Just enough…

We dropped by here for lunch last week because my girl wanted their mui choy stewed pork belly/梅菜焖猪肉 (RM15.00)…

Dragon Restaurant mui choy stewed pork belly

…that she likes a lot.

We used to frequent this place quite a bit until the guy moved to a bigger place with an air-conditioned 1st floor elsewhere and opened another outlet in another part of town. The latter had since closed down – as for the former, I think it is still there though I am not too sure as to whether it is still as popular and crowded as when it first opened or not.

Eventually, I heard that somebody took over the cooking here, the brother or cousin or some relative of the previous guy, I’m not too sure so food would be available like before and they would be serving those same dishes that we used to enjoy a lot here. When we went there that afternoon, the faces of the people sure looked familiar and from their knowing looks/smiles, I could tell that they could remember me too.

For our vegetable dish, we had their cangkok manis fried with egg (RM8.00)…

Dragon Restaurant & Cafe cangkok manis with egg

…and I could see from their display board that they had ikan lajong, a fish that we actually like a lot. However, I was reluctant to order it because the last time I had that at the other place, they served us one HUGE slab, enough for a table of 10 in a regular Chinese banquet and charged us over RM60.00 for it. Honestly, I was quite pissed off by that!

In the end, I relented because the lady taking our orders insisted that they would not do anything of the sort – instead, there would be two small slices, just enough for the three of us and that was exactly what we got, steamed (RM28.00)…

Dragon Restaurant & Cafe steamed lajong

It was very nice and we sure enjoyed it a lot. No, it was not all that cheap but considering how nice it was, I would say it was indeed value for money and besides, it was half the price of the two slices of deep-fried cod (RM56.00) that we had here.

That was a delightful lunch and yes, we would most certainly come back here again soon.

DRAGON RESTAURANT & CAFE (2.28502,111.831491) is located along Jalan Maju, opposite The Rejang Esplanade, across the road from The Ark. 

Old times’ sake…

After our dinner here that night, Michael suggested going to visit an old friend from our time, my ex-classmate, Ing Kok, his ex-schoolmate – Michael was in the science stream, the class next door and of course, I did not have a problem with that.

We sat and chatted till late and as we were leaving, Ing Kok suggested getting together for old times’ sake with a few of the others here for lunch the day after the following day. However, other than Michael and I, there were just Joseph and his wife and a couple, related to Ing Kok in some way – probably they were not able to get any of the others to come.

Ing Kok brought along one freshwater upriver fish, the ikan semah, supposedly the next best thing to the ikan empurau or the wang poo liao/忘不了 (unforgettable) though personally, I prefer this one…and he got the chef to prepare it in two different ways, steamed…

Ikan semah, steamed

…and grilled…

Ikan semah, grilled

…and needless to say, it was really good either way.

There was also this very nice sea cucumber soup…

Sea cucumber soup

…with lots of the coveted stuff, huge chunks and strips of it!

For our vegetable dish, we had the Green Dragon vegetable (青龙菜) or the royale chives…

Royale chives

…and we also had this, one of their signature dishes – the chess/chequer board duck…

Chessboard duck

I loved this fried tofu topped with seaweed and garnished with enoki

Seaweed tofu

…and whatever else – I certainly would want to order this again the next time I drop by here.

That was indeed a sumptuous lunch treat, thank you so much, Ing Kok and nothing beats getting together and bonding with old acquaintances and celebrating that special friendship that has endured all those years since 1969.

New Capital Restaurant 新首都酒家 (2.288619, 111.830057) is located at No. 46, Lebuh Tanah Mas, off Jalan Kampung Nyabor, in the block of shops opposite the Sarawak House/King’s Trioplex/Premier Hotel at the very far end on the right.

Reminded…

I had the meat porridge with century egg here not too long ago and I thought it was very good. In the meantime, I heard that their nasi lemak is very popular so I just had to make my way back there to try.

When I got there that morning, the rice was just ready and the guy was scooping a bowl of it for somebody’s takeaway. I asked him if it had a lot of santan (coconut milk) in it and he said, no, there was no santan used in the cooking as a lot of people would like to tapao it and it might go bad. Of course, I made up my mind there and then that I did not want to order that, no, thank you!

I asked what else they had and he rattled through a whole list of things and finally, I settled for what he called “hung ngang long” (RM6.00)…

Civic Cafe hung ngang long 1

I am a Foochow but my maternal grandma was Melanau and for reasons unknown, I grew up speaking Hokkien at home – all my aunties and uncles and I spoke Hokkien among ourselves while my grandma when she was still around would speak Melanau to me and I would speak Sarawak Malay to her and we both understood each other perfectly!

I never did pick up the Foochow dialect, supposedly my mother tongue. In fact, these days, I can communicate a lot better in Mandarin, not in that dialect – the intonation, pronunciation and everything is quite difficult to master but I do know that hung ngang is the big bihun that looks like the noodles in Penang asam laksa but no, the texture and taste are different.

I thought that long is egg so I guessed that would be the noodles in egg drop soup. The egg is dropped into the boiling soup, cooked with lots of ginger and traditional Foochow red wine and the end result would be the yolk still soft and runny, something like poached egg but the  white would be all over the soup. My missus would cook that sometimes, served with mee sua, and my girl loves it and in my discussion recently on Facebook, a friend said that her mum used to cook that as a remedy for menstrual pains. If I am not wrong, it is the ginger!

What I was served…

Civic Cafe hung ngang long

…was nothing of the sort – it looked like the traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup with hung ngang instead of mee sua but it tasted very different and yes, it was very nice!

In my aforementioned discussion on Facebook, I was reminded of what my 2nd maternal aunt would send to our house everytime one of her daughters or daughters-in-law gave birth, one big pot of it and it turned out to be this – hung ngang long! I never knew what it was called – I just ate!

Yes, it is different from the usual bowl of mee sua in traditional Foochow red wine and ginger chicken soup as other than those, there would be some other ingredients added – I remember there was the kim chiam (golden needles), knotted and the mok mee (black fungus) and according to my friend, Annie, in KL, there would be the teck ann or canned oysters as well.

I must say that I enjoyed it a lot and I loved the egg used…

Egg

– this would be one of those Omega-3 or kampung eggs with its orange yolk. I’m not really a fan of hung ngang though so when I go back there for more of this, perhaps I could ask for mee sua instead. We’ll see…

CIVIC CAFE (2.310423, 111.8312260, formerly Wonderful Cafe, is located at No. 30, Jalan Dewan Suarah, right beside the Sibu Civic Centre. 

Someone told me…

Someone told me long ago, a long long time ago, that the noodles here…

Thai Choon Cafe

…were very nice but all this while, I never dropped by to check the place out.

I can’t even remember whether she was talking about the kampua mee from the stall in front…

Thai Choon kampua mee stall

…or the fried noodles from the people at the back but when I went there that morning, I saw that most of the customers there were having the kampua mee, black but there were a few who ordered the fried stuff as well.

I asked for the kampua mee, white, with pian sip (meat dumplings)…

Thai Choon kampua pian sip

…instead of those few very thin slices of char siew-wannabe and ooooo…I so love that old-school bowl with those floral prints! I have two plates, different sizes, and a bowl – my missus’ actually, handed down to her from her late mum. I wish I knew where I could buy those – I sure would love to put together a set for use on special occasions.

Yes, I thought the kampua mee was pretty good and the pian sip was great too – the skin was thin and smooth, not thick and chewy like those at some places that I had had the displeasure of eating.

Well, the best part was when I was served and I wanted to pay for my order, the lady said it was RM2.50. What? RM2.50 only? That is 50 sen cheaper than most places here, 70-80 sen or more compared to some other places. Gee!!! If I had 3 kids, for my family of 5, I would be able to save enough for another bowl!

THAI CHOON CAFE (2.311441, 111.831065) is located in the Dewan Suarah area of shops, facing the houses on the other side of Jalan Melor, two doors to the left of the 100% Discount Market/Store there.

Places to go…

My friend/ex-schoolmate, Michael, was back in town from Perth, Australia and he contacted me to see if I was free to go out for lunch or dinner. Of course I was and I arranged to pick him up and go some place.

I was not sure where to go as I did not know the places our mutual friend/ex-schoolmate, Robert, had taken him the previous times when he came back and I suggested going here and if he had been there before, we could always go elsewhere. It turned out that he had never been to this place so that settled it!

We went and sat at the air-conditioned upstairs where it would be cooler, especially considering that he had come from the temperate Mediterranean region. Normally, even though there is no extra charge, we would just sit downstairs – a ceiling fan above my head would be good enough.

Besides us, there was just one other table (but there were at least half a dozen downstairs) a somewhat boisterous Iban family that could converse in Mandarin, other than in Iban, of course but they left as soon as they were done so we could carry on enjoying our dinner in peace and quiet, chatting and catching up with each other’s lives.

I ordered my favourite clear soup here…

A-plus clear soup

…and yes, he liked it a lot.

The special ball-shaped ngor hiang

A-plus ngor hiang

…is another favourite here and I ordered those too.

I asked for the midin (wild jungle fern), ching chao but it came fried with sambal hay bee

A-plus midin

…and of course, they do not use the superior quality stuff so at best, I felt it was just so so.

I know there is one other place in town, beside this one, that serves stewed pork leg on a bed of fried cangkok manis/mani chai

A-plus stewed pork leg on mani chai

…and I ordered that as I was pretty sure Michael had never had that served this way before and yes, he was impressed by it and he did seem to enjoy it very much. I guess everyone who has been following my blog would notice that I did not miss the chance to order a couple of the stewed eggs that I do enjoy a lot too.

There was a young girl in charge upstairs, a very sweet and friendly one and service was prompt and efficient. Michael insisted on picking up the tab, thank you so very much, and he said something like it was around RM50.00 (around AUD20.00), a little bit more than some places here and less than others – I would usually have to pay around that same amount whenever I dropped by with my family, 3 of us altogether.

A-PLUS FOOD CENTRE/RESTAURANT (2.293355, 111.823653) is located among the shops along Jalan Kampung Datu, behind the block of shops near the traffic lights at its junction with Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg and Jalan Kampung Nyabor.

If you don’t know me by now…

I guess she knows me by now as she did ask me once if I was “that blogger” and I said yes, the lady proprietress…

Nasi Kerabu Warong owner

…of the Nasi Kerabu Warong stall at the Permai Food Court here.

I dropped by again the other morning, Tuesday, to tapao the very nice nasi kerabu for lunch and while I was there, I thought I would try something different and asked for the nasi tomato ayam masak merah since according to the sign…

Lunchtime specials

…it would be available that day. However, I was told that it would only be available for lunch. They have specific specials for specific days, it seems and it sure looks like I would have to go back on a Thursday to try their Nasi Arab.

The sweet and generous lady said that she would like to give me her nasi dagang, a Terengganu delight (nasi kerabu is Kelantanese)…

Nasi dagang

…to try. That usually comes with gulai ikan, a fish (usually ikan tongkol) curry…

Gulai ikan

…and theirs came with an egg some more. Yes, it was very nice and without doubt, it would be good alternative if one does not feel like having nasi kerabu on certain days.

I also tapao-ed their nasi lemak with chicken rendang (RM6.00)…

Nasi lemak chicken rendang

…home to try for breakfast and I loved it! The rice was just so-so, not as lemak as I would want it but the chicken was so good, bursting with the flavours of the daun kunyit (turmeric leaves) and whatever else that went into the cooking. It is only RM5.00 here though, with a very much smaller piece of chicken and half an egg only and the last time I asked for a fried egg, I was charged another RM1.50 for it!

Rest assured that I would be heading back here for more again and again and hopefully, I shall get to try some of the other nice stuff that they have on their menu.

PERMAI FOOD COURT (2.297141, 111.896163) is located among the newer shops to the section on the right of Jalan Permai, off Lorong Ulu Oya 11, off Jalan Ulu Oya, to the right of the Permai Hotel there.

At your door…

This place first opened its doors in the middle of 2017 and I did drop by for what they dished out at the chu char (cook & fry) place at the back a few times – here, here and here, for instance but they have now closed down one section of the place so the stalls that used to be in that shop unit on the left are no longer there.

Somebody was telling me about something from a guy there and it was so good and so popular that he moved out to a stall in front on his own. However, when I dropped by that morning, there was just this kampua mee stall…

Dragon Door kampua mee stall

…plus the people at the back. There was a stall with some handwritten sign with a list of things and the prices but it was Greek to me, all in Mandarin. It did not look operational, more like a place for them to keep their stacks of plates.

The kampua mee guy has been there since they first opened and I did hear them say at the time that he was somewhere else before. He certainly seemed to be enjoying pretty good business and there were also quite a lot of people having the fried noodles dishes from the back.

I asked for the kampua mee (RM3.00)…

Dragon Door kampua mee

…which was to my liking as far as the texture and the taste went but I wouldn’t mind a little bit more oil/lard as it was a little on the dry side.

To go with it, I ordered the pian sip soup, small (RM2.00)…

Dragon Door pian sip soup

…and much to my delight, it was rather big. At most places, small means small and you will get the pian sip and the soup in a little bowl. It was very nice – I enjoyed the light clear soup, the taste further enhanced by the addition of a sprinkling of daun sup (Chinese celery) and all in all, I found that this was one place where I did not walk away with that lingering taste of msg in the mouth.

I don’t know when I will drop by here again especially considering that this is on the other side of town, not quite in my part of the woods.

DRAGON DOOR (2.279520, 111.839882) is located along Jalan Aman, among the (new) shops on your left if you are coming in from Jalan Wong King Huo or on your right if you are coming from Lanang Road.