From coast to coast…

I was out early on Monday morning to go and top up the petrol in the car prior to making our way to Selangau and beyond to send my girl back to her school in the jungle after the long weekend. Somehow, I feel a lot more comfortable travelling long distances with a full tank and I would always check that my tyres have enough air and everything.

I stopped by this Malay kueh stall, now a shop, at Bandong here on the way. Usually when I dropped by, it would be mid-morning already and most of the things would be sold out. Since I was early that day, around 7.00 a.m., there were a lot of things to pick and choose.

However, my attention was drawn to the Kelantanese delights, from the East Coast of Peninsula/West Malaysia. My girl loves their laksam (RM3.50) a packet and there were only two left so I grabbed both of them.

When I got home, I opened one packet to try. Inside, there were these…

Laksam 1

…something like chee cheong fan or kway teow, all rolled up and sliced, and also the raw vegetables – cabbage, taugeh (bean sprouts) and long bean…

Laksam 2

…and also the rich and lovely fish/coconut milk gravy…

Laksam 3

…and last but not least, there was the sambal cili (pounded chili paste)…

Laksam 4

I mixed everything together…

Laksam 6

…and ate. Yes, it was very nice and I sure would not mind having that sometimes for a change. My girl took the other packet and had it for dinner at her quarters and she complained to the mum that she enjoyed it so much that it left her craving for more. This was one of her favourites when she was at the teacher-training institute in Sg Petani, Kedah. Hmmm…it sure looks like I would have to go again this coming weekend and hopefully, this will be available.

For one thing, not all the things sold here are available on a regular basis. They merely sell whatever those people cook at home and deliver there so if none is forthcoming, then there will not be any….like the nasi kerabu (RM5.00) that morning…

Mak Met Breakfast Station nasi kerabu 1

…another Kelantanese specialty from the East Coast. We had that for lunch and even though the portion was rather huge, my girl was able to finish all of hers and enjoyed it to the max (and that was the very reason why she kept the laksam for dinner). We love the one here but that one is only available on Saturdays and this one is just as nice…and cheaper too, with the whole works and two pieces of fried ayam berempah (spiced chicken)…

Mak Met Breakfast Station nasi kerabu 2

Well, if there is any available this weekend, you can bet your bottom dollar that I would be grabbing a few packs to take home…again!

From the West Coast of Peninsula/West Malaysia, there is the Penang asam laksa which is also available here and this is on a more regular basis, alongside the Sarawak laksa. I do buy these for my girl sometimes and yes, she likes the ones from here too. I don’t know of any shop here selling the laksa, Penang style…or maybe, I never ever took notice but if I should stumble upon one, I sure would like to give it a try and blog about it…if it is any good.

MAK MET BREAKFAST STATION (2.314111, 111.825678) is located at the shops along Jalan Bandong behind the stalls by the roadside along Bandong Walk, across the road from SK Pendidikan Khas, to the right.

Right next to you…

Some of my friends are regulars at this restaurant…

Home Cook

…and they did ask me why I had never gone there. Well, when my girl was little, very little, she loved the lokan

Lokan
*Archive photo – for illustration purpose*

…there so I would drop by very often to buy some for her but subsequently, they stopped making and I never went back again. Another reason was because I would go to the restaurant right next door to this one…

Home Cook Corner

…but the last time we were there, I told the lady boss that my girl would not be able to eat anything with wheat flour and soy sauce and she said that more or less ruled out everything – there wasn’t much there that she could eat and that was why we had not been there for a while now.

Anyway, we decided to go and check this one out last Sunday for lunch and these, according to the nice guy – probably the boss – are the specialties of the house…

Home Cook Corner specialties

We had the chao chai (fermented preserved vegetables) fish soup…

Home Cook Corner chao chai tapah soup

tapah no less and yes, it was very nicely done but I do think the one we had here was nicer but of course, the one there had those giant freshwater prawns (udang galah) in it so it is not very fair to make a comparison between the two.

For our vegetable dish, we had the Thai-style midin

Home Cook Corner Thai-style midin 1

…which was nice too but I think they used lemon or lime juice or vinegar…

Home Cook Corner Thai-style midin

…instead of calamansi lime juice so I would say that I’ve had nicer ones elsewhere.

The ang chao (the lees or the residue of the fermented red yeast rice from the making of Foochow red wine) pork…

Home Cook Corner ang chao pork

…was good as well but I prefer the one we had here that made use of tau joo (fermented tofu) though I wouldn’t mind having this one sometimes for a change.

All in all, I would say the food was all right – the bill for the three dishes came up to RM42.00 altogether. I thought that was quite reasonable as it seems that I’ve been charged a lot more elsewhere these days. Besides, I rather liked how the aforementioned guy was very accommodating and reassuring – he said that they would use tapioca starch for anything coated and fried and he would tell us if any of the dishes on the menu had soy sauce  in it. Other than that, somehow or other, my girl enjoyed what I had ordered very much and since that was the case, we certainly would be back again to try some of the many other items on their elaborate menu.

HOME COOK CORNER (2.292756, 111.825335) is located at No. 73. Jalan Kampung Nyabor right next to RUBY RESTAURANT with the AmBank Tunku Osman branch in the very next block.

Not every day…

My girl wanted to go for the chap fan (mixed rice) here but I remember they do not have it every day and definitely not on weekends and public holidays. Nonetheless, we headed to the place to confirm it is so and true enough, they only have that Tuesdays to Fridays, lunchtime – I think Monday is their off day.

So what do they have on weekends? Well, you can order things from their regular menu or go for one of their lunch sets. They had stewed pork leg (with an egg) rice, lamb curry rice and nasi lemak (RM6.00)…

One O One Cafe nasi lemak 1

I decided to try the latter and yes, the sambal was very nice and very spicy…and that was the first time I’ve seen anyone giving one whole egg (except when it was fried) with a plate of nasi lemak. The presentation would probably be a bit nicer if they had cut it into halves and placed them nicely by the side.

The rice, unfortunately, was not lemak at all – I might as well be eating plain white rice as there really wasn’t much of a difference. Thankfully, the sambal saved the day and I liked it, mixed with the rice and besides, I also ordered this bowl of lamb curry (RM10.00)…

One O One Cafe lamb curry

…which was quite good and it sure helped alleviate my enjoyment of my order.

No, I did not touch those very bland no-prawn-or-fish-at-all keropok (prawn crackers)…

One O One Cafe nasi lemak 2

…all artificial flavours and preservatives and I wished they had given the acar timun (cucumber pickle) instead. I saw it in a big plastic container at the counter but I did not see it served with any of the lunch sets. I wonder what they served that with – I would have loved that, anytime better than the miserable keropok.

My girl had their chao chai hung ngang (RM7.50)…

One O One Cafe chao chai hung ngang

…except that she passed me all the fish balls as we were not sure what flour they used to make them, those frozen ones available at all supermarkets, deep fried.

My missus had their char kway teow (RM5.00)…

One O One Cafe char kway teow

…a ringgit more expensive but she said it was nicer than than her former favourite here but at least, at the latter, they do not use those no-class-at-all plastic plates…

Colourful Cafe char kway teow
*Archive photo*

…and that place is a coffee shop, true and true. This one, on the other hand, is no regular coffee shop, it is a little classier than that and I would expect something a little better – using those plastic stuff makes it seem so cheap!

ONE O ONE CAFE (2.305823,111.84837) is located in the Jaya Li Hua Commercial Centre along Lorong Pahlawan 7C, near the wet market, among the shops on the other side from the Sibu Bus Terminal area.

The one you want…

I went back to this place

Colourful Cafe

…last Friday to try another one of the sets that they now have on their menu.

My missus asked for the Sarawak laksa (RM5.00)…

Colourful Cafe Sarawak laksa

…with a special request that the thin strips of shredded chicken be excluded. Lent is over and it is Easter but we still carry on without meat on Fridays…as and when possible.

I had their sweet and sour fish set (RM9.90)…

Colurful Cafe sweet & sour fish set
*Archive photo*

not too long ago and when I went to pick my girl from her school in the jungle on Thursday, I bought the honey chicken wings set for her to eat first before we set off for home. Normally, when she comes back on Fridays with her colleague, she will not have lunch before they leave and she would be so hungry by the time they get to Sibu at around 3-4.00 p.m. and after eating something at that time, she would be too full to eat much for dinner.

Well, I did not take a photograph of what I bought that day as I brought along a 3-tier tiffin carrier and had everything separated – the chicken rice, the salad and the wings…

Colourful Cafe honey chicken wings
*Archive photo*

If you go for the wings, you will get three for RM9.00 but for the set, you will get two only. Needless to say, my girl enjoyed what I got for her and finished off the wings but the serving was a bit too big for her so she did leave behind a bit of the rice, just a bit and quite a lot of the lettuce. Perhaps they could reduce that and give a few more than just the two slices of cucumber and the solitary slice of tomato.

So what did I have this time around? Yes, of course, I had the fish, the salad fish set (RM9.90)…

Colourful Cafe salad fish set

…and yes, it was good.

They were so very generous with the fried fish fillet…

Colourful Cafe fish fillet

…that by the time I had finished the rice and the salad, I still had some of it left in that huge (and heavy) 14-inch plate.

Other than the aforementioned three, there is also the salad chicken set and if you’re not a very big eater, perhaps it would be a good idea to order a set and share with somebody.  So which one do you want?

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.

Scarce…

It is so hard to find ikan terubok (toli shad) here these days. Yes, we can buy the salted ones and the eggs as well but the fresh ones are really so very scarce these days and for a long time now, I have not seen any at the wet market.

That was why I was delighted that we had one, salt-baked by Angela, my friend/ex-classmate’s wife, when they invited us to their house for dinner once. She said she saw one at the market that morning so we were able to have that that very evening. I do know of two places, at least, in town where they serve this fish but it’s deep fried and I am not fond of it this way. I did have it once at a restaurant here, stuffed with all kinds of ingredients and grilled in the oven but no, it is not even available on special order – you will have to bring the fish and they will do it for you.

Imagine my happiness that day when my brother-in-law from Bintulu gave us one…

Terubok from brother-in-law

when he came back to Sibu for the Ching Ming Festival that day. You can tell how fresh it was…

Fresh

…and no, when it is that fresh, there is no need at all to cook it with lots of  ingredients in any fanciful ways. I did blog about how we would cook it once – just rub the fish with salt, wrap in foil and put it in our Tatung pot…

Tatung pot\
*Archive photo*

…and bake. My missus says it is not so nice if we do it in our electric oven.

I had to drive to my girl’s school in the jungle on Thursday to bring her home as she had something on in Sibu on Friday and we had this for our dinner…

Ikan terubok, cooked

…that evening. It was so sweet, lemak enough…

Terubok, so good

…and so very delicious – we sure enjoyed it to the max. The problem now is I wouldn’t know when or where we will ever get to enjoy another one again.

To go with the fish, we had this Bario brown rice…

Bario brown rice

…that I bought from here at RM11.00 a kilo.

Yes, it was nice…

Bario brown rice, cooked

…but I prefer the regular type that is so nice you can eat it on its own but of course, they will tell you that brown rice is healthier so it is better to eat that.

Cheap thrills…

Well, if you think this is going to be a post on something (s)exciting, you are in for a disappointment. LOL!!!

I heard that this instant mi goreng

Tip Top mi goreng

…is very nice so I dropped by a supermarket and grabbed myself a pack, currently on promotion – 5+1, 6 packets inside.

It’s a product of our neighbouring country…

Made in Indonesia

…and though our languages are similar, there may be quite a bit of difference as well. I’m pretty sure we will not say barang rosak to mean “…the package is broken” and I do think “torn” or “open” would be more appropriate words to use in this context. “Broken” is usually used in cases where there is a special seal.

Anyway, what’s more important would be what’s inside…

Contents

There are those usual things you’ll get in a packet of mi goreng – the seasoning, the soy sauce, chili powder and onion oil…and the noodles, of course.

I took out one packet to try, cooked…

Tip Top mi goreng, served

…and served with my boiled egg, hard on the outside, runny on the inside and I did sprinkle some chopped spring onions from my garden on top prior to serving.

So what did I think of it? Yes, it was nice – pretty much the same as all the other mi goreng, more or less but this one is so very cheap! It is tagged at RM2.90 a pack but currently, it is being sold at a promotional price of RM2.70…and with 6 packets inside, that works out to only 45 sen each. Gee!!! You cannot go out and get a piece of (Chinese) kueh for that kind of money these days, nothing less than 50 sen a piece. I sure would not mind keeping some for mornings when there is nothing in the house to eat for breakfast…

Keeping it simple…

I have not been cooking very much these days now that I am spending a lot of time in my garden, a few hours in the morning and also in the late afternoon and evening.

However, I would make sure that I have a good breakfast but usually, it will be something very simple like if there is any leftover rice, I would fry it and eat before venturing outside. This was my ikan bilis (dried anchovies) belacan (dried prawn paste) fried rice…

Ikan bilis belacan fried rice

…that I cooked the other day.

Good Friday was a day of fasting and abstinence for us and we had one light meal in the evening for dinner. I just cooked some plain porridge and had that with salted eggs and fried thinly sliced french beans. It is amazing how with just one cup of rice, you can end up with one big pot of porridge…and the next morning, as there was some leftover, I cooked this sweet potato porridge…

Sweet potato porridge

…and I fried an omelette and grilled a slice of bacon, cut them thinly and threw them all in. It tasted really great but the next time, I think I would use the latter two ingredients as toppings instead of cooking them in the porridge – they seemed to have lost much of their taste because of that.

Saturday, we had a great lunch and in the evening, we went for my brother-in-law’s birthday dinner and on Easter Sunday, after the morning service in church, we dropped by here for brunch. That evening, my girl said that she did not want to eat out and would prefer having dinner at home. That was why, in the end, we decided to have a simple steamboat dinner as my brother-in-law from Bintulu did give us some very nice and fresh prawns…

Prawns from brother-in-law

that day when he came back for the Ching Ming Festival. We still had two big sea cucumbers in the freezer, left over from our Chap Goh Meh steamboat dinner with my dad sometime ago…and we made some meatballs and bought some quail eggs, sweet baby corn, golden needle mushrooms, some soft tofu and these curly green vegetables…

Khiew chai

…and we just threw all those into the boiling bone-stock soup that my missus prepared.

We also had some thinly-sliced beef…

Beef slices

…in the freezer so we dipped it ourselves in the boiling soup to eat and enjoy.

My girl wanted some of these Korean potato noodles…

Potato noodles

…to go with the soup and I boiled some for her.

There you have it, our Easter celebration – nothing fancy, nothing grand, just a simple steamboat dinner…

Steamboat dinner

…at home.