Seldom…

I seldom get to see my good friends, Lim and his missus, and family these days. I remember vaguely that they did drop by to pay their last respects when my mum passed away earlier this year and before that, we did get together on my birthday…in 2016…and yes, they would drop by for Chinese New Year every year but we were not celebrating this year nor next year, for that matter.

Well, both of them are working and with three kids in tow now, school, tuition and what not, they hardly have much time left but the other day, they did manage to drop by my place…and that was after dropping the children off at the tuition centres and in the meantime, they had a little time to spare.

They brought us some fruits and these Sibu Foochow-style sio bee (meat dumplings)…

Yong Chuan sio bee

…thank you so much to them, and I could tell from the way they were packed that they were from here.

My missus did buy a few then and they were very good – if I remember correctly, they were RM1.10 each but I don’t know how much they are going for now. We went back there another time but the sio bee was all sold out…and once, we went on a Tuesday but their noodle business was put on hold and they were so very busy making the sio bee. They told us to come back at 3 that afternoon but we never did. From what I gathered, they would make the dumplings every Tuesday and those would be available as long as the stocks lasted.

I do know of many who would sing praises of the ones here

Hock Chu Leu sio bee

…but personally, I feel theirs are overrated and there is a dire need for some quality control. My sister-in-law bought those in the above photograph one Chinese New Year and they were so very salty and not nice at all…and I did not always enjoy them when I had the chance to eat them at their restaurant, just sometimes.

Personally, I prefer the ones here

New Capital sio bee

…but there too, once or twice, I felt they were not all that great but generally, we did enjoy theirs and of course, both of them are a lot more expensive – RM1.60 each or is it RM1.80, I’m not so sure…that is if they have not jacked up the price again lately.

Well, the next morning, I took some from the ones my friends gave us…

Yong Chuan sio bee, ready for steaming

…and steamed them, taking care not to over-steam – this is very important if you are not keen on wet, soggy and not very palatable sio bee skin and once they were done, I had a few…

Yong Chuan sio bee, served 1

…with the super hot chili sauce from Payung.

Yes, they were very nice, very meaty…

Yong Chuan sio bee, cross-section

…and not overly so. Unlike the regular dim sum siew mai, they would have what-we-call mangkuang here, sengkuang (turnip) elsewhere and Bombay onions too in the filling so if you go for the cheaper ones, they would have more of these or worse, they would use very/mostly fat minced meat so theirs would not be nice at all.

I sure would not mind going back for more…

Yong Chuan sio bee, served 2

…sometimes but I guess that will not be all that often as the skin is made from wheat flour so it is not gluten-free.

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.

Try something new…

My girl wanted the biryani rice here with their butter curry chicken (RM18.00)…

The Cafe IND butter curry chicken with biryani rice 1

This will usually take a while as the Indian chef will have to cook the tandoori chicken first and then use it to cook the butter curry…

The Cafe IND butter curry chicken with biryani rice 2

…but it is well worth the wait. We feel it is really very nice with the added taste of all that they use to cook the chicken in the tandoori plus the barbecued fragrance of the meat roasted in the traditional stone oven.

Much to our delight, it did not take very long that day nor did my missus’ order – their ikan kembong sumbat (stuffed fish, bones removed)…

The Cafe IND ikan kembong sumbat

This dish may take sometime too for them to go through the process of removing the bones of the fish and preparing the stuffing.

I loved the satay peanut gravy-like sauce on the skinless brinjal…

The Cafe IND ikan kembong sumbat, sides

…and they did seem a little more generous than usual that day. I would ask them for more of it if I were to order the dish, that’s for sure, as it can go well with the rice too in this otherwise kind-of-dry dish.

In the meantime, we were served this cheese egg roll…

The Cafe IND cheese egg roll

…to try. According to the boss, they are currently trying out new things in their Indian kitchen and owing to the success of their cheese naan, they have come out with this which was some Indian bread wrap with egg and creamy melted cheese inside…

The Cafe IND cheese egg roll, cross-section

…and I enjoyed it a lot. I tried their cheese naan before but I thought I would prefer naan with dhal dip or curry gravy but this one was different – it was good on its own. It’s not officially on the menu yet though but when it is, I sure would want to order that sometimes – it’s not gluten-free though as there is wheat in it.

Of course I did have something myself that day and browsing through their menus, I decided to have a go at their tom yam soup (RM13.50)…

The Cafe IND tom yam soup 1

…and I had rice with it.

It was very nice, super spicy upon special request, but it was mostly soup and there was one huge bowl of it. Inside, there were a couple of very fresh and nice prawns…

The Cafe IND tom yam soup 2

…and a little bit of this and that – sotong (squid) and fish, cauliflower, celery, golden needles, black fungus and whatever else but nothing really substantial. Of course, I could not finish all that soup so I had it packed to take home to add our own ingredients and enjoy.

Of course, we’ll be back again…and again – this is one place in town where we do enjoy what they have on their Indian and Indonesian menus…a lot!

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.

To your health…

I blogged about my aloe vera plants the other day and somebody asked me if I ate them or not. Well, I did try and make a drink with it once and my girl said it was quite tasteless and besides, I thought it was rather tedious getting the gel out of the leaves for the purpose.

I know of a couple of places where they have the drinks on their menu and I also heard of a lady selling it by the bottles at the Dewan Suarah wet market but I have never tried any of those.

Anyway, since I have a lot, and I have read of a lot of health benefits that one can derive from the drinks and according to this websiteit’s not just physical benefits that you can reap by drinking aloe vera juice, but mental benefits as well. Aloe vera is an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body adapt to stress. Incorporating it into your diet can balance your mood, calm your nerves, and reduce your overall stress levels. That was why I decided to make my own, other than placing them all over the house as air purifiers.

To do that, I took the leaf…

Aloe vera leaf

…cut it into shorter lengths…

Cut short

…before slicing off the thorny edges…

Slice off edges

…and then I removed the green part, front and back…

Remove green skin

…to get the gel inside. It may not be that easy as it is slimy and slippery.

Lastly I cut the gel into thin strips and rinse it again and again to get rid of the slime…

Cut into strips and rinse

The first time around, I boiled some red dates and wolfberries with some pandan leaves in water and then I added the aloe vera and some sugar. It tasted nice but it reminded me of the Chinese cooling sweet potato soup/dessert so the second time I decided to use some lemon instead.

I boiled the lemon juice and slices of the fruit with some pandan leaves, adding a bit of sugar to counter the sourish taste…

With lemon juice

…before adding the aloe vera and it turned out all right…

...and slices of lemon

…but something was not quite there – maybe it was the pandan leaves and it tasted different with the not-all-that-compatible fragrance and taste…

Aloe vera lemon drink

Because of the aforementioned, I did not add any pandan leaves when I made the drink again but using orange juice (Sunkist) instead and my girl loved it! I know one place where they have the aloe vera drink with mulberry but my plant, though it is growing well, has not been bearing fruits for a while now. I wonder why…

These days…

So what have we been up to these days? Nothing much really, I would say – just the usual routine, a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

My girl made these gluten-free cheese and almond flour cookies…

Gluten-free cookies

…which turned out very nice but they were not sweet – in fact, they were more on the salty side and she used olive oil following the recipe that she had at hand. I wonder if it would be the same if she had used butter instead as I do prefer its special fragrance and taste.

These deep fried or koi (Chinese steamed yam cake)…

Or koi

…that my missus bought from the Kanowit ladies here were very nice. I could feel the texture of the yam in it – many around here are kind of wobbly and wriggly, the result of too much flour and not enough yam so I would steer clear of those.

She also bought these Nestum-coated mochi with peanut butter filling

Nestum-coated peanut butter mochi

…from the shop round the corner from our house and of course, I was delighted. I am not a fan of mochi but I love these. In the past, they would only get them from Sarikei on Saturdays but for a long while now, they had not done so and it wasn’t a Saturday that day when my missus dropped by there. Of course she wasted no time at all in grabbing a pack for me knowing how much I enjoy them.

We did drop by here that evening for a quick dinner for the simple reason that it is near my house and the guy opens his shop quite early – before 6.00 p.m. The ladies said they were still quite full from our lunch that day so my girl just had their Sarawak laksa (RM5.50)…

Colourful Cafe Sarawak laksa

…and the mum had the fried noodles (RM4.50)…

Colourful Cafe fried noodles

I ordered this bowl of beef noodles (RM6.00)…

Colourful Cafe beef noodles

…with a special request for all the taugeh (bean sprouts) to be omitted as I always feel that it would affect the taste of the soup in some way.

I thought we could share these honey chicken wings (RM9.80)…

Colourful Cafe honey chicken wings

…as well but they said what they had individually would be enough and in the end, I had to finish all three myself.

What about all of you? Been up to anything exciting lately?

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.

Nothin’ new…

No, there’s nothing new in this post and as a matter of fact, we were here in early June when my Kuching cousins and friend and her family came to town. Our friend’s mum (and children), like many others before them, loved the food so much that they kept wanting to come back for another round before leaving town but there were other plans and they never did come back again. I guess that will have till their next trip to Sibu whenever that may be.

Well, that day, my girl asked to go there for the bitter gourd that is now the favourite of many and we decided to have it fried with the three types of eggs…

Ruby Restaurant tri-egg bitter gourd

– fresh egg, salted egg and century egg. Normally, we would have it with salted egg but I guess it is high time we have it a little different for a change…and yes, it was very good too!

This is currently one of our favourite dishes here – their salted egg spare ribs…

Ruby Restaurant salted egg spare ribs

…and I so loved the curry leaves that seemed kind of crispy – I wonder if they deep-fried them or something.

My girl said she would love the Thai-style mango chicken…

Ruby Restaurant Thai-style mango chicken

…and it was really very nice that day. For one thing, the mango was very sweet – I probably would not enjoy it as much if it had been sour. Fat people don’t like sour things. Hehehehehe!!!

All in all, the bill came up to RM38.00 for the food – I did not ask for servings for 2 as I was quite hungry when we got there that day. Anyway, the nice boss gave us a discount of RM2.00, so it was RM36.00 altogether.

Business was pretty good and there were quite a lot of people that afternoon which is good – these days, I get quite worried at places where there are very few customers as the way things are going, I would not know how long they would be able to stay in business.Needless to say, as far as this place is concerned, we will most certainly be coming back again…and again…and again!

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.

O Captain! My Captain…

We dropped by here…

Cafe Cafe@Swan Square

…for lunch that day because I saw on their Facebook page that they were having some salted egg promotions and I thought I could give it a try. Besides, we wanted to browse around the supermarket there as well.

Unfortunately, when I asked the girl, she knew nothing about it so I commented on their Facebook post to ask – it turned out that they did not have it…or not yet, according to them and they would be having it the coming weekend. Tsk! Tsk!

Left with no other choice, we ordered from their regular menu and as always, my girl opted for their grilled Norwegian salmon (RM38.90)…

Cafe Cafe@Swan Square grilled Norwegian salmon

…her favourite here and for sure, it would be something she could eat and enjoy, being gluten-free but I noticed that the price had increased quite a bit, from RM30.90 around this same time last year but of course, it did not matter – as long as my girl enjoyed it and besides, we do not go for it all that often, just once in a long while. As always, it was nicely done and to my girl’s liking and they certainly were very generous with the potato salad.

The mum had the grilled chicken (RM19.90)…

Cafe Cafe@Swan Square grilled chicken 1

…with two slabs of the meat…

Cafe Cafe@Swan Square grilled chicken 2

…and she could only manage one so we had to ask them to pack the other one for us to take home.

I had their beef rendang rice set before and also their masak hitam but not their Kapitan or Captain curry chicken though my missus had that once so I decided to give it (RM16.90)…

Cafe Cafe@Swan Square Kapitan chicken rice set 1

…a try, up from RM15.00 in 2013.

It was very nice and they gave two big chunks of the chicken…

Cafe Cafe@Swan Square Kapitan chicken

…one drumstick and the other, a big piece of the thigh and I would say that I enjoyed it very much, everything in that platter except those absolutely tasteless mini keropok (prawn crackers) that they seem to like to use as garnishing at some places here. I certainly would ask them to leave those out next time and maybe give me a few more slices of the freshly cut chili as on the whole, it was not spicy and the bits of chili did help give it that extra kick…

Cafe Cafe@Swan Square Kapitan chicken rice set 2

…in some small way. Perhaps I could have asked them for more from the kitchen but I did not bother.

All in all, we enjoyed the lunch and if you’re wondering why there wasn’t a single living soul in the photograph above, as always, we were there early and even so, there was a group at a table at the other side and by the time we were through, more had come in to have their lunch there.

CAFE CAFE, Swan Square formerly Giant Hypermart outlet (2.325540, 111.853538), is located on the ground floor of the mega mall located to the left of SMK Bandar Sibu along Jalan Ling Kai Cheng.

I like it like that…

I don’t go for those very expensive branded ice cream, not that we have any available here but even when I hop over to some cities, you would not see me rushing for those except when it is something I have not had before and would like to give it a try…once. As a matter of fact, I do not even go for our own local brands though I do enjoy them – for one thing, they are not all that cheap and for another, at my age, I do need to go slow on things that are sweet.

I’ve tried all the flavours that they have in this line of ice cream and there were some that I quite liked, some a lot more than the rest but I do recall one, at least, that was away too sweet for my liking. They have a new one out now – I think I saw someone blogging about it or maybe, somebody shared a photo of it on Facebook…so the other day, when I was at the supermarket near my house, I bought a box…

MAGNUM hazelnut luxe

…to try.

There were three big ones inside…

Three in a box

– just right for the three of us, my girl, the mum and I but personally, I prefer the minis, more to go round and one can stretch one’s enjoyment, a little at a time, especially when they do not come cheap and I wouldn’t want to finish it all in one gulp.

I was kind of sceptical initially…

MAGNUM hazelnut luxe 1

…as I am not really fond of anything with whole nuts in it, never mind if it is ice cream or chocolate or whatever. I would much sooner have those nuts on their own but of course, I would not know whether I would like this one…

MAGNUM hazelnut luxe 2

…or not unless I tried.

To my delight, there were no nuts inside, just hazelnut ice cream…

MAGNUM hazelnut luxe, cross-section

and I sure do like it like that. Yes, I thought it was pretty good, sweet, of course, but not too sweet or not to me, at least.

Still, at those prices, I wouldn’t say I would be rushing back for more. Just wait till the craving for some ice cream creeps in before I indulge in a little bit more pampering – I sure do deserve that sometime, don’t I?