Drive…

Well, what car do you drive?

Mine’s an old 1.3 Wira…and as long as it can get me around, I must say that I am pretty happy with it. For the record, I have been driving for some 35 years now and I’m proud to say that my record is absolutely clean. Unfortunately, there were times when people bumped into my backside…oops!…I mean, the back of my car. Sigh! But what was most important on each occasion was that the accidents were quite minor in nature and I was unscathed, praise the Lord!

Well, this happened sometime last week. There was this old man living in a big bungalow in front of my parents’ place. His errant son came home in the wee hours of the morning, drunk despite all that has been said about drunk driving, and rammed into the gate of their house, knocking it off the rail…and leaving the house without a gate for the next few days. The crash from the impact was so loud that it woke up everybody in the neighbourhood and as for the car, it ended up looking like this…

Accident

Not too bad, I should say, considering the amount of damage it had caused. I guess that was because it was a huge vehicle…but imagine if that nincompoop had  knocked into some poor old man in a miserable  1.3 Wira like me. It would not be so bad if the Wira ended up becoming some horrible wrangled mess but what about the old man? Would he be badly injured in the impact? Crippled for life? Would he survive?

For one thing, I cannot, for the dear life of me, understand why people have to drive those  gigantic monstrosities in a small town with small, short and narrow roads, and I also cannot understand that why people cannot be more  considerate while on the road. They may not cherish their own lives but I’m sure many, no matter how old they are, are not quite ready yet to join the heavenly choir! No, thank you!

Drive, by all means, drive…but drive carefully and with a sense of responsibility to yourself and your fellow-road users.

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Son of my father…

Well, it was my blog’s anniversary yesterday…and guess what! I got to meet a fellow-blogger for lunch – Chris Anakapai. For the uninitiated, “apai” in the Iban language means “father”, so “anakapai” means son of my father, or in this case, daughter! LOL!!!

Chris was in town for major repairs…oops! I mean she was here to do a bit of shopping and at the same time, she went for her facial! ROTFLMAO!!! So we agreed to meet for lunch, and this was one of the dishes that we had…

Ruby's butter scotch prawns

No prize for guessing where we went! I suppose many of you know only too well what that dish was – butter scotch prawns! We also had the mayo-spare ribs (because Chris’ friend didn’t like lamb)…

Ruby's mayo-spare ribs

…as well as ladies’ fingers, fried with sambal udang kering (dried prawns)…

Ruby's ladies' fingers with dried prawns

…and long beans, fried with pork belly…

Long beans with pork belly

…and hot and sour Szechuan soup…

Ruby's hot and sour Szechuan soup

I have not been to the restaurant for a while now, and after the break, I thought the food tasted pretty nice. Well, the ladies said that they loved the food and would definitely go back there again. Personally, I would think that perhaps the Szechuan soup was not hot and sour enough and comparatively, the sea cucumber soup that we usually would have would be a nicer option. Well, I have mentioned this before and this time around, I will say it again. Other than that,  at RM45.00 for the food alone, I would think it was a tad bit  too expensive, especially when compared to the usual prices before.

Anyhow, it was my pleasure to have made the acquaintance, Chris…and I do look forward to another opportunity to get together with you again sometime…

P.S.:
Some of you may not know this but the Iban language is in some ways similar to the Malay language. There are some words that are the same such as rumah, kereta/motor, burung, ikan and so on, and in the case of some of the others, you just have to remove the tail end consonant(s) and put in “i” instead.
Examples:
jalan = jalai
makan = makai
datang = datai
panjang = panjai
pulang = pulai
Now, isn’t that interesting?

Together we are beautiful…

I can’t recall when exactly Cibol sent me an sms to tell me that they had set up a blog for me and I would have to log in and post stuff in it, but it was on this day 7th March in 2008 that my very first postLike a virgin – made its debut appearance in the blogosphere.

This simply means that it’s my blog’s 1st anniversary today…

STP's blog 1st anniversary

It has been a good year with a total of 393 posts to date which means that I have had at least 1 post a day and sometimes 2, over the 365 days that have gone by.

Akismet managed to catch 1,491 spam which is not too bad considering that there are people who tell me that they get spam by the hundreds each day.

Over this one year, I have made so many blogger-friends, many of whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person and there are some  that I got to know/meet even before I started this blog…and I look forward to getting to meet more of you in the year ahead. I certainly hope that the feeling is mutual!

And last but not least, your comments! According to my blog stats, I have had a whooping 8,178 comments out of an amazing total of 123,774 views which, I must say, is most encouraging. At least, I know that there are people reading my posts each day and are interested enough to post a comment or two. Rest assured that this is motivation enough for me to keep going on and on…

Thank you all so much for your unfailing support this past year. The only reason why I’m still here is…because you loved me. Make sure you’ll all stand by me in the year ahead…for together we are beautiful!!! LOL!!!

The bare necessities…

If you’re familiar with one of Disney’s earlier animated movies, “The Jungle Book”, when Baloo the bear sang, “Look for the bare necessities…,” he was actually talking about food, and this post is going to be about just that!

Ever since I was a little boy, I have loved luncheon meat. My mother would open a can and cut it into slices, and fry with Bombay onions and egg. It was supposed to be for lunch as well as dinner…but in the course of the afternoon, the pieces would gradually disappear and my mother would be furious to discover that there wasn’t enough left for dinner! LOL!!! I wonder who had been pinching the meat…

Luncheon meat with onions and egg

Now that the quality of the Ma Ling brand has deteriorated, I will usually go for the Gu Long brand which may not be as fragrant but for one thing, it is less salty.

Other than that, all my life, we would have Bovril (or Marmite) with porridge, or sometimes we would make soup with it. It was only after I got married that my missus used it to prepare noodles…and from then on, even at around RM25 a bottle these days, I will usually have my mee kua (mee sanggul/dried noodles) or even mee sua with Bovril for breakfast…

Bovril mee sua with egg and meat slices

Well, it’s Friday today and being the season of Lent, I am abstaining from meat and will be having fish instead. These days, at the Chinese restaurants, they serve all kinds of imported fish – snow fish or what they call Alaskan fish, cod, halibut and so on. Being imported, they can be quite expensive but the other day, I had this slice of Taiwan snow fish…

Taiwan snow fish

…which my missus bought for around RM10.00. I had it deep-fried but perhaps, it would taste better steamed. Personally, I would much rather go for the cheaper ones or the local varieties of fish – kembong or those similar ones, tilapia from Batang Ai, tenggiri (mackerel), terubok (Ooo…I haven’t had that for quite sometime now!), ikan buris and so on. Sigh! I wonder what fish I’ll be cooking today… Decisions! Decisons! LOL!!!

Maybe I’ll just have my usual kampung-style sayur rebus (boiled vegetables) instead – an all-in-one soup with prawns, baby corn, pumpkin and cangkuk manis boiled with a bit of belacan (dried prawn paste) and chilli…

Sayur rebus

A little bit of salt and msg may be added according to taste.

Well, I bet everybody’s ready for the long weekend. What are your plans? It’s my blog’s 1st anniversary tomorrow, so I will have a special post for that. Do make sure that you’ll come back and post a comment or more (…if you know what’s good for you!!! LOL!!!), won’t you?

Enjoy your weekend…

Larger than life…

I think I have mentioned before that the paos (steamed buns) in Sibu were very much larger in size during my younger days. The skin would be very thick and there was very little filling for the simple reason that in those days, people had to toil real hard to earn a living and they wanted to eat something that was cheap and yet, would be able to sustain them for a very long time.

I gather that there is a shop in Kuching that specialises in “Sibu Foochow Pao” – huge, thick skin and very little filling, exactly the way they used to make it. Well, over here in Sibu, we do get some of those around…

Sibu Foochow pao 1

…but I think they do have a little more meat inside these days…

Sibu Foochow pao 2

With the escalating prices of everything lately, they’re RM1.60 each and I do wish they could be a little bit more generous with the bit of hard-boiled egg inside.

I can still remember that time when I was just a kid, we used to go to that Kiaw Siong Coffee Shop for Ah Kow kampua (and much later, Kow Kia beef noodles), located at the opposite corner at the Sibu Fire Station junction. Sometimes they had paos and the meat was red in colour or should I say, coloured red.

Somehow or other, the so-called char siew pao version of the Sibu Foochow pao today reminds me of those that I used to enjoy very much then…

Sibu Foochow pao - char siew 1

Of course, it’s nothing like the authentic char siew pao that we can get at the regular dim sum outlets. The texture of the skin is different, the meat -though red in colour – is definitely neither char siew meat nor char siew sauce/oil…

Sibu Foochow pao - char siew 2

Well, if it’s char siew pao that I want, I’d much sooner head to Mitsu Tea House where I can buy a storey (basket) for RM3.50 and get THREE char siew paos (though smaller, maybe by half) the way char siew paos should be! These pale imitations of the real thing cost RM1.60 each but then of course, they’re huge!

Now, how big exactly are they? Well, you can see from the above photos that they’re about the size of a saucer or perhaps, it will be much clearer to you if I say that they’re as big as…ummm…

Sibu Foochow pao - palm-sized

…my palm, or perhaps even a little bigger!!! Now, now, Clare…what were you expecting me to say? LOL!!!

So there you have it – something from Sibu that you can try if you’re here on a visit! It ain’t too bad but personally, I would not put it on top of the list…but then again, as they say, one man’s meat is another man’s poison.

The long and winding road…

It isn’t a long and winding road really…but it is rather far by Sibu standards and bumpy due to the rate at which the roads here seem to sink despite the continuous efforts to resurface them and to make them higher. Unfortunately, my bank is located at that side of town and I had not updated my bank book since September last year, so I will have to make the trip once in a while.

It seems that the bank is currently undergoing renovations and while it used to have some 6-8 counters, there are only 4 left and customers are encouraged to utilise the machines for cash deposits, payment of credit card bills and what not. I did not have a problem at all as there was a lady bank officer who was very nice and helpful and she did it all for me. Once I had everything settled, as usual, I went roaming around to see what’s new in the Salim area. Sometime ago, I had a post on one of the places in the area.

I did not go to that one this time but instead, I went to the older one on the other side and I saw this…

Sibu's Farley Food Court 1

This is quite new, I think. If I’m not mistaken, it was opened sometime around Chinese New Year and it houses the Farley Restaurant and the food court…

Sibu's Farley Food Court 2

I noticed that the Farley Pinnacles is no longer where it used to be, so I reckoned it must have relocated to the upper storey of the new premises where the restaurant is. There is a banner advertising Hongkong Dim Sum at the restaurant but there is no information as to whether it is already in business or at what time the dimsum is available. I was never a fan of the food at the Pinnacles anyway, even though I quite liked the place as it was pretty nice and cosy. Well, they’re selling some baju kurong and things like that there now.

Sibu's Farley Food Court 3

Since there was no indication whatsoever that the restaurant was open at the time, I just proceeded to the food court to see what they had in store. I must say it was quite a disappointment as there were only a few stalls selling the usual stuff and only one was enjoying relatively brisk business – selling char siew fan (barbecued meat rice) and all the roasted meats and stuff. I did not feel like having that, so I went to the Muslim stall instead…

Sibu's Farley Food Court 4

It so happened that an old acquaintance of mine from my karaoke days at the Spice Bazaar – Sebastian aka Tom Jones of Sibu was there, so we had lunch together. I had some chicken, pumpkin and two servings of century eggs for RM3.00…

Sibu's Farley Food Court 5

The rice was hard and dry…and if you asked me about the food, I would very much prefer the selections available at the Bandong stall that I frequent quite regularly to tapao (takeaway) a few items home for dinner. For one thing, the food was not covered and when I was there, the lady was busy chasing away the flies and grumbling, “Langau! Langau!” Obviously, they’re Melanau Muslims.

Well, I think the food court at the Sing Kwong Complex – Kopi-O Cafe – has a lot more to offer and the food there is nicer too. As far as this one is concerned, if they think I am going to drive all the way when that is all they are able to come out with, they can just dream on. They will have to do much better than that!

Right here waiting…

I had a post on this place sometime ago – Sri Menanti, located in the Sibu bus station commercial area, two doors away from Rasa Sayang Cafe at the corner of that block of shophouses.

We stopped there for brunch on Sunday morning and my missus had their mee mamak (fried noodles, mamak-style)…

Sri Menanti's mee mamak

…which was very nice but a bit pricey at RM3.50 a plate, despite the fact that it was listed at RM3.00 in the menu. If you go for fried noodles (dry) at the Chinese stalls, it costs RM2.80 only but then, I find those rather bland (and heavily msg-laden) and not as nice. I wanted to try the nasi lemak (rice cooked in santan/coconut milk) to see if it was any good, and I got this…

Sri Menanti's nasi lemak

The rice was very well done – very rich with the fragrance of santan (coconut milk) and not hard like in many places around here. But again, I have a bone to pick over the price – RM4.40. If I’m not mistaken, elsewhere it’s only RM2.50 and the nasi lemak special is RM3.50 except at Thomson Corner where it is slightly higher at RM4.70 the last time I was there. Other than that, I was not too happy about the miserable bits of fried chicken at the side and they used canned peanuts instead of the freshly-fried ones, skin and all, that we usually can expect with the dish. All considered, I think the one at Thomson Corner is nicer, albeit its slightly higher price.

I would not say there are no customers but unlike the other eating places in the vicinity which are always filled to the brim, business seems a bit slow here. There are a few people eating at any time of day but so far, I have yet to see them really busy. Perhaps the place serves halal food and the location is not quite right to cater to that category of customers, or maybe people feel that the prices are a bit too steep.

For one thing, I like the tissue paper dispenser…

Sibu's Sri Menanti

In some places, they give you that horrible-looking toilet roll holder and provide you with toilet paper. Well, for the prices you pay, I guess it is only fair that they pamper you a little with a bit a class. The place is nice and very clean and more often than not, my head will start spinning from the commotion at places that are too crowded, so considering that the food isn’t too bad, I may go back there again.

In the meantime, they can just sit there and keep singing, “I’ll be right here waiting for you…” LOL!!!

P.S.:
If you’re a movie buff, you can click the link to the song and see whether you can name all the movies in the clip! Have fun!!!