Different people…

I heard that some different people would be taking over the biryani rice place here and had brought in four chefs from India to cook at the café…

Tandoori Cafe

…so of course, I couldn’t wait to go and give it…

Welcome

…a try.

There were a few very friendly girls waiting at the tables, a very happy lot but I wish they had been more efficient. My bottle of water came without the glass of ice that I asked for – in fact, they just gave me the bottle, no glass. Our two orders of the biryani rice came and we were not given individual plates for us to use – I specifically asked  for that as we would be sharing the rice and as if that wasn’t bad enough, we were given one set of fork and spoon and when I asked for two more, they brought three so in the end, we had four sets between the three of us.

The mutton biryani (RM17.90)…

Mutton biryani

…was served first and then another plate came – we thought that was the chicken but no, it was mutton too so it was taken away. I was already fuming but my girl never liked me making a scene in public so I just kept quiet. Then, the chicken biryani (RM15.90)…

Chicken biryani

…came.

Just then, an Indian guy arrived and he greeted me and came over to talk – it turned out to be the boss, some guy from Penang, Malaysian, and he went over to the nasi campur cabinet and brought us these gravies…

Gravies

…to go with our rice which was a good thing as there would be nothing else other than whatever sauce they had in a little bowl by the side and a rather diluted raita in another.

According to one of the girls, you can pick your choices from the cabinet (which was not closed the whole time we were there)…

Food display

…if you want to start eating right away but if you choose to go à la carte, then you will just have to wait.

I suggested to the boss that he could have banana leaf, maybe as their Saturday or Sunday lunch special – I kept telling the boss at this other place that but it had fallen on deaf ears – but the guy misunderstood me and from his reply, he thought that I was asking him to line the plates with the leaf like what they do here.

Back to the rice, they were pretty good, bursting with flavours and tasted different – the mutton had a hint of mint while the chicken daun ketumbar (coriander leaves). The very nicely done and very tender meat was buried in the rice…

Meat in the rice

…like what I had once in Penang but thinking that there wasn’t any meat, I asked for the curry, silly ol’ me but it was good in a way as I would want the gravy to go with the rice.

Having said that, generally, I am of the opinion that the prices were a bit steep – just a few ringgit cheaper than that place that we frequent a lot but that one is a nice, classy cafe, not some food court/coffee shop kind of place (and I thought it looked nicer when the previous guy was running the place) plus we actually felt that the biryani selections there were nicer than the ones here…but the ones here had an edge over the rest in town – those were very much cheaper though, I think.

I did not want to order the tandoori chicken but I asked for the chicken tikka (RM9.00)…

Chicken tikka

I assumed that they would taste more or less the same, anyway and yes, we quite liked it – went well with that what-I-guessed-was-mint-sauce with a peculiar shade of green except that it was all breast meat.

Our garlic naan never came – the chef in the kitchen forgot all about it –  and we had ordered this paneer lababdar (RM13.80)…

Paneer lababdar

…that we thought we could use as a dip when eating the naan. Now, this was really very nice and all of us loved it except that initially, this goondu thought that was tofu in it when actually, it was goat’s cheese. We just had  a bit of it and asked for the rest to be packed for us to take home.

All in all, I would say it was a nice enough lunch and we sure would want to go back again some day to try the rotis and whatever else they have in their menu that we haven’t tried yet.

TANDOORI CAFE (2.289696, 111.828366) is located at the back section of the Sibu Heritage Centre, ground floor, along Central Road – its back/side entrance is beside the entrance into Daesim Mart in that back lane to the right of the centre and is not visible if you are going along or coming from Jalan Wong Nai Siong.

It wasn’t us…

A long long time ago, probably in the 70’s, we used to go to this coffee shop…

Hong King Cafe

…very regularly because there was a guy there – if I remember correctly, word had it that he was from Kuching and his kampua mee was very nice but the star attraction was his soup, something like what one would find at some places in Kuching, like here or here.

There was a chicken rice stall…

Chicken rice stall

…to the right that was very popular too. I asked the lady, probably the wife of the kampua mee guy, and she said that it wasn’t them – they were not in any way related to the aforementioned but yes, that same chicken rice business is still going on, run by the children now.

I did drop by here not too long ago but I was way too early and the guy said that the water had not started boiling so he was not quite ready to start his business for the day. Well, somebody told me that the kampua mee was nice – that was why I went back again to give it a try.

I ordered what I wanted at the stall…

Kampua mee stall

…and sat down to wait.

The coffee was decent but it was only RM1.50, with ice, cheaper than a lot of places around here and yes, the kampua mee (RM3.00)…

Kampua mee

…was very good but of course, there are other good ones elsewhere too.

It was the piansip (meat dumplings) soup (RM2.00, small)…

Piansip soup

…that impressed me the most. I thought it was really very nice, much nicer than many/most of the rest. I watched the guy making it – it looked like he mixed the dumplings with the seasonings first before adding the bone stock soup while usually, they would just add the soup to the seasoning, dump in the dumplings when cooked and serve…and yes, I would give the people here a pat on the back as well for not using any plastic plates and bowls.

Something on the menu caught my attention – mee sua sup hati babi (mee sua in liver soup). I’d probably would want to try that the next time I drop by here.

皇京饮室 HONG KING CAFE (2.290089, 111.829197) is located along Jalan Kampung Nyabor, the second one in the block of shops on your left after the SHELL station.

Right here, right now…

My missus loved the sambal kway teow that I bought home for her so the other morning, I took her and our girl to the shop to enjoy it right there and then on the spot, straight from the wok. More often than not, when you buy something back to eat, it may not be so nice anymore but I have heard people saying how sometimes, kampua mee tastes better when bought home and likewise, our Foochow fried noodles too.

My missus stayed steadfast to her sambal kway teow (RM4.00)…

Kopitiam Fantasy sambal kway teow

…while our girl went for the Penang char kway teow (RM5.00)…

Kopitiam Fantasy Penang char kway teow

…that I had the last time I was here and yes, both of them enjoyed their orders very much.

I can’t say that I am all that fond of the melamine plates she used though…nor the plastic one on my previous visit. The lady’s predecessor, Ah Eng, used to serve hers on thick waxed brown paper in a basket – I certainly would prefer that a lot! Plus she could just throw away the paper, no need to wash the basket so that would save water and detergent.

I did not feel like having kway teow that day so I went for the kueh chap from the next stall. I’ve always liked the one right here, going as far back as 2011 (and her bak kut teh as well) and the special chili dip…

Chili dip

…that came with it.

It was only RM5.50 then but right now, it…

Kopitiam Fantasy kueh chap

…has gone up to RM6.00. I am not saying that it is the best in town – as a matter of fact, I do not recall any kueh chap here that blew me away. All are pretty decent, worth going for sometimes for a change.

KOPITIAM FANTASY, otherwise popularly known as Tiam Tiam Lai (2.292435, 111.835066), is located among the shops in the Jalan Chew Siik Hiong area of shops behind the Rejang Medical Centre, facing Jalan Mahsuri.

One in a row…

I did mention in my previous posts that in this little square of shops around the market, almost every other shop is a coffee shop and this is one in the row…

Yih Jiin Cafe

…where only the 2nd shop (closed) is not a coffee shop and there are so many people in each and every one of them.

I was in the vicinity again that morning and went walking around to see if there was anything I would like to buy and I saw my missus’ ex-colleague and her daughter enjoying the kampua mee from this old lady’s stall…

Kampua mee stall

…at that corner coffee shop.

She said it was good and yes, it was not their first time there. Upon hearing that, I could not resist giving it a try so I placed my order and sat at a table to wait.

The kopi-o (black coffee, no ice)…

Kopi-o

…was decent and only RM1.60 a glass unlike the RM2.00 one that I had here.

The noodles that I ordered came soon enough…

Kampua mee & soup

…with the complimentary soup which was rather diluted, not anything that I would want to finish till the last drop.

The kampua mee (RM3.00)…

Kampua mee

…on the other hand, was all right, nice enough even though I felt it tasted a little different from many of the rest but being so far from the town centre, I had expected it to be a little cheaper.

As a matter of fact, I found that things here are generally more expensive – I bought some bananas from the market at RM5.00 a kg and I just bought the same from the central market in town for only RM4.00 a kg. I guess for the people staying around here, it is quite all right as it will save them the petrol to make their way all the way to town, the parking fee and what not but for us, perhaps I should stick to my regular places and not buy anything that is available elsewhere here.

YII JIIN CAFE (2.298387, 111.894177) is located along Jalan Permai Barat 1, the first turning to the left if you are coming from the Sibu General Hospital, the first shop in the row of shops on your right, going towards the Permai Market.

Agree to disagree…

I went back to this coffee shop last Saturday morning because when I blogged about it that day, a friend/ex-student commented that the char kway teow (fried flat rice noodles) from the stall at the back…

Yalin chu char stall

…was very nice or in his own words, “one of the best in town” and of course, I just had to go and try.

Gosh!!!! There were so many people…at 7 something in the morning, before 8 and I could not find an empty table. In the end, I sat down at a rather large one occupied by a couple on one side. They finished eating soon after I had sat down and left so I had that big table – right in front of the stall, all to myself. I felt it was not a good location though as there would be people crowding around to place their orders with the lady who seemed to be the one in control of everything – the guy hardly said a word, he just cooked!

The problem was my friend/ex-student did not state specifically what char kway teow there was nice – was it the dry one? Or the one with sauce/gravy? Or was it their tomato kway teow?

I just asked for the char kway teow, dry…

Yalin char kway teow

…and asked for chili to be added. Unfortunately. that seemed to fall on deaf ears – there wasn’t any chili in it nor was I given any chili sauce or freshly-cut chili in soy sauce. It tasted all right but no, there are others elsewhere a whole lot nicer like the one here…or hereor here or even the one here but it only opens at night so I hardly ever go there – I do not usually go and eat char kway teow at that time of day. I do know of other places that were nice too but I have not been to those for a long time so I am not sure if theirs are still as good.

For one thing, when I was there, I did not hear anybody else ordering it nor did I see anyone eating. There seemed to be a lot of orders for kolo mee though – perhaps I should try that the next time I drop by. I did not think the kway teow was that nice to make me want to go for it again but it was only RM3.80 though, at least 20 sen cheaper than all the rest.

YALIN COFFEE SHOP (2.290902, 111.827723) is located along Jalan Kampung Nyabor, to the right of the Sibu General Post Office – the first one in that block of shops there.

Harvest…

I was here…

Best Harvest Cafe

…once before, probably during their peak hour so I stood there by the stall and everyone was so busy and completely ignored me. Of course for someone my shape and size, it would be virtually impossible not to see me. Nobody asked me what I wanted to eat so I just walked away and went to another shop in the vicinity, feeling quite pissed off by the cold shoulder treatment.

I did catch sight of one old lady there though so I could jolly well guess that this was her stall…

Kampua mee stall

For reasons unknown, she was not around that morning but I would say she’s a celebrity in her own right – you can see a number of video clips of her on Youtube and this is one of them if you would like to click the link to go and have a look. I did ask some people sometime ago before she relocated here but they said her kampua mee was just so-so, more a gimmick than anything else.

An ex-colleague did share some photos on Facebook sometime ago of what he had here and said it was quite good. That was why I went there on that aforementioned occasion and after that, I was not inclined to go again until another friend told me she would drop by at 6 something on her way to work after dropping off her daughter at school. That, of course, told me that they open real early and I can go and check it out, thinking that there will not be so many people at that time of day.

I couldn’t be more wrong for there was quite a crowd there already when I got there. This time, however, they did ask me what I wanted so I quickly placed my order and took a seat at one of the tables where the customers had just left…and they had yet to clear up everything and wipe the table clean. Thankfully, they came and did that soon enough.

The kopi-o-peng/iced black coffee (RM1.70)…

Best Harvest Cafe kopi-o-peng

…was good but I was somewhat disappointed when the chap-chap (mixed) soup (RM2.80)…

Best Harvest Cafe chap chap soup

I saw some pig’s blood at the stall but there wasn’t any in the bowl that I got. I guess I did not order it right and if that was what I wanted, I should have asked for it. Another thing was I am never a fan of those frozen fish balls and meat balls plus I don’t know what brand they use but the latter had a very strong smell and a while later, I could detect it in the soup and that put me off – I did not finish all of it. They do have pian sip (meat dumplings) at their stall and that got me wondering as to why they could not use the minced meat to make their own meatballs. I would have enjoyed those a whole lot more.

Other than that, they did not have any special own-made chili dip that they would have elsewhere, like here or here, for instance. All I got was bottled chili sauce with soy sauce added – you can see that in the photo below.

Thankfully, the kampua mee (RM2.80)…

Best Harvest Cafe kampua mee

…was very good – I certainly would rank it among my favourites and it is a little cheaper than a lot of places around town, usually RM3.00…or more.

BEST HARVEST CAFE 富源茶室 (2.278144, 111.838905) is located at No. 6A, LORONG 2, Jalan Aman, facing Jalan Lanang, right after the roundabout junction of those two roads.

What’s in store…

The last time I dropped by this coffee shop…

Yalin Coffee Shop

…was in 2017 when I went to eat the sotong kangkong which was the most popular in town at the time. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, it closed down soon after that, never to be heard of or seen again.

Other than the stall in the corner at the back that serves non-halal kampua mee and fried noodles and the people running the coffee shop, the stalls here are predominantly Malay/Muslim. The other morning, I decided to give one of them a try and I picked this one…

Nasi Campur Mak Ain

…that sells nasi lemak

Nasi lemak ayam

The kopi-o-peng (iced coffee, black)…

Kopi-o-peng

…was only RM1.60, cheaper that a lot of places and it was good. It certainly was sweet enough so I had no idea why they had sugar on every table. I wouldn’t want to add anymore, that’s for sure but I was wondering if I had ordered kopi-o-peng mian tai (without sugar), perhaps it would be cheaper and I could add it myself once it was served. Hehehehe!!!

Anyway, back to the nasi lemak, it was RM6.00 with a piece of fried chicken, RM7.00 for a drumstick but that was not available so I got the wing…

Complimentary soup & chicken wing

Well, it was what it was, fried chicken but the complimentary soup was very nice, very mild, clear chicken soup, not the usual sup tulang (beef bone soup), very heavy on the spices added.

The nasi was NOT lemak but the sambal

Sambal & peanuts

…was good, if only they were a little bit more generous with it and I’ve always liked the salted fish but I do prefer the traditional. more authentic own fried peanuts, skin and all with a sprinkling of salt instead of the ones I got.

Of course, I was happy with the old-school wok-fried egg…

Fried egg

…and on the whole, I thought what I had was all right though not anything to get me coming back for more.

As I was leaving, I walked past the sotong kangkong stall and it looked like it was still operational. The guy making the coffee told me that it only opens at around 11.00 a.m. but no, it is no longer that guy before – there is a new one doing it now. Perhaps I’ll drop by some day to see if it is any good or not.

YALIN COFFEE SHOP (2.290902, 111.827723) is located along Jalan Kampung Nyabor, to the right of the Sibu General Post Office – the first one in that block of shops there.