I felt that it kind of spoiled the somewhat regal and rather classy ambiance of the place.

I remember once they had Frozen and there was Disney, Hello Kitty and so on and so forth – they just had Rilakkuma but that ended some two weeks ago and right now, they do not have any theme but that was not why we went – I saw photos on their Facebook page of the items that they currently have on their menu and they all looked so good and since my girl was keen, off we went…for lunch yesterday.

The mum had their mee mamak prawn deluxe (Rm17.90)…

LaDoree mee mamak prawn deluxe 1

…which was excellent, great in every way except that they were very generous with the ingredients and she kept trying to push this and that to us.  The prawns were huge and nice…

LaDoree mee mamak prawn deluxe 2

…and the chicken satay was surprisingly very much to everyone’s liking – I thought it looked inadequately marinated and could have been grilled a lot more but we actually liked it very much and the peanut sauce was good too.

My girl chose their grilled chicken chop rice (RM16.90)…

LaDoree grilled chicken chop rice 1

…and she enjoyed the chicken…

LaDoree grilled chicken chop rice 2

…and loved the fried rice. Of course, she didn’t complain about the fried egg – I certainly would be frowning if that had been in my order as it was not done the way I would like it. She didn’t mind the mini-keropok (prawn crackers) by the side either. Eyewww!!! Ah well! I guess not everyone is as fastidious as I am. Hehehehehe!!!!

My char-grilled lamb shoulder (RM35.90)…

LaDoree char-grilled lamb shoulder 1

…was all right. I actually ordered that knowing how my girl loves lamb and I was thinking perhaps she would like some of it along with her order but the serving was so huge that she could barely finish all of it…plus I did have some more side orders for her to enjoy.

I would like the lamb to be a lot more charred, black at the edges for that extra fragrance and taste but it was not…

LaDoree char-grilled lamb shoulder

– just like the satay. Perhaps they are more into healthy eating here – I did hear people saying that one barbecued chicken wing, charred, is equivalent to 8 sticks of cigarettes. I did confirm with them what we suspected – no msg was used in the cooking and not much salt either, just the way we like it!

Talking about our side orders, the mushroom soup (RM10.90)…

LaDoree mushroon soup

…was very much to our liking. It was kind of black in the menu and my guess was they would use shitake but when it was served, it was white – much to my girl’s delight, they probably used those enoki mushrooms since we do not get buttons here. She is not a fan of shitake. I asked for the croutons to be left out and yes, they happily obliged. Of course, she could not eat the garlic bread either and no prize for guessing who ate both the slices by the side.

The cheese mayo baked mussels (RM21.90)…

LaDoree cheese mayo baked mussels

…were really good too and my girl sure had her fair share of those.

These chicken buns, fried chicken in fried mantao

LaDoree chicken buns 1

…were on the house,  a special treat from an ex-student of mine – isn’t that so very sweet and thoughtful of him? His family owns and runs this place and the brother-in-law is the chief chef in the kitchen.

They…

LaDoree chicken buns 2

…were great too but my girl could not eat those as the bun was not gluten-free and neither was the batter used to fry the chicken, I’m sure.

No, we did not manage to finish everything so we asked for this and that to be tapao-ed for us to take home. The bill came up to RM113.40 and much to my surprise, and a pleasant one at that, they gave me a very generous discount and I was charged RM100.00 only for all that we had, courtesy of my ex-student who was there at that point in time.

Service was great, the food came out very fast…and everyone was conversant in English unlike those at that place at the other end of the block where they seemed to struggle with the language when one asked one question too many and yes, they do accept credit cards here, no terms and conditions – at the aforementioned place, you need to spend more than RM200.00 or they will just use Paywave to charge you, without telling/asking you first.

They have not come out with their Christmas menu yet – I may want to go here for our Christmas lunch or dinner seeing how we all enjoyed our lunch yesterday…unless I have other invitations. Hint! Hint!!! LOL!!!

LADOREE CAFE & EVENTS (2.302891, 111.842997) is located at Wisma Liberty, Lot 4047, Block 3, Jalan Pedada (now Jalan Dr. Wong Soon Kai).

You are a winner…

Congratulations to Payung Café, Sibu

Payung Cafe Sibu
*Photo from their Facebook page*

…for winning the 8th Chief Minister’s Environmental Award (CMEA) 2017/2018 in its new category for eateries and food outlets…

Trophy
*Andy’s photo taken at the event*

The presentation ceremony of this special state-level award from the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) was held last night in Kuching.

The café has won the Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Award twice, once in 2013/2015 and was the 1st runner-up in 2016/2017

Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards

For one thing, I am not sure what exactly the judges for this particular tourism award are looking for. It appeared to me that they were rather fastidious in picking the winners and would look critically at the food, the decor and the ambiance, the cleanliness and all that – in my humble opinion, they seemed to be missing the wood for the trees as personally, I do feel that for an award as such, they should consider as their top priority the appeal to tourists.

As far as I know, many tourists or visitors from abroad and other parts of the country do drop by Payung – its location right behind one of the leading hotels in town is an added advantage and many said they came because of its listing in websites such as Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor…

Trip Advisor

This hawker centre/food court in Kuching is truly deserving of the award, of course – the locals call it the “tourist trap” as many do go there and according to them, dining there isn’t exactly wallet-friendly…but I really wonder if it should be given to a steakhouse in a five-star hotel, for instance. Do tourists come to Sarawak and go for our steaks? I must say they have very much nicer, fresher and juicier…and thicker ones in their own countries like Australia and New Zealand, just to single out two. Instead, one thing they should also look at would be whether they serve any of our own local delights for the tourists to enjoy, dishes uniquely Sarawakian especially, or Malaysian at least, that they will not be able to find in their own country.

Anyway, back to the CMEA, the people at Payung do use a lot of natural stuff for their decor, all the natural plants around the place and the simple fresh flowers for their centrepiece…

Centrepiece

…and all over…

Fresh flowers

…and one can’t miss noticing these coconut palm leaves, sprayed blue…

Coconut leaves, blue

…or green…

Coconut leaves, green
*Photo from their Facebook page*

…so they will last like…forever.

Many complained about the thatched roof…

Thatched roof

…in front as it blocked the sign (see 1st pic) and as a result of that, they had to search high and low before they could find the place and some even gave up in the end.

They also use these dried palm leaves…

Palm leaves

…and rattan basket trays…

Basket trays

…and in some of the photographs, you can see the blue and green benches that they made from discarded wood – I must say that whatever wood that is, it is really good hardwood as those benches are real heavy.

I love this little hut, also made from the aforementioned wood…

Little hut

…and just look at the concrete construction blocks that they use to erect the heavy and sturdy shelves…

Shelves

…instead of going out to buy from the shops…and we all know that the ones these days do not last very long and will have to be thrown away pretty soon.

They do not have anything deep-fried on their menu so they do not use a lot of cooking oil…

Payung counter

…except perhaps for grilling their chicken chops and according to them, they will not reuse the oil…nor will they pour it all down the drain like what they do at many places. Instead, they will give it to the workers to take home and use for their own cooking.

Why, those creative people even made their own Christmas tree one year…

Christmas tree

…using some grass that they found by the roadside somewhere instead of buying the plastic or whatever artificial ones from the shops. They have not put up the decorations this year so I do not know what they have got up their sleeves this time around.

For one thing, the place is not air-conditioned so that is one plus point in their favour as far as being environment-friendly is concerned.

All things considered, I do think that they truly deserve this prestigious award, don’t you agree?

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.

Come & go…

I did mention in an earlier post that Peter was not around when I dropped by the café…

Payung

…on the night of my birthday. Well, he called me the following day and invited me over the following evening…

Bunga kantan

…for a belated celebration.

Of course I could not go empty-handed – the Chinese have this phrase, “Oo lai oo khi!” (Got come, got go!) so on the way there, I dropped by here to buy their very nice durian cheesecake…

Durian cheesecake

…to bring along with me to enjoy with everybody else – my friends gave me a slice that day and I loved it so much!

Peter had this absolutely out-of-this-world chicken in traditional Foochow red wine soup specially cooked for me to enjoy with our Foochow longevity noodles, the mee sua

Birthday mee sua

– a must eat on birthdays and other special occasions and as if that huge bowl of the noodles, the meat and the eggs were not enough, he also served me a separate bowl of the awesome soup and some more of the meat!

Yes, everyone enjoyed the cake and it so happened that an ex-colleague of mine was there with her hubby for dinner (extreme left in the photograph below)…

Dining at Payung

– she said they love the rojak very much. I don’t know what else they had but I did cut two slices of the durian cheesecake, one each, for them to enjoy and yes, she said it was very nice.

Thank you so so much, Peter, for the very special and exclusive birthday treat – it certainly was so very nice of you to go through the trouble of doing that specially for my birthday…again this year!

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.

Black magic…

My sister dropped by my house that day to pass me this…

Box

…box of cream puffs…

Cream puffs

…from this place

Sticker

It has been around for a while now but I have never been there myself.

The vanilla ones (RM2.00 each)…

Vanilla

…were nice, not sweet – just right and the matcha ones (over RM2.00 each)…

Matcha

…were pretty good too and that sure is saying a lot for someone who is not a fan of anything green tea. Yes, it is not sweet as well and I liked how it is not so strong on the green tea taste and is just a little bit bitter so little that one would hardly notice.

I particularly loved the crusty top…

Crusty top

…which, to me,  is something very unique and makes their cream puffs different from all the rest that I had had before.

From what I heard, they specially picked a day last week to make these puffs, 200 only and within an hour, they were all sold out. I guess for reasons unknown, they do not make them all the time on a regular basis.

BLACK PASTRY (2.282100,111.842110) is located at Lot 44, Floor 1, Lorong 2A, Jalan Aman.

No plans…

I did not have any plans to do anything or go anywhere on the day of my birthday as the ladies were out of town and I was home alone.

That morning, I got a call from my good friend, Lim’s wife, asking me if I was at home. They will always remember my birthday without fail each passing year and I knew what they were up to so I said, “Yes, but don’t come!” but they showed up at my gate, nonetheless, to pass me these…

From Lim & family

Lim had just come back from KL and he bought this pork belly bak kua

Pork belly bak kua

…and they gave me a whole pack of it. That sure was a timely gift, I thought – with the ladies out of town, I could have that for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The durian cheese cake…

Durian cheesecake

…from that franchise cake shop was really good! Somebody did mention that to me once and now that I’ve tried it and enjoyed it so much, don’t be surprised to see me dropping by there for more of the same.

In the meantime, I also got a surprise phone call from my old friend, formerly known as ahkamkoko. I think the last time I saw him and his wife was way back in 2015 after which he left for his post-graduate studies in New York on a Fulbright scholarship. Well, he’s back now and is presently attached to a  school in Kuching and they were here over the weekend for a friend’s wedding and he asked if I was free for lunch that day. Well, of course I was and we arranged to meet here.

It was a blistering hot day so we went and sat upstairs in a very much nicer setting than the regular coffee shop kind of place on the ground floor – the air-conditioning certainly was a welcomed relief…and of course, I had to order my favourite fish maw soup (RM11.00) for them to try. It was all right that day but I thought it could do with a little less msg and a bit more quality control.

I also ordered the ngor hiang (RM8.00)…

A-Plus ngor hiang

…and they enjoyed it very much. I thought it tasted slightly different that day – maybe it was because of the lokan (clams) used in the minced filling, I wouldn’t know but I liked it a lot better on previous occasions. They said that there would not be any extra charge to go and dine upstairs but I do recall this dish being a little bit less, RM7.80, when we had it downstairs but never mind, as it wasn’t much of a difference.

The waitress came and informed us that the cook had made a mistake with our order for their honey pork ribs and had cooked a sweet and sour version of the meat instead but we could cancel the order, if we so wished. We said that we did not mind and would have it all the same (18.00)…

A-Plus sweet and sour pork

…and yes, I rather liked it even though it was not what I had in mind initially.

We had the bitter gourd omelette with lap cheang (Chinese sausage) – RM13.00…

A-Plus bitter gourd lap cheang omelette

…but the cook or whoever did not beat the egg well so there were parts where the salt had not completely dissolved so it was very salty and that sure affected our enjoyment of the dish.

Thankfully, the stewed pork leg served on a bed of fried cangkuk manis with egg (RM17.00)…

A-Plus stewed pork leg and eggs and cangkluk manis

…plus two stewed eggs by the side was great, as always.

The total came up to RM74.00 altogether (inclusive of rice and drinks) and of course, I insisted on picking up the tab – my birthday and a welcome-home treat for my friends.

After lunch, we dropped by here for the gelato and sat there to chit chat and catch up with one another’s lives.

It seemed that my friend’s wife, Michelle, a West Malaysian, had never been to Payung before so I insisted that we went there for dinner that night. Unfortunately, my friend absentmindedly locked his keys inside his car and had to call somebody to pick the lock and open it at around 6 something and that took a good one hour or so and that held us up and we only got to the café past 7.30 or just before 8.

Peter, the boss, had gone home as he had had a long day with his gardening contracts and what not – that is why they are closed on Sundays and will only open after 5 for dinner – plus he has to be home at night to keep his old mum (almost 95, I think) company (the others in the family would take turns and come during the day to do that). I bought a cake from this bakery for everybody to share and they insisted that I cut it and they all sang the Happy Birthday song…

Happy birthday with friends at Payung

Gee! That sure was sweet of them!

No, I did not take any photograph of what we had that night, not in the dim evening lighting and anyway, I have had photographs of everything on the menu here in my previous posts on the place but Michelle was bowled over by the herbs salad and the tempoyak and the otak-otak fish and the belimbing prawns – she does not eat prawns usually but after having tasted the delightful soup/sauce, she could not resist two or maybe, three. They were out of their green curry chicken that night so we had the Payung fish (ikan keli) and yes, I also ordered the pomelo salad (the papaya salad was not available either). All in all, I would say they enjoyed the dinner a whole lot more than the lunch we had earlier in the day and Michelle, especially, kept singing praises of what we had  that night.

I don’t know how much the dinner was – we got their durian ice cream on the house as it was my birthday – because my friend quietly went to pay when I went some place for a while for a bit of fresh air. Thank you so much, Jarod & Michelle for the treat – it sure was nice seeing the two of you again and good luck, God bless with the little one, coming real soon!

Well, it sure looked like I did have a great birthday after all, don’t you think? LOL!!!

A-PLUS FOOD CENTRE/RESTAURANT (2.293355, 111.823653) is located among the shops along Jalan Kampung Datu behind the block of shops (where Fair Price Supermarket is) near the traffic lights at its junction with Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg and Jalan Kampung Nyabor while NICA GELATERIA (2.302620, 111.842988) is located at Wisma Liberty/Wisma Sri Minyak at No. 14, Block 3, Jalan Pedada – on your left, past the Jalan Ulu Oya Road traffic lights if you are coming from town and 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.

‘Tis the season…

…to get married and the very next day after I went to my ex-student’s (SMK Kanowit, 1978-1992) eldest daughter’s wedding banquet here, I attended another one here…

Wedding cake

– my ex-student at Chung Hua, Sibu (1983-1991), later my colleague, tied the knot so of course, many of my ex-students, her classmates, were there too. I had a snapshot taken with the boys…

With my ex-students, boys

…and if you think I looked sleepy and tired, as a matter of fact, I was! It had been a long day – I was out with the ladies and after lunch, we went to see a movie so I did not have the chance to enjoy the luxury of my usual afternoon nap and soon after we got home, I had to get ready and go to the venue early as parking can be such a pain around that hotel. I must say I was immensely flattered as I was the only one of their many former teachers over their years in school invited to the dinner.

It rained after the movie but luckily, by the time I got there, it had stopped and the evening, though a bit gloomy, was nice and cool…

Evening, Sibu

The first dish was the leng pua (cold dish)…

Leng pua

Here, for our Chinese sit-down dinners/banquets, we have a choice between hot or cold and never mind which one we pick, there will always be more than just four in the platter unlike the Four Seasons one would see elsewhere.

The second dish was the dry/fried version of the not-to-be named dish so of course, I did not take a photograph of it. I wish people would request for a change in the set menu and have that replaced with something more acceptable.

The sweet and sour fish head…

Sweet and sour fish head

…was great and so was the steamed/baked herbal chicken…

Chicken 1

…wrapped in aluminium foil…

Chicken 2

This was probably sea cucumber…

Sea cucumber

…but it was overloaded with msg so I just had a bit and that was it – I sure liked the one I had the previous night a lot more.

After that came this yam basket…

Yam basket

…but no, I was already quite full by then so I hardly touched that. I bet there would be a lot of msg in it too.

Well, to give credit where credit is due, their Chinese pancake with mung bean filling…

Chinese pancake and mochi

…was really good, much nicer than the one I had the night before but the mochi was kind of disappointing as the texture was not quite there.

After that came the fruit platter and that was it, only six dishes excluding the desserts – this seems to be the regular thing these days but we did not have prawns! Hmmmmm!!! Anyway, I was already filled to the brim…and the dishes were extremely slow in coming out so much so that after the first few dishes, my brain had already received the signals telling me that I was already full and I just could not eat anymore.

I had a good time though – it sure was great getting to see my ex-students again and also my ex-colleagues (Sacred Heart, Sibu, 1992-2007). Thank you for the invitation, Sze Nee and my heartiest congratulations to you and your hubby, may God bless the two of you with endless love and everlasting happiness in the years ahead. Cheers!!!

THE LOONG JIN RESTAURANT GRAND BALLROOM is located at Level 1 of the Tanahmas Hotel (2.288121, 111.830214), Lot 277, Block 5, Jalan Kampung Nyabor.

Father’s daughter…

My ex-student invited me to his eldest daughter’s wedding banquet at a leading hotel here one beautiful evening last week…

Beautiful evening

– he is blessed with two very handsome sons and three pretty daughters, so one down, four more to go! LOL!!!

Of course, he invited many of his ex-classmates, many of whom were my students when I was teaching in Kanowit (1978-1982)…

Ex-students

…and two of my ex-colleagues…

Ex-students

…as well.

The food was great starting with the sio pua (hot dish), our version of the Four Seasons…

Sio pua

…and as always, we have more than four. With the bubbling thick sauce poured over everything in the dish, I would say it was something like the very popular poon choy that I had once in the peninsula.

I was glad that they decided to do away with the not-to-be-named soup and had this very nice chicken and fish maw soup…

Chicken & fish maw soup

…instead.

This is my favourite dish here, their duck…

Duck

…stuffed with glutinous rice…

Stuffed

…and the steamed fish…

Fish

…whatever fish that was, was very good too.

The braised sea cucumber…

Sea cucumber

…was awesome, very nicely done and the creamy butter prawns…

Prawns

…as well but I’ve often wondered why they would always keep the crustaceans till last. More often than not, by that time, I would be so very full, bursting at the seams already and even though I would want to eat a lot more, I just could not possibly do so.

Dessert was some fried Chinese pancake with mung bean paste inside…

Chinese pancake
*Ex-student’s photo*

…and this peach and longan combo…

Peach & longan

– the favourite of many during my younger days. I remember the time when we would sit through the 12-course Chinese dinner waiting anxiously for this dessert dish to be served and we sure enjoyed that so much. Sadly, kids these days would not even give it a second glance and would be quite happy pre-occupied with their smartphones.

Yes, the food was very good that night but I do think they need to do something about those part-time waiters and waitresses that they would engage for these grand functions, the wallflowers…standing idling by the side of the ballroom and each time, I needed a refill, my glass of iced water, I would have to get up and get it myself. Tsk! Tsk!

Thank you so much, Hoi Kian, for remembering your old teacher and inviting me to your daughter’s wedding. Congratulations to the couple and also to the proud and happy parents, God bless, all, always. Cheers!!!

THE KINGWOOD BALLROOM (2.2832589,111.8327029) is located on the 6th floor of the Kingwood Hotel at No. 12. Lorong Lanang 4.