The leader…

Many here in Sibu would know of Ah Ling Bak Kut Teh. It started off a long time ago, probably the first in Sibu – the leader, so to speak and to this day, it is still going strong at that same coffee shop…

Leader Coffee Shop

…to the right of the back of the HSBC Building (that white one to the extreme left in the photograph). I was told that the family took over the business when Ah Ling passed away and the last time I was there, I did notice a little sign at the stall with the name “Ah Ling Bak Kut Teh” on it, otherwise, there is no way of telling that this is the one. I did not take note this time around but I guess it is still there.

Well, my girl wanted to have bak kut teh the other day and as far as I know, unlike the rest, Ah Ling’s is a little light on the soy sauce. She has been taking the very expensive gluten-free soy sauce but we reckoned that a little bit of the regular one would be fine as she is just gluten-sensitive/intolerant and not suffering from celiac disease. I heard that the Singapore version does not have soy sauce but unfortunately, we do not have that here.

When we got to the coffee shop, the mum said she would rather have the chap fan but I told her that the former people had called it a day. They were at the coffee shop opposite but when the new owners took over, they moved here but if I remember correctly, the guy was not well or something so he decided to call it quits and people were saying that the current one was not as nice. Nonetheless, she insisted on going for it and this was RM4.00…

Leader Cafe chap fan

…for one meat and two vegetables including the salted veg…

Leader Cafe salted veg

I thought everything looked quite good but no, she said it was not nice and the rice seemed to have an unpleasant smell to it so she barely finished half of what was on her plate.

Thankfully, our rice from the bak kut teh stall…

Leader Cafe rice

…was all right.

I asked for lean meat and they gave me two huge chunks of pork ribs plus the innards that I also wanted…

Leader Cafe Ah Ling bak kut teh 1

…and yes, it was very nice – not strong on the soy sauce…and peppery too which reminded me of this…

Pork innard soup Damansara Uptown

…that I had once at Damansara Uptown (though I heard that the coffee shop has since closed down). Too bad we can’t get it here, or at least, there is none that I know of – this one has no soy sauce in it, that’s for sure!

We noticed the absence of the curly green vegetables and tauhu pok (tofu puffs) in the bowl…

Leader Cafe Ah Ling bak kut teh 2

…but I think I did see some yew char koi (Chinese cruller) at the stall – I guess if you want that, you will have to pay extra for it. Of course my girl did not want the “spare parts” so in her bowl, there were only three huge chunks of the pork ribs…and the total for our two bowls came up to RM22.00. Hmmmm…it certainly doesn’t come cheap, this bak kut teh like the one I had here not too long ago.

Ah well! It’s not something that we would have every day, anyway…and we usually cook our own at home and in doing that, we will have the choice of using the gluten-free soy sauce that we have in the house or do it Singapore-style, just leave it out altogether.

LEADER CAFE/AH LING BAK KUT TEH is located in the vicinity of the Tuanku Osman shops at the end of Jalan Kai Peng, the other end if you are walking from the Jalan Kampung Nyabor side beside the HSBC Building, to the left of it.

True colours…

I have blogged about this place

Colourful Cafe

…many times before and we did drop by here time and time again as its location is on our way back home from my parents’ place therefore it is very convenient for us to do so. However, we would be having those same things that I would have featured in my earlier posts so I do not see any point in repeating myself.

Much to my delight, when we stopped by last Friday, we found out that there were a few new additions to their menu and it being our no-meat Friday in the season of Lent, I picked their sweet and sour fish lunch set (RM9.90)…

Colourful Cafe sweet & sour fish lunch set

Yes, it was not all that cheap, definitely not as cheap as the ones here, but that was a very much bigger plate and the serving was huge – enough for two, I would say or perhaps one can just order another rice and share the fish and the salad.

One thing that would be in their favour was that they gave chicken rice instead of plain white rice and yes, the fish…

Colourful Cafe sweet and sour fish

…was very nice and there was a lot of it and I would say the same about the salad…

Colurful Cafe salad

…by the side and I do know for a fact that the imported crispy lettuce sure does not come cheap.

The other options would be the salad fish or chicken (deep-fried batter-coated fish or chicken with mayonnaise) or their honey chicken wings. I guess my girl would be able to enjoy that last one, the only one of the lot that is gluten-free.

That day, my missus stuck loyally to her favourite, their char kway teow (RM4.00)…

Colourful Cafe char kway teow

– the fried flat rice noodles and yes, she said it was as good as always. I get somewhat put off by some places here that do need a lot more quality control – something may be very nice on your first visit but the next time around, you find that it is not quite as good as the previous time. Thankfully, this is not one of them.

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.

Say it out loud…

This Malay eatery…

Mia Cafe & Restaurant

…is fairly new, located in the area of shops where this supermarket…

Bisonte Grocer & Deli

…is located, at Simpang Tiga here in Sibu.

I was wondering how one would pronounce the name should one want to say it out loud. MIA is the acronym in English for missing in action but maybe it should be pronounced as Maya, a popular name here but when I asked one of the guys there, it turned out that one should pronounce it as in the Italian expression/Abba hit/musical, mamma mia.

My missus and I went for the nasi campur (mixed rice) and make no mistake, the prices are stated on the whiteboard very clearly…

Mia Cafe & Restaurant prices

…so what you take will be what you will have to pay later after you have enjoyed the meal.

My missus had the perut (beef tripe)…

Mia Cafe & Restaurant perut

…and that would be RM2.00 and also the sotong (squid)…

Mia Cafe & Restuarant sotong

…RM2.30 and the sayo (vegetable)…

Mia Cafe & Restaurant sayo

…RM1.00, making her total, RM5.30 altogether.

I had the sotong and the sayo too, totalling RM3.30 already and I also had the asam fish…

Mia Cafe & restaurant fish

…RM2.50, bringing it up to RM5.80 and I flooded the rice with the very lovely soup but of course, there was no charge for that.

The salted egg, 80 sen…

Mia Cafe & Restaurant salted egg

…kept calling out to me and it looked so good that I just could not resist taking one and as buah emplam is currently not in season, they used buah kedondong instead to make the very delightful sambal, RM1.00…

Mia Cafe & Restaurant sambal buah kedundong

As a matter of fact, I loved it so much that I tapao-ed some of it to take back and enjoy with our meals at home.

That means that the overall total for all that I had picked…

Mia Cafe & Restaurant nasi campur

…came up to RM7.60.

Obviously eating here is not like some other places where they do not seem to bother what you take and will just give you a random total that may be so cheap you can’t believe your ears but at least, here, you pay for what you take and yes, the food is pretty good so I certainly would not mind coming back here again sometime and hopefully, I will be more disciplined the next time around and not help myself to everything that catches my eye. LOL!!!

MIA CAFE & RESTAURANT (2.308507, 111.820287) is located among the shops at Simpang Tiga, Sibu, facing inwards overlooking the houses along Jalan Kuda, off Jalan Kampung Nangka whereas Sara Cafe is one of the two on the other side of that same area, facing Jalan Bunga Normah 4.

The day…

I did mention a couple of posts back that Facebook has this special feature where it will allow you to look at something you shared a year or more back and one of them the other day reminded me that it has been four years since the first time I drove my girl to Selangau to report for duty at the District Education Office there. That means that I’ve been driving along this road…

Sibu-Selangau road
*Archive photo*

…to her school, 99 km. from Sibu town, every Sunday, excluding school holidays, and at times, on other days as well, for not one or two or three but four long years now. It’s not a highway, just a trunk road linking some main towns in the  huge state of Sarawak, with just two lanes, one lane going and another lane coming back.

I remember it was not a very smooth drive at the beginning but with some upgrading works time and again…

Sibu-Selangau road, upgrading
*Archive photo*

…it became a lot nicer but of late, it seems that it is getting quite bad – potholes everywhere and shoddy patching jobs that do not last very long and with the construction of the pan-Borneo highway, a lot has been going on for sometime now. Hills are being levelled, people have been resettled and their (long)houses have been shifted or demolished. They have not started work on the highway proper but with the soil exposed, the rain would wash it all onto the road and it did not help one bit that there are people who will not slow down, rain or shine.

Last Sunday, there was a terrible storm and of course, my car was splashed all over each and every time those hell-raisers drove past. I do not understand why these recalcitrant characters do not seem to value their own lives nor do they have any respect for others. By the time I got back home, the whole vehicle was a terrible mess so I had to send it to the car wash right away.

My mechanic told me not to ask those people to clean my engine but he never explained why – he just said it would not be good. That was why I had to do it myself, wiping away till it was clean enough…

Car engine, cleaned

Well, the week-long school holidays are here which means that I would not need to drive down that road this Sunday so it should stay this clean for a while, at least.

With my girl home, she will be able to spend sometime with her grandparents – on working days, she is only able to drop by to see them once a week, on Saturdays. I don’t know if my father will want us to take him out or not. We just did that the other day – it was time once again for his fortnightly haircut.

While he was at his regular old-school barber shop, I browsed around the coffee shop next door and I saw this…

Pig's blood with chives

Gosh!!! The last time I had any was coincidentally four years ago as well, way back in 2013 at that coffee shop/food court in Sungai Merah that has since closed down for reasons unknown. I did not want to buy any as I knew my missus would not touch the stuff but she went and bought some home for dinner – it was very nice and she had the chives while I had the coagulated blood. Yum yummm!!!

Of course, after the haircut, we had to take my father to his favourite place in town for his Foochow fried noodles with added char siew (RM5.00)…

Y2K Cafe Foochow fried noodles with added char siew

…and I also had the same. He also tapao-ed a plate home for my mum and my missus had this so-called Singapore fried bihun (RM5.00)…

Y2K Cafe Singapore fried bihun

…which was nice with its pleasant wok hei fragrance but it was just fried bihun with curry powder added and other than some bits of char siew and some taugeh (bean sprouts) and egg in it, there wasn’t much of anything else so personally, I would not want to go for that, not at RM5.00 a plate.

I had gone to get the car when my father picked up the tab and on our way home, my missus told me that he had to fork out RM25.00 for the four plates of noodles and our two glasses of kopi-o-peng (my father did not want anything to drink). So does that mean that the coffee here is RM2.50 a glass, a lot more than at the regular coffee shops? I will want to find out next time but of course, this place is air-conditioned and I often saw people sitting around having some drinks, not eating, and chatting away the whole time we were there – maybe that is why, I wouldn’t know.

WU ZHAO PAI (2.289093, 111.827338) is located opposite Standard Chartered Bank at the bend turning into Ramin Way from Central Road and Y2K CAFE (2.294220, 111.825753) is located in the Tunku Osman area, round the corner from that block of shops where branches of AmBank & RHB Bank are located. The back entrance actually faces the side (right, not the main one) entrance/exit of Methodist Secondary School.

In my garden…

No, not my garden. It is still in need of a lot more work, all the trimming, weeding and everything after being neglected for over a month when my mum was warded at a medical centre here.

Actually, I am talking about this garden…

Food Garden, Sibu

…a coffee shop that has been around for a while now. It did not seem to get a lot of business initially and with a shop sign like that, I was not enticed to drop by to check it out. I don’t know if that has some artistic value that I fail to appreciate or what but to me, it looked like somebody just took a pot of paint and a paint brush and hastily painted the name on the signboard. Well, for one thing, there can be no denying that it is indeed very unique, special in its own way.

It so happened that a friend of mine shared some photographs on Facebook of the lunch sets that he had here and they did look good so I decided to drop by the very next day to check it out.

I had the kung pao chicken (宫保鸡丁) set (RM5.00)…

Food Garden, kung pao chicken lunch set

…from this stall…

Food Garden, food stall

…at the back of the shop.

They certainly were very generous with the chicken and it came with the rice and one fried egg…

Food Garden lunch set, rice & egg

I was not too happy when I saw the egg as it looked like the guy did not clean the wok before frying it but all was forgiven when I poked it and the yolk came flowing out like molten lava…

Food Garden fried egg

– just the way I like it!

They have a lot of choices but the menu was in Mandarin and I could read only two words – lemon & salad and I guess those would be lemon chicken and salad chicken (fried chicken with mayonnaise).  The lady helping out at the stall did rattle through all the options available and eventually I settled upon the aforementioned and I would say I did enjoy what I chose.

There were a lot of orders before mine so I did have to wait for a while. The kopi-o-peng (RM1.50)…

Food Garden kopi-o-peng

…was blended like the ones that I like a lot here but unfortunately, I was not too impressed by it. It was rather mild and lacked the nice and strong coffee fragrance that I would prefer in my cuppa.

My missus went for the chap fan (mixed rice) so she did not have to wait at all. These were her picks (RM3.50)…

Food Garden chap fan

…that day – the fried midin (wild jungle fern), the cangkuk manis with egg and the sweet and sour fish fillet, one meat and two vegetables.

The fish…

Food Garden sweet & sour fish fillet

…was really good. While most of the others would use those frozen fish fillet, Dory, sold at the shops and supermarkets which, at times, would be jelly-like in texture and have an unpleasant smell and taste, whatever fish they used here was very much to our liking, so much so that I even tapao-ed some home for dinner that evening.

Since we thought the food here was pretty good, we certainly wouldn’t mind coming back here again sometime for more.

FOOD GARDEN (2.310898, 111.831410) is located in the vicinity of the shops to the left of the Sibu Civic Centre, the last one in the block of shops on your right (where the Maju Tyre & Motor Service shop and Aroma Bakery are) if you are coming in from Jalan Melor.

A year ago…

There is this thing on Facebook that tells you what transpired on this day a year or more ago and what a coincidence it was that I had the popiah here

Jiali Cafe popiah 1

…on the 12th last year and it so happened that we dropped by at that same place again the other day, the 11th – exactly a year ago and I had not one but two of those lovely spring rolls…

Jiali Cafe popiah 2

Unfortunately, I had to eat both of them all by myself as there is wheat in the skin so my girl is not having any more popiahs these days and the mum is following her in keeping to a gluten-free diet.

Actually, it was my girl who suggested going there as she wanted the chee cheong fan and I ordered the “original” (RM6.00)…

Jiali Cafe chee cheong fan, original

…and the one with char siew (barbecued meat) inside (RM6.00)…

Jiali Cafe chee cheong fan, char siew

Of course I asked them not to pour the sauce all over our orders – it is probably chio cheng (light soy sauce) and the ones sold at the shops and supermarkets do contain wheat as well.

Yes, they were very nice and she enjoyed eating them very much but two plates of those with two of the rolls in each were a bit too much for her and even though I did help her a bit, we still had quite a lot left so I asked for them to be tapaoed for us to take home. Having said that, if you were to go for these in a group, it would be a good idea to order the cham (mixed) as that would be very much cheaper. For RM9.00 only, you would get both the above and two more rolls, the ones with kucai (chives), a total of six altogether.

The mum had the so-called Penang char kway teow (RM6.00)…

Jiali Cafe Penang char kway teow

…from the stall at the back. Well, it did look all right and she did say it was good plus it had cockles and lap cheong (Chinese sausage) though I did not see any prawns.

I ordered fried kway teow too, the special from the Malay stall in front and for just RM1.00 more, RM7.00, I got one fried egg…

Jiali Cafe kway teow goreng special, egg

…and quite a lot of fried chicken…

Jiali Cafe kway teow goreng special, chicken

…and I would say it was very nice…

Jaili Cafe kway teow goreng

…a little spicy and that made me enjoy it a lot more.

No, we did not go some place special last Saturday for lunch like what we would normally do but it was a good lunch nonetheless and we all liked our orders.

JIALI CAFE (2.292140, 111.841524) is located among the shops behind Medan Mall, Jalan Wong King Huo, facing the road leading to the Medan Hotel there.

As you wish…

No, my father did not come along with us last Friday evening – we just felt like dropping by here for dinner as we actually enjoy the food the guy dishes out and his wife is a very nice, soft-spoken and motherly lady and that sure helps make somebody feel comfortable especially when we do have a few things we would want them to take note of.

Of course, we did not have any problem with the cangkuk manis fried with egg…

Y2K Cafe cangkuk manis fried with egg

…that we had – there is neither wheat nor soy sauce used in the cooking and there is no meat in the dish either. It being a Friday in Lent that evening, we were abstaining from meat. We have had experiences at some other places where we specifically requested for a vegetable to be fried with nothing else other than some garlic and the dish that came out looked like it had some dark sauce in it and we did not know what had gone into the cooking and at one other time, there was the traditional Foochow red wine in it.

The steel-pot tofu dish…

Y2K Cafe tofu

…would have soy sauce and also some meat in it normally but according to our wishes, they excluded those and we were delighted that even without them, it tasted really very nice.

It seemed that normally they would use wheat flour to coat the meat or seafood and deep fry but since we requested for tapioca flour instead, that was what they used for the salty crispy/crusty (kiam sor) prawns…

Y2K Cafe kiam sor hay

…and it was so crispy we could eat it all, head and tail and everything.

No, it’s not that we’re very fussy or trying to be difficult or what but those of you who have been following my blog regularly would probably know that my girl is gluten-sensitive/intolerant so we would try our best to avoid all the things she should not eat and as I have mentioned earlier in the post, we abstain from meat on Fridays in the season of Lent, something that we have observed from small…and we like how they would take note of everything and do as we wish.

I forgot to tell them to cook for 2 so I guess the servings that day were for 3 people and we had prawns – those sure do not come cheap…and together with our rice and drinks, the total came up to RM60.10 but of course, the nice lady waived the 10 sen in the bill.

Y2K Cafe (2.294220, 111.825753) is located in the Tunku Osman area, round the corner from that block of shops where branches of AmBank & RHB Bank are located. The back entrance actually faces the side (right, not the main one) entrance/exit of Methodist Secondary School.