Waiting for the moment…

This place…

Daksemari Korean BBQ

…opened its doors not too long ago, occupying the shoplot where this used to be before and this one before it. I did see some favourable reviews from my friends on Facebook and seeing that my girl (and the mum) are so into anything and everything Korean, I was waiting for the moment to take them here.

Well, it’s the school holidays right now so with a lot more time on our hands, we dropped by the place for dinner on Tuesday evening. Business hours are from 6.30 p.m. onwards, closed on Mondays, but we got there a little after 6.00 and to our delight, they were already open…

Daksemari Korean BBQ 6.00 p.m.

…and of course, we were the first and the only people around. However, it did not take very long before the place was turned into a hive of activity as people started flocking in…

Daksemari Korean BBQ 7.00 p.m.

…a number of them in big groups, there to celebrate a birthday and that was very good considering it was a weekday night. If it is going to be like this every night or on most nights, at least, I am pretty sure it will not share the same fate as the two that were here before.

I do not know why the regular price per head for their eat-all-you-can buffet has been reduced to RM37.90…

Daksemari Korean BBQ price list

…and for senior citizens like my missus and I, there is a special concession of only RM6.00 so I only had to pay RM31.90 for each of the two of us. Ah well!!! I guess something is better than nothing, right?

I don’t know who owns the place…

Daksemari Korean BBQ decor

…or whether the very nice and friendly young boy and two girls running the show are, in fact, the owners or not. One of the girls is proficient in English and spoke it very fluently while the other two seemed more comfortable with Mandarin instead.

As soon as we were seated, we were served one big tumbler of ice-cold brown rice tea and that was quite enough for us throughout the whole dinner but there is free flow of water and cordials that one can help oneself to.

I would not say that they had a lot for their buffet spread – the cooked selections…

Haksemari Korean BBQ cooked selections

…but anyway, I did not want to take a lot from there…

Haksemari Korean BBQ what I had

…since it’s a BBQ place so I would much rather go for the meat and stuff to barbecue and enjoy.

The fried rice was very nice and I must say that I was rather pleased it wasn’t kimchi fried rice as I am not into that. I loved the japchae (the Korean fried glass noodles) and the pajun (Korean pancake) was nice too. You can blame it on my poor eyesight but I thought that was sotong (squid) in kimchi but actually, they were tteok, Korean rice cakes which were all right but a little chewy or rubbery.

On the other side…

Daksemari Korean BBQ more of their buffet spread

…they had these eggs…

Daksemari Korean BBQ eggs

…that were nothing very special actually. They looked like hardboiled eggs with a bit of mayo and tomato sauce on top but the egg lover that I am, I just couldn’t resist it and yes, I thought they were good as well. I did try the kimbap/gimbap (Korean sushi) but they did not get me all that excited. Of course I did not take anything from those plates in front – look at all that kimchi! – but my girl loved the buchu kimchi (garlic chives kimchi), the one at the very end.

I had quite a lot of the pork and beef…

Daksemari Korean BBQ pork & beef slices

…that I wrapped in the lettuce provided, once cooked, adding the garlic slices and the dip of my choice…

Daksemari Korean BBQ dips

…and personally, I preferred that to the seasoned meat…

Daksemari Korean BBQ seasoned meat

…that the ladies said was nicer. Incidentally, you can request for a change of the hot metal plate if it gets too dirty from all that grilling – the lady did ask us but we said we were fine with it.

I did like the dak bulgogi

Daksemari Korean BBQ dak bulgogi

…and the (beef) bulgogi

Daksemari Korean BBQ bulgogi

…though and those were the only words I could read on their labels all over – the rest were all in Mandarin and though I could converse communicatively in the language, I cannot read it…except for one character, 三 , and I could tell from it that that would be the three-layer pork or pork belly.

There were prawns…

Daksemari Kprean BBQ prawns

…too but we only had one round of those as we did not really fancy the chore of removing the shell and there was fish as well, what looked like kembong or one of those, but we did not have any.

For dessert, there was a choice of at least six flavours of ice cream, fruits. agar-agar (jelly) and this cake…

Daksemari Korean BBQ cake

…that I thought was matcha cheese but when I tried, there was no taste of green tea which I am not a fan of and I thought it was very nice with the fragrance of butter and cheese.

I was amazed by the sight of all those people stacking all the food on their plates – I guess they would be able to finish all of it or they would have to pay a surcharge on leftovers. On our part, being old, my missus and I did not eat all that much actually and my girl has always been a small eater and I do wish the whole time that they had those exhaust pumps that would suck out all the fumes so we would not leave the place smelling of all that meat that we had on the grill.

Nevertheless, we had a delightful dinner and enjoyed it a lot so the next opportunity we get, we certainly would have no second thoughts about going back there again.

DAKSEMARI KOREAN BBQ (2.287332, 111.826574) is located at No. 8, Jalan Chew Geok Lin (formerly Old Street) that leads straight to the Tua Pek Kong 7-storey Pagoda Temple.

She’s happy…

I did mention before that when my girl comes home on weekends, we would go some place special for lunch so she would have a nice break from her dreary routine in her jungle school. Well, it’s the mid-term school holidays right now so of course, I would make it a point to buy things that she can and likes to eat and take her to places for stuff that she enjoys…and as long as she’s happy, then I’m happy too.

One of her favourites in town would be the bryani rice with mutton curry (RM19.50)…

Cafe Ind mutton bryani

here so of course, I made it a point to stop by there the other day just for this.

She said one of her colleagues said that the naan cheese (RM7.00)…

Cafe Ind naan cheese

…was very nice so I ordered it to try. Unfortunately, I was the only one eating it because it was not gluten-free owing to the use of wheat flour in the making of the bread. Well, it was nice, very fragrant but I can’t say it would be something I would want to order for a main meal plus I would rather have plain naan to eat with some dhal dip or curry gravy and that is the very reason why I never bother to order those roti canai cheese available at all the stalls and shops around town.

Then the boss asked his North Indian chef to make this aloo gobi naan

Cafe Ind aloo gobi naan

…for me to try. At this point in time, it is still listed as coming soon in their menu, not available yet. I liked this one more than the aforementioned cheese version but I wouldn’t mind a bit more of the potato and cauliflower filling and if it could be a little bit stronger in its somewhat very light curry taste, then it would be nice to just eat it on its own, no need for any dip or gravy.

I expected my missus to go back to her kalio ayam but no, she still wanted the ikan kembung sumbat (RM17.50)…

Cafe Ind ikan kembung sumbat

…that she had the last time she was here. I guess she likes that a lot too.

I decided I would like to try another new item on their menu – the ayam masak habang (RM14.50)…

Cafe Ind ayam masak habang 1

…the Indonesian version of the Malaysian ayam masak merah. Unlike the latter, the chunks of chicken were not deep fried first before cooking and the gravy/sauce was different too. While the Malaysian version would be something like sweet chili sauce with the fragrance of the spices added such as the cinnamon sticks, the star anise and all the rest, I could not detect any of those in this one…and the gravy was thick and rich with santan (coconut milk)…

Cafe Ind ayam masak habang 2

I liked the chicken but perhaps, they could come out with something a bit more special instead of the blanched green vegetable by the side with oyster sauce poured all over it – somehow that came across to me as being so Chinese. Either the kerabu or the grilled brinjal, skin removed, in the stuffed fish dish that my missus had would be nice…or perhaps, they can come out with some cucumber acar (pickle) instead.

No, it was not cheap, this sumptuous lunch that we had that day but when I went to pay our bill, the boss said that the two pieces of naan bread were on the house and though I had the iced ginger tea, large, he just charged me the price for the regular (RM6.50), the same as the one that my girl had. The mum had the teh tarek with cincao or black/grass jelly (RM7.00)…

Cafe Ind teh tarek cincao

…and for all that we had, I had to fork out RM70.00 altogether and considering that it is not every day that we go for something like this and it was a special holiday treat for my girl, I would think it was worth it, very much more than going some place and paying as much or even a little less and having to settle for something less than satisfactory.

CAFE IND (2.290813, 111.829294) is located along Laichee Lane, right behind behind a block of shops facing the main road (Jalan Kampung Nyabor) where the Bank Simpanan Nasional, Sibu branch (2.290561, 111.829071), is located. It opens from 12 noon to 2.00 p.m. (though it may open a little bit earlier than the time stated) for lunch and from 6.00 p.m. onwards for dinner, every day EXCEPT MONDAYS.

What do they see…

We went back to the supermarket, that same one that my missus and I went to a couple of days earlier, as my girl was home for the holidays and I was very sure she would love to browse around and look at all the imported products from countries overseas including Korea. However, there was nothing much that she could buy since they were all not gluten-free but I did spot two boxes of cookies that she could eat, made in Portugal, going for around RM11.00 each. We did see some at an organic shop near here but they were all priced way over RM20.00 so of course, she bought the two, one plain and the other chocolate chip. She did try the former and yes, it was good and of course, it made her very happy as she had not had cookies for a long time now.

When we were through, it was time for lunch and we decided to drop by here, one place that we had not been to for quite sometime as we had had some issues with their quality control like here, for instance…or here. However, being located right across the open space in the area of commercial buildings, it was very convenient and besides, I have seen a lot of people there everytime I passed by, whatever do they see that I don’t, I wonder. Surely they must be doing something right to be able to attract that kind of crowd.

Unfortunately, my missus’ ayam bakar (RM12.80)…

Cabeijo lalapan ayam bakar

…was terribly charred and the meat was rather dry, probably the result of overcooking. She did not like the chili dip in the middle and neither did I and she did grumble that the other two sambals were not as nice as before. I thought they were all right but the sambal in the sotong sambal (RM14.00)…

Cabeijo sotong sambal

…stole the show. It was really very nice though the whole time, I was wishing I could say the same about the sotong (squid) – they were kind of bland, quite tasteless and even the nice sambal could not save the day.

My girl told me that one of her colleagues liked it here and she loved the lalapan empal (RM14.80)…

Cabeijo lalapan empal 1

…so I ordered that to try. It tasted all right, something like bak kua, the beef variety…

Cabeijo lalapan empal 2

…though I would not say it was anything so very nice that I could not wait to come back for more.

I asked the nice and friendly boy who took our orders and he said that they would coat the chicken with tepung kanji (tapioca flour) so that meant that my girl could have their lalapan ayam gurih (RM9.80)…

Cabeijo lalapan ayam gurih

…which was all right except that the meat was also on the dry side, like the mum’s ayam bakar.

All in all, I would say we wouldn’t mind it so much that the bill came up to RM61.90, inclusive of drinks and GST, had they paid more attention to the cooking of the things they served to ensure the quality expected of such a place and such prices. We can get stuff a whole lot cheaper…and most likely, very much nicer too at the coffee shops all around that area, of that I’m sure…or we can always go back to the African guy, just a stone’s throw away – what he dishes out everytime never fails to please.

CABEIJO (2.307981, 111.820533) is located somewhere in the middle of the commercial area at Simpang Tiga, Sibu with Jalan Bunga Normah 4 on one side, Jalan Kampung Nangka on the other and Jalan Kuda on the inside.

It’s still here…

I dropped by here on the day of its soft opening in November, 2015 and when my girl was home, we went a second time. Well, after all this time, it is still around and the other morning, my missus and I dropped by to see if anything has changed.

Well, they have home delivery now…

Ayam Penyet Ria home delivery

…but I did not ask them the radius. I am sure they will not want to send if your house is too far away.

Despite being a self service eatery…

Ayam Penyet Ria self service

…you do not go to the counter to place your order, pay for everything and then wait for the food to take to your table yourself like what one would usually do at those fast food franchises. Here, you can pick your table and take your seat – they will send the menu to you together with some blank pieces of paper and a pencil to write what you want. Once that is done, you take it to the counter and pay for everything and then you return to your seat and wait to be served.

That was not a problem for me as I am all right with the languages used here – Malay and English but it turned out that the girl served us one drink only as she did not see the 2 that I wrote by the side to indicate that I would want two of the same.

Ah yes!!! You will have to go yourself to the designated place to get your chili dips…

Ayam Penyet Ria chili dips

…so that day, my missus went and helped herself to a whole lot for herself and also for me. In the end, I did not touch any of the two types of dips available – I will explain why later – but my missus did say that she liked the one on the left that looked like the dips at those chicken rice places.

I asked for the gado-gado (RM7.00)…

Ayam Penyet Ria gado gado 1

…to share as I remember I did enjoy it on one of the two previous occasions when we were here. I was wishing the whole time that they had left out the somewhat bland and not very tasty keropok (prawn crackers) especially when we are so accustomed to the homemade ones that we would usually get from Mukah or Bintulu that are nicer by a mile. I wouldn’t mind a bit more potatoes…

Ayam Penyet Ria gado gado 2

…but at places like this, I do not think they will adhere to your whims and fancies. You will just have to take it as it is.

I picked one of the breakfast sets…

Ayam Penyet Ria breakfast sets

…available from 10.00 a.m. till 12.30 p.m. only – the nasi lemak ayam bakar (RM8.40, inclusive of GST)…

Ayam Penyet Ria nasi lemak ayam bakar

…that turned out to be pretty nice. This is called by its Indonesian name on their regular menu – nasi uduk and it is priced at over RM12.00 but the girl said that if I ordered that, the serving would be bigger. No, thank you! There was a lot already on my platter, very very filling and it sure took me quite a while to finish everything.

The chicken was so very good – I loved the smoked fragrance from the bakar-ing (grilling) and the taste of everything used to marinate the meat but though it was better than those times when we were here before, I did feel that the texture of the chicken was not as firm as I would like it to be. Maybe they marinated it for too long or what till it became way too tender/soft, I would not know.

Other than the half-boiled egg, half of it, they had this version of the kacang (peanuts) and the ikan bilis (dried anchovies)…

Ayam Penyet Ria kacang & ikan bilis and egg

…by the side where I think you will have to add sugar and cook over low heat to caramelise everything. I actually love this but unfortunately, the kacang had gone soft/limp (lau hong/masuk angin) so I did not enjoy it.

The sambal

Ayam Penyet Ria sambal & ayam bakar

…was very nice but no, it was definitely not something for the faint-hearted. It was so so so so very spicy hot that I was actually suffering instead of enjoying eating it. If someone like me who is so much into spicy stuff had a problem with it, it would take someone with a tongue of steel, I think,  to be able to handle that level of spiciness…and that was why I did not need those aforementioned chili dips at all.

As for the rice, it was not lemak – I could not detect the santan (coconut milk) but it made up for it with the nice fragrances of whatever was used in the cooking, probably serai (lemon grass), pandan (screwpine leaves) and whatever else.

My missus had the ayam penyet with rice (RM10.30, inclusive of GST)…

Ayam Penyet Ria ayam penyet with rice 1

…and yes, she did enjoy it somewhat…

Ayam Penyet Ria ayam penyet with rice 2

…and she finished all the chili dips that she took, both hers and mine.

All in all, I would say that was a pretty good brunch that we had but for RM32.30, inclusive of drinks, it would take a lot more than this to get us to drop by here a lot more often.

AYAM PENYET RIA (2.318555, 111.832076) is located at Jalan Tapang Timur, off Jalan Kampung Nangka, among the shops in the vicinity of Sungai Antu, directly opposite the RTM office/studio and transmitting station here.

The day…

I did mention a couple of posts back that Facebook has this special feature where it will allow you to look at something you shared a year or more back and one of them the other day reminded me that it has been four years since the first time I drove my girl to Selangau to report for duty at the District Education Office there. That means that I’ve been driving along this road…

Sibu-Selangau road
*Archive photo*

…to her school, 99 km. from Sibu town, every Sunday, excluding school holidays, and at times, on other days as well, for not one or two or three but four long years now. It’s not a highway, just a trunk road linking some main towns in the  huge state of Sarawak, with just two lanes, one lane going and another lane coming back.

I remember it was not a very smooth drive at the beginning but with some upgrading works time and again…

Sibu-Selangau road, upgrading
*Archive photo*

…it became a lot nicer but of late, it seems that it is getting quite bad – potholes everywhere and shoddy patching jobs that do not last very long and with the construction of the pan-Borneo highway, a lot has been going on for sometime now. Hills are being levelled, people have been resettled and their (long)houses have been shifted or demolished. They have not started work on the highway proper but with the soil exposed, the rain would wash it all onto the road and it did not help one bit that there are people who will not slow down, rain or shine.

Last Sunday, there was a terrible storm and of course, my car was splashed all over each and every time those hell-raisers drove past. I do not understand why these recalcitrant characters do not seem to value their own lives nor do they have any respect for others. By the time I got back home, the whole vehicle was a terrible mess so I had to send it to the car wash right away.

My mechanic told me not to ask those people to clean my engine but he never explained why – he just said it would not be good. That was why I had to do it myself, wiping away till it was clean enough…

Car engine, cleaned

Well, the week-long school holidays are here which means that I would not need to drive down that road this Sunday so it should stay this clean for a while, at least.

With my girl home, she will be able to spend sometime with her grandparents – on working days, she is only able to drop by to see them once a week, on Saturdays. I don’t know if my father will want us to take him out or not. We just did that the other day – it was time once again for his fortnightly haircut.

While he was at his regular old-school barber shop, I browsed around the coffee shop next door and I saw this…

Pig's blood with chives

Gosh!!! The last time I had any was coincidentally four years ago as well, way back in 2013 at that coffee shop/food court in Sungai Merah that has since closed down for reasons unknown. I did not want to buy any as I knew my missus would not touch the stuff but she went and bought some home for dinner – it was very nice and she had the chives while I had the coagulated blood. Yum yummm!!!

Of course, after the haircut, we had to take my father to his favourite place in town for his Foochow fried noodles with added char siew (RM5.00)…

Y2K Cafe Foochow fried noodles with added char siew

…and I also had the same. He also tapao-ed a plate home for my mum and my missus had this so-called Singapore fried bihun (RM5.00)…

Y2K Cafe Singapore fried bihun

…which was nice with its pleasant wok hei fragrance but it was just fried bihun with curry powder added and other than some bits of char siew and some taugeh (bean sprouts) and egg in it, there wasn’t much of anything else so personally, I would not want to go for that, not at RM5.00 a plate.

I had gone to get the car when my father picked up the tab and on our way home, my missus told me that he had to fork out RM25.00 for the four plates of noodles and our two glasses of kopi-o-peng (my father did not want anything to drink). So does that mean that the coffee here is RM2.50 a glass, a lot more than at the regular coffee shops? I will want to find out next time but of course, this place is air-conditioned and I often saw people sitting around having some drinks, not eating, and chatting away the whole time we were there – maybe that is why, I wouldn’t know.

WU ZHAO PAI (2.289093, 111.827338) is located opposite Standard Chartered Bank at the bend turning into Ramin Way from Central Road and Y2K CAFE (2.294220, 111.825753) is located in the Tunku Osman area, round the corner from that block of shops where branches of AmBank & RHB Bank are located. The back entrance actually faces the side (right, not the main one) entrance/exit of Methodist Secondary School.

As you wish…

No, my father did not come along with us last Friday evening – we just felt like dropping by here for dinner as we actually enjoy the food the guy dishes out and his wife is a very nice, soft-spoken and motherly lady and that sure helps make somebody feel comfortable especially when we do have a few things we would want them to take note of.

Of course, we did not have any problem with the cangkuk manis fried with egg…

Y2K Cafe cangkuk manis fried with egg

…that we had – there is neither wheat nor soy sauce used in the cooking and there is no meat in the dish either. It being a Friday in Lent that evening, we were abstaining from meat. We have had experiences at some other places where we specifically requested for a vegetable to be fried with nothing else other than some garlic and the dish that came out looked like it had some dark sauce in it and we did not know what had gone into the cooking and at one other time, there was the traditional Foochow red wine in it.

The steel-pot tofu dish…

Y2K Cafe tofu

…would have soy sauce and also some meat in it normally but according to our wishes, they excluded those and we were delighted that even without them, it tasted really very nice.

It seemed that normally they would use wheat flour to coat the meat or seafood and deep fry but since we requested for tapioca flour instead, that was what they used for the salty crispy/crusty (kiam sor) prawns…

Y2K Cafe kiam sor hay

…and it was so crispy we could eat it all, head and tail and everything.

No, it’s not that we’re very fussy or trying to be difficult or what but those of you who have been following my blog regularly would probably know that my girl is gluten-sensitive/intolerant so we would try our best to avoid all the things she should not eat and as I have mentioned earlier in the post, we abstain from meat on Fridays in the season of Lent, something that we have observed from small…and we like how they would take note of everything and do as we wish.

I forgot to tell them to cook for 2 so I guess the servings that day were for 3 people and we had prawns – those sure do not come cheap…and together with our rice and drinks, the total came up to RM60.10 but of course, the nice lady waived the 10 sen in the bill.

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

Another try…

I tried it once, a long long time ago in Kuching and no, I did not like it so since that first and last time, I never ever wanted to go for it again. It was something new around here at the time – I was still working, much younger at the time and my very good friend took me to a place in Kuching. There were so many people there enjoying it…but no, unfortunately, it did not tickle my fancy.

Well, if you’re wondering, I’m talking about this Hakka favourite called lei cha (ground tea)

Payung Cafe lei cha 1

…also known as thunder tea. When we were here not too long ago

Payung Cafe new table decor

…the boss was busy making it – somebody had placed a special order for it and he asked me to go back and get some to try when it was ready or he could send it to my house. I had to decline then as with my mum in the medical centre at the time, I was not sure when that would be nor where I would be so it might not be convenient. Of course, when I saw on Facebook the other day that they would be serving it lunchtime every Friday from 11.30 a.m. onwards, I could not wait to  go there…

Payung Cafe new centrepiece

…and give it a second try.

I got this…

Payung Cafe lei cha rice and condiments

…and the soup…

Payung Cafe lei cha, soup

– the boss did tell me that previous time when we were there that seven types of herbs went into the making but I did hear too that there were ten altogether. It did not look as green as some that I have seen in photographs – those were bright apple green in colour! I tried a bit and found that it was bitter but that would not be a problem for me as every day, I would drink a mug of tea brewed using these so-called “king of bitters”.

To eat it, one would have to pour the soup over everything in the plate and mix it thoroughly…

Payung Cafe lei cha, mixed

…and dive right in. This way, it did not seem so bitter anymore but on the whole, I did not think there was very much taste to it if not for the crushed peanuts and preserved lobak (radish/daikon). I’ve seen some served with ikan bilis (dried anchovies) which, I’m sure, would further enhance the taste, but with that added, it would no longer be suitable for vegetarians, I guess.

Going for RM6.00 per set at this point in time – the boss said that this was the introductory price seeing that it was something quite new in Sibu so he wanted to see whether it would be well-received or not – it would be served with unpolished/red rice…

Payung Cafe lei cha with unpolished rice

I saw this being served to another customer who came later and when I asked, I found out that the rice was not cooked yet when we got there a little after 11.00. They had planned everything to be ready by 11.30 on the dot…and that was why I got the plain white rice instead.

My missus did not want the lei cha and asked for the tom yam prawns with rice (RM17.00)…

Payung Cafe tom yam prawns

…and that very nice boss went out of his way to cook for us a very special bowl with a whole lot of prawns in it (not the usual serving of 3 only) at the regular price. I tried a bit and yes, it  was so very very nice that I asked for another plate of rice and helped my missus with it. I sure would not mind going for this again next time.

As for the lei cha, well, I’ve tried it a second time…and it did go down a bit better than the first time but if you asked me whether I would go for it again, I’d just say…we’ll see! Hehehehehehe!!!!

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.