Said I wouldn’t…

In my post the other day, I said I would not blog about what we would buy from the chap fan (mixed rice) stall here but the other day, the ladies in the house were out all morning and I could see that my missus would not have time to cook for lunch or dinner so I took the tiffin carrier and headed to the food court.

All this time, it was my missus who went to buy while I waited in the car. I never went myself even though it is very near my house and I can easily hop over anytime. My! My! There certainly were a lot of choices but I was not quite ready to take the road not taken, so to speak and I went for the sweet and sour pork ribs…

We had that the first time we bought anything from there and we all loved it…a lot!

Next, I had to decide on which chicken dish to choose. Well, we had the sauce in the sweet and sour pork ribs dish already so I opted for the fried chicken…

After all, fried chicken is fried chicken and it should be nice enough, no matter what. Sometimes, there is beauty in simplicity – we really do not need all those ingredients that some people add to their cooking.

We had this fried tofu and mixed vegetable dish (RM5.00)…

…and we enjoyed it very much and of course, my girl loved the brinjal (RM5.00)…

…that we also bought once before.

It certainly was so very cheap – RM30.00 altogether, enough for our meals for TWO days!!! I wonder why though?

Maybe they have to order fresh supplies of food for their restaurant so to get rid of what is left, they will cook everything and sell at their chap fan stall. There was this hotel in town that used to have eat-all-you-can buffet dinners at RM10.00 per head every Saturday night and yes, I did go and enjoy myself a few times. I asked the manager and she said that they had to order the food regularly no matter what so they had this buffet dinner to finish off whatever they had left before they could order any fresh supplies.

I remember many years ago, there was an economic downturn and all hotels and restaurants were struggling to stay afloat except one. They had eat-all-you-can buffets every weekend and you can order and eat as many dishes as you like at their Chinese restaurant (no wastage allowed) every day. Gosh!!! The place was packed to the brim – they even had to put out tables in the lobby and the pub so many more people could go for the buffet. The manager said that they only needed 30 customers – they would start reaping the profit from any number after that!

Perhaps this is why everything is so cheap here but for one thing, when I looked at the choices, I had the feeling that they would have more or less the same dishes day in, day out so after a while, we would probably get sick and tired of it all…and will start looking elsewhere to see if there are any other good places around.

GRAND WONDERFUL FOOD COURT (2.309601, 111.845163)…

…is located along Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai, on your right. You can also go in via Jalan Pipit from Jalan Pahlawan – go straight ahead till you get to it on your left.

Failed…

I think I did see the photo at the stall the first time I had something from there and yes, I thought it looked good. However, all this while, I never felt like having it – the pek ting eyok (八珍汤) or eight treasures tonic/soup also known as bai zen tang so I never ordered it. The mee sua in traditional Foochow red wine and ginger chicken soup was pretty decent, not the best in town but it was good enough but my favourite is their clear fish soup that I always had with kway teow (flat rice noodles). I enjoyed that so much that I kept going back for more.

Finally, that morning, at long last, I felt like having it so I decided to order the bai zen too khao (pork leg) to give it (RM8.00)…

…a try but my heart dropped the instant it was served. It did not even look good like what I had had elsewhere, here…

…or here…

There were small bits of meat in this one, most of them so small that I could not tell whether all of those came from the leg or elsewhere. There were two pieces that had a bit of skin and fat…

…but I still could not be sure that it was the leg! On the whole, the texture of the meat was “siap-siap“, not quite what I would enjoy so I just ate a bit and left all the rest behind.

The soup was so watered-down, so diluted. When I go for these herbal soups, I usually enjoy them thick and strong so I can enjoy the taste and the fragrance. I could tell it was pek ting eyok all right – I could detect the hint of it but no, it did not live up to my expectations. I just ate the mee sua

…as much as I could and I did not even manage to finish all of it and left all the rest behind.

I think whenever I drop by here, I would just stick to my favourite – their clear fish soup with kway teow.

GRAND WONDERFUL FOOD COURT (2.309601, 111.845163)…

…is located along Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai, on your right. You can also go in via Jalan Pipit from Jalan Pahlawan – go straight ahead till you get to it on your left.

Pale shadows…

When people mention Sibu, what immediately comes to mind? Kampua mee? Kompia? Actually, there was something else that this little town was famous for throughout the state, rojak Kassim

This is our local version of the rojak thamby (Indian rojak) or what they call pasembur in the peninsula

…but personally, I do feel that it is more like the Indonesian gado-gado

…which I also enjoy a lot!

To cut a long story short, the last I heard of him, that Hj. Kassim ended up selling his rojak in Kuching but word had it that he had passed away and the rojak at his stall was not so nice anymore.

In the meantime, others have started selling their own versions of the rojak thamby and they call theirs by their own name, now that rojak Kassim has become a pale shadow of what it used to be during those glory days. Some are all right, not bad while others may need to try a little harder.

That day, I went back to the coffee shop where the original Rojak Kassim stall started in 1993 – Kok Cheng, now Popular Food Court. The stall, once renamed Rojak Udin (after Hj Kassim’s son) is now called Rojak Mem (I think that is named after Hj Kassim’s daughter-in-law).

I bought the RM5.00 packet…

…to see if it was anything like what it was like before.

Gosh! I must say they were not very generous with the ingredients, despite the price, just some cucumber, tofu puffs and the cucur (fritters) that seemed to have shrunk so much…

…but thankfully, they were still nice, the texture and the taste. No, there weren’t any potatoes, no egg, not even taugeh (bean sprouts).

I poured the peanut sauce over everything…

…and sat down to eat.

The taste was almost like what it was like before…

…and I do mean ALMOST!!!

I guess that’s the way it is with most things as time goes by – everything changes but sadly, not for the better.

POPULAR FOOD COURT (2.290134, 111.826863) formerly KOK CHENG COFFEE SHOP, is located at No. 6, Ramin Way/No. 2, Jalan Morshidi Sidek, across the road from what was formerly the Star Cineplex and before that, the Cathay Cinema.

No wings…

I did buy the old lady’s VERY nice mee goreng from here to take home and let the ladies in the house have a go at them and yes, they loved them a lot! However, I never had the chance to take them there to eat – that, of course, would definitely be a whole lot nicer, piping hot from the wok.

So, the other morning, at around 8 something, I took my missus there (our girl was in school at the time) and I was so surprised to see that the coffee shop was packed to the brim. All these years that I had been dropping by, I had never seen so many people there at any one time. Luckily, the people at one table happened to be leaving and my missus went and sat down right away so we did manage to find a place to sit in the end.

The old lady was so busy doing the cooking and hardly had time for any small talk. I told her what I wanted and she said yes…though I was quite doubtful that she would remember. These people here are quite notorious for that – you tell them what you want and when they serve you your orders, you would find that they have got everything mixed up, and everything was wrong!

My missus was quite amused by the name of the cafe because even the drinks took quite a long time. It did not matter one bit though because we had all the time in the world and were in no hurry to go anywhere. Finally, our orders came. I am abstaining from red meat so I asked for the very delicious daging masak hitam to be left out…

…and yes, the old lady got that right!

However, there was no fried chicken wing! – I don’t know if the old lady had run out of those or she did not have any that morning. She did give me the fried egg…

…though, very nicely fried the traditional way in a wok, with the yolk still runny and the lovely golden fringe all along the edges.

I found the noodles to be just as delicious…

…even without the daging masak hitam and the chicken wing. It dawned on me there and then that this would be just perfect for our no-meat Friday – I can come here and order a plate of the noodles and ask the old lady to leave all the meat out.

My missus had the daging masak hitam

…in her plate and yes, she enjoyed it to the max even though she did not get the chicken wing either.

The daging masak hitam

…was really good and together with what I was served, I also ordered a pack of fried bihun (with the daging masak hitam and the egg) to pass to my sister at her house for her lunch.

The old lady asked for RM15.00 for the three – I guess that worked out to only RM5.00 each. As far as I know, her mee goreng special is RM6.00 with the daging masak hitam and one fried chicken wing and if you want one fried egg to go with it, you have to add another RM1.00, RM7.00 altogether.

I did not ask the old lady how she came to that total – she was so very busy and I did not want to disturb her. We just sat back and enjoyed our orders…

…and rest assured that we shall be back here for more again…and again!!!

FAST CAFE (2.319250, 111.832257)… 

is located in the vicinity of Sungai Antu at No. 11, Jalan Tapang Timur, off Jalan Kampung Nangka.

What makes a man…

This is called roti jantan

– translation: male or man’s bread and my guess is it is thus called by virtue of the fact that there are TWO eggs. I first heard of it in 2015 but I only got to give it a try in 2020 and yes, I did enjoy it a lot.

However, it is only lately that I’ve seen photographs after photographs on Facebook of the one at this coffee shop – so many people have gone to give it a try but I was never tempted to go there myself because the coffee shop is in that very congested part of town and parking is such a pain. Besides, it is always very crowded and looking at the situation all around these days, I think it is best to play it safe – for your own good, stay away from such places! Other than that, I did ask a friend who had it once and he said it was overrated and he did not like the msg overload in it.

Well, recently I saw an Iban Youtuber featuring this very dish on her video clip and I was delighted to learn from it that it…

…is also available at another place in town. Well, it so happened that my missus and I was driving past that area of shops and of course, I grabbed the opportunity to stop by for brunch.

My missus ordered the Foochow fried noodles (RM6.00)…

…from the chu char kitchen at the back and she was delighted when she tried it and found it to be very much to her liking. She asked the Iban helper for some freshly-cut chili and she brought a whole lot to give to her…and that sure pleased her all the more!

I placed my order for one roti jantan (RM5.50)…

…at the roti canai stall and I felt that the one I got sure looked a lot nicer than the ones at that other place.

I think there were at least, two pieces of roti canai underneath the two fried eggs with the lovely runny yolks, drowned with some very delicious super spicy gravy that tasted not unlike what one would get in a plate of mee jawa and on top of it all, there was this delicious nasi lemak sambal as well.

I must say that I enjoyed it a lot except that the serving was too big for me – I think I only managed two-thirds of it and I was very sure there was enough for two people, at least! Surprisingly, there was a guy at a table a short distance away who ordered the same thing and lo and behold! He licked the plate clean!!!

Seeing how much I enjoyed it, rest assured that I shall be back there again pretty soon for more!

CHOPSTICKS FOOD STREET (2.279983, 111.840216)…

…is located along Lorong Aman 2A, off Jalan Aman in Sibu.

The middle…

Ever since I saw on Facebook the photograph of our local YB (Yang Berhormat/The Honorable) enjoying the mee sua here, I had been wanting to drop by and give it a try. As a matter of fact, I did take the trouble to go all the way there but I changed my mind about eating that when I caught a whiff of their Sarawak laksa. The fragrance swept me off my feet and I decided to have that instead.

Well, the other morning, I told my missus that I would take her there to try the Sarawak laksa (RM8.00) and of course, I grabbed the chance to try the mee sua

The lady said that they had run out of the chicken meat but I told her that I would be fine without it. Just the soup and the egg with the mee sua would be more than enough for me.

I was given a discount of RM1.00 so I was charged RM7.00 (instead of RM8.00) for what I was served. It was somewhat red in colour and had the delightful fragrance of the traditional Foochow red wine but it was a bit lacking as far as the ginger was concerned. Initially, I thought it was a little bit sour but of course, I couldn’t tell whether it was this batch of red wine that turned out like that or this was usually the case here. Thankfully, I got used to it after a while and I did enjoy it in the end.

The mee sua was very nice, so very fine…

…exactly how I would like it! When I was younger, my mum would send me on errands to the market and sometimes, she would get me to buy mee sua, just that I cannot remember now whether she would ask me to buy the mee sua thow (head) or the mee sua boi (tail). One is supposed to be better than the other and according to this website, “I was advised the difference is the head has a smoother texture while the tail has a slight bite.” I saw in another website, however, that the middle is finer whereas the head or tail of the mee sua would be thicker and more suitable for frying.

Anyway, even though what I had that morning was pretty good and I had had some decent ones here, there and everywhere too, I still insist that the one here is my favourite in town.

As for my missus, she complained that the soup was a tad too salty for her liking with a bit too much msg and the serving was too big. All in all, she prefers the one here, our favourite so far,,,

…but I did like the one here a lot too.

In the meantime, while we were there, another YB stopped by for something to eat and he mentioned in passing that the dianpianngu from that same mee sua/Sarawak laksa stall was very nice. Hmmmm…it sure looks like I shall have to drop by here again another day to give it a try!

Well, that was our brunch for the day and we were so full after that so we decided to skip lunch in the end.

7七夜cafe (2.307862, 111.848497)…

…is located off Jalan Sena in the blocks of shops opposite Jalan Deshon on the right, the same side as Wikitea.

Just as nice…

The other morning, we went back to the food court because we wanted to have another go at the chap fan (mixed rice) there. We were mighty pleased with what we got from there the first time because everything was delicious and so unbelievably cheap!

We got there at around 10.30 – the dishes would start coming out from the kitchen at 9.30 and my missus said that there wasn’t much of the nice curry left, just some bits of the chicken swimming in the gravy.

There were some ladies at the stall and my missus said it looked like they simply helped themselves to generous helpings of everything and the guy in charge simply turned a blind eye and let them be. Of course, she did not do that – instead, she asked the guy to give her the things she wanted.

She asked for RM10.00 worth of the butter chicken…

…which looked like it needed a bit more colour but when I tried it, I found it to be very nice indeed.

My girl loves brinjal but my missus said that she only asked for RM5.00…

…since vegetables are cheaper and there should be more than enough to go round. Yes, the guy gave her quite a lot and yes, it was very nice – my girl sure enjoyed that!

Last but not least, we had this pork ribs dish (RM10.00)…

I thought it was that same sweet and sour dish that we had the first time but when I tried a piece, I found that it was something completely different. There was something in the taste like some kind of Chinese cooking wine that made it so very nice. I had quite a lot of it.

Gosh!!! This was even cheaper than the first time, RM25.00 only – it was RM30.00 the other day. There was enough for the four of us with some leftover for my sister to finish off for her dinner that evening. Ain’t that great?

GRAND WONDERFUL FOOD COURT (2.309601, 111.845163)…

…is located along Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai, on your right. You can also go in via Jalan Pipit from Jalan Pahlawan – go straight ahead till you get to it on your left.

Seeing is believing…

I do drop by this food court quite frequently and I often saw the people there taking out the dishes for the chap fan (mixed rice) from their restaurant, also named Grand Wonderful, at around 9.30 or so in the morning. Almost instantly, customers would appear to tapao what they would like to take home and eat and some would even bring their own tiffin carriers for the purpose.

My ex-colleagues love to get together there and chat and some would bring their tiffin carriers too so they would not need to rush home to cook their meals for the day. I did go and have a look at the food and yes, I thought everything looked good. That was why I told my missus about it, suggesting that we could just go and buy from here so she would not have to toil and slave in the kitchen every morning day in and day out but she stubbornly refused. “It’s not a problem,” she would say and insisted on cooking everything for our meals each passing day.

Well, the other morning, I told her that we would just stop by there and pick a few things for our lunch that day at my sister’s house…and finally, she relented. I just waited in the car while she took the tiffin carrier and went to buy what she wanted.

There was this very delicious looking chicken curry…

…which turned out to be as good as it looked. One of my ex-colleagues, a regular there, did tell me once that there were two chefs/cooks and one was not as good as the other. We would be able to tell by looking at the curry – if it is rather watered down, so diluted and does not look very nice, then we should just go some place else and come back another day. The not-so-good one would be the one cooking that day.

The curry gravy certainly looked thick enough that morning and yes, it was very much to our liking. All of us enjoyed it a lot.

The sweet and sour pork ribs…

…that my missus also picked, did not look any less appealling, I must say and yes, it was very good too. The meat was nice and tender, no need for any wrestling on our part to eat it.

Last but not least, my missus picked this tofu mixed vegetable dish…

…and yes, it was a hit too.

We sure enjoyed everything to the max that day, the four of us – my missus and I and our girl plus my sister and if you do not get to see what we had, you probably would not believe that I only had to fork out RM10.00 for each dish, RM30.00 altogether, less than SGD10.00/AUD10.00 for that delightful lunch, So very cheap and so very nice! You can bet that we will be going back there for more very very soon!!!

GRAND WONDERFUL FOOD COURT (2.309601, 111.845163)…

…is located along Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai, on your right. You can also go in via Jalan Pipit from Jalan Pahlawan – go straight ahead till you get to it on your left.

Liked you better…

I had the kampua mee here…

once in 2017 and I thought it was really good. In fact, I liked it so much that I ranked it among the Top 3 in Sibu alongside the one here

…and also the one here

…but I only had each of them once and after all this time, I am not sure whether my Top 3 list still stands or not.

That was why the other morning, I made my way to the first place on the list to see if it…

…was still as good.

The lady was still there…

…busy as always.

Actually, this place is better known here for the zhao chai hung ngang

…and the sour and spicy tom yam fish noodles…

I’ve hardly heard anyone speaking in praise of their kampua mee. and I must say that I was somewhat disappointed when my order came…

It looked like the stewed pork had been heated and reheated too many times and I was not all that fond of the kampua noodles used – they were similar to the one I had here but between the two, though the meat here was overshadowed by the nice char siew at that other place, I liked the noodles here a bit more.

The complimentary soup…

…though murky and cloudy, was very flavourful even though it did not look all that appealling. I did enjoy it very much.

On the whole, it was pretty obvious that the noodles here would no longer make it into the Top 3 in my list. Let’s just say that they were decent enough to qualify as something one would not mind having when one happens to be around here and feels like having kampua mee but is not all that keen on going to one of the other shops in the vicinity or somebody in the group with you would like to enjoy the aforementioned in-house specialties.

YONG CHUAN FISH NOODLES HOUSE (2.308016, 111.848896)…

…is located among the shops on the right (next to WikiTea) along Lorong Sena 8, off Jalan Sena, directly opposite SMK Deshon.

I knew it…

I knew it! I knew I would be disappointed but like a fool, I just HAD to go and give it a try.

Well, if you’re wondering what this is all about, I am talking about the Baoril mee (RM4.00)…

…that I had here.

I’ve been wanting to go and check it out ever since I saw it in the glass cabinet of the noodles stall…

…at this coffee shop.

For the uninitiated, Baoril…

…is the Chinese imitation of Bovril (not Taiwanese) – with real beef, so they insist but the only similarity is in the outer appearance of the bottles. As far as the taste is concerned, they are MILES apart! Unlike Bovril, it did not go well with porridge and I did not like it with noodles either.

I was hoping against hope that it was not to my liking because I did not know how to go about cooking it and the guy at the stall would be able to do a much better job at it. Unfortunately, it turned out that my worst fears were confirmed…

It was extremely salty, like when I had it with porridge or with noodles and it did not even have that nice unique taste that Bovril has. Personally, I felt that the noodles would be nicer even with any ordinary dark soy sauce and as it was, it was no better than the Bovril mee that I went to try here not too long ago.

I also ordered a bowl of pian sip (meat dumplings), dry (RM3.80)…

…and yes, the ones here were pretty good. No, they did not sweep me off my feet like the ones here but they were as good as many of the good ones all over town. If you feel like having those…

…go ahead – you will not regret it but you will miss out on the chance of enjoying their real char siew that they will give you with all their noodles dishes.

It looked like the guy had a lot of orders for his char chu mee (fry and cook noodles, soup) and I did manage to catch a glimpse of it. I’m afraid it did not turn me on plus I could not detect any wok hei smell that these noodles, the good ones, would have. So far, my favourite here is the mee pok, white (with the nice char siew) – I think I’ll just stick to that whenever I drop by here for a bite to eat.

TOTO CAFE (2.311913, 111.846213)…

…is among the shops right behind Delta Mall, Jalan Pedada – the block on your left if you are coming out of the mall via the back entrance, the second coffee shop after e-Cafe in that block.