Can’t tell…

The area where I stay here in Sibu is generally referred to as Au Yong but if I am not wrong, it used to be a much larger area but they extended Brooke Drive and it cut through this area. That is why there is an Au Yong to the left of Brooke Drive, off Jalan Tun Abg Hj Openg beside the Sibu Police Headquarters and the one where I am staying.

Anyway, when I was out with my nephews sometime back, the mum was telling the sons about a kampua mee stall in Au Yong that they used to frequent when they were much younger. I couldn’t tell if it was the same one but I also knew of one not far from my house and yes, I used to go over to buy home. It was nice and for only RM1.00, I would get so much, enough for two, at least. Eventually, there came a ruling prohibiting the sale of food at residential premises so the stall came to an untimely end.

According to the mum, the one they were talking about had moved to this shop in the vicinity of the Dewan Suarah so of course, I just had to go and check it out to see if it was the same one or not.

No, there was no sign of the old couple who used to run that stall near my house. Instead, there was a younger woman running the show. I asked for a plate of kampua mee, white…

Happy Points kampua kosong

…and a small bowl of pian sip (meat dumplings) soup…

Happy Points pian sip soup

I guess the lady assumed that I intended to have the dumplings instead of the usual slices of meat so I was served the mee kosong (no meat) and to go with my orders, I was given these…

Happy Points pepper, chili sauce and vinegar

– the chili sauce for the mee, should I happen to feel like it and the pepper and the vinegar for the soup.

Yes, the mee was nice but I don’t think the taste was quite like what I used to buy from the stall near my house. Maybe it is because somebody else is making it or the taste has evolved into something quite different over the years, I really can’t tell. The pian sip soup was great too and I did enjoy the coffee…

Happy Points kopi-o-peng

…as well, RM1.50 only which means that it is cheaper than most places in town.

I paid RM4.50 for the whole works…

Happy Points RM4.50 breakfast

…and if I deduct RM1.50 for the drink, that would mean that I had to pay RM3.00 in total for the mee and the pian sip. It does seem cheap at first glance but the dumplings were supposed to replace the meat in what I had so my guess is that one would have to pay RM3.00 for  a regular plate of kampua mee here, with meat, which is more expensive than some of the places in town though it may be the same as a lot of the rest and cheaper than a few…but this one is good though not anything to get me rushing back for more or go out of one’s way for.

HAPPY POINTS CAFE (2.310958, 111.831458) is located along Jalan Dewan Suarah, on your right as you are entering from Jalan Melur, two doors away from the Aroma Bakery so that makes it the fourth shoplot in the block.

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They like…

I was in the vicinity of this coffee shop…

Kian Hock Coffee Shop

…that day and despite the massive jam that reduced the traffic to a very slow crawl, by some stroke of good luck, I was able to find a parking space as it so happened that one car was reversing and leaving. Probably it was because of the number of people taking the express boats to go back to their homes upriver – the wharf/jetty is just about a hundred metres away.

I had no intention of joining all the cars moving at a snail’s pace so I decided to stop by the aforementioned coffee shop for the kampua noodles…

Kian Hock Coffee Shop kampua mee 1
*I so love that old-school bowl that they used!*

…that at one time, a friend on Facebook was praising to the skies, insisting that it was the best in town. I have not heard from him since so I wouldn’t know if he still feels the same about it.

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

Kian Hock Coffee Shop kopi-o-peng

…that many feel is really very good, RM1.80 a glass, but when I had it on my last visit, I thought it was just so-so. However, this time around, it was indeed very nice and I sure would not mind having that again. Maybe it is the person brewing the coffee – sometimes when it is not done by the right person, what one is served may turn out to be somewhat disappointing.

The complimentary soup…

Kian Hock Coffee Shop complimentary soup

…for reasons unknown, had a piece of tofu inside. It was rather watered down but it wasn’t too bad, much better than a lot of kampua mee places where what one get is nothing more than water with msg added. In the event of getting anything like that, I would not just leave it, almost untouched.

I had to wait quite a long time for the noodles – it seemed that it was past 11.30 a.m., almost noon and they would be busy catering to the customers dropping by for lunch so normally, they would not have it anymore by then. Luckily, they were nice enough to come out with a bowl so I could have a go at it…

Kian Hock Coffee Shop kampua mee 2

I was delighted to see that they used real char siew (barbecued meat) instead of those wannabes – boiled pork coloured red, and the char siew was really very nice! All this while, I had been grumbling that I could not get very nice char siew here, nothing like those in KL or elsewhere in the peninsula, but this one here wasn’t too bad. Now I know where I can go to should I happen to have a craving for it.

As for the noodles…

Kian Hock Coffee Shop kampua mee 3

…it tasted great with the lovely fragrance of lard and I was quite positive there was garlic in the oil used to toss the noodles and that made it taste different from the regular ones…but yes, I loved it!

Having said that, I was not all that fond of the texture of the noodles, not that it was overcooked till soft and soggy but it did not really feel like kampua mee, more like those in the packets of instant noodles . I wonder if that was because it was so late already and they were calling it a day as far as their kampua mee was concerned or perhaps, that is how their noodles are like. I guess, to answer my question, that will have to wait till the next time I drop by here for this.

KIAN HOCK COFFEE SHOP (2.284853, 111.831557) is located along Jalan Maju to the left of the River Park Hotel and across the road from The Ark and the Rejang Esplanade.

We takin’ over…

There used to be a sports shop here but this coffee shop…

Cafe 63
*I wonder if that car will have to put two parking tickets for occupying two spaces*

…has taken over the place, to the left of this dessert shop and bakery…

Blackball & Big Thumb
*They sure have very wide parking spaces in this area – side parking would be a breeze*

I don’t know why it is thus named – maybe that’s the number of the shop and yes, this is in the congested part of town and parking in the vicinity can be such a pain but if you are willing to park some distance away and walk, you may be able to find a space.

I dropped by early one morning to check out the place. There is a kampua mee stall in front and this Muslim/halal stall with the pork and whatever rice stall on the left and a beef noodle, kueh chap and porridge stall on the right…

Cafe 63 food stalls

– only in Sarawak/Sibu can you see this close integration of races/religions.

I was in the mood for some Foochow fried noodles…

Cafe 63 Foochow fried noodles 1

…so I proceeded to the stall at the back, run by a very nice chatty couple…

Cafe 63 chu char stall at the back
*Oopsss!!! Do excuse the pencemaran bahasa/spelling error!*

…and placed my order.

I asked if they had any special, something with added ingredients but they said no unless I would want to go for their giant prawn noodles, around RM60.00 a plate. Hmmm…no, thank you.

In the end, I just settled for the regular…

Cafe 63 Foochow fried noodles & kopi-o-peng

…and a glass of kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee) to go with it. The coffee was RM1.70, cheaper than some places, more expensive than others but most importantly, I thought it was very nice.

As for the noodles…

Cafe 63 Foochow fried noodles 2

…that plate was RM4.50 – I think it is RM4.00 at most places here but this one had a lot of ingredients unlike others that may just have some bits of meat and green vegetables, barely visible to the naked eye plus the portion did seem to be a little bit more substantial than most of the rest. Yes, it was very nice and had that very much coveted wok hei fragrance and I sure would not mind dropping by for it again…if I can find a place to park the car, that is.

CAFE 63 (2.293970, 111.826350) is located at Jalan Tunku Osman, to the left of Blackball and Big Thumb.

Seeing for the very first time…

I did mention in this post sometime ago, in September last year to be exact, that we dropped by here

Wang Seng Food Centre

…because I wanted the kolo mee that I remembered going to try once before because everyone said it was good and I think I did like it then. My girl was still in primary school at the time, if I remember correctly.

Well, it was closed that day but last Sunday, I was out early in the morning so parking was not a problem and there was no traffic congestion, no rampant illegal parking left, right and centre all over the vicinity and I finally could drop by for what I had been wanting to try all this time.

I am not sure if it is the same people…

Wang Seng kolo mee stall

…running the stall now. There was this lady manning it and later on, a guy appeared to give her a hand but she was the one doing the cooking.

I ordered the kolo mee special (RM5.00) and this was what I got…

Wang Seng kolo mee special

What? Kolo mee served in a plate? Now, that was my very first time seeing that. We usually have kampua mee in a plate but as far as I can recall, all the time I had kolo mee, it was always in a bowl.

Yes, it had the minced meat and char siew, real char siew and not the boiled meat coloured red that you will find at most kampua mee stalls just like the ones in Kuching, my favourites here and here.

It tasted great, not in any way like kampua mee disguised to look like kolo mee like some that you may find around here but of course, I added the vinegar and chili that came with it…

Chili in vinegar

…the usual that one would get when eating kolo mee in Kuching, and that sure brought the taste to a whole new level.

For the special, I had these bits of tofu puffs…

Tofu puffs

…and some bits of green vegetables as well as a few tiny prawns and fish balls…

Prawns and fish balls

Yes, they do have these add-ons at some kolo mee places in Kuching too and maybe other things like liver and what not.

I wouldn’t say whether it was nicer than the ones I like a lot in Kuching especially sometimes, when both are pretty ok, one has to eat the two side by side to be able to tell the difference so for now, I would just say it was good enough but RM5.00 is a little bit on the high side for me to go through all that hassle to go there and eat especially when I can have two plates of the very nice kampua mee here instead, minus all the traffic and parking woes and parking there is free some more!

WANG SENG FOOD CENTRE (2.290256, 111.828019) is located along Jalan Wong Nai Siong right behind the Sibu Central Post Office.

On a Saturday night…

Last Saturday, we had to drive all the way to my girl’s school in the jungle instead of Friday as they had replacement classes to make up for the extra days off in conjunction with the Gawai and Hari Raya mid-year holidays which is going to be a month long. We had lunch when we got home around 2 something so we skipped dinner and went for the sunset service at the church we usually go to.

After the service, my girl said she wanted something western so we dropped by here and she had the lamb chop (RM14.50)…

Colourful Cafe lamb chop 1

…with mushroom sauce. It was very good and I must say that was a generous slab, bigger than what one would get at most places elsewhere…

Colourful Cafe lamb chop 2

The mum had her usual, the chicken chop (RM9.50)…

Colourful Cafe chicken chop 1

…also with mushroom sauce…

Colourful Cafe chicken chop 2

…which, as always, was very much to her satisfaction.

I was not in the mood for anything western so I ordered their satay

Colourful Cafe beef & chicken satay 1

…with the peanut sauce. I thought the sauce was a little diluted that night, nice but a bit watery, but I really loved the beef – I wonder how he got it to be so nice and tender unlike the stone hard, unchewable ones at the stalls around here. No doubt it is cheaper at those places but the sticks are very much smaller, maybe half the size of these…

Colourful Cafe beef & chicken satay 2

…or even smaller but it is of no use if it is cheaper and it isn’t nice. The chicken I had that night was all right, breast and to me, the beef would win hands down.

Having said that, the satay here were RM2.00 a stick for beef, RM1.50 for chicken but somebody commented on my Facebook post saying that the prices had gone up. I did not check the bill that night – I just paid the overall total but I did some calculations and if I am not wrong, it is now RM2.50 for beef and RM2.00 for chicken, up 50 sen per stick. Tsk! Tsk! I certainly will have to think twice about having those now.

I also had the Sarawak laksa (RM5.50)…

Colourful Cafe Sarawak laksa

The one here is not quite there – as far as I know the guy makes his own sambal and at one time, I heard that it was available for sale, dunno now. No, I’m not saying it is not nice, it is pretty good but we prefer the ones here as theirs is more like the nice authentic Kuching ones. Incidentally, it looks like that one there has gone up in price too, RM6.00 now!

Ah well!!! As far as I know, even in Kuching, the taste varies from place to place and there is always some disagreement as to which one “the best” is. Like I always say, to each his own – one man’s meat may be another man’s poison. Period!

COLOURFUL CAFE (2.316673, 111.837539) is located in the Renew4U building at the junction of Brooke Drive and Lorong Kwong Ann 8, across the road from the Church of Jesus  Christ of the Latter Day Saints.

Not what I thought…

There is an open space in the vicinity of Sungai Antu where the Trans-Sarawak Bus Terminal was a long time ago – this coffee shop and this one are located there, in the block of shops facing it. At one time, they used it for the temporary stalls of the hawkers here while Taman Harmoni, the food court/hawker centre, was undergoing some massive renovations and eventually, they all moved back to where they came from.

Quite recently, I saw some construction going on and it looked like they were putting up some hawker stalls there. The work has been completed now and I saw a banner declaring, “For the Sibu Bidayuh Community, a project of DBNA” and that got me quite excited as I thought there would be stalls selling Bidayuh cuisine like the restaurant at the association’s premises in Kuching.

However, my happiness was short-lived as when I dropped by to check the place out, I did not see what I had expected – I don’t know how many of the people there were Bidayuhs as they were all speaking Foochow. There was a food stall where they were dishing out some dishes, getting them ready for anyone into chap fan/nasi campur (mixed/economy rice) and though they looked good, they were all Chinese, it seemed, not Bidayuh. Perhaps they did not intend it to be a place serving traditional ethnic Bidayuh delights and had rented out the stalls for the funds for the community and association’s activities here.

In the end, since we were already there, my missus and I went back here for our lunch and of course, she had the nasi kerabu with ayam percik (RM6.50)…

Warong Cafe nasi kerabu ayam percik

I ordered their nasi lemak special (RM6.00)…

Warong Cafe nasi lemak special 1

…and asked for the ayam percik but the girl said they would serve that with chicken rendang

Warong Cafe chicken rendang

…so I had that instead. Actually, I had that a long time ago when this place was under a different name (and probably somebody else was cooking it then) and thought it was very nice.

This time around, I thought it was good, the chicken rendang, but between the two, I felt the ayam percik was nicer. The rice was quite lemak (rich with santan/coconut milk) and not hard and dry like what I had at some places around here and some were so bad that they might as well just serve plain rice instead and on the whole, I did enjoy my order…

Warong Cafe nasi lemak special 2

…that day.

WARONG CAFE (2.318841, 111.831732), formerly Sri Tanjung Cafe, is located among the shops in between Jalan Tapang and Jalan Tapang Timur towards the end of Jalan Kampung Nangka – RTM Sibu is located right across the road on the right.

Vegetarian…

My girl bought two packets of chick peas and used one to cook some vegetarian curry – she said that she used to enjoy that at the Indian stall across the road from the teacher-training institute where she was at Kuala Ketil in Sg Petani, Kedah. She soaked the chick peas overnight and cooked the curry the following day and though I thought it was very nice, she was not too happy with it as she said the chick peas were hard, not like the ones she had before.

The remaining packet was lying there all this while so last Thursday, I decided I would cook it. I also soaked the chick peas overnight and I boiled them the next day…for hours until they became soft. Maybe they had been kept too long already, all dried up and shrivelled and that was why it took so long and besides, the skin never came off on its own and worse, they did not taste good at all, none of the nice kacang kuda (chick peas) taste. In the end, I decided to cook curry with them.

I pounded some shallots, garlic, ginger, chilies and kunyit (turmeric) and fried the paste in a bit of oil, together with two stalks of serai (lemon grass). I chopped some tomatoes, skin removed, till really very fine and threw it in and I added some water before adding the chick peas and potatoes, peeled and boiled till almost cooked/soft. Oh dear!!! It was then that I discovered that there wasn’t any curry powder in the house so I had no choice but to add a bit of serbuk kunyit (turmeric powder instead) for a nice yellow colour, a spoonful of garam masala (Indian spices) and a spoonful of paprika…and I added a bit of evaporated milk and threw in a sprig of curry leaves. Lastly, I added a bit of salt and sugar and when I tasted it…

My chick pea & potatoes vegetarian curry

…I thought it was very nice! Once cooled, I kept that in the fridge for my girl to enjoy for lunch the next day, Friday, once we got home from fetching her from her school in the jungle. It so happened that her housemate at the teachers’ quarters came along with us and of course we invited her to join us for lunch. She tasted the gravy and exclaimed spontaneously, “This is nice!!!” Of course, that pleased me immensely. Hehehehehe!!!!

We did not go to the sunset service on Saturday evening as we went out for dinner to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday. That was why we went to the early morning service on Sunday instead and after that, we dropped by here for brunch before making our way along the Pain-Borneo Highway to send my girl back to her school.

My girl had her favourite, the thosai

Sri Pelita thosai

…and that too is vegetarian, I guess but no, we did have the slices of beef with our kampua mee

Sri Pelita beef kampua, black

– my missus and I. I forgot to tell them I wanted it white so we were served the black version, the one with dark soy sauce but it did not really matter as it was good. My missus was having it for the first time here and she was pleasantly surprised and sang its praises, especially considering that it was halal, no lard was used in the making.

I was afraid that the mee would not be substantial enough and I would be feeling  hungry as we would not be home till mid-afternoon so I ordered one roti canai

Sri Pelita roti canai

…for myself and yes, that’s vegetarian all right but of course, my girl can’t eat that, much as she would like to, as it is made from  wheat flour and is not gluten-free.

The nice boss, Guna, was not around that day and the bill came up to RM18.50 for all that we had, the three of us, plus the drinks. I saw the chef taking a break and enjoying his chappati at the next table – I didn’t know they had that! I sure would want to try it the next time we drop by here.

SRI PELITA CAFE (2.293579, 111.820700) is located along Lorong Kampung Datu 11, off Jalan Kampung Datu, the first shop in the block to the right of Paramount Hotel.