Up & up…

That’s the way the prices of things around here are going these days, up & up!

We went for the morning service again last Sunday and on the way home, we stopped by here for brunch before going back to the house to get my girl’s water, rations and supplies for the week and so on and making our way to her school in the jungle. For one thing, it was very convenient and for another, we quite like most of the stuff served here.

The pictures of the meal sets, RM9.90…

Colourful Cafe meal sets

…now available there, are up on display but I did not see the one with the honey chicken wings. They do have that, of that I am pretty sure as I did buy it once for my girl when we went to pick her a few weeks ago and take her home. She enjoys those wings so much so of course, I ordered those…

Colourful Cafe honey chicken wings
*Archive photo*

…to be packed for her to take along with her in addition to all that we had prepared for her. They started off with only RM8.50 for 3 and then it went up to RM9.00 and now they are RM9.80 and if you do not bring your own food container, you will have to fork out RM10.00, 20 sen extra for the flimsy cardboard box for takeaways.

She wanted the curry beef rice (RM6.00)…

Colourful Cafe curry beef rice

…that day. Their curry beef…

Colourful Cafe curry beef

…is another thing that she loves here. I’m not sure how much that was before but yes, I did have that once and for want of a bit more vegetables, I was wishing they could be more generous with the cucumber slices. They are now serving it with chicken rice, it seems, not plain white rice anymore.

My missus stuck loyally to her char kway teow

Colourful Cafe char kway teow
*Archive photo*

…RM4.50, up 50 sen and I had their Sarawak laksa

Colourful Cafe Sarawak laksa 1

…RM5.50, up 50 sen as well, with, as always, the same three small prawns that one would get when eating this here…

Colourful Cafe Sarawak laksa 2

…but when I was paying at the counter, I saw on their menu that they actually have something that they call their “laksa king“, RM7.50. Hmmm…I probably would order that next time – I certainly hope there will be more than just three prawns, not a whole lot of bihun drowned in a whole lot of broth.

No, I’m not complaining that things here are a bit more expensive now – let’s just say that I’m getting quite used to it by now. For one thing, they are still quite affordable and as long as they maintain their standard and everything tastes great, value for money, I sure would not mind dropping by again. After all, since it is on the way back to where I live, I would probably save a bit on the petrol compared to having to drive into town or some other places elsewhere and going round and round and round looking for a parking space…plus parking here is free!

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.

Dear daughter…

This is a new song, I think, and I really like it…

…especially the lyrics that go:
These are words that every girl should have a chance to hear
There will be love, there will be pain
There will be hope, there will be fear
And through it all, year after year
Stand or fall, I will be right here…for you

Well, last Saturday, our dear daughter insisted on taking us out to treat us to a really special lunch or the mum especially as the following day would be Mother’s Day, just that we could not go out to eat on the actual day, Sunday, as we would be on our way, sending her back to her school in the jungle.

This place…

solo on 16

…has been around for quite a while now. The guy was at this place before but it did not last very long and the place closed down. Soon after that, he opened this one and my guess is that accounts for the name – he is now flying solo and No. 16 is the shop address, No. 16, Jalan Chew Geok Lin.

Gosh!!! It sure looks like some people have been drinking…

Empty bottles

…quite a bit and this caught my eye…

Firewood

…while I was looking around the place – they probably have some wood-fired items on their menu.

I sure like this – the fact that there is no msg…

No msg/food addictive

…used in their cooking but oh dear! The food is addictive so one would want to go back again and again to eat there? LOL!!!

We ordered the pulled duck comfit, tomato and quail egg salad (RM12.90)…

solo on 16 pulled duck comfit, tomato and quail egg salad

…and the moment it was served, I noticed that there were no quail eggs. My girl loves those little things and if not for the mere mention of those in the name, I would not have ordered it. I asked the people at the helm and they went to the kitchen to ask. Eventually, we were informed that we would get the quail egg soon or at least, that was what they said. When it came…

Chicken egg

…we were quite put off, to say the least. It would take a giant quail to lay an egg this big! That was a chicken egg and if we wanted a chicken egg, we could have gone some place else (a lot cheaper) for a plate of nasi lemak or something. Tsk! Tsk! Of course, I just kept quiet about it and let it pass as the ladies do not like me making a scene in public. Well, to give credit where credit is due, the salad was quite good, with or without the egg.

Another reason why I would not have ordered that salad if not for the quail egg was that I ordered their duck comfit for myself as my main course. Then they came and said it was not available, salmon was not available as well, my missus wanted the squid and it was not available either. Good grief!!! What on earth was going on? You want to open a classy upscale café, one that is more inclined towards fine dining and most everything on your menu is not available. Probably we caught them on a bad day or else how on earth would they be able to last this long?

In the end, my missus simply settled for this pork belly with rice (RM25.90)…

solo on 16 pork belly with rice

…dish instead. I did try a bit of the meat and thought it was very good except that the skin was hard and rubbery and not chewable, not crackling crusty at all, so we had to cut it out and leave it by the side of the plate.

I had the pork ribs (RM19.90)…

solo on 16 pork ribs

…which was very good too…

solo on 16 pork ribs, cross-section

…but no, it was not as good as the lovely ones we used to enjoy so much a few doors away but unfortunately, those people there had called it a day sometime ago.

My girl had their chicken chop (RM19.90)…

solo on 16 chicken chop 1

…and yes, we thought it was nice…

solo on 16 chicken chop 2

…and did enjoy it.

All in all, I would say it was a good lunch but as we were leaving, my girl said that she would not want to go to these places serving western food anymore as she would not be able to eat the stuff that she would like such as the pastas or anything with bread or wheat flour and would rather go some place serving ASEAN or Asian cuisines instead. Sometimes, it does get her down, missing all the things she loves and having to stick to her gluten-free diet. Well, it sure looks like we would not be coming back here again then or at least, not for a while, a very long while…and yes, we do miss the very nice Japanese place that we loved a lot – it used to be here at this exact same shop.

solo on 16 is located at No. 16, Jalan Chew Geok Lin, next door to the bank at the end of the block and right across the road from the bank would be the Tua Pek Kong Temple and its 7-storey pagoda.

Anyhow…

When we were here for lunch last Friday, my girl was excited to see that they had perkedel

D'Santai Cafe perkedel

…there and when I asked the girl waiting at the tables whether there was any tepung gandum (wheat flour) in it, she just said she did not know. Full stop.

Honestly, some of those people in the waiting staff here, there and everywhere are in dire need of some serious training. She could have gone into the kitchen to ask but no, she did not. In the end, I had to go and do it myself…and the nice lady there told me that there was wheat flour in it so that was it. We could not order it as it would not be gluten-free.

That left me with no choice – I would have to make my own and that was exactly what I did the very next morning. I did google to look at some recipes and I stumbled upon my blogger-friend’s and hers has tapioca flour in it which should be perfectly all right – it’s not wheat but how many potatoes would make up 150 gm? It seems that every recipe would give the measurement in grams…and this old dinosaur was wishing somebody would just say how many potatoes instead. Left to my own devices, I decided to just go ahead and simply make my own…anyhow and these were how they turned out…

My bergedil

I shared the photograph on Facebook and a friend asked me what they were.

They’re perkedel, I said, in Indonesian or bergedil in Malay…

Bergedil from a Malay stall

…while the Spaniards would call theirs croquettas…

Spanish chicken croquettas

…and the Japanese ones, karaoke…oops, I mean, korokke

Pumpkin korokke

…or in English, they are simply potato croquettes.

I did make some…

My bergedil, before

…before but those days, I could coat the exterior with bread crumbs and add some crushed cheese crackers to the ingredients as a binding agent but no, I would have to do without those things now.

So what did I do this time around? I boiled 3 potatoes, cut into quarters so they could cook faster and then I peeled and mashed them. If I am not wrong, they should not be too well-cooked which was what happened once when I tried making some luncheon meat croquettes…

My luncheon meat croquettes

The mixture was too mushy and was very difficult to handle and roll and press. I fried a shallot, peeled and thinly sliced and removed it from the oil and threw that in…along with some finely-chopped spring onions and curry leaves. In the meantime, I also fried some garlic in a bit of oil to cook a bit of minced beef to which I added some salt and pepper – once that was done, I added it to the rest of the ingredients, made balls out of the mixture and pressed to flatten. I coated each piece with a bit of egg, beaten and fried it in oil.

It turned out very well – tasted great but I do think I could make it even better. In the meantime, these will just have to do – my simply-cook-it-anyhow, no recipe perkedel, bergedil or potato croquettes whichever way you choose to call it.

Stop for a while…

Last Friday, we had to drive to our girl’s school in the jungle to get her as her colleague, the one whom she would hitch a lift back with every week after school, had something on in Sibu so she had to come back a day earlier.

It was already past 1.00 p.m. and we had not had our lunch so we stopped by here

D'Santai Cafe

…for a while. Actually, it is along the way – we would go straight ahead (to the left) along that main road in the background…

D'Santai Cafe road signs

…to get home and if you turn left into Lane 2A1 and left again into Lane 2A, this place is right at the corner on your left.

There were these bananas…

D'Santai Cafe complimentary bananas on Fridays

…on every table and I asked the girl if they were complimentary and she said yes, they would give that every Friday. I am not familiar with this traditional practice and was wondering if I should eat them all. However, I saw those at the other tables eating one each and leaving the rest behind so I just had…two! Hehehehe!!!!

My girl was not with us the previous/first time we were here and since we did enjoy what we had that day, I reckoned she would want to come here and give it a try as well.

I ordered the terung berlado (RM6.00)…

D'Santai Cafe terung berlado

…and yes, I was right – it is something like our sambal terung and if I am not wrong, lado in Indonesian is lada in Malay, chili so this would be brinjal with (sambal) chili. It was very nice just that I thought what we had here was nicer but when I asked my girl, she said that both were nice and added that anything terung would be nice. Duh!!! LOL!!!

I was not surprised at all that my missus wanted something from the bumbu ijo (green chili sambal) section. I had that the last time and the sambal was so very hot and so very nice. It was our no-meat Friday so she asked for the sotong/squid (RM11.50)…

D'Santai Cafe bumbu ijo sotong

…and though they did not seem that generous with the sambal this time around, it was good and my girl liked it as well.

I had the ikan keli bakar, the grilled cat fish (RM9.50)…

D'Santai Cafe ikan keli bakar 1

…and it was very good…

D'Santai Cafe ikan keli bakar 2

We both agreed that it had an edge over the ikan tilapia bakar (RM15.00)…

D'Santai Cafe tilapia bakar

…that my girl had.

My ex-student commented on my post on Facebook that they did not return the 50 sen change when he was here that day. Well, my bill came up to RM49.50 – together with our orders, I had mineral water, my girl loved the honey lemon she had and my missus said that her three-layer tea was so very good, anytime better than the kopi-o-peng we had before…and yes, the boy asked if I had 50 sen or not. Hmmm…I certainly hope this is not a tactic that they use or they just can’t be bothered to get some loose change ready at hand all the time but yes, I had a 50 sen coin so I gave it to him and he gave me the one ringgit change back.

D’SANTAI CAFE (2.305748, 111.863080) is located among the shops to the right of Star Mega Mall, visible from the main road, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman (road to Sibu Airport), round the corner from the newly-opened TK Hardware store there.

Same block…

My missus and I got here past 11.00 a.m. that morning but to our disappointment, they were not open for business yet. The food was nowhere to be seen and the two employees were busy cleaning the counter and the cabinet. I must say that I really appreciate their effort in ensuring that everything is always spick and span – at some hawker stalls, the sight of the mess on the counter top, on the floor and everywhere would put one off right away. I, for one, do not prescribe to what some people seem to believe – that the dirtier the place, the nicer the food. No, thank you.

In the end, we decided to check out the stalls at this coffee shop…

Jia Jia Lok Food Corner

…at the other end of the block.

I did not see anything out of the ordinary – most of the things would be available at coffee shops all over town, nothing that tickled my fancy. In the end, I decided to try the nasi lemak (RM4.00)…

Jia Jia Lok Food Corner nasi lemak

…from the Malay stall…

Jia Jia Lok Food Corner Malay stall

I thought that was not quite the right kind of plate to use for serving nasi lemak so to me, it sure did not look that enticing. The rice was very mildly lemak (rich with santan/coconut milk) and a little strong on the ginger while the sambal was not anything to shout about and there was so little of it. There was no ikan bilis (dried anchovies) but I did get a few salted fish – elsewhere they would give just one. Even with the one whole egg that they gave, not the usual half or the fried version, I would not think I would want to make my way here just to have this again.

The sup tulang (RM6.00)…

Jia Jia Lok Food Coirner sup tulung

…was another disappointment. It looked so very very nice in the photograph on display at the stall – I don’t know where they got it from and simply used for it certainly did not look anything like this – just two chunks of beef bones in clear soup with a few strands of taugeh (bean sprouts), thin strips of sliced cabbage and bits of some green vegetable. It tasted like plain clear soup, no taste of the beef in it and I have had many a lot nicer – the ones that came free of charge with my orders at other Malay shops and stalls…and to me, serving hot soup in a plastic bowl is a definite no-no.

My missus ordered the fried mee sua (RM5.00)…

Jia Jia Lok Food Corner fried mee sua

…from one of the Chinese stalls and she said it was quite nice but I was so put off by what I was served that I was not in the mood to even try.

After we were done, we went back to where we came and yes, the food was out of the kitchen already. Oh no!!! We did not have another round right there and then but we decided we would buy some of what they had for the day for dinner – that way, we would not need to bother about cooking that evening, just the rice, heat up everything and eat.

I thought the paku uban (another variety of our wild jungle fern)…

Anak Borneo paku uban

…looked really good but my missus was not keen on buying that. She has never eaten it and does not want to try – I have had it before, not as nice as the regular paku or our celebrated midin, a bit bitter but I wouldn’t mind it once in a  while for a change.

Of course, she must have her favourite – the kacang ma chicken…

Anak Borneo kacang ma chicken with tuak

…with the traditional Iban rice wine, the tuak…and I insisted that she bought this…

Anak Borneo ikan patin masak kunyit with terung Dayak

…too. She said that the patin (fish) might be smelly but I said that when we had it the last time, there was no smell and it was very nice so in the end, she bought it.

This was really very nice – tapioca leaves cooked with pansuh babi (pork cooked in bamboo)…

Anak Borneo daun Bandong with pansuh babi

…and I sure enjoyed it that night. That sure made up for the somewhat mediocre unexciting lunch that we had that day.

ANAK BORNEO (2.293072, 111.836789) is located at the Fortune Commercial Centre (Lorong Chew Siik Hiong) at the CHAMPION CORNER coffee shop that faces the back of the Rejang Medical Centre along Jalan Pedada…and JIA JIA LOK FOOD CORNER is in that same block of shops, right at the other end.

False alarm…

On one of the weekends when my girl was home, she said that she wanted to go for the nasi campur delights here but when we got there, from the outside looking in, it did not look like the place was open. We went past again the following day and no, the place was quite deserted – a stall was open but it did not look like it was the one we were looking for.

I must say that I was somewhat disappointed as yes, I did enjoy the food here though I was not exactly thrilled by their nasi bryani, available only on Fridays and it looked like they have increased the price by RM1.00 for the mutton…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang nasi bryani prices

…but as far as I know, it is the favourite of some folks around here.

It sure was a welcome relief when my missus and I dropped by the other morning and yes, it was business as usual – it was a false alarm, after all…and I did ask the girl and she said that they usually open till 8 at night but when the food runs out, they may close earlier.

My missus had the sotong (squid)…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang sotong

…and the petai (stink beans) with prawns…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang sambal petai udang

…as well as the pineapple…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang pineapple

…while I had all three of the above plus the mutton curry with potatoes…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang mutton curry

…and the prawns…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang prawns

The boss’ wife came and did some calculations and collected RM21.00 from me and when I asked her, she said that it was RM10.00 for mine (3 meat and 1 vegetable)…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang 3 meat & 1 veg

…RM8.00 for what my missus picked (1 meat and 2 vegetables) and RM3.00 for the drinks.

I thought that was rather expensive…wait a minute, let me rephrase that! I thought it was exceptionally cheap the previous times we were here but considering the amount of everything that we helped ourselves to and how much we enjoyed it all, I would say it was all right and I would much sooner fork out that kind of money to have these here than what we had at that place that we went to not very long ago.

HARI HARI DAUN PISANG CURRY HOUSE (2.287364, 111.825614) is located at the hawker centre/food court along Jalan Temple (after the Tua Pek Kong Temple/7-storey Pagoda),  to the extreme left of the Sibu Trade and Exhibition Centre next to the Kedai 1Malaysia there. You can park inside for free on weekdays (no parking fee payable in Sibu on weekends) if you are going to eat there but if you leave your car there and walk to some place outside, I think the fee is RM2.00, no time limit.

Still here…

This coffee shop…

TOTO Cafe

…has been around for a long long time and is still going strong. The main attraction, I guess, is this stall in the extension to the left…

TOTO Cafe, stall

I’ve tried some of the things here and blogged about them here or here, for instance, and yes, they are all pretty good. I heard that the mee peria (bitter gourd noodles) is the crowd puller and there are people who insist that the mee sua in the traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup is among the best in town.

I was in the vicinity that morning and was looking around the shops around that area for something for brunch and I spotted this huge steamed pao

TOTO Cafe giant pao

…and I could not believe my ears when the boy told me that it was only RM2.00 each. Of course I wasted no time at all in ordering one to try but when I had a look inside, it dawned on me as to why it was so cheap…

TOTO Cafe giant pao, inside

– there wasn’t a lot of meat, lots of mangkuang/sengkuang (turnip) and whatever else but there was egg and it did taste all right, not bad at all but no, it did not sweep me off my feet, no way.

I ordered the lor mee (RM5.00)…

TOTO Cafe lor mee

…from the aforementioned stall and they probably ran out of kangkong that morning as I noticed that there wasn’t any in the bowl when it was served.

I liked how the yolk of the egg was a little bit moist, just a little bit…

TOTO Cafe lor mee, egg

…but on the whole, though it tasted good, there was only a slight hint of the five spice powder, so very very slight that it could have easily gone unnoticed and there was no sight nor taste of the taucheo (fermented beans) in the soup which, I’m afraid, was not thick/starchy at all.

My missus wanted to try the black and white (RM6.50)…

TOTO Cafe black & white

….which turned out to be half tom yam and half lor mee and the overpowering taste of the former was so excessively strong that one could hardly taste the latter at all.

Still, I would say both were all right, good enough if one happens to be around that part of town and would like to have something to eat but no, I would not go out of my way for these.

TOTO CAFE (2.311913, 111.846213) is among the shops right behind Delta Mall, Jalan Pedada – the block on your left if you are coming out of the mall via the back entrance, the second coffee shop in that block. This coffee shop with its very popular kampua noodles (now RM3.20 a bowl/plate) is in the same block, at the other end, opposite the Methodist church there.