Nice place…

That night, after our dinner here, we adjourned to this place…

L A Cafe

…which is further in among the blocks of shops right across the road next door to this coffee shop that we have been to quite a few times before.

It’s a very nice, quiet place…

Nice place

…or at least it was when we were there that night, opens daily from 10 to 10 except Sundays…

Business hours

…and you have a choice to sit inside…

Inside

…or outside…

Outside

Of course, we chose to sit inside especially when it was so very hot around that time plus we did not want to be exposed to the choking discomfort of the horrendous haze and I loved how the air-conditioning was so very cold inside plus I liked the soft relaxing piano music they were playing.

I think this place is listed as a bubble tea place but no, thank you. I am not into those but one can pick from a wide range of teas available here and there is a choice of coffees on their menu too. Food items are quite limited – there are only a few items that you can choose from but I did hear that some of them are quite nice.

It would be a great place to hang out with friends around teatime to sit and chat and it would be nice if, other than just cakes, they could have some light snacks like sandwiches or local nyonya delights like ang koo koi – perhaps they could get somebody to supply these and they can sell them for a little profit, just a little.

We had just had dinner before we dropped by so we did not want anything, just a slice of their white chocolate cheesecake…

White chocolate cheesecake

…to share – I think this slice was around RM7.00 after the 15% discount they were giving at that point in time but in actual fact, it was my girl who wanted to come here that night because she had their yogurt ice cream (RM6.90)…

Yogurt ice cream

…before and she loved it so much that she wanted it for dessert.

I ordered one for myself but no, I am no fan of yogurt nor am I into anything sour so I don’t think I will order that again the next time we drop by here.

L A CAFE (2.297450, 111.824229) is located at No.29, Ground Floor, Lane 1, Jalan Tun Abg Hj Openg.

This is the day…

We celebrated our girl’s birthday earlier that weekend when the cousin was home and on the actual day, the 17th of September – the registration people got it wrong and it came out as the 18th in the birth certificate and we never bothered to get it rectified – we went out for dinner here…

Tasty Hotpot

This place has been around for quite sometime now and I think I did hear people saying that they quite liked what they had here but for no particular reason, we never went to give it a try.

There aren’t that many things on their menu – I guess that is because this…

The main attraction

…is their main attraction. You pick how you would like it done out of a choice of four – we chose spicy, moderate which according to the girl, is their signature style and then we went to pick the meat…

Meat

…from the freezer and the vegetables and mushrooms and what not…

Add-ons

…from the containers beside it. Everything here is calculated by how much per 100 gm but those were not our picks – I only took the photograph as they were still there at the counter whereas ours had already gone into the kitchen to be cooked.

This was what it looked like…

Ours

…when it was done and served. The ladies enjoyed it very much – let’s just say I was not all that impressed as it came across as one of those spicy Korean dishes with kim chi and chili paste and everything and no, I am not a fan of those.

The chicken soup with scallop and mushrooms…

Soup

…was a little more up my alley. It was kind of mild and I thought it was quite good.

My girl ordered the dumplings, plain and with chives…

Dumplings

…and she enjoyed them to the max, the latter especially.

I wanted these…

Pork

…their Thai sauce pork which was nice except that it tasted more like chicken with honey so much so that I even had to confirm with the girl that it was actually what we ordered.

Service was great and the place was comfortable enough. All in all, the total came up to over RM70.00 and of course, as long as my girl enjoyed herself especially since it was her birthday, I was fine with it.

TASTY HOTPOT (2.296817, 111.825706) is located along Jalan Tun Abg Hj Openg, beside the old Sing Kwong (Kin Orient Plaza) in the same block of shops as the KimChee Korean BBQ which is on the 1st floor at the other end.

Meant to be…

Early that morning, at 6.30 a.m., the day when I was going to fly back from Kuching to Sibu, I walked back to the coffee shop as I wanted to buy some of the very nice popiah home.

When I got there, I found that only the kolo mee stall was in full swing, the porridge lady was just getting ready but there was no sign of the laksa and popiah people. According to the aformentioned lady, the popiah stall would only open at around 7.30 a.m.

I decided to have something for breakfast but I did not want the kolo mee again. In the end I asked for their loti kiap (kaya toast) with two half-cooked eggs and a cup of coffee, the true blue Malaysian breakfast…

Choon Hui Malaysian breakfast

As far as I know, their loti kiap is very popular – at around 3.00 p.m. in the afternoon, you can see cars stopping by to buy that. My late uncle, my late maternal aunt’s husband, used to do that and there was this story going round about him buying the toast and because they tied the plastic bag with nylon string in one corner, when he got home, he found that the toast had fallen out of the bag so he did not have any for tea that day.

I can’t say I was impressed by the loti kiap – we can easily get that anywhere and everywhere. I noticed some nyonya chang on the counter and I asked for one to try but no, it was not worth the calories so I did not bother buying any to take home.

I did not want to sit there and wait so I went to the shops across the road and walked to the other side, not facing the main road, to this coffee shop…

Yang Guan Cafe

…where I had the lek tao suan (RM2.00)…

Lek tao suan

…the previous morning, one for the road, so to speak.

The lady…

Stall

…asked if I wanted any yew char koi/you tiao (Chinese crullers) but no, I did not want any as I already had breakfast but I could not resist ordering these steamed chai koi

Chai koi

…to try. The skin was really very good, so soft and so smooth but I only liked the plain sengkuang filling so I bought some of those home. My girl enjoys these and yes, she thought they were good. I wish they could be a bit more generous with the filling though, lots of empty spaces inside.

While I was there, I saw her frying…

Frying

…these…

Fried

…so I asked her what those were. She said it was her own steamed tee koi (kuih bakul) with yam and sweet potato. I was keen on trying so I bought two to take home to Sibu and lived to regret it.

It was so so so good, a slice of tee koi sandwiched between a slice of yam and a slice of sweet potato coated with batter and deep fried (RM1.50 each)…

Tee koi with yam & sweet potato

If I had known it was so nice, I would have bought a dozen, at least!

After that, at around 7.20 a.m., I went back to the earlier coffee shop to see if the popiah stall had started their business for the day. There was no sign of the two Chinese ladies but there was a helper getting the stall ready. I asked her, “Belum buka?” and she just replied curtly, “Belum!” Then I asked her, “Bila buka?” and this time, she replied somewhat rudely, “Tak tahu!!!” I was so pissed off by her attitude that I decided there and then not to buy any to take home and walked back to the hotel.

I had intended to use the hotel shuttle service to the airport, only RM6.99 per head but I did not make any prior reservation and it looked like nobody else would be taking it that day so the driver had taken the day off. In the end, I contacted one of my cousins to see if she could give me a lift and yes, she could. God must have been watching me from a distance because when she showed up at the hotel with her brother, guess what they had bought for me to take back to Sibu. Popiah!!!

They got the ones from this stall…

Popiah stall
*Photo through the kind courtesy of my cousin*

…here…

Gala Food Court
*Photo through the kind courtesy of my cousin*

…at Gala City, a new area in Kuching and yes, the popiah

Gala City popiah
*Photo through the kind courtesy of my cousin*

…was really very good. My cousin thinks it is the best in the city! It certainly looked like it was meant to be – my bringing home some popiah for everyone to enjoy. LOL!!!

Gosh!!! I was in Kuching for only four nights and all in all, I managed to cover the whole trip every step of the way in 16 posts! I had a great time – thank you so much to everybody for everything and I sure am looking forward to the next opportunity to hop over again. Just give me a reason!

CHOON HUI CAFE 春园茶室 (1.552768, 110.354468) is located at No. 34, Jalan Ban Hock in Kuching to the left of the Hotel Grand Continental there and YANG GUAN CAFE 阳光茶室 (1.553644, 110.354284) is along that same road among the shops across the road from Choon Hui but facing inside, not the latter nor the main road while GALA FOOD COURT (1.513013, 110.353807) is in Gala City at the Gala Street Mall SL11-SL12, 801-2B Jalan Tun Jugah, Kempas Heights.

A mother’s son…

My ex-Kanowit students had planned a get-together at their classmate’s restaurant that Saturday afternoon after the wedding on Friday before going our separate ways.

However, we were there just two nights ago and I did hear that my ex-student, the owner of that restaurant, has a son…

Kenny

…who has branched out to open his own restaurant…

Kwang Chin Seafood

…so I suggested going there instead and everybody…

With ex-Kanowit students and colleagues

…agreed.

While waiting for the food, they took out their old photographs…

Old photographs
*Ex-student’s photograph*

…and everyone was stunned to see that after 40 years, I could still remember the names of so many of their classmates when I asked them where so and so was at this point in time. Sometimes, I truly amaze myself! LOL!!!

Ah Lee brought along yet another tengalan but I was at the back of the restaurant at the time and by the time I got back to the table, the waitress had cut the fish up…

Tengalan

…so it was not a pretty sight. Nonetheless, it was really good and all of us enjoyed it to the max.

The fried midin (wild jungle fern)…

Fried midin

…and mani chai/cangkuk manis

Fried cangkuk manis

…were all right, pretty much like what one can get anywhere and everywhere else but the prawns…

Prawns

…and sweet and sour pork…

Pork

…were really great and very much to my liking.

However, it was the claypot yam…

Claypot yam

…that I enjoyed the most and I kept going back for more till there was none left.

They were saying that they would use the money left over from the reunion they had some years ago in Penang to pay for the lunch but the mother of the bride was free to join us that afternoon and she quietly went and paid for everything!

She even insisted on giving me a BIG ang pao even though I said that I was fine and could pay for all my expenses and just being invited to her daughter’s wedding was such a special honour and privilege already. Not everyone would remember their teacher, much less want the old fogies around for their special occasions. Gee!!! She gave me more than enough for the air fare and the hotel as well, thank you so so much, Sok Hiong!

Thank you also, Ah Lee, for the tengalan and everybody for everything and not forgetting Pek Suan for the Tan Kim Hock durian dodol

Durian dodol

– so thoughtful of you to bring all of us one each all the way from Melaka.

Hopefully, the plans for the next reunion there next year will materialise and we will all get to see one another again. In the meantime, take care and here’s wishing one and all blue skies and everything nice! God bless, everyone!

KWANG CHIN SEAFOOD 广进小厨 (1.530845, 110.367471) is located at the ground floor, Sublot 3, Lot 33, Soho West Phase 2, Jalan Wan Alwi in Kuching, two doors away from CS Supermarket, Kuching Soho branch. 

Left or right…

I do enjoy lek tao suan or split mung bean sweet soup (绿豆爽)very much but the only place where I could have that here in Sibu had since closed down.

I could recall walking past a stall once when I was in Kuching and I spotted a stall selling it. I made up my mind to have that on the way back but unfortunately, I walked round the blocks of shops and went back to the hotel using a different route and forgot all about it completely. Later, when I mentioned it to one of my cousins, she said she had that before and it was pretty good.

That was why when my cousin picked me up at the hotel that morning, I asked her to drive over to the place to see if it was still available there and indeed, it was…at a stall in front of the coffee shop on the left…

Yang Guan/Ang Hor

My cousin went to the one on the right – obviously she had something in mind so we had the lek tao suan

Lek tao suan

…sent over and yes, it was very good. I sure was glad to have had the opportunity to enjoy that this time around.

I saw some nyonya kuehs at that same stall, the kuih cangkeh

Kuih cangkih

…and the serimuka/kuih salat with black glutinous rice…

Serimuka

…but they were both very disappointing, not lemak at all and not anything I would want to have again.

My cousin wanted to go to the other coffee shop because she wanted the yong tofu

Yong tofu

…from the stall there and she also ordered this…

Ginger pork noodles

I couldn’t possibly eat anymore as I had had my breakfast earlier but I did try a piece of the meat and it was very very strong on the ginger and that was why it did not tickle my fancy – usually, I am not really into anything with a lot of ginger. I guess the noodles were tossed in the sauce so I don’t think this is one thing I would ever want to order for myself.

My cousin also tapaoed some stewed spare ribs from that same stall and I did try a bit – now, that was nice but no, I was way too full for that or anything else for that matter.

We left the place once we were done and she took me around the newer parts of the city, all the unfamiliar places and we even went to one of the malls until it was time for her to drop me off at the place where I was going to have my lunch – do come back tomorrow for that!

YANG GUAN CAFE 阳光茶室 and ANG HOR CAFE (1.553644, 110.354284) are located at Jalan Ban Hock, Kuching, among the shops across the road from Choon Hui Cafe but facing inside, not the latter nor the main road.

Narrow lanes…

The next morning after the night of the wedding banquet, my ex-student wanted to take me to his wife’s stall for breakfast again but I did not want that as I would want to explore all around to see if there was anything of interest that I would be able to blog about.

I remembered there was this narrow lane in Padungan, not far from this celebrated kolo mee place. Some guy was telling us that time that the kolo mee was just as good, maybe even nicer and one would not have to wait till like forever for it and I was thinking that morning that perhaps I could just stroll over there to look for it and give it a try.

I stumbled upon this one…

SIN POH POH lane

…and went in to look around.

I was taken by surprise when I saw this sign at the back…

SIN POH POH sign

I remember there was a coffee shop elsewhere that we went to once by that same name – they said the kampua mee or whatever was very nice but for reasons unknown, it looked like that place had closed down and everybody had moved here.

One thing that they have in Kuching and we cannot find in Sibu would be the crispy tomato sauce noodles and I simply must have a go at that before going home. That was why I went to this stall…

SIN POH POH fried noodles stall

…to order a plate – I think it was RM6 or was it 5, I can’t remember now…

Kuching crispy fried tomato noodles

It was nice but I thought what I had at the shop before looked a lot nicer. Ah well!!! At least I got to eat that while I was in Kuching – I wouldn’t know when I will have the next opportunity to enjoy it again.

Now, while I was there, I noticed that this stall…

SIN POH POH sio bee or koi stall

…was very popular – a lot of people were buying from them so I ordered some of the sio bee (meat dumplings), steamed and fried, and the or koi (fried yam cake), all RM1.00 each…

Sin Poh Poh sio bee or koi

…to try. They all turned out to be really very nice – the lady said she added prawns to the sio bee filling and the or koi was probably 90% yam, 10% flour. Both were so good that I simply had to buy 10 of each to take home to Sibu. The fried sio bee was good too but I decided I would leave it out this time around.

While I was there, one of my cousins contacted me and said she was on the way – I told her I would go back to the hotel first (to drop off my purchases) and I would wait for her there.

Sin Poh Poh Café 新寶寶茶室 (1.554600, 110.356619) is located at 174, Jalan Padungan in Kuching.

I cross the street…

In an earlier post, I mentioned that we skipped lunch that day of the wedding and I went back to the hotel to bathe and rest. I think it was around 2 0r 3 when I got up from my nap and I crossed the street to this place…

Munch

…right across the road from the hotel where I was staying to see what I could have for tea to tide me over till dinner that night.

Browsing through their menu, I was delighted to see that they had this black glutinous rice (pulut hitam) served with rich and creamy santan (coconut milk) dessert (RM5.00)…

Pulut hitam 1

…and without a second thought, I ordered that! I think the last time I had that was in KL in 2011 and before that I had a very nice one in 2009 in Penang and a few disappointing ones in those two cities in between. It sure looked a lot nicer in the menu though. They had the santan in circles and they probably ran a toothpick across the lines to make a floral design but it did not matter – after all, the test of the pudding is in the eating and I must say, it…

Pulut hitam 2

…was really very nice and I enjoyed it to the max.

I know I shouldn’t have but I simply had to order this mango sago pearl dessert (RM6.20)…

Mango sago pearl

…to try and I lived to regret it. Not only was it nowhere near that truly awesome Mango No. 5 but it simply wasn’t anything to shout about, really.

I wanted this…

Scones

…because I do enjoy good, rich, buttery scones with clotted cream and fruit jam but I was informed that it was not available.

In the end, I ordered this prawn dumplings with noodles (RM7.20)…

Noodles

…to try. Yes, it was good but I am pretty sure one can get something cheaper that is just as satisfying at the coffee shops here, there and everywhere in the state capital.

MUNCH (1.555081, 110.353470) is located at  No. 179, Jalan Song Thian Cheok in Padungan, near the Secret Recipe outlet there.