All sold out…

We went back to this coffee shop that day as I thought of ordering their very nice sio bee (meat dumplings) that we bought home the last time we were here. They were very nice but I did not take any photographs then so I thought this time around, I could have it steamed there and then and served piping hot and enjoy eating it on the spot and blog about it. Unfortunately, they were all sold out and from what I could see, they were in the process of making some fresh ones. Good grief! Looking at the mountains of sengkuang/mangkuang (turnip) and Bombay onions, it sure looked like they would make a whole lot each time.

A lady was there and from the sprinkling of Mandarin that I could understand, she also wanted to buy the sio bee but was told to come back the next day. It sounded to me like they would make fresh ones on Mondays which would be ready for sale from Tuesday onwards…which stocks last.

That morning, they had these (RM1.10)…

Yong Chuan Fish Noodles stuffed tofu puff skin 1

– tofu puff skin stuffed with pulut (sticky rice) with bits of shitake mushroom and carrot and probably a bit of meat too…

Yong Chuan Fish Noodles stuffed tofu puff skin 2

I did not think they looked all that enticing so I was not tempted to order any. However, my missus bought some home and I got to try them. No, I would say they were as nice as they looked, nice but not really something to get excited about.

My missus ordered their zhao chai hung ngang (RM6.00)…

Yong Chuan fish noodles zhao chai hung ngang

…that her sister had the last time and was going on and on, singing its praises but she was not as impressed – she said she would prefer the tom yam one that she had then. Perhaps she likes it spicy, that’s why or we have grown used to those stronger exotic tastes so anything else would pale in comparison.

I spotted the stewed egg that last time but I did not get to try so this time around, I asked for one…

Yong Chuan fish noodles stewed egg 1

…and I was so surprised when I cut it open…

Yong Chuan Fish Noodles stewed egg 2

The yolk was orange and looked like salted egg yolk but no, it did not taste anything like salted egg. It was not like the regular stewed egg either and yes, I thought it was really very nice.

The lady said it was kampung (village/free range) egg and together with the kampua mee with stewed pork…

Yong Chuan Fish Noodles kampua with stewed pork

…that I had, the total came up to a whooping RM5.00! I looked at the display of photographs at the stall and a plate of kampua mee was priced at RM3.00, same as here but so very much nicer than what the old lady’s daughter there dished out. I suppose that would mean that the egg was RM2.00 each then? Golly gee!!! I don’t know the price of these eggs at the market but regular stewed eggs would usually be RM1.00 each. Seeing how it was double that amount, I sure would think twice about having it again.

The kampua mee was cheaper than some places but more expensive than others but it did stand out, a head above most of the rest – I sure would not mind having it again the next time I drop by here.

YONG CHUAN FISH NOODLES HOUSE (2.308016, 111.848896) is located among the shops on the right (next to WikiTea) along Lorong Sena 8, off Jalan Sena, directly opposite SMK Deshon.

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I’m new here…

There were others here before and we did drop by to look around but I do not recall ever seeing anything that tickled our fancy and eating there. Well, these guys are new…

Ah Kiet Restaurant

…and we went to check it out the other day.

There is a kampua mee stall…

Ah Kiet Restaurant kampua mee stall

…and a dim sum stall…

Ah Kiet Restaurant dim sum stall

…and I think there are two other stalls that are still vacant or they were not open that day.

At the back, they have this chap fan (mixed rice) place…

Ah Kiet Restaurant chap fan 1

…that seemed to be immensely popular…

Ah Kiet Restaurant chap fan 2

…so my missus and I joined the queue to pick what we wanted.

She had these (RM6.00 with a bowl of complimentary soup)…

Ah Kiet Restaurant, chap fan - my missus' picks

…and she said the kangkong belacan was very nice and so was the tofu. She let me try the sweet and sour fish fillet and it was really good, better than some of the ones we’ve had at some of the chu char (cook and fry) restaurants.

I also took the pork with tau cheo (salted bean paste) that she had but I thought it was rather salty, nothing really great. Of course, I did not miss the stewed egg…

Ah Kiet Restaurant chap fan - my picks

…and I liked the cangkuk manis fried with egg. As for the brinjal with minced pork, I think I prefer that with sambal especially the one here. I requested for some curry gravy to be poured over the rice and there was no extra charge for that so mine was also RM6.00 too with the complimentary soup.

I rather like their system. You join the queue and they will get the rice for you in a tray and then one of the ladies will take what you pick…and go all the way down the line where there is a counter and you can pay before taking your tray to a table to enjoy the food. You will have to help yourself to the complimentary soup though – nobody is going to get it for you.

We did not try anything from the kampua stall but I did order this lor mai kai (RM4.50)…

Ah Kiet Restaurant lor mai kai

…from the aforementioned dim sum stall. It tasted all right except that it was over-steamed/cooked till the pulut (sticky rice) was way too soft so much so that when I removed it from the foil cup, it could not retain the shape of the cup and just went flat.

On the other hand, the prawn siew mai (RM5.00)…

Ah Kiet Restaurant prawn siew mai

…was very very good – I certainly enjoyed that a lot. I sure would want to go back there again to try some of the other things that they are selling at their stall.

AH KIET RESTAURANT (2.317307, 111.850023) is located right behind Comfort Furniture among the shops beside the Selemo traffic lights along Lorong Ling Kai Cheng 2, off Jalan Deshon if you are coming from town or you can go in via Lorong Ling Kai Cheng 4 if you are coming down from Teku or Ulu Sg Merah. The very popular kampua mee (and fried kompia stuffed with minced meat) place, Sing Ming Kee Cafe is in that same block of shops at the other end on the left.

The very next day…

Normally, we would go to the sunset service on Saturday in one of the churches here so on Sunday morning, we could do a bit of cooking – my girl’s rations for the week and after an early lunch at around 10 something, we would be on our way to her school in the jungle.

Last Saturday, however, it rained so very heavily at around mid-afternoon and though it did ease a bit by evening, the downpour had not stopped so we decided to get up early the following morning to go to the 7.30 a.m. service and after that, we went for breakfast.

We were here…

Sri Pelita
*Sri Pelita, the extended section to the left of the shop*

…for lunch on Saturday and believe it or not, we went there again the very next day!

My girl loves the thosai here and when I asked her if she would like that, she jumped at the suggestion without a second thought. I ordered the paper-thin one…

Sri Pelita paper-thin thosai

…for her – it is usually served rolled up…

Sri Pelita, paper-thin thosai, rolled up

…like a newspaper.

I also ordered another one, the regular…

Sri Pelita thosai, regular

…to share.

Other than the dhal dip and the fish curry gravy, Guna, the nice boss, gave us this sambal nenas (pineapple)…

Sri Pelita sambal nenas

…and the prawn sambal tofu that we liked so much the day before, to eat with the thosai.

No, my missus was not really into thosai so she ordered a plate of mee mamak

Sri Pelita mee mamak

…for herself and she sure was delighted when it was served with all the chopped cili padi sprinkled on top.

I also ordered the murtabak daging

Sri Pelita murtabak daging

…which, unfortunately, my girl could not eat as being made from wheat flour, it was not gluten-free. She was moaning away and had her eyes on the corned beef…

Sri Pelita murtabak daging, corned beef

…inside, together with chopped Bombay onions. Yes, she loves corned beef very much too – I think I will have to open a can to cook for her, with potatoes added, when she comes home this weekend. She can eat that, nothing in it that will trigger the symptoms due to her gluten-intolerance.

Back to our breakfast that morning, I went to pay the bill and Guna just collected RM20 from me for everything, our drinks inclusive. As I was walking past, I saw the lovely sambal terung they had in the cabinet and I asked one of the boys to give me some of that, take away, for my girl to bring along with her but Guna came and took over and gave me a whole lot…and refused to accept any payment for it. My! My!  I think next time, I will have to go to their other outlet in Permai so I will be able to enjoy the food and get to pay for what I eat – he is usually at this outlet, not there.

SRI PELITA CAFE (2.293579, 111.820700) is located along Lorong Kampung Datu 11, off Jalan Kampung Datu, the first shop in the block to the right of Paramount Hotel.

That’s what I like…

I like going to places where people are very nice and friendly, where one would feel at ease while enjoying the very nice food served – that’s what I like but no, unfortunately, not all are like that – there are some who obviously know who I am but they choose to pretend that they don’t and at most places, they do not bother about all the social graces and will not even try to talk a little bit more nicely, never mind whether they are the proprietors/bosses or just the employees. You order what you want, you eat, you pay and you leave and worse of all, there are some rather mean and very unpleasant characters who may snap at you at any time like for instance, if you happen to ask why your order is taking a little too long.

No, I do not expect anything, no special treats nor will I ask for discounts but there are some who will go out of their way to see to that. One, of course, is Peter, the boss of Payung Cafe and the extra large servings of what I order and he will even cook something, usually something new, for me to try. He says that he enjoys cooking for me (Incidentally, if you have not heard of it, Payung is now closed the whole day on Sundays – it used to be closed for lunch only before but now, they have decided to make the whole day their rest day.) and of course, there is Mary of Flavours Thai Kitchen and her wonderful authentic Thai chef, Jos – there would always be that something extra special for me each time I drop by.

Another one is Guna of Sri Pelita. For one thing, he would always give me some discount on my bill without being asked and it so happened that my missus and I were there for lunch last week on Thursday. We really enjoyed our picks that day and as I was leaving, he asked me if I could go back the following day, Friday, for lunch as he wanted to cook me his special Indian-style fish curry…

Sri Pelita Indian-style fish curry 1

…with some really fresh ikan merah or red snapper that he had. Unfortunately, we had to drive to my girl’s school in the jungle that day so we would not be able to make it but he insisted and asked us to drop by on Saturday instead – he would not accept no for an answer so I accepted his invitation.

I did ask him if it would be for me to take home or to eat there and he said he would prefer that I ate it there so he could enjoy seeing me savouring every bit of the fish…

Sri Pelita Indian-style fish curry

We were served the very instant we got there and yes, we loved it! This one was a little spicy, not like the one we had two days earlier, and of course, that made us like it even more.

According to Guna, this would only be available upon special order and if anyone is interested, he or she can drop by his shop to discuss. He says he would need to know all of one’s needs and wants so he would be able to make sure everything is to one’s satisfaction.

No, we had more than just the fish and the vegetables in the dish. Guna also served us this combo of bitter gourd and cabbage…

Sri Pelita bitter gourd & cabbage

…and this tofu in prawn sambal

Sri Pelita prawn sambal tofu

The sambal here is undoubtedly the best, a whole lot nicer than any elsewhere – so very delicious and spicy too and you may get to enjoy it with their sambal brinjal…or the sambal egg but this was the first time we saw it with tofu and there were prawns in the sambal too. It was so very nice that my girl wanted some to take back to her school to enjoy in the course of the week…and when I wanted to pay for it, the nice guy simply refused to accept any payment for it.

It certainly was a most delightful lunch – we ate till we were almost bursting at the seams, thank you so so much, Guna.

SRI PELITA CAFE (2.293579, 111.820700) is located along Lorong Kampung Datu 11, off Jalan Kampung Datu, the first shop in the block to the right of Paramount Hotel.

Once in a long long while…

As they say, variety is the spice of life and so it is when it comes to food. I would not want to eat the same things over and over again but of course, I may go back for what I think is nice time and time again, not necessarily just once in a long, long while.

Last Friday, I had to go to my girl’s school in the jungle to pick her again and bring her home as her colleague had something on here in Sibu and left a day earlier. The last time I had to do that, I bought some chicken rice from here for her and those sharing the same unit with her in the teachers’ quarters so this time around, I did not want to go and buy that again.

I went and bought the wat tan hor kway teow from here (RM12.00)…

Colourful Cafe wat tan hor kway teow
*Archive photo*

…instead and I brought my own tiffin carrier with specific instructions to separate the kway teow and the egg sauce/gravy. At my girl’s quarters, we heated them up for her and two of her colleagues/friends to enjoy. They had their fill and still, there was still a little bit left so one can jolly well guess how big the serving/portion was.

My missus and I decided to eat first ourselves before going on our way so we would not need to worry about our own lunch later and she asked for their fried kway teow (RM4.50)…

Colourful Cafe fried kway teow

We first had it some years ago when this guy was the chef here and we kept going back for more and now, he has his own place, conveniently located very near my house and we were here just two or three days earlier for lunch and she had that exact same thing – the fried kway teow. She does seem to like it a lot.

On that previous visit, I had the nasi lemak with chicken drumstick curry (RM7.50)…

Colourful Cafe nasi lemak with chicken drumstick curry

Normally, I would ask for the daging masak hitam (black-cooked beef) but this time around, I thought I would have the chicken instead for a change.

The rice was not really lemak enough for me but with the chicken curry and its gravy…

Colourful Cafe chicken drumstick curry

…and also the very nice and spicy sambal ikan bilis

Colourful Cafe sambal ikan bilis

…it did not really matter. At some of those Malay stalls and shops, they would give you so little, maybe around a teaspoon only, and some that I had did not even taste nice. Even at my favourite nasi lemak stall here, I would always tell the guy nicely, “Sambal tambah sikit, ya?” and he would happily oblige and give me more.

Fast forward to that day when we had to drive to my girl’s school, of course, I did not want to order the nasi lemak again. For a change, I had their fried mee (RM4.50)…

Colourful Cafe fried mee 1

It was good but I would prefer some of those at the Malay shops and stalls, their mee mamak or whatever. This Chinese-style one is a bit too mild for me…

Colurful Cafe fried mee 2

– I do think the kway teow has an edge over it – and I asked if one could order that with a special request for fresh chili, sliced or pounded, to be added for it to be spicy but I was told that I could choose to have the one with sambal. Now that, of course, would mean there would be an extra charge – RM1.00 perhaps for the sambal. Smart, eh, these business people?

After my missus and I had finished our quick brunch that morning, we were on our way.

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.

These eyes…

These eyes of mine are really bad. I was watching a grand Malay wedding in Singapore on AFC (the Asian Food Channel) and saw all the gorgeous food they were cooking and serving at the banquet…and everyone stuffing their faces with it – the beef bryani looked so good and that triggered a craving in me for that so I simply had to go and have some bryani rice…

Sri Pelita nasi bryani

…myself for lunch here.

They had lamb shank curry…

Sri Pelita lamb shank curry

…that day and the  boss insisted that I tried and yes, it was very nice. No, it was not fall-off-the-bone tender but it was all right, tender enough for me and there was a whole lot of meat plus I so enjoyed the tendons too, definitely a lot nicer than what we had here.

I also asked for their awesome sambal terung

Sri Pelita sambal terung

…our favourite in town, and the total for all that came up to RM12.50.

My missus also had the sambal terung but she did not want the bryani rice and had plain rice instead and she asked for the Indian-style fish curry…

Sri Pelita Indian-style fish curry

…which was very nice too. The total for  hers was RM7.50 and when I went to pay, the boss just collected RM20.00 from me. Gee!!! Isn’t he nice? He waived the charges for the drinks that we had!

And that’s not all! He also let me try these…

Sri Pelita egg and toast

..on the house – the telur meleleh (drooling egg)…or what I saw somebody on Facebook calling it telur bergoyang (wobbly egg) on toasted bun and another one with peanut butter…

Sri Pelita peanut butter toast

He told me that these would be available at his shop now at RM2.00 each and personally, I liked the latter – they were very generous with the peanut butter and the bun was more well-toasted, crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.  I guess we can always request for that when placing our order for any of these buns.

Oh dear!!! I was so very full that I could hardly walk out of the place that day!

SRI PELITA CAFE (2.293579, 111.820700) is located along Lorong Kampung Datu 11, off Jalan Kampung Datu, the first shop in the block to the right of Paramount Hotel.

That looks good…

Yes, I would say that it looked good but one must not judge based on appearance alone as at times, it can be quite deceptive.

Well, we dropped by here…

Jia Jia Lok Food Corner
*Archive photo*

…the other morning as somebody told me that the Sarawak/Kuching laksa from a stall at this coffee shop was so very good, nicer than the ones here, our favourite in town, and if you have a look at their Facebook page, obviously, there are a lot of people who actually think likewise.

We sat pretty close to the stall…

Jia Jia Lok Kuching laksa stall

…and while the guy was getting our orders ready, the whole time we were wondering why we could not detect the fragrance of the broth and were prepared for the worst – that it was not really all that good, after all.

My missus had the regular and I had the special…

Jia Jia Lok Kuching laksa price list

…and they did look good…

Jia Jia Lok Kuching laksa - special & regular

…when they were served.

The regular came in a smaller bowl…

Jia Jia Lok Kuching laksa, regular 1

…and only had two small prawns in it…

Jia Jia Lok Kuching laksa, regular 2

…two fewer than at our favourite Sarawak laksa place, going for that same price…

Thomnson Corner Sarawak laksa
*Archive photo: Thomson Corner – Sarawak laksa*

…and one fewer than the nice one here, also RM5.50 a bowl at this point in time

Colourful Cafe Sarawak laksa
*Archive photo: Colourful Cafe – Sarawak laksa*

I had the special…

Jia Jia Lok Kuching laksa, special 1

…priced at a whooping RM10.00 a bowl…

Jia Jia Lok Kuching laksa, special

…and there were four very big prawns. I just could not put my finger on it as to what I did not like about them but somehow, they did not seem to have the nice sweet taste of very fresh prawns even though they were firm in texture, nothing like the horrendous ones I had here once and never again.

Well, prawns aside, yes, the broth was quite close to the real thing, the nice authentic Sarawak laksa in Kuching but no, we still prefer our favourite. This one is a little bit mild, kind of watered down…and it was only when I added the sambal belacan and the squeeze of calamansi lime that I started to enjoy it…but there was so little of it so I did not have much left to eat together with everything in the bowl after that.

All things considered, I would say that it would be something I might consider having should I happen to be in the vicinity, the regular, that is, not the special – RM10.00, I feel, is a bit too steep but no, I would not go out of my way for it whenever I have a craving for Sarawak/Kuching laksa.

JIA JIA LOK FOOD CORNER (2.293336, 111.837017) is located at the Fortune Commercial Centre (Lorong Chew Siik Hiong) in that same block of shops as the CHAMPION CORNER coffee shop, right at the other end, facing the back of the Rejang Medical Centre along Jalan Pedada.