How…

I bought a few packets of the sambal (paste) laksa for that exclusive Sarawak delight for my Singaporean friend, Alfred, to take back home and try cooking it himself. For one thing, there are so many at the shops and supermarkets, including one that is made in Sibu, that I really did not know which one to buy. In the end, I settled for one that seemed rather popular – you would get to see it in all the shops along with a few other brands – the helang matahari (sun eagle) brand.

Well, I’ve blogged about how to go about cooking it but just in case Alfred’s too lazy to go and search for the relevant posts, here’s how to go about it once again. First, I bought some pek hay (seawater “white prawns”), peeled and de-veined them, leaving behind the tails, and removed the heads. I washed the shell and heads and then boiled them in water for the stock. I also boiled the prawns, drained and put them aside…

Prawn chicken egg

…and kept the stock too. Then I boiled a piece of chicken breast and keeping the stock, I took out the meat and shredded it into fine thin strips…and put that aside as well.

I put all the stock that I had from the prawns and chicken in a pot and emptied the packet(s) of laksa paste into it and brought it to boil. I let it simmer for a long while to get the taste out of the ingredients…by which time, the whole house would be filled with a very nice fragrance of the culinary delight.

In the meantime, I fried some omelette (see above photo) and cut very thinly and put that aside with the rest. I also soaked a pack of bihun in hot water to soften…

Bihun

…and did the same with the taugeh (bean sprouts), tails removed…

Taugeh daun sup sambal belacan

…and I also cut some daun sup for garnishing but I pounded the sambal belacan (dried prawn paste) dip the previous day, ahead of time so I would not have too much to handle on the actual day of cooking.

Then, I sieved the broth to remove the residue of the ingredients….

Sieving

…from it. Once done, I brought the broth back to boil and added santan (coconut milk) and half a cube of ikan bilis (dried anchovies) stock to it…

Broth

To serve, I placed the bihun in a bowl, arranged the prawns, chicken, egg and taugeh and poured the broth all over them…

All my own work 1

…before sprinkling some chopped daun sup on top.

Yes, it turned out very nice and that day, being a Friday, my girl and her friend/colleague came home and had it…

All my own work 2

…for dinner and yes, they loved it too!

There you have it, Alfred! It really is not difficult, just that there may be a lot of things to do. Good luck!!!

Tell me where to go…

I have a friend who is always sharing photographs on Facebook of everything he eats here, there and everywhere in town. I wish, however, that he would not forget to mention where and if possible, give the precise location as well considering that with the uncountable number of coffee shops in Sibu, searching for one can be like looking for a needle in a haystack…though it is usually not a problem for me as I am quite familiar with many places around here and at times, I can even tell by merely looking at the table top or the crockery…or the presentation!!! But still, if you give me the name of a road, I may not know exactly where it is….like when my Singapore friends and I went in search of the giant prawn tom yam noodles served in a coconut…even with the address and the photo of the shop in Huai Bin’s blog.

There was once when he shared a photograph of something he had here…

Kedai Kopi Sibu

…and when somebody asked where he ate that, he told them the name of the shop. Being located in the back portion of the shops in the area facing the houses inside, many would not know where this shop is. The directions he gave would not help much, I think…so I told the guy to go into that road after the Shell Station opposite Sacred Heart School and go straight ahead past Bread Sense and he will see the coffee shop on his right. For one thing, I do know the place very well as I was teaching in that school across the road for 19 years and I would come over quite frequently for brunch so it was easy for me to tell him exactly where to go.

Actually, I have blogged about this place before in 2008 (when I was still using my ancient mobile phone camera) but usually, whenever I stopped by, I would go for the kampua noodles at the stall right in front…

Kampua stall

The ones here are pretty good and yes, it is the same guy doing it still, he and his wife, I guess.

Well, my friend’s photographs (he featured it more than once) showed the Foochow fried noodles that he had here and yes, I have had some of the stuff from that stall – the one after this kampua noodle stall and yes, I would say that I did like them as well. But the one in his snapshot had liver, intestines and all…and I had never had anything of the sort before. That was why I made it a point to check it out when I was in the vicinity the other day.

Hmmm…the same guy is still running the coffee shop and after all this time, he does not look a day older – exactly the same. I ordered my usual – the iced black coffee…

kopi-o-peng

…and yes, I would rank it among the best in town – if this is what it is like all the time…plus it is only RM1.50 a glass while other places have jacked up the prices to RM1.80 since quite sometime ago.

I had a problem ordering as the lady was conversant only in Foochow and though I am a Foochow myself, I grew up speaking Hokkien…but somehow or other, with a sprinkling of the little that I know, throw in some Mandarin plus a few Hokkien words here and there, I did manage to get my wishes understood…and after a while, this was served…

Kedai Kopi Sibu Foochow fried noodles

Wowwwww!!!! It was so so so good, truly like the ones I had growing up – the real thing! I dare say there are not many around even though you may find hawker stalls and shops or restaurants selling Foochow fried noodles all over town, the ones that can do it this well, that is.

Unfortunately, there were a lot of intestines…

Intestines

…in the plate of noodles but no liver! Probably there was none available that morning…but never mind, I could jolly well do without that but I did wish they could give a little bit more of the green vegetables. It sure did not come cheap though – that plate of Foochow fried noodles special cost RM6.00 but it was perfectly all right considering that I did enjoy it so very much…and one thing’s for sure, I most certainly would be back…for more!

Moving away from the post proper, if you remember, sometime last year, my friends from Trengganu came to Sibu on a brief visit and they gave me these…

Goodies from Trengganu

They told me that the tom yam paste (in the bottle) is the best, better than any other. Well, I sure took a very long time to get down to opening it and cooking something with it (it did not matter much though as it would only expire sometime in 2016)…and I finally did so that day.

I fried some garlic and shallots, peeled and sliced, till golden brown in a bit of oil before putting in the lemon grass, bruised and some chopped Thai basil leaves. The prawns went in next and then the bihun and two tablespoons of the tom yam paste. I mixed everything together well and after a while, I added two eggs. When I tried a bit, I found that it was so tasty already so I decided not to add anything else…and just dished it all out and served…

Tom yam bihun

Yes, it was indeed so good – in the past, when I was using some of those pastes from the shops, I remember I had to add fish sauce, ikan bilis (dried anchovies) stock and what not but not this time around. I sure would want to fry some more of the same…or try cooking some other dishes using this very delightful tom yam paste, courtesy of my kind and generous friends in Trengganu.

A walk in the park…

My girl’s school took Easter Monday off so we did not have to send her and her colleague/friend back on Sunday and I took the opportunity to take the latter around to parts of Sibu that she had not been to yet. Every weekend, they would go shopping for their food rations for the week, things that they would need for their lessons and school…and we would go out to eat some nice stuff that we have around here and that was about it. At least, over the long weekend last week, they managed to go and watch a movie and we did get to drop by the Bukit Aup Jubilee Park…

Bukit Aup

I was so very disappointed to see the green colour of the water. The last time I saw this happening, the people there told me that the pump was spoilt so the water was stagnant and because of the excessive growth of the green stuff in the water, the fish, deprived of oxygen, all died and there was a horrendous stench all around. They said that there were no funds to repair or replace the faulty pump so there was nothing they could do other than to sit and wait.

This time around, it was not as bad…yet – the fish were still alive but they were barely visible due to the colour of the water. I did share this photograph on Facebook and tagged the secretary of our town’s municipal council so hopefully, something had been done since to eliminate the problem.

We dropped by the other attraction right across the road…

One Malaysia Cultural Village

…as well and I must say that nothing much had changed since Day One. I guess this was supposed to be a fountain…

Fountain

…but it was not on – I wonder if it ever is!

The various booths that were already ready the last time I came here…

Around the village

..were still there – empty, absolutely dead. Perhaps the authorities concerned could just hand them over to the respective associations, for instance, the Chinese/Foochow association could take care of the Chinese House, and similarly the Iban, Malay, Melanau associations as well. They should be able to put up some nice displays and exhibits of interests for visitors to see and admire…and perhaps, they could even have some souvenirs for sale. As it is, there is really no point bringing visitors to Sibu here.

The “village” has been around for a few years now and yet, I saw some construction works going on. Don’t ask me what on earth those people were building – I honestly do not know. The aviary that was incomplete that last visit of mine is now ready…

Aviary

…but it was quite empty…

Empty

…except for TWO mynahs…
Mynah
…and a few chickens, including one of the small Philippine variety.

If I’m not mistaken, once in a long while, they may have some variety show or some kind of function there and the restaurant…

Restaurant

…did seem to be doing pretty well. We decided to give it a try and have lunch there…and when we went in, we found out that there was a blackout in the area (and maybe that was why the fountain was not functioning) so the fans could not be turned on. Ah well! It did not really matter as it was not all that hot and the place was quite airy.

We ordered their sweet and sour pork…

Sweet and sour pork

…and the 3-egg bitter gourd…

Bitter gourd

…as well as their salted egg pumpkin…

Pumpkin

…and claypot tofu…

Claypot

…that did not come in a claypot but it tasted great though. Everyone liked all that we had though I was not too fond of the pumpkin – it was cooked in the exact same style as what they call the kiam sor (salty crusty/crispy) dish, be it meat or fish fillet or prawn so it tasted exactly like that and I could hardly detect any taste of salted eggs in it.

Together with the rice and drinks for the four of us, the bill came up to only RM46.00 which I would say was very cheap compared to most places in the town proper these days. Too bad this place is a little bit out of the way or I would definitely come more often to try whatever else they have on their menu.

After that, we stopped by a couple of places to pick up a few more things that the girls needed to buy and then we headed on home.

Time on my hands…

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I was out and about having breakfast with my contemporaries and by the time I got home, the ladies had gone out on their own to a movie, shopping and what not. As I was still full, I decided not to cook lunch and opted for a quick nap instead. When I got up, they were still not home yet so with a lot of time on my hands, I decided to make some pancakes…

My pancakes

…which turned out really good, not too sweet (I reduced the sugar from three to two tablespoons) and soft and fluffy with a delightful buttery fragrance. They had them for tea too when they got home and it was pretty obvious that they liked them a lot for when I peeped a while later, there were only a few pieces left out of the many that I made following this recipe. Go ahead, give it a try! You’ll love it, of that I am very sure.

Ah yes! I did mention that my cousin in Melbourne, Australia was sending me some stuff and I would show you what I got in this post. Well, here you are! Da…da…da…

From Melbourne

I wasted no time at all in getting down to business…and the very next morning, I cut the leftover roast duck into small bits and fried it with garlic and leek…and I wrapped that using the tortilla wraps before putting them into the oven to bake…

Tortillas

Everyone enjoyed eating those…except my missus, of course. She wouldn’t touch the bird!

Thank you so much to my cousin for sending the goodies all the way from Down Under and thanks once again, Gina & Henry, for helping to bring them over.

Not today…

My cousin in Melbourne, Australia said she would be sending me some stuff through a friend who would be coming back to Sibu for the Ching Ming Festival last week. Well, her friend contacted me and I went to pick her and her hubby up at the hotel at 8.00 a.m. to go for breakfast with some of her classmates – same year as me, all of them, except that they were all in our sister school next door. Mine was a boys’ school, you see.

They agreed to meet here but no, it was not a good day as three of the six stalls were closed – probably they had chosen to go to the cemetery that morning, I wouldn’t know. There were only the kampua noodle stall, a roti canai stall and the bak kut teh stall open and nobody wanted the latter so we all ordered something from the other two. The place was very busy so of course, they were desperately trying to cope with the crowd. I suppose that was why never mind what we ordered – with or without chili, dry or soup, the regular kampua mee or the flat ones…we all got a bowl of this…

Chopsticks kampua

– take it or leave it!

My friend’s hubby also ordered two bowls of pian sip soup for us to share and we got these…

Chopsticks pian sip

I tried the kampua noodles here before because somebody told me it was very nice but I did not quite agree. This time around, however, I thought it was quite good, thank God for small mercies!

One of the ladies ordered these mini steamed pao‘s…

Chopsticks mini-buns

…each about the size of a golf ball, with char siew filling…

Char siew filling

I had one and I would say they were quite o.k. but of course, they came nowhere near the very much bigger and nicer ones here.

Our friend also ordered their bak chang (meat dumplings)…

Chopsticks bak chang

…and though they were nice, as far as the taste went, anyone dropping by here on a brief visit need not bother about the ones here as the meat inside would be hardly visible, if at all.

The roti canai stall was enjoying brisk business and we shared the roti telur

Chopsticks roti telur

…which was all right – the one at another coffee shop in Sungai Merah, served with curry gravy, would be much nicer, I think.

We spent around two hours there, chatting and catching up with one another…and it was around 10.00 a.m. when I sent the two back to the hotel. Gosh!!! The traffic jam was absolutely horrendous – it sure looked like virtually everybody came home for the long Easter weekend, for Ching Ming and whatever else. I tried a longer route, avoiding the town centre and it turned out that it was not much better so it did take quite a while before I managed to drop them off at a corner, a short walking distance to the hotel entrance.

Thank you so much, Gina & Henry, and Veronica too, for the breakfast treat…and also to the two for helping to bring all the goodies from my cousin all the way from Down Under. Well, if anyone is curious as to what my cousin sent – come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you all about it! LOL!!!

Let’s go out tonight…

Last week on Good Friday, my girl and her colleague/friend were home but we were fasting the whole day (though we did make sure our guest had her regular meals) and in the afternoon, we attended the special service in one of the churches in town. I suggested not cooking dinner and going out that night instead so come evening, the four of us headed here – the SCR®Xpress…

Menu

where we once had a delightful lunch before.

This time around, we were seated at another section at that same place…

Inside

…which I thought was kind of colourful, don’t you think?

We placed our orders and everything came pretty fast, true to its name. I had the 3-layer teh-c-peng (RM4.40)…

Drinks

…that I had on our previous visit and I loved it a lot. My missus had the Lavender Lady (RM4.80) which she said tasted like yam…and the two girls had the 4-sour drink (RM4.60 each).

We asked for the chicken rice (RM2.20 each)…

Chicken rice

…minus the chicken which we did not quite enjoy before as it was kind of cold, never mind whether it was steamed or roasted.

We decided to try the midin with Thai-sauce (RM8.90)…

Thai midin

…instead of the one with belacan that we had the last time even though that one was very nice. I would say this one was pretty good too and I sure wouldn’t mind having it sometimes for a change.

The squid rings (RM7.90)…

Squid rings

…were kind of bland and chewy and did not get us jumping up and down with delight but they were definitely cheaper than the so very delicious crispy prawns (RM11.00)…

Crispy prawns

…that we enjoyed so much the last time and simply had to order it again…and of course, again, this time around, everybody loved it…especially my girl who really enjoyed it to the max.

The fried tilapia with Thai sauce (RM13.70)…

Fried fish

…was very nice too and one would get a choice between Thai sauce, pickles or sambal. I would have picked sweet and sour as we already had Thai sauce with the midin and we did not quite fancy the other two but unfortunately, that was not one of the options.

The fish ball soup (RM7.90)…

Soup

…that we had did not look like it was going to be very nice but how wrong could we be! Probably they have all those chickens for their chicken rice and they can use the “unwanted” parts to make the stock, I wouldn’t know but the soup sure was so flavourful, so very nice.  There isn’t much choice here as far as soups go but I certainly would not mind ordering this again the next time we drop by here.

The total for everything came up to RM76.60 and with the 6% GST, the net total was RM81.20.

After dinner, we went for a walk at the megamall a stone’s throw away. They have not removed the golden goat yet…

Star MegaMall goat

…though Chinese New Year has long passed and gone. The one here is certainly a lot nicer than the other one at the other end of town…

Farley goat

…which was a horse last year and obviously, they just added the horns and the beard and sprayed it gold in colour.

I did get myself a new pair of sandals at the buy-and-throw-away outlet at the mall and the girls did pick up some stuff including some canned stuff to take back to their school. All in all, it was an evening well-spent…with the very delightful dinner followed by a pleasant outing with the family, plus one.

Go all the way…

I joined a contest, Taste your way around Asia, that was hosted by AirAsiaGo on their Facebook page more for the fun of it than anything else. I thought it was somewhat interesting and this was how it went – they would name a destination and a few culinary specialties at that particular place and participants would have to email them photographs of other delights found at that same place, giving whatever information they required.

I think the first destination was Sarawak so that was easy and of course, my submission had to be the Kuching or Sarawak laksa

Sarawak laksa

The next destination was Penang and since char kway teow was on their list, I could not suggest that. In the end, I settled for the or chian (oyster omelette) and the roti jala, Indian style that I had at a nasi kandar place on the island…

Or chianroti jala

Bangkok was next and it was not too difficult as they did not mention the pad Thai  nor the pineapple fried rice…

Pad ThaiPineapple fried rice

…and I had the photographs of the two at hand.

Hong Kong was quite a challenge as they mentioned dim sum and roast goose so I had to come out with something else and for Vietnam, the Vietnamese pho was in their list. In the end, I decided to submit the siew yoke (roast pork belly) and the Vietnamese rolls…

Siew yokeVietnamese rolls

…for these two destinations.

Taipei came next and I had snapshots of the Taiwan-style beef noodles and also the celebrated pineapple cakes…

Taiwan beef noodlesPineapple cakes

…but Korea was rather challenging. I think they had kim chi and bibimbap and I do not know much about Korean cuisine especially when I was there once only – in the winter and it was so cold that for every meal, we requested for their mee sua in ginseng chicken soup with their very nice rice wine. In the end, I just sent to them this photograph of the Korean mochi buns…

Korean mochi buns

…and that was it!

Now, why did I say that I just joined for fun like I was not all that keen? Well, the thing was the prize would be another free hotel stay – I had already won one at either Bangkok or Phuket in a contest organised by their affiliate, Tune Insurance around Christmastime last year and it is due to expire at the end of this month so it sure looks like I would not get to use it in the end. I wouldn’t mind forwarding that to anyone heading to one of these two destinations in the next few weeks – just let me know! I did read the fine print and it did not say anywhere that it is non-transferable so I guess it is all right.

Anyway, for this particular contest, I received an email from them informing me that I had won and they asked me for my mailing address. After a couple of days, I received this…

Winner

Homestay? In Kluang? I know that it is in Johore but I can’t jolly well fly there! I’d probably would have to fly to JB and go all the way by bus or by train from there. Sighhhhh!!!! If it had been free hotel accommodation in JB itself…or KL, Penang, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu or even Singapore, I would probably make a trip there and make full use of the prize. As for going to Kluang, I will have to think about it. The voucher expires at the end of October this year so there is still a lot of time for me to sleep on it…but if anyone is interested, I can pass it to him or her, no problem at all.

Well, I sure had a lot of fun and yes, it is nice to win something, never mind what. LOL!!!