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!!!

Christmas tree…

It’s that time of year again and with Christmas in around a fortnight away, the Sibu Town Square…

Sibu Town Square

…has all the Christmas trees, big and small…

The main tree & the little ones

…with artificial snow…

Snow

…and presents…

Presents

…and reindeers and sleigh…

Reindeers & sleigh

…that probably would light up at night and look a whole lot more beautiful and enchanting than in broad daylight during the daytime.

The official “lighting-up” was on last Friday night, the 9th of December along with the opening of the annual Food & Cultural Fair right across the road…and the annual Christmas Procession in the town centre was held the following night.

There is the annual Christmas tree decoration competition whereby those taking part have to use recycled materials for their trees…

Christmas Trees, Sibu Town Square 2016 1

…supposedly and some can be really creative and very pretty, I must say…

Christmas Trees, Sibu Town Square 2016 2

…but one of the two that I like the most would be this one…

Nativity Christmas tree from SMK Kpg Nangka

…which depicts the true meaning of CHRISTmas.

This is the view from the grandstand/stage of the main tree in the town square with all the canopies for the Food & Cultural Fair, plus the ferris wheel, in the background, across the road…

Main Christmas tree

I guess this is not as grand as in some other places especially when compared to those western countries overseas but we are indeed most thankful to those concerned for their genuine and sincere, non-commercialised effort to fill our hearts with the Christmas spirit this time every year. Joy to the world!

Go the distance…

That day, when I shared on Facebook the link to my post on the kampua mee place at Pandan Jaya, I did get a lot of responses from friends far and wide – those who have tried it before and they all gave it their nod of approval, one going as far as rating it a 9 out of 10!

I don’t know exactly where it is located but some said it is far from where they stay like my friend, Annie (who’s originally from Sibu, born and raised here), for instance. She commented that usually, she would have to drive all the way to another place that is very far away, this coffee shop in Puchong, to appease her craving for the noodles. Now, THAT is far…from where she stays. It so happened that another friend also mentioned this same one in his comment and shared a photograph of the stall…

Sibu Kampua Mee stall at Double D, Puchong

…and what he ate there…

Double D Puchong kampua mee, pian sip

He said that a lady and a girl from Sibu run the stall and he said the kampua mee is good, pretty authentic…and a few others also came and said that they have tried this one and gave their thumbs up. Good grief!!! Don’t those people do anything else other than going round all over to eat the kampua noodles?

In the meantime, Annie sent me the photographs of the kampua mee

Double D Puchong kampua mee

…and the pian sip

Double D Puchong pian sip

…that she had here…and if she too says it is good, I would take her word for it.

Well, if anyone is interested in dropping by to check this one out, here’s the address:
Restoran Double D
15, Jalan Puteri 2/5 (Bandar Puteri Puchong)
47100 Puchong Batu Dua Belas, Selangor

In the meantime, my blogger-friend, Sharon somewhere in Singapore has gone to try the kampua noodles in the island republic that I also blogged about recently. Do click this link and hop over to her blog to see her post on it – she did not actually say whether she liked it or not but I guess that photograph of her empty bowl says it all.

Wondering…

I am not really all that religiously-inclined but when we dropped by a mall in town that day, I was appalled by the decor…

Star Mega Mall Christmas decor

…they had put up for Christmas this year.

I was not crazy about the theme here, I think that was last year, and also at one supposedly classy restaurant in town, Frozen, but at least there was snow…and snowmen and I think there was a reindeer too, things that have long been associated with Christmas like Santa Claus, Christmas trees and presents but this got me wondering as I just cannot for the dear life of me figure out the connection between Christmas and Pikachu. Yes, it is the current craze or at least, it was not too long ago when lots of people went round catching those Pokemons or the short form for the Japanese name, Pocket Monsters. I guess those business people are trying to cash in on its popularity but somehow, it just doesn’t give me the feel or the spirit of Christmas.

Prior to stopping by this place that day, we had gone for lunch here. My girl wanted the bryani rice here but it was closed – Monday is their off day every week so we decided to go for more of our own Sarawak ethnic Dayak cuisine and ended up here again. True to their word, they had entirely different dishes in their selection that day except for the tapioca leaves that all three of us picked…

Anak Borneo tapioca leaves

…and they did it really well that day – it was always nice but we thought that day, it was even nicer. I guess it is a good thing to have different dishes on different days especially for the regulars – that way, they would not get bored unlike at some chap fan or nasi campur places here. You will see the exact same dishes day in and day out!

However, I was hoping to go for more of their kacang ma chicken with tuak (the traditional ethnic Dayak rice wine) and their pansoh babi (pork cooked in bamboo) but unfortunately, those were not in the menu for the day so instead both my girl and I picked the fish with the sourish terung Dayak (Dayak brinjal, which to me seems more like something from the tomato family)…

Anak Borneo terung Dayak fish

…and the umai

Anak Borneo umai

– our Melanau version of the Japanese sashimi, which we both enjoyed.

My missus picked the chicken curry…

Anak Borneo chciken curry

…and the two of us also had the pig’s intestines and pig’s blood with pineapples…

Anak Borneo pig's intestines & blood

…which we thought was pretty good as well.

The total for all our individual selections, plus rice, came up to RM19.50 altogether. I wonder when they will be having the kacang ma chicken and the pansoh babi again – I sure wouldn’t mind going back there again for those especially.