Open for business…

We did drop by on Wednesday a week earlier but it was closed. It seems that they take the day off on that day every week so we tried again the following week. Yes, this time around, it was open for business…

Oasis

…so we got to try some of the things they had on their menu.

While we were ordering the drinks, I was thinking of the pumpkin sago even though I did hear that their peanut drink was good but then I saw that they had let tao suan with you tiao (豆爽油条) or split mung bean soup with Chinese cruller (RM4.50)…

Oasis let tao suan

…so without any second thought, I said I wanted that. I used to enjoy that at some places in Kuching but the last time I had it was a long time ago. I don’t know of any place here selling this and all this while, I was contemplating on cooking my own. Unfortunately, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak and I never got round to doing that. It was quite nice, not the best that I have had, but as they say, beggars can’t be choosers.

My missus ordered the cendol (RM5.00)…

Oasis cendol

…and it was good, very rich in the santan (coconut milk) and even though they used gula apong (attap/nipah palm sugar) instead of gula Melaka (coconut palm sugar), the combination turned out pretty well.

I ordered the sio bee (RM5.00 for 3)…

Oasis sio bee 1

…to try even though I thought that at over RM1.60 each, the price was a bit on the high side. However, they were relatively bigger than all the reat but no, it did not get us jumping with delight. For one thing, it was mostly all meat…

Oasis sio bee 2

…inside whereas usually, one would find quite a bit of finely chopped sengkuang/mangkuang (turnip) and Bombay onions – these would add to the sweetness and enhance the taste. I think the ones here are RM1.80 each and for that kind of money, no prize for guessing which one I would rather have and I do know of  a few cheaper ones here and there that aren’t too bad either.

The steamed pumpkin cake (RM4.50 for 7 pieces, almost 65 sen each)…

Oasis steamed pumpkin cake

…was a disappointment because I had expected it to be golden in colour. However, to give credit where credit is due, it wasn’t too bad, if only the very nice chili dip that they gave with it had been spicy.

Of course, those can’t compare with my missus’ homemade ones with hay bee/udang kering (dried prawns) and bits of minced meat added but they were good enough. They also had steamed yam cake and I sure would not mind it if they had given a choice of the two, 3 pieces each for RM4.00. That way, I would have been able to kill two birds with one stone – try both their steamed pumpkin cake and the yam one as well.

Actually, I was keen on going there as I heard the jiew hu eng chai/sotong kangkong (RM11.00)…

Oasia sotong kangkong

…was very nice. Yes, it was quite nice but no, I would very much prefer our favourite in town here except that they would pour the sauce over everything in the plate instead of letting you dip in it yourself. I liked the dip but I thought it was something like a cross between rojak sauce and sotong kangkong sauce. They do have rojak on their menu but we did not order that and I was wondering if they would be using the same sauce for that too which shouldn’t be the case as the two are, in fact, quite different in taste..

Service was prompt and they did not mind it one bit when we asked for extra chili and the dip for the sotong kangkong. The lady propreitress came to talk to us and asked us for our opinion on what we had and it turned out that she was my ex-classmate’s wife who used to run the coffee shop here but according to her, she had stopped there for two years already and she had just started her business here two weeks ago.

For one thing, this is not the place to go if one is into anything heavy, just a place to hang out for some nice dessert drinks and snacks – something like this stall here (but there, you can order other things from the other stall in that same coffee shop). Here, they do not have any noodles or rice dishes on their menu and the heaviest there is would probably be the stuffed kompia, baked or served with gravy so if you are looking for something more substantial for your breakfast, lunch or dinner, it would be best to go some place else.

OASIS is located in the middle of that same block where the GRAND WONDERFUL HOTEL & FOOD COURT and ITALIAN COFFEE (2.309601, 111.845163) are, along Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Pedada, on your left just before the Petronas petrol station a short distance from Delta Mall. You can also go in via Lorong Pipit 4, turning left into the lane at the junction where Starbucks Sibu is located and go straight ahead from there.

Advertisements

Adaptation…

On Thursday afternoon last week, I received a call from Peter, the Payung Café boss. He told me that one of his staff members, an Iban lady, had cooked a fish, an ikan sultan, ethnic style and it was really very good so he would like to give me half…

Fish, cooked Iban-style

…to try and he wanted to send it over to my house. Of course I would not let him go through all that trouble and told him I would drop by a while later to get it.

I did cook one ikan buris in more or less the same way that day and it was very good but as I mentioned in that post, I tried that with an ikan sultan that I had but the flavours of the ingredients did not go into the fish. According to Peter, the lady removed all the scales for that to happen. No, I did not eat it right away. I saved it for our late lunch the next day, Friday, after we had come home from fetching my girl from her school in the jungle and yes, it was really very nice and we sure enjoyed it a lot.

For lunch the next day, Saturday, I asked my girl what she wanted to eat but she did not have anything in mind. Knowing how much she loves pasta, I suggested taking her gluten-free spaghetti to Payung and asking them to cook it for her, served with their very nice beef bolognese sauce…

Gluten-free spaghetti with beef bolognese sauce

Of course the wonderful people there did not mind it one bit and of course, my girl enjoyed it so much that even though the serving was quite big, she finished it all up.

We love the special bolognese sauce – I gathered that for 2 kg of minced beef, they would use one kg of fresh tomatoes to make it and they would also add some Italian herbs and whatever else. Theirs is very much nicer than the ones elsewhere – if those people make their own too, more often than not, it isn’t far different from the bottled pasta sauces which I am not all that fond of as it is like drinking tomato sauce straight from the bottle, more or less.

My girl also wanted the mushroom soup (RM6.00)…

Payung Cafe mushroom soup & mashed potatoes

…and I also ordered their mashed potatoes (RM8.00) to share and if anyone is wondering, their regular beef spaghetti is RM17.00. Of course, we were given a little discount for the adaptation that my girl had that day since we brought along and used our own gluten-free pasta.

This was on the house, their fungus salad…

Payung Cafe fungus salad

…a Myanmarese recipe that is new on their menu and Peter wanted us to try. My girl is never fond of fried shallots since small and I thought it was more like a vegetable dish that one would order to eat with rice, not quite like a salad but my missus enjoyed it.

Talking about my missus, she had their kacang ma chicken (RM16.00 with rice)…

Payung Cafe kacangma chicken with rice

…while I had their Payung fish, ikan keli (RM15.00 with rice)…

Payung fish 1

…and yes, it was very nice…

Payung fish 2

– so very lemak and very much to my liking.

That sure was a delightful lunch that we had that day but most importantly, my girl enjoyed it a great deal, a welcome break from the dreary week in her school in the jungle, a much-needed food therapy, I would say.

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.

Long overdue…

This was long overdue. When my brother was home from Auckland, New Zealand, I took him here for lunch and my girl saw the photographs that her mum shared with her on whatsapp (yes, she has a smartphone, not me) and that triggered her craving for what she loves a lot here – the very delightful Indian butter chicken (RM18.00 plus RM2.00 for the switch to biryani rice)…

Cafe IND Indian butter chicken with biryani rice

We had been caught up with this and that on the weekends she was home including the long Good Friday/Easter Monday weekend and also the one-week school break around the end of March so we never got round to it until last Saturday and of course, she ordered what she wanted.

The mum, as always, had the Indonesian kalio ayam (RM14.50)…

Cafe IND Indonesian kalio ayam

…and she requested for it to be extra extra spicy and yes, it most certainly was, much to her delight and very much to her liking.

On my part, I would prefer the spiciness to be toned down a little so as to be able to enjoy the very nice Indonesian curry taste in the dish without it being drowned out by all that spiciness…but of course, she’s not me. After all, it is scientifically proven that unlike poles attract, right? LOL!!!

I had the ikan sumbat (RM18.00)…

Cafe IND Indonesian ikan sumbat

…that day, something I had not had for a while now and yes, though the ikan kembong was kind of small, they managed to take all the bones out and stuff the meat back inside with whatever ingredients added – I think I saw what appeared to me like grated coconut…

Ikan sumbat, dissected

…and there was this kerabu

kerabu

by the side and yes, I did enjoy my order especially the baked and peeled skinless brinjal with the lovely sauce…

Skinless brinjal with sauce

…on top. It was thick and nutty, something like satay sauce, maybe even a little nicer, but I could not see any of the crushed peanut in it and all the while, I was wishing they had given a lot more than that so that I could enjoy it with the rice and everything else. As in the case of the nasi ulam that I cooked the other day, I thought on the whole, the dish was quite dry and I would love a bit of sauce, sambal or gravy and in the end, I helped myself to a bit of what was in my missus’ kalio ayam and my girl’s butter chicken.

Incidentally, if anyone is thinking of going for those dishes on their Indian menu, you’d better hurry because towards the end of this month, that tall and handsome authentic Indian chef will be going home and he will not be back till after Hari Raya – that will be sometime in June, I guess.

In the meantime, all those on their Indonesian menu will be available as usual…and I did hear that the guy has taught the Indonesian chef to cook the biryani rice and the mutton curry and what not so those would also be available but not their tandoori chicken nor their butter chicken (as he uses the tandoori chicken to cook the curry) or the rotis or anything cooked using the traditional oven.

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.

Where did the time go…

Where did all the time go? In the blink of an eye, all the years have flown – the kids have grown into men and we would have grown much older ourselves while some would have gone ahead before us.

I was at my nephew’s wedding in Kuching and though it felt somewhat recent, that was 2 years ago in 2016 and I had not seen him nor his brother since then. That was why when they called me and asked me to join them for a get-together, I accepted the invitation without a second thought even though I had had my dinner already, an early one that evening.

There I was with the boys and their mum and the grandson plus the wife of one of them, a cousin of mine – the brother of their late father – and his wife, three generations altogether…

Gathering with the Ong's

…at this hotel café – every place else was full that night, the Ching Ming/Good Friday and Easter weekend. I was here a long time ago, in 2011 to be exact, after they had given the place a fresh new look but I was not very impressed by what we had so we had never come back since.

As I have said earlier, I had had my dinner already so I wanted something light and what looked kind of small in the photograph in their menu turned out to be huge, their club sandwich…

Bamboo House club sandwich

It was all right, nothing great – I had club sandwiches a whole lot nicer elsewhere.

My cousin and the nephew had this Cantonese fried kway teow

Bamboo House Cantonese fried kway teow

…and they were unhappy with the fish fillet in it – they said it had a smell like it wasn’t fresh so they left it by the side. Probably that was the frozen fish fillet we can get everywhere around town – I am never a fan of that.

They certainly were not very generous with the lamb chops…

Bamboo House lamb chop

…unlike what we would get here – I shall not compare the prices as one is just a coffee shop and yes, we do need to fork out extra when we choose to go to some place nice.

The satay, beef…

Bamboo House satay

…and chicken, were not well done enough but it sure made up for the lack of the charred fragrance by whatever they used to marinate the meat. It was bursting with flavours and I thought they were very nice and their peanut satay sauce was really good too. I sure would not mind coming back again just for this.

They did order a lot of other things but owing to the dim light at the place, the photos came out blur and anyway, we weren’t there with the sole intention of eating and leaving but more to chat and catch up with one another’s lives and enjoy the company. This, I must say, would be a great place to do that as it was not as busy as elsewhere, and not as noisy as many places as well…and like what my cousin said the two hours plus went by so quickly that it felt like 10 minutes!

Thank you, Nicholas and Edgar, for including me in the gathering – I sure had a delightful time and I sure am looking forward to the next time we can get together like this again.

BAMBOO HOUSE is located at the ground floor of the Premier Hotel (2.288946, 111.830218)…

Premier Hotel Sibu

…right beside the lobby, at The Sarawak House along Jalan Kampung Nyabor.

All you can eat…

One evening last week, my girl said that we would be going for dinner here

The Kitchen BBQ & Steamboat

…her mum’s treat as she had a small windfall, enough for a meal for three.

We were here once before and it was pouring cats and dogs that night so we chose to sit outside since it was a nice and cool evening. This time around, we opted to sit in the air-conditioned section inside…

Air-conditioned section

…where it would be much cooler. There aren’t that many tables there though, maybe only around 8-10 only so if anyone is thinking of doing the same, it would be best to call and make a reservation to avoid disappointment. We were lucky as there was one table available, just one.

Yes, there are a whole lot of those frozen stuff that one can get at any supermarket in town – we did not bother to go and look even. They had fresh seafood and even though the prawns…

Prawns

…and clams were rather small…

Clams

…we took quite a lot to throw into the boiling chicken stock…

Boiling

– that would give the soup that very lovely sweetness.

The bamboo clams…

Bamboo clams

…were all right, more or less the regular size but I did not take any of the crabs…

Crabs

…they had that night. I had never seen this variety before – the spots on the shell looked like eyes staring at me!

There was un-marinated fresh meat that one could take to add to the soup and fresh chicken meat balls and beef balls and bitter gourd stuffed with them…

Stuffed bitter gourd

…too. I saw in their Facebook page that they would have stuffed ladies’ fingers as well but I did not see any that night.

They had all the beef and chicken, pre-marinated…

Marinated meat

…for grilling…

Grilling

…and I had those wrapped in lettuce…

Wrapped in lettuce

…and I sure enjoyed them a lot. One could help oneself to fresh finely-chopped garlic and chili if one so desires – adding those would surely bring the taste to a whole new level.

I saw that they had herbal eggs…

Herbal egg

…this time around so I helped myself to one…

Peeled

It wasn’t that great, I thought, not so much of the much-desired herbal fragrance. I would much sooner go for the very nice stewed eggs at the chicken rice and roast meat stalls.

There was fried rice and fried bihun – I did try the latter and it was all right and I did see some pre-cooked stuff in a cabinet but I did not bother about those.

Of course, there were all the noodles and everything…

Noodles and everything

…and vegetables too…

Vegetables

…and I did have quite a bit of the Chinese cabbage, tofu, mushrooms and sweet corn in the lovely soup.

For dessert, I did not go for the ice cream as I wanted to try their ang tao peng (iced red bean)…

Ang tao peng

…which would have been ok had the ice been well-shaved. It was so coarse that it became quite a chore having to bite it the whole time while eating.

That lovely dinner came up to less than RM80.00 because we got there at around 5 something, before 6, so we were eligible for the early bird price of RM25.90 per head to eat all you can. By the time we had finished and were leaving, the place was already fully-packed – it sure looks like if anyone intends to go there for dinner, it would be best to book ahead.

THE KITCHEN BBQ & STEAMBOAT (2.309579, 111.844828) is located at No 19, Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Pedada. You turn left into the road after Starbucks Sibu, right before the Petronas petrol station and it is on your right at the other end of the blocks of shops where the Grand Wonderful Hotel and Italian Coffee are located.

Upstairs, downstairs…

I heard there is a new Indian restaurant in town so we wanted to drop by one day for lunch but for reasons unknown, it was not open. It is located upstairs on the 1st floor so in the end, we decided to just grab something to eat at the Italian fusion restaurant…

La Vino Italian Fusion

…downstairs located here…

Road sign

We’ve been here a couple of times before and yes, the last time we were here with my cousins from Kuching, we did enjoy what we had…a lot.

I liked the very young staff that they have running the place – they’re very polite and friendly AND conversant in English and when we were there that day, service was prompt and very good too, making dining there very pleasant, I must say.

We just shared the Ceasar salad…

La Vino Ceasar salad

…and this rack of lamb…

La Vino rack of lamb 1

…with four slabs of the meat…

La Vino rack of lamb 2

…so we had one each and my girl had the extra one…and yes, everything was to our liking.

I did see the prices of our orders in their menu but I can’t remember them off-hand as before I could pay for what we had, somebody had beaten me to it. It so happened that my ex-student, Iggy, went there for lunch and good grief!!! He had just got there and had not even ordered yet but he had already paid my bill…and this was not the first time – I was taken by surprise once here and he beat me to it when we met here on another occasion. Thank you so much, Iggy, and like I said that in my post that previous time – next time, do slow down a bit and let me have the chance to reciprocate.

LA VINO (2.293636, 111.842059) is located at Lorong Wong King Huo 1B, the first one in the block of shops to the right of Medan Mall.

In a day…

We did not go anywhere during the week-long school break but the days passed by so very quickly. There were this and that, my girl’s stuff mostly, that we had to see to – things that we can’t get to do on school days as she is there in her school in the jungle and is only back on weekends when most offices would be closed.

On one of the days, we went here for lunch. We were there once for dinner but she had not tried  the chap fan (mixed rice) before.

She had the chicken curry…

Ah Kiet chciken curry

…and the Japanese tofu, cangkuk manis with egg and the chives also with egg…

Ah Kiet Japanese tofu, cangkuk manis and chives

…RM6.00 altogether with a free flow of their very nice complimentary soup.

My missus picked these…

Ah Kiet missus' picks

…also RM6.00. The charges here are very straightforward – RM5.00 for any 3 dishes, never mind meat or vegetables and RM1.00 extra for an additional choice.

I had these…

Ak Kiet my picks

…and also this very nice pork, RM6.00…

Ah Kiet nice pork

…that was a cut above the sweet and sour fish fillet that I also had, I must say.

Luckily, we got there a split second before the crowd…

Ah Kiet long queue

…showed up so we did not have to stand in the long line. It sure looks like the business here is getting better by the day.

Yes, we enjoyed our lunch there though I was wishing the whole time that they would let the customers scoop the food themselves. They were not all that generous, unfortunately. LOL!!!

That afternoon, we went to watch the movie and yes, we enjoyed it thoroughly – really hilarious, entertaining and I loved the songs too in the soundtrack.

After the show, I was a little hungry – I did say that the portions were not as large as I would like them to be and I did see on Facebook that they have the Korean bingsu

Nica Galeteria Korean bingsu & Italian gelato

here now and of course, my girl was delighted when I suggested that we stopped by there for that.

Other than the gelato and the mille crepes and cheesecakes and the  macarons, they have the tarts…

Nice Galeteria tarts

…and some new stuff like these…

Nice Galeteria petit geatuax

…for instance but our minds were made up. We were there for the bingsu.

I was multi-tasking, taking snapshots using my cheap handphone to share on Facebook and also my digicam and when I got home, I discovered that I had neglected to take one of the Thai mango snow ice bingsu (RM17.80)…

Nice Galeteria Thai mango snow ice bingsu

…so I have no choice but to use the one I took with my handphone here.

We also had the Korean strawberry snow ice bingsu (RM16.80)…

Nice Galeteria Korean strawberry snow ice bingsu

…and of course, as soon as they were served, I quickly removed the cookies and popped them in my mouth – those were not gluten-free so my girl would not be able to eat them.

When we started to dig in, we spotted some black stuff in the snow ice. My girl went to ask and it turned out to be crushed Oreo. Oh no!!! That’s not gluten free as well and the mum and I had to get that out of the ice so my girl would be able to eat what was left.

There was that ball of gelato on top and also more underneath the snow ice. It probably would be nice to mix everything together and eat but we had to eat up the snow ice to get rid of the Oreo.

My girl had it when she went to Korea and I asked if the one she had there was any better – she said they had red beans at the bottom but that did not really get her all excited – she said she would much rather go for our very much nicer Malaysian cendol or ang tao peng anytime…and at those prices for the bingsu, we could eat ourselves to kingdom come…but obviously, a whole lot of people do not share my same sentiments. The place was packed and the three of us had to share a table for two and I did see a lot of them happily eating the bingsu or whatever else they could get there.

We had dinner at home that night – we were still full from the bingsu and since there were some leftovers in the fridge, we just finished them off instead of going through the trouble of cooking anything new.

AH KIET RESTAURANT (2.317307, 111.850023) is located right behind Comfort Furniture among the shops beside the Selemo traffic lights along Lorong Ling Kai Cheng 2, off Jalan Deshon if you are coming from town or you can go in via Lorong Ling Kai Cheng 4 if you are coming down from Teku or Ulu Sg Merah and 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.