That’s my name…

Unlike the place in my previous post, this one is true to its name – the food is nice and it’s affordable too!

This is the favourite of my cousin in Sydney, Australia – he would not fail to drop by every year when he comes back in December around Christmas. He particularly likes how the dishes here are mild, not quite the stuff you will get at the regular chu char (cook & fry) places around town where the food would be pretty much the same – generally, it is more or less a case of you’ve tried one, you’ve tried them all.

Well, we were fasting all day Friday last week, Good Friday and after the mid-afternoon service at the church that we frequent here, when evening fell, we dropped by here for dinner, the breaking of fast, so to speak. It was a day of abstinence (from meat) too so we did not order any meat dishes but seafood is all right.

I did not want their salad sotong which is actually deep-fried batter-coated squid served with mayonnaise, nothing more than that so when the nice lady taking our orders suggested kung pao sotong, I jumped at it right away and yes, it…

Kung pao sotong

…was very nice. I loved the sauce especially! So far I only came across chicken being cooked this way.

She also suggested their signature own-made tofu dish but I could recall it had meat in it. She said that they could leave that out and add mushrooms instead so we agreed to have that…

Own-made tofu

…and of course, it was very nice. It certainly was not one of their signature dishes for nothing.

We had their butter baby kai lan

Butter baby kai lan

…on our previous visit and since we liked it, we decided we would want it again for a change from the usual fried midin (wild jungle fern) or cangkok manis. That night, I saw some of the employees sitting at a table by the side preparing the midin and my goodness! There was a mountain of it and if all that was for one night alone, their business must be really very good.

I also ordered their sweet and sour black pomfret (or chio/ikan bawal hitam)…

Sweet & sour fish

…and the moment it was served, I know that would cost quite a bit – it was big! Of course, it did not matter at all as it was very nice and we sure enjoyed it very much.

When I went to pay our bill, RM76.00 altogether inclusive of rice and drinks, I asked the lady boss how much the fish was and she said RM31.00 and she apologised that they had run out of smaller ones – normally, it would be around RM25.00 only like the last time when we had the fish.

That certainly was a delightful dinner and for sure, we would be coming back again for the simple reason that the food here is, as its name suggests, nice.

NICE HOUSE RESTAURANT (2.29201,111.82739) is located in the vicinity of the Tunku Osman shops, opposite Rejang Bookstore.

More than you think I am…

Good Friday is a public holiday here in Sarawak so last Thursday, we went to fetch my girl from her school in the jungle and bring her home for the long weekend. Her school or most, if not all, of the schools in the state have taken Easter Monday off as well.

We dropped off her housemate/colleague at the airport for her flight back to Kuching and headed to the bank to settle some business and it was already 4.00 p.m. when we dropped by here for a very late lunch/early dinner.

They have added a caption to their name…

More than just noodles

…which I would say is most appropriate as there are very few noodle dishes here and a whole lot of other things. We had not been here for a while, not since October last year as I am not all that fond of the boisterous crowd – it can get so noisy that my head will start spinning and I would not enjoy what I would be having, never mind how nice it is. It sure looked like 4 to 5.00 p.m. would be a good time to drop by as there were not so many people and ample (free) parking spaces all around the building – that is another problem here. You may have to park quite a distance away and walk there.

My girl had their sparkling mixed fruit soda (RM7.20)…

Sparkling mixed fruit soda

…and she loved it while I had the red bean smoothie (RM6.50)…

Red bean smoothie

…blended red bean with a scoop of ice cream on top with a few red beans for presentation…and yes, I enjoyed that as well.

My missus had a glass of fresh lemon tea (RM4.20) and this bowl of stewed pork rice (RM7.90)…

Stewed pork rice

…that I would not mind ordering sometimes as they do it pretty well here plus the complimentary soup…

Complimentary soup

…with tiny cubes of tofu and sweet corn that comes with some of their dishes is very nice as well.

My girl wanted one of their burgers but they would only be available at night so she had their nasi biryani with chicken satay (RM16.90)…

Nasi biryani with chicken satay

…which she said was nice and she did manage to finish most of it, leaving a bit of the rice behind, even though there was quite a lot on that plate.

I decided to try their Cantonese sticky rice with stewed pork dumpling (RM12.50)…

Cantonese dumpling

…and it was huge with a lot of meat…

Cantonese dumpling, inside

…inside! I loved the layers of fat that melted in the mouth but I wished the glutinous rice had been softer and a lot more sticky so it would not come across like ordinary rice – this was most disappointing, I must say. Other than that, at that price, I would not mind one salted egg yolk, a couple of kau lak (chestnuts) and shitake mushroom and a few thin slices of lap cheong (Chinese sausage) as well but there were none so personally, for that kind of money (or less), I would choose rather go for something else on their menu that I would enjoy a lot more.

I also ordered their XL Hickory BBQ pork ribs…

XL Hickory BBQ pork ribs

…for a whooping RM46.20 to try. It was very nice but pretty much the same as their barbecued honey spare ribs (RM25.20 only, the last time we had that here) but this one had two of the rack of ribs. Of course we could not finish all of that since we already had our own individual orders so we just had the smaller slab and asked for the other one to be packed for us to take home.

There is no service charge (10%) here, just the 6% SST so the total came up to RM107.50 and I just paid RM110.00 and asked the cashier to keep the change.

NOODLE HOUSE (2.291406,111.829162) is located somewhere in the area immediately behind the Sibu Central Police Station at No. 2B, Ground Floor, Lorong Laichee 1, accessible either from Hua Kiew Road or Laichee Lane.

Finale…

Finally, after three days of merry-making, feasting and endless chattering, so much fun and laughter and thousands of selfies and wefies, we reached the end of our Sacred Heart & St Elizabeth’s Class of ’69 50th Anniversary Reunion celebration.

Somebody went and complied a souvenir booklet…

Souvenir booklet

…to commemorate this auspicious event and inside, you will see, in alphabetical order, photos of all of us who took part  and a short write-up of what went on in our lives after we left school in 1969.

Well, my name starts with an A so there I was, right in front…

Front page

…with my family photograph taken six years ago at this same event

Family

– the Sacred Heart (SHOSA) & St Elizabeth’s (SEOSA) Old Students Association Annual Dinner at a leading hotel here. Of course, we grabbed the chance and had another snapshot taken together again this year for remembrance.

We only had two tables that time but this year, we had a record-breaking eight tables altogether…

Altogether now
*Friend/ex-colleague’s photograph*

…including spouses and in my case, I did bring my girl along the whole time over the past three days as well.

We had a group photograph of us boys taken too…

Just the boys

Sadly, not everyone came back to join in and I can think of a few residing right here in Sibu who, for some reason or other, were not with us.

I did not spend time taking photographs of the food…

Steamed fish

…but I thought it was not as nice as on previous occasions when I had dinner here, whatever the occasion was. I guess it all depends on how much you are willing to fork out per table but anyway, we weren’t there for the food – it was a night of happy reunions with classmates, schoolmates, ex-colleagues and even, teachers. There were two of my teachers there that night!!!

The previous time, I was feeling kind of bored so I marched up to the emcee and told him that we would like to sing…and we did (song starts at 1:00) and brought the house down. This time around, I heard from our organising chairperson, Robert, that the emcee informed him that we would be given the privilege of singing not one but three songs, probably because we were the largest group…so over the three days, we went through a number of songs and finally, decided on three.

The first one was not all that exciting and probably, that was when this photograph was taken…

Singing
*Friend/ex-colleague’s photograph*

It was some kind of a warming up before the ladies took over the frontline for a song from the disco era, the late 70’s and early 80’s – somebody behind me asked me to call my daughter to go up on stage and join us and so I did. That was why she was up there with us at the time…and for our third and last number, we went all the way back to our time, the rockin’ and rollin’ 60’s and sang this song by The Beatles! (I think if you are my Facebook friend, you can click the links to go to my posts there to watch the video recordings of us singing. Just click the PLAY icon!)

No, we’re not such great singers, that much I would say, but nobody cared – it was the spirit of togetherness, all of us getting up on stage to sing our hearts out and have a whole lot of fun – just like in the good ol’ days back at high school and that mattered the most to us. We most certainly did have a ball and it was something we would remember for a long long time.

Well, all good things must come to an end and that climax brought our grand celebration to a close. On behalf of everybody, I would like to extend a BIG thank you to the people in the organising committee and all who have helped in one way or another to make this memorable event a  roaring success. Till the  next time we get together again, next year perhaps, may the Good Lord bless and keep us all. Cheers!!!

Six years…

We were here six years ago, my 1969 Form 5 classmates in Sacred Heart Secondary School and the girls from our sister school right next door, St Elizabeth’s but this time around, there were a lot more people…

Reunion group photo

…than the previous time, this being our 50th Anniversary, 50 years since we left school and went our separate ways.

This was on Friday night after our lunch here and because I was abstaining from meat, I did not touch the lamb nor the chicken but that wasn’t much of a problem as I could have the fried noodles…

Fried mee and bihun

…in the buffet spread and the vegetables in the mixed vegetable dish…

Mixed vegetables

…and also the fish fillet with its very nice sourish sweet sauce…

Fried fish fillet

…and the prawns…

Prawns

Angela, my good friend/ex-classmate, Robert’s wife made these mini angku kueh (紅龜粿)…

Ang ku kueh

…with yam and peanut filling and I so loved her grated coconut-coated  ti kew or kueh bakul, aka nian gao (年糕)…

Ti kwe

I’m not a fan of the traditional sticky cake but hers was an exception to the rule. I sure feasted on it as I enjoyed it a lot!

Among the dessert selections from the hotel, there were fruits and these lovely cream puffs…

Cream puffs

I did not find out if they made them themselves or they got them from some bakery in town but they were very nice and I had at least half a dozen. LOL!!!

On the whole, I felt that the buffet dinner we had here the previous time was much nicer but this one was fine with us. After all, we were there to enjoy one another’s company and we sure had a whole lot of fun, singing and dancing the night away.

Day 3 of our 50th Anniversary Reunion celebration coming right up next…

LI HUA HOTEL RESTAURANT (2.284477, 111.8316940) is located on the 1st floor of the hotel at the T-junction of Lorong Lanang 2 and Jalan Maju.

The next round…

After the splendid dinner and party the night before which sure was a fine start (well, I missed the lunch that they had here – one commented that what they had was not the same as before anymore so it was kind of disappointing) to our Class of ’69 50th Anniversary Reunion, I must say, we all gathered for lunch here the following day.

It was our no-meat Friday in the season of Lent so I told my dear friend/ex-classmate, Robert, that I would join nonetheless to mingle around and I could just eat the vegetables, not a problem at all. I don’t know if it was because of what I said that he arranged for all the non-meat dishes except for the steamed chicken…

New Capital steamed chicken

…for the very popular chicken rice here. After all, I am quite sure there were quite a few of us, all ex-Catholic school students, also observing the day of abstinence.

We had one of their signature dishes, the kampua mee

New Capital kampua mee

…which was very nice but I think it had been cooked for a while already before it was served so the strands of noodles all stuck together and it was quite a task to toss and shake them loose.

Needless to say, we enjoyed their fried filleted white pomfret…

New Capital fish

It was as good as always, certainly a dish not to be missed.

The wasabi prawns…

New Capital wasabi prawns

…were really very nice except that the batter was a bit too salty. I likes how there was just a slight hint of the wasabi in the dressing – anything more than that would have put me off as I am not really into that.

For our vegetable dishes, we had the taugeh (bean sprouts) fried with salted fish…

New Capital taugeh salted fish

…and of course, the midin (wild jungle fern)…

New Capital midin

…and everyone loved the mango desserts, this one wrapped in mochi-like exterior, coated with grated coconut…

New Capital mango mochi

…and this one in chee cheong fan skin…

New Capital mango chee cheong fan

…and between the two, everyone’s voted went to the latter. We all thought it was much nicer.

It was all about getting together that afternoon, chit-chatting and catching up with what has been gong on in one another’s lives and enjoying the food – there was no singing and dancing but we certainly had a lot of that when we got together for dinner that same night – coming right up in my next post. Stick around!

New Capital Restaurant 新首都酒家 (2.288619, 111.830057) is located at No. 46, Lebuh Tanah Mas, off Jalan Kampung Nyabor, in the block of shops opposite the Sarawak House/King’s Trioplex/Premier Hotel at the very far end on the right.

50 years…

Half a century ago, all of us were in Form 5 and after the Senior Cambridge Examination, we went our separate ways and to commemorate our 50th year, we had a grand reunion celebration last weekend starting with a lunch gathering here on Thursday but I could not join that one as I had to go and get my girl from her school in the jungle and bring her home for the long weekend – they took the day off for Ching Ming.

Next on the programme was the dinner here…

Payung Cafe staircase

…on Thursday evening in their function room on the 2nd floor. Boy, the response was so very good and the place was packed.

We had most of my favourites and as the light was not exactly bright, I did not take the photographs of everything in the lavish buffet spread but I had never had their satay, chicken and beef…

Payung Cafe satay

…before as it is not on their regular menu. I sure enjoyed it very much and had more than one helping.

This is also not on their menu, the paku (wild jungle fern) with santan (coconut milk)…

Payung Cafe paku with santan

…and between that one and this one, their tapioca leaves with sweet potatoes…

Payung Cafe tetek

…I would say that I liked the latter more but both were really good.

There was also the ulam with the super awesome sambals but the photo did not come out too well. Everyone sang praises of the food – they so loved all the salads as well as the other dishes, including this one, their otak-otak

Payung Cafe otak-otak

– my ex-classmate sitting beside me specifically gave it a special mention and I could see all the delighted faces when the jelly pisang was served for dessert – brings us back to the 60’s, one said.

There was live entertainment…

Live entertainment

…and singing and dancing too. That sure was a great start to our celebration!

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.

Little sister…

I met Helen, my ex-student in Kanowit a long long time ago, twice before, here during our reunion gathering and another time when she came to town with her mum but I had not met her younger sister, Rose, not since she left school and that was some 40 years ago!

Helen sent me word saying that they would be in town to perform their filial duties for Ching Ming and asked if my family and I could join them for dinner as Rose would be coming and she would love to see me again. Of course, I told her it would be my pleasure and she asked me to help book a table at this ever-popular old school restaurant in town that goes back a very long way till the 50’s, I think, and it was a good thing I did for that night, it was full!…

Hock Chu Leu full house

I guess that was because there were a lot of people home the last weekend of the school break and the weekend before Ching Ming and we…

With Helen, Rose & son

…sure were lucky to be able to get a table that night.

We had their celebrated Foochow sio bee/siew mai (meat dumplings) in their dessert platter…

Sio bee or nee

…with the very nice or nee (yam paste) in the centre. The yam paste was really nice, soft and smooth and what I liked best about it was that it was not sweet, just a little bit and so very slightly so.

We also had their Foochow fried noodles…

Foochow fried noodles

…and one of the dishes we used to enjoy during my growing up years, the braised Chinese cabbage…

Braised Chinese cabbage

…except that I thought it was a whole lot nicer before.

The Foochow-style tofu soup with canned oysters…

Tauhu tear

…was all right – I’ve had others a lot nicer elsewhere and the chequerboard duck…

Chequerboard duck

…was very different from the one here – yes, it was good but we did feel that in comparison, the latter would win hands down…by a mile.

The fried cangkuk manis with egg…

Mani chai with egg

…was all right and I thought the fried bitter gourd with the three types of egg…

Bitter gourd with three types of egg

…could do with a lot less egg and more vegetable.

I had this liver with kai lan (Chinese broccoli)

Kai lan with liver

…before and I loved it and yes, this time around too, I really enjoyed the liver especially.

I don’t know how much the dinner was altogether as Rose was so kind and generous as to pick up the tab. I would not say that what we had swept me off my feet – at best, it was all right but the company was absolutely great and we really had such a great time catching up with one another’s lives.

Thank you so much, Rose, for the dinner, and to Helen as well. It sure was great to meet you two again and I was glad for the chance to meet your hubby, Rose and your handsome son. We certainly had the most delightful evening and I sure look forward to getting together like this again. God bless, all…till we meet again.

HOCK CHU LEU RESTAURANT (2.288654, 111.826974) is located at No. 30, Jalan Tukang Besi, formerly Blacksmith Road, opposite the LehDo Hotel, formerly the Lido Cinema which is right beside the Standard Chartered Bank, Sibu branch.