Good for us…

The other day, I blogged about the  New Zealand hake fish that we bought.  We did not really enjoy it oven-baked/grilled and we decided to try some other way of cooking the other piece that we had.

No, we did not think we would like it steamed either and knowing my girl so well, I was quite sure she would love it coated with batter or bread crumbs and deep fried a la fish &chips. The mum went for the latter…

New Zealand hake

…and yes, it was very nice, enough for the three of us for two meals – it was not a very big piece for some RM26.00 or so but considering that a plate of that VERY thin slice of New Zealand hoki (plus rice and pickles) at our local Sarawak franchise is currently on promotion at RM9.90 a plate, this does not seem all that expensive after all.

Incidentally, I now patronise a seafood (fish & prawn) stall by the side of The Grand Wonderful Hotel building. The lady will only be there if there is a fresh supply of fish – she wanted to give me her contact number so I would be able to call and find out if she would be there or not but I said it was all right. I stay close by and can always hop over to check anytime.

For one thing, the lady is very friendly and when I buy those huge prawns, I would ask her to pick for me and she would choose the best ones, no need to get my fingers all smelly. That day, I bought a kilo at only RM40.00 and I got 40 of those  crustaceans altogether, only RM1.00 each. I used to buy at the shop near my house, over RM40 a pack (RM60.00 a kilo), assorted sizes and I would get over 20 only, over RM2.00 each and most were not really big! Incidentally, I also bought a kilo of the regular-sized ones, RM16.00 a kilo, I think. It went up to some RM18.00 to RM20.00 at the central market at one time.

Other than that, there are very few/no customers so there is no problem whatsoever when it comes to physical distancing. If there is somebody there, we can just wait a while – let him or her buy and leave before we approach the stall. The aforementioned shop in the next lane is getting a bit too crowded these days even when it is still so early in the morning so I do not feel all that comfortable stopping to pick up anything that I may need.

Well, it so happened that that morning, the lady had filleted some bay kar/ikan tenggiri (mackerel) and scraped off the flesh/meat for making fish balls. No, she did not season it – she only sells it like that with specific instructions to defrost and add one’s own salt and msg when one wants to cook it. I bought quite a lot – with the RM10.00 pack, we were able to come out with this big pot of fish ball soup with tang hoon (glass noodles)…

Fish ball tang hoon soup

My missus just added a bit of salt, no msg and whipped it till really very QQ and boy, it was really fresh and sweet, so very nice!!!

Actually, ever since I saw the photo that day of the gorgeous tod mun pla (Thai fish cakes) that my missus cooked sometime ago, I was wishing we could have those again but unfortunately, she thought otherwise. Maybe she did not have all the ingredients and actually, I guess one deep-fried dish would be enough for the day so she cooked soup with it instead. Well, I still have a few packs in the freezer so hopefully, we can have that Thai delight some other day.

We had some daun sup (Chinese celery) in the house so we used that to garnish the soup and saved the spring onions that I had harvested and chopped…

Spring onions

…for another day.

The fish stall is located to the right of CCL FRESH MINI MARKET against the wall at the 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, 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.

Sushi…

The other day, my girl was called back to school because there were things to be done. Yes, if you’re one of those who think that teachers are so fortunate and get to stay home, shaking legs all this time, think again! Usually, they work from home but sometimes, they have to go back to answer their call of duty.

She will call me when she’s done and I will drive over to get her and bring her home. That is not a problem as Sibu is a very very small town – it will only take around 5-10 minutes and with the on-going MCO or CMCO, traffic is not all that heavy.

However, that day, my sister was in the vicinity and my girl contacted me to let me know that she would give her a ride home. What I did not know at the time was she told the aunt that she was thinking of having some sushi and the latter thought she might want these…

UNIQ SUSHI BAR

…for a change from the usual here or here.

These people have been around for a very long time now. They have a stall at the mall round the corner from my house ever since the mall opened for business, if I am not mistaken. I’ve never tried anything from them though but I think my girl and the mum did and I did not hear them complain. My guess is, therefore, what they dished out wasn’t too bad.

Now, their sushi and whatever else including those things wrapped in seaweed, whatever you call them, are available at a family mart in the block of shops on the way to my sister’s house, at Lorong Delta 4 where this hotel is located and where this coffee shop was at one time. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, it was not open so the doting aunt went back there the following day to get her a pack…

Chao Da Roll

…and send it to the house.

I am not sure but I think this is their chao da (burnt) roll. While my girl was enjoying it, she did mention that the imitation crab stick was lightly burnt on the  outside. Ah well!!! Everybody is so into burnt cheesecake these days so what’s stopping them from burning more stuff to eat? LOL!!! I checked the menu on their Facebook page and I must say that at RM12.00 something for 8, they sure do not come cheap – for two of those, you can have a more filling and more satisfying plate of kampua mee.

Moving on from there, one morning, I was rummaging through the fridge and I saw a bit of the brown rice noodles that we had and a bit of some buckwheat noodles that my girl did try that day with the salad to see if it was compatible or not. The sum of the two would be enough for one plate of noodles so I took them and fried them char kway teow style…

Fried brown rice & buckwheat noodles

…with some chopped garlic in a bit of oil, two prawns, soy sauce according to taste and some of my missus’ pounded chili dip, taugeh (bean sprouts) and egg, served garnished with a sprinkling of chopped daun sup (Chinese celery).

My! My! That sure was as good as it looked and I enjoyed it very much! I wouldn’t mind frying noodles this same way again, you can take my word for it.

Might as well…

After our lunch that day, it so happened that we went to that part of town that we seldom venture to and I decided that I might as well stop by here and buy some stuff for dinner so we would not need to rush home and cook.

Of course, I bought their nasi kerabu with ayam percik

Nasi kerabu ayam percik

…for my missus – her favourite and I would say that it is even more so these days as it seemed super extra spicy!

My girl did mention once that she would like to try their nasi dagang

Nasi dagang

…some day so I bought that too.

However, she had a change of heart when she saw the nasi tomato with ayam masak merah

Nasi tomato ayam masak merah

…that I thought I would want to try. She said it was very nice but it was not the best she had had. She insisted she could do it better!

I had the nasi dagang before when the lady boss treated me to it to let me try and yes, I quite enjoyed it. My missus is not into it as she does not like the texture of the ikan tongkol – that is the fish they use in the curry.

I did not ask for the breakdown of the prices but the total came up to RM20.00, less than AUD/NZS/SGD7.00, for a wonderful meal for the three of us!

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.

Through thick and thin…

The other day, I blogged about the very nice fish (and egg) burger from that Sibu’s own franchise which was so nice that I did buy some more a second time when I saw it again.

Well, I was at my neighbourhood shop and I saw these (4 for RM2.00)…

4 for RM2.00

Yes, I did mention before that they now make their own chu nu miang, the softer and very lightly sweet version of our Foochow bagel, the kompia. I was saying that there is no way they would be able to slice the regular ones to make burgers – those have become SO very small and SO thin, unlike these. Of course they are 3 for RM1.00, almost 4o sen each (kompia is now 2 for RM1.00 at some places) but I would much sooner pay around 10 sen more for these bigger and thicker ones…

Bigger & thicker

You can pop it in the oven for a bit if you like it a little bit crusty on top. That was exactly what I did that day and after slicing it into halves, I placed a slice of butter and salami, pre-grilled in a non-stick pan, in it…

Pepperoni chu nu miang burger

I don’t know where my girl bought these that I found in the freezer but they’re just the right size for the chu nu miang and I must say I enjoyed it to the max. Very very nice! Of course I could have added a slice of omelette or tomato or a piece of lettuce, all of which would be very nice too, I’m sure. The possibilities are endless!!!

I also tried it with butter and peanut butter…

Chu nu miang with butter and peanut butter

…and yes, that was good as well!

A loaf of bread is around RM3.00 these days, RM4.00 wholemeal and we’re not really into it unless somebody takes it to make some gourmet sandwiches or French toast and by the time we’re halfway through, it would have gone mouldy. It sure makes a lot more sense to buy two packets of these instead, gone in no time at all.

SWEE HUNG (2.316161, 111.840441) is located along Jalan Ruby, in the block of shops on the right – next to a hair salon at the extreme end.

Live to regret…

I’ve been to this commercial area many times already and I’ve eaten at a lot of places there but for no particular reason, not at this food court…

Unicity Food Court

This is not a big area but there is a hotel and a university hostel, a supermarket and a Mr DIY outlet, a bakery and a pizza place, lots of coffee shops and two food courts and this is one of them.

For want of something to do that morning, I went roaming around there and decided to go and check it out. Nothing seemed to appeal to me except this porridge stall…

Unicity Food Court porridge stall

…that sells nothing but porridge in various combinations. The bubur tiga rasa (RM7.00), bottom extreme left, looked rather appealling so I decided to give it a try. I placed my order and sat down to wait. There were not so many people around, no problem keeping my distance from everybody else – I picked a table along the corridor, the very last one in the far end, not far from the stall.

While I was waiting, I saw the girl serving two bowls of her porridge to some other customers and I couldn’t help noticing that she was using those horrendously brightly coloured plastic bowls! I went over to talk to the girl but she was conversant only in Mandarin and she insisted it was not plastic. She did tell me a name in Mandarin, two characters but unfortunately, it was Greek to me. Maybe she was telling me it was melamine in which case it may not be all that safe either. I did not bother to argue with her, a duck talking to a hen, so telling myself that this would be the first and the last time I would come for her porridge, I just went back to my seat and waited to be served.

I must say I was rather disappointed when it…

Unicity Food Court bubur tiga rasa 1

…came. It looked kind of plain, nothing like what I saw in the photograph.

The minced meat porridge was all right – there are others elsewhere a whole lot nicer, like this one, for instance and I am no fan of those supermarket factory-produced fried shallots…

Unicity Food Court bubur tiga rasa 2

…plus I was thinking that a sprinkling of a little bit of chopped spring onion would give it a bit of colour and make it look more presentable.

All in all, I would say it was all right, edible but not anything to shout about. Honestly, I should have gone to the other food court a stone’s throw away and have their porridge instead but I didn’t and yes, I live to regret it. I do not know if theirs is any nicer or not but at least they serve it in a claypot, not in a PLASTIC bowl.

UNICITY FOOD COURT (2.342786, 111.831480) is located at No. 16-18, Lorong Wawasan 9A in UniCity.

Between here and there…

I saw some factory-made kelupis in the frozen section at a supermarket, one regular and one with sambal, nicely wrapped in its tastefully-designed plastic wrapper but I was quite reluctant to buy. I might as well head to the kampung Malay stalls and grab some freshly-made ones from there.

That was why the very next morning, I went to this one at Kampung Hilir, a stone’s throw away from the Simpang Tiga junction but unfortunately, they did not have any. In fact, they did not have any pulut panggang either or anything pulut, for that matter.

While I was there, I spotted these buns (3 for RM1.00)…

Old school buns

They looked so old school that I could resist grabbing two rows to take home and try. If I am not wrong, they are called roti paun though I can’t understand why as each bun does not weigh a pound, that’s for sure.

The guy said they were home-made, not from a shop or a factory. He said the guy attended a course and after that, he began to make them on a regular basis for sale. I did hear of this thing going on among the Malay community here – they conduct special courses on all kinds of skills e.g. making noodles and steamed dumplings, tying and making chang, making bread and so on and so forth. That is something very good and the other communities should follow suit so those folks at home can do something to help make ends meet.

There were two types of filling – the guy said kelapa (coconut) and kacang. I imagined the latter to be crushed peanut with a sprinkling of sugar but no, it turned out to be or tao sar (black/red bean paste)…

Old school bun, filling

Well, I am fine with that but my missus gets giddy when she eats that so she would not touch anything with that kind of filling! I must say the bun was very nice, the texture was so soft and cushiony. just perfect and the bean paste filling was nice too, not sweet. I sure would not mind buying them again the next time I see any at the stall.

While I was there, I spotted these bingka labu (pumpkin cake, 3 for RM1.00)…

Bingka labu

They were very nice and I used to buy for my mum when she was still around. She certainly enjoyed them very much. However, when I tried them, I felt they were somewhat disappointing, kurang lemak and a little bit too firm. I don’t think I will buy these again in future.

When I was done here, I adjourned to my regular Malay kuih stall at Bandong and there too, I saw that there was not a single pulut panggang or anything made from pulut. I asked the sweet lady boss if there was currently a pulut shortage or something but she said no, there was pulut panggang the day before and all other days as well.

I was a little late so most of things were sold out. I picked up two packets of these cucur bubuk (4 for RM1.00)…

Cucur bubuk

…and yes, they were very nice. I’m sure they would be much nicer piping home from the wok but I was too lazy to heat them up even so I just ate them like that.

One last stop before I headed home that morning and that was at our neighbourhood fruit and food shop. I bought the fish burgers there that day, RM10 for a pack of 3 and we all thought they were really good. I saw that they had those again but sold singly at RM3.50 each but if I were to buy three, I would be able to get them for RM10.00, still the same.

When I blogged about them that day, I said that I loved the buns, much nicer than those used by the celebrated fast food franchises and this time around, upon closer scrutiny, I realised that they had used chu nu miang

Chu nu miang fish & egg burger

…instead, the softer and slightly sweet version of the kompia. I believe they make there own – those have shrunk in size and are so thin and flat now that it would be quite impossible to cut a slit in them to make burgers! I think I did see them sold separately in packs of 5 but I did not ask how much they were selling them for.

That certainly was a morning well spent, shuttling between here and there in the early morning, not so many people out and about, and I was delighted that I did manage to pick up a few nice things of our breakfast and also our tea that day.

The KAMPUNG HILIR MALAY KUEH STALL (2.306518, 111.818691) is located to the right of the SEDC Hawker Centre, opposite the MDS Supermarket at Simpang Tiga while the KOPI KOPI Café & Kitchen MALAY KUEH STALL is located at the blocks of the Kpg Bandong shops, at the back facing Bandong Walk (2.313869, 111.825808) and the main road and SWEE HUNG (2.316161, 111.840441) is located along Jalan Ruby, in the block of shops on the right – next to a hair salon at the extreme end.

Things change…

I went out early last Saturday morning to buy the very nice laksam here for my girl’s breakfast – she sure enjoys it a lot and of course, I bought a few extra packets to keep in the fridge to heat up and enjoy as and when we feel like it.

On the way home, I stopped by here along the way to buy their nasi lemak

Bandong Walk nasi lemak 1

…for our lunch, RM5.50 a packet with sambal sotong.

It used to be so so good, second to none. The instant you opened the lid of the insulated rice container, the fragrance of the santan would surely sweep you off your feet. However, I think I did mention before that lately, it had been somewhat disappointing. Things change – the prices of coconut, shallots and everything else for that matter have been shooting up like nobody’s business but they are still selling everything here at those same prices. Personally, I wouldn’t mind an increase as long as they maintain that quality in what they dish out but I guess others may not share those same sentiments.

It is still good, that much I would say, still a bit lemak and more lemak than most, if not all, of the rest. The sambal sotong

Bandong Walk nasi lemak 2

…tasted more savoury than sweet, not quite like the regular nasi lemak sambal.

Incidentally, if you opt to have the ayam goreng (fried chicken), the boss has enlisted the services of one of the boys who used to run one of those fried chicken stalls to cook the chicken to go with the nasi lemak. I saw some in the display cabinet – the drumsticks seemed like they had a lovely crunchy coating, not unlike Colonel Sanders’. I would give it a try the next time I come by here.

Another thing the boss told me was that he had taken over the corner shop in the block of shops a stone’s throw away. That used to be a seafood restaurant – I don’t know if they have moved to another unit there or they have called it a day. When the place is ready, one can sit there comfortably instead of in the current makeshift kind-of-dilapidated shed with an assortment of old tables and chairs and discarded banners which are such an eyesore really, for  a bit of shade against the morning sun!

I guess the place will be open in the morning, around 7.30 usually, right through till lunch time and other than the nasi lemak, there is their very nice mee jawa and by mid-morning, they also have nasi biryani. According to the boss, there will be somebody selling some western delights at night. I probably would not be rushing there to try though – I hardly go out at night these days.

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

Moon River…

Last Sunday, we decided to take a break from our stay-at-home routine and go out for lunch.

I saw on Facebook that they had nasi Arab served with mutton curry at one place here so we made our way there. Actually, we had that there before and we had forgotten all about it completely. That shows how forgettable it was and obviously, it was not that great as we never went back for more.

Anyway, when we arrived there that day, I saw that there were so many cars parked outside the shop and I was really pissed off by how there were motorcycles in the few vacant spaces available, one in each parking space. These people are so inconsiderate! We looked into the shop and we saw a whole lot of people – it did not look like there was a table available. No, there was obviously no social/physical distancing and at a quick glance, I did not see anybody wearing a mask either! In the end, we decided to go elsewhere instead.

My girl asked about the wat tan hor that I was telling them about and she wanted to give it a try. That was why we ended up there. Gee!!! I am becoming quite a regular at that place!

I ordered the nyonya egg skin popiah (RM3.00 each)…

玛莉娘惹料理 MARY’S NYONYA CUISINE popiah

…from the so-called nyonya stall.

I wanted the kuih pai tee too but the boy said they were all sold out which I felt was a lame excuse. Some of my friends went there and they were told that same story too. If they were selling so well, they could have made a whole lot of the shells and kept them in an airtight tin for use…anytime! I am quite sure they did not make any at all and was lying through their teeth. Honestly, I am amazed by how these people can run a business like that! To be frank, considering how all their other dishes weren’t that great, they should just forget about them and concentrate on these two.

The ladies just had a slice of the popiah

玛莉娘惹料理 MARY’S NYONYA CUISINE popiah, inside

…and yes, they said it was very nice, much nicer than when I bought it home that day and it had turned all soggy. My girl did not like the raw cucumber inside though and needless to say, she prefers the ones that I make a lot more…anytime!

I went to the Seremban guy’s stall and placed our orders and we all sat at a table outside and waited to be served.

My girl had the Cantonese ying yong (RM5.50)…

Noodle Bar Cantonese ying yong

…and she was visually delighted the instant it came. When she tried it, it swept her off her feet and she declared it to be the best in town!

She said that it reminded her of a place that they call Er Chea, which probably means 2nd Elder Sister, at this lane in Sungai Petani that is lined on both sides with hawker stalls. She and her friends would walk there after the church service on Saturday nights for a very late dinner/supper before going back to their hostel. She said that they had that there at one of the hawker stalls but at times, it was not open so she would have something else instead.

My missus wanted the claypot lau shu fun/老鼠粉 (RM8.00) but got the fried version (RM6.00)…

Noodle Bar fried lau shu fun

…instead. I wanted the boy (probably the son, there to help out on a Sunday) to take it back but my missus said it was all right as it looked really good and she was overwhelmed by the wok hei fragrance the instant it was served. Yes, she was very happy with it and did not mind the mix-up one bit.

Like what I said in my previous post, I would come back  here and try the Moon River (RM5.50)…

Noodle Bar Moon River

…and that was what I did but unfortunately, it was not what I was expecting. I remember that the few that I had had before had char kway teow, dry as the base with the raw egg on top. This one had the kway teow fried KL Hokkien mee-style so even though it was all right, not too bad, in fact, it was not what I was looking forward to so I was rather disappointed. If it had been the guy’s very nice KL Hokkien mee plus the egg, it might have tasted much nicer. I don’t think this is anything I would want to order again.

That lunch was RM23.00 altogether (excluding the drinks), way below SGD/AUD/NZD10.00 for the three of us – it’s so cheap here, isn’t it?

玛莉娘惹料理 MARY’S NYONYA CUISINE and NOODLE BAR are 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.

Support you…

I was back at my neighbourhood shop the other day, last Friday to be exact and the young boy asked me to buy some burgers (RM10.00 for a pack of 3)…

Zen Don Bin fish burgers

– he said it was fish and since it was our no-meat day, that would be just nice for our morning or afternoon tea.

That logo that looks like something from the movie, Mulan, sure needs no introduction. This is our Sibu’s own franchise – you can see their stalls here, there and everywhere at the coffee shops in town. Why, they even won an award…

Award

…a couple of years ago in 2018.

The burger was not very big and I liked the bun…

Zen Don Bin burger, bun

…which is a lot more than what I would say about some foreign/overseas franchises here that use buns that would get sort of mushy or something like that upon eating and start sticking to one’s teeth. I am never fond of bread with that kind of texture.

Inside, there was an omelette…

Zen Don Bin burger, omelette

…and a somewhat very thin slice of fish fillet…

Zen Don Bin burger, fish fillet

I could not make out the taste of the fish but yes, I could detect that of the egg and on the whole, with the cheese or whatever dressing they used, I would say that it was pretty good.

Especially when we consider that it was only around RM3.30 each, so very much cheaper than those overrated ones, I really do not see any cause for complaint. Especially during these difficult times, I certainly would want to support our own local businesses – the fact that they are making these available at our neighbourhood shop is a pretty obvious sign that they are doing all they can to tide over all the trials and tribulations and make ends meet.

SWEE HUNG (2.316161, 111.840441) is located along Jalan Ruby, in the block of shops on the right – next to a hair salon at the extreme end…and on the other end, to the left is the Kim Won Chinese Medical Store and Mini-supermarket.

Three down…

Yes, I went back there again because there are still a lot on the Seremban guy’s menu that I had yet to try.

This time around, I had his yee mee in mind. I did not want the Cantonese version as that would have the same egg gravy as in the wat tan hor or the Cantonese ying yong and I already tried that the other day. Besides, we had a very nice one here (but at over 3 times the price) not too long ago and furthermore, I did try cooking my own once and it didn’t turn out too shabbily.

I was thinking of ordering the soup version but decided against it as, for reasons unknown, the guy is not serving his in a claypot like all the claypot yee mee that I had had before. As a matter of fact, he does have something on his menu that will be served in a  claypot.

In the end, I decided to go for the braised yee mee (RM5.50)…

Noodle Bar braised yee mee 1

…which, if I am not wrong, is something like the moon mian that I always prefer when going for our local Foochow fried noodles.

Yes, it was very nice. The noodles were perfectly done, not too soft, not soggy and not hard either. It sure tasted great and while I was enjoying it, I could detect the taste of pork fat crusts…

Noodle Bar pork fat crusts

…and true enough, I managed to locate a few in the dish.

Unlike in the peninsula/mainland, you will never find anyone doing it here – they will throw a few pieces of pork fat into the hot wok to render the lard and then use it to fry the noodles, be it their KL Hokkien mee or their Penang char kway teow so when you eat it, you will find the crusts amongst the noodles. Another thing peculiar to the other side is how they use a hot charcoal fire to fry the noodles…and for their Penang char kway teow, more often than not, they will use duck eggs. Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t but personally, I don’t think I know of anybody doing that here.

Yes, I would say this…

Noodle Bar braised yee mee 2

…was good too and I would not mind having that again sometime. Unfortunately, there is more that I have yet to try. Three down, still a long way to go. Perhaps the next time around, I shall try the Moon River – I spotted it on the menu that morning!

NOODLE BAR 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.