The best people in the world…

I am sure everyone would agree that…

People who love to eat...

…in the world!

This food court…

Food Bazaar 1

…is pretty new, located at the mega mall in town and I spotted that poster in one section of the place there…

Food Bazaar 2

…and of course, I couldn’t agree more!

We seldom venture there as we do not go out much on weekdays nor would we be keen on going out of our way but that day, we did not have a choice as we had to buy some things at their supermarket/departmental store. That was around lunch time so I suggested going to the food court to see if there was anything nice or not.

My missus had the bak kut teh, dry (RM12.00 plus RM1.20 for the rice)…

Food Bazaar bak kut teh, dry

…from this stall…

Food Bazaar bak kut teh stall

…and she said it was nice.

I ordered the Bintangor rojak (RM8.00, medium)…

Food Bazaar Bintangor rojak

…from the stall next to it but no, though it was edible and the sauce was nicer than the one we had here, I would not say it was anything I would want to have again. Those crisps were so hard that my gums hurt when eating them and I could not figure out what they added as the topping in place of crushed groundnuts – it appeared like pop corn to me. No, it was definitely a far cry from the real thing.

I also went to have a look at the stall next to the rojak stall and I saw this durian mille crepe (RM15.00)…

Food Bazaar durian mille crepe 1

Yes, I did think that the price was kind of shocking but I simply had to give it a try and thankfully, it was very nice…

Food Bazaar durian mille crepe 2

…and had the taste and smell of fresh durian. Still, at that price, I certainly would not want to have that again.

I was intrigued by the sight of this…

Food Bazaar matcha crepe roll 1

…at that same stall but I failed to make head or tail of the lengthy explanation the guy gave to tell me what it was so I just ordered one to find out for myself and it turned out to be a matcha crepe roll (RM10.00)…

Food Bazaar matcha crepe roll 2

…with cream and something that looked like red bean inside. Of course, I did not fancy that – I am not fond of anything green tea and the smell was rather strong, and it was even a little bit bitter, at times.

My missus just had one kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee) from the beverages stall while I was a bit more adventurous and went to check out this one…

Food Bazaar Thai coconut ice cream & shake stall 1

…and ordered the coconut shake…

Food Bazaar Thai coconut ice cream & shake stall 2

…but it (RM6.00)…

Food Bazaar coconut shake

…wasn’t great, not really thick, rich and creamy like a shake and I told my missus that it felt like I was drinking santan (coconut milk), straight. I would much sooner go for the one that I like very much here…or at the stall outside a house at Rejang Park (but it seems to be that they are no longer running the business there) and I was wondering the whole time if their ice cream was any better. Perhaps I’ll check it out next time.

I don’t know when I will go back to the mall again – it is always very crowded on weekends but when I do, I probably would want to venture to the food court again to see what else they have in store.

FOOD BAZAAR is the food court located in the Orange Zone at the Star Mega Mall (2.304917, 111.86407) along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, the road leading to the Sibu Airport.

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Spare parts…

If you’re guessing that this post is going to be about all those innards, pork or whatever, then you are mistaken.

It’s about my ol’ faithful, the Proton Wira 1.3…

My ol' faithful Proton Wira 1.3
*Archive photo*

…that has been with me for so many years, since 1994, 24 years to be exact.

I was kind of distressed when I read in the news the other day that they will cease producing the spare parts soon after the report about how it is the most popular target among car thefts not because of the car per se but for the parts. Good grief! Wouldn’t that make the situation worse, especially when the parts are no longer available?

Well, it so happened that my missus was reversing the car that day and I saw the reverse lights blink and go off almost instantly. Of course I took it to my regular workshop right away – I do that all  the time the instant I feel that something is not right so as to keep it in tiptop shape at all times…especially when I have to drive it 100 km X 2 or at times, 4, on the pothole-ridden Pain-Borneo Highway every week to my girl’s school in the jungle and back.

I often see cars breaking down along the deserted trunk road, some very new ones even and I certainly have no intention of having that happen to me. Touch wood!!! For one thing, I sure would not want to spend all that money to get a new car and subject it to all that abuse, driving on the kind of road we have here. Often has it been said that a car is a man’s wife and seeing how they drive their nice and new flashy cars so very recklessly and at neck-breaking speed and with no respect and consideration for the law and for other road-users, it makes me wonder if they treat their wives that same way. Tsk! Tsk!

While I was at the workshop, the boss said he was going for brunch at this coffee shop close by, right opposite, in fact…

Uncle Lau Corner
*Archive photo*

…and invited me to come along. That was almost lunchtime, around 11 already, and I did have breakfast that morning but I just tagged along to keep him company.

I had the pain sip, dry…

Uncle Lau Corner pian sip, dry

…and yes, it was very good and he had the kampua mee

Uncle Lau Corner kampua mee

…that I had before, twice, but with pian sip instead of the thinly-sliced char siew wannabe (boiled meat coloured red), once tossed in chili sauce

Uncle Lau Corner pian sip kampua with chili
*Archive photo*

…and another time, white

Uncle Lau Corner pian sip kampua. white
*Archive photo*

…and yes, I did like the noodles here, both times.

They traced the fault to the switch controlling the reverse lights and thankfully, they had no problem whatsoever in getting the spare part to replace it. In the meantime, I asked them to change the engine oil – I use the better quality one and they tell me I would only need to change after every 7,000 km but I would do so once I’ve gone past 5,000 like when using the regular one. My old car may not look all that nice on the outside but yes, it is still running perfectly well, praise the Lord…

UNCLE LAU CORNER (2.328131, 111.840397) is located back to back with Udak Kitchen which is to the left of Everwin, Sg Merah along Lorong Sungai Merah 2C, off Jalan Teng Chin Hua.

Long overdue…

This was long overdue. When my brother was home from Auckland, New Zealand, I took him here for lunch and my girl saw the photographs that her mum shared with her on whatsapp (yes, she has a smartphone, not me) and that triggered her craving for what she loves a lot here – the very delightful Indian butter chicken (RM18.00 plus RM2.00 for the switch to biryani rice)…

Cafe IND Indian butter chicken with biryani rice

We had been caught up with this and that on the weekends she was home including the long Good Friday/Easter Monday weekend and also the one-week school break around the end of March so we never got round to it until last Saturday and of course, she ordered what she wanted.

The mum, as always, had the Indonesian kalio ayam (RM14.50)…

Cafe IND Indonesian kalio ayam

…and she requested for it to be extra extra spicy and yes, it most certainly was, much to her delight and very much to her liking.

On my part, I would prefer the spiciness to be toned down a little so as to be able to enjoy the very nice Indonesian curry taste in the dish without it being drowned out by all that spiciness…but of course, she’s not me. After all, it is scientifically proven that unlike poles attract, right? LOL!!!

I had the ikan sumbat (RM18.00)…

Cafe IND Indonesian ikan sumbat

…that day, something I had not had for a while now and yes, though the ikan kembong was kind of small, they managed to take all the bones out and stuff the meat back inside with whatever ingredients added – I think I saw what appeared to me like grated coconut…

Ikan sumbat, dissected

…and there was this kerabu

kerabu

by the side and yes, I did enjoy my order especially the baked and peeled skinless brinjal with the lovely sauce…

Skinless brinjal with sauce

…on top. It was thick and nutty, something like satay sauce, maybe even a little nicer, but I could not see any of the crushed peanut in it and all the while, I was wishing they had given a lot more than that so that I could enjoy it with the rice and everything else. As in the case of the nasi ulam that I cooked the other day, I thought on the whole, the dish was quite dry and I would love a bit of sauce, sambal or gravy and in the end, I helped myself to a bit of what was in my missus’ kalio ayam and my girl’s butter chicken.

Incidentally, if anyone is thinking of going for those dishes on their Indian menu, you’d better hurry because towards the end of this month, that tall and handsome authentic Indian chef will be going home and he will not be back till after Hari Raya – that will be sometime in June, I guess.

In the meantime, all those on their Indonesian menu will be available as usual…and I did hear that the guy has taught the Indonesian chef to cook the biryani rice and the mutton curry and what not so those would also be available but not their tandoori chicken nor their butter chicken (as he uses the tandoori chicken to cook the curry) or the rotis or anything cooked using the traditional oven.

CAFE IND (2.290813, 111.829294) is located along Laichee Lane, right behind one block of shops facing the main road (Jalan Kampung Nyabor) where the Bank Simpanan Nasional, Sibu branch (2.290561, 111.829071), is located.

Some days…

This goes back quite a bit, to Easter Monday around two weeks ago, to be exact.

Usually, my girl comes home on Friday (but that week, she came back on Thursday, Good Friday being a public holiday here) and we would go to the sunset service on Saturday evening and on Sunday morning, the mum would cook up a storm, all the food rations for her in the week ahead at her school in the jungle and we would have an early lunch before leaving the house to go on the Pain-Borneo Highway to her school, some two hours away from Sibu town…but on some days, it may be a little different.

That Monday, for instance, her school took an occasional holiday and we were able to make use of that extra morning to settle some business that she had to see to in town which, of course, meant that the mum would not be able to do much cooking for her. After we had got everything done, we went for brunch and she wanted the chicken rice here but I thought it…

Chopsticks Chicken rice

…was not that great that day as it was kind of dry, not that flavourful and not nice and oily.

The roast chicken was all right…

Chopsticks roast chicken

…and the siew yoke (roast pork) too but I simply could not understand why when I had said that I did not want any sauce poured all over the meat, the char siew (barbecued pork)…

Chopsticks siew yoke & char siew

…was drowned in the sweet sauce and I guess I do not have a case with the stewed eggs…

Chopsticks stewed eggs

…as eggs are not meat but I wish the yolk was not all soaked in the sauce like that. I can’t remember how much I paid for all that plus three plates of rice and complimentary soup for the three of us – I think it was RM23.00 altogether, if I am not mistaken.

On another day, my missus and I stopped by here as I heard that their cendol was very nice. When we got there, we were told that they did not have cendol, just ABC (air batu campur), RM3.50…

Joystar ABC

…so we had that. There were ang tao (red beans) and cincao (grass jelly) and even a scoop of ice cream in it and it was all evaporated milk, no santan (coconut milk), no gula Melaka (palm sugar). I thought it was all right, just that it was not anything sensational, not something that would get me going back for more.

We also had the rojak (RM5.00, small)…

Joystar rojak

…and that too wasn’t really great. The sauce did not taste like it had much prawn paste in it so we were not too thrilled by it. Personally, I do feel that this would be one of the much nicer places to go to here in Sibu for things like these.

CHOPSTICKS CHICKEN & RICE (2.312434, 111.845917) is located in the Delta Mall, Jalan Pedada area of shops, facing the church along Lorong Taman Seduan 8, off Jalan Gambir and JOYSTAR GARDEN 花悅坊 (2.328329, 111.837701) is located at No. 2A & 2B, Jalan Igan, to the left of the Sungai Merah traffic lights, across the lane from SMK Tiong Hin and a church there

Down the road…

This was two Sundays ago, Easter Sunday.

After the early morning service, we dropped by here with the intention of enjoying their Sarawak/Kuching laksa, our favourite in town but unfortunately, the place was packed and there wasn’t a single table available. In the end, we had no choice but to go down the road to have our brunch here, located to the left in that same block of shops, three doors from the end.

I had the Foochow fried noodles (RM3.80)…

Friends' Kopitian Foochow fried noodles

…but I was kind of disappointed. I did not think it was as nice as it used to be – at one time, I would rank it as one of the best in town but now, I am having second thoughts about it. Other than the taste, I did not like the use of the rather worn out melamine plate – that and also anything plastic should be avoided when serving hot food.

My missus had the mee mamak (RM4.30)…

Friends' Kopitian mee mamak

…and I did not hear her complain so I guess she was all right with it.

I ordered the fried pek koi (white rice cakes) for my girl with specific instructions NOT to add any soy sauce but what we got in the end had a dark shade of brown. I took it back to the stall and said that I would like to tapao that home – I could eat it later myself as I am not gluten-intolerant and ordered a new plate for my girl (RM4.80)…

Friends' Kopitian fried pek koi

It looked like they used the fresh local-made pek koi instead of the dried ones from China, hence, the narrow strips. I don’t know if my girl enjoyed it very much but she sure took a long time to finish – for one thing, she is kind of slow when it comes to eating, slowly savouring and enjoying each bite.

They were gracious enough to dish out a fresh plate and insisted that I did not have to tapao the earlier one home and pay for it but no, that kind and generous gesture on their part did not change my mind about the melamine and plastic plates used. I am adamant in my convictions. Period.

It looked like the same people were running the kampua stall in front but the handsome hunky guy was no longer there and in his place was this one…

Friends' Kopitian kampua stall

…who looked a bit similar, probably his younger brother.

I remember the kampua mee wasn’t anything to shout about but the pian sip was good so I ordered a bowl…

Friends' Kopitian pian sip

…to share. The soup was good, no msg overload but no, the dumplings were an absolute disaster, so hard and chewy around where the meat filling was.

Thankfully, the chai kueh (50 sen each)…

Friends' Kopitian chai kueh

…that I also ordered from them were good. The skin was good and the filling was nice, just that I was wishing they could be a little more generous with it and there was no hint of any hay bee/udang kering (dried prawns) used in the making so I would not say they were anything to make me go out of my way to come back here again for these.

While waiting for my girl to finish, I went back to the aforementioned Sarawak/Kuching laksa place and ordered three packs…

Thomson Corner Sarawak laksa

…to take home for our dinner. Call me superstitious if you want but I did elaborate on this poonek thing among the Malay and ethnic communities in this post and since we would be going on a long drive the very next day, sending my girl back to her school in the jungle, I was not taking any chances. LOL!!!

FRIENDS’ KOPITIAN (2.296353, 111.840831) and SIBU THOMSON CORNER (2.296517, 111.840710) are located at Pusat Tanahwang, opposite Sacred Heart Secondary School, Oya Road, to the right of the SHELL petrol station along that road.

I do it for you…

In the course of our exchanges, my girl did mention in passing one day the river fish that we enjoy a lot – the ikan buris but no, she did not say she would like to eat it or anything. She’s the kind who will eat most anything we cook and never complains but of course, we can see the enjoyment when it is something that she finds delightful.

That was why I went to the wet market early last Thursday morning to buy the fish but there were no really big ones. I did get hold of some that were big enough, not too small, one from one stall for RM7.00 and three from another stall.

The next day, Friday, my girl came home for the weekend and she left her school in the jungle immediately after class, skipping lunch and by the time she reached home, she was famished, I was quite sure of that. That was why that morning, I worked on cooking the fish.

I wrapped one, stuffed with chopped daun kesum and topped with a number of sprigs of dill, in daun kunyit (turmeric leaves) – all from my garden and put it in the oven to bake. Of course it would be a whole lot nicer if I had grilled it over a hot charcoal fire but, no, I did not go through the trouble of doing that.

It turned out really good…

Oven-baked ikan buris 1

…and my girl sure enjoyed it so much, the sweetness and the lemak-ness (it is a very oily fish) plus the fragrance of the leaves and herbs used…

Oven-baked ikan buris

I did do the same with one big ikan sultan (from Batang Ai) not too long ago – I had bought it for our Chap Goh Meh dinner but because my mum was admitted into the medical centre that day, I did not get to cook it till much later. I stuffed the fish with the daun kesum and Thai basil leaves and serai and garlic, all whole and other than that, because the fish had scales, I did not cut slits in the sides. In the end, even though the fish turned out great, there was only a very slight hint of all the added ingredients.

This time around, chopping up the daun kesum worked out very well and it, plus the dill and the daun kunyit used for the wrapping, sure helped enhance the taste of the fish a lot.

I also cleaned and prepared two more and asked the mum to deep fry them…

Ikan buris deep-fried

Don’t ask me why I cut such narrow slits in the fish – my mum used to do that when cooking this particular type of fish and I never asked why. I just followed.

While I was at the market, I also bought some udang galah (freshwater prawns) and used them to cook the soup…

Udang galah masak kunyit 1

the Melanau kampung-style or what we call masak kunyit. It would be nice to cook the aforementioned fish this way too but, no, this time around, I am reserving it specially for the crustaceans.

My girl is not into prawns so much but she sure enjoyed the soup a lot. These not-very-big ones were going for RM40.00 a kilo and I got a little more than that, RM50.00 altogether for around 30 of the crustaceans. That worked out to less than RM2.00 each…

Usang galah masak kunyit 2

…but we had not had these for a very long time and sure enjoyed them a lot so I guess it was worth it.

My girl loved the fish, both the oven-baked one and the deep-fried and as I said earlier, she loved the soup too. She reached home past 2.00 p.m. and had her lunch right away and of course, seeing how she enjoyed the meal so much, it pleased me immensely.

His father’s son…

During my growing up years, our usual Sunday morning routine would be to go to church after which we would stop be this coffee shop, Kiaw Siong, which was at the corner across the road from the Sibu Fire Station, to the right, but later, it moved to the corner directly opposite on the same side as the fire station.

We looked forward to the very popular kampua mee there from this guy named Ah Kow and later, another guy opened a beef noodles stall there, right beside his, and they called him Lao Eyeo (old goat) and his son, Kow Kia (puppy), small and skinny then but not anymore. We enjoyed the beef noodles, both at the original place and the one later and eventually, I heard that the son, Kow Kia, opened his own stall here…

Ah Soon beef noodles stall

…at this coffee shop…

Sin Kiaw Cafe 1

…right behind the petrol station, Esso at one time…

Sin Kiaw Cafe 2

…opposite the HSBC Building – you can see the RH Hotel at the back and he is still there today.

I dropped by the other morning and I saw a lot of bak chang (meat dumplings), big ones…

Sin Kiaw bak chang

…on sale but no, I was there for the beef noodles so I did not get to try that.

I ordered the special (RM6.00)…

Sin Kiaw Cafe Ah Soon beef noodles 1

– regular is RM4.00 and large  is RM5.00 but I was somewhat disappointed as I was expecting some tendons and all I got were lots of beef and a few strips of tripe…

Sin Kiaw Cafe Ah Soon beef nooldes 2

I think beef tendon is way too expensive these days – the price shot up after word went round that it is rich in collagen, good to eat that to stay looking young.

They certainly were very generous with the chili sauce…

Chili sauce

– everyone was given almost half a bowl of it. I do recall many people ordering the noodles with a special request for the chili sauce poured all over it, one whole ladle of it! I wouldn’t want that, of course, as I would like to enjoy the original beef soup taste but yes, I do enjoy dipping the meat in the chili sauce and adding a bit to each spoonful of the noodles as I eat.

After all these years, I do think the beef noodles…

Sin Kiaw Cafe Ah Soon beef noodles 3

…tasted quite good but it used to have a very much stronger beef flavour before. I guess that is to be expected as beef is now very expensive and at those prices, one cannot afford to be too generous with it.

They open till 5 or 6 in the evening and while I was there, it was quite obvious that they do have their following. Even though I stopped by rather early in the morning, I noticed quite a lot of people there specially for the beef noodles.

SIN KIAW CAFE (2.291287, 111.826611) is located along Ramin Way, the first shop on your right as you turn in from Jalan Kampung Nyabor, right behind the petrol station located at the bend.