Unusually unusual…

This coffee shop in the next lane, round the corner from my house, is enjoying brisk business. I see a lot of people there every morning and if I am not wrong, it closes around noon and reopens in the evening but I hardly ever venture out once the sun has set and I have not passed by the place at night so I am not really sure.

I’ve been there a number of times and I like the fried stuff from the chu-char (cook & fry) place at the back and the kampua mee from the stall in front is pretty decent too. I was there not too long ago to tapao the Foochow fried noodles but the guy’s wife, a lady of ethnic descent, was doing the cooking. She said that the hubby was unwell and was at that point in time in hospital. Thankfully, when I went there again the other day, he was back in action, looking as fit as a fiddle.

I think the wife is Iban even though she is very fair and has the oriental look of those Kayan or Kenyah maidens. I heard the guy talking to the kids in Iban and Hokkien which I feel is a good thing. Many offsprings of such inter-marriages may end up speaking one language but not the other or worse, none of them, conversant only in Mandarin or English.

I ordered the fried kway teow (flat rice noodles), wet (with sauce/gravy), for a change and when it (RM4.00)…

Ah Kau Cafe fried kway teow 1

…was served, the first thing that crossed my mind was that it looked kind of pale which was unusually unusual, different from elsewhere where it would be a shade darker probably because of the amount of dark soy sauce added.

I tried it and was glad to find that it was very nice. It had that much coveted wok hei fragrance and the guy was very generous with the added ingredients…

Ah Kau Cafe fried kwayteow 2

…unlike elsewhere where you will get bits of meat and green vegetables hardly visible to the naked eye for that same amount of money.

Of course, I would be dropping by time and time again as I do like what they dish out here and it is so very convenient, so near my house.

AH KAU CAFE (2.316346, 111.839861) is located along Jalan Ruby, off Jalan Lim Han Swee, in the same block as Kim Tak Mini Supermarket, to the extreme left.

Coincidentally…

I saw some very nice photographs on Facebook of the pan mee with a choice between beef and pork at one place here, round the corner from my house so early one morning, I went there hoping to give it a try. Unfortunately, it was not open – I did not know whether it was their off day or I was too early, before 8.00 a.m.

In the end, I went here instead, not far away from the aforementioned coffee shop. Coincidentally, an ex-student of mine showed up and coincidentally, he too saw the photographs and wanted to go and try but it was closed and coincidentally, he picked to go to that same coffee shop where I was instead.

I had the mee sua from the second stall before and it was very nice and my missus had something from the first stall, very popular for their own-made bay kar (ikan tenggiri/mackerel) fish balls, and she liked it.

My ex-student had this from the latter (RM8.00)…

Ex-student's order

…not by choice – he said he did not know what to order so he just picked one at random. Well, I did not hear him complain so I guess it was all right.

I did not want anything from those two stalls and I went to the one in front on the right…

Toast stall

…instead. The young boy was selling all kinds of toasts but no, I was not in the mood for those and I picked his scrambled egg set (RM6.90) instead.

The egg…

Scrambled egg

…was perfectly done, creamy enough and not overcooked till it was like some kind of a badly messed-up omelette (like the ones you will get on the breakfast menu at those fast food franchises) but I wouldn’t mind if he had scrambled it a little bit more.

I am not fond of those (cheap) frozen supermarket sausages…

Scrambled egg set

…with or without the squiggle of mayonnaise though. Next time I will bring my own gourmet ones. Of course at the price he was charging for the dish, one can’t jolly well expect any of those or perhaps I will just tell him to leave out the sausages and give me two servings of the egg instead.

I saw the photo of the so-called American breakfast at the stall, RM7.90, but with those same sausages and some slices of those similarly cheap frozen supermarket turkey or chicken ham – I don’t think I will go for that.

YISEN CAFE is located opposite the Lovers’ Bridge along Sungai Merah among the shops to the left of Jalan Teng Chin Hua before its junction with Lorong Sg Merah 2. Unlike at many parts of town these days, there is ample parking here and it is free.

Yellow chair…

He’s one of the most popular guys in town for his kampua mee

He's the man

…at this coffee shop…

Meng Chien Cafe

…more commonly referred to as “yellow chair” because all the chairs in the shop are of that colour.

Well, some friends of mine were talking about him the other day – they said that he opens his shop real early every day at 3.00 a.m. That did not come as a surprise to me as I did notice a lot of cars outside his shop when I drove past after I had dropped my girl at her school at around 6.00 a.m.

That day, I decided to make a u-turn and drive over for breakfast. After all, I last dropped by here, my very first time, in 2013 and I had not gone back since, the reason being the fact that parking around there later in the day is virtually impossible.

This was around 6.00 something in the morning…

Early in the morning

…and most of the parking spaces were occupied – luckily, I did manage to get hold of one on the other side of the road. You can see the numerous customers at the tables arranged outside all along the pavement.

I was of the opinion that his kampua mee was really good and all this while, I would tell people that his would be among the best in town. I ordered a bowl (RM2.80)…

Meng Chien Cafe kampua mee

…and yes, it was good. It came across to me as being a bit firmer than most so if one is more into softer noodles, he or she would probably not like it as much.

I did not order the guy’s pian sip this time around as I remember on my previous visit, I was not as impressed but of course, I noticed the plastic bowl that he used and of course, I wasn’t exactly fond of that and for this reason alone, you will not catch me going back there again all that soon.

Perhaps he chooses to use those as the colour matches the chairs – I guess that’s his prerogative.

MENG CHIEN CAFE (2.285361, 111.832262) is located along Long Bridge Road, the second shop on your left as you turn in from Lanang Road.

Related…

The last time I was here

Hee's Food Corner

…and that happened to be the first time as well, I enjoyed the mee sua (thread/string noodles/Foochow longevity noodles) in the traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup so much that I just had to share a post on it on Facebook to tell everyone about it.

It so happened that a very old friend going back to the late 70’s and early 80’s in Kanowit saw it and commented that the lady was related to her husband, his cousin to be exact (or maybe it was somebody else who saw it and told me that they were related). Gee! Small world!!!

I went back there again that day and now that I knew who she…

Hee's Food Corner mee sua stall

…was, I had a good look at her and yes, she did look like everyone in the family. I asked her and she confirmed the fact and after that, we had a really good chat about everybody and everything Kanowit.

I had the mee sua (RM7.00)…

Hee's Food Corner mee sua

…again and probably it was already lunchtime and she was coming to the bottom of the pot so the soup had traces of the ang chao (lees) residue in the wine. Nonetheless, it was very good, as good as when I had it the first time so if ever I should feel like having mee sua, this will definitely be my first pick.

While I was there, a few others came and they too had the mee sua. Obviously, she is quite popular and has her followers. She does not have much else at her stall though, just toast done in a few different ways or kompia or mantao, not anything that I would fancy.

NEW HEE’S FOOD CORNER (2.311365, 111.846638) is located along Jalan Pedada, now Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai, the very first one in the block of shops to the left of the Delta Mall, with the Astro Sibu office at the other end of that same block.

Find you…

We went back here for the beef noodles recently even though I was avoiding the place after some unpleasant experiences but like it or not, this is one of the better places in town for that. It was still good but we felt that the quality had dropped a little – it certainly used to be a whole lot better.

The one here has moved some place else and this one did not really tickle my fancy all that much…and this one that goes back a long long way doesn’t get me all that excited either.

I tried the new food court in town where there is a beef noodle stall but the somewhat unenthusiastic young boy there just said that he was not ready to start for the day and it was already way past 7, almost 8.

In the end, I decided to go someplace else and ended up here…

Sibu Cafe

I was there in 2016 and had their beef noodles from this stall there…

Beef noodles stall

…but it was not the clear soup type, more like what they call the Taiwan-style with the soup a shade of brown…and let’s just say that given a choice, I would not pick that one.

Since I was going round hoping to find some really good beef noodles in town, I had their beef noodles…

Beef noodles 1

…again that day, still RM7.00 a bowl but I asked for the RM10.00 one…

Beef noodles 2

…with the extra beef and tripe.The soup was nice but I did not think it was all that strong with the beef flavour, the meat was tender and so was the tripe though I would prefer it sliced a little bit more thinly.

However, if it is beef noodles done this way, my favourite would be the one here but we have not been there for a long time so I am not sure if they are still there – it did move around quite a bit and led us on a wild goose chase.

As I was leaving, I saw somebody having the chai thow koi (fried carrot cake) or koey kah and it looked very good. Perhaps I shall come back another day to try that!

SIBU CAFE (2.295419, 111.839777) is located among the shops at Pusat Tanahwang, right across the road from SMK Sacred Heart, on your right if you are driving in after making the left turn into the lane past the SHELL station there.

I want it…

This…

Fish Culture II, Ulu Sg Merah

…is the branch of the original place here and both have been around for a long time now, the latter going all the way back to 2012. I guess they must be doing pretty well to be able to sustain all this while.

This particular branch sure looked a lot nicer when it first opened in 2016…

Fish Culture Cafe II *Archive photo*

…or maybe it looks better at night but it still is very nice and clean and the members of the staff are friendly and efficient.

I can’t say I am a fan of their dim sum and personally I would not go out of my way for it but that morning, I was in the vicinity of this branch after I had sent my girl to attend a meeting at the secondary school further up the road and I was delighted to see that they now have yong tofu

Fish Culture II yong tofu section

…one thing that is not readily available here in Sibu and thankfully, what we have here is pretty good and we do go for it time and time again.

There were quite a range of choices to pick from and I picked what I wanted or actually, I told the lady what I wanted and she picked them one by one from inside the enclosed glass cabinet. I thought that took away part of the enjoyment of going for yong tofu but I do appreciate the fact that they put in that extra effort to keep everything covered, even their dim sum selections these days instead of leaving them exposed to flies, dust or whatever is in the air.

Yes, they still have their sambals, the very nice ones with hay bee (dried prawns) that I used to enjoy when having their dim sum before but this time around, they gave me a third one, something like what we would get when having chicken rice…

Sambals & chili dip

…and I liked that the most with my order.

They have a choice of clear soup or curry or tom yum and of course, I wanted the clear soup – I love anything in clear soup and in no time at all, my order was served…

Fish culture II yong tofu

…and yes, I did ask for some tang hoon (glass noodles) as well…

Tang hoon added

The kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee) that I had was great, RM1.80 a glass, and everything in the bowl came up to RM9.40 – that’s the trouble when you go for something like this; you want everything and when they add it all up, the overall total can be quite shocking.

I wouldn’t mind coming back for this again though since I did think it was very nice and the next time around, I would bring my girl along – she enjoys yong tofu very much too!

FISH CULTURE CAFE II (2.330808, 111.855937) is located at the shops on your left along Jalan Ulu Sg Merah, a short distance from the roundabout if you are coming along Jalan Ling Kai Cheng and taking the right turn from there.

Not quite there…

I thought their kampua mee paled in comparison to the old lady’s when they took over her stall…

Stall

…and I did not like their Sarawak laksa at all when I tried it once and I do recall having their mee sua as well before and I was not impressed either.

My brother, however, enjoyed their kampua mee very much and everytime he came back to Sibu, he would walk over to the shop…

Delta Seafood & Cafe

…most every morning to eat it – my parents’ house was just round the corner.

Well, an ex-colleague, also retired like me, who seemed to be quite a regular here, shared a photograph of the lor mee that he had on Facebook, praising it to the skies and since the very nice one that I quite liked had called it quits or moved elsewhere, I thought it would be good to have an alternative.

That was why I went to the coffee shop and ordered a bowl (RM6.00)…

Lor mee 1

…to try and yes, it was very nice. Their own-made chili dip was really good and spicy too.

I did not quite care for those frozen fish balls – wouldn’t mind if they had used their own instead and I was not crazy about the tofu puffs…

Lor mee 2

…so maybe the next time when I come here for this, I would ask them to leave them all out and give me one whole egg instead of half or a bit more meat.

But wait a minute! Now, where’s the kangkong (water spinach)? They were very generous with the vegetable but how can it be lor mee without the kangkong? Tsk! Tsk! I would agree with my ex-colleague that it was nice but, no, it’s not quite there – there’s still some room for improvement, I’m afraid.

DELTA SEAFOOD & CAFE (2.307832, 111.825125) is located along Lorong Delta 10, in the blocks of shops somewhere right behind the public swimming pool there.