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Well, Hari Raya Puasa/Aidilifitri came and went but I did not get to drop by any of the houses to visit my Muslim friends, not even my family members for the simple reason that it had been so so so very hot here. I cannot imagine myself all dressed up nicely and dripping in my perspiration, feeling so uncomfortable. That, of course, meant that I did not get to enjoy all the lovely dishes, cakes and cookies but no, all was not lost!

I had just got up from my nap that afternoon when I got a call from my girl’s coursemate originally from Trengganu but posted to a school here in Sibu. He told me he would be sending some stuff over and he did! That was so very sweet and thoughtful of him to want to share some of the Raya goodies with me, thank you so very much to him for the really nice gesture.

There were these different types of kek lapis (layer cakes) and other steamed cakes…

Cakes

I don’t know what those brown ones at the far end were but they were very nice – my favourite of the lot! My missus liked those colourful squares – she said they were not as sweet as the rest.

No, I did not save any for my girl who would be coming home for the weekend the following day as I would not think she would be all that excited over these cakes. However, she saw the photo that I shared on Facebook and was looking forward to the kelupis

Kelupis & rendang ayam

…that were so good and went absolutely well with the very lovely chicken rendang and these, I saved till she got back so we could enjoy them together. The usual kelupis that we may get around here is a little different – they use the palas leaf and I think there would be much more santan too. These, I’ve been told, are the Limbang-style ones. I don’t know what leaf they use, the nyirik leaf, it is called and it looks something like lengkuas leaf or the bamboo leaves we use to wrap our chang (dumplings).

I did not save the fried bihun

Bihun & mantis prawns

…for her either – I had that for breakfast that morning and she would only be back in the house by mid-afternoon or evening…but I did keep the mantis prawns, cooked butter prawn-style, for her and yes, they were very nice too.

That weekend went past pretty quietly – just the usual routine stuff except for lunch on Saturday – my girl said she wanted her favourite beef noodles and dumplings here so of course, whatever she wants, she will get! I did not feel like having those so I ordered a plate of the nasi lemak biasa (RM3.00)…

YummyKafe nasi lemak biasa

…for myself. I shall refrain from making any comment on the egg but no, the rice was nothing great. Luckily, the very nice sambal

Sambal

…saved the day. It also helped a great deal that I had ordered the rojak (RM4.00)…

Rojak

…as well so when I ate it all together, it sure made up for the not-all-that-nice nasi lemak. The aforementioned prices were those that I saw displayed at the stall but when I asked the boy for the total, he said RM8.00. I did not bother to ask and just paid quietly so I really do not know why I had been charged that extra one ringgit – maybe like most everybody else, they’ve increased the prices as well.

My missus ordered the sizzling noodles (RM6.00)…

YummyKafe sizzling noodles

…from the stall at the back of that coffee shop except that when it was served, the hot plate did not seem all that hot nor was the gravy sizzling. Well, she did not say anything so I guess it was all right and besides, there were two very big prawns…

Prawn

…that came alongside the other ingredients.

Other than that lunch that we had outside, we ate at home the rest of the time and the next day, Sunday, we sent my girl back to her school as usual.

She wants…

That day, my girl said that she felt like having porridge for lunch so we drove to this shop in Sg Merah but it was sold out. That was why we had to go some place else and ended up here…

Mei Le Cafe

…in the block of shops on your left (2.312981,111.847242) as soon as you turn into Jalan Gambir from Jalan Pedada.

The kampua noodles here used to be really very good with a touch of fried garlic added but the guy is no longer doing it, it seems. He is still around though and is currently handling the drinks in that coffee shop while his kampua noodle stall has been taken over by somebody else…

Kampua chain

the guy here though I would not say that I liked his very much even though I notice that he has taken over quite a few of the kampua noodle stalls in town.

We come here quite often as the roast meat stall is one of our favourite in town and we do frequent this stall…

Mei Le stall

…time and again too.

In the end, my girl got her meat porridge…

Mei Le meat porridge

…after all but she did not want any century egg to go with it – I would love that very much. Anyway, there was one poached egg inside that bowl so I guess that was enough for her.

I decided to try their hung ngang (big bihun)…

Hung ngang

…in the traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup…

Hung ngang in Foochow red wine chicken soup

…a welcome change from the usual mee sua and yes, it was very good.

My missus ordered the Foochow fried noodles (RM4.00)…

Mei Le Foochow fried noodles

…from the chu-char (cook and fry) place at the back and yes, it was very good plus it was cheap and had a lot of added ingredients. I don’t know how many people have taken over that place now, no less than 3 or 4, if I remember correctly, and none lasted very long. I walked around and I saw somebody having their fried kway teow, wet/with sauce and it looked pretty good too and so were the dishes that some people were having with rice for their lunch that day. Hopefully, we can drop by one day to give those a try as well.

Then, on another day, my girl wanted Sarawak laksa for lunch so we went and had the one (RM5.00)…

Aloha Sarawak laksa

here (2.293632,111.826954). This is one of the most popular, if not THE most popular in town and of course, she enjoyed it.

The mum had the same but I decided to try the beef noodle special (RM8.00)…

Aloha beef noodles 1

…from another stall at that same shop.

It was, at best, quite nice – what it lacked in the beef taste and fragrance in the soup, it made up for it with all the meat, tripe and tendon…

Aloha beef noodles 2

…in the bowl and I sure did enjoy those very much.

The week-long Hari Raya holidays were coming to an end – the very next day, we had to send my girl back to her school as she had extra classes from her Year 6 pupils that afternoon…and school would reopen the very nexy day. That, of course, meant that life would go back to the same old routine and I would not be going around here, there and everywhere eating this and that so much…except when my girl comes home for the weekends and I sure am looking forward to it each passing week.

Don’t ask me…

Don’t ask me what’s good when it comes to Korean food – other than our Korean fried chicken franchise here, when I was in Seoul a long long time ago in the winter, it was so cold and we enjoyed the mee sua in ginseng chicken soup and their traditional wine so much that we asked for that every meal every day during our stay there. Other than that, I had it once in Auckland, New Zealand and I thought it was pretty good but no, I did not like the kim chi. I do not even like the one my missus would make again and again despite fave reviews from all over but I would say that I loved it when she used it to fry some meat, pork or chicken…or to cook some fried rice. But for me, eating it straight is totally out of the question.

Anyway, that did not stop me from going to try this new Korean place in town. Let me rephrase that – my girl and the mum are so into anything Korean these days and they could not wait to go and try but it was a Wednesday and according to their Facebook page, they would be closed. Nonetheless, I just smsed them using a number that I found somewhere on their page to ask (seeing that they were closed that Monday for whatever reason), “Open tonight?” And they promptly replied, “Ya!” Off we went in the heavy rain – of all the days, it had to rain that night when it had been hot and dry almost every other day. Tsk! Tsk! When we got there, we saw a sign on the door saying that it was closed. Talk about starting off on the wrong foot! Well, that night, we ended up here eventually and since we enjoyed what we had there, we got over the initial displeasure soon enough.

Actually, they keep saying that they are not officially open yet, that they are still trailling their dishes and tweaking the menu. They do not even have a shop sign up! However, they do have a website, other than their Facebook page…and everybody seems to know about it. Everytime we drove past, we would see a lot of people eating there – it is on the first floor…

Oppa BBQ Sibu

…above that very popular coffee place, opposite this building on the other side of the road…

Kin Orient Plaza

And that was what I was told a long time ago!

Well, finally, we managed to drop by one Saturday evening after the sunset service at the church not that far away. It was way past 8.00 p.m. already but opening hours would be from 6.00 to 9.30 p.m. so we reckoned we would have enough time and yes, we did! It was a nice place, pretty basic, nice and simple and the only thing Korean in the decor was this nice thing that I spotted hanging on the wall…

Korean

Other than that, there were a lot of posters of those K-pop boy bands and stars though I wished they had not put those up as they made the place look kind of tacky. It would be perfectly all right to have such posters, or ones that are a bit nicer, on the bedroom walls of some star-stuck teenager girl or boy, not at a fine, classy restaurant.

Of course, what’s most important would be the food so let us look at our orders. As soon as we had taken our seats and asked for what we wanted, we were given these sides…

Oppa BBQ sides

…and free flow of tea. I hear that they would keep refilling but no, we did not manage to finish them at all. Of course I did not touch the kim chi but my girl and her mum declared that the latter’s was a cut above what they served here. I was fine with everything else – the sausages, the pickled cucumber slices, the seaweed and even the fried ikan bilis and the taucheo (fermented bean paste) was a great help in enhancing the taste of some of the things that we had!

The pajeon seafood pancake (RM15.00)…

Pajeon seafood pancake

…was served first and it was, at best, all right. Ah well, how could anything cooked with egg be not all right? I would say it was a tad too oily for my liking though. They could have let it stand on some kitchen towels for a while before serving…and it sure looks a whole lot nicer in their photograph of the same on Facebook. Probably the chef forgot to flip it over…and for that kind of money, I would expect a lot more prawns or whatever seafood…

Pajeon 2

…than the miserable bits that took quite a bit of effort to detect.

The dolsot bibimbap (RM18.00)…

Bibimbap

…was all right too but there was too much for the three of us to finish – we ordered two!!! Why? Well, I asked the waiter and he insisted that it was a serving for one and there would not be enough. He was rather persistent in insisting that we should order a second bowl so I relented. I guess it would be just nice for a person if one does not order anything else but we did!

The sam gyoub sal (RM12.00)…

Sam gyoub sal

…wasn’t anything to shout about. I may be wrong but it came across like just lightly-grilled pork marinated with salt and pepper. I would prefer crispy lettuce instead and the taucheo sure came in handy here – it did taste quite good after I put it all together and rolled everything up and ate.

The jab chae (RM18.00)…

Jab chae

…was so very sweet that each of us tried a little bit and basically left the whole lot on the plate.

This…

Gal bi tang

…was about the only thing that truly got our thumbs up – their gal bi tang (RM21.00). The soup was really good but unfortunately, some of the beef was so tough we just had to leave it by the side of our bowls…for fear of breaking a tooth or two!

An ex-colleague of mine was here sometime ago and he shared a photograph of what he had on Facebook. I quickly asked him how it was and he replied, “So-so! Expensive. Service is good.” I would say that I do agree with him – our bill that night came up to a whooping RM102.00 and that certainly was not cheap and what we had sure did not sweep us off our feet. Personally I do feel we could have gone for something a whole lot nicer elsewhere with that kind of money but then again, it may be because I am not really into this kind of cuisine…so perhaps, others would go for the same and like it a lot more that I did.

Here today gone tomorrow…

My girl said that she wanted kampua noodles…

Ah Sian kampua kosong

…that day so of course, we would go for the one here – this seems like the only place in town where she would enjoy the noodles with the beef soup…

Ah Sian beef soup special

Despite being born and raised all her life in Sibu, she is not exactly fond of THE main attraction of this little Foochow town. Yes, she would not mind having it time and time again but no, she will not go out of her way for it and more often than not, she would rather opt for something else that may be available.

The mum had the same too but I did not feel like it. I was thinking of something along the lines of the claypot noodles that my missus had the last time we were here. Unfortunately, those were no longer available, it seemed. Huh? Here today, gone tomorrow…so so soon! Perhaps the one doing it had moved elsewhere which I think would be very likely, considering all the new eating places sprouting out here, there and everywhere these days.

However, they had something else now that they did not have before – this (RM5.50)…

Ah Sian stewed pork rice

– the stewed pork rice…that my friend, Alfred, in Singapore said in his comment on Facebook was Taiwan-influenced, served this way. Well, I wouldn’t know as I had not been to Taiwan for years and years – when I was there, my girl was not even born yet! As far as I know, they serve it more or less the same way here

Noodle House stewed pork rice

…and theirs is just as nice so we would go for it sometime but of course, it would be a lot more expensive plus there is GST there now.

The stewed pork belly…

Ah Sian pork belly

…was good though I know many would shudder at the sight of the fat – perhaps, they should read some of the current articles on that but whatever it is, as always, I would subscribe to the maxim that moderation is the key – once in a long while is all right, not too often…and definitely not every day, the way how some people must have a plate of kampua noodles every day to keep them going, not me!

Of course, I loved the stewed egg…

Ah Sian stewed egg

– I enjoy that without fail every time…and I also ordered a bowl of the aforementioned beef soup to go with this.

That sure was a delightful lunch for the three of us, RM25.00 only in total (inclusive of drinks).

P.S.:
I was checking out my site stats that day when I spotted this link. Gee! I’ve been featured in an article in that online newspaper but it is in Mandarin…and coincidentally, it is on this very shop that I have blogged about a number of times now.

One of many…

This is one of the many all over town…

SCR Sg Merah 1

…located near Sungai Merah (2.327275,111.840791), somewhere opposite the Catholic and SIB churches there. I’ve been to one of their spin-off, the Xpress outlet here and here and enjoyed what we had on those two occasions though I wish I could say the same about the third time we went there.

For one thing, where these franchise places are concerned, much may depend on the resident chefs. We may be cooking the exact same thing but what I dish out may be a whole lot nicer than yours…and other than that, the food may be really good for a while but once the chef has left, it would all go downhill all the way.

Anyway, we were passing by here that day…

SCR Sg Merah 2

…and we thought we would just stop by to give this one…

SCR Sg Merah 3

…a try.

One thing that is consistent across the board is their chili dip…

SCR chili dip

– you can drop by any one of their outlets and there would surely be a lot for you to help yourself to and one is as good as the other…but the chicken rice we had that day (RM2.10 per plate)…

SCR chicken rice

…was so so good. The moment the plates were placed in front of us, we could detect the very delightful fragrance, something we had not experienced before at any of their other outlets that we had been to in the past.

We ordered their sweet and sour fish (RM10.20)…

SCR sweet & sour fish

…and yes, it was very nice though I would not say it is the best in town. For one thing, the serving is a little too big for the three of us and there is no option – whether one would like it small, medium or large.

Of course, I could not resist their stewed eggs (RM1.25 each)…

SCR stewed eggs

…and yes, I did enjoy that.

My girl enjoyed this snack platter (RM10.40)…

SCR snack platter

– she likes anything deep-fried…but the fish ball soup (RM7.00)…

SCR fish ball soup

…that I enjoyed very much at the other place was not as great here – I thought there was a little bit too much pepper in it for my liking.

The paku (jungle fern) with belacan (dried prawn paste), RM7.75…

SCR paku belacan

…was fine, not as nice as the midin we had, but it was all right though I did wish they had put in a little effort to make it a bit more presentable.

The bill came up to RM44.15 for the food and rice alone (excluding GST) which I would think is very reasonable considering the amount that we had ordered but on the whole, I think I prefer the other place more.

Touch of class…

This place…

LaDoree

…has been opened for a few months now but no, I never stopped by to check it out.

Why, you may ask? Well, so far only two Facebook friends shared photographs of the place. I asked one how it was and he replied, “Menu, one page only.” Another one showed a snapshot of what he ate and it looked quite good but when I asked, he said, “Expensive, chicken rice,” and one would be able to sense the disdain in the response. In the meantime, I was told that people had been sharing pics of what they ate here on Instagram and everything looked very good. Well, I wouldn’t know as I do not have a smartphone nor an Instagram account so I do not get to see all of them.

For one thing, it looks like a really posh place, real classy and I would feel like a fish out of water as I never bother to dress up nicely whenever I go out plus it did seem kind of crowded (and bright) everytime we drove past. Nevertheless, the other day, I decided to just go and give it a try.

There was this beauty parked right in front…

Harley

– I gathered that it belonged to the owner/chef and yes, inside, it was really very elegant…

LaDoree inside

…with a kind of continental setting and ambiance somewhat. I would say it was real classy but no, it is no fine dining kind of place. The crowd came in, all more or less dressed like me…and made themselves at home, if you can catch the drift. I met an ex-student there – that boy in black behind the counter. He had finished his tertiary education and was there to help out – his brother-in-law and sister are the owners – while waiting for his convocation later in the year.

They had set lunches that day though I am not too sure if that is an everyday thing. Nobody wanted the spaghetti, aglio olio with a sausage…so my girl and the mum both went for the chicken with mushroom sauce…

Chicken with mushroom sauce

…served with rice (RM12.90)…

with rice

…and a free drink, iced lemon tea. Rice? Yes, you heard right! No, nobody said it would be some western fare…even though one look at the place, one would expect nothing else but that. The chicken was nice though and the mushroom sauce was very good – I did try a bit and I thought it tasted…oriental, a perfect match for the rice by the side.

I saw there was nasi lemak (RM13.90)…

Nasi lemak

…on the menu and instantly, I said I wanted that. I had yet to find one that I, without a second thought, would want to go back for more.

The sambal was very good though I would prefer it to be a lot spicier – I think I like the one here more but the chicken rendang

Chicken rendang

…was simply out of this world, very very nice.

As for the rice…

The rice

…I would say it was the best around, a little more lemak (rich with santan/coconut milk) than the others and it was not dry and hard like many of the rest.

Sky juice/iced water was 50 sen a glass and the total came up to RM40.20, no GST here…but no, I had to fork out that miserable 20 sen to pay all that is due on the bill! *frown*

It seems that they have a separate/different menu for dinner here and I did have a glance at it and yes, they do have a lot more stuff that is a lot more western so it sure looks like I will have to drop by another time…in the evening to see what’s good or otherwise here. Stick around!

One after another…

Say what you want about the country’s flagging economy, some people certainly seem to be doing very well at this point in time. First, there was this café and then came this supermarket. Word has it that they’ve opened a chicken rice place right across the road opposite the supermarket but I have not been to anywhere around that area so I can’t confirm this but what I do know for sure is that they have a brand new food court…

Bateras Food Court

…here (2.297275,111.824849), right across the road from the Kin Orient Plaza (old Sing Kwong). Well, I would not say it is some fancy food court, just a big coffee shop and a very very big one at that with lots and lots of stalls.

I saw the kampua lady from here but she is no longer selling the noodles – probably somebody else has beaten her to it and is running a stall selling that so she has to sell something else. I am not sure what else she is selling now but I do know they have Sarawak laksa as when I was there around noontime, they were closed for the day and I saw the hubby or somebody frying the egg…

Frying

…and he said it was for the laksa the following day…

Done

Now, THAT, I must say, is the way to do it! The egg must be fried really really thin, like popiah skin, and then cut into very thin strips to garnish the bowl of Sarawak laksa together with very thinly-shredded chicken, taugeh (bean sprouts)and all. It seems that people are not so concerned about doing it like this these days so don’t be surprised to see many serving you their bowl of Sarawak laksa in their very coarse, somewhat unrefined and not too presentable ways.

At another stall, there is this lady who used to sell what many claimed to be the best kampua noodles and Sarawak laksa in town at her stall at a coffee shop opposite the school that I was attached to before I retired and then she moved elsewhere and the last I heard she was at this coffee shop in Sg Merah. Word had it that she was unwell so the husband had to run the business on his own and eventually, he too left. I did not know where they went to after that but I sure was glad to see the wife again, looking very strong and healthy, with the hubby and sons helping out at her stall. Of course, she cannot sell those two anymore as obviously, others are already doing it but on the sign at her stall, it looks like she is now selling sotong kangkong and some other stuff.

The place opens from 7.00 a.m. till 11.00 p.m., so I’ve been told, and yes, there are lots and lots of stalls but be forewarned that some open only in the morning and some only at night and like most elsewhere, they may close one day in the week.

My girl had the tom yam fish hung ngang (big bihun)…

Tom yam fish hung ngang

…from one of the stalls and she said it was good but she liked the one here a lot better.

I decided to try the dry bak kut teh

Dry bak kut teh

…from this stall…

Stall

…and it came with a plate of rice, RM9.00 altogether…

Rice

…while my missus had their bak kut teh noodles (RM6.00)…

BKT noodles

Both of us thought what we had were all right but we could hardly detect the herbal taste and it came across like our regular stewed pork or something along those lines. I would say that what we had here were very much better.

We may or may not drop by again but if we do, we certainly would like to try something else from the other stalls. I guess that is one drawback setting up a stall at a big place like this – most would want to hop from one stall to the other to try and if yours is among the best there is, it would be quite sometime before they come back to yours again…if they have not decided to just go elsewhere after a couple of disappointments in the meantime.