Thick or thin…

I’ve seen these…

…here and there but I never felt inclined to buy them to eat. My sister, on the other hand, said that she loved them more than the thin ones when I told her that they are selling these at the Chinese pancake or ban chang kuih (慢煎糕)/apam balik stall in the next lane round the corner from my house.

One fine day, I decided to buy some home and it turned out that my girl enjoyed them a lot too. Since then, I would buy for her whenever I happen to be around there in the afternoon.

They are 50 sen each…

…and when there are any left over, we will keep them in the fridge and heat them up for breakfast the next morning.

I like to use those grill pans with lines or ridges to do that even though it is much easier to place them on a tray and put them in the oven for a while. They are nice when piping hot, straight from the oven but somehow, when they have gone cold, they will turn hard and no, they will not be so nice anymore when they are like that.

I did not know what they are called – I would just refer to them as the thick chai peah as opposed to the thin ones…

…which are a bit cheaper – 5 for RM2.00. The guy told me that they are called taugeh peah by virtue of those few strands of bean sprouts in them.

When eaten hot, they are nice and crusty on the outside and kind of chewy or rubbery on the inside…

Incidentally, for the uninitiated, these are savoury, not sweet. I can finish two or three, at least, in one sitting!

My missus made this chili dip…

…for her boiled pork that day and there was some left over in the fridge. I took it out and added two cili padi, cut into thin bits to eat the taugeh peah with…

…and it was so so good but personally, I prefer the thin and crispy ones, the chai peah…to these thick ones, the taugeh peah. What about you?

The Chinese pancake or ban chang kuih (慢煎糕)/apam balik stall…

is located on the pavement outside the TCM clinic along Jalan Ruby in between Kim Won Supermarket & Medical Store and Swee Hung.

The one who knows…

It sure looks like my search for the truly very lemak (rich in santan) nasi lemak is getting nowhere and I might as well give up and go back to the people who really knows instead of trying the ones at those very unlikely places.

I’ve heard of a lady in town who makes the nasi lemak cake for those on a no sugar diet and an ex-student shared a photograph of what he had there. It sure looked very good except for the addition of those bland/tasteless mini-keropok (“prawn” crackers) – I wonder why they like to do that at some places, so NCAA (no class at all)! I asked him about the rice and he said that she used plain rice, not nasi lemak, not even nasi-that-is-not-lemak. I made up my mind instantly that I would not bother going there to see if hers is any good.

Well, the other day, I went back to that place that used to sell the best nasi lemak in town…

The guy and his wife started their business at their simple stall by the roadside in 2013. The rice was so good it literally swept me off my feet and I never went any place else after that! For reasons unknown, they disappeared and it was not until 2017 that they emerged once again.

It was still very good at the time but the guy was complaining about the increasing prices of santan (coconut milk). I told him to increase the prices while maintaining the quality of what they dished out but it all fell on deaf ears. The lemak-ness of the rice became less and less and eventually, I stopped going there or at least, not as frequently as before.

They certainly are doing so very well after they have moved to their present location, a stone’s throw from the stall where they used to be. Believe you me, they have grown by leaps and bounds and are selling more than just nasi lemak. and for their nasi lemak these days, there are so many add-on’s…

…that customers can pick and choose.

I ordered what tickled my fancy (RM8.00)…

…and sat at a table there to enjoy it.

No, the rice…

…did not get me jumping with delight, nothing like what it was like before. There was a hint of the lemak-ness but no, it wasn’t anything to get excited about. Ah well!!! I did hear from some friends that the very popular nasi lemak in West Malaysia is not really lemak either – it is all those things that you can order with it that is the attraction. Needless to say, when you eat everything together, it is so so so good and you’d keep coming back for more!

I asked for the sambal egg…

…which was just so so. The sambal had a taste of its own, nice too and not the same as the regular nasi lemak sambal that came with the dish. I did not put in a special request for one with a runny yolk so what I got in the end was overdone, not to my liking.

On the other hand, the chicken rendang

…absolutely blew me away!!! It was very nice and tender and the thick, rich gravy was simply out of this world. It went so well with the rice and of course, I absolutely enjoyed it so much! Their daging masak hitam looked very good too but I was not able to ask for that as I am off red meat at this point in time.

The guy and his wife did come over to talk to me. I guess they remembered how I used to promote their business so much until they became so very successful. They asked me for my verdict and of course, I told them that the rice was nowhere near what it was like when they first started. They admitted it themselves – they said it was best when they first started on a small scale and they used fresh santan that they squeezed out of the grated coconut themselves. Eventually, they bought the santan from a supplier but they stopped when they insisted on selling to him frozen santan instead of the freshly-squeezed ones so right now, they are using those commercially-produced ones sold in the shops and supermarkets.

On the whole, with the chicken rendang, I enjoyed what I had and yes, I certainly would want to go back there again.

NASI LEMAK BANDONG WALK… 

is now located at the blocks of shops, the first one to the left of its former location, the back facing Bandong Walk (2.313869, 111.825808) and the main road.

Just one time…

Believe it or not, I had pulut kuning (yellow glutinous rice) just one time before and that was in 1986 when I was attending a one-year TESL (Teaching of English as a Second Language) specialist’s course at the Language Institute, Lembah Pantai in KL.

I would venture far and wide on weekends, using the mini buses to get around. I think it was only 50 sen any distance in any direction and one Saturday, I was around the vicinity of the Jaya Supermarket in Petaling Jaya. I liked to hang around there and once I met Sheila Majid in person! Too bad selfies were not the in-thing at that time or I sure would have had one taken with her. She was very small though, pint-sized – I bet I would look like a giant beside her.

One Saturday, I decided to walk around the shops in the area to see if I could find anything of interest and not far from the mall, I came across a coffee shop with a simple stall serving peranakan/nyonya dishes including pulut kuning. I was very familiar with nasi kuning (yellow rice) or whatever you call it but that was the first time I had seen anybody cooking it using pulut (glutinous rice). Needless to say, I simply must give that a try so I had it for my lunch with a curry dish and oh boy! It was so good!!!

I did not know then its significance in the Malay culture. I read in one website that it is used as a special dish in the celebration (happy ceremony) of a marriage, a birth or a circumcision, the Khatam Quran and any feast of thanksgiving. I never came across it ever again though so that was the one time when I ate that and enjoyed it so much.

Well, it so happened that last Sunday morning, after our early morning church service and our breakfast after that, I dropped by here to see if I could get hold of any of their very nice laksam. As expected, they were all sold out – one would have to go real early as they open at around 7.00 a.m. and all would be gone by around 8 or 9.00 a.m.

There were just a few plastic containers of whatever things they were selling left and among them, I spotted this…

– I was attracted by the yellow colour and much to my delight, it was pulut kuning with chicken rendang

…just one tub of that left, selling for RM5.00 only and of course, without a second thought, I grabbed it straight away.

Despite having had our breakfast already, I could not wait to get home to give it…

…a try and yes, it was so so good!!! I certainly would make my way back there soon to grab some more to enjoy, that’s for sure!

In the meantime, my missus harvested some more of her terung Dayak/assam

…and she gave some to our immediate neighbour. I saw one more in the tree, a big one yet to completely ripen and many small ones, all still green. We certainly are looking forward to more and it is good that they grow and ripen slowly but steadily, not a whole lot at one go.

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.

Unchanged…

I’ve been having two half-boiled/cooked eggs and some oats with cranberries for my breakfast most every morning so much so that on some days, I really feel like I am so sick and tired of them. I guess I do not have much of a choice and will just have to go on eating them whether I like it or not.

Well, I was thinking that perhaps, once in a while, I can go for something else for a change. The little break would be a welcome relief and the other day, I was feeling like having some steamed bak paos (meat buns).

I like these…

…a lot, my favourite among all that we have in town.

I did drive past the coffee shop (across the road from SM Tung Hua in the vicinity of the Dewan Suarah, Sibu) and it looked like they have renovated it very nicely now. I saw a steamer for steamed paos and also a glass cabinet – I wonder what else they are selling there now. They were telling me that the guy making the paos would be there before dawn and everything would be sold out by 7.00 a.m. so he would not be around any later than that. Perhaps he is making more these days so even though it was already 9 something, I did see some paos on display.

I did not stop to go and have a look though. These days, after my nasty fall, I am not keen on going anywhere, especially when I am on my own and I would definitely avoid uneven places with the sinking land problem. I just went to the stall in the next lane from my house in the afternoon, after around 2.30 p.m. to buy a lot to keep in the fridge to steam and heat up and enjoy eating slowly.

I must say that I am mighty pleased that the price has remained unchanged – they are still RM2.50 each despite the rising prices of pork and everything else around here. I don’t think there is less meat in the filling…

If they have scrimped and saved on that, it sure does not feel like it and yes, I am glad that the wedge of hard-boiled egg…

…has not gone missing like the ones here that I enjoyed and used to buy regularly.

That one has gone up in price too, RM2.50 now. It used to be RM2.00 for a long time and then, it went up to RM2.20 and later, RM2.30. It is so very flat nowadays that it sure does not take a lot of imagination to see that there is very little filling inside. Yes, there is a bit of egg these days…and I do mean a bit! It is not even a wedge, probably 1/32, half of a 1/16 wedge. Seeing how disappointing it has become, I have stopped buying it completely, thank you very much. Period.

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.

She knows now…

My missus used to send her car to a mechanic in this part of town for servicing and repairs but I don’t think she ever went and looked around the place. I bet she did not even know there is a hawker centre and a market there (but the latter is almost non-existent as there is just one stall selling vegetables and what not).

I’ve been here a few times myself and yes, on the whole, I do enjoy what I had even though I am not that fond of the crowd here. There are always so many people around and parking is a pain even if you are willing to park quite a distance away.

Well, that morning, I wanted to take my missus there to let her see and experience the place and after going round three or four times, I managed to grab one vacant place right in front. How nice!!!

I saw Nancy’s post(s) on the wanton soup that she had and all this while, I had been waiting for the chance to go for it myself. Somehow or other, I never got round to doing that until that morning. I quickly placed an order for a bowl…

…from Stall No. 9 to buang gian (appease the carving).

Thankfully, it was very nice…

…and both my wife and I enjoyed it.

I also asked for their kampua mee

…which my missus also liked – very original/authentic kampua like the ones in the good ol’ days, she said.

Of course we did not finish the whole lot. In fact, both of us just had a bit…

…and had the rest packed for us to take home. I did not ask how much each of them cost but the total for the two came up to RM7.50, probably RM4.00 for one and RM3.50 for the other.

And if you’re wondering, the reason why we did not finish the kampua mee was because I also ordered their Foochow fried noodles, the moon version (RM5.00 a plate)…

…one of each one of us.

Unfortunately, I was of the opinion that it was nicer all those times when I came here myself and ordered that…

…including that time when I asked for the special…

Maybe the extra ingredients added brought the taste to a whole new level – it was so good then!

My missus also had this bowl of cendol

…but no, she did not think it was anything to shout about.

On the whole, we had a delightful outing and the brunch was good enough but we may think twice about coming here again if it is going to be that difficult all the time to find a place close by to park the car.

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.

We have a choice…

It was still early when we went our own way after our breakfast date that morning, just 9.00 a.m. but my cousin and her hubby had to drive all the way back to Bintulu.

I wanted to buy something for our meals that day so my missus would not have to toil in the kitchen the instant we got home but all the chap fan/nasi campur (mixed rice) places were not open yet. We drove along Jalan Bandong but no, there was no sign of anybody at our regular stall, no dishes on display yet but it so happened that I noticed one stall there where there were tubs of curries on display. I stopped instantly and parked by the roadside while my missus went to have a look.

After quite a long time at the stall, she came back to the car with her loot! The meat was only RM2.00 a piece, cheaper than the aforementioned stall by 50 sen and she bought six pieces of the chicken, RM12.00 altogether…

She said that the lady kept adding more and more curry gravy and potatoes from her pot and she did not know why. Probably she wanted it to look a lot more substantial, worth RM12.00. In the end, when we got home and my missus poured everything into our own cooking pot, it almost filled the big one that we use to cook soups all the time. There was so much of it!

Of course, it is the taste that counts and yes, the curry was very nice. We all enjoyed it and I can say the same about the bubur pedas (RM6.00)…

…too but I only tried a bit of it. My girl loved it so much so we just let her have it all. It wasn’t a very big tub, anyway and she was able to finish it all in one sitting. Perhaps the next time around, we would have to buy two tubs, at least.

The cangkok manis and pumpkin masak lemak (RM5.00)…

…was good but I could hardly see any trace of the pumpkin in it.

It’s not the season right now so they had to replace the buah emplam with buah kedondong (ambarella) in the sambal (RM3.00)…

…but no, I never liked it when they did that at some places here. The latter is not as sour and definitely lacks the fragrance and taste so this wasn’t anything to shout about. Thankfully, it was cheap, just RM3.00 a tub but even so, I don’t think we would want to buy that again.

All in all, I would consider RM26.00 for everything, enough for our dinner and our meals the following day, a steal! I sure am glad that we have a choice now along Bandong Walk, this one or the one we used to frequent over the years.

This food stall (2.313817, 111.825844) is located along Bandong Walk, more towards the right side of the row of stalls (while GERAI MADU “SELERA KAMEK” is more to the middle), along Jalan Bandong.

One piece at a time…

Those years when my mum was bedridden, we had to go over to their house in the morning to be with her so we hardly did any cooking. Most of the time, we would stop somewhere on our way home to tapao some food for our lunch and/or dinner and because this stall…

…was so conveniently on the way, we frequented it very often at the time until my mum passed away in 2018. After that, we hardly ever went there again.

The other morning, however, I suggested to my missus that we could go and check it out to see if what they had was still as nice as before – we used to enjoy a lot of what they dished out at the time and my wife promptly agreed to the idea.

When we got there, we were delighted to see that it was still open and yes, they still had those same ol’ familiar dishes. I waited in the car while my missus went to see what she could buy – I did suggest some ayam masak merah and ayam masak kurma and perhaps a vegetable dish, masak lemak.

Yes, she managed to buy some ayam masak merah

…and ayam masak kurma

…but obviously, she had forgotten how things worked here. They would work out the prices for the meat (and fish) dishes by calculating the prices one piece at a time and as far as I could remember, around that time when we stopped coming here, things were already RM2.00 per piece.

My missus was so used to buying food at the chap fan stall where she would just tell them that she wanted RM10.00 of this and RM10.00 of that. That was why, in the end, we only got 4 pieces of the meat in each dish, RM2.50 each.

The ayam masak merah looked rather oily but it was VERY nice. It was quite all right – I did not feel it when I mixed the gravy well together and drowned my rice with it. I sure enjoyed that a lot and yes, I would want to buy that again the next time we hop over here.

The kurma was all right but no, it did not get me all excited especially when we had been having the green curry chicken here

…quite regularly over the years – I always thought they tasted similar in some ways.

Of course, I did not want any curry – we always cook our own and I did not want their ayam berlada

…either as my missus was cooking that so very often at one stage that I got quite sick and tired of it.

For the vegetable dish, my missus asked for RM5.00 worth of this pajeri nenas

…a popular Malay pineapple dish and yes, it was so very good that we almost finshed it in one sitting. I certainly would want to buy more next time, RM10.00 perhaps.

Well, it certainly was a nice change from the usual chap fan fare that we had been buying and seeing how we enjoyed it a lot, we certainly would be heading back that way again for more.

GERAI MADU “SELERA KAMEK” (2.314158, 111.825546)…

…is located at Bandong Walk, somewhere in the middle of the stalls on the right (if you are coming from Jalan Tun Abg Hj Openg heading towards Kpg Nangka) along Jalan Bandong.

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.