Least expected…

Nothing beats a surprise that is least expected!

I might have been to this coffee shop before but that would be so long ago that I could hardly remember it. For one thing, I would hardly stop by that corner of the junction so I would usually go to places on the other side. However, all this while, I did notice a lot of people eating there and that morning, I decided to cross the road to go there and give it a try.

It does not have a name but I reckon it is part and parcel of this restaurant…

Beijing 2008 Restaurant

…that has since closed down – I heard that business was not very good despite the fact that what they dished out was really very nice. Word had it that it was not very popular among that locals as they always catered to those after-funeral lunches. I did notice a small section on the ground floor though – probably, by special request, one can go there for a full course Chinese dinner.

The coffee (RM1.60)…

Beijing Restaurant kopi-o-peng

…was really good, easily one of the best in town and since the 1st of January, to cut down the use of single-use plastic, they do not provide drinking straws anymore. They will give you a spoon in your drink though – probably that is for you to stir when the ice has melted but do not absentmindedly suck it – it’s a spoon, not a straw! LOL!!!

I placed my orders at the stall…

Beijing Restaurant kampua mee stall

…and sat down beside one occupied by a very young couple.

The kampua mee (RM3.00)…

Beijing Restaurant kampua mee

…was very nice, a bit on the firm side but not too firm and I quite liked it.

The pian sip (RM3.00)…

Beijing Restaurant pian sip

…was excellent – the skin was really thin and soft and smooth and there wasn’t too much meat in each of them as well. However, the taste of the soup was different, not quite like the usual bone-stock soup that one would get at the other stalls all over town but it was nice and I rather enjoyed it…and I must give them a double thumbs up for using glass and ceramic, not plastic!

When I wanted to pay for the food, I was duly informed by the old guy helping the old lady at the stall that it had been paid for. What!!!??? I had a glance at the couple but their faces did not ring a bell. The sweet and pretty girl came over and introduced herself as Wilfred‘s sister – she did drop by my house once to pass me the bak kua that he sent all the way from Singapore but I could not remember her. Gosh!!! That certainly was most unexpected and needless to say, it sure was a very pleasant surprise indeed, thank you so much! It sure made my day!

When I was done, I noticed that they had started taking out the dishes for the chap fan (mixed rice)…

Beijing Restaurant chap fan

That sure looked like a whole lot of choices and I must say the ang chao pork…

Beijing Restaurant ang chao pork

…looked really nicely done. At most places, it would be pink, somewhat over-diluted. The other dishes seemed very good too – I really must drop by one of these days to give it a try!

BEIJING 2008 RESTAURANT (2.291109, 111.827983) is located along Jalan Kampung Nyabor Road around the corner of this road and Brooke Drive. It is located at the block of shops, where a Malayan Banking branch is, to the left of the entrance into Hua Kiew Road, somewhere opposite the Sibu General Post Office.

It’s your choice…

On their first night in Sibu, my West Malaysian friends from KL came here

Hai Bing Seafood

…for dinner.

I was told that they walked for around an hour from the vicinity of the Tua Pek Kong Temple looking for the place when it is just around 100 metres from the hotel where they were staying and if they were walking back from the temple, it shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes. That is the problem when you depend on those modern-day appliances, Waze or whatever you call it – they should have looked at the map(s) that I had printed for them and they would be able to see it there. As a matter of fact, I did suggest this place to them in the itinerary that I prepared for them.

They loved the crabs…

Hai Bing crabs

…of course, so very cheap they said, compared to prices in KL and they had TWO plates – one in their signature recipe, fried with egg and leek and what not, one style that they can’t find back home, they said and the other with black pepper.

They had see ham (cockles) and siput sedut (balitongs)…

Hai Bing siput sudut

…too and they loved them to bits!

For the vegetable dishes, they had their cangkok manis fried with egg and they actually liked the one here more than the one we had on their last day in town. Other than that, they had their midin, of course…

Hai Bingidin with belacan

According to them, they can’t get these two over in KL.

I did suggest to them that should they happen to come here, they must order the drunken prawns…

Hai Bing drunken prawns

…with those giant freshwater big-head prawns/udang galah but it looked like it fell on deaf ears. I had that once and I enjoyed it a lot but of course, that dish would not come cheap, not with those killer prawns!

Well, even without the latter, dinner did not come cheap – over RM400 for the 7 of them but they felt it was absolutely worth it and I am pretty sure that if they had a chance, they sure would want to come back here agian.

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.

What did you do…

Back to my West Malaysian friends from KL who were in town the other day, they were left to their own devices most of the time so I did not really know what mischief they were up to while they were gallivanting all over town.

From the posts that they shared on Facebook, it seemed that they were extremely fascinated by everything at the Sibu Central Market and they enjoyed some of the stuff that they tried at the hawker centre on the 1st floor and they seemed to have fallen head over heels in love with our Sibu Foochow dianpianngu, there at the hawker centre and also at the celebrated place of origin here and also here.

They had lunch here and dinner here and though they felt that some of the dishes were nice, they were not exactly overwhelmed by them. That was why I was wondering if I had made the right decision in insisting on bringing them here for lunch on their final day in town.

Nobody said anything about the pandan chicken…

Ruby pandan chicken

…so I guess it was all right and I did not see anybody getting excited about the butter scotch prawn balls…

Ruby butter scotch prawn balls

…the favourite of many here, either. It appeared to me that they were not all that fond of dishes that were sweet and I could jolly well guess that that was the reason.

We also had the grilled lamb with the very nice lime and mayo sauce…

Ruby grilled lamb with lime & mayo sauce

– one dish that I do enjoy very much around here.

Somebody commented that the cangkuk manis fried with egg…

Ruby cangkok manis with egg

…was not as nice as one place that they went to on their first night in town (coming right up in my next post) but the rest were fine with it. I would agree to some extent that it was not as nice as before – the leaves, for one, were kind of old and I was somewhat put off by that and the eggs looked rather dull, like they had added some kind of sauce or whatever, not nice and yellow. Even my missus felt that same way the last time we were here.

They loved the midin, ching chao (fried plain with garlic)…

Ruby midin ching chao

…though and personally, I did not think the fried mee sua

Ruby fried mee sua

…was all that great that day. One of the ladies does not eat pork so I had asked for the meat to be left out and perhaps, they did not use lard to cook either and probably, that made all the difference. I certainly had very much nicer fried mee sua here on some of my earlier visits.

They all loved the tauhu tear, the Foochow-style tofu soup cooked with canned oysters…

Ruby tofu soup

…and their own-made tofu…

Ruby own-made tofu

…was a hit. They said it tasted so good, with its light hint of hay bee (dried prawns) and it was nice enough on its own, no need for any mayo or sauce.

Well, at least, there were hits and misses so on the whole, it wasn’t too bad, after all. The total for the food for the 8 0f us came up to RM195.00, including one dish of Foochow fried noodles that I did not order and I asked for it to be packed for me to take home and no, if it is Foochow fried noodles that you want, I would suggest that you go some place else – theirs isn’t the best around, that much I would say.

On their final night here, they went here for the super expensive prawn noodles (The last I heard, it was already RM45.00 a bowl – word had it that they had to fork out a whooping RM80 for that!!!) and their chao chai hung ngang (noodles in preserved vegetable fish soup which they actually liked more than the prawn mee) and here for the super super expensive empurau aka wang poo liao (unforgettable), steamed, before flying back the very next morning.

They came to Sibu with individual suitcases, all quite empty and after 4 days/3 nights, they went back to KL with all of them packed to the brim plus at least three extra styrofoam boxes filled with frozen fish and prawns and what not and their hand-carried luggage! They had to buy extra baggage for all that! And of course, they ate A LOT too while they were here but they did not manage to eat everything – too many things, too little time! Now, who says there is nothing in Sibu?

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.

Like it’s her birthday…

Well, it most certainly WAS her birthday, my sister’s, on the 13th of January and she took us all out for dinner here…

MJ Hu Seafood Restoran

I had never been here before but I had seen a foodie friend’s Instagram posts on Facebook so of course, I was keen on going to give it a try.

The curry fish (RM60.00)…

Curry fish

…was very good, very spicy and the lovely gravy went absolutely well with rice. I did not think much of the fish though – I think it was a red snapper.

The butter prawns (RM40.00)…

Butter prawns

…were very nicely done too and the crustaceans were very firm, very fresh but this is one dish that one can get at most any other place and some can do it just as well and it was the same with the tofu dish…

Minced meat tofu

…that we also had that night.

The Thai-style midin

Thai-style midin

…on the other hand, was in a class of its own and the strips of mango in it sure were an added bonus. Everyone loved it to bits!

However, the star of the evening had got to be their specialty, the pig’s tail (RM25.00)…

Pig's tail

I never had that before and I could not believe how nice that was – I loved it so much and I sure would want to go back here again for more.  We were joking about it that night – how a pig only had one tail and a very short one at that and how many pig’s tails would be needed to cook one dish. That was hilarious!

It was a lovely dinner, indeed – I certainly would want to go back there again to see what other nice dishes they have on their menu. Thanks so much to my sis for the treat and a very Happy Birthday once again – God bless always and may all your dreams come true. 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.

They came from the city…

They came from the city, Kuala Lumpur, to our humble little town of Sibu, seven of them altogether…

My KL friends and I

One of them, Jenn, my blogger friend, contacted me to let me know and of course, I was delighted and offered to be their food and tour guide but she told me there would be seven of them. In the end, I prepared an elaborate itinerary for the 3 days when they would be here – where to go, what to eat, what to see but they would have to walk around on their own or call Grab since they can’t jolly well fit into my old jalopy, all of them.

On the day they arrived, I waited for them at the hotel and after they had checked in, we walked round the corner to the back to where else, if not here!

They brought along these goodies…

Goodies from KL 1

…for me…

Goodies from KL 2

…thank you so much. I must say that the heong peah in the first photograph (extreme left) was really good, a whole lot nicer than all that I had bought before from the bak kua shops in KL and elsewhere. The pastry was so very nice and flaky and the filling was moist and sticky, just the way I like it – the rest were all hard and dry! I’ve not tried the other things though – will probably save them all for Chinese New Year.

For our lunch, we had the pomelo salad…

Payung Cafe pomelo salad

…and the Payung rojak

Payung rojak

…to start off and they enjoyed them both. They were particularly intrigued by the bunga kantan (torch ginger flower) petals and the buah kedondong leaves in the rojak.

I ordered the kacang ma chicken…

Payung kacang ma chicken

…for them to try, knowing that this Kuching Hakka specialty would be something they had never tried before. I was not in the least surprised that some of them did not like it and the rest weren’t exactly excited by it either. I guess this is an acquired taste and many will not like it the first time. As the Campari slogan goes, “The first time is never the best!” – if you can catch the drift. LOL!!! I did not eat it that day, of course, as they came on a Friday, my no-meat day, and that was why I did not order all the other very nice meat dishes.

On the other hand, they loved the Payung otak-otak

Payung otak-otak

…so much – in fact, they were so impressed by it that they immediately placed orders for some to take home and they were head over heels in love with the belimbing prawns…

Payung Cafe belimbing prawns

…too so much so that they kept going for the soup even after they had eaten all the crustaceans and they were full of praises for the mushroom roll…

Mushroom roll

…as well!

For dessert, I ordered their dreamy nite…

Dreamy nite

…and what a coincidence it was when it was served and this song came on right at that very moment! Talk about making a grand entrance. LOL!!!

We also had the favourite of many going back to my teenage years in the 70’s, the jelly pisang

Payung jelly pisang

Well, as expected, they enjoyed the lunch so much that even after they had left and gone elsewhere they were still talking about these Payung specialties that they had – obviously, they had left a lasting impression on their minds.

I asked them why they decided to come here, of all the places, especially when I have been asking everyone to come and visit but no, they are more keen on going elsewhere. Well, they said that one of them found out that the air fares were very cheap and asked the rest and on the spur of the moment, they decided to make the trip. Well, thank you so much to everybody for coming – it was great having you all here…and do come again sometime!

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.

We were there…

Last year, when my cousin from Sydney, Australia was home, he was able to attend his youngest brother’s second daughter’s wedding. This year, the eldest daughter got married earlier in Miri and the wedding reception here was held on Christmas Eve at a leading hotel in town and all of us were there to share the joy of this happy occasion.

The dinner that evening started off with this dish…

Phoenix Court Paramount Hotel Four Seasons

…the Four Seasons, just that here, you will get more than four most of the time.

I loved the roast chicken…

Phoenix Court Paramount Hotel roast chicken

…more than the slices in the middle with some kind of sauce, Thai chili sauce most likely.

The steamed kim chio (golden pomfret), Teochew style…

Phoenix Court Paramount Hotel steamed fish

…was great and there was this broccoli…

Phoenix Court Paramount Hotel broccoli

…with mushroom and whatever else too.

Everyone at my table were in agreement over the fact that this prawn dish…

Phoenix Court Paramount Hotel prawns & jellyfish

…was the best that evening and the jellyfish in the middle was very good too.

The dinner ended with Chinese pancake with red bean paste filling and a fruit platter for dessert.

Congratulations once again to the happy couple and to the proud and happy parents, cousin Jimmy and his wife, Lily, and thank you so much for the invitation. It  certainly was a lovely evening, getting together with my next-of-kin on my paternal side of the family.

PHOENIX COURT (2.293350, 111.820971) is located at Paramount Hotel at No. 3, Lorong 9A, Jalan Kampong Dato here in Sibu.

Look who’s back in town again…

Well, it was my cousin from Sydney Australia who was back in town again – he comes home every year around Christmas to see his mum here and yes, as always, he did bring us a gift, thank you once again…

Chocolates from Alister

…and of course, we arranged to go out for lunch.

Last year, we were here and he loved the food there and the previous year, we went to the now-closed-down Thai restaurant and the year before that, we were at Payung. I didn’t want to take him to the places he had been before so this year, we ended up here.

Of course, we had to have their signature dish, the dong po pork belly (RM20.00)…

Ming Mei Shi dong po pork belly

…served with steamed mantao (FOC)…

Ming Mei Shi mantao

Theirs was just as nice as the pork leg we had in Kuching, if not nicer and definitely a cut above what we had in Miri.

The creamy butter prawn balls (RM26.00)…

Ming Mei Shi creamy butter prawn balls

…were great too and for our vegetable dish, we had their cangkuk manis fried with egg (RM14.00)…

Ming Mei Shi cangkok manis with egg

We ordered their sea cucumber soup (RM16.00)…

Ming Mei Shi sea cucumber soup

…and I thought it was so very nice with the huge chunks of hai song (海參/sea cucumber) in it, rather different from elsewhere and I couldn’t resist a second bowl…and a third!

The total inclusive of rice and drinks and the 6% SST came up to RM89.45 for the 4 of us, not that cheap but definitely worth it especially seeing how my cousin enjoyed all that we had that afternoon.

名美食大酒家 Ming Mei Shi Restaurant (2.293896, 111.836528) is located at 25,27,29, Lorong Chew Siik Hiong 1A in the Fortune Commercial Centre, the area of shops behind the Rejang Medical Centre, right beside the Doraemon Supermarket there.