For you and for me…

Well, lunch wasn’t all that great on Sunday that day, nothing to shout about so come dinnertime, I told the ladies in the house that we would go out for dinner at this restaurant that was full when we dropped by a week earlier and had to go some place else.

We got there early, around 5 something and my goodness!!! They told us that they were fully booked AGAIN!!! Of course, most of the customers were not there yet so I told them that they could just let us sit at one of the smaller tables, just the three of us, and we would eat quickly and leave. Eventually, they relented and let us do that.

I ordered my girl’s favourite dish here, the sizzling beef on a hot plate (RM20.00)…

…even though I had to refrain from eating that myself since it was red meat. I did help myself to the lovely gravy though – it went so well with rice.

Well, it did not matter much really as I made sure there was something for my girl and something for me as well. I asked for the plum chicken (RM17.00)…

…which is one of our favourite dishes here and yes, we did enjoy that as well. I read somewhere that poultry (chicken) is white meat and anyway, if I am not wrong, they used chicken wings for this dish.

We did not want the baby kailan with butter this time around and asked for it ching chao (fried plain with garlic), RM9.00…

It was all right, cooked this way but we all agreed that we liked it more with butter…

…but I think that would cost a little bit more.

That was only RM46.00 altogether, just these three dishes which were more than enough with the rice to go with them so no, nobody had to go sneaking into the kitchen in the middle of the night that night for a midnight snack.

NICE HOUSE RESTAURANT (2.29201,111.82739)…

…is located in the vicinity of the Tunku Osman shops, opposite Rejang Bookstore.

Couldn’t get it right…

There are only a few places here in Sibu where the kolo mee is very nice. I would not say they are anything like those in Kuching, the best in the city, but I would say that they can edge out many of the rest, those that are not anything to get excited about. It’s the same with the kampua mee here in Sibu – you will find it in every coffee shop, mostly, but I would not say that all of them are anything worth the calories. You need to know where to go for the really good authentic ones.

As for our kolo mee here in Sibu, there are those that look like kolo mee but the taste is, more or less, like our kampua mee. In my opinion, the good ones, worth dropping by for, would be those here…or here…or here. There may be others but I wouldn’t know because usually, I would not bother to give them a try as there had been way too many disappointments along the way.

Anyway, sometime ago, an ex-student of mine shared a photograph of this kolo mee (RM5.50)…

…that he had at a coffee shop here. There can be no denying that it did look really good, just like the real thing and of course, I was dying to drop by there to give it a try. However, I was cutting down on my carbs and I was not too sure if pork was red or white meat so I had been dilly-dallying all this while. Finally, that morning, I decided to simply go ahead and give it a try.

I placed my order and managed to find a seat in one corner of the overcrowded coffee shop. When they brought the chili dip, I was delighted that they sure got it right! If you go for kolo mee in Kuching, they will give you this pickled sliced chili, more often than not, a combination of both the red and the green chili…

They give you some bottled chili sauce, now very often upon request only, with your plate of kampua mee. You may detect a hint of the vinegar in your kolo mee – that is one of the differences between it and kampua mee, that very light hint of the fragrance and the sourish taste of the vinegar.

I loved the beautiful perfectly charred char siew

…something you will not find in a plate of kampua mee. Usually, they will just give you a few paper-thin slices of boiled pork, dyed red to make it look like char siew but of course, it tastes nothing like it!

I am no fan of the fish balls nor the meat balls, the latter especially – not these frozen supermarket ones…

In the end, I just dumped them and the green vegetables in the complimentary soup…

…which in itself, actually tasted pretty good and adding the greens did help to enhance the taste a bit.

As for the noodles, I’m afraid there was no love at first bite, not at all…

I found them way too sweet, probably because of too much char siew sauce. It did not taste too bad after I had added the vinegar from the dip but no, it did not sweep me off my feet and no, you will not find me rushing back there for more of the same.

As I was leaving, I caught a glimpse of somebody’s kampua mee pok at another table and it was served with that same char siew. The noodle, of course, looked very plain and simple – very typical of kampua mee…and I made a mental note right away that I shall be back here soon to give that a try. Who knows I may like it a whole lot more?

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 after e-Cafe in that block.

Packages…

A few Sundays ago, that day when we were pissed off at one of the restaurants because all the things on their menu were not available and we adjourned to another one and it was full, my girl did suggest dropping by here but I did not feel like having chicken rice so we gave it a miss.

We went out for lunch again last Sunday and I was thinking of having something light so I decided this would be a good place to go to. Of course, I did not want to pick one of their packages again like what we did the last time we were here. No, it wasn’t because it was not good, just that you cannot choose what you want to eat – that day, we wanted their roasted chicken but no, with the package, you will get steamed chicken only and braised pork belly, take it or leave it!

I did try to order their roast chicken separately on top of all that was in the package but they said they had run out even though it was still so early, around noon. This time around, we asked for their roasted chicken, drumstick, with rice (RM7.00)…

…and it turned out that they only had ONE drumstick left! Good grief! If this is how they do business, I shall have to think twice about dropping by here again.

It must have been a very small chicken because the drumstick was so very small and of course, we let our girl have it! The only consolation was that the order was inclusive of their very nice chicken rice. That previous time when we took the package, we had to order the chicken rice separately as it was not included in the package so I had to come out with RM2.50 for each bowl, RM7.50 altogether for the three of us.

My missus and I had parts of the thigh (RM5.00)…

…and that sure did not look like much either, don’t you agree?

It was quite obvious that they were not very generous with the meat. I only paid RM7.50 for all that I had here not too long ago and just look at how much I got in the platter of stuff that I ordered plus the chicken rice! No prize for guessing where I would rather go to the next time I feel like having some chicken rice! Tsk! Tsk!

To make sure that we had quite enough to eat, I asked for two of their braised eggs (RM4.00)…

…to share. Unfortunately, they were kinda washed down, not as nice as those that I had had before at so many other places all over town. Even the sauce was so diluted that I did not bother eating the egg with it.

Thankfully, the fried cangkok manis with egg (RM10.00)…

…that I ordered as a side dish wasn’t too bad. They certainly were very generous with it.

The special chicken rice chili dip was very nice, just not spicy at all and their complimentary soup was VERY good despite what it looked like, so very plain – they did not even bother to throw the chicken claws in it like what they usually do at most chicken rice places here, chicken claws and some salted vegetables.

The overall total for the food is very much cheaper than going for the package, RM31.50 only, just that comparatively, there wasn’t all that much to eat .

TING KEE CHICKEN RICE (2.292362, 111.825681)…

…is located at No. 85, Jalan Kampung Nyabor, to the extreme left of the block of shops directly across the road from RH Hotel.

For your eyes only…

Yes, I can only see and drool. I can’t eat because I am off red meat so beef…

…is definitely out!

These so-called Salisbury steaks beef patties…

…are our favourite and yes, their beef balls are jolly good too. In fact, we just had that for our Christmas dinner 10 years ago in 2012. Unfortunately, it is not that readily available over here, I dunno why.

For one thing, they certainly do not mince their words about the beef they use to make their products…

…and yes, they are definitely nicer than many of those obscure brands that I would not bother to buy.

There is no need to defrost the patties…

They can be taken out of the freezer and pan-fried to perfection straight away…

…before putting them in your burgers or wraps.

These days, we have these lovely wraps from Australia…

…so of course, my girl will not settle for less…

…and you will not get to see her going for those Mission ones that are sold at every supermarket in town here anymore these days.

The other morning, after toasting a piece of the wraps lightly in a non-stick pan, she placed some cheese and some cherry tomatoes (from our garden) on one half of the wrap…

…before putting in the pre-grilled beef patties…

After that, she added another layer of cheese and cherry tomatoes before squeezing some kewpie dressing all over the filling…

Last but not least, she folded the wrap and placed it in the oven to toast it some more and also to heat it up so she could enjoy it while it was still nice and warm.

I did ask her for a teeny-weeny bit to sample and see what it was like and yes, I would say it was very nice. Unfortunately, it is, as what the title of this blogpost says, for my eyes only. Sobsssss!!!

New location…

In my blogpost yesterday, I mentioned that I walked over to this coffee shop in the next block to the left and I was appalled to see that there were so very few customers, maybe two tables only to the most, unlike that previous time when I dropped by when they were enjoying brisk business despite the pandemic.

I guess the problem started when the beef noodles…

…stall moved to their own shop here and their crowd of loyal followers made their way there as well.

Eventually, the lady selling the very nice Penang har mee (prawn noodles)…

…that I ate that day also moved to a coffee shop across the road from here…

…along Jalan Sena. My ex-student sent me a photograph of the coffee shop but I have not gone over to have a look yet.

A Malay lady has taken her place but it did not look like she had any business at all – I wonder how long she would last at this rate and for reasons unknown, the kampua mee stall was closed, not something usual on a Thursday – they usually take the day off on Monday or Tuesday every week.

In the meantime, this coffee shop…

…that used to be in the next lane from my house has moved here…

…to what was formerly the Football Cafe along Jalan Cherry, Lorong 10. A long time ago, my ex-student used to run his Art tuition class at the unit on the extreme left on the 1st floor and I used to send my girl there. Now he is a very successful gynaecologist in Bintulu, making tonnes of money.

I don’t know what happened at the old place – probably there were some rental issues but even though this new place is quite near my house, I am in no hurry to go over, not at all. The kampua mee

…and the pian sip

…were good but there are others elsewhere just as good or perhaps even nicer.

I loved the Foochow fried mee special, the moon version…

…and the tomato kway teow

…and my girl loved the fried pek koi

…from the chu-char (cook and fry) people but I am not fond of the guy’s peculiar sense of humour. I don’t know if he was being hurtful or what but the things he said were far from being funny – I saw the expressions on the customers’ faces change as he hurled his insults at them and I did hear people saying that they would never go back there again!

Word has it that business at the new place is as brisk as before so I guess the loss of some of his customers has not affected them that much, if at all.

Maybe it’s time…

This coffee shop used to be so popular and was always filled to the brim. Yes, I used to drop by for the very nice kampua mee

…from the stall in front and yes, it is still there. I certainly would rank it among the best in town.

Another thing that I loved a lot from this stall was the meat porridge…

…and needless to say, I would always ask for the special so there would be some pieces of liver and bits of intestines in the so very delicious gruel. As a matter of fact, I like it so much that I dare say it is my favourite in town!

I cannot remember having anything from the chu-char (cook and fry) place at the back – my missus would order from them time and time again and I did notice a lot of people going there around lunchtime every day for the chap fan (mixed rice). However, when I was there the other morning, it looked very clean, like it had closed shop but don’t take my word for it. I did not walk to the back to check so I am not really sure.

I decided to go there once again after all this time that morning because I was thinking of the Muslim Melanau ladies’ roti canai and roti telur

…that they usually served, unlike elsewhere, with a bowl of curry gravy and I sure enjoyed that a lot.

Unfortunately, when I got there, the ladies told me that they no longer sell roti canai and all the rest at their stall…

They said the stall was too small for them to do everything so they would just stick to their priorities every day – fried noodles and what not in the morning and nasi campur (mixed rice) for lunch.

Yes, the ladies caused quite a stir when my West Malaysian blogger friends came to town in 2012 because their stall was sandwiched between the kampua mee and the fried kway teow stalls, something they would not be able to see over in the peninsula. In fact, unlike here where this Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian family) spirit is so very common, an everyday thing, over there, one would be hard-pressed to see a Muslim/Malay stall in a Chinese coffee shop. Another thing was, according to one of them, they would never get to see a lady making roti canai over there – all of them would be men. I don’t know to what extent this is/was true – I never bothered to take note of it.

Anyway, moving on to what I ordered in the end, I could remember that I used to enjoy their char kway teow (fried flat rice noodles) that was a whole lot nicer than the one from the Chinese chu-char place at the back so I asked for a plate of the special (RM6.00)…

It used to be RM5.00 before in 2017 which means that it has gone up by just one ringgit when the prices of everything else are shooting up sky high!

For the special, I got one perfectly fried egg and half a chicken wing…

…with the kway teow

…and though I would say it was pretty good, somehow I felt that it was nicer before…

I may drop by again to eat it sometime but no, you would not find me going out of my way to come here for this.

There were still a lot of customers that morning but no, it was not as busy as before. Maybe it had gone past its time and not many would make their way there anymore, unlike before, especially when traffic in that area is a nightmare every morning. Surprisingly, it was rather light that morning and this coffee shop in the next block that used to be packed, so very busy all the time, was almost empty except for maybe just a couple of tables.

CHOON SENG COFFEE SHOP /春陞茶室 (2.324218, 111.838197)…

…is located along Lorong Wong Ting Hock 1, off Jalan Wong Ting Hock, off Jalan Tun Abg Hj Openg at the Sungai Merah Bazaar here.

A little bit sweet…

That day, I went browsing around the freezers at one of the shops in the vicinity of the Delta Mall commercial area here, looking at the varieties and different brands of ice cream available and I saw these…

…little packets of mochi ice cream from Walls, selling for only RM2.00 each.

I do recall the matcha durian flavoured ones…

…from that same ice cream company that my sister brought for dessert at our Chap Goh Mei dinner early in the year and yes, we thought they were very nice, all of us except my girl – she is no fan of durian nor mochi so of course, she was not too thrilled by it.

I was thinking that perhaps, she might enjoy these chocolate and vanilla ones…

…that come singly instead of in a tray of four so I opened one and cut it into two…

…to try. I had half and gave her the other half.

Yes, it was very nice – we loved the chocolate ice cream in the mochi. Generally, it was just a little bit sweet (maybe it was because we just had a small bite each) and the mochi skin was not that chewy. That was probably because it was frozen so it was not rubbery and difficult to bite and swallow like some that I had had before. The mum enjoyed it very much as she loves mochi – the rest of us would prefer to stick to good ol’ ice cream as we’ve always enjoyed it.

Fridays…

I guess everyone knows by now that I abstain from meat on Fridays and come that day every week, there are very few meatless dishes around here that I can eat.

Yes, we have some stalls selling porridge but they are all meat (minced pork) porridge and for the special, you may get some liver and other innards. That was why I was delighted to see that they have fish porridge here. I went there to give it a try one morning but they had run out so I had to go back again another day.

When it was served, I was kind of disappointed because it looked so plain (RM7.00)…

…like there was nothing in it other that that little bit of fried shallots on top.

Thankfully, there was more to it than what I could see and buried under the porridge were slices of fish fillet…

I guess they did not stand out as they were the same colour, the fish and the porridge.

I also found an egg…

…in the porridge but the next time I order this, I shall have to ask them to put in the egg last and not to overcook the yolk so that it will still be nice and runny, the way I would like it!

They gave some freshly ground Sarawak white pepper and a bit of chio cheng (light soy sauce or perhaps, it was fish sauce) for those who would prefer the porridge a little bit saltier. To me, it was good enough the way it was, whatever stock they used to cook the porridge. It was sweet and flavourful and whatever fish they used, that was good too – nice fish texture, no unpleasant fishy smell. I certainly would give it my nod of approval.

It seems that the regular crowd here has started to come back…

I was there at around 8.00 a.m., so very early but all the tables on the pavement outside were occupied and inside, there were quite a lot of people as well. This used to be the favourite meeting place of some old retirees (my ex-colleagues) who would gather here to catch up with one another’s lives once a week and it looked like they had resumed their weekly routine as well. I guess this place is ideal because parking is free and there are ample parking spaces all around plus it is not in the busy town centre so there are no traffic jams.

I went to the stall next to the one selling the porridge and tapao-ed this fried udon (RM6.00)…

…back for my missus to eat for her brunch and yes, she loved it! I asked if they could make it extra hot and they said they would add freshly-sliced red chili to it. Perhaps that was one reason why my missus enjoyed it – she likes it hot!!!

Probably I shall give it a try myself one of these days but the people at the next table were having the Sarawak laksa from the porridge stall and the fragrance was absolutely intoxicating, to say the least. I think I shall try that next time.

GRAND WONDERFUL FOOD COURT (2.309601, 111.845163)…

…is located along Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai, on your right. You can also go in via Jalan Pipit from Jalan Pahlawan – go straight ahead till you get to it on your left.

End up here…

We went out for lunch on Sunday and my girl wanted to go here to try more of what they had in their impressive menu.

Unfortunately, they were out of tilapia, the ONLY fish dish that they had and the giant sotong (squid) that my girl wanted was NEW on the menu and was not available. It seemed that a lot of things in the menu were not available…YET! Honestly, how on earth do they do business like this? We decided to try some place else and walked out indignantly, feeling quite disgusted!

We went and checked this place out but it was full so we had to try some place else!!! Subsequently, we ended up here and had this delightful dish of venison…

…fried with thin strips of ginger and soy sauce.

Because my girl was thinking of having that once, we did ask for the meat at a number of places including this one but unfortunately, they all did not have it. Finally, here’s one place that had it but now, I am on a no red meat diet so I had to refrain from feasting on it. I did take one small slice though to buang gian (appease the craving) – I guess that wouldn’t do too much harm.

I also ordered their very nice fried fish fillet coated with bread crumbs served with mayonnaise…

– another one of my girl’s favourites at this restaurant.

We had their own-made tofu…

…as well. That never failed to please everybody who had it and I dare say that their fried cangkok manis with egg…

…is the best in town.

The total came up to only RM51.00 for the four dishes for the three of us – that may be considered relatively cheap compared to what I had to pay lately at the other restaurants in town and the best part, of course, was we enjoyed all the dishes to the max.

Another thing that impressed me was how they had switched to using ceramic plates completely – the last few times we were here, I did see them using some of their old plastic plates and I was somewhat put off by that. I do hope they would do away with those altogether from now on.

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.

Stop on the way…

Last Saturday, we did not go out for lunch because the ladies had those lovely brioche bun and pork patty burgers from my friend, Yan, for brunch and they said they were feeling full. In the end, I just had a couple of the scones she gave us and that was it.

We did not have any dinner either because we planned to go some place for a late dinner/supper at around 8.00 p.m. after our Sunset Mass Service at our regular church here. I picked this place because of the convenience – it is on the way back to my house from the church and we would not have to head into the town centre. It was raining that night and there were massive jams because of the Sarawak Day long weekend and the closing ceremony of the Borneo Food & Cultural Festival that night. Here, there is ample parking space, no jam and just go round the traffic lights round the corner and we would be home already!

I had this sweet and sour fish fillet with rice and a generous serving of salad by the side (RM10.90)…

…and I sure enjoyed it a lot, the fish especially. I loved the very nice sauce that, unlike at a lot of places, did not taste like ketchup straight from the bottle! I was delighted that they gave some fried rice, instead of plain steamed rice – that certainly brought the dish up to a whole new level!

My missus had their fried sambal noodles (RM6.50)…

…and the instant it was served we knew it was going to be good. We could detect the whiff of wok hei fragrance in the air and the lovely smell of the noodles was a force to be reckoned with.

The fried sambal bihun (RM6.50)…

…that my girl had paled in comparison but it was good too – she did manage to finish all of it even though I told her to leave it behind if the serving was too big for her to handle.

I also ordered this plate of honey chicken wings (RM12.00)…

…to share even though RM12 for 3 isn’t exactly cheap, RM4.00 per chicken wing. I guess the shortage of chicken in the country and the removal of the ceiling prices sure did not help one bit but they’re very nice, value for money. However, if it keeps shooting up from those days when they were RM9 something a plate, I certainly would draw the line somewhere. At the end of the day, they are what they are – chicken wings!!!

Incidentally, I noticed that they use those plates that we see a lot at those “classier” cafes and restaurants here and the best part is that not a single one is chipped!!! THAT is class as class should be, and this is just a coffee shop, not like those pretentious high class fine dining wannabes with the prices to match and their unsightly chipped crockery. I would get put off the instant I see any like here…or here. A pat on the back, folks! Keep up the good work!!!

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.