For her…

Some of you may recall that I had the beef spaghetti

Payung Cafe beef spaghetti
*Archive photo*

…here around a week ago and my girl wanted so much to enjoy it as well but she could not as the pasta was not gluten-free.

I wanted to buy the very special bolognese sauce for her to eat with the gluten-free spaghetti…

Gluten-free from Australia
*Archive photo*

…that my cousin brought all the way from Australia for her not too long ago but Peter, the boss, did not seem all that willing to part with his existing stock and promised to cook it specially for her, extra fresh straight from the wok and he assured me that he would see to it that it would be extra nice too.

I am not a fan of the regular bolognese sauce – somehow, I would feel like eating tomato ketchup straight from the bottle and I can eat just about so much of the very cloyingly rich and creamy carbonara sauce – just a few spoonful and I would feel jelak already. I would much sooner go for aglio olio instead.

However, Peter’s special bolognese pasta sauce is nothing like the usual. There is tomato in it too but he uses fresh ones, one kilo of it with one kilo of beef, pureed and I don’t know what else goes into the cooking, probably Bombay onions, blended finely and some herbs as well. I hear there is kiwi fruit in it even and all in all, I would say that it tastes really good.

Well, true to his word, he and one of his boys, Andy, came knocking on my door on Friday last week and they passed me this…

Special Payung bolognese sauce

He had timed it in such a way so that my girl could enjoy it to her heart’s content when she came home for the weekend but unfortunately, it was our usual no-meat Friday so we had to wait until lunch the following day, Saturday.

This was what my girl had…

With gluten-free spaghetti

…with her gluten-free spaghetti and she loved it to the max!

She was getting kinda sick and tired of some of the (expensive) gluten-free stuff that she bought to eat, the biscuits or cookies and what not – they all tasted so different, the texture and taste were all not quite the same as the regular ones but she was delighted that the spaghetti was like…spaghetti.

Peter cooked her two packs of the most delightful sauce and we finished off one and she said that she would bring the other one with her back to her school in the jungle to eat with pasta or rice or maybe as a dip for some chips that she bought from a supermarket here.

I did not want to eat up her supply of the gluten-free pasta so I went and bought some angel hair and this was what I had…

With angel hair pasta

…and yes, I enjoyed it a lot too!

Thank you so much, Peter – you certainly made my girl very happy!

PAYUNG  CAFE (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.

Where do you come from…

That night, I went searching for this place…

Restoran Muhajirin

…after I saw somebody sharing on Facebook some photographs of the noodles available there.

I tried their kopi serbuk Muhajirin, black (RM2.50)…

Kopi serbuk Muhajirin

…which was not too bad with a kind of nutty sort of taste so it was different from our local coffee but I thought it was quite nice.

I asked the people where the guy was from and they were not too sure – some of them said Lanzhou but probably they arrived at that conclusion from the name of the la mian, his handmade pulled noodles…

Restoran Mhuajirin noodle chef 1

I watched him fold and twist and twirl the dough and pull until the strands of noodles miraculously appeared…

Restoran Muhajirin noodle chef 2

I asked him, “你哪裡來的?” (Where are you from) and he replied, “中國,” (China) so I probed further, “中國在哪裡?” (Where in China?) to which he replied, “新疆.” (Xinjiang)

My missus had the pulled noodles…

Restoran Muhajirin pulled noodles

…with braised beef (RM8.90)…

Restoran Mhuajirin pulled noodles with braised beef

…and it was very good. The soup was great too and the beef was really nice and tender.

I picked their sliced noodles with clear beef soup (RM7.00)…

Restoran Muhajirin sliced noodles in clear beef soup

…but I did not like the noodles, hard and chewy in some parts and the soup was somewhat light, not thick enough for me.

Those of you who are not into wan sui/daun ketumbar (coriander leaves), be forewarned that they do add those so you will have to tell them not to do so. I know a lot of people here, unlike the people in Kuching, do not like the smell – they say it smells like bed bugs.

We also had their dumplings, beef (RM7.90)…

Restoran Muhajirin beef dumplings

…but no, I did not think they were anything to get excited about. I certainly would try something else instead should I happen to drop by here again.

RESTORAN MUHAJIRIN (2.325989, 111.840810) is located along Lorong Sg Merah 2, off Jalan Teng Chin Hua to the left of its traffic lights junction with Jalan Igan, with the RHB Bank, Sg Merah branch, on the opposite side of the junction, back to back with the Mega Store Supermarket.

On the spot…

If you remember, I did mention in some previous post that I would pack some meals/dishes for my girl to take to her school in her jungle to eat there but the other day, she mentioned in passing that most everything would be a whole lot nicer if eaten on the spot.

Well, that goes without saying, I guess. Anything that is reheated and eaten some days later would not be as nice as eating it freshly cooked and served piping hot. That was why when I suggested dropping by here…

Payung by candlelight

…last Saturday evening after the sunset service at the cathedral down the road, she said yes, without any hesitation whatsoever.

I guess everyone would be able to tell which place we went to…

Payung decor

…for dinner that night.

The ladies had the “krongdong” juice (RM7.00 per glass)…

Payung krondong juice

…or buah kedondong (ambarella) juice to be exact. The way they spelt it made me think of the very nice, soft and soothing keroncong music/songs playing softly in the background when you are dining here and it sure helps enhance the ambiance of the place.

They were out of their papaya salad and my girl asked for the herbs salad (RM8.00)…

Payung herbs salad

…instead, not my favourite but I was ok with it.

They wanted the belimbing prawns (RM17.00, with rice)…

Payung belimbing prawns

…and Peter, the boss, took it upon himself to cook that specially for us, with extra prawns, no extra charge and extra spicy – that was why it was reddish in colour.

Here, you can see Andy…

Payung Andy

…one of Peter’s boys, cooking the same dish for the people at another table and it was the usual yellowish colour…

Andy's belimbing prawns

Of course, that would be nice too, just not (as) spicy.

Somebody ordered the green curry chicken…

Payung green curry chicken

…that night but no, we did not have that.

We did not have their butter chicken…

Payung butter chicken

…either. I remember having that a long time ago and though it was nice, I would not say I was all that overwhelmed by it. It certainly looked a whole lot better and nicer now so perhaps, I would ask for it on our next visit.

The ladies also had the otak-otak (RM13.00, with rice)…

Payung otak otak

…which I must say is a whole lot spicier than before now and of course, that’s the way we like it!!!

So what did I have that night? Well, I saw some people at another table having their beef spaghetti (RM17.00)…

Payung beef spaghetti

…and it looked really good. I had that before but the beef was sliced then and it was hard and tough so I did not really enjoy it. This time around, I noticed that they had cut the meat into little cubes, not chopped or minced, and yes, it was definitely more manageable and very much nicer this way.

My girl wanted to eat that so much but she could not as the spaghetti was not gluten-free but she tried the meat and the sauce and she loved it so very much! I asked Peter if I could buy the sauce and use it for the gluten-free pasta that we have in the house and he said he would cook it himself one of these days, specially for my girl. We certainly are looking forward to that!

PAYUNG  CAFE (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 dog…

This place…

Dragon Door 2

…opened its doors in June, I was told but that was the time when I was caught up with all the things going on at home so I was unaware of it.

Then, the other day, I was invited to LIKE their Facebook page and so I did and soon after, I received a message from my friend inviting me to drop by to give the place a try and to let him know when I would be going so he could make the arrangements.

Well, I decided to drop by last week and I went looking around and taking photographs of the place. They are occupying two shop lots on opposite ends of two blocks of shops so they have the advantage of using the open area in between as well – there is a shade/roof over that part and it is nice and cool with the breeze blowing through from the front or the back depending on the time of day.

There is a bak kut teh stall…

Dragon Door bak kut teh stall

…in the shop on the left and another stall that was already closed when I was there. I saw a photograph of kueh chap there and I was told that their longevity noodles (Foochow mee sua) would be the one thing one should try. However, one would have to go there early as by around 10 or 11, it would all be sold out and the people would just close shop for the day. In the shop on the right…

Dragon Door 2

…there is a kampua mee stall (priced at RM2.80 a bowl) and this chu char (cook & fry) place…

Dragon Door chu char stall

…at the back. I was told that this guy is the brother of the one at Sibu Town in the Wonderful Supermarket area at Ulu Sg Merah.

A young boy came to take our orders and he gave us the very nice and impressive menu…

Dragon Door menu

…which, unfortunately, was completely in Mandarin…

Dragin Door menu, inside

…so that was Greek to me!

It sure did not help one bit that the boy was mono-lingual but we did manage to ask him to recommend some of their signature dishes. He suggested their 黑狗排骨/Hēi gǒu páigǔ which literally means black dog ribs! My missus was aghast and kept telling the boy that we would not eat any dog meat and the boy kept telling her it was not! I thought that was hilarious!!! What she did not know was that “black dog” or or kaw in Hokkien is the Chinese name for Guinness stout.

Yes, we did order that in the end (RM12.00, small)…

Guiness Stout spare ribs

…and yes, it was very nice.

My missus liked our other order more, the fried ang chao pork (RM12.00)…

Deep fried ang chao pork

…and yes, I would say it was good too, not too strong on the ang chao (red wine lees/hong zao jiang/紅糟醬) so I liked it more than the one we had here.

Their Four Heavenly Kings (RM8.00, small)…

Dragon Door Four Heavenly Kings

…was different from other places where they would fry it with sambal hay bee/dried prawns.

Here, they cook this dish with canned stewed pork…

Dragon Door Four Heavenly Kings, canned stewed pork

…and that reminded me of the time when I was teaching in Kanowit in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I did not have a refrigerator then so I would use the meat in cans as an ingredient to cook vegetables. I would have liked the way they did it here if they had not added cornflour which gave the sauce/gravy a somewhat starchy texture.

Well, my attempt to go in and out of the place unnoticed was not at all successful as my friend showed up right after we had struggled to place our orders…and he insisted on picking up the tab! He is running the coffee shop business here, he says. Thank you so much, Philip, for the treat and here’s wishing you every success and all the best in your venture…and incidentally, should anyone decide to drop by and try the food here, be forewarned that the servings are huge even though we ordered all the small ones – enough for 3 or 4 people, at least and there were only the two of us so of course, we ended up tapao-ing the leftovers home.

We certainly would want to go back again sometime as I would love to try their salt-baked tilapia. I bet I will enjoy that very much!

DRAGON DOOR (2.279520, 111.839882) is located along Jalan Aman, among the shops on your left if your are coming in from Jalan Wong King Huo or on your right if you are coming from Lanang Road.

Fixing a broken heart…

How do you mend a broken heart?

Broken heart

The one that was served that day (RM1.50 per plate) was cracked but I guess if I had pushed it back together again to close the crevices, it would be whole once more but no, I did not bother to do that. LOL!!!

I had their chicken rice once before and I quite enjoyed it so that day, I dropped by there again with my missus to let her have a go at it.

The lady who took our orders spoke only Mandarin and I asked for a platter of char siew (barbecued pork), siew yoke (roast pork) and roast chicken from the roast meat stall…

Mitsu roast meat stall

…but this was what we got (RM13.00)…

Siew yoke & roast chicken

…the very nice siew yoke that was somewhat different from all the rest elsewhere..

Mitsu siew yoke

…and the roast chicken…

Mitsu roast chicken

…but there was no char siew. I did not bother to ask why – I did not feel like going through all that hassle of trying to get her to understand my sprinkling of Mandarin so we just ate what we were served.

There was a sign on the stall, RM6.50 for whatever it was. Yes, the lady went through great lengths to explain what it was but no, we could not make head or tail of what she was rattling on and on about. I just ordered it so I would be able to see what it was…but it never came! Tsk! Tsk!

There was another sign beside that one, also in Mandarin, priced at RM4.00 and yes, I could understand the lady when she said it was their signature dish but I failed to make out the rest of what she said and yes, I ordered that too! It turned out to be a bowl of dumplings, six of them altogether (RM4.00)…

Mitsu dumplings in miso soup

I was quite sure I heard something like shui jiao but no, I did not like the soup they served them in. My missus said it was miso soup and personally, I would much rather have the clear bone stock soup that they serve our pian sip (meat dumplings) in.

My missus quite liked what we had that day – no, I would not say it is the best in town but it is good enough, something one might consider having if one happens to be in the vicinity.

MITSU SHABU SHABU CAFE (2.293215, 111.836281) is located along Lorong Chiew Siik Hiong 1 in the Fortune Commercial Centre, behind the Rejang Medical Centre. It is at the corner opposite Lok Ming Yuen Cafe behind which is Sushi Tie, the Japanese Restaurant.

Here without you…

This was my late dad’s favourite eating place – we used to take him here to eat time and time again as he did not fancy any others.

On Saturday night, after the sunset service in church, we dropped by here for a very late dinner. This was the first time I came here after my dad’s passing – the last time was on that day itself, the 12th of July. I was giving my brother, home from Auckland, New Zealand, a lift back to the house – he was keeping vigil at the hospital all night and he said he had to eat something first before taking his medication so I took him here for my dad’s favourite – their Foochow fried noodles with added char siew.

I noticed that they have increased the price now from RM4.50 to RM5.00 so with the special request for char siew to be added on top, it would be a whooping RM5.50 a plate. Their kampua mee remains the same, at RM3.50…

Y2K current prices

…more expensive than most other places but this place is air-conditioned and a lot more comfortable as it is not as crowded and noisy as your regular coffee shops.

My girl picked this place as she wanted one of her favourites here, their lemon chicken…

Y2K lemon chicken 1

…and of course, I confirmed with the lady boss that no wheat flour would be used for the coating of the meat prior to deep frying it for use in the dish.

Yes, it was very nice…

Y2K lemon chicken 2

…nicer than most elsewhere, like their sweet and sour fish fillet which is also our favourite in town but I guess we can’t have that now as there is wheat in tomato sauce so it is not gluten-free.

This is not gluten-free either, their stewed pork leg…

Y2K stewed pork leg

…as soy sauce is used in the cooking and for some reason, there is wheat in the ingredients in the manufacture of the sauce. I felt like having it that night so I requested for a single serving, just for one and this was what I got. Needless to say, I did enjoy it very much.

My girl asked for their salted vegetable tofu soup…

Y2K salted vegetable tofu soup

that she had before and liked a lot and she also wanted their fried midin (wild jungle fern) with belacan (dried prawn paste)…

Y2K midin belacan

…but the latter was way too salty and not exactly to our liking. That’s the thing with belacan – you need to use the best available and you need to know the level of saltiness. Sometimes when we get one that is a tad too salty, we will reduce the amount or will not add any more salt – whatever we are cooking will be salty enough. Thankfully, the midin was all right when mixed with rice, the sambal blending quite well with it, so we were able to finish most of it.

Despite the increase in prices, the bill came up to only RM42.00 for the food for the three of us which of course was all right, less than what I had to fork out here recently.

Y2K CAFE (2.294220, 111.825753) is located in the Tunku Osman area, round the corner from that block of shops where the branches of AmBank & RHB Bank are located. with its back entrance facing the side (right, not the main one) entrance/exit of Methodist Secondary School.

Just right…

I’ve always loved the clear fish maw soup here for as long as I can remember but the last time I had it, they added some other ingredients that were not in the dish before and it tasted quite different…and no, I did not like it at all.

This time around, I decided to take the chance and ordered it again (RM10.00)…

A-Plus fish maw clear soup

…and yes, it was just right! I sure enjoyed it and my goodness, that was such a huge bowl for just RM10.00 and there were fish maw, prawns, own-made fish balls and a whole lot of delightful stuff in it.

Of course, I ordered another of their signature dishes, the mini ngor hiang  or lor bak (RM6.50)…

A-Plus ngor hiang

…that were packed with wholesome goodness and were as delicious as ever…

A-Plus ngor hiang, cross-section

– I sure enjoyed them to the max.

The (snake) long beans with sambal hay bee/udang kering (RM8.00)…

A-Plus long beans with sambal hay bee

…would have been nicer if cooked a while longer – it was a little hard.

For want of something different other than sweet and sour or butter or kiam sor (salty and crispy/crusty), I asked for the fish fillet to be cooked with fermented bean sauce (RM18.00)…

A-Plus fish fillet with fermented bean sauce 1

People did tell me before that if one ordered fish or prawns here, the bill could be quite substantial but I thought this was pretty reasonable, considering that the serving was so huge…

A-Plus fish fillet with fermented beans sauce 2

We only managed half of it and had to tapao the rest home and there was enough for us for a meal (alongside a vegetable dish) the following day.

I guess the servings were for two persons – I did not specify otherwise but looking at the sizes, there sure was enough for three, at least. The total for the food came up to only RM42.50, very much cheaper than what I had to fork our here and considering that the food here is very much to our liking, we sure would look forward to coming back again.

Incidentally, the 1st floor of this restaurant is air-conditioned and one may choose to go upstairs to dine at no extra charge. With the current hot spell here, it sure would be a good idea to do that.

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.