Sunday best…

Like what I said in my post the other day, we shall go out somewhere every Sunday for a very nice lunch and last Sunday, we decided to drop by here.

The authentic North Indian chef had gone on leave and had gone back to his country for the whole of last month. We thought he would be back already and that was why we picked the place – my girl would have the mutton biryani from the Indian menu, nothing else. Unfortunately, he would only be back on the 18th of this month but there were a few things that he had taught the Indonesian chef to cook. Last year, I tried her fish curry biryani and though it was very nice, it just wasn’t the same, not like when the guy cooked it himself.

Nonetheless, that day, I threw caution to the wind and went ahead and ordered the mutton biryani (RM21.00)…

Mutton curry

The curry was absolutely perfect, exactly like how the Indian guy would cook it. I heard that he had got ready the paste and herbs and everything before he left and all the Indonesian lady had to do was to cook.

The rice looked like it was a darker shade of orange…

Biryani rice

…but it was nicely done as well and I enjoyed it very much.

My missus stuck to her usual kalio ayam (RM14.50)…

Kalio ayam

…as always with the rice and the mixed vegetables…

Mixed vegetables

…by the side and I was quite relieved that this time around, she could finish all of it. Otherwise, she would force me to finish off one chunk of the chicken and when I had just finished my own order, I would end up feeling way too full and it somehow seemed to spoil my enjoyment of what would have been a delightful lunch.

My girl asked for  the mee nyemek goreng (RM13.50)…

Mee nyemek goreng

…from the Indonesian menu and yes, it was very nice and she loved it.

The total, inclusive of drinks, came up to RM57.00 and the boss collected RM55.00 from me only. We sure would be back again soon…when the Indian chef had come back, I guess.

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

I give to you…

My friend, Peter, the boss of Payung, said that he made some kaya

Peter's kaya

…and added that if I wanted some, he could give it to me. Of course I did and I sure enjoyed it to the max with bread or pulut panggang

Peter's kaya & pulut panggang

I dropped by the other day with Jas, my old friend home from Adelaide, Australia and he asked me if I liked it. He certainly looked mighty pleased when I praised it to the skies – I particularly liked how it was extra lemak (rich in santan/coconut milk) and had a whole lot of egg in it – and he said he would make it again soon and he would give me some more. Yippeeeee!!!

Talking about Jas, that morning, we went for the kampua mee that she had loved for a long long time now, that time when she was still living in Sibu before she migrated abroad. After that, I took her here…

Payung, ketupat

– how could she come to Sibu and not check this place out? I did ask her when she would be available for dinner but her schedule was real tight and she could not commit herself. That was why I gave up in the end and decided to treat her to dessert and something light here after she had feasted on the noodles.

She loved the jelly pisang

Jelly pisang

…even though it was not served in a tall glass. Actually, it is much easier to eat it this way. This certainly brought back a whole lot of pleasant memories as it went back a long way to our teenage years when we would hang out at a certain coffee shop in town (Ban Chuan) and this was the in-drink at the time.

Jas loves durians and needless to say, she loved the durian ice cream…

Durian ice cream

…and also the pomelo salad…

Pomelo salad

…and the mushroom roll…

Mushroom roll

My good friend/ex-classmate, Robert and his wife, Angela, joined us later and he ordered the Payung rojak

Payung rojak

…and that too got Jasmine’s nod of approval. I must say, though, that it was kinda sad that she did not get to taste all those delightful dishes on the menu here.

It so happened that I managed to grab hold of some ikan buris, a river fish – it sure is getting scarce these days and is very expensive too – so I pa’is-ed (cooked in banana leaf except that I always use kunyit or turmeric leaves) two, smaller than this one…

Pa'is ikan buris *Archive photo*

…as I could not get any big ones and gave to Peter to reciprocate for the kaya.

Later that day, he sent me photographs of what was left, only the bones!!!…

Just the bones left

He captioned them, “No need to ask nice or not!” I guess the snapshots said it all. LOL!!! Then he sent me a photograph of some fish cakes that he made and asked if I wanted any, his version of the tod mun pla (Thai fish cakes).

He also gave me two dishes that he cooked, one with petai (stink beans)…

Petai

…and the other with wild onions and bunga kantan (torch ginger flower)…

Wild onions

…and both tasted so good and yes, the Thai fish cakes…

Thai fish cakes

…were as nice as they looked. Perhaps he could think about adding them to their menu or perhaps, have it once in a while as “Today’s special”.

Thank you so much, Peter – now let me see what else I can cook to give to you in return. LOL!!!

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.

Funny how time flies…

It felt like just yesterday when my old friend, Jasmine, presently residing in Adelaide, Australia, was home for a few days but that was actually 5 years ago in 2014! Funny how time does seem to fly these days!

Well, I did not get to see her when she got into town as she had other commitments lined up and we could only meet the evening of her second day in town when my good friend/ex-classmate, Robert and his wife Angela, hosted a dinner at a local restaurant and invited me to join them…

With Jas, Robert & Angela

We had this lovely dish of roast chicken served in that old school style, buried under pieces of some very nice keropok (prawn crackers)…

Golden Happiness roast chicken

…and we also had this huge plate of Foochow fried noodles…

Golden Happiness Foochow fried noodles

…and this mixed vegetable dish…

Golden Happiness mixed vegetables

This is called the Green Dragon vegetable (青龙菜) or the royale chives…

Golden Happiness Green Dragon vegetable

…which I hear is not available locally and is served at this restaurant by special order. I quite enjoyed it – it had a slight hint of the fragrance of regular chives.

By the time this steamed tapah

Golden Happiness steamed tapah

…was served, we were already filled to the brim so I just had a small piece of the fish and yes, it was very nice.

It sure was a lovely dinner and most of all, it is always great to get together with friends to chit chat and catch up with one another’s lives. Welcome home, Jas and thank you so much, Robert & Angela for the treat! Stick around for more of what mischief we were up to during Jasmine’s brief stay here.

金囍楼 GOLDEN HAPPINESS RESTAURANT (2.285042, 111.834017) is located at No. 5-7, Chengal Road Off Lanang Road, further in along that road where Kawan Hotel is.

Let’s have lunch…

Now that my girl has been posted to a school in town, close to home, we would not be going out to eat all that often anymore as there will no longer be any need for some food therapy like in the past when she came home on weekends. Other than that, we would not need to have a very early lunch on Sundays before making our way to her school in the jungle and once she had resettled somewhat, we would be making our way back home, reaching the house at around 3 or 4.00 p.m.

Last Sunday, however, I was thinking that perhaps it would be nice to make it our weekly routine and go out and have lunch to pamper ourselves a bit once a week and that was why we ended up here that day.

We were here last in February and in the meantime, I saw on their Facebook page that they had curry lamb shank on their menu and I was thinking of having that. Unfortunately, when we got there, we were told that it was part of their Gawai/Raya promotion and they did not have it any longer. In the end, we just browsed through their menu and ordered what we felt we might enjoy.

The instant the hua dan hor (RM13.80)…

Niang Jia hua dan hor

…was served, we knew right away that it would be good as we could detect the lovely wok hei fragrance in the dish. We certainly were pleased that we had picked that and enjoyed it to the max.

The broth for the pork and prawn laksa (RM18.80)…

Niang Jia laksa

…was just perfect, exactly like what Sarawak laksa should taste like though I can’t say I was impressed by the pork in it. I would very much prefer shredded or pulled boiled pork or chicken and thinly sliced omelette, not hard boiled, like in the authentic dish and I also missed the sambal belacan (prawn paste) dip with one calamansi lime by the side, the usual accompaniment one would get when going for Sarawak laksa.

Perhaps if they would like to come out with their own classier version of it, they could add a mussel or two instead of the pork. On the whole, though it was good and we did enjoy it, done in their own original way, I don’t think it is something we will want to order again.

I wanted to try their nasi lemak (RM15.80)…

Niang Jia nasi lemak

…as well so I asked for it but unfortunately, the rice was not lemak (rich in santan/coconut milk), barely so, in fact so I was quite disappointed by it. The sambal also tasted different from the usual but we thought it was nice plus it was spicy too so of course, we liked it!

My girl liked the prawns that seemed to have been fried coated with batter or something so we let her enjoy those while we had the ones in the other dishes. The crustaceans were all very fresh – I gathered that they would be delivered daily and they would use up all of them in a day and wait for the next delivery the following day. I was not all that thrilled by the grilled pork belly with some kind of sauce though. It would probably be better to have some kind or curry or rendang even if it is pork, as that would be more compatible with the nasi lemak.

I was afraid that there would not be enough to go round so I also ordered this grilled cod fish (RM21.80)…

Niang Jia grilled cod fish

…as well and everybody enjoyed that but perhaps, instead of the chili sauce that came with it, they could make a special dip of light soy or fish sauce with chopped garlic and sliced chilies like what I had seen done before in some Chinese restaurant around here.

On the whole, we enjoyed the meal very much and even though the servings were huge (I saw the people at the other tables asking for the leftovers to be packed for them to take home), we managed to finish everything!

The bill came up to RM70.20 but my very nice ex-student, John, gave me a 10% discount so in the end, I only had to fork out a nett total of RM63.20 for all that we had which I felt was pretty cheap and iced water/sky juice is free of charge here. We certainly would want to come back here again…soon!

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

Papa…

For so many years now, we would celebrate Father’s Day a day earlier as on Sundays, we would have to make our way to my girl’s school in the jungle but of course, this year, it was different and we could celebrate the special occasion on the actual day itself.

My girl went and got me this lovely black forest cake…

Cake

…from this bakery round the corner from my house and she got me to cut it first thing in the morning and we had that for breakfast. 

After that, we went to pick my sister and we all went to our parents’ resting place…

Flowers and prayers for Father's Day

…to offer flowers and prayers to my dad especially, in conjunction with Father’s Day.

We got back into town at around 11.00 a.m. and we went for lunch at this Korean place here that we do like a lot – my girl’s special treat. Most places open at 12.00 noon and close at 2.00 p.m. and will reopen at 6.00 p.m. for dinner which makes me wonder why they bother to open for those two hours only. At least, they should open a bit early, at around 11.00 a.m. like this one and if they have to, they can close at 3.00 p.m.

We just ordered our favourites that day, dishes that we had had before and enjoyed a lot so of course, I insisted on having the galbi tang (갈비탕)…

Galbi tang

…the Korean beef short ribs soup.

As usual, we were served the complimentary refillable ban chan (반찬)…

Ban chan

…and my girl wanted the gun mandu (군만두)…

Gun mandu

…again and needless to say, the dolsot bibimbap (돌솥비빔밥)…

Bibimbap

…too.

We also had the moksal or neck meat…

Moksal

…and ate that wrapped in lettuce with garlic slices, Bombay onion, strips of spring onion with some special sauce and the spicy Korean tau cheo sauce…

Eat it this way

…and we also had this pork belly marinated with Korean red chili paste, the gochujang (고추장)…

Gochujang pork belly

…and ate it that same way too. I would say that it was just as nice and we sure would not mind ordering that again the next time we drop by here.

My girl insisted on picking up the tab and had to fork out over RM140.00, inclusive of drinks, for all that we had for 4 persons. If I remember correctly, the beef soup is already over RM40.00 and the two pork dishes add up to around RM50.00 but considering how much we enjoyed everything, value for money, we certainly would look forward to coming back here again. 

KIMCHEE KOREAN BAR.BQ (2.296883,111.825859) is located on the first floor in the block of shops to the right of the Old Sing Kwong Supermarket (Kin Orient Plaza) along Jalan Tun Abang Hj Openg.

Lunch or dinner…

That day, on Wednesday, after bidding a tearful farewell to her loved and dear ones in her school in the jungle, her colleagues and her pupils, my girl left for home and it was way past 3.00 p.m. when we reached town…which was rather late for lunch and a little too early for dinner so we decided to stop by here and eat to our hearts’ content and that would be our lunch AND dinner for the day.

I don’t think I ever had ramen before or maybe I did a long long time ago (my girl wasn’t even born then) when I went to a small Japanese noodle shop in Tokyo where they could not utter a word of English and I ended up having a huge bowl of noodles in a whole lot of soup, no other ingredients whatsoever. Thankfully, it was very nice but even way back in those days, things there were not cheap – RM8.00 a bowl at a time when such prices were quite unheard of here.

That was why for our individual orders that day, I asked for the shiro ramen (RM12.80)…

Shiro ramen

…and the instant it was served, I felt kind of disappointed at the sight of the hard-boiled egg. I always saw those onsen eggs in friends’ blogs, hard boiled on the outside, the yolk still runny…or soft and moist. Maybe they should invite me over to teach them how to cook eggs like that. Tsk! Tsk! I was also put off by how it reeked of sesame oil but thankfully, when I ate it, I could not detect the taste and much to my delight, I found the soup really nice…but I still could not get over that egg!

My girl had their tori katsu don (RM12.80)…

Tori katsu don

…which she felt was nothing to get excited about – after all, it was just fried chicken and in comparison, she thought the one that her mum had here not too long ago was very much nicer.

The mum had the tori teriyaki don (RM12.80)…

Tori teriyaki don

…and we did not hear her complain so I guess it was all right.

We had the tempura ebi maki (RM7.10)…

Tempura ebi maki

…for one of our side orders and yes, it was very good which was more than what I could say about our other side order, the shisamo (RM4.90)…

Shisamo

…something that I saw in other blogs and was dying to give it a try. They do sell those herring-like fish at some supermarkets here but I never dared to buy, not when I had never tried it before and now that I have, I don’t think I will ever bother – at best, it was just…fish and a not-very-tasty one at that. Give me my ikan kembong!!! I’d rather have that…anytime!

Other than the aforementioned, we helped ourselves to the sushis on the carousel – RM1.80 for the yellow plate, RM2.80 for the red and RM3.80 for the blue.

This one, the inari unagi (eel) sushi

Inari unagi sushi

…was just so-so and this one with the avocado…

Avocado

…did not get us all excited.

My girl had the takoyaki

Takoyaki

…but made no comment as to whether it was nice or otherwise but we agreed that this one…

Prawn and egg

…was very nice and so was this one with the raw salmon and prawn…

Salmon & prawn

…and we loved these inari (in tofu pouches) ones, both the one with prawn…

Inari prawn

…and the one with salmon…

Inari salmon

I don’t know if I missed out any that day as we really had quite a lot – generally, we shared the opinion that the sushis here are definitely nicer than those elsewhere in town.

The total, inclusive of drinks, came up to only RM78.40 but with the 6% SST and the 10% service charge, it all added up to RM90.95 so I just gave the cashier RM100.00 and told her to keep the change. After all, I was in a good mood – my girl had finally got her transfer to a school in town!

SUSHI MENTAI, Sibu (2.303279, 111.843161) is located at Wisma Sri Minyak, Lot 3065, S/L4, No. 23&25, Ground Floor, Pedada Lane 7 (Now Jalan Dr. Wong Soon Kai).

Wanted to want it too…

This was quite sometime ago when we dropped by here as I wanted to buy something from the supermarket at the mall and we thought we might as well just have our lunch there so we would not have to cook our own at home.

The Hari Raya decorations were very minimal, barely noticeable…

Cafe Cafe Swan Square Hari Raya decor

…I must say.

My girl wanted what I had the last time we were there, the very nice lamb chop that I felt was the best I had ever had too and that (RM26.90)…

Cafe Cafe Swan Square lamb chop

…was what she had and yes, she did enjoy it.

She had their iced honey lemon (RM6.50) while the mum and I decided to give their air bandung (RM5.50 each)…

Cafe Cafe Swan Square air bandung

…a try. I did not quite enjoy it – at best, I would say it was all right for it did not taste quite like what I used to enjoy during our school sports day in my younger days. They used rose syrup instead of grenadine and I have never been a fan of that cordial.

I did not enjoy the Penang char kway teow (RM13.90)…

Cafe Cafe Swan Square Penang ckt

…that I had either. It had nothing more than just a few teeny weeny shrimps in it and I barely finished half of it. I am pretty sure I can find others elsewhere here a whole lot nicer at around half the price but of course, those would be in less comfortable surroundings.

My missus had their stonebowl beef kway teow (RM18.90)…

Cafe Cafe Swan Square stinebowl beef kway teow

…which did not look like it would be any good but we all thought it was not too bad, just that they could have been a bit more generous with the beef and perhaps they should work on the presentation as well.

On the whole, except for the lamb chop, we did not think we would go for the other two that we had again the next time we drop by here.

CAFE CAFE, Swan Square 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.