Outright…

In my post a couple of days ago, I did say I would be blogging about this place…

Outright Coffee, this way

…again.

When we were there that morning, I saw in their display cabinet that they had beef pies priced at RM8.00 upwards but I was too full to eat anything at that point in time. My missus went to their bakery, back to back to this place with a hotel on top to look around and she came back with this beef and potato pie…

Outright Coffee beef & potato pie

…and another one with cheese. It seems that they would sell the unsold ones at the bakery at half the price. Now, that sure is a steal!

The pastry was very nice…

Outright Coffee beef & potato pie, inside

…and there was so much beef inside…

Outright Coffee beef & potato pie, filling

I enjoyed it very much and I would say that it’s value for money even at its original price. I have tried the other one with cheese, no potatoes – my missus said it was nicer but I prefer this one probably because I love those tubers with the beef.

In the meantime, let’s take a tour of the place. I am very sure anyone dropping by would not fail to notice the greenery…

Outright Coffee, greenery

…all around. I heard that Dennis, the owner, bought the plants from Peter, the boss of Payung, and it is good that he takes good care of them. I’ve heard of people buying from Peter too but eventually, all the lovely plants withered away and died. As a matter of fact, Dennis was outside when we got there that day, busy with the watering.

I liked this one…

Outright Coffee, plant

…and this one with the little purple flowers…

Outright Coffee, plant with purple flowers

…too and this gave me an idea – perhaps I could plant some wild ferns…

Outright Coffee, ferns

…in pots as well as I do think they make really nice decorative plants that one would not need to spend a fortune to purchase.

You can choose to sit inside in the air-conditioned section or outside…

Outright Coffee, outside section - side

…by the side and also in front…

Outirght Coffee outside - front

…and there are other sections here and there as well with some very interesting furniture…

Outright Coffee, unique furniture

…and the chairs here…

Outright Coffee - old school chairs

…caught my attention. We had those sets at our house in the colonial days and my paternal grandparents and my maternal grandma had similar sets at theirs too. Of course, we no longer have them anymore.

I did drop by here once a long time ago for the coffee and cakes but all my photographs did not come out as it was way too dark. In the meantime, my girl does drop by sometimes with her friends in the evenings to linger around and sit and chat but now that they do have quite a lot of stuff to eat, they probably would see me there…

Outright Coffee, front

…a lot more often, most likely in the daytime so that I would be able to take more flattering snapshots of what they serve.

OUTRIGHT COFFEE (2.290978, 111.820996) is located at 24B , Jalan Lau King Howe, at the end of the first block of shops immediately behind the Lay King Howe Memorial Museum.

Meet me in the shade…

I was in the vicinity of the shops at Bandong Walk here and I noticed that the somewhat prolonged construction…

Bandong, new look

…going on there was more or less complete already. I guess that roof will provide some shade from the rain on wet nights – I do not think any of the shops open in the daytime so there isn’t any need for protection from the sun.

It looks pretty nice but it would be good if the owners of the shops could give their premises a nice new coat of paint, the same colour throughout perhaps and something pastel, light and soothing – that will make the place look a whole lot nicer than now, with the myriad of horrendously gaudy colours, some of which have seen better days, that’s for sure.

This shop…

Noor Satay Islamic Cafe

…is open now, it seems. I used to frequent their satay stall and when they set up shop here, we did go a few times. Eventually, they closed down owing to the high rental there but they could not open here for a long time because of the on-going construction. I certainly would drop by one of these days to check it out.

While I was there that morning, I dropped by the nasi lemak stall to buy a couple of packets home with the super-yummy and spicy sambal sotong for the ladies but my main intention in going there was to try the guy’s mee jawa (RM5.00)…

Bandong Walk Nasi Lemak mee jawa 1

…and I sure was glad I did!

It was very nice and had quite a bit of beef in it…

Bandong Walk Nasi Lemak mee jawa 2

…but what won me over was the gravy – it was absolutely delicious and bursting with its most delightful flavours…

Bandong Walk Nasi Lemak mee jawa 3

…and I would say it certainly was a head above most, if not all, of the mee jawa that I have had around town.

I’ve yet to give the guy’s mi sapi (beef noodles) a try – perhaps, I will go for that the next time I’m around those parts.

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 where Mastura Delite and the 1Malaysia clinic are.

The old and the young…

I guess everyone loves ice cream, never mind old or young but of course, like everything else, especially when one is getting on in age, one should go a little bit slow on things that are sweet.

These two food trucks…

Food trucks

…have been around the vicinity of the grocer & deli here for quite sometime now, even before the month of Ramadhan but I had not seen them open, not even once. The red one is an outlet of this cafe that I went to a couple of times to eat and also for the gula apong (nipah palm sugar) ice cream…

Gula apong ice cream, fresh

…but I never had the chance to enjoy it here. At one time, there was a sign stating that it was closed because the ice cream machine was out of order.

Of course I was delighted to see it open that day and yes, they do have the ice cream that I enjoy a lot here…

YS Cafe food truck menu

…at only RM3.00 – I remember it was RM3.50 at the shop.

We ordered two cups – my girl and her mum would be sharing one as we just had our lunch and were still full. Unfortunately, we were informed that the machine was still out of commission so we had to go for the pre-made and frozen ones…

Gula apong ice cream, frozen

…take it or leave it. The young boy said that if we wanted the freshly-made ones, we would have to go to the shop for that.

Yes, it was nice, a bit hard and not quite like fresh soft-serve and while we were sitting there eating, I saw this man and a kid on a rather odd shade of blue Dumbo…

The old and the young

The little girl, probably his grand-daughter, was enjoying the ride and he was feeding her the ice cream at the same time – one scoop for her and three scoops for himself. LOL!!! I think sometimes the elders would do that to finish it off quickly so the kid would not eat too much. Cold, they would say, nanti batuk! (You’ll end up with a cough later!) If there is still any in the cup, of course, the kid would want more and more and would not take no for an answer.

Somehow it made me feel warm inside watching the young kid mouth wide open and wanting more and the old man giving it to her so very affectionately.

THE YS CAFE FOOD TRUCK (2.307981,111.820533) is located in the open area in front of the Bisonte Grocer & Deli, to the left of Mia Cafe & Restaurant that faces Jalan Kuda, off Jalan Kpg Nangka, beside the Simpang Tiga roundabout.

The walk…

This is Bandong Walk…

Bandong Walk

Those who were around in the 70’s and 80’s would probably remember the glory days when the eateries here would be jam-packed with people. It was a very popular place where the younger set would hang out at night, enjoying the food and one another’s company. Eventually, the crowd stopped coming – I hear it was because the place got very dirty and was infested with rats.

I must say that I am very impressed by the effort made by the people concerned to upgrade the place – the area in between the block of shops is near completion but I have no idea as to when it will reopen for business. I do hope that everyone, shop owners and members of the public alike, would make a concerted effort to keep the place very nice and clean and not let it go to rot all over again.

For some reason, some of the stalls by the side of the road are not open any time of day though I did gather from a reliable source that all of them have been rented out to somebody. Perhaps some of them only open at night and some only in the morning, like this one, for instance…

Nasi Lemak Bandong Walk, new sign

– my favourite nasi lemak in town!

They do seem to be enjoying brisk business…

Nasi Lemak Bandong Walk, stall

…which is good as that would mean that it will definitely make enough and more to keep them going and I can continue to drop by to enjoy the nasi lemak

Nasi Lemak Bandong Walk nasi lemak sambal sotong 1

…there or have it packed to take home and eat.

There is a canopy at the back and customers can sit in that somewhat makeshift area…

Bandong Walk, under the canopy

…to enjoy their breakfast. Personally, I am of the opinion that they should have something more proper, more presentable and a lot nicer.

I had the coffee…

Bandong Walk kopi-o kao

…from the stall beside the nasi lemak stall and surprisingly, it was really very good. Often have I complained that the coffee at the Malay shops are quite hopeless, not nice at all but this one is one of the few exceptions to the rule and believe it or not, it was just RM1.00 a glass!!!

There is another stall next to the drinks stall where a lady would be frying noodles and I noticed that she even sells kampua mee. Perhaps one of these days, I would drop by again to give it a try.

Back to the nasi lemak, it certainly is cheaper…

Nasi Lemak Bandong Walk, price list

…than the ones at the shops and what I had, with the sambal sotong (squid)…

Nasi Lemak Bandong Walk nasi lemak sambal sotong 2

…was RM3.00 plus RM1.50, RM4.50 only altogether, the same as what one would need to fork out if one would go for the regular here and elsewhere.

To me, a good nasi lemak would be one whereby the rice is really lemak, rich with the taste and fragrance of santan (coconut milk) and would taste so good without it being drowned by a multitude of sins and this is just about the only one that I have tried and enjoyed that truly lives up to its name.

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 where Mastura Delite and the 1Malaysia clinic are. 

You ruin me…

It was in early 2013 when my girl was posted to her current school in the jungle, 99 km along the Sibu-Bintulu trunk road so it has been over 5 years now, going into her sixth year right now and sadly, she has not been successful in her applications to move to a school closer to home.

It  could have been a somewhat nice school if the people concerned had been more pro-active and had maintained the place, facilities and all really well and if they have a steady supply of electricity and are not dependent on generators and have a more reliable supply of diesel but no, this post is not going to be about the school. Perhaps I shall get round to it in the not-too-distant future but right now, I would like to highlight the problem I face every week when I drive to her school to pick her on Fridays and come back together or when I send her there on Sundays.

Initially, the road was fine…

Sibu-Bintulu Road 2013
*Archive photo: Sibu-Bintulu, 2013*

…though not all that great – maybe I was not too familiar with it and I had the tendency to go too fast. That probably was because it seemed so far away so I had to hurry there, do what we had to do such as cleaning the place up and what not and rush back again but there were regular upgrading and resurfacing works…

Upgrading & resurfacing
*Archive photo: Sibu-Bintulu, 2013*

…and the little inconvenience at the time sure paid off and the road seemed to get better and better after a couple of years or maybe it was because I was so familiar with it by then, like the back of my hand, so to speak, so I would know every pothole there was along the way.

Eventually, I found myself enjoying the leisurely drive…

Batu 36 Sibu-Bintulu
*Archive photo*

…week after week after week. Of course, there would be those recalcitrant drivers in their 4WDs or pick-up trucks, those huge inter-town buses and even overloaded trucks like this one…

Overloaded

…driving like there is no tomorrow but experience has taught me to avoid those and give way to them, let them overtake, if they are coming from behind. The speed limit here is 90 kmph and if I was doing 80-90 kmph and they could overtake me and disappear out of sight, one can imagine how fast they were going. No worries though, over the years I hardly ever saw any police personnel on patrol even though there is a station at Stapang and this nice one, flats and all…

Police, Selangau
*Archive photo*

…at Selangau so those hell-raisers can just go ahead and race themselves to kingdom come!

The overtaking lanes constructed at three places did help somewhat but unfortunately, they are in a rather bad shape these days. Besides, it seems to me that most everyone thinks they are F1 drivers the moment they reach those lanes and they would go so very fast like they are afraid of people overtaking them. Obviously, these people are suffering from some kind of inferiority complex and would need to go and see a psychiatrist.

There are only two lanes, one going and one coming…

Two lanes
*Archive photo: Sibu-Bintulu 2013*

…so if there is a slow coach in front…

Slow coach
*Under-powered and overloaded*

…on days like some weekends, especially after a long weekend or a festival, when the lines of cars are simply unending, one will just have to follow quietly and patiently.

Then there were those left-wing people (they are right wing now) who kept making a whole lot of noise asking for a highway like those multi-lane ones in the mainland. Why, the father and son came to Sibu when the YB at the time died of cancer and there was a by-election and the old man commented that driving on the roads here was like riding on horses – and that got me wondering as to whether they ever did ride on horses before.

That was how it all started, the construction of the Pan-Borneo Highway. Slopes were bulldozed and flattened, vast areas of jungle were cleared, longhouses and other houses along the way were demolished but works went on at a snail’s pace. On my weekly drives, along the way I could count the number of people that I saw working with one hand and when it rained, flash floods would occur and the water would wash the mud onto the road rendering it quite invisible so I would have to drive very very slowly, praying and hoping that I would not run over a giant pothole or go into the drain.

Lately, they have had all the detours along this once relatively straight road so you would have to turn right here…

Lencongan 1

…and left there…

Lencongan 2

…go down the slope here and up the slope there…

Lencongan 3

…twisting and turning like a snake…

Lencongan 4

…and it would not be so bad if these lencongans had been well-made. Maybe it is because they are meant to be temporary so the quality is bad and they have been done hastily in a slip-shod manner so give it a week or two, there will be potholes, BIG ones, all over, a whole lot of very uneven parts and going over those, I would hear the LOUD crunching sound of my car being dragged along. Suffice to say that with the construction of what we call the Pain-Borneo Highway, the once rather nice road has been completely ruined!!!

I hear that construction has been held back pending investigation of the main contractor and the sub-contractor and the sub-sub-contractor etc…etc…etc… Word has it that the ones right at the bottom line, doing all the work, get paid very little, if at all.

Our population is smaller, our traffic volume is much less than over in the peninsula – personally, I do not feel we really need a highway. It would have been a lot better if all the money had been spent gradually and progressively on maintaining and upgrading the road and at most, a few more of those overtaking lanes would do fine but I guess it is too late to turn back – the whole road is one horrendous mess and it gets worse by the day! Looking at the progress going on so very very slowly, I really do not think I, and many of those at the top as well, including the one at the very top, will get to see its completion…in our lifetime.

Walking in the sun…

I wonder how many visitors to Sibu will drop by the Tua Pek Kong Temple…

Sibu Tua Pek Kong Temple

…here with its 7-storey pagoda. I know some people will do that so they can go up to the top floor of the pagoda for a bird’s eye view of the town. Well, that sunny day, before our Korean lunch at the restaurant close by, we dropped by and walked around the place…

Riverfront

…to pass the time.

I love the decor like these colourful borders that line the corners below the ceiling, the dragons…

Dragons

…and the phoenixes…

Phoenixes

…and there are lovely carvings all around on the walls and there is this fountain…

Fountain

…there too and devotees go here to offer joss sticks to the tortoise…

Tortoise

…and also to the Kuan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) statue at the back.

There is a small park further to the back, the Chiang Chuan Garden (漳泉園) with nice swan statues…

Swan

– the iconic symbol of Sibu town but I did see a headless one. Hopefully, that was not the result of some act of vandalism – some people are really incorrigible.

There are a lot more beautiful carvings…

Elephants

…though I do think some of them need a bit of washing…

Birds & peaches

…and cleaning…

Flowers

…and there are some lovely plants here and there…

Bonzai 1

…like these pots of bonzai

Bonzai 2

…for instance.

Ever so often, you will catch a glimpse of an express boat…

Express boat

…sailing past along the majestic Rejang River, the longest in Malaysia, and you can go to the wharf to see these old motor launches…

Motor launches

…and these double-decker ones…

Floating grocery stores

…that are now being used as floating grocery stores.

In the distance, you can see the Express Boat Wharf/Jetty with one of the leading hotels in Sibu in the background…

Express wharf & Kingwood Hotel

I must say that I enjoyed the walk a lot more than that time when I visited the massively huge temple complex which was somewhat dilapidated and run-down. I certainly hope they have done something by now to restore it and make it more worthwhile for visitors to go all the way to walk around the place.

THE SIBU TUA PEK KONG TAOIST TEMPLE (2.287257, 111.825988) is located along Jalan Temple at its t-junction with Jalan Chew Geok Lin.

Before the sun sets…

That day, after the not-very-fruitful visit to the Ramadan Bazaar, I had one restaurant in mind for our dinner and since it was a public holiday, it was not that difficult to find a parking space – normally, we would avoid the area as trying to park the car would be near impossible unless one is really very lucky.

However, it was just after 5.00 p.m. and the place would not be open till 6.00 p.m…

Opens at 6.00 p.m.

…so we decided to go to the pasar malam (night market)

Sibu Night Market

…close by to stroll around. They moved it back to the original place not long ago but they are back here again now, the place where they call the Butterfly Garden, for whatever reason, I wouldn’t know. Those as old as me would remember this place as the location of the old bus terminal way back in the 50’s and 60’s and maybe right through the 70’s.

They were saying that there would be some massive renovations done to make the site much nicer, with a roof and all, but I did not notice any difference from the way it was before. For one thing, with the shops/buildings all around, though not protected from the rain, this place is well-shaded so one would not need to endure the unbearable heat of the scorching sun – this was just before the sun had set so it was still very sunny at the time.

We were early so there were not that many people around…

Pasar Malam stalls, Chinese

…and many stalls were not even up yet.

A lot of them were food stalls – one can grab a pack of chap fan (mixed rice) from this one…

Chap fan

…and I saw that a number of these roast meat stalls…

Roast meat

…were all ready to roll.

I spotted this dumpling stall…

Dumpling stall

…that I did not see before on my previous trips – probably, it is new…

Dumplings

…like one lok lok stall but I did not take a photograph of that one and of course, there are those stuffed kompia and Sibu-style sio bee

Kompia & sio bee

…but I wouldn’t know if they are any good or not as I have never tried any of those from here before.

For some, the booze…

Booze

…and the cigarettes…

Cigarettes

…at the pasar malam are an attraction, with some unique brands not usually available at the shops.

There is a section with all the Malay/halal food stalls…

Halal section

…and another section selling non-edibles…

Non-edibles

…including this one where I was attracted to the ethnic native Dayak prints of the sarong.

Sarong

This dog…

Dog in boots

…sure got a lot of attention but no, it was the stall-owner’s pet, not for sale.

It was way past 5.30 p.m. already when we were making our way back to the restaurant when I spotted the handsome boy setting up their stall…

Handsome boy

– they had just arrived and thankfully, they had some pre-fried at home…

Tee peang

…so we were able to grab all we wanted without having to wait for them to fry and buy them straight from the wok.

After that, it was dinner time but that will be in the next post. Stick around!