Papa…

For so many years now, we would celebrate Father’s Day a day earlier as on Sundays, we would have to make our way to my girl’s school in the jungle but of course, this year, it was different and we could celebrate the special occasion on the actual day itself.

My girl went and got me this lovely black forest cake…

Cake

…from this bakery round the corner from my house and she got me to cut it first thing in the morning and we had that for breakfast. 

After that, we went to pick my sister and we all went to our parents’ resting place…

Flowers and prayers for Father's Day

…to offer flowers and prayers to my dad especially, in conjunction with Father’s Day.

We got back into town at around 11.00 a.m. and we went for lunch at this Korean place here that we do like a lot – my girl’s special treat. Most places open at 12.00 noon and close at 2.00 p.m. and will reopen at 6.00 p.m. for dinner which makes me wonder why they bother to open for those two hours only. At least, they should open a bit early, at around 11.00 a.m. like this one and if they have to, they can close at 3.00 p.m.

We just ordered our favourites that day, dishes that we had had before and enjoyed a lot so of course, I insisted on having the galbi tang (갈비탕)…

Galbi tang

…the Korean beef short ribs soup.

As usual, we were served the complimentary refillable ban chan (반찬)…

Ban chan

…and my girl wanted the gun mandu (군만두)…

Gun mandu

…again and needless to say, the dolsot bibimbap (돌솥비빔밥)…

Bibimbap

…too.

We also had the moksal or neck meat…

Moksal

…and ate that wrapped in lettuce with garlic slices, Bombay onion, strips of spring onion with some special sauce and the spicy Korean tau cheo sauce…

Eat it this way

…and we also had this pork belly marinated with Korean red chili paste, the gochujang (고추장)…

Gochujang pork belly

…and ate it that same way too. I would say that it was just as nice and we sure would not mind ordering that again the next time we drop by here.

My girl insisted on picking up the tab and had to fork out over RM140.00, inclusive of drinks, for all that we had for 4 persons. If I remember correctly, the beef soup is already over RM40.00 and the two pork dishes add up to around RM50.00 but considering how much we enjoyed everything, value for money, we certainly would look forward to coming back here again. 

KIMCHEE KOREAN BAR.BQ (2.296883,111.825859) is located on the first floor in the block of shops to the right of the Old Sing Kwong Supermarket (Kin Orient Plaza) along Jalan Tun Abang Hj Openg.

Be one…

It was Pentecost Sunday…

Pentecost at St Mary's

…and in an effort to bring the members of the church closer to one another, the parish priest announced the declaration of the 10th of June, the Feast of Our Lady, Mother of The Church, the following day, Monday, as our Parish Day beginning this year and there was a little celebration

Come Holy Spirit

…that day including a pot luck breakfast in the parish hall after the Sunday service that morning.

There was a big cake, a very nice one with the fragrance of coffee and chocolate but they had already started cutting it up before I could take  a photograph of it and because it would be the parish priest’s birthday the following Sunday, they got him another cake, a smaller one…

Birthday

…specially for the occasion.

There were lots of cakes, swiss rolls…

Swiss roll

…fruit cakes…

Fruit cake

…curry and sardine puffs…

Puffs

…egg tarts…

Egg tarts

…and Portuguese egg tarts…

Portuguese egg tarts

…and I enjoyed the beef satay that somebody cooked, eaten with bread.

I brought these Jakar sio bee (meat dumplings)…

Jakar sio bee

…as my contribution to the party – two whole trays like the one in the photograph and they were gone in no time at all. Everybody loved them, it seemed and the good thing is these days, we can get them very easily from this shop round the corner from my house. My missus made cups of fruit jelly (dadih) and they were a hot favorite as well.

We certainly had a great time at the gathering, enjoying what everyone had brought along to share and chit-chatting and getting to know one another better, a step forward from the usual hello and goodbye each time we meet when we go for the weekly Sunday service in the church.

Come visit me…

Hari Raya Aidilfitri came and went and of course, there was that traditional practice of holding open houses to welcome family members and friends to share the joy.

We did not go “visiting”, that’s the usual word used to refer to the practice of dropping by houses of relatives and friends on such auspicious occasions, till mid-afternoon at around 3.00 p.m.

We went to my girl’s good friend’s house first and we stayed for quite a long while, chit-chatting and enjoying the cakes and the biscuits. We were also served the fragrant nasi

Nasi

…cooked using the long-grained basmati rice and it went so well with the very nice curry…

Curry

…and the acar (pickles)…

Acar

…and there was this kelupis

Kelupis

…too – I sure enjoyed that with the daging masak hitam (beef)…

Masak hitam

After that, we adjourned to my girl’s colleagues house and as soon as we got there, a storm blew up and it poured cats and dogs so we just stayed there till the rain eased a little.

In the meantime, we sat and enjoyed the biscuits and the cakes and also the food served…and chatted away happily. It was getting late by the time we could make a move so we decided to call it a day and did not go to any more houses in the end.

Triangles…

The Duanwu Festival or the Dragon Boat Festival, commonly called the (Bak) Chang Festival, falls on Friday, the 7th of June this year which is today. The Chinese eat zongzi or chang on this special day because they are considered a symbol of luck, as the pronunciation of zong is very similar to the pronunciation of zhong (中). This character has a positive connotation, used in words such as 中奖 (winning a prize).

Every year, without fail, my dear friend, Richard, would give me his exclusive home-made nyonya chang

Nyonya chang from Richard

…I guess if you are a regular follower of my blog, you would know that there is no way we can buy these here.

We can go out and buy the not-so-nice (the ones here, that is) Hokkien chang or the pillow-shaped Cantonese chang but one just can’t expect too much from those commercially made ones plus they do not come cheap. Often, I would buy some home and end up rather disappointed and I get really put off to see them tying the dumplings with nylon string and boiling it in the water for so long until the rice is cooked.

Richard, on the other hand, does not scrimp on the ingredients like that so you can see a lot of meat in his changs…

Filling

…and if you are observant enough, you will notice that he does not use pre-minced meat from the butcher or the shop – he will painstakingly cut the meat into tiny little cubes for the filling, the way it should be. More often than not, when eating the ones outside, you may be hard pressed to find some meat inside. These days, you may find a teeny-weeny piece, mostly fat or traces of minced meat, barely visible to the naked eye.

Rest assured that if it is Richard’s chang, you can bet that it is as perfect as it looks – see how symmetrical it is on the outside…

Richard's chang outside

…and also on the inside…

Richard's chang inside

Thank you so much, Richard, for remembering me again this year. Truly, yours are second to none…and a Happy Duanwu Festival to you and all your loved ones. Hopefully, we will all 中奖 after feasting on your lovely changs and here’s wishing everyone the same as well.

Respect…

I’ve always enjoyed the food here and in this month of Ramadan, they are having a buka puasa (breaking of fast) buffet…

Banner

…or iftar in standard Malay while we call it sungkei/sungkey here in Sarawak at only RM20.00 per head and the other night, we decided to go and join them.

I just heard a story, though I doubt there is any truth in it, of how the word came about in Sarawak Malay. In the time of James Brooke, the first White Rajah of Sarawak, everytime his kid asked him when they could eat, he would say, “Soon okay! Soon okay!” The locals picked that up and when their children asked when they could buka puasa, they also replied, “Soon okay! Soon okay!” and somewhere along the line, it became sungkei/sungkey, pronounced soon-kay. LOL!!!

That evening, when we got to the shop, all the tables were either occupied or booked in advance. They even laid out tables in the vacant parking spaces in front of the shop for this and at that point in time, there were two or three tables inside the shop left but it was too hot and stuffy so we did not want to sit there. Seeing that, the very nice guy quickly set up another table by the side on the pavement outside for the three of us – it certainly was so very sweet of him.

As the time drew near, they started queuing up to get the food…

Queue

…and of course, we did the same. After that, they took their places at their tables and waited. Out of due respect for them and their religion, we also did the same and did not start eating till it was time – 6.37 p.m. that day when they had said their prayers and commenced with their breaking of fast.

My girl is very familiar with it as when she was in Wellington, New Zealand she had some very nice Muslim coursemates who took good care of her all the time they were there and they would invite her to join their buka puasa and other dinners and she even went to lend a hand with the cooking.

On the contrary, I remember once, before I retired, the Muslim community in the school where I was teaching invited us for this buka puasa thing. We were told to get the food and sit and wait until it was time to start eating. I was really pissed off at the time when a few non-Muslims took the food and ate right away – one even declared he was very hungry and could not wait…and once they had finished, they left and went home! Such disgusting and disgraceful behaviour…and they were TEACHERS! Really, if you do not respect others,  surely you cannot expect them to respect you. Tsk! Tsk!

Anyway, back to our dinner that night, I saw that they took a whole lot of food from the buffet spread. I did not take any photographs as it was evening and too dim for any reasonably presentable shots. Should anyone be thinking of going for this, I suggest that you do the same as the food ran out pretty fast. It probably would be a good idea to take the dishes and the rice in separate plates to share instead of loading everything onto one plate like what I did…

Mine

I loved that not very attractive looking fish – I did not know what they marinated it with but it was so very nice. The sambal egg and the sotong kerabu were fine, as usual and needless to say, I enjoyed the chicken liver and the bean curd sticks masak lemak too…but the gulai siput sudut (balitongs) stole the show. I took my fair share of those and had a great time sucking away and eating the snails inside.

There were crabs too but they looked kind of small so I did not take any. I think my missus had a piece and she said there was not much inside. Probably it is that time of the month – people say that on certain days, crabs would not have much meat inside the shell so one should not buy to cook or order any to eat when dining out.

My missus took this plate of roast chicken…

Chicken

…to share and my girl was praising it to the skies. She sure enjoyed that. The satay…

Satay

…was decent but nothing spectacular…and they enjoyed the ulam

Ulam

…very much.

What we took was more than enough – we were already so very full after eating all that and there was a wide variety of drinks too, free flow. I liked their asamboi (sour plum) juice very much but out of curiosity, I did go back to the buffet spread to have a look. I spotted these doughnuts…

Doughnuts

…earlier but of course, by then, they were all gone! Most of the things, the balitongs and the crabs, for instance, had all run out but they were not refilled. They did cook something else, just a few dishes, but I did not think they were anything to get excited about.

We enjoyed the experience and the nice and friendly people there sure made us feel very much at home.

LA’ZZATY CUISINE (2.307198, 111.828479) is located along Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg on the left if you are coming from town, right after the SHELL petrol station, at its junction with Jalan Nibong. The Sibu Buddhist Temple is on your right on the other side of the road.

Mother’s Day…

Last Sunday was the second Mother’s Day after my mum left us in March last year and like what we did last year, we bought some flowers…

Flowers

…and stopped by my parents’ resting place…

Resting place

…on the way to my girl’s school in the jungle, specially to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day.

That was why we did not have an early lunch before leaving home like what we would usually do. Instead, we stopped by this place in Selangau for a bite to eat before proceeding to my girl’s school, another half an hour or more away.

The sea cucumber soup was very nice…

Sea cucumber soup

…and so was the fried cangkok manis with egg…

Fried cangkok manis with egg

We also ordered the sweet and sour or chio/ikan bawal hitam (black pomfret)…

Sweet & sour fish

…and got a big one and yes, we liked it a lot too.

The total for the food plus the rice and drinks came up to RM55.20 (but the lady waived the 20 sen) which I would say is not all that cheap but the fish alone was already RM30.00…and I do wish they would do away with all those plastic plates and bowls. Still, what was most important that we enjoyed our lunch before we went on our way.

HUA KEE SEAFOOD & CAFE (2.523351, 112.325657) is located in Selangau Bazaar among the shops facing the SHELL station, a few doors away from the District Education Office.

Just a week ago…

We were here…

Bistecca business card

just a week ago, the previous Friday to be exact, and last week, on Friday, after we had come back from getting my girl from her school in the jungle, we were in the vicinity and I decided we would stop there for a really nice lunch to celebrate Mother’s Day (Sunday) in advance.

Saturday would not be a good day as my girl has something on around noon every week and in the evening, we would go for the novena and sunset church service and would only be done past 8.00 p.m. The next day, on Sunday, we usually have brunch at home before making our way yet once again to my girl’s school in the jungle. That was why I thought it would be good to have it early…on Friday even though it would be our no-meat day.

We could not have all the pizzas except for the pizza margherita with tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, salt and extra-virgin olive oil but we did not feel like having that. In the end, we decided we would not order any and asked for the squid ink spaghetti (RM24.00)…

Squid ink pasta
*Ooopss! Sorry for the slightly blurry pic!*

…instead. We had that once before, the Pasta All’Nero, but I don’t think it left a lasting impression but this time around, we really liked it a lot – very tasty but of course, it was kind of messy eating that so after we were done, we needed a fresh change of plates. No, we did not take any selfies of our teeth while we were enjoying it. LOL!!!

We also had the Vongole Bianco (RM22.00)…

Vongole Bianco

…but my girl said that whatever taste it had was drowned out by the stronger flavours of the squid ink pasta. I would beg to differ as I could detect its mild taste and I quite liked it. I sure would not mind ordering that again the next time we drop by here.

My girl loved the seafood soup (RM16.00)…

Seafood soup

…but just as I am not fond of the tomato-based minestrone soup or bolognese pasta sauce, for that matter, it did not really tickle my fancy. I would much sooner go for their mushroom soup that we had the last time we were here.

We loved the fried calamari (16.00)…

Fried calamari

…when we had that once before so we had that again.

For our dessert, we shared their chocolate fondant (RM10.00)…

Chocolate fondant

…which certainly was as good as it looked, served with a scoop of ice cream and whipped cream by the side – the “lava” oozed out slowly…

…the instant the cake was cut and that was an indication that it was perfectly done, a success.

I also wanted the crème brûlée (RM10.00)…

Creme brulee

…and that too was really good. The slight hint of blueberry at the bottom sure brought it to a whole new level. I remember they had strawberry when I had that a long time ago but I think blueberry’s nicer! I would have ordered the panna cotta as well but it was not available – well, another time, perhaps!

The total for the delightful lunch and the awesome desserts came up to RM98.00 – sky juice was on the house and there was no 6% SST, no 10% service charge so of course, I left the girl a generous tip for the prompt, efficient and very pleasant service.

BISTECCA & BISTRO (2.307630, 111.848188) is located off Jalan Sena – you drive into the area of shops directly opposite SMK Deshon and go straight to the end, make a u-turn and head back to where you come from – you will see it in the first block of shops on your left.