We know better…

We went to tapao the food from here on our no-meat Friday last week because we were not too sure if there would be any nice meat-free dishes at the chap fan (mixed rice) stalls.

As far as I know, if we go to the Malay nasi campur shops or stalls, we would not have any problem getting some deep fried kembong or fish curry…

…or assam fish…

…and some sayur masak lemak

…or other vegetable dishes such as labu (pumpkin), for instance…

…but we would not be completely sure that there is no belacan (dried prawn paste) or udang kering (hay bee/dried prawns) in the ingredients.

So, what did we order from the restaurant that day? Of course, I wanted the deep-fried bread crumb-coated fish fillet…

…served with mayonnaise, my girl’s favourite.

I also wanted their very nice deep fried own-made tofu…

…also served with mayonnaise but my missus was not all that keen on having two deep-fried dishes served with mayonnaise and that was why she asked for the “ang sio” version…

…with a special request for the meat to be left out. They were fine with it, I guess but I was not fond of how there was a lot of ginger, big slices of it, in the dish.

For our vegetable dish, we asked for the midin (wild jungle fern), ching chao (fried plain)…

…but we all felt it was not up to their usual standard that day.

The total came up to only RM49.00, comparatively cheaper compared to what I usually would have to fork out at such chu-char (cook &fry) restaurants but we have had some very nice dishes and super cheap deals at the chap fan (mixed rice) place here so we sure know better now and would probably reserve these more expensive places for some special occasions.

RUBY RESTAURANT 红宝石餐厅 …

is located at No. 71, Jalan Kampung Nyabor, right next to HOME COOK CORNER  (2.292756, 111.825335), with the AmBank Tunku Osman branch in the very next block.

All of it all…

My doctor said I should increase my intake of protein, something about all of it leaking into the blood stream or the urine or whatever but unfortunately, I have to stay away from red meat and dairy products. I was eating a lot of fish until the mere smell of it would make me feel sick instantly!

Eat eggs, he said, but eat the white only. WHAT? But I love the yolks…especially if they are soft and runny. Besides, if I eat just the white, what is going to happen to the yolks? Do we just throw them away? Isn’t that such a waste? Well, since I am not ready to do that, I would just limit my intake of eggs to say, around two a week…

According to this website, “…the problem with the yolk is its high phosphorus …but if you don’t have a phosphorous issue, you can use the yolk and this is for people who want to include some type of animal protein in their diet. The good thing about eggs is it doesn’t raise the blood sugar at all so it could be a good substitute for people that have or good food for people that have diabetic kidney disease.

Actually, my phosphorous and potassium levels are all right, no problem with them but of course, that does not mean that I can go ahead and eat all the egg yolks I want. Everything in moderation, that’s what’s best.

I like eggs in any form but these days, I will usually have them half boiled/half-cooked. I will bring some water to a boil in a saucepan and turn off the heat before putting in the eggs, straight from the fridge and leave them in the water for around 7-8 minutes. That way, the white will be cooked and the yolk is still soft and runny…

…both of them…

I don’t mind leaving them in the hot water a little bit longer so both the yolk and the white are a bit harder but the former must still be soft though a little less runny. The white would be a bit like the texture in hard boiled eggs by then.

I try to cut down on the soy sauce these days but I think I am o.k. with the amount of pepper that I add…

Once I’ve mixed everything together…

…I would just slurp it all down. I do enjoy eating eggs like this.

Then, there is this piece of information from another website, “However, in this context, even the earlier beliefs that the egg yolks are bad for kidney patients has been refuted to a great extent which means that the food item happens to be safe for the one and all…” and this website seems to contradict what all the rest are saying. Eat your egg yolks,” the heading says, “it’s the egg whites that can kill you! Heads you win, tails I lose.

I guess whatever it is, we should eat everything sparingly, not too much of anything, never mind what the people say and how good they are for you…and PRAY very very hard every day!

Feeling the pinch…

Somebody commented on my post on the Penang prawn mee the other day – he was of the opinion that RM10.00 for a bowl was kind of shocking. Well, like everything else, the price has been going up and up. It was only RM6.00 when she first started a long time ago…

…and then it went up to RM7.00 and later RM8.00. The last time I had it, it was RM9.00 and it has gone up again.

Well, considering that there are so many big prawns in a bowl and so many fried wantons plus half a hardboiled egg, I would not say that it was expensive but one thing’s for sure – one would feel the pinch when going for anything over RM10.00 for breakfast. What she could have done was to have fewer prawns and wantons and maybe, a quarter of an egg instead of half and maintain the price at RM9.00…or RM8.00. One would not feel it as much if it is just one digit, not two.

Of course, it is YOUR money and it is YOUR choice what you want to spend it on. If you think that something is expensive, you can always go for something more affordable. There are people here who are more than willing to part with over RM30.00 for a plate of fried noodles with ONE freshwater prawn…

…or a bowl of Taiwanese beef noodles…

…but you can count me out, of course. I cannot afford to do that on my measly pension.

Fortunately, there are a lot of cheaper options should one feel like eating out like the other day, for instance, when I went and bought a pack of roast duck rice with one stewed egg…

…for only RM7.00 for dinner.

I was rather surprised when I was told how much it was because I thought it was really cheap. Egg is not so easily available these days and the last time I asked, stewed eggs…

…were already RM1.50 each. My guess is they are RM2.00 now.

We are lucky nowadays that we have the frozen duck from Perak available at most, if not all, supermarkets so we can afford to enjoy the meat…

Otherwise, those traditional locally-bred ducks will cost a bomb, not something that everyone can afford. Still, there was somebody grumbling that he used to pay around RM15.00 for one Perak duck before and now, they are over RM20.00 each.

I also bought a pack of the same for my girl…

I did not buy any for the mum because she would not touch duck with a 10-foot pole.

Personally, I do not mind paying more for something substantial for lunch or dinner like this platter of sweet and sour fish fillet with fried rice and a generous serving of salad by the side…

…for only RM10.90 but for breakfast, I would stick to something cheaper, something that is below RM10.00.

Time changes…

Time goes by so slowly…and time can do so much!” Thus goes the line in the very popular song, “Unchained Melody and indeed, there can be no denying that time changes everything!

I’ve been wanting to go back here to try their Sarawak laksa

…for a long time now (we did go twice – once, the place was packed and another time, we were too early and they had not started for the day yet) but I only managed to do so last Friday morning.

It was raining the whole morning so there were very few customers around and parking was a breeze. Besides, I went at around 11, too late for the 10 o’clock tea and too early for lunch.

It appeared that they are using a new system of ordering now – they will not come to your table to see what you would like to eat or drink – instead, you have to place your orders with this lady…

…seated in the corner and pay her for everything before going to take your seat.

I don’t know if she submitted my order via computer like the very sophisticated system that they have here because as soon as I was through, she got up and went to the counter/kitchen at the back so she could have done everything verbally. If that is what she has to do everytime, it probably will get somewhat messy if there are a lot of customers going there to eat.

The Sarawak laksa came soon enough. It was only RM6.00 in 2019 and like everything else, the price has gone up. It is now RM7.00 a bowl…

…which is no big deal really – I am getting quite used to these rising prices but the thing was it did not look quite like what we used to enjoy so much here before…

…and yes, it tasted quite different…like they had used a different brand of the Sarawak laksa sambal and I thought it tasted a bit sweet. I used to think it was the best in town because it was very close to what the good ones in Kuching taste like, just as nice or perhaps even nicer. Now, I’m afraid that is no longer the case.

Even the sambal belacan

…paled in comparison to the one before but I guess we cannot blame them for using something cheaper, not the best exclusive one from Bintulu anymore because it is no longer that affordable to use, not at all.

Well, if it’s any consolation, I would still say it was all right but no, I would not say it is the best in town, not anymore.

Moving on from the Sarawak laksa, my sister gave us these ang ku koi

…from her ex-student…

…who is running some kind of home business. The ones with the red bean paste were sweet but these with the mung bean filling…

…were slightly savoury, not sweet at all. As a matter of fact, it had its own special taste that might need a little getting used to and though this is better for me, being on a low/no sugar diet, I prefer the slightly sweet ones here that I would buy once in a while.

SIBU THOMSON CORNER (2.296517, 111.840710)…

…is located at Pusat Tanahwang, opposite Sacred Heart Secondary School, Oya Road or you can go to their other outlet on the 1st floor of the Medan Mall, Jalan Wong King Huo.

Shocking…

I remember once upon a time, not that long ago, roti canai was only RM1.00 a piece. Of course the prices have gone up over the years but I found it somewhat shocking that it…

…is now RM2.00 a piece here!

This was only RM1.20 a piece here and the roti telur (with egg) was just RM2.00…

…and that was in 2019, not that long ago.

The other day, I was fuming mad when I was charged RM3.00 for the roti telur here

…soon after the initial shock I had at another place where I had to fork out RM2.70 for a piece

Of course I never went back to those two places again.

Well, it so happened that I felt like having roti canai one morning but the ladies here have called it quits – they are no longer making them. Eventually, I decided to check out this place…

…where I once had the roti telur but some young boys were running the stall at the time in 2015…

…and also this one at Bandong…

Now, there is an old man here, making the roti at the back and a young guy manning the counter in front.

I also asked for the roti telur which was a whooping RM4.00 a piece…

…and the boy asked if I wanted it kahwin (married), sandwiched, that is and I replied, “Sukati” which is Sarawak Malay slang for suka hati (as you wish).

My orders came with this very nice dhal dip…

…but in all honestly, I cannot say that I did not feel the pinch – RM6.00 altogether for what I had.

Yes, what I had was all right, nice enough but no, it was not THAT nice and for that kind of money, I can go for some other things a whole lot nicer elsewhere so if you’re thinking that they will not see me back there again, you are absolutely right!

The SEDC food stalls (MEDAN NIAGA SIMPANG TIGA)…

…is located facing the MDS Mart (2.306563, 111.819176) at the junction where Jalan Awang Ramli Amit, Jalan Kpg Hilir and Jalan Kpg Nangka meet.

Packages…

A few Sundays ago, that day when we were pissed off at one of the restaurants because all the things on their menu were not available and we adjourned to another one and it was full, my girl did suggest dropping by here but I did not feel like having chicken rice so we gave it a miss.

We went out for lunch again last Sunday and I was thinking of having something light so I decided this would be a good place to go to. Of course, I did not want to pick one of their packages again like what we did the last time we were here. No, it wasn’t because it was not good, just that you cannot choose what you want to eat – that day, we wanted their roasted chicken but no, with the package, you will get steamed chicken only and braised pork belly, take it or leave it!

I did try to order their roast chicken separately on top of all that was in the package but they said they had run out even though it was still so early, around noon. This time around, we asked for their roasted chicken, drumstick, with rice (RM7.00)…

…and it turned out that they only had ONE drumstick left! Good grief! If this is how they do business, I shall have to think twice about dropping by here again.

It must have been a very small chicken because the drumstick was so very small and of course, we let our girl have it! The only consolation was that the order was inclusive of their very nice chicken rice. That previous time when we took the package, we had to order the chicken rice separately as it was not included in the package so I had to come out with RM2.50 for each bowl, RM7.50 altogether for the three of us.

My missus and I had parts of the thigh (RM5.00)…

…and that sure did not look like much either, don’t you agree?

It was quite obvious that they were not very generous with the meat. I only paid RM7.50 for all that I had here not too long ago and just look at how much I got in the platter of stuff that I ordered plus the chicken rice! No prize for guessing where I would rather go to the next time I feel like having some chicken rice! Tsk! Tsk!

To make sure that we had quite enough to eat, I asked for two of their braised eggs (RM4.00)…

…to share. Unfortunately, they were kinda washed down, not as nice as those that I had had before at so many other places all over town. Even the sauce was so diluted that I did not bother eating the egg with it.

Thankfully, the fried cangkok manis with egg (RM10.00)…

…that I ordered as a side dish wasn’t too bad. They certainly were very generous with it.

The special chicken rice chili dip was very nice, just not spicy at all and their complimentary soup was VERY good despite what it looked like, so very plain – they did not even bother to throw the chicken claws in it like what they usually do at most chicken rice places here, chicken claws and some salted vegetables.

The overall total for the food is very much cheaper than going for the package, RM31.50 only, just that comparatively, there wasn’t all that much to eat .

TING KEE CHICKEN RICE (2.292362, 111.825681)…

…is located at No. 85, Jalan Kampung Nyabor, to the extreme left of the block of shops directly across the road from RH Hotel.

New location…

In my blogpost yesterday, I mentioned that I walked over to this coffee shop in the next block to the left and I was appalled to see that there were so very few customers, maybe two tables only to the most, unlike that previous time when I dropped by when they were enjoying brisk business despite the pandemic.

I guess the problem started when the beef noodles…

…stall moved to their own shop here and their crowd of loyal followers made their way there as well.

Eventually, the lady selling the very nice Penang har mee (prawn noodles)…

…that I ate that day also moved to a coffee shop across the road from here…

…along Jalan Sena. My ex-student sent me a photograph of the coffee shop but I have not gone over to have a look yet.

A Malay lady has taken her place but it did not look like she had any business at all – I wonder how long she would last at this rate and for reasons unknown, the kampua mee stall was closed, not something usual on a Thursday – they usually take the day off on Monday or Tuesday every week.

In the meantime, this coffee shop…

…that used to be in the next lane from my house has moved here…

…to what was formerly the Football Cafe along Jalan Cherry, Lorong 10. A long time ago, my ex-student used to run his Art tuition class at the unit on the extreme left on the 1st floor and I used to send my girl there. Now he is a very successful gynaecologist in Bintulu, making tonnes of money.

I don’t know what happened at the old place – probably there were some rental issues but even though this new place is quite near my house, I am in no hurry to go over, not at all. The kampua mee

…and the pian sip

…were good but there are others elsewhere just as good or perhaps even nicer.

I loved the Foochow fried mee special, the moon version…

…and the tomato kway teow

…and my girl loved the fried pek koi

…from the chu-char (cook and fry) people but I am not fond of the guy’s peculiar sense of humour. I don’t know if he was being hurtful or what but the things he said were far from being funny – I saw the expressions on the customers’ faces change as he hurled his insults at them and I did hear people saying that they would never go back there again!

Word has it that business at the new place is as brisk as before so I guess the loss of some of his customers has not affected them that much, if at all.

Maybe it’s time…

This coffee shop used to be so popular and was always filled to the brim. Yes, I used to drop by for the very nice kampua mee

…from the stall in front and yes, it is still there. I certainly would rank it among the best in town.

Another thing that I loved a lot from this stall was the meat porridge…

…and needless to say, I would always ask for the special so there would be some pieces of liver and bits of intestines in the so very delicious gruel. As a matter of fact, I like it so much that I dare say it is my favourite in town!

I cannot remember having anything from the chu-char (cook and fry) place at the back – my missus would order from them time and time again and I did notice a lot of people going there around lunchtime every day for the chap fan (mixed rice). However, when I was there the other morning, it looked very clean, like it had closed shop but don’t take my word for it. I did not walk to the back to check so I am not really sure.

I decided to go there once again after all this time that morning because I was thinking of the Muslim Melanau ladies’ roti canai and roti telur

…that they usually served, unlike elsewhere, with a bowl of curry gravy and I sure enjoyed that a lot.

Unfortunately, when I got there, the ladies told me that they no longer sell roti canai and all the rest at their stall…

They said the stall was too small for them to do everything so they would just stick to their priorities every day – fried noodles and what not in the morning and nasi campur (mixed rice) for lunch.

Yes, the ladies caused quite a stir when my West Malaysian blogger friends came to town in 2012 because their stall was sandwiched between the kampua mee and the fried kway teow stalls, something they would not be able to see over in the peninsula. In fact, unlike here where this Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian family) spirit is so very common, an everyday thing, over there, one would be hard-pressed to see a Muslim/Malay stall in a Chinese coffee shop. Another thing was, according to one of them, they would never get to see a lady making roti canai over there – all of them would be men. I don’t know to what extent this is/was true – I never bothered to take note of it.

Anyway, moving on to what I ordered in the end, I could remember that I used to enjoy their char kway teow (fried flat rice noodles) that was a whole lot nicer than the one from the Chinese chu-char place at the back so I asked for a plate of the special (RM6.00)…

It used to be RM5.00 before in 2017 which means that it has gone up by just one ringgit when the prices of everything else are shooting up sky high!

For the special, I got one perfectly fried egg and half a chicken wing…

…with the kway teow

…and though I would say it was pretty good, somehow I felt that it was nicer before…

I may drop by again to eat it sometime but no, you would not find me going out of my way to come here for this.

There were still a lot of customers that morning but no, it was not as busy as before. Maybe it had gone past its time and not many would make their way there anymore, unlike before, especially when traffic in that area is a nightmare every morning. Surprisingly, it was rather light that morning and this coffee shop in the next block that used to be packed, so very busy all the time, was almost empty except for maybe just a couple of tables.

CHOON SENG COFFEE SHOP /春陞茶室 (2.324218, 111.838197)…

…is located along Lorong Wong Ting Hock 1, off Jalan Wong Ting Hock, off Jalan Tun Abg Hj Openg at the Sungai Merah Bazaar here.

A little bit sweet…

That day, I went browsing around the freezers at one of the shops in the vicinity of the Delta Mall commercial area here, looking at the varieties and different brands of ice cream available and I saw these…

…little packets of mochi ice cream from Walls, selling for only RM2.00 each.

I do recall the matcha durian flavoured ones…

…from that same ice cream company that my sister brought for dessert at our Chap Goh Mei dinner early in the year and yes, we thought they were very nice, all of us except my girl – she is no fan of durian nor mochi so of course, she was not too thrilled by it.

I was thinking that perhaps, she might enjoy these chocolate and vanilla ones…

…that come singly instead of in a tray of four so I opened one and cut it into two…

…to try. I had half and gave her the other half.

Yes, it was very nice – we loved the chocolate ice cream in the mochi. Generally, it was just a little bit sweet (maybe it was because we just had a small bite each) and the mochi skin was not that chewy. That was probably because it was frozen so it was not rubbery and difficult to bite and swallow like some that I had had before. The mum enjoyed it very much as she loves mochi – the rest of us would prefer to stick to good ol’ ice cream as we’ve always enjoyed it.

End up here…

We went out for lunch on Sunday and my girl wanted to go here to try more of what they had in their impressive menu.

Unfortunately, they were out of tilapia, the ONLY fish dish that they had and the giant sotong (squid) that my girl wanted was NEW on the menu and was not available. It seemed that a lot of things in the menu were not available…YET! Honestly, how on earth do they do business like this? We decided to try some place else and walked out indignantly, feeling quite disgusted!

We went and checked this place out but it was full so we had to try some place else!!! Subsequently, we ended up here and had this delightful dish of venison…

…fried with thin strips of ginger and soy sauce.

Because my girl was thinking of having that once, we did ask for the meat at a number of places including this one but unfortunately, they all did not have it. Finally, here’s one place that had it but now, I am on a no red meat diet so I had to refrain from feasting on it. I did take one small slice though to buang gian (appease the craving) – I guess that wouldn’t do too much harm.

I also ordered their very nice fried fish fillet coated with bread crumbs served with mayonnaise…

– another one of my girl’s favourites at this restaurant.

We had their own-made tofu…

…as well. That never failed to please everybody who had it and I dare say that their fried cangkok manis with egg…

…is the best in town.

The total came up to only RM51.00 for the four dishes for the three of us – that may be considered relatively cheap compared to what I had to pay lately at the other restaurants in town and the best part, of course, was we enjoyed all the dishes to the max.

Another thing that impressed me was how they had switched to using ceramic plates completely – the last few times we were here, I did see them using some of their old plastic plates and I was somewhat put off by that. I do hope they would do away with those altogether from now on.

RUBY RESTAURANT

is located at No. 71, Jalan Kampung Nyabor right next to HOME COOK CORNER  (2.292756, 111.825335) with the AmBank Tunku Osman branch in the very next block.