Hot cakes

This place…

Plastic bag

…sure needs no introduction as it appears that everyone seems to know about it.

It is located right beside a budget hotel…

Huong Hiong Confectionary

…with all the big hotels all around in that same area and visitors to Sibu would always stop there to buy the lung ngor/kay nerng kor (egg cake) and declare that theirs are the best in town.

I’ve tried them before but no, I was not all that impressed – personally, I do prefer the ones…

Dewan Suarah shop lung ngor

here. Some people did say that I would have to eat them piping hot from the oven – only then would I be able to taste how nice theirs are.

I had the impression that they started off as a small shop (with a different name)…

Humble beginning?

…right beside the celebrated dianpianngu place in town and then they opened this branch here but some insist they are not the same people, I wouldn’t know. Not too long ago, I noticed that they had rented a small place beside the TOTO shop a stone’s throw away and there were some Muslim ladies there doing the baking and I did see them transporting the fruits of their labour to the shop on the other side.

Well, it so happened that somebody treated my sister to one of their paos (steamed buns) and she loved it so much that she rushed there to buy but unfortunately, they were all sold out. Yes, they have gone into making paos now, chicken ones as this is a pork-free place and many of their employees are Muslims – this way, they would be able to sell their stuff to everyone regardless of race or religion.

Finally, the other day, my sister stopped by at around 7.00 a.m. in the morning and managed to buy some from them – the char siew pao (RM2.00 each)…

Huong Hiong char siew pao

…and the bak pao (RM2.00 each)…

Huong Hiong bak pao

The latter had egg inside, one-eighth of it unlike others where they give one-sixteenth or sometimes, you only realise there is egg in the bun when you see traces of the yolk in the filling.

Yes, both were very nice and I liked how they had chunks of meat inside – I hate those made with minced meat and whatever else that they press into a ball or a patty and wrap that inside the pao. My missus, for one, would not eat those. The skin was very nice too so all things considered, I sure wouldn’t mind going there to buy sometimes…but of course, I would have to go real early. Word has it that they sell like hot cakes and will all be sold out in a couple of hours!

Huong Hiong Confectionary 芳香(詩巫)餅家 is located off Jalan Bengkel, beside Victoria Inn on one side and the circular building (the SEDC Medan Niaga Tanahmas) that houses all the Malay stalls on the other, to the right of the New Capital Restaurant.

Things have changed…

The other day, my friend in KL, the hubby of one of the bloggers who came that day, shared some photographs on Facebook and tagged me. There was this kampua mee place…

Ah Ma Sarawak kampua mee

…that he stumbled upon at some place called Bandar Sungai Long and he went and tried…

Ah Ma Sarawak kampua mee, the noodles

He wasn’t all that impressed, it seemed as a friend asked him for his verdict and he just said, “OK, can be better!

Well, with the minced meat added, it sure did not look like Sibu kampua mee, more like Kuching kolo mee even though they insist in their shop sign that they’re “original Sibu“, with the Sarawak flag thrown in for good measure. Other than that, when they serve kampua mee here, they will give you bottled chili sauce in a small saucer. That looked like the sambal belacan for Sarawak laksa – maybe my friend got it all mixed up as he did have the laksa as well.

My friend, Annie, in KL went to this one…

Ex-Sunway kampua mee

…at its new location in PJ. The guy used to be somewhere in Sunway, much to the delight of the students from Sarawak at the college/university there. My nephew from Bintulu said they would always go there to eat so they did not miss home and kampua mee all that much.

Just like the previous one, this one too has minced meat, something you will not find in authentic kampua mee since time immemorial but things have changed and you will find minced meat in your bowl of noodles at some places here in Sibu

Rasa Sayang kampua mee

Another thing you will not find a lot of in kampua mee here would be the fried shallots and chopped spring onion that they use to garnish the dish…

Ah Kow's son kampua, Polyclinic

…except for this one, perhaps…

Liang Yew kampua mee

They was widely known for their generous sprinkling of their fried shallots that they kept tightly closed in a milk or Milo tin to keep it nice and crispy. Once, when my uncle and his family from Kuching were in town and we stopped by there for the noodles, my uncle went to ask why they did not give so much anymore and the old guy replied that shallots were way too expensive these days so they had to cut down on it.

In the 50’s, a plate of kampua mee cost 50 cents only, with meat and 30 cents, without meat and they would open their shops/stalls at the break of dawn and stay open till late at night. If you dropped by mid-afternoon, they would willingly turn up their fire to get the water boiling to cook you a plate. These days, even before noon, they would be cleaning up and closing for the day already and some will open around 6.00 p.m. in the evening till around 10.

In those good old days, a common sight at these kampua mee stalls in the afternoon would be their giant kuali/wok of pork fat. With a lot more time on their hands, they would grab the chance to render the lard for their use. After they had the oil they needed, they would use it to fry the peeled and thinly sliced shallots…and the fragrance would fill the air. I do not know if the ones today still do that – we certainly do not get to see them doing it in public like that. For one thing, when I asked at one place here, the guy told me that lard is too expensive these days so they would mix it with cooking oil…

Soon Hock pian sip mee

Obviously, that is why a lot of kampua mee here these days lacks the fragrance of the shallot pork oil – I would not be surprised if some do not bother to use it at all!

I also know that at some places, they use a food processor to chop the shallots so after frying, there will be all the minute bits and when tossed with the noodles, it would be such a mess and not a pleasant sight to behold. Some places will do the tossing in a bowl and transfer the noodles onto a plate and serve – others do not bother and it looks kind of messy/dirty. Obviously, a lot of people do not mind about the “presentation” – they just eat.

Long ago, kampua mee was served with boiled meat, dyed red so what we got would be kind of pinkish orange…

Kampu amee, old school meat

Eventually, there was a ban on the colouring used. The practice stopped for a while but it seems that many are doing it again…

Boiled pork, dyed red

Perhaps, they are now using some kind of permitted dye, I wouldn’t know. Some places will use stewed pork instead – I sure would not mind that…

Kampua mee, stewed pork

I cannot remember exactly what kampua mee was like in my younger days – no matter how authentic they insist theirs is today, it sure is not the same anymore. Long ago, they used locally-made (or at least, that was I thought they were) chio cheng (light soy sauce) in a jar and locally-made chili sauce, also in a jar. I remember my late cousin would always want to go to the washroom after eating the noodles tossed in the chili sauce…but once and once only. What they use today sure aren’t as nice so of course, what you get will be different from what we had before. They are all from West Malaysia or China, all in bottles…or when they buy in bulk, in big rectangular kerosene tins.

Even the noodles may be different these days – kampua mee is handmade, thicker and straight while kolo mee is machine made, thinner and more curly – but they are used interchangeably these days and some people may prefer one over the other which may not be what we used to enjoy long ago.

Well, say what you want. Time passes, things change. These days, there are so many coffee shops, so many kampua mee stalls. Don’t be surprised that the kampua mee at one place may be different from the one right next door. We just take each one as it is – no need to make a fuss and as long as it is nice (enough), we will go and enjoy it, no point hanging on to what’s past, knowing that things will never be the same again.

Haircut…

I could not get my hair cut ever since the COVID-19 CMO was imposed around the middle of March and it was getting very long but of course, I could not be bothered. Many managed to get their spouses to cut for them, never mind that it did not look very nice. It did not matter what I looked like – I hardly went out anyway but eventually, it started to get rather hot and uncomfortable.

Finally, sometime in early June, the hair salons were allowed to reopen. “We will allow basic haircuts, hair washing, trimming and shaving of beards and moustaches, hair treatment, manicures, pedicures, facial washing and treatment,” the minister concerned said.

I did go and get my hair cut but it was only till quite recently when my missus finally went to this one…

Bethel Hair Salon

…round the corner from our house and got them to cut hers real short. She has not gone through the trouble of dyeing her hair black so it is now quite white and grey. I’ve noticed a lot of people in the same boat walking around.

I don’t know why the hair salon, right next to the food and fruit shop in that next lane that I frequent regularly, is thus named. If I am not mistaken, it has some religious connotation – perhaps they belong to that church. I am quite sure there is a Christian denomination here by that same name as I’ve seen people sharing links to their online worship services on Facebook. Anyway, there is nothing in the shop that will indicate any connection of any kind whatsoever – it is just like any other hair salon.

I did go there once, before COVID-19, because I saw the guy standing outside and he seemed very free so I could get him to do it right away. It turned out that he was rather meticulous and careful and he took a mighty long time to cut my hair, the little that I had left. After that, his wife did the hair shampoo for me and yes, she was very good though she was very small/petite and did not look very strong. LOL!!!

My girl and the mum also said that the guy will take a long time- I guess that’s his style, the way he works.

Well, it has been over two months now since my haircut (elsewhere) and it was getting very long so I decided I would just go there as it was so very convenient, so near my house. When I got there, the boss was cutting somebody else’s hair so this young and handsome boy…

Haircut, Bethel Hair Salon

…did mine for me. By the time we were done, the boss was still at it!

I wanted to wash my hair but the people there could only speak Mandarin and I was not sure if it was allowed or not so I decided to give it a miss. They did rinse my hair a bit after it was done though.

Well, my hair is very short now. That cut cost me RM18.00. I suppose that should stretch till October at least before I shall have to go again.

BETHEL HAIR SALON is located beside SWEE HUNG (2.316161, 111.840441) along Jalan Ruby, in the block of shops on the right – at the extreme end…and on the other end, to the left is the Kim Won Chinese Medical Store.

Rainbow connection…

The stalls here sure look pretty in their rainbow/pride colours, thanks to the effort of the very pro-active and dedicated wakil rakyat of that constituency…

Pelangi Foodkiosk Kampung Nangka
*Pelangi Foodkiosk Kampung Nangka photo*

Before this, it was a DIY kind of thing – each one would bring their own planks and plywood, worn-out recycled canvas banners and what not to build their own stalls and they were such a ghastly sight that I never wanted to set foot there to see what they were selling. They reminded me of the floating toilets all along the river of the kampung houses, those days when they had to build their own for their own use.

Well, I was driving past that very hot morning and I saw that only a few were open. One of them had a sign saying bubur pedas and I stopped there and then to go and buy. Unfortunately, the guy who used to have his stall here said that it was not available that day but he did have it the day before. There was nothing he was selling that tickled my fancy so I decided to walk around to see what the other stalls were selling.

There was one where two very young girls were selling some kuihs and what not and I thought these, wrapped in banana leaves, looked really good so I bought a pack of 5 (RM2.00)…

Banana leaf-wrapped kuih

…and indeed, they were very nice. The skin was soft, not tough and rubbery…

Nice skin

…unlike some that would make you feel like choking when you try to chew and swallow them.

The filling of Gula Melaka-flavoured grated coconut…

Coconut filling

…was very nice too. I certainly would want to buy those again should I happen to drop by and they are available.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about their curry puffs (RM2.00 for a pack of 5)…

Curry puffs

I know of an unimpressive-looking place along Jalan Bandong, across the road from the nasi lemak stall at Bandong Walk where a lady would be selling her curry puffs and doughnuts at 3 for RM1.00 and they are very nice. I’ve gone there to buy from her a few times already – the next time I do that, I must remember to take some snapshots and blog about it.

This was their version of the Chinese steamed yam cake or or koi and yes, it was very nice, absolutely great with Thai chili sauce and only RM2.00 a pack…

Malay steamed cake

…which was a lot cheaper than the nyonya kuihs sold here.

Well, as the song goes, two out of three ain’t bad and yes, I will definitely drop by there time and time again to see what else they have in store. If I am not wrong, that place is busier in the late afternoon and evening with keropok lekor, banana fritters, fried chicken and burger stalls and all.

PELANGI FOODKIOSK KAMPUNG NANGKA (2.311098, 111.820632) is located in front of Wisma Azra at Lorong 8A, Jalan Kampung Nangka, where YS Cafe is.

Not what I was looking for…

I wasn’t all that thrilled about the kim kua koi or Chinese steamed pumpkin cake that I bought the previous day, so the next morning, I dropped by my regular fruit and food shop in the next lane where they usually sell that in the morning.

Unfortunately, when I got there, I saw to my dismay that they did not have what I was looking for, just the or koi (RM2.00 a block)…

Or koi

…or the Chinese steamed yam cake. Left with no choice, I just grabbed two packs and headed home. Those people at the shops get a lot of things for sale in the morning, delivered by people who make them at home, for breakfast and in the afternoon too, for tea.

The ladies in the house would not eat or koi steamed just like that – they prefer it deep-fried so that was what I did with the two blocks that I bought, sliced and each coated with egg…

Or koi, deep fried

I tried some and I thought it was really very good, all mashed yam and not jelly-like and wobbly like those inferior ones where it is mostly flour, hardly any yam…plus salt and a lot of msg. I loved the ones at the canteen in the school where I was teaching before I retired – they had chunks of yam in theirs. I’ve retired some 13 years now so I wouldn’t know whether they are still doing it or not.

I managed to get four slices from each block so that worked out to 50 sen each and I thought that was rather expensive. I remember buying them at that price outside and I did not have to go through the chore of frying them but my missus said they are definitely a lot more expensive now, some even going up to RM1.00 a slice. Ah well! I guess it is all right as long as it tastes good, worth what you pay for…and you will not feel shortchanged in the end.

SWEE HUNG (2.316161, 111.840441) is located along Jalan Ruby, in the block of shops, the one on the right of the parking area in the centre – next to a hair salon at the extreme end…and on the other end, to the left is the Kim Won Chinese Medical Store and LAUDATO SI’ CANTEEN (2.287292, 111.832110) is located in what was previously known as the Catholic Centre in the compound of the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Jalan Lanang and St Rita’s Primary School, Jalan Bukit Assek.

I wanted it too…

That day, when I dropped by here to buy the sandwich and salad for my girl, I also went to look at the nyonya kuihs available that day. They are also sold there, displayed on the counter to the left.

There were the angku kuih and the sambal pulut that my ex-student gave me that day but no, I did not want those again. I was not interested in what looked like kuih lapis (layer cake) with only two colours, brown and white, either.

In the end, I went for the steamed pumpkin cake (RM3.30 a pack)…

Steamed pumpkin cake

…which was, at best, quite all right. I think there are nicer ones elsewhere with bits of minced meat in it, the same as the Chinese steamed yam cake (or koi) but made using pumpkin (kim kua koi) instead.

Of course I could not resist this (RM3.30 a pack)…

Pulut & kaya

…one of my nyonya favourites, the pulut tai tai. It is nothing more than just steamed pulut (glutinous rice) with nothing more than maybe, a bit of salt and santan (c0conut milk) and tints of blue using the bunga telang ( butterfly pea flower) but I do enjoy eating it with the kaya (coconut jam). Oh my!!! The kaya was so so so good, as good as the one I bought from this bakery. If they sell that on its own, I sure would want to buy to eat with bread or crackers.

Later, when I went to send the sandwich and salad to my girl, I went to the “canteen” beside her school to buy these (80 sen each)…

Lau Dato Si' Canteen tau sar peah

I saw my blogger friend, zmun2 enjoying her tau sar peah here and here and all this while, I had been telling myself that I wanted it too.

I’ve bought some nice ones of varying sizes here and there but ever since I came across these here, I never went elsewhere again. They are made by some lady in Bintangor, I heard and are available every day (except Sundays – their off day once a week) and I will only go for the pek tau sar (white/green bean or mung bean paste) filling…

Tau sar peah, inside

…even though at times, they also have the or tau sar (black/red bean paste) filling.

School has resumed for quite sometime now and I could have gone there earlier to buy these but I don’t quite fancy going through the SOP when going anywhere. That was why it took me a while to finally drop by. I enjoy having these for afternoon tea or for breakfast even, a nice change from instant noodles, bread or crackers.

TA KIONG KOREAN STORE (2.292923, 111.826821)) is located at No.19, Ground Floor, Jalan Kai Peng, the first shop in the block right behind the supermarket and LAUDATO SI’ CANTEEN (2.287266, 111.832142) is located at No. 1, Jalan Lanang in what was previously known as the Catholic Centre in the compound of the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Jalan Lanang and St Rita’s Primary School, Jalan Bukit Assek. .

Go home for lunch…

My girl was not able to come home for lunch as she had to attend a staff meeting at her school that afternoon. She said some of her colleagues would not be going home for lunch either and would go some place to eat in the time available. However, she said she would not want to join them – after all this time, she is not quite ready to eat out just yet.

Her mum said I could just bring her whatever she would be cooking that day but  I told her I would go and buy her something nice and send to her at her school, something different for a change from her mum’s cooking day in day out for so long now and yes, she was keen on the idea.

I went to the Korean Store of this supermarket in town but of course, I had no intention of buying anything Korean. As a matter of fact, I went there a few times before and I never walked around to have a look. I wanted to go there with the sole intention of buying the very lovely sandwiches from here that they sell there daily. I think I did manage to buy it once and it was very nice – the rest of the time that I went to buy, they were all sold out.

It was already 11 something and there were not that many left. Out of the few that I had to choose from, I picked the mango chicken sandwich (RM6.50)…

Mango chicken sandwich

I decided I would also buy a salad for my girl to enjoy. We have bought that before too, more than once, and we did like what we had everytime. I browsed through the limited choices available in the small display chiller beside the cashier’s counter and picked the smoked duck mango salad (RM8.50)…

Smoked duck mango salad

I could see that besides the smoked duck and the mango, there were also some alfafa, purple sweet potatoes and cabbage, tomatoes, lettuce, egg and cucumber and they gave the Japanese kewpie salad dressing to go with it.

Of course my girl enjoyed my purchases so much – I certainly would go back again to see what other combinations they have for the sandwiches and salads that may tickle her fancy. As always, when she is happy, the old man is happy too!!!

TA KIONG KOREAN STORE (2.292923, 111.826821) is located at No.19, Ground Floor, Jalan Kai Peng, the first shop in the block right behind the supermarket. Incidentally, THE CANTEEN homemade sandwiches and salads are also available at 57 FRUIT STALL (2.294128, 111.826095) at No. 57, Jalan Tuanku Osman.

Home for Christmas…

My ex-student, Raphael, sent me word way ahead of time that he would be back in Sibu – it appeared that he would come back to this part of the world to spend Christmas with his mum and the brothers. He told me the dates when he would be here and asked whether I would be free to meet up and of course, I replied that it would be my pleasure!

I think he was in KL, Singapore and Kuching before he came home to Sibu and we went out on one of the mornings he was around. He said he would not mind some Foochow fried noodles so I took him here for the celebrated one featured in a video clip on youtube from Stall No. 3 (RM4.00)…

Sg Antu Stall No. 3

I tried the ones at some of the other stalls before but I had not had the chance to try this one yet so I asked him how it was. He said it was good but he had not had any so far so he was in no position to make a comparison. Gosh!!! That place was crowded and judging from the number of people ordering from this stall, it was pretty obvious that this one was the most popular of them all.

I did not feel like having that so I went walking around the place trying to find something that I would fancy. I spotted these (50 sen each)…

Pulut coconut 1

…at Stall No. 4, the chicken rice stall, and was thrilled to bits! These days, you may find them at the Malay kueh stalls but they are all wrapped in plastic and that would put me off right away.

It was very nice…

Pulut coconut 2

…but it was so very small, maybe half of the size long ago and I would prefer the spicy and savoury version with sambal coconut on top instead of this sweet one.

I decided to go for the soy sauce pork belly from that same stall but the guy said that the rice was not ready yet and asked if I would mind having his chicken rice rice instead (RM5.00)…

Stall No. 4 rice

Of course I did not mind but my happiness was short-lived as the rice was dry and hard, not anything I would want to have again.

The soy sauce pork belly…

Soy sauce pork belly and egg

…was all right and of course, as always, I simply couldn’t resist one of those stewed eggs that I absolutely love!

After our brunch, I took him here…

The Kitchen Food store
*Eric’s photograph on Facebook*

…to look around and of course, he wanted a pack of the internationally-famous Sibu instant kampua to bring back to the States and upon my persuasion, he decided to grab a pack of their very nice ramen laksa as well.

I decided to buy a pack of the Ba’Kelalan highland rice…

Ba'Kelalan highland rice & Jakar coffee

…to try and Raphael insisted on paying for it, that very nice and sweet boy!

In the meantime, Eric’s mum passed me a pack of the famous Jakar coffee – she said that Eric would want me to have that. Thank you so much, Eric and like what I said to your mum, please don’t give me anything anymore. So shy lah!

And speaking about giving, Raphael brought these…

From Raphael

…all the way back from the US to give to me. Thank you so much, Raphael – it sure was a pleasure getting to see you once again. Till the next time, take care and God bless always. Cheers!

THE SUNGAI ANTU MARKET & HAWKER CENTRE/FOOD COURT (2.320030, 111.830741) is located along Jalan Sg Antu 2, on your right off Jalan Industri as you drive in from Jalan Kpg Nangka and THE KITCHEN FOOD shop (2.304994, 111.847404), home of the original, the one & only Sibu instant kampua, is located in the Sibu Bus Terminal area at Lorong 7A, Jalan Pahlawan, right next to the UOB Bank there.

Last one left…

This is the last post, just this one left, on my trip to Kuching in mid-December last year.

We walked past this Indian place…

Restoran Mahashafi, shop sign

…that morning before we went for our lovely brunch here.

The vadai looked really good and we bought 10 of them, 50 sen each…

Vadai

We rarely have this in Sibu, not so many Indians around, but we do get a good one sometimes. However, I think these days, ours is machine-blended so it is way too fine, so much so that we can’t see any of the dhal in it.

We tried one each and we loved it! Since we had planned ahead to go for brunch,  we did not eat anymore and in the end, we took them to our family reunion high tea at my aunt’s house – they were all snapped up in no time at all and anyone who had the chance to sample one said it was really good.

We went into the shop…

Restoran Mahashafi Kuching

…to look at the food and it did appear really good too. We were hoping we would be able to come back another day to eat there but we just simply did not have the time. I guess that would have to wait till our next trip to Kuching.

I did go back to the shop though before we came back to Sibu and I bought a whole lot of the vadai to bring back. Coincidentally, when I reached home, I got word from my friend, Peter, the boss of Payung, asking me to go and get some coconut mango…

Mangoes from Peter & Lim

…that they had plucked from the tree at his house so I gave him and our Indian friends some of the vadai to enjoy, saving only a few for ourselves. I don’t think I got to eat any, other than the one I had in Kuching – my girl ate them all, she loves them so much.

In the meantime, my good friend, Lim, dropped by to give me his mangoes – he also has a tree at his house, the long/oval ones. My missus took the red pulut hitam that I bought in Miri that day and cooked her version of the Thai mango sticky rice…

Mango pulut hitam

It was nice but I do prefer it with the regular pulut or glutinous rice. The red pulut hitam was not that sticky, best used to cook in its own way, not that suitable for this.

Thank you so much, Peter & Lim, for the lovely mangoes and I must thank Lim too for the goodies he brought back from his family trip to Sabah…and also for the serimuka that his mum made. He said that she was in town and his kids love serimuka but we can’t get any good ones here in Sibu so he was learning how to make it from her. Hmmm….when can I place my order, Lim? How much per tray? LOL!!!

RESTORAN MAHA SHAFI (1.559559, 110.344461) is located at 9.21, Jalan Barrack in Kuching to theleft from its junction with India Street, facing the left hand side of The Old Court House located right across the road.

One step away…

We were there a few times during our stay in Kuching for the simple reason that it was just one step away, so to speak, around 100 metres or so.

On our first morning there, I went for the kueh chap that I quite enjoyed but someone was telling me that the one at night with its stronger broth would be nicer.

I was there again another time with the ladies and my sis who had arrived in Kuching by then for the wedding and she and my missus had the kolo mee pok (flat noodles)…

Lau Ya Keng, Kuching kolo mee pok

…while my girl had the kiaw, dry…

Lau Ya Keng kiaw, dry

…and yes, she loved it! They also ordered the kueh chap to share and we did finish it but nobody said anything about it though my missus did comment sometime later that it was not really to her liking – she did not elaborate as to the reason why. Personally, I thought it was quite good – to each his/her own, I guess!

The morning before we left Kuching, I went there again because I wanted to try the kolo mee (RM5.00)…

Lau Ya Keng, Kuching kolo mee

…first hand for myself. It was o.k. but I did not think it was anything to shout about. Long long ago, way back in the 70’s, I used to drop by here for the kolo mee – the stall was where the Sarawak laksa stall is today and it was so very nice that everytime I was in the vicinity, I would stop for a bowl.

I had their kiaw, soup (RM8.00)…

Lau Ya Keng, Kuching kiaw, soup

…too and was somewhat shocked when told the price – I think it would work out to 80 sen A dumpling!.

This meat dumpling dish is something like our pian sip in Sibu but it has a lot more meat inside…

Lau Ya Keng, Kuching kiaw, close up

…not something that I would fancy especially when it was all lean minced meat so it was a little coarse.

I think there is more fat in the meat here in Sibu and they just smear a bit onto the skin like applying butter onto bread so when eating it, we are actually enjoying eating the smooth and slippery no-chewing-needed skin, not so much the meat. Even the taste of the soup base was not the same and all in all, I do prefer our good ol’ Sibu Foochow pian sip to the Kuching kiaw.

My girl went there later that same morning with the mum, my sis with some of my Kuching cousins and all the rest – she had the very popular meat porridge but she did not like it simply because it was what they told me, the Teochew style – the rice grains while softened from cooking, are still whole and not in an overly starchy state so it was not what she is accustomed to.

Earlier, I went back there again too – I think that was on Saturday, the day before – in the afternoon because I wanted to try the pork satay. The stall…

Lau Ya Keng pork satay and fish ball stalls

…only opens in the afternoon and boy, the place was packed!

There was not a single table available so I asked two sweet young things if I could sit with them and they did not mind it one bit. It turned out that one of them was from Kuching and both were working in Kuala Lumpur. The Indian girl was having the Sarawak laksa and no, I did not want to order that as someone, I can’t remember who it was now, told me to give it a miss. I asked the girl for her opinion and she confirmed that it would be better that I went for that elsewhere.

I ordered this bowl of fish balls, stuffed tofu and tang hoon (glass noodles) soup…

Lau Ya Keng fish ball tofu & tang hoon soup

…from the stall next to the pork satay one and YES!!! At least there is something that I wouldn’t mind going back there for – it was really very nice! I loved the dip and I really enjoyed it. Ah well! I always have this soft spot for clear soups so you may beg to differ, if thus inclined.

I can’t recall how much that was but I do remember that the satay was 80 sen per stick and you will have to order in multiples of 5…

Lau Ya Keng pork satay with ketupat

…and I would not want 10, that for sure. I asked for a bit of the ketupat too – I always love that with my satay, if and when available.

Unfortunately, despite all the fave reviews, I did not think the satay was all that nice. I felt the peanut sauce tasted different from the usual ones we would get here, there and everywhere or maybe it so happened that they burnt it a bit that day so even the colour was a bit different from photos of it that I had seen elsewhere.  It was all right, edible but not something that would get  me all that excited about, thank you very much.

LAO YA KENG (1.558573, 110.345601) is located at No. 19, Carpenter Street, Kuching.