Let’s get ready…

There certainly seems to be a whole lot of events going on in Sibu this year but I guess that’s to be expected considering that 2017 is Visit Sibu Year.

Not too long ago, there was the Sibu International Dance Festival and just last week, the Sibu International BASE Jump attracted jumpers from all over the world. According to the news report, there were enthusiasts from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, United Kingdom, the United States and Malaysia.

Well, the Mooncake or Lantern Festival also known as the Mid-Autumn or Zhongqiu Festival falls on the 4th of October this year and preparations are on the way at the town square

Sibu Lantern Festival 2017 1

…for a grand celebration…

Sibu Lantern Festival 2

…starting on the 3rd until the 26th.

The 1Malaysia Food Fair will be held simultaneously at the Phase 2 section of the square, right across the road.

I dropped by the other evening…

Sibu Lantern Festival 2017 3

…to have a look and it being the Year of the Cockerel this year, this…

Sibu Lantern Festival 2017 4

…has been given centre stage.

There were still a lot of people working on them but that did not stop members of the public of all colour and creed  from crowding around and posing to have their snapshots taken…

Sibu Lantern Festival 2017 5

These are lanterns made of cloth…

Sibu Lantern Festival 2017 6

…and of course, our Sibu iconic symbol, the Swan…

Sibu Lantern Festival 2017 7

…has not been left out but my favourite would be these elegant-looking butterflies…

Sibu Lantern Festival 2017 8

I am very sure they would look very nice when lighted up at night…

Sibu Lantern Festival 2017 9

…but I guess the only way to find out would be to drop by when everything is ready.

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Come over…

2017 is Visit Sibu Year and Bubu

Bubu

…the friendly crocodile, is the official mascot.

I stumbled upon this very nice display at one of the shopping malls in town the other day. It probably has been there for sometime, just that I did not drop by…or walk past that way and hence, I did not see it before this.

I thought it was very nicely done – I could see the buah dabai (our local black olives)

Dabai and all the rest

…and the duku or langsat and it amazed me to see how cleverly they managed to replicate the hairs on the rambutans. Can you spot our famous/infamous delicacy, the sago worm?

There is the buah manggis (mangosteen) and buah nangka (jackfruit) in this section…

The Hornbill and more

…and the pitcher plant aka monkey pot alongside a nice carving of the Hornbill, our state bird, and you can see the midin (wild jungle fern) here, there and everywhere.

Well, it is already September, less than four months left in the year so what are you all waiting for? Come over and find out for yourself all that this little town has in store for you.

If you come over now, there is a new attraction, a new pasar malam (night market) at the Sungai Merah Heritage Walk…

Sungai Merah

…where the Lovers’ Bridge is located…

Lovers' Bridge

One of the NGO’s here has set up this structure…

LOVE Garden

…in the vicinity…

Lock the Love

…so couples can attach their pairs of padlocks…

Padlocks

…onto the frame. I think I did see them selling those at a stall/booth close by so no worries, you do not have to bring your own.

As for the night market proper, I don’t know if we were too early that day or many of the booths/stalls were still vacant, yet to be rented out. There was one selling soya bean products…

Soya Bean stall

…and another one specialising in the bak kua (barbecued sliced pork)…

Loong Kee

…one of the better known names in Kuala Lumpur.

I was glad to see this guy wearing a mask…

Hygienic

…while doing the grilling. That is a good hygienic practice, I must say. Unfortunately, he was not doing it over some hot burning charcoal…

Pork satay

…but nonetheless, my missus did buy the pork satay (RM2.00 per stick) from him to try. It was very tasty but a bit too salty for our liking.

You can get to enjoy some fried chicken at this stall…

MR Fried Chicken

…if that tickles your fancy and there is kompia

Kompia stall

…our so-called Foochow bagel, at this one and there are chicken claws…

Chicken claws

…available here. Eyewwwww!!! No, thank you!

This one selling rojak and kompia and a lot of other fried stuff as well seemed to draw quite a lot of people…

Free testing

…and as I went closer to have a look, I could see what the attraction was. Free testing! No, I did not bother to sample anything – by then, I was feeling a bit hot and uncomfortable so we decided not to go any further. I think there is a stall further up selling roast chicken or duck or whatever – I could see something like that in the distance and no, we did not feel like having that either.

The sun was setting…

Setting sun

…when we crossed the bridge and went back to where I had parked the car and left.

As far as pasar malams or night markets go, I do feel that the main one in the town centre has an edge over this one – for one thing, there are a lot more things, especially our local Sibu/Foochow delights and on the whole, it is more interesting.

Having said that, you may want to check out this one if you are keen but most people who come here will probably stay for a weekend and maybe a day or two more so they may not have the luxury of time. Besides, if one is staying at a hotel, chances are he or she would be at the town centre, quite a distance from here and it would not be so convenient to drop by unless one has one’s own transport…or a local resident, be it a relative or a friend, to bring them here.

Temple of the king…

The Jade Dragon Temple or the the Yu Lung San Tien En Si Temple (玉龍山天恩寺) is located 27 km away from Sibu town. It is believed to be the largest not only in Malaysia but in South-east Asia as well, comprising 3 different forms of practice under one roof – Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.

The colourful wall fronting the main Sibu-Mukah/Bintulu & Miri road has a nice dragon design…

Dragon on the wall

…on top.

There are a few big temples inside including this one…

Temple 2

…and this one…

Temple 2

…for instance, and other interesting structures…

Possibly, acknowledgements

…and arches…

Arch

…and pavilions…

Pavilion

…all over the sprawling compound and some intricate carvings (or carved tiles) and lovely paintings…

Fairies

…here and there…

7 fairies crossing the sea

There is also this circle of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac/horoscope surrounding a feng shui ball…

Chinese zodiac animals & feng shui ball

Probably, there is a fountain in the middle but it was not turned on when we were there that morning.

I did mention in an earlier post that we would drive past every Sunday when we sent our girl back to her school some 99 km away from Sibu but we never stopped by despite having heard a lot about this place of interest. That was why when my blogger friend, Nick, from Sungai Petani in Kedah, was here, I took the chance to come here on a visit.

If I am not wrong, this had been earmarked as a must-visit for tourists to Sibu but when I looked around at the place, I was somewhat disappointed by the dire need for good and proper maintenance. Some of the tiles had come off or were cracked or badly stained and there was some litter here and there. The toilets were obviously hardly ever used, not exactly dirty but I would not say they were very clean – as a matter of fact, the one that my missus used was not functioning properly – there was no water in the tank.

I don’t know if there is a permanent staff there to look after these things – I did see some building material and equipment being dumped all over the place but there wasn’t anybody working other than the two guys who were giving the wall a new coat of paint. 2017 being Visit Sibu Year, the authorities concerned should get into action quickly to spruce up the place so that it…

View of the main road from inside

…would be truly a place worth visiting while one is in Sibu.

The day you went away…

Nick went to Mukah for over a day to visit some university mates of his there so I was not able to see him, Thursday, and all too soon, it was time for him to leave.

We went to pick him up at the hotel early Friday morning. The initial plan was to go for dim sum at a restaurant nearby but I thought he would like to try another of our local Foochow delight instead as he would be able to find dim sum quite easily here, there and everywhere, even very much nicer ones, perhaps. However, this place was not open yet – it opens at 8.00 a.m. so we went back to where we came, the hotel where he was staying, to a coffee shop in that same block. I wanted him to try the zhao chai hung ngang (RM30.00)…

Tung Lok zhao chai hung ngang, prawn

– the big bihun in the sourish and slightly spicy preserved vegetable soup there. I asked for the udang galah (giant freshwater prawns) seeing that he did not get to enjoy the one in Sarikei so this was like killing two birds with one stone.

Yes, he liked it and he loved the prawn – he said it was very firm and very fresh. This was quite big – it had legs, anything smaller would not have those but according to the lady, one could opt for the bigger sizes going for RM45.00 a bowl up to even RM60.00 depending on the size of the prawn. I did not specify when I ordered so they just gave us the “smallest” they had.

My missus had the same but with fish – tapah (RM12.00)…

Zhao chai hung ngang, fish

…but I am not really into this so I opted for something else. If I am not mistaken, as far as this Sibu Foochow specialty is concerned, this place…

Tung Lok Corner Sibu

…is among the best, if not THE best, in town. It used to be here attracting customers by the droves but it moved here sometime ago in the same block as the hotel where Nick was staying…

Medan Hotel Sibu Bus Terminal

…at the other end, facing the Sibu Bus Terminal directly and they have been here since, still enjoying that same popularity as before.

I had the Foochow fried noodles with fish – tapah (RM12.00)…

Tung Lok Foochow fried noodles, tapah

…and yes, it was very nice but as far as the noodles were concerned, I would say I would prefer a few elsewhere.

Some paternal cousins of mine love the kampua noodles here so much so that they would bring any visiting siblings or cousins here every day for this. That was why I ordered a plate with pian sip mee (RM2.80)…

Tung Lok pian sip kampua

…but no, I certainly would not go there again for this and as a matter of fact, we left most of it behind, unfinished.

After having had our fill, we drove Nick to visit the Yu Lung San Tien En Si Temple Complex

Nick at the temple complex, Sibu

…reputed to be the biggest in South-east Asia. It is a little out of town but just around 5 minutes from the roundabout near the airport – on the way to Mukah or Bintulu or to my girl’s jungle school. We drove past every week for so many years but we never did stop by to walk around. That was why I was glad to get the chance this time around and I did take a lot of photographs while we were there – I may share them in a later post, we’ll see.

After a brief stop at the new township, also near the airport, Sibu Jaya, we dropped Nick off to catch his flight…

Nick at Sibu Airport, departure

…home.

I must say I had a jolly good time myself though it was somewhat limited and we could have done a lot more things if I did not have my filial duties at this point in time…and I certainly would love to welcome Nick back again someday to tie up whatever loose ends left dangling. Thanks for coming, Nick. I do hope I’ll be seeing you again…soon.

Not enough time…

On his third day here, Nick wanted to go to Mukah to visit his former university mates there but the bus was scheduled to leave at around noon which meant that I just had that morning to squeeze in whatever I could while he was here in Sibu, Sarawak.

I took him to Rejang Park here to see the making of the so-called Foochow bagel, our kompia

Making kompia, Rejang Park
*Archive photo*

…the traditional way and of course, we went to that one with the nice and friendly young boy, complete with his signature towel apron. Yes, I did get some and also a few of the softer and slightly sweet version, the chu nu miang, for Nick to try. Personally, I like the kompia here the best – crustier, not so chewy or rubbery, and more fragrant.

Next, I took him to the Sibu Central Market, reputed to be the biggest in the country, but no, we did not have that much time to go round the whole place. He just hopped out of the car to walk around quickly to see what he could see, take photographs the street art mural on the wall there…

Sibu Central market newspaper chicken & duck
*Archive photo*

…and the famed newspaper-wrapped chickens…

Newspaper-wrapped chickens
*Archive photo*

…and we were on our way.

After that, we stopped by here…

Wan Jia He Cafe

…for breakfast.

I picked this place as he wanted anything and everything Sibu – he did not want to go to any place that is Thai, Italian, Indian, Indonesian and all the rest that we have here, never mind how good they are as he can get those quite easily elsewhere, everywhere…and here, I could order a few of our local Foochow delights for him to try.

These were our drinks…

Drinks

I had my usual kopi-o-peng kao and he had the teh-c special once again. Yes, you may notice that mug of hot boiling water at the back – Nick did manage to go here (located somewhere behind the hotel where he  was staying) for the kampua mee and the pian sip on his own before he caught a bus to Sarikei that day and he sent me a photograph of the one he was given there asking me what that was for. I quickly replied to tell him that was not for drinking but for people to sterilise their chopsticks and forks and spoons – this is a requirement imposed by our municipal council on all eateries here.

I ordered the char bee lau too kha (fragrant root pork leg)…

Char bee lau too kha

…but no, Nick is not all that fond of those Chinese herbal soups so I could understand jolly well why he did not enjoy that very much.

He loved the mee sua in our traditonal Foochow red wine chicken soup…

Mee sua in traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup 1

…though. He said it…

Mee sua in traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup 2

…was a whole lot nicer than the blood-red red wine mee sua he had some place else, but he could not remember exactly where.

However, his favourite was the Foochow fried noodles…

Foochow fried noodles

…as this dish has a much stronger taste than the mee sua and he liked that. The place was packed, so full of people that it was difficult getting a table and obviously, the lady was so very busy with all that cooking to be done, dishing out plate after plate, non-stop so she did not have time to worry about the presentation. It tasted really very good though – in my personal opinion, I would rank it as the best…or at least, among the top 3 in town.

Another thing that amazed me immensely was how I could just tell her my orders and my table number and she could remember everything without having to write it down…plus we did not have to wait long even though there were so many people that early in the morning, around 8.00 a.m!

Having had our fill, I took Nick here to snap a shot of the rooster…

Farley Chinese New Year rooster
*Archive photo*

He was in luck! They were beginning to take down the decorations as the Chinese New Year festivities were over but before that, we did stop here as well – the Kutien Memorial Park…

Nick at Kutien Memorial Park, Sibu 1

He sure took a lot of photographs there…

Nick at Kutien Memorial Park Sibu 2

…and he was particularly impressed by how Chinese the place was, like some place one would be most likely to find in China…

Nick at Kutien Memorial Park, Sibu 3

…right here in our good ol’ Sibu town.

Having done all that, I sent him back to the hotel so he could rest a bit and get ready for his bus ride to Mukah.

Rain, rain, rain…

I was able to get away every day from around 4.00 to 6.00 p.m. so on the first day my friend, Nick, was in town, I went and picked him up at the hotel and took him here…

Sungai Merah Sibu

– Sungai Merah, the Red River, reputed to be the spot where the earliest Foochow settlers landed when they came to Sibu and we did manage to hop over to the Wong Nai Siong Memorial Park there…

Wong Nai Siong Memorial Part
*Archive photo*

…and Nick had a photograph of his taken at the so-called Lovers’ Bridge…

Nick at Lovers' Bridge

…before it started to rain cats and dogs. Gosh!!! It literally poured and there were flash floods everywhere and though we did drop by our impressive-looking university here, we just drove around and left. There was no way we could get out of the car to walk around and take photographs and do whatever else we might want to do there.

Seeing that visibility was low from inside the car, I did not see any point in driving around so I took Nick here…

Noodle House Sibu
*Archive photo*

…for the deep fried kompia stuffed with stewed pork belly (RM5.20, exclusive of GST)…

Noodle House kompia pork belly

…and yes, he liked it! I do not recall it being this expensive though – I guess like everything else around here these days, the price has gone up too.

He enjoyed the mille crepe, rum & raisin (RM7.80, exclusive of GST)…

Noodle House mille crepe, rum & raisin

…too and for one who has tasted the celebrated mille crepes in Malacca to say that the one here is good is truly a compliment, I must say. Now, this is what food bloggers and foodies will usually do before they get down to eating what they have ordered…

Nick at Noodle House

Hehehehehe!!!!

He did not want to try the macarons but I insisted on ordering this – their chocolate lava cake (RM9.50, exclusive of GST)…

Noodle House chocolate lava cake 1

…and yes, he loved it…

Noodle House chocolate lava cake 2

…a lot!

By the time we  finished, it had stopped raining so I took Nick to the Tua Pek Kong wharf to see the floating grocery stores…

Sibu floating shops
*Archive photo*

…but I think it was rather late already and all of them would be closed. He did drop by the temple…

Tua Pek Kong temple, Sibu
*Archive photo*

…but it was already after 5.30 p.m. so he could not climb up the 7-storey pagoda for a bird’s eye view of Sibu town…and I did tell him not to miss the very nice park right behind the temple…

Park behind Tua Pek Kong temple, Sibu
*Archive photo*

His plan was to walk over to the pasar malam (night market)…

Pasar Malam, Sibu
*Archive photo*

…a stone’s throw away but I heard he was somewhat disappointed as most of the stalls were not open owing to the heavy downpour earlier. Of course, I could not go along with him as I had to rush quickly to my parents’ house to be with my dad for the rest of the evening and all through the night so poor Nick had to make his way around and back to the hotel on his own.

That spirit of Christmas…

I dropped by the mall near my house again the other day, the one with the somewhat minimal Christmas decoration but this time around, I was pleasantly surprised to see this house…

Delta Mall Christmas House

…there and this was what it looked like inside…

Delta Mall, Christmas House, inside 1

That sure was a welcome addition to the solitary Christmas tree, the cardboard cut-out snowmen and the rest

Delta Mall Christmas House, inside 2

…and I did see some people happily taking selfies and wefies of themselves with this in the background.

It was that very same day that the poslaju van stopped outside my house to deliver this…

From Phong Hong 1

…from my blogger friend, Phong Hong.

I certainly would agree with this…

The best people

people who love 2 eat are always the best people. Aren’t we all? Wink! Wink!

Inside, she had gone through all that trouble to so very generously send me these awesome bacon products…

From Phong Hong 2

…and a very lovely Christmas card. Yes, that’s right! Bacon! I have yet to try any of the three but if it’s bacon, I am pretty sure that they’re going to be good!

Thank you so very much, Phong Hong. Sorry, I didn’t send you anything but no worries, should I happen to come across anything here that can be sent and is worth sending, I will most certainly do that. A Blessed Christmas to you and all your loved ones. Cheers!!!