That’s what I like…

I like going to places where people are very nice and friendly, where one would feel at ease while enjoying the very nice food served – that’s what I like but no, unfortunately, not all are like that – there are some who obviously know who I am but they choose to pretend that they don’t and at most places, they do not bother about all the social graces and will not even try to talk a little bit more nicely, never mind whether they are the proprietors/bosses or just the employees. You order what you want, you eat, you pay and you leave and worse of all, there are some rather mean and very unpleasant characters who may snap at you at any time like for instance, if you happen to ask why your order is taking a little too long.

No, I do not expect anything, no special treats nor will I ask for discounts but there are some who will go out of their way to see to that. One, of course, is Peter, the boss of Payung Cafe and the extra large servings of what I order and he will even cook something, usually something new, for me to try. He says that he enjoys cooking for me (Incidentally, if you have not heard of it, Payung is now closed the whole day on Sundays – it used to be closed for lunch only before but now, they have decided to make the whole day their rest day.) and of course, there is Mary of Flavours Thai Kitchen and her wonderful authentic Thai chef, Jos – there would always be that something extra special for me each time I drop by.

Another one is Guna of Sri Pelita. For one thing, he would always give me some discount on my bill without being asked and it so happened that my missus and I were there for lunch last week on Thursday. We really enjoyed our picks that day and as I was leaving, he asked me if I could go back the following day, Friday, for lunch as he wanted to cook me his special Indian-style fish curry…

Sri Pelita Indian-style fish curry 1

…with some really fresh ikan merah or red snapper that he had. Unfortunately, we had to drive to my girl’s school in the jungle that day so we would not be able to make it but he insisted and asked us to drop by on Saturday instead – he would not accept no for an answer so I accepted his invitation.

I did ask him if it would be for me to take home or to eat there and he said he would prefer that I ate it there so he could enjoy seeing me savouring every bit of the fish…

Sri Pelita Indian-style fish curry

We were served the very instant we got there and yes, we loved it! This one was a little spicy, not like the one we had two days earlier, and of course, that made us like it even more.

According to Guna, this would only be available upon special order and if anyone is interested, he or she can drop by his shop to discuss. He says he would need to know all of one’s needs and wants so he would be able to make sure everything is to one’s satisfaction.

No, we had more than just the fish and the vegetables in the dish. Guna also served us this combo of bitter gourd and cabbage…

Sri Pelita bitter gourd & cabbage

…and this tofu in prawn sambal

Sri Pelita prawn sambal tofu

The sambal here is undoubtedly the best, a whole lot nicer than any elsewhere – so very delicious and spicy too and you may get to enjoy it with their sambal brinjal…or the sambal egg but this was the first time we saw it with tofu and there were prawns in the sambal too. It was so very nice that my girl wanted some to take back to her school to enjoy in the course of the week…and when I wanted to pay for it, the nice guy simply refused to accept any payment for it.

It certainly was a most delightful lunch – we ate till we were almost bursting at the seams, thank you so so much, Guna.

SRI PELITA CAFE (2.293579, 111.820700) is located along Lorong Kampung Datu 11, off Jalan Kampung Datu, the first shop in the block to the right of Paramount Hotel.

Advertisements

Nice guys…

They’re all very nice guys at Payung Café…

Payung Cafe decor

… including Peter, the boss and Chen, his business partner/co-owner and Andy, one of the boys there, is no exception.

Well, Andy celebrated his birthday…

Andy, the birthday boy

…two days ago on Wednesday and he sent me a message asking me to drop by for some long life noodles…

Birthday egg

…our longevity noodles, the mee sua served with the traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup…

Mee sua in traditional red wine chicken soup

The mee sua was under the chicken, not visible in the photograph and boy, it really was so so so very nice! I don’t know what went into the cooking of the soup – Peter just said there were “a lot of things” and I did spot some wolfberries and red dates in it.

I told him that if he had that on their menu, I would come back again and again just for this – it was that nice and I dare say I have not had any other that is of this same standard, none that can even come close. Perhaps he could have it as their Saturday special like how their lei cha is their Friday lunch special and I hear it is doing very well.

For our drinks, we were served this…

Anjung smoothie

– what they call anjung smoothie, a concoction made out of roselle, cucumber and lime and there was this birthday cake too…

Birthday cake from Marcus

There’s no mistaking who made that – the instant I shared the photograph on Facebook, somebody commented, “I see Marcus’ cake!” Yes, he’s that famous around here and even though he has been around for such a very long time (he made my wedding cake), he is still as popular today as he was way back then.

Andy did tell me that Peter would be cooking something special for the birthday celebration and for a start, we had this papaya salad…

Payung's papaya salad

…which was a whole lot nicer than the one we tried not too long ago. That time, I thought it was just all right and I would still prefer their pomelo salad but this time around, it could give the latter a really good fight plus Peter made it extra spicy so of course, my missus loved it to bits and enjoyed it so much!

There was this beef dish with kiwi fruit…

Beef with kiwi fruit

…that we also liked. I was thinking that perhaps, I could try cooking that at home and use pineapples instead. Other that the stronger taste, it is definitely a whole lot cheaper than those kiwis – they cost a bomb here, not something I would be buying to enjoy on a regular basis!

The ladies loved the sour chicken…

Payung's sour chicken
*Archive photo*

…a variation of the traditional Cantonese sour duck but the photograph I took was a little blur so I am using this one from sometime ago when I had it for lunch.

As for me, my vote went to this new creation by Peter, chicken with daun sireh (betel leaves)…

Daun sireh chicken

I thought that was very good and I was surprised for as far as I know, those leaves were bitter – Peter said that once cooked, the bitterness would be gone.

Gosh!!! We were so full after that scrumptious dinner – in fact, we were already very full after the awesomely nice mee sua but obviously, that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Thank you so very much for inviting us, Andy and to you too, Peter for this most delightful treat to celebrate Andy’s auspicious day. Happy birthday once again, Andy – hope your day was great and may you be blessed with a truly wonderful year ahead. Cheers!!!

PAYUNG CAFE (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.

Lady of Spain…

My cousin flew into town on a lightning visit before heading to Miri to visit her brother and family there after which she would head home to Brisbane, Australia.

Prior to this, she went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes in France and also to Fatima in Portugal and she brought me this fridge magnet…

Gifts from cousin

…from Spain – a Spanish dancer doing the flamenco and also the holy water from Lourdes and the Sarawak kek lapis (layer cake) from Kuching where she stopped for a couple of days before coming to Sibu.

Unfortunately, she arrived late on Saturday night as her flight was delayed and the next day, Sunday, we had to send our girl back to her school in the jungle so we could not get to go and see her till evening that day to pass her the kampua survival kit that I got for her and also to take her out for dinner.

Well, she grew up here so she had no problem at all keeping herself occupied. She said that she managed to go and eat the kampua mee and piansip here and she even went to the Sibu Central Market for the Ah John rojak and she went all over town to stock up on her supplies to bring back to Australia, like the pek ting eyok (eight treasures), for instance…and she kept saying how cheap things are here. Hmmm!!!

We took her here for dinner that night and I ordered one of their signature dishes, the chicken satay (RM9.00, RM3 per stick)…

New Dragon Seafood Restaurant chicken satay

No, I did not order extra as since they were quite big, not the regular satay size, I reckoned just one stick for each of us would be enough.

I wanted the Foochow fried noodles but was duly informed that they did not serve it here or at least that was what I understood from the mono-lingual Mandarin-speaking waitress taking our orders. My cousin seemed very keen on having that and was rather disappointed – she probably had not had it for a while now. I did hear that they did have that when they were at their former location and theirs was very good but I never got to give it a try.

Other than the satay, we had this stewed pork belly with mui choy (梅菜/preserved mustard green), RM18.00…

New Dragon Restaurant stewed pork belly with mui choy

…which my girl loved a lot but no, she can’t eat that anymore as there is soy sauce in it so it is not gluten-free.

I asked for some mantao (steamed buns) to stuff the slices of meat in and eat but I was told that for that, I would have to order their regular stewed pork belly, not this version with the mui choy…and since I just had that two nights ago, I decided I could do without the mantao then and stuck to my original order.

Personally, I was of the opinion that the serving was rather huge for three persons – three slices would be enough but I think there were six at least and since my two lady companions had a slice each, no prize for guessing who had to eat all the rest! It wouldn’t have been so bad if we had not ordered anything else…or if everyone had two slices each.

The fried cangkok manis with egg (RM8.00)…

New Dragon Seafood Restaurant fried cangkok manis with egg

…was over-watery, swimming/drowning (*delete as applicable) in the sauce/gravy and not as dry as elsewhere, but it was nice and we enjoyed it.

We always liked their steamed lajong when they were at their former location so I ordered that for my cousin to enjoy, Teochew-style…

New Dragon Seafood Restaurant steamed lajong, Teochew style

…with the salted vegetables, sour plum, tofu and all. They sure would not be able to find this very nice fish Down Under, that’s for sure and yes, they did it really well.

However, it took a very long time coming, so long that I was wondering if they had missed it out or forgotten all about it and I was contemplating on cancelling the order as we were already so full. Finally, when it made its grand appearance, I was stunned – the slab of fish was gigantic.!!! I think that would be enough for a table of 10 at a regular Chinese banquet so it was a struggle for us to finish all of it.

Now, that, of course, did not come cheap and I had to fork out RM62.00 for it – they could have given us a slab half the size at half the price, like what we used to get and what I used to pay in the past. The bill in total just made it past RM100, inclusive of rice and drinks  so I guess that was why we got this complimentary plate of watermelon…

New Dragon Seafood Restaurant compliemntary fruit

No, we did not qualify for the free ice cream, not unless the bill had gone up to over RM200.00.

It was nice seeing my cousin again – I sure hope she enjoyed what I had ordered for our dinner that night and thank you so much for the gifts.

THE NEW DRAGON SEAFOOD RESTAURANT (2.291430, 111.828736) is located along Hua Kiew Road in the first block of shops on your right behind the Sibu Central Police Station.

She’s got it…

The 17th of September is my girl’s birthday and that was last Sunday so of course, the mum cooked the chicken soup with the traditional Foochow red wine and we had that with hung ngang (the big bihun) instead of mee sua as the latter is not gluten free.

There was a lot of the noodles left over and I fried it for breakfast the other morning, with Thai fish sauce…

Gluten-free fried hung ngang

…instead of soy sauce which contains wheat and is not gluten free as well.

We could not order any cake from outside for her special day – they are all made from wheat and are not gluten-free and she did try making her own a few times before but it had not been very successful.

However, this time around, she managed to pass with flying colours – her Japanese baked cheese cake came out really well and she and her mum did the decoration with whipped cream and fresh strawberries…

Mel's own-made birthday cake

…so she did have a birthday cake…

Happy birthday

…to cut and enjoy after all.

Finally, she has succeeded in making a cake with the soft cake texture…

Melissa's Japanese baked cheese cake with icing & strawberries

…unlike some of her failed attempts before, and it tasted very nice too. The light brown colour was because she decided to use brown sugar instead of the regular sugar.

Incidentally, last weekend, she also used this cheese sauce…

Cheese sauce from Australia

…that my cousin brought all the way from Melbourne, Australia to give to me to cook some broccoli…

Broccoli cheese

…that I had in the fridge. There wasn’t all that much left so the mum asked her to add some sweet baby corn as well to come out with this lovely broccoli casserole…

Broccoli casserole

Yes, it was very nice and we all enjoyed it but being a carnivore, I thought it would be nicer to add some bacon or ham to it. That, I’m sure would bring the taste to a whole new level.

Well, her birthday was on a Sunday so we could not go out for a celebration of any kind. After enjoying the noodles and the cake that morning, we had to be on our way already, sending her back to her school in the jungle.

Mary’s Day…

It was Mary’s birthday last Sunday and she asked us to drop by her place

Flavours Thai Kitchen decor, outside

…for lunch.

We stopped by a florist’s shop on the way and I got her this little bouquet of roses…

Roses

…and I also gave her a pot of ulam raja seedlings…

Ulam raja

…from my garden (she asked me not too long ago if they were easy to plant) – nothing fancy, nothing expensive, just a simple gesture for the occasion but of course, it came straight from the heart. As they say, it’s the thought that counts, right?

Of course, we were glad to be a part of the celebration of her special day and arrived some ten or fifteen minutes before noon but when we saw the setting…

Flavours Thai Kitchen table setting

…I was wishing I had put on something less casual and more presentable but never mind!

Flowers and snacks

The company was great…

Mary & friends

…and I had a jolly good time chatting with Mary and her other guests and needless to say, I enjoyed the scrumptious dishes prepared by her authentic Thai chefs, Jos & Su.

True to the Foochow/Chinese tradition, there were these golden eggs…

Eggs

…served with some thick syrup that I guessed had honey in it and I loved the bihun

Hinghua bihun

…very much.

We also had the Thai pineapple rice…

Pineapple rice

…and this plate of fish fillet with fresh black pepper sauce…

Fish fillet with black pepper sauce

…and everyone was singing praises of the lime beef…

Lime beef

…that my girl and I had had the pleasure of trying once before.

I did not manage to snap a photograph of the vegetable dish – there were cauliflower and broccoli in it nor one of the platter of fruits that was served at the end.

Thank you so much for inviting us, Mary – that was so very sweet of you and a very Happy Birthday to you once again. All the best in the year ahead and may all your dreams come true. May God bless you and all your loved ones always, cheers!

FLAVOURS THAI KITCHEN is located on the ground floor of the ORCHID HOTEL, along Brooke Drive at its junction with Jalan Tunku Osman. You can use its main entrance at the back of the hotel building (facing Brooke Drive) or go through the lobby past the reception desk if you are using its hotel entrance.

For her…

Some of you may recall that I had the beef spaghetti

Payung Cafe beef spaghetti
*Archive photo*

…here around a week ago and my girl wanted so much to enjoy it as well but she could not as the pasta was not gluten-free.

I wanted to buy the very special bolognese sauce for her to eat with the gluten-free spaghetti…

Gluten-free from Australia
*Archive photo*

…that my cousin brought all the way from Australia for her not too long ago but Peter, the boss, did not seem all that willing to part with his existing stock and promised to cook it specially for her, extra fresh straight from the wok and he assured me that he would see to it that it would be extra nice too.

I am not a fan of the regular bolognese sauce – somehow, I would feel like eating tomato ketchup straight from the bottle and I can eat just about so much of the very cloyingly rich and creamy carbonara sauce – just a few spoonful and I would feel jelak already. I would much sooner go for aglio olio instead.

However, Peter’s special bolognese pasta sauce is nothing like the usual. There is tomato in it too but he uses fresh ones, one kilo of it with one kilo of beef, pureed and I don’t know what else goes into the cooking, probably Bombay onions, blended finely and some herbs as well. I hear there is kiwi fruit in it even and all in all, I would say that it tastes really good.

Well, true to his word, he and one of his boys, Andy, came knocking on my door on Friday last week and they passed me this…

Special Payung bolognese sauce

He had timed it in such a way so that my girl could enjoy it to her heart’s content when she came home for the weekend but unfortunately, it was our usual no-meat Friday so we had to wait until lunch the following day, Saturday.

This was what my girl had…

With gluten-free spaghetti

…with her gluten-free spaghetti and she loved it to the max!

She was getting kinda sick and tired of some of the (expensive) gluten-free stuff that she bought to eat, the biscuits or cookies and what not – they all tasted so different, the texture and taste were all not quite the same as the regular ones but she was delighted that the spaghetti was like…spaghetti.

Peter cooked her two packs of the most delightful sauce and we finished off one and she said that she would bring the other one with her back to her school in the jungle to eat with pasta or rice or maybe as a dip for some chips that she bought from a supermarket here.

I did not want to eat up her supply of the gluten-free pasta so I went and bought some angel hair and this was what I had…

With angel hair pasta

…and yes, I enjoyed it a lot too!

Thank you so much, Peter – you certainly made my girl very happy!

PAYUNG  CAFE (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.

She loves me…

My girl would get a lift from a colleague every Friday after school and head back to town. The latter would drop her off at some place convenient and the mum would go and get her…and the two ladies would go for a very very late lunch, around 3.00 p.m. and then, they would go shopping at the shops and supermarkets for fresh supplies and rations for the week ahead.

Usually, they would stop by the one that brings in all the imported stuff and my girl would come home with some of the biscuits and cookies for me to enjoy like these…

Hazelnut biscuits

…for instance, made in the Netherlands…

Made in the Netherlands

That day, she also bought me these…

Amsterdam butter cookies 1

…a product of Amsterdam…

Product of Holland

Yes, they were nice…

Amsterdam butter cookies

…but no, I did not think they would come anywhere near the celebrated Danish ones. Our local Tiger Brand cookies would be just as nice or perhaps even nicer…and even though they may not be all that cheap anymore, at least, they would be a little cheaper.

I keep telling her not to buy any for me and if she must, just get those Malaysian-made ones that are more affordable and I would enjoy some of those just as much but she insists that she derives much pleasure from getting them for me to eat.

Of course, if she goes and buy these…

Butterfingers pure butter shortbread

…pure butter shortbread, made in Australia…

Australian made and owned

…like what she did when she was home over the weekend, I shall not protest as they are indeed very nice (in my opinion, much nicer than those even more expensive Scottish ones) and worth indulging in but of course, considering the price, one would need to limit it to once in a long while, not every week.

Whatever it is, as the saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts!” Never mind whether it is nice or not, cheap or expensive, her thoughtfulness and her gesture of love and affection are what would matter the most and should indeed be very much appreciated. Well, that’s my girl for you!