Just OK…

November 1st was All Saints’ Day, a Holy Day of Obligation and that day, we drove to get my girl from her school in the jungle so we could go to the evening service at the church we usually go to here in Sibu.

The following day, November 2nd, was All Souls’ Day so we stopped by the memorial park along the way to visit my parents’ resting place and offer flowers…

All Souls' Day 2018

…and prayers.

On the way to my girl’s school, we stopped by the coffee shop in Selangau Bazaar again for brunch. Yes, the coffee (RM1.80 per glass)…

Everfull Selangau kopi-o-peng

…was fine, just that there are some places in Sibu where one can get the same for a little less than that.

I decided to try the food at the Muslim/halal stall and I picked these – two meat and two veg for RM6.00…

Everfull Selangau nasi campur

…altogether.

The corned beef was kind of mushy, not as nice as what I cook – perhaps it was the brand they used (the lady said it wasn’t one of those made in China) and I missed the potatoes – I would usually add those when I cooked that.

The French beans and ladies’ fingers…

Vegetables

…were ok – I did not think they were all that nice but the fish…

Fish

…was good, just that they were so small so I asked for two. I don’t know if that was counted as one or two items but anyhow, considering the level of their cooking ability and at that price, I don’t think I would want to go for it again. I do think, however, that due credit must be given to the lady at the stall for her honesty. I asked her if her nasi lemak was lemak or not and she truthfully told me that it wasn’t really and that was why I did not order that.

My missus had the kolo mee (RM4.00)…

Everfull Selangau kolo mee

…from the kampua mee stall that we patronised on our previous visit and she said it wasn’t great either – she was of the opinion that the kampua mee we had was much nicer.

Personally, even in Sibu town proper, I would hesitate and think many times before ordering any kolo mee here after having had quite a number of disappointments as more often than not, they do not know how to go about cooking it like the real thing in Kuching – what I would get in the end would taste exactly like kampua mee disguised to look like kolo mee and no, they are not the same, not at all.

Extra special…

Yesterday, the 27th of September, was Andy’s birthday and he invited us to the café…

Payung Cafe centrepiece

…for lunch.

Of course we had the Foochow longevity noodles in the super awesome traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup…

Mee sua in chicken soup

…and they specially reserved one of the drumsticks for me – the other one was for the birthday boy. The soup was simply out of this world and one contributing factor would be the wine, made by one of Peter’s aunties, and I heard they added dried longans to it, as well as the usual wolfberries and red dates too, thus contributing to the fragrance and the sweetness of the soup.

I, for one, was never particular about the thow (head) or the boi (tail) of the mee sua but this one…

Mee sua

…looked really very fine and I did think it was much nicer than the factory-made ones that I used to buy to enjoy. Oh dear!!! Now it sure looks like I will never look at mee sua that same way again.

Yes, there was an egg…

Traditional birthday mee sua in red wine chicken soup with egg

…too and that was already so very filling but no, that was not all!

Peter, the boss, insisted on cooking for us his most delightful belimbing prawns…

Payung Cafe belimbing prawns
*Archive photo*

…and because there were only my missus and I there, we said we would love it super spicy and yes, it was spicy and very very nice. Unfortunately, I was so busy enjoying the food that I forgot to snap a photograph of it so I have used one from a previous visit in this post.

We also had one of our favourites here, their pomelo salad…

Payung Cafe pomelo salad

…and Peter also prepared this ulam with his special sambal…

Ulam

…for us. My missus sure enjoyed it very much and it was gone in no time at all. LOL!!!

Andy insisted that we must have dessert even though we kept saying that we were already too full and in the end, he served us this durian ice cream…

Payung Cafe durian ice cream

…to share or to be exact, vanilla ice cream with their lovely fresh durian cream.

That was most undoubtedly an extra special birthday treat, thank you so much, Andy…and also Peter and all at Payung. All the best to the birthday boy, God bless always and may all your wishes come true. Cheers!!!…

Cheers! Andy's birthday, 2018

PAYUNG CAFÉ (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.

Raise the flag…

This goes back quite a bit, two Sundays ago, to be exact. We did not go to the sunset service on Saturday evening as we went out for dinner that night and after the one we went to instead on Sunday morning, they had a simple ceremony to commemorate Malaysia Day, the 16th of September, with the raising of the flags…

Malaysia Day 2018

…and the singing of the national and state anthems. I thought that was nice, brief and sweet and meaningfully significant.

Of course, we went in search of something for breakfast after that. My girl said she wanted porridge and I did not want to drive all the way for the nice one here and the stall here that had porridge and a lot of things that were pretty good had closed down – I was told that the son went for further studies in Kuching and the mum tagged along but I don’t know if she has set up her business there or not.

I decided to check out this place…

A One Cafe

…that used to be one of the few places that my late dad liked and yes, they had porridge on their menu…

A One Cafe menu

My girl got what she wanted…

A One Cafe porridge

…and she said it was good – she did enjoy it though I must say that it looked a whole lot nicer in the photograph.

There was quite a crowd and we had to wait for a long time. Meanwhile, I saw a number of people ordering their pao (steamed bun)…

A One Cafe char siew pao

…to eat there or to take home so I decided to ask for one (RM3.00)…

A One Cafe char siew pao, filling

…to try. The guy said it was from Kuching and yes, at that price, it sure was no surprise that it was very big and had a lot of the char siew filling and yes, it was good. The ones from here are nice too and they are RM2.00 each but of course, theirs are much smaller.

My missus had their kolo mee

A One Cafe kolo mee

…and she too liked it as much as I liked my version – with their own handmade noodles…

A one Cafe kolo mee, handmade noodles

I could taste the fried garlic oil with a hint of vinegar, probably a bit of what was used to pickle the sliced chili and yes, I did like it a lot. For one thing, it did not taste like kampua mee, unlike the ones at many places here.

I can’t remember the breakdown of the prices but the total for the porridge and the noodles was around RM15.00 (around SGD/AUD/NZD 5.00). Not all that cheap, eh? Nonetheless, considering that everything was really nice, I wouldn’t mind dropping by here again.

A One Cafe (2.297428, 111.824346) is located along Jalan Tun Abg Hj Openg, opposite the Kin Orient Plaza (aka old Sing Kwong) in the second block of shops. Coffee Court & Bateras Food Court are located in the first block, nearer to the main road.

A million thanks to you…

Of course, we went out for dinner on the night of my girl’s birthday and she did ask a friend of hers to join us and I also got her to invite her aunt, my sis to come along as well…and of course, we picked one of our favourite places in town for this very special occasion.

When I was placing my orders for the dishes that night, my dear friend, Mary, kept telling me not to order this and not to order that for fear that we would not be able to finish. What I did not know then was that she had something up her sleeves…so imagine our very pleasant surprise when the crew came out with this…

Special birthday treat for Melissa

…and sang a few lines of the Happy Birthday song. We were stunned, absolutely speechless at the sight of the gorgeous and so very impressive platter!!!

This was a special treat for my girl from the ever so thoughtful and generous, Aunty Mary – the giant udang galah (freshwater prawns)…

Giant freshwater prawns

…that we also had on her birthday and I loved it so so much, a lot more than the lobster that we had that night and lining the side of the platter were these birthday eggs…

Birthday eggs

…served with some very nice special sauce.

They do not serve mee sua here so I asked for the Hing Hua bihun with specific instructions not to add any soy sauce but Thai fish sauce would be fine and we got this pale-looking plate of the noodles (RM28.90)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen fried bihun

My sister tried and commented that it looked rather plain and yet, it tasted so good and I certainly would agree with her on this. I thought it was very much nicer than the Hing Hua bihun we had here before – it did not have any cangkuk manis in it but I so loved the fragrance and the taste of the chives with the very nice extra-fine rice vermicelli.

My girl wanted the beef manao or beef with lime (RM37.50)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen beef manao

– one of her favourites here and despite all the protests from Mary, I insisted on ordering it and when I said that my girl wanted it, she relented and added it to the list.

I asked for the pla sam rod or the barramundi with three-flavours sauce (RM82.00)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen pla sam rod 1

…for a change from the pla tod samoon prai that we had had on several of our past visits for some time now…

Flavours Thai Kitchen pla sam rod 2

…and though we felt that between the two, we now liked the latter better, this was good too.

For our vegetable dishes, we had the som tam/papaya salad (RM17.50)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen som tam

…and also the sweet potato leaves fried with garlic (RM15.50)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen sweet potato leaves

We also ordered this tom khai kai (RM25.00)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen tom khai kai

…for a change from the very nice creamy and spicy tom yam soup we would order usually and we requested for fish instead of chicken.

Well, we did manage to finish all our orders and had the most delightful evening enjoying the food and the company – a million thanks to Mary for the special treat and to Joch & Su for all those scrumptious dishes and the wonderful crew for the unfailing excellent and efficient service. All of you sure made my girl so very especially happy on her special day!

FLAVOURS THAI KITCHEN (2.292836, 111.828287) is located on the ground floor of the ORCHID HOTEL, along Brooke Drive at its junction with Jalan Tunku Osman. You can use its main entrance at the back of the hotel building (facing Brooke Drive) or go through the lobby past the reception desk if you are using its hotel entrance.

Birthday morning…

My girl had a gluten-free baked Japanese cheesecake…

Melissa's Japanese baked cheesecake - birthday 2018

…for her birthday this year – her mum baked one…

Melissa's birthday cake, 2018 - sliced

…like the one she baked last year (but with brown sugar) so she could enjoy it and of course, the first thing in the morning on her birthday, in keeping with the tradition, we had to have the mee sua (Foochow longevity noodles) in traditional chicken soup…

Birthday mee sua in traditional chicken soup

…but since the noodles, being made from wheat flour, are not gluten-free, only I could have that while she had hers with hung ngang (the big bihun) instead.

Later that morning, we went out and it was way past lunchtime when we stopped by here…

Outright Coffee

You can place your orders at the counter…

Outright Coffee, counter

…and pay first before going to take a seat – they will serve your orders to you once they are ready.

You can help yourself to all the water you can drink, free of charge…

Water, all you can drink

…and because I was still full from the mee sua, having had a lot of the noodles and two eggs, I did not want anything to eat.

My girl wanted something light so she just had the mushroom cheese omelette (RM9.50)…

Outright Coffee mushroom cheese omelette

…with her iced spice chai tea latte (RM11.00)…

Outright Coffee iced spice chai tea latte

…that she would always order everytime she drops by here with her friends.

She enjoyed the omelette – 3 eggs went into it, so we were told and a lot of cheese…

Outright Coffee mushroom cheese omelette, inside

…as well. Normally, that would come with a few slices of baguette toast or whatever bread – no, my girl would not be able to eat that as it would not be gluten-free but I saw some guys at another table having their omelette with fries so I quickly asked my girl to request for a switch and in the end, she got the fries instead and yes, they were very nicely done – crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside though I must say they were not very generous with them. LOL!!!

This metal cabinet in the corner caught my attention…

Outright Coffee metal cabinet

– and it turned out to be some sort of a “secret passage” into their kitchen and bakery…

Passage into the kitchen & bakery

The mum just had the ice blended banana espresso (13.50)…

Outright Coffee ice blended banana espresso

…while I had the banana mango milkshake (RM15.50)…

Outright Coffee banana mango milkshake 1

…which I thought was very nice and had a lot of mango in it, not only on top…

Outright Coffee banana mango milkshake 2

This came out of the kitchen…

Outright Coffee fried chicken dish

– the people at the next table were having that and I could detect the delightful smell but no, I was not tempted to order that for myself. It looked like the meat was coated with batter so I guess that would not be gluten-free but we could always go for something else on their menu on our next visit.

Service was great – the people were very pleasant and friendly and conversant in English. We certainly wouldn’t mind dropping by again sometime…and do stick around – I will have another post on this place soon.

Well, the Mooncake Festival or the Zhōngqiū Jié (中秋节) is tomorrow, Monday, the 24th of September. Have you bought any to enjoy yet? Or perhaps you have made your own? I did buy some that day and the morning we were here, my missus bought a few from here…

Mooncakes from Outright Coffee/Bakemore Bakery

…to try. Theirs are cheaper than most and I like the lotus paste and salted yolk as it is not as sweet as all the rest. The Ferrero Rocher cheese is nice too but for me, it is a tad too sweet – not so good for old folks like me. To preserve the culture, if not for any other reason, do hop over and see if there are any left, if you haven’t had any yet.

OUTRIGHT COFFEE (2.290978, 111.820996) is located at 24B , Jalan Lau King Howe, at the end of the first block of shops immediately behind the Lay King Howe Memorial Museum.

Reciprocate…

My niece who’s working in Singapore will always make it a point to come back to Sibu specially for the birthdays of anyone in the family and she will always invite us to join in the celebration and everytime, the sweet girl will bring us “a little something” special from the island republic.

Well, this time around, it was on the occasion of her own birthday last Friday and to reciprocate, I asked her and her parents and also her good friend to join us for dinner here…

Dinner at Payung Cafe

…the following night, Saturday.

This isn’t really a fine dining place, more a casual, a very relaxing and comfortable place to hang out with very good service and really great food to enjoy.

Yes, there would always be fresh flowers…

Fresh flowers

…and pua kumbu (the tradition ethnic blanket) table cloth but we had something special that night – they gave us a sarong instead!

I would prefer some ethnic music (the traditional sape) or keroncong or perhaps some light Indian music (the sitar perhaps) which would be more in line with the lovely ambiance of the place but lately, it seems that they’ve been playing some covers of retro songs, acoustic versions usually and I quite enjoyed them though at times, I wished they would turn down the volume a little.

We had my girl’s favourite, their lamb masala and I asked for three servings of that (RM19.00 each, with rice) as usually they would have three chunks of meat in each so there would be enough for the 7 of us. We also had three servings of their butter chicken (RM18.00 with rice)…

Payung Cafe butter chicken

…and two servings of the pomelo salad (RM8.00 each)…

Payung Cafe pomelo salad

…but I only asked for one serving of their out-of-this-world belimbing prawns (RM17.00)…

Payung Cafe belimbing prawns 1

…as I know the very nice and generous boss, Peter, would take it upon himself to cook this specialty of theirs for us himself and he would also give us a lot of prawns, definitely enough to go round and that night, he even picked the biggest ones…

Payung Cafe belimbing prawns 2

…for us. When you get first class treatment like this, is it any wonder at all that we keep going back again and again?

We also brought our own gluten-free corn spirals and asked them to cook it for us and serve with their very nice beef bolognese sauce…

Gluten-free corn spirals with Payung's beef bolognese sauce
*niece’s photo on Facebook*

…but I only asked for two servings of the sauce (RM10.00 each) because it did not look like there was a lot in that packet of pasta until after it was cooked. It would be great if I had requested for three servings – that would be just nice, I think.

Peter, the boss, was most apologetic – he insisted it was overcooked and not al dente but I thought it was all right except that there wasn’t enough sauce and that wasn’t their fault but I did think they could have drained the pasta a little more so it would be completely dry at the bottom of the plate. Believe it or not, a few days later, he showed up at my door with four packs of the lovely beef bolognese sauce that he specially cooked himself for my girl to enjoy at home or in her school in the jungle with her own gluten-free pasta – of course, she was delighted. Isn’t that so very nice and sweet of him?

He also brought me this super awesome chicken in traditional Foochow red wine soup…

Chicken in traditional red wine soup from Peter

that I love so much and of course, I had mee sua

Mee sua

…the following morning on his birthday, following the Chinese lunar calendar. Thank you so much, Peter – you shouldn’t have gone through all that trouble. We truly were fine with everything that night.

Anyway, back to the dinner, I did not want to order those dishes that my niece had eaten before that night – I always had those for our dinners at home during Chinese New Year  and though I did not order a lot, there was more than enough to go round, so much, in fact, that we could not finish it all so we took one serving of the butter chicken home and gave the rest of the pasta, more than half of it to the staff to enjoy and it sure was a pleasant surprise when we were served this medley of ice cream…

Payung Cafe ice cream medley

– the flavours from left to right were durian, chocolate, peppermint and mango (quinee), a special treat for the birthday girls, my girl’s birthday was two days later. We were served glasses of drinking water without our asking for it and that prompted my niece’s friend, her first time here, to remark, “The service here is really very good!!!”

The total inclusive of drinks, came up to RM171.00, more or less the same as the dinner we had the previous night.

PAYUNG CAFÉ (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.

Not one but two…

In fact, it wasn’t two either…but THREE altogether!

My niece, my brother-in-law’s daughter, the one working in Singapore, flew home last Friday to celebrate her birthday with her parents here in Sibu. Her father got her a cake…

Birthday cake from her father

…from Marcus, her favourite, and she got her friend to get her one as well…

Birthday cake with crushed peanut coating

– she likes the crushed peanut coating all along the sides and her aunt, my missus, got her the third one with grated cheese coating…

Birthday cake from her aunt

…and as a matter of fact, if I am not wrong, there was a fourth one that she collected the next day for her to take back to Singapore and enjoy slowly there.

We got together here…

Birthday celebration at Ruby Restaurant

…for dinner that night and seeing the cakes, the boss commented that after we had finished all of them, we would be too full to eat anything else. LOL!!!

My brother-in-law made the reservation and placed the orders for his favourite dishes such as the egg trio…

Ruby Restaurant egg trio

…and the sweet and sour fish fillet…

Ruby Restaurant sweet and sour fish fillet

…which my girl could not eat as there was tomato sauce and it was not gluten-free.

She could not eat the bread crumb coated prawn balls served with mayo as well (I did not take a photograph of that) and the lady boss declared in no uncertain terms that we would have to stick to the orders made but we could add to the list if we wanted.

In the end, my niece and I agreed to go for their very nice Thai-style mango chicken…

Ruby Restaurant Thai-style mango chicken

…that we had had on all of our recent visits and they said they had durian flowers that night so I asked for those to be fried with hay bee (dried prawns) and belacan (dried prawn paste)…

Ruby Restaurant durian flowers

…and yes, that was very good indeed!

My girl could eat their own-made tofu, deep-fried and served with mayo and also the fried cangkuk manis with egg  (I did not take any photographs of those either) but she could not have the fried mee sua (longevity noodles)…

Ruby Restaurant fried mee sua with golden eggs

…just those lightly-fried golden eggs by the side.

The total for the food for 7 of us altogether came up to RM165.00, over RM170 if we include the two bowls of rice and the drinks that we had.

RUBY RESTAURANT  is located at No. 71, Jalan Kampung Nyabor right next to HOME COOK CORNER  (2.292756, 111.825335) with the AmBank Tunku Osman branch in the very next block.