The only way is up…

That’s the way it is with the prices of things these days, going up and up and up.

The other day I felt like having yong tofu for my brunch so I stopped by here for that (RM9.50)…

Sing Long Cafe yong tofu 1

It has gone up by 50 sen, it seems – it used to be RM9.00 (in 2013 and RM6.00 only in 2008 and RM8.50 in 2011) but that is less than 5%. All the sets have gone up by 50 sen so compared to the basic bowl, just fish balls and tang hoon (glass noodles) that used to cost RM6.00 but now it has gone up to RM6.50, the price hike is almost 10%.

You can order that, the basic, and then you pick what you would like to add to your bowl and they would charge accordingly. Over in the peninsula, they will let you pick all that you want and then serve in a bowl of soup with the vegetables and tang hoon added upon request but in KL, I do know of places where they serve it dry like here or here, for instance. I hear each would be RM1.00, more at some places so actually, what I was charged here that day worked out to more or less the same.

There were 3 fish balls…

Sing Long Cafe yong tofu 2

…(half of the 6 they used to give in the past), 2 ladies’ fingers, 1 brinjal, 1 bitter gourd, 1 tofu puff and 1 chili, 9 altogether but what I like here is the clear soup – it is very tasty and my guess is they boil the heads and the bones of the bay kar/ikan tenggiri (mackerel) for the stock and yes, they do use good fish for their fish balls and fish paste, anytime nicer than those frozen supermarket ones, thank you very much!

I loved especially the sambal/chili dip that came with it that had a hint of belacan (dried prawn paste) and was very spicy and there was quite a lot of tang hoon

Sing Long Cafe yong tofu 3

…so with all that soup and everything in the bowl, that was filling enough for me and good enough for my brunch.

My missus had the pian sip, soup (RM2.80)…

Sing Long Cafe pian sip, soup 1

…from the kampua mee stall in front and it was as good as it looked…

Sing Long Cafe pian sip, soup 2

While we were enjoying our orders, the young boy was cleaning up his stall and was closing up for the day. We saw him fishing out the pork bones from the soup stock and along with those, there was cabbage too! My missus said that she heard somewhere that they do add cabbage at some places and that would help enhance the taste and the sweetness of the soup.

I had their sio bee before (RM1.00 each) and thought it was very good though I am not sure if it’s the same people here now so I ordered that to try. Unfortunately, I was duly informed that they were not available that day – I guess that would have to wait till the next time we drop by here again.

SING LONG CAFE (2.292595, 111.835979) is located in the Fortune Commercial area (behind Rejang Medical Centre), Lorong Chew Siik Hiong, directly opposite the nursing college (KOLEJ ITA).

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99 luftballons…

We dropped by here…

99 Kopitiam

…the other day and I was wondering why 99 in the name.

It turned out that an ex-student of mine was running the kampua mee stall…

99 Kopitiam kampua mee stall

…and also the drinks business at that coffee shop that sure looked sparkling new and very clean but no, he couldn’t possibly be born in 1999 – he probably was still in school at the time and no, I don’t think they started the shop in that year either and for sure, it was not named after that 1980’s hit by Nena, a one-time favourite of mine, the English version, that is…and no, I did not bother to ask.

His brother is a very popular and successful gynaecologist in Bintulu whereas he was not as academically inclined and was a representative for a West Malaysian book publishing firm before he ventured into this business, following in his father’s footsteps. Yes, his dad was in the kampua mee business before but he has retired now – I did not see him around that day but the mum was there helping the son out.

My missus ordered the kolo mee (RM3.70)…

99 Kopitiam kolo mee 1

I certainly would not want to order that because 9 out of 10 here, or maybe 10 out of 10 even, it would not be anything like the ones in Kuching, the good ones, that is, even though with the toppings at all, they do look similar…

99 Kopitiam kolo mee 2

That is why I always wonder about the ones over in the peninsula or in Singapore and elsewhere – exactly how close are they to the real thing or are they, like the ones here, nice to eat but are, in fact, not quite there? Ah well, to be fair, there are a lot in Kuching even that are not all that great like what I had here or here, for instance – it all depends on knowing exactly where to go; my favourites would be the one here or here.

True enough, she did not think it was great but at least, the kampua mee (RM2.70)…

99 Kopitiam kampua mee 1

…that I had was quite good. No, there was nothing that would make it stand a head above the rest…

99 Kopitiam kampua mee 2

– it was just good enough, not anything that would make me go out of my way to eat.

Well, I did ask the mum what was good and she replied without any hesitation that I should try the pian sip, our local version of the wanton or meat dumplings (RM2.70)…

99 Kopitiam pian sip 1

…and true enough, it was really very good. It was big, the skin was thin and smooth and there was a lot of meat…

99 Kopitiam pian sip 2

…in the filling plus it tasted a little different from the usual elsewhere and was very nice as well.

I sure wouldn’t mind having another round of it…

99 Kopitiam pian sip 3

…should I happen to be in the vicinity again and maybe, the next time around, I would ask why they had that 99 in the name of their shop.

99 KOPITIAM (2.304827, 111.886167) is located along Lorong Permai Jaya 1A, off Jalan Permai Jaya, a short distance from the Sibu Lake Garden & Taman Awam Sibu, on the same side of the main road if you are coming from Permai side or on your right if you turn into the bypass from Ulu Oya Road right before you reach those scenic parks.

Same old places…

I have not been around much lately so as you can see in this post, I ended up going to the same old places to eat.

We stopped by here once and I had the nasi lemak with chicken drumstick curry (RM8.00)…

Colourful Cafe nasi lemak with chicken curry

…while my missus had their fried kway teow (RM4.50)…

Colourful Cafe fried kway teow

I think I did mention in a previous post that the prices here have gone up by around 50 sen but as long as the food is good, it does not really matter as its location is convenient for us to stop by on our way home and parking is a breeze plus it is free.

We were here not too long ago and I was quite upset by the fact that they did not seem to have a lot of the things on their elaborate menu but we were in the vicinity and I wanted my missus to try the nice nasi bryani (RM9.00)…

Sara Cafe nasi bryani ayam

…that I had and thought was really good. The chicken thigh seemed much smaller this time around and it did not look like my missus enjoyed it a lot – she just said it was not spicy. Period.

I ordered the roti canai (RM1.20)…

Sara Cafe roti canai

…and though I liked how it was kind of crispy in parts, I did not think I would want to order that again as I found it way too oily, so oily that I could not use my hands to tear it up and dip in the curry gravy and eat.

I liked the teh-c special (RM3.00)…

Sara Cafe teh-c special

…and I thought the mee jawa (RM6.00 for the special)…

Sara Cafe mee jawa special 1

…was very good too…

Sara Cafe mee jawa special 2

I loved the taste of the thick and rich gravy but for the special, one would get a piece of fried chicken, that’s all. I would prefer the fried prawn fritters than one would get for the mee jawa special here.

Then, on another morning, we stopped by here but it was a Wednesday and that stall with the nice own-made fish balls was having its day off so my missus went and ordered the seafood noodles (RM6.00)…

Happiness Cafe seafood noodles

…that she had once and liked a lot.

I tried the Foochow sio bee (90 sen each)…

Happiness Cafe Foochow sio bee

…from the mee sua stall and much to our delight, they were really very good!

I mentioned in that post that the Sarawak laksa stall had closed down – well, it has reopened, now run by a couple and no, I did not go for the laksa queen (RM28.00)…

Happiness Cafe laksa queen

…and no, I don’t think I would ever want to part with a whopping RM58.00 for the king – I guess the prawns would be extra huge if you order the latter. Instead, I just settled for their laksa special (RM7.00)…

Happiness Cafe laksa special

…RM5.00 for the regular.

It tasted nice, much nicer than what I had here but no, it did not have much of the Sarawak laksa fragrance and taste plus I would not recommend the special as the serving was so very huge, a whole lot of bihun, that it was quite a struggle for me to finish all of it.

So there you have it, something old and something new that I had over the past week or so at those same old places around here.

COLOURFUL CAFE (2.316673, 111.837539) is located in the Renew4U building at the junction of Brooke Drive and Lorong Kwong Ann 8, across the road from the Church of Jesus  Christ of the Latter Day Saints while SARA CAFE (2.307544, 111.820744) is located among the shops at Simpang Tiga, Sibu, where the Bisonte Grocer & Deli is, one of the two facing Jalan Bunga Normah 4 and HAPPINESS CAFE, (2.306608, 111.827179) formerly KONG MA MA, is located along Lorong Delta 4, off Jalan Delta. The left turn into Lorong Delta 9 will lead you straight to the Delta Public Swimming Pool.

Send it…

As far as I know, there is just one place in town where lei cha (擂茶) is available and that is only on Friday, lunchtime. I gathered that it is good for detoxification and so far, I’ve had it twice only, the one here, the first time in March and once again, the second time, later that same month.

I’ve been wanting to go back for it again but being caught up with all the things going on in my life these past few months, I never got down to it.

Much to my surprise, the other day, I got a call from my friend, Robert, asking me if I was home and of course, I was. I hardly go anywhere every day except to spend some time with my mum in the morning and stopping for brunch along the way before we come back to the house (and of course, on Sundays, I would be sending my girl to her school in the jungle).

In no time at all, he and his wife, Angela, were at my house to give me some lei cha that the latter cooked herself. No, she did not have brown rice but instead, there was this very special one…

Rice

– I don’t know exactly what it was, whether it was fried or what, but there did seem to be some fragrant ingredients such as leek in it.

There were the added toppings, of course, all the vegetables and the beans, the peanuts and the chai po (preserved turnip)…

Toppings

…and of course, there was the very bitter green herbal soup…

Angela's lei cha

…that one pours over everything before mixing it all well and eating.

I sure enjoyed it but not my missus – she has yet to acquire the taste and did not like it so bitter.

Thank you so much, Robert & Angela, for the lei cha treat and for sending it all the way to my hose. Much appreciated and I must say thank you also to the Youngs, Stephanie‘s parents, for these XL beauties…

XL mangoes

…the size of papayas, the big ones! I have never seen any this huge and what’s special about them is the fact that no pesticides are used in the growing. That is why there may be some “unwelcome guests” when one cuts into them but no worries! If they are not badly infested, one can just slice away those parts and enjoy the rest of the fruit…

Cut mangoes

…like this one that I cut to enjoy – very sweet with a very light hint of the sourish mango taste, very very nice. Hmmmm….I think I will get some glutinous/sticky rice and coconut cream ready so when the other one ripens, I can make my own Thai dessert, my favourite!

Some other way…

I tried a packet from one of the packs of the Sarawak instant bihun laksa

Sarawak instant bihun laksa
*Archive photo*

…that we got from my Bintulu brother-in-law and my missus had one as well. There were two packets left, four only in a pack, so on another morning, I cooked both and used one of the packs of sachets inside, keeping the  other one for another day to use in some other way.

Well, I’ve tried the fried noodles using the laksa sambal before here

Fried laksa mee mamak
*Archive photo*

…and though it tasted all right, I would taste the ingredients of the sambal in it. They probably should have used those brands where one would not need to sieve the gravy/broth/soup – I hear that this would be one of those…

Liza sambal laksa Sarawak
*Archive photo*

…but even though there have been people telling me that it is good, personally, I’ve never tried it before.

Anyway, back to the remaining pack of the sachets that came in the packets of the aforementioned instant laksa, bihun, I decided to use that to fry some of my own bihun the other morning. There were the ingredients…

Fried Sarawak laksa bihun, ingredients

…I prepared – some bihun, of course, soaked in hot water till soft, chopped garlic, sliced shallot, some curry leaves and spring onions, chopped, from my garden, a bit of prawns and an egg (beaten and fried for the sliced omelette topping). I did have chilies in the fridge but they were not hot and spicy so I did not bother to add any, not even for the colour.

I fried the garlic and shallot in a bit of oil till golden brown, added the prawns and the sambal laksa from the sachet and the curry leaves as well before throwing in the bihun and adding all the stuff in the remaining sachets. When I felt it was done, I dished it all out onto a bowl and garnished it with the spring onions and the strips of sliced omelette…

My fried Sarawak laksa bihun

Yes, I thought it was really very nice. I bet a bit of shredded chicken and maybe a squeeze of calamansi lime would make it taste even better.

However, at RM8.99 for a pack of 4, I certainly would not be all that keen to go out and grab another pack – it is now available at a supermarket here and I hear than in Miri, they are selling a pack for over RM9.00. It was only over RM3.00 for a pack of 5, with instant noodles not bihun and then they added a sachet of santan (coconut milk) powder and jacked up the price…and now they’ve substituted the instant noodles inside with bihun and they’ve raised the price even more. I guess it is convenient to buy and bring or send to family and friends abroad, desperate for a taste of our Sarawak laksa (and yes, this one comes really pretty close, just that you have to add your own toppings) – NZD13.50 a bowl in Auckland, New Zealand, I hear – but on my part, at least, I’ve given it a try. Period.

Last year…

So how has it been for you last year, those of you in the world of blogging especially? I bet it had been really great.  As for mine, I would say it was all right. I don’t think I had that many people dropping by compared to those early years – perhaps many have grown tired of blogging and moved on to other attractions.

Well, the “annual report” is out…

2015 report

…but I can’t seem to be able to download any screenshots of the page so I resorted to snapping it in parts using my good ol’ digicam.

I don’t know how reliable these figures are but they sure look impressive…

Impressive

…though I wonder whether there really had been that many. I guess that includes those who drop by but never comment – if I were to base the general response on the comments alone, I would not think it was all that overwhelming.

So where did everybody come from?

Where from

Hmmmm…the UK has not been given special mention in the Top 3, it seems…and Singapore neither but 126 countries in total is really quite amazing for a blog that is mostly centred around this obscure little town.

Ok, I did manage successfully last year to have a post a day…

Posting patterns

…though there were two posts on the 3rd of September but I think that was something that I did accidentally, not on purpose.

Surprisingly, the top two posts in 2015 were old ones dating back to 2013 and 2008 respectively…

Attractions

…which makes me wonder why they are still getting so much attention and surprisingly, both are NOT about what seems to draw the most number of comments – food…and surprisingly, the aforementioned “most popular” post on what is said to be the busiest day in 2015 is not in the list.

I think there were more than just a few regulars not named in this list below…

Top commentors

…and ironically, though Singapore did not make it into the Top 3 countries, the No. 1 commenter comes from that island republic.

It seems that a lot of people came over from Facebook…

Links

…and I must say that I am surprised to see that last one, considering mine is not among the blog links by the side. Does that mean that there are actually that many people hopping over by clicking on the link in the comments that I made there? Never mind! Whichever way they come from, everyone is most warmly welcomed here. Do keep dropping by and I sure would appreciate your comments – those would definitely serve to keep me going.

So, there you are! 2015 at a glance…and hopefully, things will be as good, if not even better, this year. Cheers!!!

Something light…

We were all feeling very full after the heavy lunch that afternoon so we decided to go and have something light for dinner. That was how we ended up here. It was just a one shoplot cafe when it first started and then, it took over the last shoplot in the next block and had a roof/shade constructed adjoining the two shops so diners could sit and eat in the open space in between as well…and now it looks like they have acquired another shoplot where they have their air-conditioned section…

Anson aircon section

Personally, I certainly would think twice about sitting inside as it is always so very crowded here so I can imagine the din in that enclosed section. This place is always packed and very noisy and the fact that they play that clubbing kind of music sure does not help one bit as everyone would need to speak louder to be heard. We went around 6.00 p.m. thinking that there would not be so many people since it was still rather early but how wrong could we be!!! The place was already filled to the brim and luckily, we were able to get a table.

Service was great and we promptly placed our orders and were served in a jiffy! I wanted to try the tortilla selections that are new on their menu and I picked the Aloha quesadillas (RM7.90)…

Anson quesadillas

…which, if I’m not mistaken, had ham and pineapple inside while my girl asked for the smoked salmon ones (RM7.90)…

Anson smoked salmon quesadillas

They were both very nice and came with nachos and salsa dip by the side but between the two, I think I liked my choice more.

My missus ordered the same thing she had on our previous visits – she obviously likes it a lot, their teriyaki chicken chop (RM8.90)…

Anson teriyaki chicken chop

…but of course the serving was too huge for her to handle so she had to enlist our help to finish what she had on her plate.

That’s the thing about this place – the food is pretty good and VERY cheap and the servings are HUGE plus the service is fast. You would just need to bear with the crowd and  at times, getting a table may not be all that easy.

I also ordered this interesting looking dessert – the tofu fua and red bean combo (RM3.80)…

Anson tofu fua & red bean

…which was very nice but it was served first and I had to eat that while it was still nice and cold. The red bean was only on the top though – it was all tofu fua. I thought it would be half of each in that bowl.

As for our drinks, they were all RM4.50 each…

Anson fruit drinks

…and perhaps, you would like to try and guess what fruit drink each of them was and which one I had. Who knows? I may just send a prize down your way if you get both correct? Wink! Wink! LOL!!!