Big nose…

This…

Dapi

…is my friend/ex-classmate’s coffee shop. I don’t know why he has named it da pi – I gathered that it means big nose. Perhaps he has one, a big nose but then again, many Asian Chinese have the same, and more often than not, it’s flat some more! Anyway, back to the coffee shop, I do recall my friend having one at Market Road but eventually, he moved here sometime ago. He kept asking me why I never dropped by – well, I just never did.

So what made me go there the other morning? Recently, my brother-in-law told me that the lady from one of his favourite kampua mee places in town has moved here. Oh? No wonder I’ve noticed quite a crowd there every morning when I drove past – obviously, the fans have shifted over here as well…but I do recall going to try at the old place and no, I was not all that impressed. Nonetheless, I decided to stop by to check it out one more time – after all, I probably caught them on a wrong day the last time and it is indeed very popular among the locals.

The coffee (RM1.70)…

Coffee

…that I had was really good – I would rank it among the best in town and the kampua mee (RM3.00)…

Kampua

…was very nice too and I liked those bits of minced meat in it, something different from a lot of the rest.

I also ordered the beef tripe soup, small (RM3.00)…

Gu tor

…and I was glad that the serving was not as huge as what I had here. The beef tripe could have been a bit softer – the one here was just nice – but though the soup had a different taste altogether, it was very nice as well and thankfully, it did not have any offensive smell like the one here.

I was delighted to see that they did not use those plastic plates and bowls here and I would give them a bonus point for not using plastic spoons…

Spoon

…as well. Actually, I do like the floral designs very much, the ones on the plate and the spoon and should I see these in the shops, I sure wouldn’t mind grabbing some for my own collection.

While I was there, I saw these…

Stuffed tau kua tang hoon

…on the counter, the pre-soaked tang hoon (glass noodles) and the fried tau kua (bean curd cake) stuffed with minced meat. I would love that! Well, no prize for guessing what I will order the next time I drop by here.

DAPI SEAFOOD CANTEEN (2.286508, 111.831739) is located at No. 2A, Ground Floor, Lanang Road, directly opposite the Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Not the usual type…

I saw this…

Chapati chicken wrap 1

…here at the recent Ramadan Bazaar at Bandong Walk and I grabbed one to take home for my girl to try. She liked it so much that she quickly went back to buy another one but before she could go again, Ramadan was over.

Well, I was at the stall one morning last week and I saw it being sold so of course, I quickly got one for my girl and and one for myself…

Chapati chicken wrap 2

…since I had never tried it before.

I can’t say I liked the flimsy plastic packaging used, not all that environment-friendly, I think but I guess it helped make it look a bit classier and more presentable. Ah well! After all, when you buy those cold sandwiches at convenience stores in the cities here or overseas, they are all in some similar triangular plastic packs that all get thrown away once the sandwich inside had been taken out and eaten.

Well, they did state quite clearly that this was a wrap, though not the usual type that most would be more familiar with. Instead of those wraps or tortillas, they used chapati instead and inside, they had one piece of fried chicken, a bit of lettuce and a thin slice of cheese and I think there were traces of mayo and chili sauce squirted over everything…

Chapati chicken wrap 3

…but it was not in the least spicy.

Prior to eating that, I heated it up in the oven so the chapati became a bit crispy especially around the edges but it was still soft like Indian roti, not the hard kind of crispy like those wraps or tortillas…

Chapati chicken wrap 4

Generally, I would say it was all right – maybe it would be nicer if they had added a bit of coleslaw as well but no, it did not get me jumping with delight and no, you wouldn’t catch me rushing back for more. At RM4.50 each, I am of the opinion that there are a lot of other nicer things that I can get with that kind of money…or less.

Come over here…

This place…

Lau Dato Si' Canteen/Catholic Centre Sibu *Archive photo*

…is located in the same compound as my girl’s present school, where the majestic Sacred Heart Cathedral is.

I have been here twice, the first time for the kampua noodles and pian sip (meat dumplings) soup and the second time, I had the Foochow fried noodles but I got the dry version even though that was not actually what I had in mind.

It is very convenient for my girl to just walk over for a bite to eat especially during lunch hour if she has extra classes or activities in the afternoon. As a matter of fact, she used to do that when she was studying at that primary school and she did that again last week, once, and she had the wat tan hor, flat rice noodles in thick egg sauce (RM4.00) which she said was decent but nowhere near the one that she likes a lot here

Wat tan hor Colourful Cafe
*Archive photo*

…but that one sure does not come cheap, RM12.50, the last time we had it there.

On days when we are not that keen on cooking our own, we can always buy the chap fan (mixed rice) dishes from here – I did go and have a look and they all seemed very nice but I was not able to buy as I did not bring my own container. In an effort to save the environment, they will not provide plastic bags or containers here.

Well, it so happened that I dropped by here before 4.00 p.m. the other day. I saw that it was still open even though I heard that they would close at 2.00 p.m. every day and would not open on Sundays, this being a church-run eatery and all the people helping out are parishioners, all volunteers – Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath Day. I guess after two, one can drop by for drinks, nothing much else but that day, I saw a group of (old/elderly) ladies making paos (steamed buns) – tausar (black bean paste) and peanut filling.

Usually, one can get these and sio bee (meat dumplings) too at times at the coffee shops, those with the steamer by the side but I do not know where theirs came from, probably made in bulk somewhere and delivered everywhere for sale. I think I did try some here and there but no, I was not impressed.

I asked if they had any meat ones and the nice young girl said that they were not making any that day but they had some, frozen. I told her I did not mind – I could take them home and steam them the next morning for breakfast so I bought five of this…

Bak pao

…at only RM1.30 each. That was so very cheap – I am pretty sure bak pao anywhere else would definitely be more than RM2.00 each…and in line with their policy of being environment-friendly, they pack them in brown paper bags, strictly no plastic.

It tasted very nice even though there seemed to be more tang chai (preserved vegetables) in it…

Bak pao, inside

…and yes, there is a bit of egg too.

There is an old lady, now based at a stall at one of the pillars in the Sibu Central Market. Before the construction of the market in its present location, she was at the old market, right in front, across the road from Palace Theatre. Her chai pao (steamed vegetable bun) was the favourite of many and her meat ones were very good too. I did buy some from her sometime ago but the prices had gone up drastically and the quality seemed to be lacking so I never went back to buy from her anymore. This bak pao reminded me of hers but it was very much bigger – the old lady’s was RM1.20 in 2011, dunno now. I sure would be back for more of the ones here, that’s for sure.

LAUDATO SI’ CANTEEN is located in what was previously known as the Catholic Centre in the compound of the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Jalan Lanang and St Rita’s Primary School, Jalan Bukit Assek.

Times have changed…

When I was still working, school started at 7.00 a.m. and by 6.00 a.m. or earlier, I would be on my way even though it would only take around 5-10 minutes for me to reach my destination. More often than not, the place would still be pitch dark and at times, it would still be all locked up when the caretaker/groundsman was running a little late.

Driving at that time of day was sheer delight as there would only be a sprinkling of other cars on the road, if any. These days, there are so many cars…and though I am thankful that there are no traffic jams (yet), what I simply cannot understand is why they have to drive so fast. There IS a speed limit here, 60 kmph in the town area…and they will weave in and out of traffic, changing lanes as and when it pleases them. People have the impression that cars here are not equipped with indicators as they will NEVER signal to let you know their intention when they turn left or right.

Frankly, I fail to understand what their hurry is – school does not start till after 7.00 a.m. and Sibu is such a small town that even before one song finishes on the radio, you would have reached your destination already! Maybe they are in a foul mood having to wake up so early to send their kids to school or maybe they are in rush to drop off their offspring and head back home to bed and sleep some more before it is time to go to work…or maybe there are a lot more cars these days and they have the tendency to drive in that unruly manner, I wouldn’t know.

Another impression that I get is that these days, people are real lazy. At that time of the morning, except for a few odd ones out, most of the coffee shops are not open yet.

I dropped by a hawker centre one morning and most were not open so I went to the market instead to see if I could buy some fish and prawns. On the way back, I saw one already open so I asked if I could order something for breakfast. They replied in a not-too-friendly manner (some people are simply not in a very good mood when they wake up in the morning) that they had just arrived and were not ready to start their business for the day yet – and that was past 6.30 a.m. going to be 7.00 a.m. soon.

In my younger days, coffee shops opened way before the crack of dawn and unlike many today, they did not close at or before noon either and if you wanted a plate of kampua mee at a very odd hour like 3 or 4.00 pm. they would only be too happy to restart their fire to cook the noodles for you and a plate was only 30 cents (without meat) or 50 cents (with meat) then. They must have worked so very hard and scrimped and saved to be able to afford their children’s fees and living expenses overseas unlike what some people think – that all of them were so very rich!

Well, I spotted one coffee shop that was open…

Happy Sweet Garden Food Centre

…the other morning so I decided to stop by for a plate of kampua noodles for breakfast. Now, this is another thing about drivers these days – there were ample parking spaces all around, no parking fee at that time of day but no, as you can see in the above photograph, they just had to park right beside the shop to go in and eat. I am quite sure they would drive right into the coffee shop if they could! Tsk! Tsk! I really wonder about the mentality of people nowadays and what has gone wrong along the way.

Now, if I am not wrong, that guy at the stall…

Kampua mee stall

…is Ah Kow’s son. We grew up eating his father’s kampua noodles every Sunday after church, our weekly special treat, but only if my brother and I behaved well throughout the service or we would head straight home and have rotan (cane) for breakfast instead.

When I got to the coffee shop, I was amazed by the number of people there – it was almost full! It appeared to me that they were all parents bringing their children for breakfast before heading off to school. Is that why they drive so fast? They have to stop somewhere for a bite to eat first?

Golly gee! Don’t people cook and eat their own breakfast at home anymore? All throughout my schooling years, my mum would get up early to prepare breakfast and by the time we were up and ready for school, all would be ready and we could eat before getting on our bicycles and making our way to school by ourselves. For one thing, I cannot imagine those kids eating all the msg in the noodles every day and drinking those unhealthy drinks as well – no wonder we see news reports of young boys and girls getting ill, coming down with diabetes, cancer…heart problems and stroke even! It probably has something to do with the way of life these days.

Anyway, back to the kampua mee (RM2.70)…

Kampua mee 1

…that I had, it was pretty good, cheaper than many around here by 10 sen or 30 sen or more and I liked how they did not dye the meat red…

Kampua mee 2

…plus they did not use a plastic plate even though they did use a plastic bowl for the soup.

Well, since most other places are still closed, I guess if one wants kampua mee so early in the morning, this is one place they can head to.

HAPPY SWEET GARDEN FOOD CENTRE (2.301085, 111.835842) is located at No. 16, Jalan Merdeka Barat, back to back with the Sibu Polyclinic, Jalan Oya.

Take me back in time…

I dropped by here that morning as I wanted to check out the kampua noodles from this stall…

Stall No. 9

I had the Foochow fried mee from another stall once and from yet another stall the second time around and I thought they were both very good.

When I got there, as I was walking past the chicken rice stall (No. 4), I saw somebody buying the steamed Chinese kim kua (pumpkin) cake and it looked really good so I made up my mind to stop by before I left to buy some home to try. Unfortunately, it was all sold out by then. The guy said that his sister-in-law made those kuehs (cakes) for sale at his stall and there was or koi (steamed Chinese yam cake) too but it was all sold out too.

All that was left was this kao teng koi

Kao teng koi

…and because it looked very good, I bought all that he had and much to my delight, it was indeed very nice, lemak (rich with santan/coconut milk) enough and the texture was perfect, not hard and rubbery. It sure took me back in time as it was exactly like the ones we had way back in my growing up years and I really enjoyed eating them. I certainly would want to buy it again and whatever that is available to try should I happen to drop by there again.

Going back to the kampua noodles I had that morning from the aforementioned stall, I also ordered the pain sip (meat dumplings) soup (RM2.80)…

Pian sip soup

…to go with it (RM2.80)…

Kampua mee

…and yes, both were very nice but the coffee I had from the stall next to it was a little disappointing. Actually, I had it once before and I thought it was very good – perhaps they should look into their quality control because there are lots of drink stalls there and I can easily order from another one.

Talking about the stalls, I noticed, this time around, that most of the stalls were selling the same things. They may have a kampua mee stall in front but further in, they will be frying the Foochow fried noodles and all the other fried noodle dishes. I guess they all are pretty all right generally as from what I saw, they all seemed to be enjoying brisk business.

The guy that I bought the kao teng koi from at his chicken rice stall, probably the only one there, told me that there were two stalls selling porridge as well (together with the noodles) – I saw some people eating that with a plate of stewed soy sauce pork intestines and some other dishes. Perhaps I’d like to try that next time…

THE SUNGAI ANTU MARKET & HAWKER CENTRE/FOOD COURT (2.320030, 111.830741) is located along Jalan Sg Antu 2, on your right off Jalan Industri as you drive in from Jalan Kpg Nangka.

Papa…

For so many years now, we would celebrate Father’s Day a day earlier as on Sundays, we would have to make our way to my girl’s school in the jungle but of course, this year, it was different and we could celebrate the special occasion on the actual day itself.

My girl went and got me this lovely black forest cake…

Cake

…from this bakery round the corner from my house and she got me to cut it first thing in the morning and we had that for breakfast. 

After that, we went to pick my sister and we all went to our parents’ resting place…

Flowers and prayers for Father's Day

…to offer flowers and prayers to my dad especially, in conjunction with Father’s Day.

We got back into town at around 11.00 a.m. and we went for lunch at this Korean place here that we do like a lot – my girl’s special treat. Most places open at 12.00 noon and close at 2.00 p.m. and will reopen at 6.00 p.m. for dinner which makes me wonder why they bother to open for those two hours only. At least, they should open a bit early, at around 11.00 a.m. like this one and if they have to, they can close at 3.00 p.m.

We just ordered our favourites that day, dishes that we had had before and enjoyed a lot so of course, I insisted on having the galbi tang (갈비탕)…

Galbi tang

…the Korean beef short ribs soup.

As usual, we were served the complimentary refillable ban chan (반찬)…

Ban chan

…and my girl wanted the gun mandu (군만두)…

Gun mandu

…again and needless to say, the dolsot bibimbap (돌솥비빔밥)…

Bibimbap

…too.

We also had the moksal or neck meat…

Moksal

…and ate that wrapped in lettuce with garlic slices, Bombay onion, strips of spring onion with some special sauce and the spicy Korean tau cheo sauce…

Eat it this way

…and we also had this pork belly marinated with Korean red chili paste, the gochujang (고추장)…

Gochujang pork belly

…and ate it that same way too. I would say that it was just as nice and we sure would not mind ordering that again the next time we drop by here.

My girl insisted on picking up the tab and had to fork out over RM140.00, inclusive of drinks, for all that we had for 4 persons. If I remember correctly, the beef soup is already over RM40.00 and the two pork dishes add up to around RM50.00 but considering how much we enjoyed everything, value for money, we certainly would look forward to coming back here again. 

KIMCHEE KOREAN BAR.BQ (2.296883,111.825859) is located on the first floor in the block of shops to the right of the Old Sing Kwong Supermarket (Kin Orient Plaza) along Jalan Tun Abang Hj Openg.

Little bit too much…

This food court is just round the corner from the car wash that I frequent and the other day, after I had got my car sparkling clean, I decided to drop by and check the place out. We had gone there a few times before, here and also here, for instance but we did not think there was anything to get us coming back for more.

The iced coffee, black (RM1.70)…

Grand Wonderful Food Court, kopi o peng

…was good and so was the kampua noodles…

Grand Wonderful Food Court kampua mee

…that I ordered from Stall No.2…

Grand Wonderful Food Court, stall No. 2

…right next to the first one, the chicken rice stall. Hmmmm…usually, I would not cut my spring onions that long but I guess it does not make much of a difference.

The pork intestine soup…

Grand Wonderful Food Court, pork intestine soup

…that I had with the noodles was good too, very peppery and I enjoyed eating the innards with the own-made chili dip provided. However, there was just too much of it, enough to be shared by two. I sure would not mind a smaller serving for a little less than what I had to fork out for it, RM8.00 altogether!

Incidentally, while I was there, they started taking out the dishes for the chap fan (mixed rice) and they sure looked good. Perhaps I would drop by one of these days to give it a try.

GRAND WONDERFUL FOOD COURT (2.309601, 111.845163) is located along Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Pedada, on your left just before the Petronas petrol station a short distance from Delta Mall. You can also go in via Lorong Pipit 4, turning left into the lane at the junction where Starbucks Sibu is located and go straight ahead from there.