What about today…

I stopped by the roadside stall again the other morning to see what they had that day.

They had three packs of the cucur pusu‘ (what we call ikan bilis in Sarawak Malay)…

…so I grabbed all three, at RM2.00 each. There was only one pack left that previous time I was there and when I took that home, my girl feasted on the popcorn-size cucur (fritters) till they were all gone. Seeing how she enjoyed them that time around, I simply had to buy some more for her.

There was a lot of nasi lemak, the RM5 packs with chicken rendang looked really good and there were others as well, some selling for only RM1.00 each. I think they were all from different people cooking theirs at home and sending them there for sale. I was really tempted to buy and try but like what I said in my previous post, lately, I seem to have developed an allergy for seafood such as prawns. That is why I have stopped buying the crustaceans (and squids and crabs) for a very long time now – I wouldn’t want to spend the whole night scratching all over, unable to sleep. I suppose there is udang kering (dried prawns) in the sambal so I guess it is best that I cut down on nasi lemak (and Sarawak laksa) to once in a very long while for the time being.

There were some curry puffs available, RM4.00 for a pack of 5…

…from the lady herself but I did not like the skin very much even though the potato filling…

…tasted great. The ones that I used to buy from this young girl at Bandong, along with her very nice mini-donuts, were a lot nicer but I have not seen her around for a very long time.

Anyway, I should not be eating potatoes as well owing to their high potassium content, the same thing with sweet potatoes and bananas, so I don’t think I will buy any more curry puffs from now on, unless they have meat (chicken, no red meat) and maybe not so much potatoes or none at all in their filling.

That same morning, I dropped by my sister’s house and she gave me these ang ku kuih

…to try. A friend gave them to her and the pandan fragrance that instantly filled the whole car, was indeed overwhelming, to say the least. I’m not sure whether it came from the skin or the filling…

These ang ku kuih were different from the ones I would buy to enjoy frequently as they had peanut filling instead of the usual mung bean filling. Yes, they were very very nice but unfortunately, the filling was very sweet. I am currently on a no/low sugar diet so even if I could buy these from outside, I don’t think I will. My blood sugar readings have been very stable for over a month now, 5 something everytime and the other day, it was 5.0! That was very encouraging indeed!

There wasn’t any roti jala at the roadside stall that morning, otherwise I would want to buy some home to eat with the chicken curry provided. I can just leave the chunk of potato in the curry behind even though I love that…a lot! Sighhh!!!

This Malay food stall (2.308672, 111.822740)

…is located at 20, Jalan Ria at its t-junction with Jalan Kampung Datu Baru.

Cast the net…

We call this Malay teatime delight, roti jala

Jala is a kind of fishing net that they use when they go fishing. It involves a special skill with which one can cast or throw the net and it will open nicely in a circle while dropping into the water to trap all the fish.

I had it before at Nyonya Colours at The Gardens Mall in KL…

…and also at a mamak nasi kandar shop in Penang…

…as well as a coffee shop here in Sibu…

Other than those, time and time again, I would buy the ones from my favourite Malay kuih stall at Bandong…

…and I did manage to buy it…

…from this roadside stall

…once during the month of Ramadan recently. Of course, it does not look like that anymore – the red canopy has long been replaced by that red wooden hut given to these people by the state government for them to run their roadside businesses.

I happened to drive past two or three times in the morning and I saw them selling some things but I did not stop to go and have a look until the other day. I was delighted to see the roti jala

…from this lady…

– selling for RM4.00, together with the curry gravy and a couple of pieces of chicken and potatoes…

I also bought these fritters (RM2.00)…

…as well. They were cucur ikan pusu (what we call ikan bilis in Sarawak Malay) and yes, they were very nice. Unfortunately, there was only one pack left so I could not buy more. My girl enjoys these cucurs from the Malay stalls.

They were also selling burgers but I did not buy those. After all, I am off red meat so I can’t jolly well be eating those. According to the girl, they are open every day except on Saturdays and Sundays and they have a different variety of things for sale every day so their customers will not be bored, seeing the same stuff day in and day out.

This Malay food stall (2.308672, 111.822740)

…is located at 20, Jalan Ria at its t-junction with Jalan Kampung Datu Baru.

Shocking…

I remember once upon a time, not that long ago, roti canai was only RM1.00 a piece. Of course the prices have gone up over the years but I found it somewhat shocking that it…

…is now RM2.00 a piece here!

This was only RM1.20 a piece here and the roti telur (with egg) was just RM2.00…

…and that was in 2019, not that long ago.

The other day, I was fuming mad when I was charged RM3.00 for the roti telur here

…soon after the initial shock I had at another place where I had to fork out RM2.70 for a piece

Of course I never went back to those two places again.

Well, it so happened that I felt like having roti canai one morning but the ladies here have called it quits – they are no longer making them. Eventually, I decided to check out this place…

…where I once had the roti telur but some young boys were running the stall at the time in 2015…

…and also this one at Bandong…

Now, there is an old man here, making the roti at the back and a young guy manning the counter in front.

I also asked for the roti telur which was a whooping RM4.00 a piece…

…and the boy asked if I wanted it kahwin (married), sandwiched, that is and I replied, “Sukati” which is Sarawak Malay slang for suka hati (as you wish).

My orders came with this very nice dhal dip…

…but in all honestly, I cannot say that I did not feel the pinch – RM6.00 altogether for what I had.

Yes, what I had was all right, nice enough but no, it was not THAT nice and for that kind of money, I can go for some other things a whole lot nicer elsewhere so if you’re thinking that they will not see me back there again, you are absolutely right!

The SEDC food stalls (MEDAN NIAGA SIMPANG TIGA)…

…is located facing the MDS Mart (2.306563, 111.819176) at the junction where Jalan Awang Ramli Amit, Jalan Kpg Hilir and Jalan Kpg Nangka meet.

Getting used to it…

The other day, Monday, my girl had something on in school so I had to go and get her in the afternoon when she was done with whatever was going on. On the way, I decided to stop by my favourite kuih stall at Rejang Park to pick up a few things for our afternoon tea once we got home.

I bought their chai kueh

…or what they call mangkuang kuih in Kota Tinggi, so I’ve been told. I guess this is safe for me to eat as if I am not wrong, it is made from rice flour and there are only vegetables inside, no meat at all.

These are not the best in town…

…but they are pretty good. I would rank them among the top few that we have around here. They used to be RM1.00 each but I had to pay RM6.00 for a pack of 5 – obviously, it has gone up to RM1.20 each. Even with the hike in the price, there were only 2 packets left, take it or leave it!

My missus did not buy the ang koo kuih when she stopped by here in June so I just had to grab a pack. I took the yellow ones…

– I think those were the ones with the skin made from pumpkin, hence the colour. I simply could not resist buying some to buang gian (appease the craving) even though I know jolly well that I should not be eating those. Thankfully, the ones they make here are not very sweet, the mung bean filling and I just had ONE, that’s all!

Yes, the price had gone up too – they’re RM6.50 a pack, RM1.30 each. Long ago, they were RM1.00 each. They did say something about the red ones going for RM6.00 only a pack, RM1.20 each. I wonder why those are cheaper.

I noticed that the ladies in the house enjoyed the or koi (deep fried yam cake) that day so I asked for 5 pieces of the small ones for them. These were the bigger ones…

…that my missus bought that day. I don’t know how much she paid for them but the ones I bought, half the size, were 70 sen each.

I guess at a time like this with the prices of virtually everything going up, we have no choice but to just learn to get used to it…and hope and pray that it will not get much worse than this.

Incidentally, if it is any consolation, my pineapple (the kelapa sawit variety)…

…in my garden is growing so very well. At this point in time, it is so big and heavy that the plant is unable to support it so it is actually leaning towards one side. I guess it is not ripe yet so I shall have to wait a while before the time comes for me to harvest it.

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.

Generally…

The first time I went to Singapore was in 1971, if I remember correctly, and they took me to this place at Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, where the Merlion was located, to what they called the Satay Club.

They had so many stalls there, all selling satay, and of course, I was bewildered. How on earth would they be able to make good business if they were all selling the same thing! They did not seem to have a problem with that though and it was business as usual each passing day. Probably they had a lot more people in Singapore or perhaps, a lot of tourists would go there and would drop by so business was always good.

Here, we have satay in the area that we call Bandong. There are two at the MUC (Malay Union Club) hawker centre, this one and this one and among the Bandong shops, there is this one plus a new one that I saw the other day but I have not given it a try yet.

I bought the satay from another one somewhere among the shops, a Chinese man, once and I thought his was pretty good as well but when I mentioned it on Facebook, I was bombarded by virtually everybody. They were all shocked that I did not go to this stall…

…at Bandong Walk and they all insisted that their satay

…was the best in town.

They did forewarn me that I would have to go early as by 4.00 p.m., there would be a long queue there already. I did go over a couple of times and yes, there were long queues or it was not open. Then, disaster struck – the pandemic broke out and I did not bother going over to check out the place in those two years or more.

Well, I felt like having some satay for dinner the other day so I went to have a look. Yes, it was open and YES!!! There was no queue!!! I quickly parked my car by the side of the road and walked over and placed my order right away…

The girl said that they would be open by around 3.30 p.m. every day. They would cook the skewers of marinated meat over the hot charcoal fire and then put them aside – once somebody orders any, they would take them and cook them again to char them nicely this time around before serving…

This way, customers would not have to wait too long.

I bought 10 sticks of chicken and 5 sticks of beef and 10 sticks of lamb…

Why only 5 of the beef, you may wonder? Once, I did not like the beef these Malay stalls used – some people told me it was from India and it was bad enough that it had some kind of an unpleasant smell but it was also so very tough, so tough that even the strongest and sharpest teeth would find it hard to bite and chew.

However, lately, I find the beef ones to be very nice including the ones that I bought that day. In fact, the beef ones were the nicest and personally, I was not too crazy about the chicken. The old lady at the stall gave me the peanut satay sauce…

…one plastic tub of it and I asked if she could give me some more so she gave me another one…

…slightly smaller.

The total for all that I bought came up to RM34.50…

…and because they did not have any ketupat, I went to the shop at the back and bought 3, RM1.00 each…

…from the Bangla guy there. I did not buy any cucumber as we had our own at home and we could eat that together with the satay and the ketupat. So what did I like about this stall?

For one thing, the people were very gentle and soft-spoken, so very nice and they were all very well-dressed. Most of them would just put on some very old discoloured t-shirts, all tattered and torn and looking so shabby it would put off one’s appetite right away.

As for the taste, yes, it was very very nice but the thing is generally, I find all the satay from these Malay shops and stalls very much to my liking – they are all very nice. I bought the ones from the Bangla guy for my niece home from Auckland, New Zealand once and she declared out loud that she had never tasted any satay in the world that was so very nice!!!

The only ones that I no longer like would be these here at the Chinese coffee shop – they were so very nice before but obviously there has not been any quality control so the last time I had some, the taste was off and they have shrunk! The ones here, not far from my house, were very nice too but right now they are at a temporary location while they are renovating the hawker centre (and taking forever to do it). I guess there are others elsewhere like the stalls at Taman Harmoni or those in the other parts of town and chances are generally, they are all not too bad.

LATIFAH CAFE (2.314476, 111.825297) is one of the stalls/kiosks in the middle of Bandong Walk, along Jalan Bandong here, to the right if you are coming from town.

We’re in charge…

The other day, after enjoying my fish soup kway teow here, I decided to walk over to my favourite fish & seafood stall at the end of that block of shops to say hello to the very nice Mdm. Lau there. I did not drop by for quite sometime as I had not been so mobile lately.

Unfortunately, she was not around! She had left her young boy helpers in charge and according to them, she was at home making up for lost time because her daughter had come home from Singapore and they had not seen each other for over two years, all throughout the horrible pandemic.

I bought some of those little fishes, quite a lot of bak chik and there were two kembong left and I took those for RM12.00 altogether and I decided to buy one whole ikan senangin, not a very big one for RM20.00. I could not remember what fish the latter was until I checked my post here – it turned out to be the very nice ngor hu or the threadfin.

One of the boys asked if I would like to steam or deep fry it and since I was not too sure, he just cut it up into slices for deep frying. He said he could do it differently depending on what I would want to do with it, like what he did to the ikan siakap (barramundi)…

…that I bought from him once.

Oh? So he was the one! Mdm. Lau has a few helpers, young Malay or Melanau boys, all very nice and friendly, very trustworthy and able to work independently so I do not really remember all of them. I asked him if there was any siakap that morning but he said that they did, just a few but he would not sell them to me as they were two days old, not freshly delivered from Batang Ai that day. Now, isn’t that nice? I am pretty sure others will just sell it to me quietly and run laughing all the way to the bank!

It was then that I saw the ikan terubok (chee khak/toli shad)…

It was so fat and looked so fresh and nice plus it had been a while since we last ate one.

However, one of the boys kept repeating the price, “RM60.00 a kilo! RM60.00 a kilo!” Obviously, he was trying to discourage me from buying, not because it was not good – he did admit it was very nice but because it was so expensive.

I had just bumped into my girl’s coursemate on Facebook – they were together in Sg Petani, Kedah and in Wellington, New Zealand and they had just moved her to Daro in the Rejang Delta. I gathered from Mdm. Lau that she gets their ikan terubok from there but my girl’s coursemate said they were not in season at this point in time, very difficult to come by. I sure was lucky and of course, I insisted on buying one for RM48.00 (less than 1 kg) and taking it home happily!

It is not difficult to get hold of the salted ones…

…and the salted roe (eggs)…

…here. Folks from West Malaysia would buy these by the boxes to take home everytime they fly over to Kuching to spend their holidays.

I do enjoy eating those too but to me, nothing beats eating the fresh ones, rubbed with a bit of salt and wrapped in aluminum foil and baked…

…in our Tatung pot…

We tried baking it in the oven but it was not as nice.

These days, we would line the foil with daun kunyit (turmeric leaves) for the added fragrance…

It is simply out of this world, so very sweet, so very fragrant, so so delicious – a whole lot nicer than cooking the fish any other way!

The fish & seafood stall…

…is located to the right of CCL FRESH MINI MARKET against the wall at that end of the block to the right of the Grand Wonderful Hotel (2.309601, 111.845163) along Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai.

Just as good…

I have not been to this kuih stall at Rejang Park for a long time, probably not since the outbreak of the pandemic. As a matter of fact, I did not even know whether they were open for business around that time.

The problem is parking by the roadside right in front of the stall is virtually impossible and one would have to park on the other side of the shops at the commercial centre and walk all the way. I sure would think twice about venturing out and doing that when the pandemic was at its height.

Well, it so happened that my missus went shopping at the shops in the vicinity that day and she stopped by the stall to pick up a few things for tea that afternoon. Yes, she did buy a pack of their chai kueh

I wouldn’t say that the ones here are the best in town but they are pretty good, just as good as some of the nicer ones that I have bought elsewhere. I sure would want to buy if I happen to be around there.

She also bought their or koi (deep fried yam cake)…

…that used to be the best in town. Then, the quality dropped and it became very soft and wobbly, obviously the result of not enough yam and too much flour so I never bought the ones from there ever again.

I guess my missus did not know that as I used to be the one going out to buy these things in the hot afternoon so she bought quite a lot home. I gave it a try…

…and much to my delight, it was very good. I could feel the mashed yam inside and no, it was not all flour, not wobbly at all. The slices are much smaller now but the problem was my missus just grabbed all that she wanted and paid for the whole lot at one go and she did not know the price of each item that she bought.

I guess she does not know either that a lot of the kuihs there are homemade by folks staying in that housing estate, left there at the stall for sale and generally, I would say that most of them aren’t that great, not worth the calories.

She bought some mang ngee (horse’s ears) but it was horrible. Their ang koo kuih

…is very nice but she did not buy any. Maybe it was because these are sweet and I am supposed to be on a low sugar diet.

My daughter loved their chai peah

…too but no, she did not buy those either.

Well, now that I know they are back in action full swing and since I am not too fond of what I can get from the stall in the next lane from my house, I will be making my way here like before whenever I feel like having some nice kuihs for 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.

How you want it…

I had the Foochow fried noodles, wet (with gravy)…

…for the first time at Stall No. 13…

here that day and the gravy was not dark-coloured.

I did blog about it a long long time ago that at some places, the sauce/gravy, probably because of the absence of dark soy sauce, will be in a lighter shade like this. Otherwise, it will be dark like this…

Some people prefer the braised or what we call the “moon” version in which case the noodles will be fried first and then, the gravy/sauce will be cooked. Once ready, the noodles are thrown back in to simmer for a while – some will insist that this way, the taste will go into the noodles, making them nicer and others will tell you that the noodles will be softer, not as firm. Of course, precision and perfect timing is essential here (like cooking pasta and getting it al dente) because if overdone, the noodles will be over-soft or soggy, not so nice anymore.

In the past, I would prefer the dark or the moon version and ever so often, I would ask for freshly-cut chili in dark soy sauce to eat together with the noodles. I would have to do without that these days as upon my doctor’s advice, I must reduce my intake of salt (and sugar) so I am fine with the gravy/sauce being light coloured. After all, once you toss everything together well, you will reveal the dark noodles…

…and that will darken the gravy/sauce a bit. More importantly, the noodles must be fried really well so that you will get to enjoy the lovely wok hei fragrance. Yes, I did enjoy the special I had that day, RM7.00 only with a whole lot of added ingredients, all those shrimps and fish cake slices and yes, I loved how generous the guy was with the green vegetables.

I can’t say I shall be back soon for this because parking around here is a pain as well. I was lucky that morning because I saw a lady getting into her car (probably having finished her marketing) so I waited behind her vehicle for her to vacate the space…right across the road from the food garden. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have this kind of luck every day. LOL!!!

KHOO PENG LOONG FOOD GARDEN (2.286751, 111.827785)…

…is located along Jalan Khoo Peng Loong, commonly known around here as Pulau Babi, facing the former express boats wharf where the one I took from Kanowit in the late 70’s and early 80’s would berth.

Love it…

I dropped by here the other morning even though I wouldn’t say I liked the place a lot. It used to be so very crowded and one would encounter some difficulty in parking one’s car around the place.

Much to my delight, I spotted a vacant space right beside the building so I grabbed it right away and in no time at all, I was ready to dig in…

I placed my order for the Foochow fried mee special at Stall No. 9, somewhere around the middle of the hawker centre/food court there…

…and it sure did not take very long to be served…

…not at all. I did have the kampua mee and pian sip (meat dumplings) from this very stall once and they were very good too.

Wowwwww!!! Just look at the mountain of ingredients, all the liver, the intestines and the meat! I had the special at another stall here for RM6.00 only in those pre-pandemic days in 2020, No. 3 but I did not enjoy it so much. This one was very much more to my liking…

I asked the young boy how much it was and was pleasantly delighted when he said, “RM7.00!” Ah well!!! With the prices of everything shooting up like nobody’s business these days, an increase of RM1.00 only is nothing – I sure did not mind it one bit as I enjoyed it so much. A special at a regular coffee shop would set one back by at least, RM8.00 or more, a lot more!

I shared one of the photographs on Facebook and right away, a thousand and one suggestions came in as to which one there would be nicer. Somebody said No. 12 and yes, I had that before and it was good. Another one said the first one – the 1st stall is occupied by an old lady selling vegetables. She probably meant that Stall No. 3 that did not impress me much.

I’m not too sure but it seemed that those people are not stationed permanently at one place. Somehow, none looked familiar but I guess it doesn’t matter as long as what they dish out is good (and cheap) and to my liking!

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.

Best so far…

I would say this is the best bak pao (steamed meat bun) so far…

…or to me, at least unless there are other nicer ones around here that I have not got to try yet.

I dropped by the the Chinese pancake or ban chang kuih (慢煎糕)/apam balik stall…

…in the next lane from my house the other day and I noticed that the guy was selling these steamed paos. He said that they were from the people at the coffee shop at the end/corner a few doors from where he would be in the morning…

…so of course, I did not hesitate to buy some to try.

I bought two of the meat ones, the bak pao (RM2.50 each)…

…the ones with the red dot and two of the char siew ones (also RM2.50 each)…

…the ones with the two orange dots. According to the guy, there is no egg in the latter (the char siew), just the former (the bak pao).

I loved how the buns would rise to the occasion when I heated them up and took them out piping hot from the steamer. The skin became very soft and very fluffy, so very nice. I tried the bak pao and was delighted to see how generous they were with the egg inside, a quarter wedge (see above photograph), don’t play-play! LOL!!! Of course I was disappointed that they had used minced meat for the filling but that was short-lived as it tasted really very nice.

Should I feel like eating steamed paos again, you can jolly well guess which one I would go and buy, no second thoughts! Not only are they nicer than all the rest that I have tried, or to me, at least, they are cheaper than many of them too!!!

My missus tried the char siew

…and she loved it! She sang praises of the skin and she liked the filling inside as well. Of course I had to try it myself but I would not say it tasted like the usual char siew pao (the ones at all those dim sum places) filling – it had a taste of its own but there can be no denying that it was nice. Too bad there wasn’t any egg inside!

Actually, I went to the stall that afternoon to buy the chai peah

…our favourite in town but I was a tad disappointed. They were still selling at 5 for RM2.00, thank God for small mercies, but I had this feeling that they had scrimped on the ingredients so I did not feel they were as yummy as they used to be.

I also bought the ban chiang kuih even though I am not really crazy about those – my missus enjoys eating them! They were 70 sen each a long time ago, 80 sen the last time I bought any and that day, I was shocked when the guy said they were RM1.00 each!!! What was worse was there seemed to be so little crushed peanut and margarine (not butter, don’t dream!) inside. Honestly, I don’t mind people jacking up the prices of anything and everything but I cannot tolerate how some will shortchange their customers like this – I sure will not bother to go over and buy any ever again!

Incidentally, I think I’ve seen some bottles of homemade soya bean milk for sale at the stall. My doctor said that I need to increase my protein intake so drinking this would be one way I can do that. I used to make my own too but now that I am on a low sugar diet, I will stick faithfully to this brand…

This multi-grain one tastes like green bean (let tao) soup. I like their regular soya bean too and will buy any of the two, whichever is available. They seem to sell really very well – sold out as soon as there is stock on the shelves and I would have to wait for a long long time before they are replenished with new arrivals.

The Chinese pancake or ban chang kuih (慢煎糕)/apam balik stall is located on the five-foot way in front of the TCM clinic between Kim Won Chinese Medical Store and Mini-supermarket and Swee Hung (2.316161, 111.840441) along Jalan Ruby, in the block of shops on the right – next to a hair salon at the extreme end.