Right time of the night…

Yes, we had a very late dinner again last Saturday, past 8.00 p.m. after the novena and the sunset service in church and it did look like it was the right time of the night to drop by here to eat.

If you come around 6 or 7, the usual dinner time around here, it may be so very crowded and you may not be able to get a table unless you book ahead. That night, when we got there, many people had left or were leaving so there wasn’t a problem at all.

My girl ordered her favourite sizzling beef on a hot plate (RM15.00)…

Sizzling beef on a hot plate

– I am quite sure there is a bit of tomato sauce in that but lately, the mum has been saying that there is no wheat in that except for a certain popular (and more expensive) brand. Anyway, since it is not a tomato-based gravy, I guess they would not use that much and just a bit once in a long while should be all right.

The ang sio own-made tofu (RM9.00)…

Ang sio tofu

…used to be clear but it was served like this that night, quite obviously with tomato sauce so I asked my girl to just eat the tofu and not to take too much of the sauce, just in case.

The ladies loved the fish maw soup (RM10.00)…

Fish maw soup

…which I thought was just fish maw in egg drop soup with a bit of minced meat and whatever else. I still prefer my favourite here, their clear fish maw soup.

The fried midin (wild jungle fern) with belacan/dried prawn paste (RM9.00)…

Fried midin with belacan

…was very nice and the total for the food was just over RM40 (excluding the rice and drinks). That sure beats eating at those not-all-that-fancy-and-upscale restaurants and burning a hole in one’s pocket and it definitely does not mean that one would enjoy it a whole lot more at those places, not necessarily.

NICE HOUSE RESTAURANT (2.29201,111.82739) is located in the vicinity of the Tunku Osman shops, opposite Rejang Bookstore.

Not much has changed…

We had not been here for a long long time and it sure looked like not much had changed – the place was crowded as always but surprisingly, it was not full for a Saturday afternoon. Perhaps there would be more people on weekdays, the office people on their lunch breaks…and yes, it was  noisy so if you are more into dining in a peaceful and quiet environment, you’d better go some place else.

My girl wanted their sizzling barbecued honey spare ribs (RM25.20)…

Pork ribs

…so of course, whatever she wants, she gets!

It was as nice as before and had the very familiar corn-on-the-cob and sweet peas but instead of the wedges, they now served this bowl of potato gratin…

Potato gratin

…in a bowl separately alongside…and yes, my girl loved that too. She was worried initially that she would not be able to finish as the serving was huge and would probably have to enlist my help but her fears were absolutely unfounded – she licked everything clean! LOL!!!

The mum had the spicy sizzling seafood kampua (RM13.20)…

Seafood kampua

…which I had before a long long time ago but was not impressed as I thought the sambal and the noodles were not all that compatible – I prefer their kampua and masak hitam beef combination. Well, this dish was what the ladies from the UK had when they were here (2:30 on their video clip) and they loved it!

They had a whole lot of new things on their menu and I decided I would go for one of these…

Nasi biryani

…and I picked the one with the curry chicken (RM18.20)…

Complimentary soup

…which came with a bowl of very nice tofu egg drop soup.

You get a little bit of acar (pickles) and half a hardboiled egg by the side…


…and the curry…

Curry chicken

…was very nice, as nice as what we would cook at home using our favourite A1 Mountain Globe instant curry paste and the rice tasted all right too, just that for that kind of money, I would much sooner hop over to this place right round the corner for their authentic North Indian biryani rice with a piece of papadum and a small serving of raita and a much more generous serving of their very very nice mutton curry for RM21.00 while their equally nice butter curry chicken with basmati rice is 20 sen less than this one here, only RM18.00.

The bill came up to RM74.10…and yes, this much sure had not changed one bit – there would be no rounding up of the total and like it or not, they would wait for you to dig out that 10 sen to pay your bill…or alternatively, they would happily give you your 90 sen change.

NOODLE HOUSE (2.291406,111.829162) is located somewhere in the area immediately behind the Sibu Central Police Station at No. 2B, Ground Floor, Lorong Laichee 1, accessible either from Hua Kiew Road or Laichee Lane.

Stiff competition…

So far, my favourite or koi (Chinese yam cake) would be the ones here, big thick slices, pre-deep fried but the last time I bought some from there, they had jacked up the price to RM1.20 a slice, 20 sen more than what they were selling them for formerly…and I would not know if it was a case of poor quality control but it did seem a little bit more wobbly or jelly-like than before. Many of those sold around town are like that and I think it is an indication of their using more rice flour and less yam.

Well, I happened to buy a slab of it here, not very big for RM2.00 but yes, it was big enough for four slices so that would mean that it did not cost more than those small thin ones selling at stalls all over town for 50 sen each. It was so nice – not wobbly at all, with lots of yam in it plus it tasted great.

It so happened that I dropped by the shop again the other morning and saw this big one…

Swee Hung steamed or koi

…selling for RM6.00 which I thought was inexpensive considering that it was no less than four times the size of the one I had bought earlier.

The shop gets their supplies from people who make those kuihs (cakes) at home and send them over for sale and I’ve a feeling the one who makes this one in the morning is not the same person as the one in the afternoon. This one had bits of carrot in it (though I did not think that made any difference to the taste) and a whole lot more yam – you would be able to taste it in the texture and it had a very strong taste of the hay bee/udang kering (dried prawns) used in the making. The other one had bits of minced meat but I could not detect any in this one. I must say the competition is stiff between the two and personally, I would not mind buying one or the other. In the meantime, I am sorry to say that the one aforementioned, formerly my favourite, can just go and take a back seat now.

These are not deep fried though – I don’t mind eating it steamed just like that and I do recall the ones in Penang where they served them with some hay kor (prawn paste)/rojak sauce and a dash of chili sauce. My missus likes it deep fried so I cut it into bite-size slices and threw them into a pan of hot oil to fry lightly…

Swee Hung or koi, lightly deep-fried

…and yes, she enjoyed them very much and was full of praises.

In the meantime, the nice young boy at the shop asked me to buy this new variation of the yew char koi/youtiao (Chinese crullers)…

Swee Hung new-style yew char koi

…at 50 sen each. I did not really catch what he said, something about there being spring onion or fried shallot or meat in it but anyhow, I bought two to try.

No, it did not have the texture of the traditional yew char koi, soft and light and full of (air) holes nor was it thick and dense like doughnut…

New-style yew char koi, inside

– it’s just different, that much I can say but it tasted all right. I wouldn’t say it got me jumping with delight but it was good enough to buy once in a  while for something different for a change.

The eloquent boy, obviously a good salesperson, also persuaded me to buy the tee piang

Swee Hung tee piang with meat filling

…which did not look as nice as those at the handsome boy’s stall at the pasar malam (night market) but the ladies in the house liked them a lot. My girl said they were good and the mum insisted they had a stronger taste of the soya bean pulp used in the making.

I thought it was good and I liked the filling…

Tee piang with meat filling, inside

…more – both are priced the same, RM1.50 each with meat filling and of course, if I can grab these here, I would not have to go through the hassle of making my way through the crowd at the pasar malam and wait a long time for the tee piang to be fried and parking can be such a pain – I would have to park far away and walk all the way there!  So which one do you think I would much sooner go and buy now?

These and lots more are available at SWEE HUNG (2.316161, 111.840441), located along Jalan Ruby, in the block of shops on the right – next to a hair salon at the extreme end…and on the other end, to the left is the Kim Won Chinese Medical Store and Mini-supermarket. Kim Tak Co. and Ah Kau Cafe are located in the other block on the left.

Anything good…

I was in the vicinity of this coffee shop again the other morning so I decided to try the Malay/Muslim stall to see if there was anything good.

The nice lady has the usual fried stuff – mee (noodles), bihun (rice vermicelli) and kway teow (flat rice noodles), nasi lemak (coconut rice) and nasi ayam penyet (clobbered chicken rice)…and I think she has nasi campur (mixed rice) come lunchtime.

I remember the kway teow goreng (fried) we had from the Muslim stall here…

Choon Seng kway teow goreng

…was very nice so I ordered that to see if the one here was any good.

It looked all right (RM3.50)…

Uncle Lau Corner kway teow goreng 1

…and tasted all right too but then again, the fried kway teow elsewhere, never mind if it is at a Chinese or a Muslim stall, is all right too…and for that same price, the one I mentioned earlier came with one fried egg but that was in 2016 – with the escalating prices of things these days, I would not be at all surprised if it costs more now.

I would give due credit to the lady for not using a plastic or melamine plate (though the complimentary chicken soup came in a striking pink plastic bowl) but what pushed the one here a cut above the rest was the sambal

Uncle Lau Corner Muslim stall, sambal

Boy! It was so very nice, spicy and nice and with that, I truly enjoyed my plate of kway teow

Uncle Lau Corner kway teow goreng 2

…to the max. I sure would not mind having that again the next time I drop by here and I certainly would ask for more of that so very delightful sambal!

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, across the road from the St Teresa’s Catholic Church and the SIB Church next to it.

Not what you think…

If you think this is Pattaya fried kway teow

Fried kway teow, Ah Tor style 1

…well, it isn’t.

Way back in my teenage days, there was a man named Ah Tor who would fry kway teow (flat rice noodles) this way, coated with egg and it was indeed very popular at the time and even to this day. Of course, Ah Tor had passed away and his son is carrying on his family trade here.

When my friends from Singapore came in 2015, I ordered a plate to share but I can’t remember whether I had any or not. Later that same year, my uncle and his family in Kuching came to town and they thought it was somewhat disappointing…and when they got to try the one here, they were praising it to the skies, declaring it to be so much nicer. I did have that one there a long time ago, 8 years to be exact in 2010, but it did not leave a lasting impression. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine was telling me about it too at one time and he said that I must ask the wife to cook – it would be very much nicer.

Anyway, the other morning, I thought I would just drop by there to refresh my memory. I liked  the mug that they used to provide the boiling water for sterilising the chopsticks and the spoon – I thought it was very cute…

Cute mug

The coffee had gone up in price, from RM1.50 in 2015 to RM1.70 now and the one I had that morning was very diluted, hardly any coffee fragrance and taste – I certainly would not order that should I happen to drop by here again. It certainly is a whole lot better at many places around town.

I ordered this bowl of beef soup…

Beef soup and chili dip

…to go with my fried kway teow and had a shock when told that it was RM8.00 a bowl but of course, beef does not come cheap here and they have access to fresh beef from the Malay butcher who used to run a stall selling the meat at the wet market in town but not anymore. They told me that they would book ahead of time and anytime they slaughter any, they would grab a whole lot to store in the freezer for their use.

Come to think of it, I should have asked for a smaller bowl, the size of the ones that they serve with their kampua mee…and yes, it was, as always, very nice and went well with their own-made chili dip.

The fried kway teow is different from those omelette-wrapped Pattaya dishes as it is done quite differently. Firstly, the kway teow is fried with garlic and soy sauce and bean sprouts, chives and egg plus some seasoning are added. Once done, it would be pushed aside and an egg is broken into the wok and is spread around thinly and when almost done, the kway teow is lifted and laid down on the layer of egg and it will be stuck to it, once done. I guess one must dish it out carefully so the egg that was at the bottom would end up on top, intact (RM4.00)…

Fried kway teow, Ah Tor style 2

I tried it and yes, I did like it a lot – it tasted really good but somehow, I don’t quite recall Ah Tor’s to be anything like it. No doubt his was simpler or at least, it tasted that way, but it was also nice in its own right. Sometimes, there is beauty in simplicity…

CHIP CHUNG CAFE (2.318239, 111.839305) is located along Jalan Gambir behind the premises of the Sibu Kidney Foundation (that faces Jalan Chong Jin Bock) just before the turning into Jalan Bunga Dahlia (if you are coming from Jalan Pedada).

You’re bigger…

This coffee shop

Uncle Lau Corner

…along this lane…


…is bigger now. Word has it that some new owners have taken over the place and they have extended it to include the shop lot next door.

The Malay/Muslim stall which used to be in the original shop, right next to the kampua mee stall, has moved to this side…

New side

…but all the other stalls are still vacant, currently available for rent…

Stall for rent

I heard from the guys at my regular car workshop opposite that the food from this particular stall is quite nice but for no apparent reason, I have never given it a try.

The kampua mee stall is still around…

Uncle Lau Corner kampua mee stall

…enjoying brisk business as always. I’ve tried the noodles and the pain sip (meat dumplings) and I would say that both are pretty good but the meat porridge that I had once from this particular stall did not get me excited, not at all.

The new proprietors not only run the drinks business here but they have taken over the chu char (cook & fry) stall at the back as well. I never did get the chance to try the original one a long long time ago and at one time, I heard the people engaged an Indonesian lady to do the cooking at the back – I did try once but no, it wasn’t anything I would want to order again.

The other morning, I decided I would order something from there to see if the current people are any good or not. Much to my surprise, the two ladies doing the cooking at the back did not look Chinese, probably one of our local ethnic races. Never mind, I thought – the lady here wasn’t Chinese either but what she dished out would put a lot to shame! I placed my orders for the noodles and a drink and went to sit at a table and waited.

The kopi-o-peng (iced coffee, black)…

Uncle Lau Corner kopi-o-peng

…was good and at RM1.50 only a glass, it was much cheaper than a lot of places around town.

The char mee, tam (fried noodles, wet/with gravy) turned out to be the moon version…

Uncle Lau Corner Foochow fried noodles, moon 1

…which I do enjoy very much and yes, despite the lack of ingredients, it tasted really great (RM4.00)…

Uncle Lau Corner Foochow fried noodles, moon 2

…and I did enjoy it a lot.

Personally, I don’t mind those minute bits of meat and slices of fish cake but I wish they could be a bit more generous with the green vegetables – sawi, I believe…

Uncle Lau Corner Foochow fried noodles, moon 3

I am sure it is not all that expensive and I do enjoy eating it with my noodles.

I think come lunch time, they do have chap fan (mixed rice) here so perhaps one of these days, I can drop by and have a look to see what they have in store.

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.

I didn’t expect this…

We dropped by here

Outright Coffee

…again for lunch the other day, my third visit to the place.

When we were there that previous time, we were feeling very full so we did not eat anything – my girl just had one of the omelettes and in the meantime, I saw on their Facebook page some new additions to their menu that I thought would be gluten-free and my girl would be able to enjoy them.

We were given this complimentary drink…

Complimentary drink

…their pink passion soda, for purchases from their lunch and dinner menu over RM30.00 on a single receipt – the ladies loved it a lot…

Pink Passion soda

…but I wasn’t all that thrilled by it – it had a sourish hint to it, you see…and like I always say, fat people do not like sour stuff. LOL!!!

The mum had their barbecued chicken with fruit salad and baked wedges (RM15.90)…

Barbecued chicken with fruit salad and wedges

…and she wanted that with mushroom sauce but got rosemary instead. It did not matter much though as  the sauce was very nice and went really well with the chicken.

My girl didn’t want much so she just had the grilled barbecued chicken chop with fries (RM13.90)…

Grilled barbecued chicken with fries & mushroom sauce

…and she got the mushroom sauce with her order. Yes, she enjoyed the chicken and yes, she liked the fries which looked and tasted like their own-made, not those scrawny supermarket shoestrings which would turn dry and hard and all shrivelled up at places where they over-fry them.

I had the golden fried chicken chop with spaghetti bolognese (RM16.90)…

Golden fried chicken chop with spaghetti blognese

…and since they coated the chicken with bread crumbs, my girl would not be able to have that, not gluten-free and the spaghetti is a definite no-no as well unless she brings her own pasta for them to use as a substitute. The chicken went well with the mushroom sauce and personally, I did not think, compared to the grilled barbecued one, it was as compatible with the rosemary.

We sure enjoyed our lunch that day and I had already passed the cash to the cashier to pay for our orders when an ex-student of mine, a professional photographer now, there for a pre-wedding shoot (and that sure speaks volumes about how nice the place is), walked in…and he insisted that he would like to give me a treat and asked that they returned the money to me. Wow!!! I didn’t expect that, thank you so much, Albert…and it sure was nice seeing you again (and your family too) after all these years.

Of course, now that they have a lot more on their menu other than coffee and cakes and pancakes and waffles, they would be seeing a lot more of us in the days to come.

OUTRIGHT COFFEE (2.290978, 111.820996) is located at 24B , Jalan Lau King Howe, at the end of the first block of shops immediately behind the Lay King Howe Memorial Museum.