Right next to you…

Some of my friends are regulars at this restaurant…

Home Cook

…and they did ask me why I had never gone there. Well, when my girl was little, very little, she loved the lokan

Lokan
*Archive photo – for illustration purpose*

…there so I would drop by very often to buy some for her but subsequently, they stopped making and I never went back again. Another reason was because I would go to the restaurant right next door to this one…

Home Cook Corner

…but the last time we were there, I told the lady boss that my girl would not be able to eat anything with wheat flour and soy sauce and she said that more or less ruled out everything – there wasn’t much there that she could eat and that was why we had not been there for a while now.

Anyway, we decided to go and check this one out last Sunday for lunch and these, according to the nice guy – probably the boss – are the specialties of the house…

Home Cook Corner specialties

We had the chao chai (fermented preserved vegetables) fish soup…

Home Cook Corner chao chai tapah soup

tapah no less and yes, it was very nicely done but I do think the one we had here was nicer but of course, the one there had those giant freshwater prawns (udang galah) in it so it is not very fair to make a comparison between the two.

For our vegetable dish, we had the Thai-style midin

Home Cook Corner Thai-style midin 1

…which was nice too but I think they used lemon or lime juice or vinegar…

Home Cook Corner Thai-style midin

…instead of calamansi lime juice so I would say that I’ve had nicer ones elsewhere.

The ang chao (the lees or the residue of the fermented red yeast rice from the making of Foochow red wine) pork…

Home Cook Corner ang chao pork

…was good as well but I prefer the one we had here that made use of tau joo (fermented tofu) though I wouldn’t mind having this one sometimes for a change.

All in all, I would say the food was all right – the bill for the three dishes came up to RM42.00 altogether. I thought that was quite reasonable as it seems that I’ve been charged a lot more elsewhere these days. Besides, I rather liked how the aforementioned guy was very accommodating and reassuring – he said that they would use tapioca starch for anything coated and fried and he would tell us if any of the dishes on the menu had soy sauce  in it. Other than that, somehow or other, my girl enjoyed what I had ordered very much and since that was the case, we certainly would be back again to try some of the many other items on their elaborate menu.

HOME COOK CORNER (2.292756, 111.825335) is located at No. 73. Jalan Kampung Nyabor right next to RUBY RESTAURANT with the AmBank Tunku Osman branch in the very next block.

Not every day…

My girl wanted to go for the chap fan (mixed rice) here but I remember they do not have it every day and definitely not on weekends and public holidays. Nonetheless, we headed to the place to confirm it is so and true enough, they only have that Tuesdays to Fridays, lunchtime – I think Monday is their off day.

So what do they have on weekends? Well, you can order things from their regular menu or go for one of their lunch sets. They had stewed pork leg (with an egg) rice, lamb curry rice and nasi lemak (RM6.00)…

One O One Cafe nasi lemak 1

I decided to try the latter and yes, the sambal was very nice and very spicy…and that was the first time I’ve seen anyone giving one whole egg (except when it was fried) with a plate of nasi lemak. The presentation would probably be a bit nicer if they had cut it into halves and placed them nicely by the side.

The rice, unfortunately, was not lemak at all – I might as well be eating plain white rice as there really wasn’t much of a difference. Thankfully, the sambal saved the day and I liked it, mixed with the rice and besides, I also ordered this bowl of lamb curry (RM10.00)…

One O One Cafe lamb curry

…which was quite good and it sure helped alleviate my enjoyment of my order.

No, I did not touch those very bland no-prawn-or-fish-at-all keropok (prawn crackers)…

One O One Cafe nasi lemak 2

…all artificial flavours and preservatives and I wished they had given the acar timun (cucumber pickle) instead. I saw it in a big plastic container at the counter but I did not see it served with any of the lunch sets. I wonder what they served that with – I would have loved that, anytime better than the miserable keropok.

My girl had their chao chai hung ngang (RM7.50)…

One O One Cafe chao chai hung ngang

…except that she passed me all the fish balls as we were not sure what flour they used to make them, those frozen ones available at all supermarkets, deep fried.

My missus had their char kway teow (RM5.00)…

One O One Cafe char kway teow

…a ringgit more expensive but she said it was nicer than than her former favourite here but at least, at the latter, they do not use those no-class-at-all plastic plates…

Colourful Cafe char kway teow
*Archive photo*

…and that place is a coffee shop, true and true. This one, on the other hand, is no regular coffee shop, it is a little classier than that and I would expect something a little better – using those plastic stuff makes it seem so cheap!

ONE O ONE CAFE (2.305823,111.84837) is located in the Jaya Li Hua Commercial Centre along Lorong Pahlawan 7C, near the wet market, among the shops on the other side from the Sibu Bus Terminal area.

Two more weeks to go…

I mentioned in my previous post that my niece, the one working in Singapore, came home for the long Easter weekend to celebrate her father’s birthday even though the actual date would be sometime next week, two weeks to go, more or less. Well, they’re not getting another long weekend this week as the special public holiday on Monday, 24th instant, is only for Malaysia and the following weekend, another long one for Labour Day, would be past the father’s birthday already.

Initially, they wanted to go here for dinner but it was closed so they decided on this place instead. I have not been here since November last year after the dinner we had there with the somewhat most disappointing steamed lajong and the rather expensive bill.

They brought a cake…

Birthday cake from WeLove

…from this bakery, the Japanese baked cotton cheese cake that I do like quite a lot but I have stopped buying as it is getting a bit too expensive and anyway, it is not gluten-free. My niece did not get one from Marcus, our favourite as she heard that he was not well and was not sure if he is back in the game already or not. He was admitted into the same medical centre as my mum that time when she was there, some problem with his legs, I heard.

Of course my girl could not get to eat the cake nor the longevity noodles (mee sua)…

Fried mee sua with eggs

…but never mind! She could enjoy the midin (wild jungle fern) fried with belacan (dried prawn paste)…

Midin with belacan

…that was very nicely done that night, quite spicy, and the cangkuk manis fried with egg…

Cangkuk manis fried with egg

…was fine too.

I quite liked the venison curry…

Venison curry

…and the butter pork ribs…

Butter pork ribs

…were pretty nice as well.

My brother-in-law insisted on ordering the giant freshwater prawns (udang galah)…

Tua thow hay 1

…and of course, we had those…

Tua thow hay 2

…as it was his birthday and at the astronomical prices these days, we hardly ever buy our own from the market to cook and enjoy at home.

The bill came up to RM193.30, around RM70 for that plate of crustaceans, inclusive of rice and drinks, and of course, since we were here, I would not miss the opportunity to order and enjoy their ngor bee th’ng

Ngor bee th'ng

…which was, as always, very cold and refreshing.

TUNG SENG RESTAURANT (2.30367,111.849346) is located along Jalan Pahlawan, not facing the main road, behind the block of shops where Secret Recipe is and further in along that same row where this place is.

Nice lunch…

My girl came back Thursday evening and the next day, Good Friday, was a day of fasting and abstinence (from meat) for us so we did not have anything really nice or special till lunch on Saturday. We remembered we had salmon here before and we thought my girl could have that like the one we had here a week ago so we agreed to drop by since we had not been there for a long time, not since my girl discovered that she was gluten-sensitive/intolerant and would not be able to enjoy their very nice pastas and pizzas.

When we got there, we found that they had a brand new menu and most of the things that we liked before were no longer listed including the Bracio di Ferro (the spinach egg pizza). I think I did see it when they shared this menu on their Facebook page and I did comment on the missing items…and some guy replied that should we drop by and request for it, they would make it for us. Hmmmm!!! I refrain from making any further remarks on the matter but the thing that we wanted that day was nowhere to be seen. They no longer had salmon and I was quite put off by the fact that though they might appear to have a somewhat impressive and elaborate menu, there were slashes across many of the pages – a lot of the things were not available.

Ah well!!! Since we were already there, we just ordered whatever that we thought my girl could eat, starting with this very nice mushroom soup (RM8.00)…

Bistecca & Bistro mushroom soup with garlic bread

…but of course, I ate up all the garlic bread – my girl could not have that.

She had the char-grilled boneless lamb chop (RM38.00)…

Bistecca & Bistro char-grilled boneless lamb chop

…and yes, it was very nice and she enjoyed it a lot.

The mum had the char-grilled pork chop (RM18.00)…

Bistecca & Bistro char-grilled pork chop

…and that was very good too.

I had the cheese pork chop (RM38.00)…

Bistecca & Bistro cheese pork chop

…which I liked but the two slabs of meat were a bit too much, even for someone like me. I sure would not mind having just one slab at half the price, something like what my missus had. That would be just nice…or it would, perhaps, be just right if there were two persons sharing this one order.

We all had sky juice (iced water) and that was on the house and for dessert, I ordered the crème brûlée (RM8.00)…

Bistecca & Bistro creme brulee

The tiramisu and the chocolate fondant are not gluten-free…and yes, it was so very very good. I can’t remember the last time I had it and I sure enjoyed it to the max.

My niece was home for the long weekend to celebrate her father’s birthday which is actually not until next week but she would not be able to get away then…and my missus ordered a pizza for them to enjoy. We thought the box was really very nice…

Bistecca & Bistro pizza takeaway box

…unlike those dull and boring brown ones that are usually used for pizza takeaways.

The Pizza Rustica (RM32.00)…

Bisticca & Bistro Pizza Rustica

…looked really good but no, we did not have any. It was not gluten-free plus we couldn’t possibly eat anything anymore after all that we had. As far as the food went, I would say we had a delightful lunch that day but the whole time we were there, I was wishing they would turn down the music a little and those guys in the kitchen who obviously were having a ball of a time could pipe it down a bit – all that noise somehow ruined what would otherwise have been absolutely perfect.

BISTECCA & BISTRO (2.307630, 111.848188) is located off Jalan Sena – you drive into the area of shops directly opposite SMK Deshon and go straight to the end, make a u-turn and head back to where you come from – you will see it in the first block of shops on your left, probably the fifth one, if I can remember correctly.

Too big…

Come lunchtime every Saturday when my girl is home from her school in the jungle, I would be cracking my head as to where I would be able to take her to enjoy some really nice stuff before she goes back the following day.

Well, last Saturday, we ended up here

Cafe Cafe Giant Hypermart

…located at one of the mega-malls in town, not far from my place. I prefer this outlet to the main one in town as parking is a breeze, ample spaces available, plus it is shaded so you would not need to go through that very unpleasant discomfort of getting into your extremely hot car after you have had a delightful lunch.

However, I do not really like the fact that this place is always kind of dim/dark even in the daytime so the photographs taken with my cheap digicam may not do justice to the food served.

We loved the creamy fish bihun

The Kitchen creamy fish bihun
*Archive photo*

here before they closed shop to venture into the instant kampua business full-time and they did let somebody else sell it, like some kind of a franchise kind of thing, but it did not last very long and pretty soon, the stall closed down.

My girl enjoys that a lot and misses the ones she used to go for when she was in Sg Petani, Kedah so when we saw it on the menu, we wasted no time at all in placing an order for that (RM21.90)…

Cafe Cafe creamy fish bihun 1

Now, that was so so big, too big for the three of us. It may not look so in the photograph but that bowl is about the size of those that they use to serve the soup at a full-course Chinese dinner to a table of 10.

Yes, it was very very nice…

Cafe Cafe creamy fish bihun 2

…but after having had two bowls of it…

Cafe Cafe creamiy fish bihun 3

…each, we really could not handle much more so we had to leave a little less than half of what was in bowl behind. For one thing, one can just have so much of such so very creamy and rich stuff and may cease to enjoy it as much when one gets to eat a little bit too much at one go. I think the serving would be just nice for maybe 5 or 6 people.

Another reason why we could not finish the aforementioned was that we did order something else – their grilled Norwegian salmon with lemon butter sauce (RM30.90)…

Cafe Cafe grilled Norwegian salmon with lemon butter sauce

Now, I thought that was cheap because a couple of weeks ago, I bought a piece that was more or less the same size, also Norwegian and not the farmed Chile ones, from the supermarket near my house for my girl to enjoy and I had to pay that much as well…and I was so pissed off when I got home and discovered that they had removed the skin!!! That would be where the collagen is and some places actually sell fried salmon skin on its own.

My girl loves salmon and yes, she liked the one we had that day, perfectly grilled right down to the crispy skin underneath and she thought the lemon butter sauce was really good and went absolutely well with the fish and the potato tuna salad by the side was really very good too…so of course, seeing how she was enjoying the food to the max, that made me very very happy.

Well, my girl will be home today as tomorrow, Good Friday, is a public holiday in Sarawak (but it is a day of fasting and abstinence for us) and the school is taking Easter Monday off so we have an extra long weekend to jalan jalan cari makan (go around and eat).

CAFE CAFE, Giant Hypermart 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.

Not that big…

I was out early last Saturday morning and I dropped by here for the tua pao (big steamed buns)…

Hong Kong Puff tua pao

…selling at RM3.00 each. I heard that they were nice so I went there around Ching Ming that day but the guy said that the thow chiew (head) had gone off for the festival so there would not be any for the next two days.  Three days later, I went again at around 10 something in the morning and was duly informed that they were all sold out. What? That early in the morning? Gee!!! They must be really nice, I thought to myself.

Well, finally, I was able to lay my hands on a couple of those but I did not think they were all that big. The ones I knew and had before were very much bigger and inside, there was this minced meat filling…

Hong Kong Puff tua pao, filling

…that I felt was just so-so, nice but nothing to get excited about as it was pretty much the same as some others around here though they might be a bit smaller, just a bit, in comparison but they would be much cheaper too, of course.

There was egg inside…

Hong Kong Puff tua pao, egg

…about one-eighth of it and I do like egg in my steamed paos.

Personally, I would prefer their steamed char siew pao though they are a lot smaller and incidentally, I hear they have increased the price already. They used to be RM2.00 each, that little thing but I think it is RM2.10 or more now. I did not check that day and I have not bought any for a while now so I do not know the exact price at this point in time.

Well, since I was out and about that morning, I decided to stop by here to tapao some of their very delightful pad Thai

Flavours Thai Kitchen pad Thai
*Toppings of ground peanut, bean sprouts and spring onion packed separately, not added yet*

…for my girl for breakfast when she woke up and of course, she enjoyed it to the max. Usually she does not eat that much when she wakes up in the morning (not like the father – he can eat any amount any time of day) so she could not finish all of it but she wanted the rest of it to be packed in a container and kept in the fridge for her to bring back to her school in the jungle and enjoy in the week ahead.

HONG KONG PUFF is located along Ramin Way (2.291180, 111.826634), beside Sin Kiaw Coffee Shop, right behind what was formerly a petrol station (some construction works going on there at the moment) across the road from the HSBC Building, Sibu branch and FLAVOURS THAI KITCHEN is located on the ground floor of the ORCHID HOTEL, along Brooke Drive at its junction with Jalan Tunku Osman. You can use its main entrance at the back of the hotel building (facing Brooke Drive) or go through the lobby past the reception desk if you are using its hotel entrance.

Invited…

Sometime ago, I received an sms from an ex-colleague, also retired like me but more recently – earlier this year, informing me that the school’s alumni would like to invite me to their annual reunion dinner…

SHOSA/SEOSA annual reunion dinner 2017

…last Saturday evening at the grand ballroom at a leading hotel in town. Last year, I was invited too but I was somewhat under the weather at the time and I had to give it a miss when the time came. Luckily, this time around, I was as fit as a fiddle and was able to show up.

Nobody told me that they had a theme for the evening, “Springtime in Shanghai” and everyone was supposed to show up in Chinese traditional clothes. In fact, I had taken out my Chinese outfit from my wardrobe but in the end, I changed my mind and decided to go casually-dressed instead. Anyway, many of the ex-students had special t-shirts made, special ones for their specific years so I was not all that informal after all and did not stick out like a sore thumb.

In my previous post, I mentioned that everyone was home for the Ching Ming Festival and many took the opportunity to hold their high school or class reunions round this same time. Of course, that evening, the roads were jammed, the vehicles barely moving and my good friend, Richard, who so kindly offered to give me a lift had to park his car far away from the venue. Good grief! I hardly ever wear shoes after I retired and after walking all the way, I was sure my feet would be killing me but thankfully, I was fine when I got there. Besides, it rained heavily that afternoon so it was rather cool or else I would be perspiring from every pore, drenched like a drowned rat or something the cat dragged in after the walk…and I managed to show up at the dinner, not a hair out of place…

Table of retirees
*Friend’s photo on Facebook*

Incidentally, the handsome young man standing up is the alumni’s president, also the much respected Resident of Sibu…and his daughter, now pursuing her further studies overseas, was in my English tuition class at one time. The others were some of my ex-colleagues at the same table that night, all retirees like me.

Dinner was good and it started off as usual with the more-than-Four Seasons…

Kingwood more-than-Four Seasons

…followed by a soup dish and then, the duck was served…

Kingwood stuffed duck 1

– my favourite at this place, the one stuffed with glutinous rice and salted egg and all…

Kingwood stuffed duck 2

…something like lor mai kai.

There was fish next, steamed, but it did not impress me much and anyway, the photograph turned out blur and a mixed vegetable dish followed, mostly cauliflower and I did not take a photograph of that either.

I liked the cereal prawns…

Kingwood cereal prawns

…that night. I had on a few occasions encountered those that were not so fresh and was really put off by it but thankfully, the ones we got that night were very good.

Lastly, we had the fruit platter – 7 dishes altogether. Gone were the days when we had 10…or 12 even but that was fine as I did enjoy the dinner and had more than my fair share of everything…especially the duck. Hehehehehe!!!!

I certainly had a delightful evening and what I loved most was the very relaxed mood, none of the hard-to-breathe and very boring stiffness of some official gatherings and I did move around quite a bit, meeting old friends from near and far, some I had not seen for dunno-how-many-years! I sure enjoyed that.

It was announced to everyone present that evening, around 140 tables altogether, that next year’s event will be held on Saturday, the 31st of March so those not wanting to miss it should book their air tickets early…and it would be a good idea to book your hotel room(s) way in advance as well.