I’m not in love…

There were others here before but more recently, I liked the kampua mee with dong quai soup from this guy there and his version of the Sarawak laksa was pretty good too. One fine day, some new owners took over the coffee shop and the poor guy was asked to move elsewhere. I did drop by to try their kampua mee and at best, I would say it was pretty decent, just not anything to get me rushing back for more.

Recently, I noticed that the coffee shop has been taken over AGAIN and now comes under a different name so that day, I made it a point to stop by and look around.

There wasn’t much that I could eat so I settled for plate of the kampua mee (RM3.50)…

…from this stall…

…there.

I would not say it got me all excited as I found it rather bland and the noodles…

…were overcooked, way too soft and soggy for my liking. I asked for a bit of chili sauce to go with it and yes, that did help a bit.

The complimentary soup…

…was not too bad but unfortunately, it failed to save the day.

For one thing, everyone at the coffee shop spoke only Mandarin and Foochow so I had a problem communicating with them. I saw a photograph of their pek ting eyok (Eight Herbal Treasures) on display at the stall and it looked very good. Unfortunately, it was not available that morning and later, I found out that it was pork leg – I had the impression from the snapshot that it was chicken. The mee sua in traditional red wine and ginger chicken soup looked very good too in the photograph but I don’t think I’d be dropping by to give it a try in the near future.

They have chap fan (mixed rice) at the coffee shop and even though it was still early, around 10.30 a.m., the dishes had started coming out and I saw some people going for it already. I must say that some of the dishes looked very good and it made me wonder if one can order any fried noodle dishes from the kitchen at the back or not. I guess I’ll never know because I am not planning to go back there again…or at least, not this soon.

JIN JIN CAFE, formerly Soon Kien Wang Cafe and Wan Long Cafe (2.312977, 111.847257) is located past Delta Mall, if you are coming from town, at the corner among the shops at the junction of Jalan Gambir and Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai, formerly Jalan Pedada.

I enjoyed it…

I saw the photograph of the fish soup in front of the stall when I was here that afternoon and it sure looked so good. I made up my mind right away that I would drop by there to give it a try – after all, it is just round the corner from my house, very near! Unfortunately, it had been raining quite a bit these past few days and I was not able to make it till yesterday morning.

To be frank, I was a little bit disappointed when it (RM6.50)…

…was served – it seemed a lot nicer in the aforementioned photograph.

I thought I saw freshly-made oval-shaped fish balls (like those freshly-made minced meat ones) and in the end, I only got two factory-made frozen ones from the supermarket. Actually, they can easily make their own nowadays – we can buy the fish paste (from Jakar, Sarikei) and roll them ourselves.

There were some sliced fish fillet…

…and thankfully, they were nice, no smell, nice fish texture so I had no complaint about it and yes, I loved the meatballs!

Normally, for fish or fish ball soup, I would ask for tang hoon (glass noodles) to go with it but I did not see that in the list, only mee (noodles), bihun and kway teow and I opted for the latter…

It was nice but I do prefer tang hoon. Perhaps I did not look carefully – I must make it a point to do so the next time I drop by here for this.

Yes, you can bet your bottom dollar that I shall be back there again soon for more of this…

…because I enjoyed it so much, the soup especially. It was love at first sip and believe you me, I had to refrain from asking for a second bowl!

In case you are wondering, this is in this BIG food court and it is the stall at the back, the one to the right…

…where I once had the lor mee and the mee sua and both weren’t too bad either. This is the left half and there are two more stalls in the section on the right, this one and the kampua mee stall – the rest were vacant and sadly, the whole place looks like this most of the time, almost deserted…unlike those days before the pandemic.

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.

Afternoon…

The food stalls at the coffee shops here open early in the morning, some at the break of dawn and most will stay open right through lunchtime. Generally, they all close in the afternoon and reopen come evening time so what they are selling will be available if anyone is keen on having something for supper.

I know this very popular kampua mee stall used to open right through the afternoon, except on their off day, Tuesday and would close at around 9.00 p.m. However, I did drop by there twice already recently and on both days, they were closed. I am not sure whether they open at night or not because I do not venture out in the dark.

This, of course, means that in the afternoon, you will not be able to find anything to eat at all the 10 or so coffee shops at the commercial centre in that area unless you go to our Sarawak’s own fast food franchise or the Taiwanese chicken franchise or Colonel Sanders’ in the mall. I guess it is pretty much the same elsewhere all over town.

Well, the other day, I tried my luck at the food court round the corner and yes, I did manage to get to eat a bowl of pian sip (meat dumplings)…

…to tide me over till dinner time.

The place was quite deserted – there was an Iban employee manning the drinks stall and doing the chores such as mopping the floor and so on, two not-so-young ladies at a table chatting away and a group of 4 or 5 guys loitering around at another table. All the food stalls were closed – there were not many left, 3 only, after most of them closed down or moved elsewhere during the pandemic – but much to my relief, this one, the kampua mee stall…

…was open.

When my order came, I was rather surprised when the lady told me that the pian sip was RM4.00 a bowl. So far, I only heard that this was the price at the aforementioned kampua mee stall while generally, it is RM3.50 only or less elsewhere.

The pian sip

…was all right, a little bland from the lack of light soy sauce and msg, which was a good thing.

Unlike wantons, the dumpling skin was very thin and smooth…

…not thick and chewy and I did enjoy it – this is a noodle dish so the focus is on the skin and there is just a slight trace of minced meat in each of them, not much.

No, I did not complain. I just paid quietly and counted my blessing, thankful that there is a place open anytime I feel like having a bite to eat in the afternoon. While I was eating, a guy in office clothes came, probably after finishing his work for the day, and he had a bowl of kampua mee. Maybe that is why most of the stalls choose to close in the afternoon – they do not get that much business so there is no point employing helpers at the minimum wage of RM1,500 a month since obviously, they are not going to make enough money to recoup that extra expense.

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.

Nobody cares…

That day, after we had had our lunch here, I placed an order for their Foochow fried noodles, wet (with sauce/gravy)…

…for three to take home for dinner so my missus would not need to cook anything for the rest of that day.

I dare say the one here is among the best in town and there are not many of them – some of those wannabes aren’t worth the calories at all. We particularly love buying the noodles home as they would have absorbed all the sauce/gravy and that makes them a lot tastier. No, they are still quite firm, just a little bit bigger than usual but no, they are not soft and soggy – perhaps if you buy the soup version home, they will be like that but so far, we’ve never tried.

They used to be RM4.50 a plate in 2017…

…and we had to add 50 sen for the extra slices of char siew (barbecued pork). I did mention in my post the other day, that the price for the noodles has gone up to RM6.00 a plate (without the char siew), an increase of over 30%, not that anybody cares!

I tried their kampua noodles…

…before and yes, it was very nice. It was only RM3.50 a plate before. I did check the menu on the wall that day and it has gone up to RM4.50.

So far, the most expensive at the coffee shops and stalls in town would be the ones here…

– RM4.00 a plate.

Despite the fact that it is RM3.50 or less elsewhere, every day (except Tuesdays), you can see the crowd here even though I have heard people complaining that the quality has dropped and lately, self-service/do-it-yourself is required or so I’ve heard. You have to get the cutlery yourself and the hot boiling water to dip them in to sterilise them and take them to your table.

There were two Foochow-speaking Iban ladies who had been working for them for a mighty long time – I wonder what has happened to them. Perhaps they went home for the Gawai or they have decided not to employ them anymore, now that they have raised the minimum salary in the country to RM1,500 a month, beginning June the 1st.

For one thing, the aforementioned is a nice and comfortable, air-conditioned restaurant, not some hot and noisy coffee shop, so I guess it is only right that things there should be a bit more expensive. There too, they have their following – though you may not see the customers spilling onto the road, there are a lot of them there in the morning for the noodles.

I guess if quality is assured, never mind the increase in prices, nobody will care and people will still come back for more, of that I am very sure! What about the prices of noodles over where you are? I gather that it is worse at some places, still cheaper around here.

Y2K CAFE (2.294220, 111.825753)…

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

Wait a little longer…

When I had the nice but grossly-overpriced roti telur (RM3.00 a piece!!!) here that morning, I saw another Malay stall in front of it but it was closed. I made a mental note to go back there and check it out one day and that was exactly what I did the other morning.

I went to the car wash at 7.30 a.m. (they open at 8.00 a.m.) and it was done by 8…and the bank in my area does not open till 8.45 a.m. so I had a bit of time to kill. That was why I dropped by the coffee shop and ordered a plate of nasi lemak special (RM6.50)…

…for myself.

Aha!!! Another lucky day for me! There was a vacant parking space right in front of the table where I sat (and took the photograph of the stall below) so I did not have to park far away and walk all the way to the coffee shop – this place is so popular that most of the time, don’t dream of parking your car close by!

The guy was busy tapao-ing all the orders (including those for their nasi lemak) for takeaways and doing all the serving while the lady was busy frying the noodles ordered by some other customers. I would not say she was slow but I had never seen anybody taking such a long time to fry A plate of fried bihun – I bet it must be all pecah-pecah if you fry it THAT long!!!

Half an hour had gone past and my patience was wearing thin especially when all she had managed in all that time were two plates of noodles. I went up to her and asked about my nasi lemak and why it was taking so long. You do not even have to cook anything on the spot – all you need to do would be to put everything together. She was not happy obviously and she did say something in reply – I just ignored her and walked back to my table.

The guy got my order ready quickly and served it to my table right away which made me wonder why he could not have done that earlier – all those takeaways (dunno where the people ordering those packets were) could wait!!! Now, I only had around 15 minutes to eat and make my way to the bank!

The rice was all right, quite lemak (rich with santan/coconut milk) and I liked how it was not hard and dry, soft enough and still whole-grained, not over-cooked and soggy…

The sambal

…was the typical nasi lemak sambal, very nice but not spicy and they were quite generous with it.

To give credit where credit was due, the lady did a good job in frying the egg…

…to perfection, in a wok, with all those delightfully fragrant golden frills all around the edges and the egg yolk still runny.

I had never had any fried chicken…

…elsewhere as nice as this one. The drumstick was coated with this beautifully crunchy and crusty batter and it was cooked right through! Ever so often, I would get so put off when I bit into the piece of fried chicken at some Malay stall only to find traces of blood still visible around the bone inside.

Berapa (how much)?” I asked the guy when he served the plate of nasi lemak to me.

Liew khuai pan (RM6.50)!” he replied in Mandarin. When he came back with the change, I asked him, “You Cina ke? (You Chinese)? And he replied that his father was Foochow.

Obviously they do enjoy pretty good business seeing how, besides all the cook-on-the-spot dishes, they had one BIG rice cooker of the nasi lemak ready for their customers in the course of the day. I’d probably go back again another day for the nasi lemak or to try something else…when I have more time on my hands to sit there and…wait!

That morning, I left the place quickly and drove over to the bank right around the corner and lo and behold! All the parking spaces were occupied except one, right in front of the entrance into the bank. Of course, I wasted no time at all in parking my car there! Talk about being lucky again and again, eh?

CHOPSTICKS CHICKEN & RICE (2.312434, 111.845917)…

…is located in the Delta Mall, Jalan Pedada area of shops, facing the church along Lorong Taman Seduan 8, off Jalan Gambir.

Not likely…

I mentioned in my previous post that I am currently looking for new places to go for lunch or dinner to replace the one that called it quits on June the 1st that day.

Well, the food at this place is very cheap and nice but it is not likely that we would be dropping by here all that often as parking can be such a pain. I have no intention of parking my car a mile away and walking all the way here nor am I all that keen on parking at the multi-storey car park right across the road and climbing up and down the stairs.

The other day, however, by some stroke of good luck, as we were driving past, I spotted a vacant parking space right in front of the outlet of that Colonel Sanders’ franchise in the middle of the block so of course, I grabbed it right away and in no time at all, we were at the coffee shop placing our orders for our food.

It was 11 something, almost lunch time and although there was quite a crowd, surprisingly, there was no problem getting a table. Probably many have gone back to the longhouses for the Gawai or some place out of town on a holiday. We were informed that they had run out of midin (wild jungle fern) and cangkok manis so we asked for their kangkong (water spinach) fried with belacan (dried prawn paste)…

…instead. It was very nice just that I found the sauce a little bit too salty but it went great with the rice.

By the way, much to our surprise, we were given a plate of chicken rice each and the best part was it was pretty nice, very much nicer than what we can get at some chicken rice shops and stalls here.

We loved the sio bak/siewyoke (roast pork)…

…that we ordered and the ang sio tauhu (braised tofu)…

…was good too.

I forgot to snap a photograph of the salted vegetable tofu soup before we each took a share of it…

…but that was nice as well, as good as what we would usually order here.

The best part was when I asked for the bill. The total came up to only RM40.50 for the four dishes (inclusive of the chicken rice) for the three of us. It was so cheap and so nice that I sure would not have any second thought about coming here to eat again…provided I can find a parking space not too far away, of course!

WANG SENG FOOD CENTRE (2.290256, 111.828019)…

…is located along Jalan Wong Nai Siong right behind the Sibu Central Post Office.

Not ready yet…

That day, after the ladies were done with their church event, I went to pick them up. It was still early and they had not had their breakfast so even though I already had mine, I took them here for the Sarawak laksa. We did stop by a month ago but it was full – not a single table was available so we went some place else.

It was already 8.30 a.m. and the place was open but the Iban workers said they were not ready yet, not till 9.00 a.m. That was why we left and went to this coffee shop round the corner.

My girl had their Taiwanese-style beef noodles (RM8.00)…

…that I had a few times before and yes, I would say it is all right, not too bad and of course, it is A LOT cheaper than the currently very popular ones in town since you do not get so much meat in the bowl.

My missus remembered that she used to enjoy the Foochow fried noodles from a stall at the old/original section (the one on the left) of this coffee shop so she went and ordered that. There was quite a crowd there that morning so it took quite a while but I must say that it (RM5.00)…

…was worth the wait. I could detect the wok hei fragrance the instant the young guy placed the plate on the table and yes, my missus said it was as good as before.

I also ordered this chai thow koi/koay khak/Chinese fried carrot cake (RM6.50)…

…to share.

This is one of the very few places in town where you can get to enjoy this but I thought it looked nicer before…

No, ours do not have taugeh (bean sprouts) – a friend over in the peninsula asked me that when I shared the snapshot on Facebook. There are bits of chai poh (dried/preserved turnip) in the egg though…

We certainly had a pleasantly delightful breakfast there that morning. I did notice that they had some dim sum delights and some nyonya kuihs as well but we would have to come back another day to give those a try.

KEDAI KOPI SIBU/SIBU CAFE (2.295345, 111.839757) is located at Pusat Tanahwang, the area of shops opposite Sacred Heart Secondary School along Jalan Oya. You turn left into the lane right after the SHELL petrol station and go straight ahead. It is in the last block along that lane, on your right.

See you in September…

Somebody shared a photograph of something here…

…that I thought was very nice and he told me where he had that. Of course I made up my mind to drop by and check it out one day. It so happened that last Saturday morning, my girl and the mum joined some activity at the church so I dropped them off at the venue and I decided to hang out here and wait till they were through.

Unfortunately, at around 7 in the morning, most of the stalls were not open yet and another problem was that I could not remember what it was that my friend had that looked so very nice. In the end, out of the couple of stalls open, I decided to go for the kampua mee here…

…seeing how most everybody was ordering from there.

I had the kampua mee, white/original (RM3.50)…

…which turned out really good, very authentic, very old school – just like what we grew up eating and loved so well except that they did not dye the meat red which I thought was very good.

I remember they used to do that all throughout my growing up years – the paper-thin slices of boiled meat would be red on the outside. I don’t know if they did that to make it look like char siew (barbecued meat), which it wasn’t! Eventually, there came a ban on the dye used to colour the meat red so the practice stopped altogether all of a sudden. After sometime, some people started colouring the meat red again – I don’t know if they managed to find some dye that would be safe so they just cast caution to the wind and went ahead with it. Others did not bother to do so and were quite happy to serve their meat colourless.

I also asked for a bowl of gu tor (beef tripe) soup (RM6.00)…

…which was so very good! I think out of the many I had all over town, this one was my favourite!

The gu tor was done to perfection, so soft, so very nice, no smell at all…and it went so well with the slightly spicy and sourish chili dip that they gave with it. The soup was simply out of this world – the sprinkling of daun sup (Chinese celery) sure brought the taste to a whole new level. I loved it!!!

I only had to come out with RM9.50 for the very nice breakfast compared to RM12.50 for what I had here and it wasn’t even nice! I guess anybody can guess where I would be heading to everytime I feel like having some gu tor mee again.

SEPTEMBER CAFE (2.303400, 111.849111) is located at No. 65, Lorong Pahlawan 9, a few doors to the left of Secret Recipe, the Sibu Bus Terminal outlet here.

Loyal…

The food stalls here seem to have their loyal followers as they have been around for such a long time and they are still going strong.

The kampua mee stall…

…has been here for as long as I can remember and yes, it is pretty good. It’s RM3.50 a bowl now, much cheaper than that one a few doors away to the right at the end of the block. Theirs has gone up to RM4.00 and I hear that despite having to pay more, you have to go and get your own cutlery, pour your own hot water to sterilise them and everything and honestly, I would say the noodles are good, among the nicer ones in town, but not exceptionally so. I, for one, would much sooner go some place else…cheaper.

The kway chap

…stall is still around too. I’ve had it a number of times and though I would not say it is the best, I would say it would rank among the nicer ones in town. Rumour had it when they first opened here that it was the popular stall here before – somebody else has taken their place there and is doing very well. too.

Well, I have not been here for a long time and last Friday, I took my car to the car wash after which, I stopped by the bank to settle some matters and when all was done, I decided to go some place for a bite to eat.

It is quite a problem to go some place to eat on Fridays as we usually abstain from meat on this day every week. That was why I decided to go for the Sarawak laksa (RM7.00)…

…here, with specific instructions not to add any of the shredded chicken. This stall too was rumoured to be the one here a long long time ago and after they moved here, somebody else took their place there and is doing just as well, if not better.

I was a bit disappointed when I saw what was served that morning because it was so pale, so colourless – it did not look like it was going to be good at all. Probably a sprinkling of chopped spring onion or daun sup (Chinese celery) would add a bit of green and will make it appear a whole lot nicer. Thankfully, it tasted all right and after I had added ALL the sambal belacan and squeezed the calamansi lime juice into it…

I would say I was quite happy with how it tasted in the end.

I sure wouldn’t mind some more sambal to enjoy everything with but I was too lazy to get up and go and ask so I decided to do without some more. At the end of the day, I personally feel that the one here at the coffee shop round the corner wins hands down! Besides, their regular, the one without all those giant prawns and what not, is just RM6.00 a bowl, a ringgit cheaper than the one here.

The roti canai stall…

…has been around like forever too! I did mention in some of my posts that one would find it hard to find halal food/food suitable for Muslims around this part of town and this roti canai stall is one of them.

I ordered the kosong (plain) but I was told that it was not available so I asked for the roti telur (RM3.00)…

I almost had a heart attack when told the price and I thought the one here, RM2.70, was a rip-off, so very expensive.

However, I was somewhat consoled when I started eating…

…it as it was so very nice, different from all the roti telur I had had elsewhere.

It was kind of fluffy and nice, very fragrant with the egg and everything in it and I really enjoyed it with the very nice dhal curry dip…

…that came with it.

I certainly would think twice about ordering that again though. At RM3.00 for just one piece of that, I can’t say I did not feel the pinch.

There are a few other stalls, two, at least and the chu char (cook & fry) at the back, the dim sum stall and also the very famous/popular chicken rice place here as well but they do not have anything that I can eat on a Friday.

CHOPSTICKS CHICKEN & RICE (2.312434, 111.845917) is located in the Delta Mall, Jalan Pedada area of shops, facing the church along Lorong Taman Seduan 8, off Jalan Gambir

Wait for a while…

Time really seems to fly these days! I just went to see my doctor a month ago and it was time to go again for a follow-up and to replenish my prescriptions.

That previous time, I went at around 9.00 a.m. and I had to wait for so long and it was way over 11, almost noon when I was through. This time around, I thought I would go a bit early, at 8.00 a.m. but by the time I managed to find a parking space and walked all the way to the clinic, it was already 8.30 and goodness gracious me! The clinic was packed – no seat available in the waiting room! It was so nice going to see the doctor during the pandemic – not a single living soul around. I guess at the time, everyone was scared of catching the virus so it was better to just #staysafe and #stayhome.

The receptionist told me that I could go some place else and come back in an hour’s time at 9.30 and that was exactly what I did. I went to the coffee shop…

…the first one in the block of shops to the left.

I shall not attempt to interpret the meaning of its name…

…with my half-past-six command of Mandarin but I used to drop by here everytime my late mum was admitted into the medical centre next door and I would just order something from the noodles stall in front except for one occasion when I had the chap fan (mixed rice).

This time around, I thought I would order something from the chu char (cook and fry) section at the back and I ordered the Foochow fried noodles, wet (with sauce/gravy). However, as I was sitting there waiting, I had a change of heart and I asked the Indonesian helper if they had the special and she said yes. I told her I would have that instead. I was expecting to get something with a whole lot of extra ingredients such as liver and what not but this (RM16.00)…

…was what I was served in the end.

Yes, it did feel kind of expensive but there were two of these huge prawns…

A friend once told me that the estimated cost price of these prawns was RM3.00 each so deduct RM6.00 from the total, that would leave a balance of RM10.00.

Besides the crustaceans, there were so many slices of this lovely fish…

…that I enjoyed so much! I did not know what fish that was so I asked the boss and he said it was a labang – that sure did not help much as I never heard of the fish before. I googled to see what I could find and it turned out that it is a freshwater river fish, not one of those super-expensive ones but no, it is not cheap either, something alongside the lajong that we really like a lot!

Deduct RM4.00, the price for a regular plate of fried noodles here and that would leave RM6.00 for all that fish! Cheap! I also loved the fact that they were so generous with the green vegetables and yes, the mee (noodles)…

…had that much coveted wok hei fragrance. I would probably order the “moon” (braised) version the next time I drop by here for this though as the noodles were more on the firm side – I would like them a little bit softer (but not too soft and soggy).

While I was sitting there, enjoying my noodles, I caught the whiff of that lovely pulut panggang fragrance – some people at the next table were eating those. I did catch sight of them earlier but I did not bat an eyelid and simply ignored them as I would not settle for anything less than the very nice Hj. Luguk ones, just that I have not been to the kampung for a very long time so I do not know if those are still available or not.

In the end, I bought a few (RM1.20 each)…

…home to try and yes, much to my delight, they…

…were very nice! They were perfectly done, well-panggang-ed enough to give them that very nice smoked fragrance and yes, it was quite lemak (rich with santan/coconut milk) too though I felt it could do with a little bit more santan, just a little bit so it would be more lemak.

I heard people singing praises of the ones here but no, I do think these were a whole lot nicer. I would much sooner drop by here to buy anytime I feel like having some pulut panggang.

It was around 9.30 a.m. when I got back to the clinic – obviously, some had left and I was able to grab a seat. Thankfully, I did not have to wait too long this time around and I was out of there by 10 something!

HAO KE LAI CAFE & REST (2.292095, 111.836698) is located along Lorong Mahsuri 1B, off Jalan Pedada, in the block of shops to the left of the Rejang Medical Centre, main building.