Love on top…

I heard a lot of favourable reviews of the noodles available at Stall No. 7…

Stall No. 7

…on top of the Rejang Park market…

Rejang Park market

…but I never dropped by to try until just the other day.

Even then, we did not have the noodles in mind – we also heard that one could get kacang ma at a stall there but luck was not on our side. It was not on the menu that afternoon and we did not fancy the options that the lady had for the chap fan (mixed rice) so we went back to Stall No. 7 instead.

The place has a unique feel to it, not quite like a hawker centre and more like some place for those people staying in the vicinity to get together and chit chat to while the time away. Why, there were these two guys playing Chinese chess by the side…

Playing Chinese chess

…even and I so love this antique-looking wooden cabinet…

Antique wooden cabinet

…on the counter at one of the stalls.

The kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee) was only RM1.20 a glass…

Rejang Park market kopi-o-peng

…cheaper than at the regular coffee shops where prices may range between RM1.50-RM1.80.

The noodles are also cheaper than elsewhere – I had the fried kway teow (RM3.30)…

Rejang Park Market fried kway teow

…which would be at least RM3.80-RM4.00 or more at other p[laces around town.

My missus had the Foochow fried noodles, also RM3.30…

Rejang Park Market Foochow fried noodles

…and yes, both our orders were very much to our satisfaction.

I certainly would not mind dropping by again…and I did see something stuck to the cabinet at the stall, going for RM5.00 so I asked what it was. The guy said something about noodles with stewed pork ribs or whatever and when I drop by again, that would be the one thing I would want to order and try.

Be forewarned, however, that this place could get quite congested in the mornings, especially on Saturdays and Sundays, but when we went around 11.30 a.m. that day, it was perfectly all right and there were ample parking spaces right beside the market.

THE REJANG PARK HAWKER STALLS are right on top of the (wet) market on the upper floor. The market is located among the shops in the commercial centre in that housing estate along Jalan Teruntum.

In the good old days…

I saw this (RM2.00)…

Nasi aduk ikan long

…at my regular Malay kuih stall at Bandong here and I wasted no time at all in grabbing that to try.

According to the lady, this is something they grew up eating in the kampung way back in the good old days, what they call nasi aruk (meaning fried without oil in Sarawak Malay) ikan long, not to be confused with nasi uduk, the Indonesian version of our Malaysian nasi lemak.

Ikan long is the type of salted fish that is not hard and dry like the usual ones – in Hokkien, we call it long kiam hu and this is ikan kembong variety, just a little bit of it…

Ikan kembong masin long

I don’t know how they cooked it but it was very nice with a hint of the salted fish in the rice, something like salted fish fried rice but this was not fried. I did enjoy it though I was wishing they would give a bigger piece of the salted fish and a bit more of the pounded chili – I wouldn’t mind if they charge a little bit more.

Of course, that would not be a complete meal by itself so for our dinner, we had two packets of the rice and I added a century egg…

Nasi aduk ikan long with century egg

…with strips of ginger and a sprinkling of soy sauce and we had that together with this fish that I cooked, masak kunyit we call it

Ikan masak kunyit

…and the acar timun I made the other day for something more balanced.

MAK MAT’s BREAKFAST STATION (2.314192, 111.825581) is located at the shops at Jalan Bandong in the block facing what they call the Bandong Walk, right beside Penyet Bandong (but that only opens at night).

Where have you been…

I think I have mentioned in my posts before how I encountered the nasi lemak at this hotel in Penang that changed the way I looked at the Malaysian dish completely.

Prior to that, I would eat it sometimes and to me, it was nothing more than just something different for a change and we would always have that at the buffet breakfast at any hotel in the country though most of the time I would go for something else and give it a miss…until one morning at the aforementioned hotel when I was helping myself to the peanuts and fried anchovies to go with my porridge and somebody opened the tub beside me with the steaming hot rice inside. The fragrance literally swept me off my feet and for the rest of my stay there, that was what I had every morning.

I did not think any that I had had since came anywhere close until this one here in Sibu way back in 2013 but my happiness was short-lived. The guy disappeared after a while and yes, I did go searching for him but to no avail. I had long given up trying to locate him and all this while, I went round the places in town looking for any nasi lemak that might be as good but no, none came anywhere near.

Well, the other morning, I saw a new nasi lemak stall…

Nasi lemak stall, Bandong Walk

…at Bandong Walk here and there was a girl buying from the guy so I went over to have a look.

I opened the insulated tub to have a look at the rice and yes, it was very fragrant so I ordered the special, RM4.00 a pack with a piece of fried chicken…

Fried chicken

…and yes, there was the salted fish…

Salted fish

…that I like too but of course, to me, the rice must be very lemak (rich in santan/coconut milk) and indeed it was, truly worthy of the name. Ever so often, I had lamented at how some people could call theirs nasi lemak when the rice was not lemak at all, so much so that I might as well have been eating plain white rice.

I chatted with the guy and much to my delight, I found out that it was that very same guy from 2013 (he was not wearing spectacles then and he looked darker now) and for one thing, his nasi lemak, the regular, still costs exactly the same as before…

Bandong Walk nasi lemak stall, price list

…despite the escalating prices of everything these days. The special used to be RM5.00 but he did not have all those varieties that he had then, just fried chicken and that is selling for RM4.00, a ringgit cheaper, believe it or not!

The sambal was really good, spicy…and I liked it a lot as well. I did try the kerang (cockles) before but I did not like it as he used the canned ones then but I certainly would be going back again and again for more of the special with a piece of chicken…

Bandong Walk nasi lemak, simple the best

…or the regular everytime I feel like having it.

I did try the rojak tambi (RM3.50) and yes, it was good. It had half an egg unlike all the rest here, but no potatoes. I did not take a photograph of it though so I guess that would have to wait till I go back there and get some more of that…and I sure would love to try his mee jawa too.

This nasi lemak stall (2.313869, 111.825808) is located at Bandong Walk, Jalan Bandong a few stalls away from the roti canai stall, somewhere in front of this shop in the block where the 1Malaysia clinic is.

Got it…

We did not get to try the Penang char kway teow the last time as the guy was already closing up his stall for the day but I was early that morning, around 7 something, and yes, it was open…

101 Food Court Penang fried kueh tiaw stall

…so of course, I placed my order right away and went and took my seat to wait to be served.

The coffee was good…

101 Food Court kopi-o-peng

…RM1.50 only, cheaper than some places around here where they charge around RM1.60 to RM1.80.

I noted with interest the menu at the stall next to this one…

101 Food Court grilled lamb skewers

It was not open – my guess is it only opens at night – but I was thinking that grilled lamb skewers sure is a more impressive, classier name for lamb satay…but “per string“? Normally, I would just say per stick and RM2.00 each does seem a lot more expensive than the ones I usually get from the Malay stalls and shops – maybe they’re bigger, double the size and length, I wouldn’t know.

Anyway, my fried kway teow (RM5.00)…

101 Food Court Penang char kway teow 1

…came soon enough and I started to dig in. It was a Friday so I did not want the lap cheong (Chinese sausage) and all I got were some prawns and egg, taugeh (bean sprouts) and kuchai (chives). It was nice…but a bit on the sweet side with a hint of lime, more like mee mamak, I thought and it was quite spicy. I did ask for it to be extra pedas (spicy/hot) so maybe the guy added a lot of his own-made chili dip…

Chili dip

I think if I ever drop by here again, I would order it…

101 Food Court Penang char kway teow 2

…without chili and add my own.

There is this stall…

101 Food Court/Jia Li Cafe kueh stall

…at this same location too. My missus was telling me about it before, more than once, about how the fried stuff looked very good and obviously, they sold like hot cakes as everytime she was there, there wasn’t much of anything left.

I heard a customer speaking to the (young) lady in Iban and she was able to converse in the language very fluently so I asked where they were from and she said they came from Kanowit, the town proper. I told her that I was teaching there in 1978 and she replied that that was the year she was born…and the older lady, probably her mum, came from Song and married a Kanowit guy and she did not seem to know me either.

I did buy some of the kuehs (all 50 sen a piece)…

101 Food Court/Jia Li Cafe kuehs

…to try.

The serimuka was quite good, better than most around here but far from being the best that I’ve had and if you have only one choice, I would suggest that you go for the kao-teng-kueh (9-layer cake) instead – that was very much nicer but I liked the chiew-chu-koi (steamed tapioca cake) best. The kim-kua-kueh (steamed pumpkin cake) was good as well, savoury and not sweet like the rest but I would prefer it lightly fried for a slightly crusty outside.

101 FOOD COURT (2.291330, 111.841751) is located in the vicinity of the shops around Medan Mall, Jalan Wong King Huo, back to back with Jiali Cafe along Lorong Tong Sang 4, two or three doors to the left of Wan Li Sheng Rou Mee.

There’s still time…

The weather has been unbearably hot again after a few days of a bit of rain but I did go back to the Ramadan Bazaar here. I would park my car in the shade behind the block of shops and walk to this stall/shop round the corner but no, I would not walk around to the other stalls, not under the scorching sun.

You will find the usual kuehs (local cakes)…

Mak Met's kueh

…there and maybe some that are not available on a regular basis on normal days.

I’ve bought this Rojak Mem twice…

Rojak Mem 1

– I think the lady has a stall at a coffee shop (formerly Kok Cheng, opposite the now-closed down Star Cineplex) in town and yes, it was very nice…

Rojak Mem

…though I would love some potatoes and a bit of egg in it.

There would also be the usual nasi lemak, Sarawak and Penang laksa and for Ramadan, they also have kampua noodles…

Mee kampua

…that look a lot more impressive than their usual.

I did buy this steamed kueh wrapped in banana leaf…

Steamed kueh

…made with rice/tapioca/sago flour so it is gluten free, sweetened with the gula apong (palm sugar) added…

Steamed kueh, inside

It was all right, not bad and I do think it would make a great after-meal dessert.

There is also these keria

Kueh keria

…that is not usually available – Malaysian-style donuts made from sweet potatoes and glazed with palm sugar. I did not want to buy any that day as I am not really into donuts, any kind, and despite the other customers who were there insisting that it was very nice, I was still reluctant. In the end, the very nice and generous Mak Met filled one brown paper bag full and gave them to me to try. That was so very sweet of her and yes, I am truly blessed with all the wonderful people all around, praise the Lord! Yes, they were nice but then again, a lot of these local kuehs and delicacies are all very nice.

We have been caught up with things at home lately so we did not have time to cook and it was very convenient to just stop by here and buy some food home to eat. I tried their  bubur pedas

Bubur pedas 1

…and it was very nice (RM4.00)…

Bubur pedas 2

…nicer than others that I’ve bought elsewhere. I saw somewhere that this is a Sarawak thing, though I am not too sure about this, but for the uninitiated, this is something like sayur masak lemak (vegetables cooked with santan/coconut milk) but it has all the fragrant spices and herbs and leaves added so those certainly put it in a class of its own.

They also have other side dishes, all in plastic/glass-covered serving trays, that one can pick from, such as the kerabu paku

Kerabu paku

…and the sambal tempeh

Sambal tempeh

…and there was this botok ikan

Botok ikan

…mashed ikan tenggiri (mackerel) mixed with all the aromatic herbs and leaves, wrapped in leaf and cooked in santan (coconut milk)…

Botok ikan, inside

…I did buy it to try and boy, it was really so very very nice. I must go back one of these days to grab more!

For the mains, one can have a choice between their ayam penyet rice or their pecel lele ikan keli (catfish)…

Ayam penyet and pecel lele

…and that day, I bought the fish…

Pecel lele ikan keli

…and yes, it was so good! I really enjoyed that.

There is still time left in the coming week, so I would be going back for more, otherwise I would have to wait till next year’s Ramadan to enjoy all these local delights.

PENYET BANDONG/MAK MET’s BREAKFAST STATION (2.314192, 111.825581) is located in the first few lots on the right of the block of shops facing the main road & Bandong Walk at Jalan Bandong, somewhere opposite the primary schools and to the right of the surau in the vicinity.

Just a few more days…

There is just a week or so to go till Hari Raya Aidilfitri

Selamat Hari Raya

…which means that pretty soon, the Ramadan bazaars here, there and everywhere around town would come to an end and we will have to wait till next year for this annual event.

We did go to the one at the Sibu Town Square once and since the weather has been a lot kinder and we have been getting a bit of rain time and again, I did drop by the one that I am more familiar with, at Bandong…

Bandong Ramadan Bazaar
*Archive photo*

…and I did buy the nasi kuning ayam berempah from the nice lady there…

Nasi kuning ayam berempah
*Archive photo*

…twice. Yes, it was still very nice and the best thing about it was that she was selling her delightful specialty at that same price all these years, RM5.00 a packet!

The satay guy…

Nor Satay
*Archive photo*

…is back here now and he told me that they have terminated their business at the shop that I blogged about a few times not too long ago as the rent was too high and they will be taking over this shop at the back in the photograph and will be based here after the Raya festival.

Yes, I did buy some satay from the guy to take home and enjoy with our loot and we did buy some of the stuff at our regular Malay kueh stall here – the putu mayam, kueh renjes, the bingka durian and bingka labu, the baksong and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, their nasi kerabu

Nasi kerabu
*Archive photo – they do not use those polystyrene containers anymore here since it has been banned by the municipal council and the last time I bought this, it was already RM4.50*

…(and laksam) was not available so left with no choice, we went to a new stall with a banner that declares that theirs is the nasi kerabu ori (RM5.50)…

Nasi kerabu ori

…which was all right but we thought it lacked all those herbs and leaves that would give the kerabu that very nice and special fragrance and taste. There is another stall but I saw that the rice was way too blue so I decided against trying that one there.

On another day, I bought the nasi bryani

Nasi bryani

…from Nasi Bryani Yusra, the very first stall on the extreme right of the bazaar, complete with the sambal egg and the cucumber pickle and a choice between chicken curry or ayam percik

Ayam percik

…and of course I wanted the latter as we can’t get that very easily here unlike the curry and though it did cost quite a bit, RM10.00 per set…

Nasi bryani ayam percik set

…I thought it was quite reasonable since they used the expensive long-grained rice and for the chicken, they gave the whole thigh, not just the drumstick or wing or worst, a chunk of breast plus they used a somewhat nice plastic container that I could wash and reuse instead of the flimsy cardboard ones that everyone else is using right now.

Yes, I did enjoy that and I may go for another round of it one of these days before the Ramadan bazaar for this year comes to a close…

This Ramadan Bazaar (2.314192, 111.825581) is located around the shops at Jalan Bandong and all along Bandong Walk, somewhere around the primary schools and the surau in the vicinity.

Blame it on the weather…

The weather has been so very hot lately and I remember it was the same last year. That was why I did not drop by the Ramadan Bazaars that much then.

Fortunately, there was a storm one night last week and the following day, it was kind of cloudy and we took advantage of the milder weather to drop by the main one at the Sibu Town Square. I think the last time I was there was way back in 2008 but I never went back again as it would be so very crowded and parking would be so very difficult. They have improved the whole area now – lots of parking spaces available.

However, it appeared to me that there were not that many stalls this time around unlike that time which, I guess, was a good thing. Only the strong would survive so there would not be any of those half-past-six ones trying to cash in on the occasion to make a few bucks. I remember I was quite disappointed with what I bought then and ended up throwing everything away. That was one reason why I was not keen on checking out the stalls there all these years.

Well, as they say, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Everyone would be selling more or less the same things and the thing is you will need to know which one would be better than the rest. That is also another reason why we would prefer to go to the Bandong stalls where the people are a lot more familiar than here and we would know who’s good and who’s not.

There were a few satay stalls…

Satay

…and some selling ikan bakar (grilled fish)…

Ikan bakar

…and sambal sotong

Sambal sotong

…some with kangkong, some without and there were those selling pulut panggang

Pulut panggang 1

…as well. This one seemed to be doing very well…

Pulut panggang 2

…The guy sure looked happy and you can see the wife at the back happily counting the money. LOL!!!

There were quite a few stalls selling all the lovely Malay and local delights…

Lauk

…so many that I really would not know which one to choose if I were to buy that.

There were stalls selling cakes such as this one that had the different types of kek lapis (layer cake)…

Kek lapis

…but at RM3.00 a slice, I think I would rather go for something more substantial.

This stall selling sugarcane juice…

Sugarcane juice 1

…would be enjoying brisk business…

Sugarcane juice 2

…considering the hot weather here on most days, as it is believed to be cooling.

Sibu is predominantly a Chinese town, Foochow specifically, and I noticed their influence on the Malay/Muslim population at the stall selling halal stuffed kompia

Kompia

…and there was this lady…

Kampua mee stall

…selling halal kampua mee and pian sip (wanton/meat dumplings)…

Pian sip

…too.

This ayam penyet

Ayam penyet

…looked good but no, we did not buy that.

My missus went to this stall…

Nasi kukus stall

…and bought the nasi kukus (steamed rice) and their ayam berempah

Ayam berempah

…but I wanted the ayam masak merah instead…

ayam masak merah

…and yes, it was very nice. It did not quite taste like the usual masak merah that I have had before – I would say that this one had an edge over the rest and I really enjoyed it. On the other hand, the ayam berempah, though very fragrant, was somewhat disappointing as it was all breast meat.

There were a lot more stalls and I did not take photographs of everything. Well, there are still two weeks or so left, more or less, and maybe we were a little early that day – we went at around 3.00 p.m. and there were a number of stalls that were not open. However, I would not know if I would go back to this particular Ramadan Bazaar again or not or for that matter, whether I would go to any at all – I guess it will all depend on my mood and most of all, the weather.