The walk…

This is Bandong Walk…

Bandong Walk

Those who were around in the 70’s and 80’s would probably remember the glory days when the eateries here would be jam-packed with people. It was a very popular place where the younger set would hang out at night, enjoying the food and one another’s company. Eventually, the crowd stopped coming – I hear it was because the place got very dirty and was infested with rats.

I must say that I am very impressed by the effort made by the people concerned to upgrade the place – the area in between the block of shops is near completion but I have no idea as to when it will reopen for business. I do hope that everyone, shop owners and members of the public alike, would make a concerted effort to keep the place very nice and clean and not let it go to rot all over again.

For some reason, some of the stalls by the side of the road are not open any time of day though I did gather from a reliable source that all of them have been rented out to somebody. Perhaps some of them only open at night and some only in the morning, like this one, for instance…

Nasi Lemak Bandong Walk, new sign

– my favourite nasi lemak in town!

They do seem to be enjoying brisk business…

Nasi Lemak Bandong Walk, stall

…which is good as that would mean that it will definitely make enough and more to keep them going and I can continue to drop by to enjoy the nasi lemak

Nasi Lemak Bandong Walk nasi lemak sambal sotong 1

…there or have it packed to take home and eat.

There is a canopy at the back and customers can sit in that somewhat makeshift area…

Bandong Walk, under the canopy

…to enjoy their breakfast. Personally, I am of the opinion that they should have something more proper, more presentable and a lot nicer.

I had the coffee…

Bandong Walk kopi-o kao

…from the stall beside the nasi lemak stall and surprisingly, it was really very good. Often have I complained that the coffee at the Malay shops are quite hopeless, not nice at all but this one is one of the few exceptions to the rule and believe it or not, it was just RM1.00 a glass!!!

There is another stall next to the drinks stall where a lady would be frying noodles and I noticed that she even sells kampua mee. Perhaps one of these days, I would drop by again to give it a try.

Back to the nasi lemak, it certainly is cheaper…

Nasi Lemak Bandong Walk, price list

…than the ones at the shops and what I had, with the sambal sotong (squid)…

Nasi Lemak Bandong Walk nasi lemak sambal sotong 2

…was RM3.00 plus RM1.50, RM4.50 only altogether, the same as what one would need to fork out if one would go for the regular here and elsewhere.

To me, a good nasi lemak would be one whereby the rice is really lemak, rich with the taste and fragrance of santan (coconut milk) and would taste so good without it being drowned by a multitude of sins and this is just about the only one that I have tried and enjoyed that truly lives up to its name.

The NASI LEMAK BANDONG WALK stall (2.313869, 111.825808) is located at Bandong Walk, Jalan Bandong somewhere in front of the block of shops where Mastura Delite and the 1Malaysia clinic are. 

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Big fat momma…

I was driving along Jalan Kampung Nangka early that morning when an interesting banner caught my eye and of course, I simply had to stop to check it out.

I parked my car by the side of the road and walked to the stall…

Nasi Lemak Makcik Gemok stall

…and this very friendly and jovial lady…

Makcik Gemok

…came out. Her nasi lemak was selling for RM2.00 a packet…

Nasi Lemak Makcik Gemok bungkus

…and there was a salted fish…

Salted fish, egg, cucumber & sambal

…in it with a piece of omelette – no hard-boiled egg, no ikan bilis (dried anchovies) but there was a slice of cucumber and some peanuts…

Kacang

…as well.

The rice was not as lemak as I would like it, not quite like the one here but that one is now selling for RM3.00 and like the others that I had had, despite the tint of green, it did not have the fragrance of pandan…or maybe just a bit. I did like the texture of the rice though, not hard and dry like some and not too soft and soggy either, just right plus the sambal was really good, a bit spicy and very much to my liking.

You have the option to add something extra, if you want and that morning, the lady had this soy sauce chicken…

Ayam masak kicap

…and if I remember correctly, she said something like that would be RM2.00 a piece.

I took a snapshot of the chicken and she made a remark on that jokingly and that was when I asked her if I could take her photograph and she happily obliged so I took that one of her above. Then she suggested having another one taken of her beside her banner…

Makcik Gemok & banner

– actually, I was already planning to take a photo of that with the very cute caricature of her. I must say there is a very close resemblance, don’t you think? For one thing though, I really do not think she is a mak cik (auntie) – she certainly looks way too young to be one and as for the gemok bit, well, when it comes to gemuk-ness, she sure has a long way to go to catch up with me, the very sui tuapui (good looking fatty). LOL!!!

I sure would not mind dropping by to buy from her again – it always makes me feel good having a little small talk with such nice and pleasant people as and when the opportunity arises.

NASI LEMAK MAKCIK GEMOK (2.316525, 111.824230) is located at No. 75, Jalan Kampung Nangka, on the left if heading towards Sungai Antu and Sungai Merah, not far from the bend after which you get to the army camp, formerly the KD Sri Rejang base.

Don’t wait too long…

I dropped by my regular Malay kuih stall at Bandong the other morning but there wasn’t a very wide variety of choices available. The boy said that many had not got back into the swing of things and were not delivering their stuff for sale yet. Gosh!!! It had been over two weeks since the Raya and yes, I did notice around town that some of the Malay/Muslim shops were still closed. That is a stark contrast from how some here will open their shops even on the 1st day of Chinese New Year, double or even triple their usual prices, grabbing the opportunities as they come along.

In the end, I bought this pack of nasi lemak (RM3.50)…

Nasi lemak

…to try but like the one I had the other day, it was not lemak (rich in santan/coconut milk) at all and despite the tint of green, I could not detect the hint of pandan in the rice. The sambal was nice, though not spicy at all, and there was a salted fish…

Salted fish

…in place of the regular fried ikan bilis (dried anchovies) and together with the (albeit overcooked) egg, it was all right, just that you would not catch me buying that a second time.

Meanwhile, the nasi lemak guy at his stall a stone’s throw away was back in business and enjoying brisk business with a lot of customers eating there or buying packs and packs to take away – it actually took a long time for my orders to be ready but it did not matter as old retirees like me have all the time in the world.

While I was sitting there waiting, everytime he opened his insulated pot with the rice inside, I could catch the waft of the lemak-ness. Now, THAT is what all nasi lemak worthy of the name should be like.

I asked him why I did not see him during Ramadan and he said that he opened at around 4.30 p.m. till 6 something only. No wonder I missed him – I would make it a point to go earlier, at around 3 as later than that, the bazaar would be very crowded and one would probably have to park the car a long distance away. It certainly was my loss though as he said in that one month, he also had nasi biryani and nasi minyak – I sure would love to try those, if only I had known.

He said that he went home (Sarikei) for the Raya and was in Rajang for a couple of days and came back here and within a week or so, he was back in the thick of things. It sure looked like he had increased his prices since that time when he came back – the nasi lemak is now RM3.00…and you have to add RM1.50 to that if you want the fried chicken wing or the sambal kerang or the sambal sotong

Nasi lemak sambal sotong Bandong Walk

I asked for the sotong (squid)…

Sambal sotong

…as I did ask him about his kerang (cockles) and he said that he used the canned ones and yes, his nasi lemak was as good as ever, definitely my No. 1 in town.

In the meantime, I also happened to drop by this coffee shop opposite the car workshop that I go to the other day. When I first went there in 2015, I did go and have a look at the chap fan (mixed rice) dishes at the zi-char (cook & fry) place at the back. Everything looked rather good, something like our own home-cooked dishes and I did hear from my friend, Annie, in KL that her mum, who lives close by, would sometimes buy from there – cheap and nice so all this while, I had been wanting to go back and give it a try but I never did.

Well, that day, I had their fried noodles, wet, expecting to get our usual Foochow fried noodles, with sauce and this was served (RM3.50)…

Uncle Lau Corner mee goreng basah

…instead. It tasted quite good though it did not have the coveted wok hei fragrance nor was it in any way, anything like our Foochow fried noodles.

I asked the workshop boss and he told me that it was an Indonesian, working for the new owner, cooking in the kitchen and that the people who were there before had called it a day or had moved elsewhere. I guess I can strike this one off my list of must-go-and-try places now.

Well, lesson learnt! If there is anything that I want, jump at it – jangan tunggu lama-lama (don’t wait too long)!

Mak Met’s Breakfast Station (2.314192, 111.825581) is located at the shops along Jalan Bandong in Kpg Nangka here, facing Bandong Walk. and THE NASI LEMAK STALL (2.313869, 111.825808) is located at Bandong Walk, Jalan Bandong somewhere in front of the block of shops where the 1Malaysia clinic is and UNCLE LAU CORNER (2.328131, 111.840397) is located back to back with Udak Kitchen which is to the left of Everwin, Sg Merah along Lorong Sungai Merah 2C, off Jalan Teng Chin Hua.

Afternoon tea…

There is this stall at Rejang Park here…

Rejang Park Sibu
*Archive photo*

…selling Chinese kuehs (cakes) in the afternoon. I’ve blogged about the nice things I’ve bought from there time and time again but I do not recall ever featuring the stall itself…

Rejang Park Chinese kueh stall

I did not even realise that it has a name but it does!

If you are coming from the now-closed down cinema (or the bus stop), it is located on the five-foot way, after the coffee shop (Esan Cafe) and the Chinese medical store. In the past, it would only be open at around mid-afternoon but they do open earlier these days, I hear – around noon but of course, since they get a lot of their cakes from people making them at home, those would not be delivered till later so perhaps you would not have a lot of choices if you drop by that early.

As far as I can remember, our favourites here would be their own-made chai peah (vegetable fritters)…

Chai peah

…and their or koi (deep-fried yam cake) but the former is not gluten-free so we would not buy those anymore these days. As for the latter, they did not have their own when I dropped by that afternoon, RM1.00 for a very big piece, and the man told me that the lady making it has just given birth and of course, she will not be up and about making those till after her month-long confinement…so in the meantime, it will not be available.

Some people say the popiah (spring roll) is nice too but I think I did try it once and it did not get me rushing back for more. I quite enjoy their chai kueh (steamed vegetable cake)…

Chai kueh
*Archive photo*

…and would buy them when available but I do not think they made those themselves.

Quite recently, they started making their own ang koo kueh (red tortoise cake) and they had them in red or yellow/orange…

Ang koo kueh, yellow
*Archive photo*

…selling at RM1.00 each. All this while, we could not get good ones here in Sibu – usually, the ones available all this while in Sibu would be very small with a thin line of mung bean filling inside that one could hardly taste. The ones these people make are nice and people say the yellow ones are made from sweet potatoes or pumpkin, the purple ones from yam…and they do have black ones too, whatever they are made of. I do know of someone making them at home upon order if and when she wants to make and hers are very nice too but one would have to order quite  a lot at a time – it would be more convenient to just drop by here and grab theirs.

That day, they only had the red ones left…

Ang koo kueh, red

…even though it was just around 2 in the afternoon. Perhaps they did not make any in the other colours that day, I wouldn’t know, but I was fine with red and wasted no time in grabbing some to take home for afternoon tea.

LIM TIONG KHAY Chinese kueh stall (2.306707, 111.836471) is located beside the Chinese medical store among the shops at Rejang Park in the block facing Jalan Teruntum to the left of what was formerly the Zenith Mint Cinema.

Somebody else…

My girl wanted the sambal bihun here

Jiali Cafe/101 Food court

…but I did not quite remember her eating that. However, she said that she did and it was nice. Ah well! Since that was what she wanted, we made our way there for lunch that day.

However, it looked like somebody else had taken over the stall…

Fried noodles stall

My girl said that they were not the same people that used to be there. We walked around but we did not see any sambal bihun on the menu on each of the stalls in that food court and the adjoining one at the back.

I told her to go and ask – they should have it, I said, and true enough they did so she ordered a plate with specific instructions not to add any soy sauce and when it was served, we all thought it looked pretty decent (RM4.50)…

Jiali Cafe sambal bihun 1

…and upon eating it, my girl said it was very nice.

Much to my surprise, she managed to finish the whole lot…

Jiali Cafe sambal bihun 2

…even though the serving was quite substantial and she is not a very big eater, not like the father. Hehehehehe!!!

I wanted the nasi lemak from this stall…

Closed every Wednesday

…at the adjoining food court as I had it once or twice before and I did enjoy it, especially with their chicken rendang. Unfortunately, it was a Wednesday so it was closed and I made my way to what-used-to-be the Malay stall in front…

Jiali Cafe formerly a Malay stall

The lady came to talk to me and to my surprise, she spoke Mandarin. Initially, I thought she was multi-lingual but when I looked around a bit more carefully, it appeared to me that the Malay stall had either closed down or moved some place else and somebody else had taken over too.

I ordered the nasi lemak, regular (RM3.50)…

Jiali Cafe nasi lemak biasa

…and the sambal was good, not spicy but good and though the rice was not all that lemak, there was a hint of the santan (coconut milk) in it and thankfully, it was not hard and dry like some that I had had the displeasure of eating.

The egg…

Jiali Cafe nasi lemak, fried egg

…however, was a disaster…or to me, at least – I do know of some people who would like their fried egg like that but actually, for nasi lemak, the egg should be hard-boiled, be it whole or just half of it, and not fried.

I think they will give you one fried chicken wing if you go for the special (RM5.00) but I did not want that. Instead, I ordered their chicken wings, masak merah (RM4.00 for two)…

Jiali Cafe chicken wings, masak merah

…and just like the sambal, it was very nice but was not spicy, not even a bit.

My missus went to order her favourite here, the Penang char kway teow and mee combo (RM5.00)…

101 Food Court Penang char kway teow & mee kahwin 1

…from the stall at the adjoining food court at the back. and needless to say, she enjoyed it…

101 Food Court Penang char kway teow & mee kahwin 2

…to the max.

Since the ladies did enjoy what they had, we certainly wouldn’t mind coming back here again whenever we feel like it.

JIALI CAFE (2.292140, 111.841524) is located among the shops behind Medan Mall, Jalan Wong King Huo, a few doors away to the right of Junction Cafe,  facing the road leading to the Medan Hotel there.

Before the sun sets…

That day, after the not-very-fruitful visit to the Ramadan Bazaar, I had one restaurant in mind for our dinner and since it was a public holiday, it was not that difficult to find a parking space – normally, we would avoid the area as trying to park the car would be near impossible unless one is really very lucky.

However, it was just after 5.00 p.m. and the place would not be open till 6.00 p.m…

Opens at 6.00 p.m.

…so we decided to go to the pasar malam (night market)

Sibu Night Market

…close by to stroll around. They moved it back to the original place not long ago but they are back here again now, the place where they call the Butterfly Garden, for whatever reason, I wouldn’t know. Those as old as me would remember this place as the location of the old bus terminal way back in the 50’s and 60’s and maybe right through the 70’s.

They were saying that there would be some massive renovations done to make the site much nicer, with a roof and all, but I did not notice any difference from the way it was before. For one thing, with the shops/buildings all around, though not protected from the rain, this place is well-shaded so one would not need to endure the unbearable heat of the scorching sun – this was just before the sun had set so it was still very sunny at the time.

We were early so there were not that many people around…

Pasar Malam stalls, Chinese

…and many stalls were not even up yet.

A lot of them were food stalls – one can grab a pack of chap fan (mixed rice) from this one…

Chap fan

…and I saw that a number of these roast meat stalls…

Roast meat

…were all ready to roll.

I spotted this dumpling stall…

Dumpling stall

…that I did not see before on my previous trips – probably, it is new…

Dumplings

…like one lok lok stall but I did not take a photograph of that one and of course, there are those stuffed kompia and Sibu-style sio bee

Kompia & sio bee

…but I wouldn’t know if they are any good or not as I have never tried any of those from here before.

For some, the booze…

Booze

…and the cigarettes…

Cigarettes

…at the pasar malam are an attraction, with some unique brands not usually available at the shops.

There is a section with all the Malay/halal food stalls…

Halal section

…and another section selling non-edibles…

Non-edibles

…including this one where I was attracted to the ethnic native Dayak prints of the sarong.

Sarong

This dog…

Dog in boots

…sure got a lot of attention but no, it was the stall-owner’s pet, not for sale.

It was way past 5.30 p.m. already when we were making our way back to the restaurant when I spotted the handsome boy setting up their stall…

Handsome boy

– they had just arrived and thankfully, they had some pre-fried at home…

Tee peang

…so we were able to grab all we wanted without having to wait for them to fry and buy them straight from the wok.

After that, it was dinner time but that will be in the next post. Stick around!

Too hot…

I finally went to check out the Ramadan Bazaar, the main one at the Sibu Town Square. Gosh!!! That one is really very big, so very many stalls, selling so many different kinds of food.

There are different kinds of barbecued chicken, the regular ones…

Ayam panggang 1

…and this one is a little special…

Ayam panggang 2

…but I can’t remember in what way now. There were so many things to see it was really mind-boggling!

There’s the ikan panggang (barbecued fish)…

ikan panggang

and you have the usual ikan bakar (grilled fish on a hot plate)…

ikan bakar

…and the sotong as well…

Sotong bakar

…and of course, there is the satay

Satay

…and oh my goodness!!! I could not believe my eyes when I saw them basking the meat on skewers with cooking oil using paint brushes!!! No, they were not those special kitchen brushes for egg-washing our pastries – they were the ones one would use to paint the house! And wasn’t there a scandal not too long ago regarding the hair used to make those brushes? Tsk! Tsk! The traditional way of using sticks of serai (lemon grass), bruised at the ends would give added fragrance and flavour to the meat – I certainly would not settle for anything else, much less those paint brushes!!!

One thing I noticed when I was there was the integration of the cultures here with stalls selling kampua mee and shumai/sio bee (meat dumplings – chicken, of course) and I think I did see a stall selling kompia and chu nu miang, if I remember correctly  and they even have this Hainanese chicken rice…

Hainanese chicken rice

…and I did see somebody selling the traditional ethnic Dayak ayam pansoh (chicken cooked in bamboo) too!

It was a blistering hot evening even though it was already around 5 and somehow the heat and humidity gets to a person and one would not have the appetite or the craving to want to eat anything. That was what happened to me, I guess so I did not buy anything in the end except this kelupis

Kelupis

…that I do enjoy with kaya (coconut jam)…

Kelupis with kaya

I have not seen this being sold elsewhere but for a while now, when I did get to see any, I noticed that the people had resorted to using nylon strings to tie the thing and since then, I have not been all that keen to buy any to eat.

Of course, there were all kinds of traditional kuehs, a lot of cucurs (deep fried fritters) and our renowned kek lapis (layer cake) Sarawak…

Kek lapis Sarawak dll

…and all the rest but other than the kelupis, none tickled my fancy.

I saw my friends from Sri Pelita there…

Friends from Sri Pelita

…and believe it or not, they had this HUGE cauldron of nasi biryani

Sri Pelita nasi biryani

…and according to the guy, that would be the amount they would cook every day…and every day, it would be completely sold out!!!

He also told me they had ayam berempah and I thought I would come back later to buy for our dinner that night and I also thought these prawns…

Udang galah

…at another stall looked really good, RM2.50 each and one could buy some to go with rice but after walking through the whole bazaar, I was feeling hot and uncomfortable and the thought of going back all the way to the stalls did not seem all that appealling so we headed back to the car and went on our way to have a nice dinner in a cooler and more conducive environment.