On the menu…

After my not-too-successful attempt at cooking my own, I tried a fried adaptation and though it turned out all right, I still had no idea what the real thing would be like. That was why I was delighted to see this banner…

La'zzaty Cuisine nasi ulam

here.

I dropped by the other morning and wanted to order that but the nice and friendly guy suggested their nasi kerabu. It so happened that it was their special for the day so of course, I wanted to give theirs a try. It seems that it is available only on Tuesdays and Saturdays…

On the counter

…unlike that other place that we used to frequent a lot. They only have it on Saturdays now and we did drop by twice, at least, but the place was so crowded and everyone was sitting there waiting, looking very unhappy so we just left and went elsewhere. Last Saturday, I went again with the intention of buying it home – it seemed that they were quite fast with the takeaways, no need to wait like…forever to be served but it was not open! Tsk! Tsk!!! I really wonder how people can do business like that and still survive.

Later, the aforementioned guy came to tell me that the chicken was not ready – they would have barbecued honey chicken by the side but I could pick anything I wanted from their nasi campur (mixed rice) cabinet and I chose the sotong (squid) kerabu

La'zzaty Cuisine nasi kerabu

Yes, it was very nice. I loved the cili sumbat, the stuffed chili…

La'zzaty Cuisine cili sumbat

…a lot. Elsewhere, they would just fill the chili with the filling but here, there is so much filling it was bursting out of it and I sure liked that!

The sotong kerabu

La'zzaty Cuisine sotong kerabu

…was good though a tad too sour but it was all right with the rice and everything else mixed together.

I would say their nasi kerabu was good though a little more expensive (RM8.00) than at that other place and I would say also that the latter had a slight edge over the one here but minus all the disappointment, the frustration and the discomfort there, I would much sooner go for this one. Thankfully, it wasn’t anything like the one I had here – if it had been anything like that failed attempt at coming out with the dish, I would rather not eat. That one was a total washout for a nasi kerabu and worse still, it was twice the price.

I did ask about the nasi ulam but from what the guy told me, it seemed like it would just be their nasi campur plus the usual ulam with sambal belacan and there was tempoyak (fermented durian) with a dash of air budu (salted fish sauce) and a sprinkling of fresh chili slices on top. It did not sound anything like the nasi ulam that I’ve seen somewhere online. We’ll see!

LA’ZZATY CUISINE (2.307198, 111.828479) is located along Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg on the left if you are coming from town, right after the SHELL petrol station, at its junction with Jalan Nibong. The Sibu Buddhist Temple is on your right on the other side of the road.

Cheaper…

I dropped by this coffee shop…

Ah Ping Cafe

…again like I said I would in my post the other day because I wanted to try the red kampua mee that my ex-student who was there that morning said was very nice.

Of course, I had the kopi-o-peng (iced coffee, black)…

Ah Ping Cafe kopi-o-peng

…that I had on my previous visit, RM1.50 only a glass, cheaper than most other places where it is usually RM1.80 at least.

I placed my orders from that stall in front and sat down to wait. The pian sip, dry and small (RM2.00)…

Ah Ping Cafe piansip

…was all right, pretty much the same as the nice ones elsewhere – nothing to push it a head above the rest.

Having said that, I would say the red kampua mee

Ah Ping Cafe kampua mee

…was really very good. Other than the very nice one that I loved so much in Kanowit, I had not had any here that got me really excited. It was not sweet, despite the use of the char siew sauce, and had a light and very pleasant garlicky taste. If you want authentic Sibu Foochow kampua mee, this is not the one but this is one place for you to consider if you are looking for some very nice noodles that you will truly enjoy.

I was taken by surprise when the guy told me that it was only RM2.50 a plate, cheaper than a lot of places where the going prices would be around RM2.80 or RM3.00 or more. So my breakfast that morning…

Ah Ping Cafe kampua & piansip

…was only RM4.50, around USD1.00, believe it of not…or if you throw in the coffee, it was around AUD/NZD2.00 only, and less than SGD2.00. With the escalating prices of things around here these days, it sure is nice to stumble upon places where things are still very affordable.

AH PING CAFE is located in the vicinity of the Dewan Suarah, Sibu right across the lane from AROMA BAKERY (2.311151, 111.831515) after the Maju Tyre shop at No. 36 (G/F), Taman Damai along Jalan Dewan Suarah.

In my blood…

When I was in primary school, I had three sisters in my class – Lay Hoon, Lay Yian and Lay Khim. I never did find out why they were in the same class since they were not all of the same age. Well, kids being kids, we used to tease the three of them by chanting their names…and ending with, “Lay eggs!!!” We were horrible, weren’t we? LOL!!!

I met two of them not too long ago when they were in town – they are not living here now and I asked them about someone in their bloodline – their younger brother who is younger than us, not our contemporary. A friend did tell me about some very nice Sibu kampua mee at a stall at the coffee shop to the left of the Sibu Fire Station but I never went to try – that place is always congested and parking can be such a pain. However, one day, while driving past, I caught a glimpse of the guy at that stall and it looked like him. I grabbed the chance to ask the sisters and yes, it was him but they told me he was no longer there and had moved here…

101 Coffee Shop

…in the lane between the blocks of shops (between Market Road & Channel Road near the Sibu Central Market) where two of the popular kompia shops are  located and I guess it was because of their blood ties that they went there every day while they were in town to enjoy what he dished out.

All this time, I had wanted to go and give it a try but I had not been in the vicinity for so long now. Yesterday morning, I decided I would go to the market to see if I could get hold of some nice seafood to stock up for Chinese New Year and as always, whenever I go to the market, I would go extra early, around 6.30 a.m. to avoid the crowd and also the heat…plus whatever fresh foods I would buy, I would be able to take home quickly and pack nicely in airtight containers to keep in the freezer to ensure that they will stay fresh.

Yes, he was open…

The brother

…and I ordered a plate of kampua mee and a bowl of piansip soup, small and got this in the end (RM3.00)…

Kampua kosong & piansip soup

I guess he just assumed I wanted painsip mee but with the piansip in soup instead of with the mee. That was why I got the kosong (without meat) and yes, it was very nice – not overcooked, over-soft, soggy and sticky.

But it was the piansip soup…

Piansip soup

…that got my attention. It was so very nice with the traditional Foochow red wine (instead of vinegar like at some places) added – my missus would buy this home and generously add the wine and enjoy to her heart’s content. I would say that because of this, his turned out to be a cut above all the rest that I had had before.

I must say that I was glad to note that he was enjoying really brisk business. There were two other tables when I got there and I saw the people from the kompia shop next door coming over to order (if it had not been nice, I am sure they would just order from one of the other coffee shops in the vicinity) and some people buying to take home as well. By the time I was done, the shop was already full.

101 COFFEE SHOP (2.288055, 111.828416) is located in the lane off Jalan Lembangan that leads from Market Road to Channel Road and the Sibu Central Market, right next to the popular Seng Kee kompia shop in that same lane.

You speak my language…

The other day, I went in search of the very nice Penang har mee (prawn noodles) – they closed down their stall at that former place a long time already but I heard that they had opened a stall in this block of shops. I went through all the coffee shops there but it was all in vain – the stall was nowhere to be found.

In the end, I decided to stop by here

ak kia kopitiam

…for a bite to eat.

The Chinese New Year lanterns were up…

CNY lanterns

…and thankfully, they were playing those boisterous Chinese New Year songs at a bearable volume.

My friend, Annie, likes the food here – in fact, on one of her trips home from KL, she came here twice for dinner. She said that the Foochow fried mee that she had was very nice so I ordered that, the “moon” version, and sat down to wait.

The kopi-o-peng

ak kia kopi-o-peng

…did not look like it would be anything to shout about but it turned out really nice though I can’t say I was all that impressed by the price – it was more expensive than at a lot of places, at RM2.00 a glass.

In the meantime, while I was waiting for my noodles to be served, this couple…

The couple

…came and sat at the table next to mine.

No, I was not eavesdropping but they were talking loud enough and everyone around would be able to hear what was said, no problem at all. It sure took me by surprise when the Caucasian guy spoke in very good Malay and placed the orders – I do know for a fact that many of the young ones here these days are mono-lingual and can hardly carry on a decent conversation in Malay nor English despite having studied the languages in school for so many years.

I don’t think his friend was local, looking very pretty in her leopard prints and carrying a Louis Vuitton purse. She spoke English and her friend was explaining to her about roti canai and roti telur and all that. He even went to ask the coffee shop people to confirm that it would be all right and he went to the Malay coffee shop next door to order one roti canai for the lady to try.

He had a bowl of Sarawak laksa – I don’t know if the one here is any good but this much I would say, I did not detect the fragrance at all. It seemed that he was concerned about the size of the serving but he had to struggle a bit with his command of the Malay language. In the end, I think the lady in red taking their orders spoke to him in English – she was smiling from ear to ear, probably somewhat amused by it all. The lady had their fried kway teow and I would say that it looked very good – I may want to come back here again some day to try that.

When my noodles came, I was kind of disappointed as it was not the “moon” version that I wanted but the regular Foochow fried noodles, wet (with sauce/gravy)…

ak kia Foochow fried noodles 1

…but when i tried it, I was delighted to find that it was indeed very very nice. I would say that if anyone comes to Sibu and is looking for good authentic Foochow fried noodles to enjoy, they can come here for this one. I can’t say they were very generous with the ingredients though…

ak kia Foochow fried noodles 2

…and price-wise, it was a bit more expensive than most, RM4.50 a plate compared to the usual RM4.00 at most places around here.

For one thing, despite the higher-than-usual prices, this place sure has its following. There were quite a lot of people when I was there and as I was leaving, I saw some more stopping by.

ak kia kopitiam (2.305073, 111.850618) is located in the right hand corner of the block of shops on the other side of the Sibu Bus Terminal, Jalan Pahlawan, a short distance to the right from the Li Hua Hotel there.

I can remember…

I can remember this place…

Ah Ping Cafe

…as clear as day as I did drop by here a few times before and I do remember also that I liked the fried kway teow (flat rice noodles) from the chu char (cook & fry) place at the back.  I used to teach one class at a tuition centre in the vicinity and other than coming here to eat, I did tapao home a number of times – it seemed that it is open all day unlike many places that open till noon and they may or may not open again come evening time.

Well, it so happened that I was around that part of town the other morning so I decided to go and try their Foochow fried noodles, wet/with sauce or gravy (RM4.00)…

Ah Ping Cafe Foochow fried noodles 1

…instead of going for the kway teow, for a change.

It did not look that great initially. I thought it was rather dark, a lot darker than usual but when I had tossed the noodles with the sauce/gravy…

Ah Ping Cafe Foochow fried noodles 2

…it sure looked very good and it tasted great too…

Ah Ping Cafe Foochow fried noodles 3

…and what I liked was they were quite generous with the ingredients – there were quite a lot of meat (though that looked like chicken) and green vegetables unlike at a lot of places around here. I sure wouldn’t mind having that again if ever I happen to be around here.

The kopi-o-peng (iced coffee, black) that I had that morning was good too and it was only RM1.50 a glass, a lot cheaper than a lot of places around here…and yes, I did try the kampua mee stall here too before, long ago, but it looked like somebody else is running it now, a guy. There used to be a woman here…and that morning, I noticed that a lot of people were ordering from him.

I spotted an ex-student from an earlier former school where I taught here – she goes to the same church so I would get to see her quite often. She and her family members were having the kampua mee, red in colour probably due to the char siew sauce added. I asked her if it was any good and she said yes. “I am here almost every day,” she added. I sure would want to go back there and give it a try one of these days.

AH PING CAFE is located in the vicinity of the Dewan Suarah, Sibu right across the lane from AROMA BAKERY (2.311151, 111.831515) after the Maju Tyre shop at No. 36 (G/F), Taman Damai along Jalan Dewan Suarah.

Call me names…

The Chinese have this thing about calling people names…or to put it more nicely, giving them nicknames or pet names. If you are fat, most likely you will be called Ah Pui or Ah Bui

Ah Bui

…and eventually, you will be known to everybody by that name, so much so that often, some may not even know your real name and they will affectionately, without any form of malice nor intent to hurt or insult, call you Ah Bui everytime they see you.

Well, this coffee shop has been around for a very long time but it does not seem to be as popular as another one round the corner or the one famous for its noodles with those giant udang galah (freshwater prawns). I had no intention of going to the latter (and I must say that it looked rather quiet that morning, unlike before) but when I got to the former (that has a name that sounded like a place of worship for one of those Christian denominations), it was so crowded and while I was standing there beside the stall, I was completely ignored. In the end, I just left and went to the coffee shop in the above photograph instead. It has been around for so long that I was quite sure that whatever they would have to offer would not be too bad at all.

I had the kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee)…

Coffee

…and was stunned when I asked how much that was and was told by the lady waiting at the tables that it was only RM1.20!!! Probably she had made a mistake – maybe that was the price for the drink without ice but no, I just kept quiet. The last time I thought I was undercharged and I went back to ask, I was given  a good scolding in the presence of everybody at the coffee shop…and I swore there and then, never again!!!

I tried the kampua mee (RM2.80)…

Kampua

…which I thought was good – it was not overcooked, soft and soggy like those at some places around here and though I would not say it was very strong on the coveted lard taste, the fragrance of the shallot oil sure made up for it and I liked the fact that they used stewed pork instead of the char-siew wannabe, the  boiled pork coloured red that they give you elsewhere.

The pian sip (RM2.80)…

Piansip

…was good too.

I saw the people at the next table eating the Foochow fried noodles with the giant prawns so I asked the guy at the kampua mee stall to confirm that this  would be available here too and he said, yes…at prices ranging from RM30.00 to RM50.00 or more depending on the size of the prawns. Of course, I have no intention of coming back here or anywhere for that, no way. You can call me kiam siap kui or kiam chee sai (thrifty or stingy), Scrooge or whatever, but for RM50.00, I can easily go and buy a kilo of the prawns and eat myself to kingdom come.

AH BUI RESTAURANT 阿肥海鮮 (2.278869, 111.838902) is located along Jalan Aman, among the shops to the left of the Jalan Lanang/Jalan Aman roundabout.

Up & down…

The price of petrol went down last week but to me, it was just an effort to pull wool over everybody’s eyes. It only meant that people would pay less to fill up and would not fill the pinch when they drive here and there even if it would be to some place round the block. Unfortunately, it did not affect the prices of things around here, not at all. That is usually the case around here – everyone is quick in jacking up the prices for whatever reason but no, there is no way those prices will ever come down again.

I have not gone to buy for quite a while now but I was told that my favourite kompia (our Foochow bagel-like bread) here now costs 50 sen each, RM1.00 for 2. According to some sources, there are places selling at 3 for RM1.00 still but I like the ones here most of all for its fragrance and crunchiness – the ones elsewhere may be quite bland and like rubber. Once, they were selling at 4 for RM1.00 and when the prices of things went up, they stuck to that same price but the kompia became smaller and thinner, quite impossible to cut slits in them to stuff the filling. I don’t know if there were complaints from their customers or what but they raised the price to 3 for RM1.00 and restored its original size and thickness.

As far as I know, many of those selling stuffed kompia at the stalls around town would get theirs from here. The ones here, fried and stuffed with minced meat are my friend, Annie’s favourite and they were 80 sen each before and the last time I had it, they were 90 sen each. I am pretty sure they have increased the price again, like everything else around here. Of course, those here would be a lot more expensive – the ones with minced meat were RM3.80 for three once, dunno now and the last time I had those with stewed pork belly, they were a shocking RM5.20 for three.

It so happened that I was here the other day around 3 in the afternoon and of course, I did not care for anything heavy at that time of day, just something for tea. I noticed an older couple, the lady, in particular, manning the kampua mee stall…

Uncle Lau Corner kampua mee stall

…so I asked around if somebody new had taken over but I was told that the very much younger and more attractive lady in the morning would be their daughter-in-law and yes, they were still the same people there.

The kampua mee here is RM3.00 a plate though – I would much sooner walk round the corner to this shop around 200 metres away to enjoy theirs at RM2.50 only. Anyway, I saw that they had kompia so I ordered three (RM1.00 each)…

Fried kompia with minced meat filling

– theirs is deep-fried which I prefer to the ones elsewhere where they toast them in the oven (toaster) as those can be a bit hard and do not taste as great. Somehow, some things taste better, deep-fried.

Yes, they were nice, lots of minced meat filling…

Minced meat filling

…inside but considering that the three cost just as much as a more filling plate of kampua mee, I probably would not be coming back for more all that soon.

I had the iced red bean with grass jelly (RM3.50)…

Iced red bean with grass jelly

…which was nice but I did not think they used santan (coconut milk) and I would prefer these things with a sprinkling of gula Melaka (palm sugar) on top.

I noticed that there was a new stall beside the Malay/Muslim stall but I did not go and see what they had in store and I saw on a notice on the wall that there would be another stall opening in February. I probably would check those out the next time I am in the vicinity.

UNCLE LAU CORNER (2.328131, 111.840397) is located back to back with Udak Kitchen which is to the left of Everwin, Sg Merah along Lorong Sungai Merah 2C, off Jalan Teng Chin Hua.