You’re so very special…

When I went to the supermarket at Simpang Tiga here that day, after I was through with my shopping, I decided to walk over to the SEDC Hawker Centre to look at what they have at the stalls there. I think we have not been there since the African wrapped up his business, left and never came back.

There is a satay stall…

Satay stall SEDC Hawker Centre
*Notice the aircraft cabin food trolley? I wonder how come they have one!*

…there now and the things on their menu include their mee jawa special (RM7.00) and another one, the mee jawa super special (RM10.00)…

Mee jawa super special 1

I asked what the super special was and I was told that it would include a few sticks of satay, one fried egg and I thought I heard udang (prawns) and of course, I said I wanted that.

Obviously, I was mistaken and what the girl said was probably something tulang (bone)…

Mee jawa super special 2

I was a little disappointed with the fried egg but thankfully, the yolk was still runny so all was forgiven. The satay wasn’t anything to get excited about – I felt it was over-marinated and became over-tenderised till it was kind of soft/mushy, not quite the texture of meat as one would know it. There was not that much meat attached to the bones but they were great – I did enjoy it very much, just that there was mostly bone.

The mee jawa in itself was very good. I loved the gravy and should I happen to be around here again, I wouldn’t mind going for the regular. I don’t mind the egg but I am not that keen on the satay nor the bones.

The SEDC HAWKER CENTRE (2.306488, 111.818695) MDS MART is located at Simpang Tiga at the end of Jalan Kampung Hilir/Jalan Awang Ramli Amit (formerly Race Course Road),  facing the MDS MART building.

Unpretentious…

There is this simple, unpretentious stall with no decor or anything to boast about among the ones right across the road from Bandong Walk and the shops in the vicinity that I happened to stumble upon one fine day and there has been no turning back since then.

There is this quiet and pleasant Malay lady…

Kuih stall at Bandong

…manning that stall. These days, it looks like she has more for sale compared to before but I suspect she did not make everything herself – most of the things would probably have been made by people at home and left there for sale.

I do not remember what brought me there that day – perhaps all the other stalls were closed and I just stopped by to have a look. There were not many choices, just some curry puffs (3 for RM1.00)…

Curry puffs

…potatoes…

Potato filling

…or sardine and of course, I bought the former. I’m not really into those sardine ones.

Actually, my girl loves these kampung Malay homemade curry puffs while personally, I was never crazy about them until I had this one. They turned out to be really nice so everytime we felt like having some, I would go back there and there alone.

I cannot remember now but it was probably back in the 80’s when these mini-donuts made the scene at the kampung kuih stalls. They were really very very nice, bursting with their buttery fragrance and taste and above all else, they were only 10 sen each, 10 for RM1.00! I do not get to see them all that much anymore but yes, this lady has those…

Mini-donuts

…at her stall but they are now 3 for RM1.00. Those good ol’ days when things were dirt cheap and so very nice are long gone now.

I bought some that day but I noticed that they were not so nicely shaped like before. Perhaps I caught the lady on a wrong day – some of them were so thick they looked like scones! Thankfully, they still tasted great, anytime better than those branded franchise ones that are so very sweet, so very fancifully colourful and not half as nice…

Big Apple donuts
*Archive photo*

I also saw some basong

Basong 1

…those old school conical shaped glutinous rice coated with grated coconut and sugar, one of my favourite Malay kuihs, also selling at 3 for RM1.00 and I could not resist buying some…

Basong 2

…to enjoy. They were good but I remember the ones I always bought from my regular Malay kuih stall among the shops across the road had an edge over these. When I shared a photograph of this on Facebook, everybody commented that it is impossible to buy these days – I guess they are not that easily available anymore. Perhaps the old folks have retired or passed away, nobody making them anymore…or the young ones are just not into such things, not at all.

If I am not wrong, this hardworking lady would also cook a few dishes for sale together with her nasi campur (mixed rice) come lunch time but I have never given hers a try so I can’t say whether it is any good or not.

This Malay kuih & food stall (2.313822, 111.825619) is located along Bandong Walk, Jalan Bandong in Kampung Nangka somewhere in the middle among the stalls on the left hand side if you are going towards the primary school there.

Better than expected…

I went back to the food court but of course, I did not get my hopes up too high. I did not think there would be any kueh pai tee at the stall there and I was right. I wish they would remove that photograph on display at their stall if they have no intention whatsoever of selling it or at least, they should put up a NOT AVAILABLE sticker on it and remove it on those very rare occasions when they actually do have it for sale.

I was not in the mood for anything heavy, no noodle dishes for me, thank you very much and I thought that since I was there already, I might as well give their nyonya egg skin popiah

Grand Wonderful Food Court nyonya egg skin popiah

…a try.

You can read up on the nyonya popiah egg skin online and this one says, “First of all, the popiah skin is different. For the ones that you find at food centres, the skin is made from flour and water. The nonya popiah skin is an egg skin; meaning, we add egg into our skin batter, which transforms the texture and taste of the skin. The skin is so good you can eat it on its own.

This one comes from somebody sharing her grandma’s recipes, “Poh Piah is one of my absolute favourite dishes. I grew up eating it with springy egg skin, instead of the papery white wrapper. It’s hard to find egg skins these days. Grandma taught me to make the egg skins and when I was in my teens (a very long time ago!), I got to practise on the few occasions we held poh piah parties at home. It takes a lot of patience standing around the hot stove, making them one by one in a pan just like you would crepes. The thinner the skin, the better.

Gee!!! I didn’t know all these and all this while, I thought what we’ve been making is nyonya-style popiah! I was half-expecting the skin to be something like that of kuih ketayap/dadar gulung or what we call kuih lenggang here but no, it…

Egg popiah skin

…is not the same. It is almost…and I mean, almost like fresh popiah skin but no, it is not exactly like it, not so dry and perhaps, not so paper thin either. Having said that, I was glad to find that it was not chewy or rubbery unlike some of the frozen ones or even the fresh ones and there was no offensive flour smell. All in all, I did think it was pretty good, a whole lot better than expected.

This is RM3.00 each but throw in just 50 sen more and you will get prawns…

Prawns in the filling

…in the filling.

Generally, the filling is like the shredded sengkuang/mangkuang stewed in oyster sauce till nice and mushy in the popiah that I used to buy at the stall right outside Popular Book Store in Jalan Petaling a long long time ago – everytime I was in the vicinity, I would surely stop there for one or perhaps two of the very nice wrapped-on-the-spot spring rolls.

With my request for it to be extra spicy…

Grand Wonderful Food Court popiah filling

…there was a hint of the spiciness but I think I can handle a lot more than that.

I must say that I really enjoyed it and no, they will not make the skin for sale…and be forewarned that this is best eaten there. If you buy it home, the heat from the filling inside will moisturise the air in the container, making it wet and that will render the skin soft and soggy – it will not be nice anymore, after that.

玛莉娘惹料理 MARY’S NYONYA CUISINE is located at the GRAND WONDERFUL FOOD COURT (2.309601, 111.845163) along Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai, 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.

Maybe tomorrow…

I noticed a stall at this food court that looked rather interesting. All the dishes featured in the photographs did not look familiar and appeared interesting. Unfortunately, everything was in Mandarin so I could not tell what they were and it was my intention there and then to go back there and find out.

Unfortunately, when I dropped by the other morning, the stall was open but there was nobody there (and in case anyone is wondering, it so happened that he went to the washroom at the time). That was why I went to this stall…

Mary's nyonya cuisine
*Photo from their Facebook page*

…instead.

I had their Penang char kway teow, without cockles, which was decent but no, I did not go back there to have another go at it. I went browsing through their Facebook page and saw that they had kueh pai tee (top hats)…

Kueh pai tee
*Photo from their Facebook page*

…so of course, I would like to give theirs a try. I cannot remember the last time I had any – that was such a very very long time ago, probably in 2012! You can imagine how disappointed I was when the lady told me they did not have it that day but they would be available the following day, Friday. I probably would not go back for those in case they had meat in the filling.

She told me that she makes the pai tee shells herself but no, she does not make them for sale. She suggested that I could try her popiah

Eggskin popiah
*Photo from their Facebook page*

…but since she does not use popiah skin, be it the freshly-made ones or those frozen stuff sold at the supermarkets, I really was not so keen.

The lady came from Penang, it seemed – I read that somewhere in their Facebook page…and she kept speaking Mandarin to me. Of course, I refused to be dragged into it and kept speaking Hokkien to her. After all, who in Penang cannot speak Hokkien? I have Malay friends there who can speak the dialect so fluently they will put many to shame…and if she is a true-blue nyonya, she should be able to speak the Peranakan mixture of Hokkien and Malay and what have you.

Their mee jawa (not among the photographs in front of the stall) was not available either so in the end, I decided to try her Penang kway teow sup or as what we usually call it, kway teow th’ng (RM5.00)…

Mary's Nyonya Cuisine Penang kway teow th'ng 1

Much to my delight, it was really very nice! Though a tad oily, the soup was absolutely delicious! It was not like those slightly sweet ones that I had had before at the franchise places like here, here or here – this one had its own taste, a class of its own (and of course, it’s ONLY RM5.00 compared to the prices at all those places) and I so loved the taste and fragrance of the fried garlic in it.

I did not like those frozen supermarket fish balls though. The fish cake slices were all right…

Mary's Nyonya Cuisine Panang kway teow sup 2

…so the next time I have this, I will ask for more of those or more minced meat balls or perhaps I shall request for a poached egg instead and yes, I sure would not mind having a go at it again the next time I drop by here.

GRAND WONDERFUL FOOD COURT (2.309601, 111.845163) is located along Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai, 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.

Give me a reason…

We used to go very regularly when they were based at this shop in Sg Antu here, not far from my house. The problem then was they had it once a week, on Saturdays only, and they were not that regular – sometimes, we would go all the way there only to be told that they did not have it that day and ever so often, the shop was closed! Eventually, it never reopened and I did not know why.

Of course, I was delighted when I saw a lot of people posting on Facebook and sharing photographs of this nasi kerabu place at the Permai Food Court, somewhere opposite the Sibu General Hospital, some 5 miles away from town and of course, it is not convenient for me to go all the way to enjoy what they have on their menu, unless I have a valid reason to go that way.

Well, my girl and my missus had to go to the hospital that day for some prescriptions so I dropped them off and headed straight to the food court. Yes, the stall was open…

Nasi kerabu warong stall

…and I decided to try their nasi Arab ayam bakar (RM7.50)…

Nasi Arab ayam bakar

…which I thought was all right, something along the same line as nasi biryani and the chicken was very well-marinated and bursting with flavours and I rather enjoyed the two together. I thought the curry, or whatever that was, was not that great, kind of sweet – all right as a “soup” of some sort but I did not like the rice when flooded with it. I was not all that crazy about the pickles either and what looked like mayo and the sambal was extremely hot/spicy. I guess it was all right if one is looking for something different for a change but their nasi kerabu ayam percik (RM6.50)…

Nasi kerabu ayam percik

…still tops my list of favorites here.

I asked for three packs to take home for dinner and other than that, they have a lot of other options such as nasi dagang Terengganu, nasi tomato and so on. My girl said she has never had nasi dagang before – I did try that once and I loved it. Perhaps I shall buy that for her the next time I drop by here.

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

Upgraded…

A friend/ex-student shared a photograph of the chai kueh he bought, pre-packed in a plastic container and I asked him where he bought that. He told me and the next morning, I made my way there in search of it.  I walked around the stalls selling kueh by the pavement but I did not see it at all. In the end, I went home empty-handed.

I got back to that aforementioned guy to ask him specifically where he got the chai kueh from and yes, he did tell me but he added that perhaps I should go to the Rejang Park stall instead. I guess he was implying that those were not as nice. That was sometime back and I never did go and buy until the other day when I was driving past and a car reversed out from a parking space right in front. Gee!!! That must be my lucky day. No, one can easily find a parking space at the back but I am too lazy to walk all the way to the stall.

It appeared to me that they now have a lot more things for sale – their table is now bigger and they have upgraded to pre-packing what they make for sale and sticking their sticker…

Sticker

…on the pack as well even.

Their chai kueh comes in a pack of 5…

Pack of 5

…selling for RM5.00 each so that means they are a ringgit each. Yes, they were still as good as before but the ones I stumbled upon recently with the hint of hay bee (udang kering/dried prawns) in the filling were much nicer even though they did not look as good and besides, they were only RM4.50 for a pack of 5, cheaper by 10 sen each.

Their angku kuih are similarly packed in packs of 5…

Angku kuih

…and are also selling for RM5.00 each, RM1.00 for 1 angku and yes, they are consistently nice, nicer, bigger and cheaper than the ones here. I am not sure how much these are now – those are nice too but if I am not wrong, they are smaller. Incidentally, the yellow ones (the skin is made from pumpkin) cost 50 sen more, RM5.50 a pack so of course, I did not want those. They all taste the same, anyway!

I remember I loved the bak chang (meat dumplings) here

Bak chang

…so I bought half a dozen to store in the fridge. I can steam them for breakfast in the morning instead of stopping by some place outside to eat. Now that Sibu has been declared a yellow zone, it is best to #staysafe #staywell #stayhome.

No, that wasn’t all that I bought from the stall that day. I also bought tofu fa for the ladies – I did not get any for myself as I had a cough and was staying away from anything cooling.

I also bought these chai peah (vegetable fritters)…

Chai peah 1

…that my girl likes a lot, 5 for RM2.00 now – it used to be 3 for a ringgit before and I wonder why they call it chai peah when there is no chai (vegetable) in it at all. At best, you may see some chopped spring onion…

Chai peah 2

…that’s all! I think there might be a strand or two of taugeh (bean sprout) a long long time ago but don’t count on finding any in the chai peah anymore these days.

My girl quite enjoyed them but she says she prefers the ones at the ban chien kuih (apam balik) stall around the shops near my house in the afternoon.

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.

Not nice…

Well, I would not say it was not nice but in my opinion, I feel that there are others that I prefer.

I took my ex-student, Raphael, here for this…

Stall No. 3 Sg Antu Foochow fried mee

in January this year and I actually encouraged him to order from this stall…

Sg Antu Hawker Centre Stall No. 3

…as it was featured in a Youtube video. As it turned out, to be frank, I thought he looked like he was not enjoying it so much. There was no WOWWW!!! moment, not at all and when I asked him, he said that he had not had any other than that one so he was in no position to make a comparison.

I was feeling like having some Foochow fried noodles that day so I drove over to the hawker centre with this particular stall in mind since I had never tried it first hand before. I ordered the Foochow fried noodles special (RM6.00)…

Sg Antu Hawker Centre Stall No. 3 Foochow fried noodles special 1

…and it sure took quite a while before it was served. For one thing, everyone around that part of the hawker centre was having noodles from that same stall and they had to cook each order one by one so it took them a bit of time.

When it was served, one look at  its colour…

Sg Antu Hawker Centre Stall No. 3 Foochow fried Noodles special 2

…told me that it wasn’t quite what I would expect and as it turned out, I was right.

I had this one there and it was good and on another occasion, I had this one from another stall and it was good too. Besides, I was given bottled chili sauce to go with it – that was so wrong! I would expect freshly-cut chili in dark soy sauce for Foochow fried noodles, wet (with sauce/gravy). PERIOD! I guess I could have asked for it but no, I did not bother.

There are a few places where the Foochow fried noodles is really good like this one near my house and this one though I have not been there for a long time now…or this one…and this one and I did get to enjoy one that my missus bought from a stall on the 1st Floor of the Sibu Central Market but when I asked her, she could not tell me exactly where exactly it was.

For one thing, this hawker centre was VERY crowded. I did drive there a few times but there was no parking space all around it and the mere sight of all the people there made me change my mind instantly about going there. That morning, I went at around 11, past the 10 o’ clock tea break and not yet time for lunch. There were a lot of people but there were some vacant tables and a car was just leaving so I did manage to get a parking space.

They had the QR code (they were using the official one belonging to the town’s municipal council) everywhere, even on the tables but I do not have a smartphone and there was no way I could sign in and check my temperature. I must say I was quite uncomfortable with that and I don’t think I would be all that keen to go back there again…especially when there have been TWO cases reported in Sibu and the town has been declared yellow all over again.

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.

Make no mistake…

I blogged about the laksam that I bought that day and much to my surprise, many said they had not heard of it before and some even thought it was a typing error and I had actually intended to type laksa instead.

No, I did not make a mistake – it is called laksam and according to Wiki, it is called laksei in Kelantan and laksang in Terengganu. However, all this while, I thought it was Kelantanese in origin but it is mentioned in that same website that this very nice Malaysian delight is actually from Terengganu.

I also mentioned in my blogpost the other day that my girl loved it so much and wanted to save the remaining pack for lunch/dinner so the mum did not get to enjoy her own pack and only managed to try a little bit of it. That was why I went back to the stall last Saturday morning to buy a whole lot to keep in the fridge and heat up to enjoy as and when we feel like it.

To do so, I would bring the thick and rich fish gravy…

Laksam fish gravy

…to a boil first before I put in the chee-cheong-fun-like rolled rice noodles…

Laksam rolled rice noodles

…and lastly, I placed the raw vegetables…

Laksam raw vegetables

…on top to heat them up a bit before pouring everything into a bowl and adding the chili…

Laksam chili

…to serve it piping hot.

If you look carefully at the raw vegetables, you can see the very thinly sliced cabbage, onion, long beans and cucumber plus a bit of torch ginger flower (bunga kantan) which gives it that very delightful fragrance and traces of cili padi. The gravy is made using mashed fish so you may detect bits of it while you are enjoying the laksam

Laksam Pelangi Kiosks, Kpg Nangka

Inicidentally, it seems that the stall is only open on weekends – Saturday and Sunday from 7.00 a.m. onwards.

NASI KERABU ASLI KELATE (2.311303, 111.820699) is located to the extreme left of the stalls at Pelangi Food Kiosks in front of Wisma Azra, Jalan Kampung Nangka.

Too blue…

On Sunday morning at around 7.30 a.m., I drove to the lovely rainbow stalls at Kampung Nangka…

Rainbow stalls, Kpg Nangka

…because I saw on Facebook a whole lot of promotion going on showcasing the nasi kerabu here…

Nasi kerabu stall

I wish they had not put up those ghastly-looking canopy and banners as they kind of spoiled the pleasant appearance and the uniformity of the place as a whole. I can imagine everyone eventually putting up everything of their own and in the end, the whole place would become one terrible mess, overshadowing all the beautiful stalls and their vibrant colours. What a waste!

From what I saw on Facebook, they would open at 7.00 a.m. but when I got there, it looked like they had just arrived and were very busy unloading everything from the car.

I saw these tofu sumbat (stuffed tofu)…

Tofu sumbat

…and these green sandwiches, egg and sardine…

Egg & sardine sandwiches

I wonder where they got the pandan bread or at least that was what I thought it was, judging from the green colour. I don’t think I’ve seen any around or maybe I wasn’t looking.

I spotted the laksam (RM5.00 a pack)…

Laksam packs

…and wasted no time in grabbing three to take home.

I waited for them to unload everything and it was already around 8.00 a.m. when they were ready to roll. There were two or three others who were there before me so they started doing their orders first…

Packing nasi kerabu

I wouldn’t say they were all that fast so I had to carry on waiting for quite a while.

In the meantime, I went snooping around and I was aghast when I saw the rice…

Bluer than blue nasi kerabu

It was way too blue, clearly not the nice and pleasant hue of blue when one uses the butterfly pea flower (bunga telang), horror of horrors! The artificial colouring even stained the side of the plastic container! I will never forget that one time when I ate something like that and for three days, what came out was that same colour. Tsk! Tsk! I never went back to that shop ever again!

Of course, I quickly cancelled my order for 3 packs – don’t expect to go home with that horrendously blue thing but yes, I did buy the laksam that I had requested for earlier. Thankfully, it was really very very nice, definitely the best that I have ever tasted…

Laksam

…not that I have had many.

The chee cheong fun-like white rice rolls were simply perfect, not hard, not chewy, very nice and though the gravy was a bit diluted, it had enough mashed fish in it to give the desired taste. In my opinion, too much fish may put off some people who are not so into the fishy taste and smell, this one was just right! I could also detect the fragrance of the torch ginger added and all in all, I would give it a 5 out of 5.

When my girl got up, she had a pack for brunch and she loved it so so much that she said she would reserve the remaining pack for dinner. In the end, the mum only got to try a bit of what she had and yes, she too said it was good! I certainly would want to go back and buy some more and it sure looks like I shall have to buy extra next time.

NASI KERABU ASLI KELATE (2.311303, 111.820699) is located to the extreme left of the stalls at Pelangi Food Kiosks in front of Wisma Azra, Jalan Kampung Nangka.

Rainbow connection…

The stalls here sure look pretty in their rainbow/pride colours, thanks to the effort of the very pro-active and dedicated wakil rakyat of that constituency…

Pelangi Foodkiosk Kampung Nangka
*Pelangi Foodkiosk Kampung Nangka photo*

Before this, it was a DIY kind of thing – each one would bring their own planks and plywood, worn-out recycled canvas banners and what not to build their own stalls and they were such a ghastly sight that I never wanted to set foot there to see what they were selling. They reminded me of the floating toilets all along the river of the kampung houses, those days when they had to build their own for their own use.

Well, I was driving past that very hot morning and I saw that only a few were open. One of them had a sign saying bubur pedas and I stopped there and then to go and buy. Unfortunately, the guy who used to have his stall here said that it was not available that day but he did have it the day before. There was nothing he was selling that tickled my fancy so I decided to walk around to see what the other stalls were selling.

There was one where two very young girls were selling some kuihs and what not and I thought these, wrapped in banana leaves, looked really good so I bought a pack of 5 (RM2.00)…

Banana leaf-wrapped kuih

…and indeed, they were very nice. The skin was soft, not tough and rubbery…

Nice skin

…unlike some that would make you feel like choking when you try to chew and swallow them.

The filling of Gula Melaka-flavoured grated coconut…

Coconut filling

…was very nice too. I certainly would want to buy those again should I happen to drop by and they are available.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about their curry puffs (RM2.00 for a pack of 5)…

Curry puffs

I know of an unimpressive-looking place along Jalan Bandong, across the road from the nasi lemak stall at Bandong Walk where a lady would be selling her curry puffs and doughnuts at 3 for RM1.00 and they are very nice. I’ve gone there to buy from her a few times already – the next time I do that, I must remember to take some snapshots and blog about it.

This was their version of the Chinese steamed yam cake or or koi and yes, it was very nice, absolutely great with Thai chili sauce and only RM2.00 a pack…

Malay steamed cake

…which was a lot cheaper than the nyonya kuihs sold here.

Well, as the song goes, two out of three ain’t bad and yes, I will definitely drop by there time and time again to see what else they have in store. If I am not wrong, that place is busier in the late afternoon and evening with keropok lekor, banana fritters, fried chicken and burger stalls and all.

PELANGI FOODKIOSK KAMPUNG NANGKA (2.311098, 111.820632) is located in front of Wisma Azra at Lorong 8A, Jalan Kampung Nangka, where YS Cafe is.