You’re always good…

I received word from my godson/ex-student, Andrew, in Christchurch, New Zealand that he had sent me this made-in-New Zealand peanut butter and gluten-free flour for chocolate cake…

From Andrew in New Zealand

…and asked me to go to his house to get them from his mum – his parents probably just came back to Sibu from there. As far as I know, his wife, Michelle, is a regular reader of my blog so she must have read my post on peanut butter that day and also about how my girl is gluten-intolerant. That was so very thoughtful and nice of them, thank you so very very much – I only hope it wasn’t too much trouble for the parents to cart the things back all the way with them.

After getting the things, we headed to town for lunch and I asked my girl if she was keen on going back to the coffee shop we had been to a couple of times again and she was fine by it so there we were – I think this was our third time there with her and my fourth only. We had lunch here, my missus and I and then we brought our girl here once and she liked what we had so we went a second time with her and this time was no exception – the food here was, as always, very good.

No, the boss was not sitting by the side busy with his smartphone this time around – he was busy cooking, assisted by the young boys…

SYARIKAT KIONG CHUONG CAFE food stall

…at his stall and when he saw me, he smiled at me. That took me by surprise as it was not like I was such a regular customer. I guess he could recognise me from my previous visits – after all, there are not so many people this big. LOL!!!

We had the chicken roll again…

SYARIKAT KIONG CHUONG CAFE chicken roll

…and my girl wanted the ribs that we had on our previous visit but the boy said that there was wheat flour in it – the last time around, he said it was all right so perhaps, they had a different recipe this time, I wouldn’t know.

My girl did not want the fish again so we had siew yoke (roast pork)…

SYARIKAT KIONG CHUONG CAFE siew yoke

…and we had the bitter gourd omelette…

SYARIKAT KIONG CHUONG CAFE bitter gourd omelette

For our soup dish, I ordered what we called luak chai (Szechuan preserved vegetable/榨菜) and pork leg soup…

SYARIKAT KIONG CHUONG CAFE luak chai too kha soup

…and much to my surprise, my girl said she had never had that before and yes, she loved it! I guess we can always cook our own at home for her to enjoy – somehow, for reasons unknown, the mum never did.

The total for all the dishes and three plates of rice came up to only RM46.00. Not too long ago, we went to another place and had a plate of lemon chicken, not a very big serving, two plates of vegetables – sweet potato leaves and cangkok manis and the Foochow-style tofu soup with canned oysters and the total came up to over RM60.00 (inclusive of rice). No price for guessing which place we will definitely be dropping by again and which place is no longer on our list.

SYARIKAT KIONG CHUONG CAFE (2.291062, 111.827381) is located along Jalan Kampung Nyabor at the bend where one turns into Jalan Kpg Nyabor from Brooke Drive, a stone’s throw from Malaysia Hotel in the next block.

The Taliban song…

I call him Janggut by virtue of his long beard but the very nice and friendly boss of Sri Pelita calls him Taliban.

I used to enjoy his nasi lemak when he was running a stall here and I would have enjoyed his nasi ayam penyet too if he had not used the same nasi lemak sambal for that. After a while, he closed down his stall but I did bump into him a few times having his breakfast or lunch at Guna’s place. I did hear that he operates a stall at night at the Dewan MUC but so far, I have not gone there to check it out.

Every Ramadan, without fail, he would have a stall…

Taliban stall

at the Bandong (Walk) Ramadan Bazaar but no, he would not be selling his nasi lemak nor his nasi ayam penyet.

I did not buy his rojak nor his cucur sambal

Cucur sambal

…but I did grab a couple of bags of his laksa Penang (RM4.00 each)…

Laksa Penang

…to try.

I heated it up and had it for breakfast the following morning and I must say that I enjoyed it very much…

Laksa Penang, served

…and for someone who is not really into laksa Penang, that sure is saying a lot. A squeeze of that chunk of lemon that came with it made it taste even nicer, just that I would not mind paying a bit more for some visible bits of fish in the broth.

Actually, what I had in mind when I went there that day was his sambal kacang ikan bilis (peanut and dried anchovies)…

Sambal kacang ikan bilis

…that I do enjoy very much. I have had good ones elsewhere but mostly, the ingredients would be kind of limp, not nice and crispy so those would not be nice, not at all. Janggut’s pretty good – very very tasty, bursting with flavours and a bit spicy too so I bought quite a lot to keep…

In a tub

…and eat slowly with my rice – it sure helps to whet one’s appetite on days where there isn’t anything all that nice to eat in the house.

I’ve bought his kacang kuda

Kacang kuda

…before, RM2.00 a cup and yes, his would be extra fragrant because of the curry leaves added and so very nice and soft – that sure saves me a whole lot of trouble trying to cook it myself and waiting for hours for the chick peas to soften and the skin to fall off. I did buy quite a lot of that too that day as my girl enjoys it as well.

Well, if anyone is into these same things, Janggut’s stall (2.313955, 111.825111) is the first one along Jalan Jasmin, off Jalan Bandong, somewhere in front of SK Perbandaran Sibu No. 3, more or less facing the entrance of the Dewan MUC…and if you are having a problem trying to find a place to park your car when you go to the bazaar, you may be able to find a good spot here and it really isn’t very far to walk to where all the action is.

Morning till [the] nightfall…

This place…

My Bistro

…has been around for a very long time but I never bothered to drop by and give it a try. It appeared to me to be a place serving some pseudo-western dishes and a watering hole later in the night.

Sometime ago, this stall…

My Bistro, inside

…made its appearance there and I did get to eat their egg tarts and Portuguese egg tarts – I think they call them Macau tarts…

My Bistro egg tarts & Portuguese egg tarts

…and yes, they were good.

I also bought the chicken curry puffs…

My Bistro curry puff and sio pao

…for some friends once and I did not hear them complain. Other than those, they also had the sio pao (baked char siew buns) and a couple of others like these…

My Bistro tausar peah

…for instance though I am not sure which one that is in the list…

My Bistro price list

They even had that celebrated Taiwanese egg cake…

My Bistro Taiwanese egg cake

…that stirred up a storm when it made its first appearance in the country and had a whole lot of people queuing up for it.

I tried their steamed char siew pao (RM2.00)…

My Bistro steamed char siew pao

…before and it was very nice so I stopped by that day to buy a few home to re-steam in the morning for breakfast. I think the ones here that were selling for only RM1.50 initially had gone up in price to way over RM2.00 by now and I did not like the egg tarts there.

I ordered one of their steamed meat paos (RM3.20)…

My Bistro steamed meat pao

…that day and frankly, at that price, I expected it to be much bigger. The filling was so-so – it sure did not get me jumping up and down with delight and at that price, I think I would much sooner stick to the much nicer char siew ones.

I asked the people there and they told me that the stall would open 7-ish in the morning and would stay open till past nightfall at around 8 at which time, people would go there for drinks and there is a kampua mee stall inside – if I am not wrong, they said that it opens at night so those there for the booze could have that as well should they feel like having a bite to eat. I did not ask if they still serve those pseudo-western dishes anymore or not.

It’s a nice small place, not crowded and I do think it is ideal for meeting friends to sit and chat. The kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee) that I had was good and I love the blackboard chalk-drawn mural…

My Bistro mural

…on the wall but do be forewarned that I did stop there one afternoon to buy the tarts and they were not available. Perhaps they were all sold out that day.

MY BISTRO CAFE & BAR (2.311574, 111.846440) is located right beside Delta Mall among the shops at Pusat Pedada, the first shop at the corner in the block to the right of the mall if you are facing its back entrance.

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).

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!