My little contribution…

My girl’s school had their Canteen Day, the PIGB (Parent-Teacher Association) annual fund-raising event, on Saturday and of course, I dropped by to have a look at what was going on.

Being a food and fun fair, there were stalls like this one…

Food stall

…selling Sarawak/Kuching laksa

Sarawak Kuching laksa

…and one selling curry and what not…

Cuury rice

…with rice, another selling fried popiah (spring rolls) and cucur (fried fritters) and one that seemed very popular…

BBQ stall

…selling all kinds of barbecued stuff…

BBQ

Personally, I thought that for a fund-raising event, everything was way too cheap – the laksa, for instance, was only RM4.00 , 2 coupons, and the BBQ chicken wings were going for 4 for 5 coupons (RM10.00), only RM2.50 each and I also felt that there could have been more food stalls. Next year, if they are holding this again, I shall ask my girl to book a stall for me to sell some of my homecooked specialties as my contribution to the event.

Of course, there were games…

Games

…and lots of lucky draws – there must have been a lot of prizes to be won as I saw a lot of people with prizes in their hands.

They invited these Cosplay characters…

Cosplay characters

…and anyone interested could have their selfies with them and donate a little something towards the fund.

I thought the karaoke was expensive, RM6.00 per song…

Karaoke booth

…but obviously, nobody cared as there was a long line waiting to get on stage and sing…

On stage

…to the crowd…

Crowd

…in the hall.

This looked like a whole lot of fun, all the kids dancing on stage…

Dancing

…led by one of the Cosplay characters.

Despite the fact that there wasn’t a lot to buy, my missus bought some of the food and for my little contribution, I bought this pot of succulents…

Cactus

…for only RM12.00 and took it home.

Party…

The nurses in the ward where my missus was attached to before she retired were having their annual party here on Thursday night and some fellow-retirees asked her to join, open to families as well but of course, it was not free – RM40.00 per head. My girl was keen and she insisted that I joined too so there we were, the three of us at the party.

We went earlier lest we could not find a place to park the car and had to walk a long way to the venue but I sure did not have a problem – lots of vacant spaces all around but obviously, most did not feel the need to do the same and a lot of them showed up rather late.

In the meantime, somebody brought this pulut kuning (yellow glutinous rice)…

Pulut kuning

…to share and this cheese cake with chocolate, fresh strawberries and kiwi fruit on top…

Cheese cake

…so we were not all that hungry and did not mind the wait.

When most everybody had arrived, the food was served and we had this…

The Five Seasons

…something like what we call “the dome” at Malay banquets where all the food would be served at one go.

I was thinking to myself that if that was all we were going to get, I would have to go across the road to the burger stall opposite for something more filling. Fortunately, that was supposed to be The Four Seasons, the first dish at Chinese banquets, except that there were five and it was served in a compartmentalised plate, not a flat one.

Rice was served by the side and we had a very nice soup around that same time, something like sharks’ fins minus the offensive stuff and no, I did not spot any sea cucumber nor fish lips in  it either.

This sweet and sour fish…

Sweet & sour fish

…came next and yes, I loved it – it was very nicely done, I must say but the steamed chicken…

Steamed chicken

…was just steamed chicken, no ginseng or any of those so I thought it could have been better.

The mixed vegetable dish…

Mixed vegetables

…followed and these lovely creamy prawns…

Prawns

…came last before the pudding and watermelon…

Dessert

…were served for dessert.

I had not had a sit-down dinner here for a long while – usually, we had their buffet so I asked the waitress, my ex-Kanowit student, who has been working here for as long as I can remember. Working here must be very good as I’ve noticed that the staff members here stick around till like…forever! I was quite surprised when she told me that the cost per table that night was RM371.00 only. I told her that at most hotels and restaurants, for around RM800-1K, more often than not, the food is quite disappointing or at best, quite ordinary…and she told me to just wait and see.

Needless to say, I was VERY impressed – that was so very good for less than RM400 and of course, if you would like to handpick the dishes that you like, you may need to fork out a bit more. I wouldn’t want to miss their daging masak hitam, for instance, that many feel is the best in town.

Everyone sure had a lot of fun that night, partying away with all the singing and dancing – those ladies sure deserved the break from their daily routine at the hospital. Personally, I feel that when you’re working with sick and depressed people all the time, it can’t possibly be something one would enjoy.

LI HUA HOTEL RESTAURANT (2.284477, 111.8316940) is located on the 1st floor of the hotel at the T-junction of Lorong Lanang 2 and Jalan Maju.

It’s your day today…

It was Andy’s birthday, Friday, the 27th of September and it sure made me very happy to be invited to the café to celebrate his special day.

Peter, the boss, went and got him this special high-fibre cheese cake…

Secret Recipe's high fibre cheese cake

…from that Malaysian cake franchise shop. It was very nice but it was near impossible to cut. With all those nuts and everything in it, it crumbled the moment the knife went through it…

Birthday boy

A friend of Andy’s brought him this chicken floss cake…

Chicken floss cake

– she said it was very nice, homemade, but it was not cut on the spot so I did not get to try it.

And that’s not all!!! A Kadazan friend in Sabah sent him these gifts…

Special delivery

…via special delivery. No, that tall and handsome guy is Andy’s friend, the chef at the Indian Muslim restaurant round the corner – he was only helping him to carry the gifts and I could see there was another cake from that same place where Peter got his and no, we did not get to eat that one either.

We couldn’t possibly eat so much cake at one go because we had all the Indian delights Andy brought back from India and we had the very special and so-very-nice mee sua

Happy birthday mee sua

…in the traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup plus an egg each, our customary symbolic wish for good health, wealth and longevity.

Thank you so much, Andy for the invitation! It sure looked like you had a great start to the year ahead – here’s wishing you once again the very best of everything. Cheers!!!

Going to India…

Andy went home to India a couple of weeks ago and Peter, the boss of Payung, went with him so the café was closed from the 6th till the 17th of September.

When they came back, Andy brought a whole lot of things from there including these Indian sweets…

Indian sweets 1

Somebody gave me some from the peninsula sometime ago but they were extremely sweet so I would not say I would want to go for them ever again.

These Made-in-India ones were very nice – I liked the pumpkin…

Indian sweets 2

…and the pineapple but they were just as sweet, very rich milky taste like they were made from condensed milk, undiluted.

I am sure many would be familiar with this…

Indian snack

I think it is a very popular Indian snack, more commonly found here, there and everywhere in the peninsula where there are a lot more Indians than here and these biscuits/cookies…

Cookies

…were quite nice but they were what they were, cookies.

No, this chutney…

Chutney

…did not come from India. Peter learnt how to make it from Andy’s mum and when he came back, he made his own. I did not like it initially, eaten with salted crackers but it sort of grew on me and after a few bites, I started to enjoy it very much. I do not know what went into the making other than coriander leaves and yogurt and I am pretty sure there was green chili too as it was slightly spicy.

No, these…

From Singapore, made in India

…did not come from India and no, they were not among the things Andy brought back. They were made in India, that much is true but we got them from my niece, the one working in Singapore, when she came home that day – obviously, she bought them there. My girl did try one box the other day, the masala rice and it was very nice, something like what I got from the airline the other day – I did try a bit and yes, it was good.

We enjoy palak paneer very much and sadly, we cannot get that at the Indian restaurants here – we sure are looking forward to giving that a try.

This is the day…

We celebrated our girl’s birthday earlier that weekend when the cousin was home and on the actual day, the 17th of September – the registration people got it wrong and it came out as the 18th in the birth certificate and we never bothered to get it rectified – we went out for dinner here…

Tasty Hotpot

This place has been around for quite sometime now and I think I did hear people saying that they quite liked what they had here but for no particular reason, we never went to give it a try.

There aren’t that many things on their menu – I guess that is because this…

The main attraction

…is their main attraction. You pick how you would like it done out of a choice of four – we chose spicy, moderate which according to the girl, is their signature style and then we went to pick the meat…

Meat

…from the freezer and the vegetables and mushrooms and what not…

Add-ons

…from the containers beside it. Everything here is calculated by how much per 100 gm but those were not our picks – I only took the photograph as they were still there at the counter whereas ours had already gone into the kitchen to be cooked.

This was what it looked like…

Ours

…when it was done and served. The ladies enjoyed it very much – let’s just say I was not all that impressed as it came across as one of those spicy Korean dishes with kim chi and chili paste and everything and no, I am not a fan of those.

The chicken soup with scallop and mushrooms…

Soup

…was a little more up my alley. It was kind of mild and I thought it was quite good.

My girl ordered the dumplings, plain and with chives…

Dumplings

…and she enjoyed them to the max, the latter especially.

I wanted these…

Pork

…their Thai sauce pork which was nice except that it tasted more like chicken with honey so much so that I even had to confirm with the girl that it was actually what we ordered.

Service was great and the place was comfortable enough. All in all, the total came up to over RM70.00 and of course, as long as my girl enjoyed herself especially since it was her birthday, I was fine with it.

TASTY HOTPOT (2.296817, 111.825706) is located along Jalan Tun Abg Hj Openg, beside the old Sing Kwong (Kin Orient Plaza) in the same block of shops as the KimChee Korean BBQ which is on the 1st floor at the other end.

Double…

This was around two weeks ago when my niece, the one working in Singapore, came back to Sibu on the 13th instant for the Mooncake Festival. Her parents were out of town, gone on a holiday, so we asked her to join us for a steamboat dinner that evening, just a simple one as we were going to have something a little bit more special the next day.

She brought along these…

Starbucks mooncakes 1

…but she shouldn’t have because I am very sure they did not come cheap – nothing from there is cheap plus they…

Starbucks mooncakes 2

…were small, hard and dry. The tiramisu one tasted nice and surprisingly, I quite liked the matcha one even though I am not into anything green tea but on the whole, I would much sooner go for the very cheap and very much nicer homemade ones from the neighbourhood shop.

The following day, the 14th, was her birthday and my girl’s was a few days later on the 17th so we decided to have a double celebration and we ordered two cakes, one for my girl…

Cake by Marcus

…and one for my niece to cut and then take back to Singapore to enjoy it slowly there…

Double celebration

Instead of going to the same ol’ restaurants everytime somebody celebrates a birthday, my missus said she would cook some special dishes for the dinner that night.

I only cooked the chicken in traditional Foochow red wine soup for the mee sua (longevity noodles)…

Mee sua

…and an egg each for all of us.

Unfortunately, the photos I took did not turn out too well and I only had this one of the roasted rack of lamb…

Rack of lamb

…and this one of my missus’ version of the ayam masak kunyit

Ayam masak kunyit

…to show. This was the first time she cooked a rack of lamb – she did cook lamb shank a few times before – and yes, she certainly did a very good job with all the herbs and spices and yogurt that went into the cooking.

My niece sure enjoyed the home-cooked food to the max. It has been sometime since she last had the opportunity, not since Chinese New Year, I think.

Well, once again, here’s wishing a VERY belated Happy Birthday to the two girls, may God bless you both abundantly with good health, endless joy…and blue skies and everything nice. Cheers!!!

Remember the day…

I am sure many will always remember 9-11.

I, for one, will always remember that date because it was my late mum’s birthday. Born on September 11th, 1930, she would have been 89 this year. Of course, we made our way that day to our parents’ resting place to offer flowers and prayers and to wish her a Happy Birthday but we had to go in the afternoon as my girl was at work in the morning.

That morning, I went to my regular florist at Rejang Park to buy the flowers and this time around, I decided to buy some carnations, pink and red. I bought a dozen and made two bouquets, six carnations each together with some golden showers and ferns from my garden…

Bouquets for mum

…for the two vases there.

My sister went to another florist and got this lovely floral arrangement…

Flowers from sis and brother

…and my brother in Auckland, New Zealand asked her to get a rose for our mum – you may spot it amongst the rest of the flowers.

While I was at Rejang Park, I decided to stop by here for breakfast. I used to enjoy the claypot noodles from the kampua mee stall in front but after they called it quits, for no particular reason, I don’t think I ever went back for anything from that stall since and if I am not wrong, it had changed hands a number of times.

Now there is a couple running the stall…

Happy Hours stall

…and I ordered the kampua mee kosong

Happy Hours kampua mee

…and the pork balls soup…

Happy Hours pork balls soup

– the set costs only RM4.00 which I thought was relatively cheaper than other places where they usually charge RM6.00 for a set like this or to the cheapest, RM5.00.

Both the noodles and the soup were good and I sure would not mind going for it again should I happen to be in the vicinity.

HAPPY HOURS CAFE 欢乐阁 (2.307023, 111.837357) is located among the shops in the Rejang Park Commercial Centre facing the big parking area beside the surau there.