Hometown glory…

My girl loved the brinjal here and as a matter of fact, we went there again on a weekend when she was home but unfortunately, they did not have their chap fan (mixed rice) lunch special – RM6.80 per head for 2 meat and 3 vegetable dishes with a complimentary bowl of soup and free flow of a choice of either Chinese tea or ice-cold orange cordial. Well, now that it is the end-of-year school holidays, we can go on a weekday and that was exactly what we did!

Unfortunately, they did not have brinjal that day but it did look like they had a lot more choices than that first time when we came here. There was a nice man, not exactly a young guy, who insisted on helping everyone take whatever one picked and serving everything separately on another plate…

My selections

…instead of piling it all on the rice. These were my selections – sweet and sour pork, sesame chicken, cangkuk manis fried with egg, bitter gourd with fermented beans and ladies’ fingers…and yes, I thought they were all good, none of the msg overload that one would find at a lot of places.

The ladies insisted on having theirs all in one plate on their rice though and my missus had the same meat choices but she only picked two of the vegetables with an extra large helping of the salted vegetables…

Missus' selections

…while my girl had the salted vegetables and cangkuk manis with egg too plus the tofu and the ketola (ribbed/ridged gourd) along with the fried fish fillet and the omelette…

Girl's selections

…and yes, they enjoyed what they had picked as well.

I must say the people here were very good, very friendly and attentive, eager beavers going all out to serve…unlike those at some places here. I don’t know if they can speak English or not though for all the while, I was conversing with them in Mandarin…or was I speaking in Hokkien? I don’t quite remember now but I did get by pretty well, I would say.

I spotted these at the counter while I was settling the bill and bought a tub (RM7.00)…

One O One ikan bilis kacang plus garlic

…home. I sure wouldn’t mind buying this again the next time I drop by the place as I thought it was a steal considering that it was quite a big tub, much bigger than the kaya ones, the size of those that some people sell cookies in and with the slices of fried garlic added, it sure brought the taste to a whole new level…plus ikan bilis (dried anchovies), peanuts and garlic sure aren’t cheap these days. Nothing is. Tsk! Tsk!

After I had finished, I walked around the place to look around. Obviously, this is the meeting place of the Sibu chapter of this club…

Sibu HHH 1

…of runners/joggers or hashers…

Sibu HHH 2

…or hares and hounds as what they would call themselves at times.

Then, I chanced upon this certificate…

Hornbill Tourism Award 2011

…laminated and displayed on the wall. Gee! They won that in 2011 for 2009/2010? I did drop by here in 2009 and thought the food was all right and the place was pretty nice, nicer than any regular kopitiam, that’s for sure…but it did not really get me jumping up and down with delight and no, I did not come rushing back for more till two years later when I thought the place looked much nicer but I did not pick the right choice from their menu and did not really think what I had that morning was all that great. I did drop by last year, 2014, with both family and friends like on this occasion and this one or this one as well and yes, I quite enjoy some of the items they now have on their menu and would not mind going back for more again and again.

There are some remnants of the unique and nice decor they had way back then and obviously, they had some kind of very nice landscaping done before…

Neglected

…but unfortunately, all of those are showing signs of prolonged neglect.

I don’t know if this…

Litter

…was the work of the people there…

Beer

…the night before but one thing’s for sure, a massive clean-up is way overdue to make the place more presentable and nice enough…

One O One Sibu

…to bring visitors to the town and tourists to and to restore it to its former glory.

I won’t miss this chance…

It would not be that convenient to drop by here for lunch on school days when my girl comes home on weekends as parking in that area can be quite a pain on any day and especially on Saturdays and we would have to go earlier to grab a table as soon as they…

New Capitol Restaurant Sibu

…open their doors at 11.00 a.m. or the whole place…

New Capitol Restaurant, ground floor

…on the ground floor would be packed…and going on Sundays would be out of the question as well as we would be on our way to Selangau and beyond around lunch hour to send my girl back to her school.

My girl loves the chicken rice here and now that the schools here are having their end-of-year holidays, I certainly would not want to miss the chance to take her there to enjoy one of their signature dishes that they have been so famous for ever since way back during my childhood days. Luck was on our side as we managed to get a parking space a stone’s throw away! Behold! A miracle!!!

We had the half-chicken platter (RM20.00)…

New Capitol half-chicken platter

…an increase of RM1.00 from the last time I went not too long ago or was it because this chicken was a bit bigger?

My girl would always ask for the roast chicken everywhere else and would never want to go for this steamed version, only here and obviously, they can do it so very well. I did hear somewhere that if they can cook the meat completely and yet the bone marrow is still red in colour…

The perfect steamed chciken

…that’s the perfect steamed chicken.

Needless to say, the rice was good too (RM1.50 a bowl)…

New Capitol chicken rice

…and we sure enjoyed everything with the chili and ginger dips…

New Capitol chili and ginger dips

…that came with our order.

I just had to ask for a few of their Sibu Foochow-style sio bee  or meat dumplings (RM1.50 each)…

New Capitol sio bee

…to enjoy as well. After all, we do not get to come here all that often.

After having had our fill, we walked to the Sibu Central Market as my missus wanted to buy a few things and I managed to snap a photograph of yet another one of the wall murals/street art works in town

Sibu Central Market newspaper-wrapped poultry

…and for the uninitiated, you can click this link here to find out why the chickens and the duck are in that kind of predicament. Now perhaps you can suggest something for the speech bubbles, what they are saying to each other, something like this, for instance:

Chicken: Hello, it’s me! I was wondering if, after all these years, you’d like to meet.
Duck: Hello from the other side! I must have called a thousand times…but when I call, you never seem to be home…

Special day…

Gee!!! How time flies! In the blink of an eye, a week has gone past since my birthday.

Well, of course, first thing in the morning, we had the Foochow longevity noodles, the mee sua (thread/string noodles) served in chicken soup cooked with our traditional red wine…

Birthday mee sua

…and after that, we had the birthday cake…

Birthday cake 1

…that my girl stayed up till past midnight the night before just to make for me and yes, it was very nice…

Birthday cake 2

– it was an orange cake and the texture of the cake and the fragrance of the orange were just right, with just the right amount of fresh orange zest and pulp added, not too strong like some that we get sometimes from the shops (probably that would be mostly essence)…and the colour was not as dark either (probably that would be mostly colouring).

Of course, after all those, we could not possibly have lunch anymore that day and at around noon, my good friend, Lim, and his kids dropped by to give me this cake…

Black Bavarian from Green Forest Cake House

– the Dark Bavarian or something from this bakery in town. Wasn’t that so very sweet of them to go through all that trouble? I have driven past this bakery a number of times but I never once stopped by to check it out. The cake was very very light, not sweet and very nice – I must make it a point to drop in at the shop one of these days to see what else they have in store.

That evening, my girl insisted on taking me out to dinner, a special one to celebrate my birthday, and we decided to drop by this place

Aussie Story

…that we had not had the opportunity to go to for a long long time now, not since that one time when it first opened. Good grief! Has it been THAT long? They are celebrating their 1st Anniversary now and everything is currently going at special discounted prices…

Special discounts

Now, that’s just great, isn’t it? Most places, or those around here, at least, would just let their anniversaries go by unnoticed…and carry on as usual, as long as the money keeps rolling in.

The seafood chowder (RM10.50)…

Aussie Story seafood chowder

…was very nice – it could have been just a little thicker as it was a bit on the watery side but it was good and we did enjoy it very much.

Now, these buffalo chicken cheese balls (RM9.50)…

Aussie Story buffalo chicken cheese balls

…sure took the cake, so to speak. They were very very nice – chicken meat balls with cheese inside…

Cheese inside

…coated with bread crumbs and deep fried, and they were quite big too – a bit bigger than golf balls. We enjoyed them very much and immediately made plans to try and make our own one of these days.

My missus had this seafood ariabata (RM19.00)…

Aussie Story seafood ariabata

…the last time we were here – I guess she had forgotten all about it – but she wanted that again as she saw in the description that it would be served in some spicy tomato-based sauce. It was not spicy at all though but it was all right, not bad…and an improvement from the last time now that they garnished it with a sprig of parsley, not Chinese celery like before.

The Irish lamb stew (RM25.00)…

Irish lamb stew

…was superb – their coleslaw was as good as ever and I liked the fact that the mashed potatoes were not so fine, exactly the way I would make mine, and nothing like the ones at some places where they probably used  a blender or those that came out of a box.

They did not have any choices when it came to dessert, just their bread pudding served with yam ice cream (RM6.50)…

Aussie Story dessert

…which was all right, nothing to shout about…but at least, it wasn’t pricey unlike what we would get at some other places around town.

Iced water was free but the prices of the drinks may be on the high side. My missus had their Blue Lagoon mint fizz (RM7.90) while my girl had the red berries smoothie (RM9.90) but of course, berries, cherries and all those cost a bomb, if at all we can get them here.

All in all, it was a delightful dinner at this lovely place with nice Christmas songs being played at just the right volume – not so loud as in some places…and the people were very nice and friendly, conversant in English and rightfully so, considering that this IS a western restaurant…plus the service was very good too. I would say it was a perfect closing to the just-in-the-family celebration of my 63rd birthday…

Little bird…

Last Sunday, a week ago, after the morning service, my girl wanted to stop by here for breakfast as she loved the wat tan hor kway teow

Twin Corner wat tan hor kway teow

…that she had not too long ago.

My missus had their Foochow-style fried noodles…

Twin Corner Foochow-style fried noodles

…with gravy while I ordered something from this stall…

Twin Corner stall

…that has since grown a little bigger, having taken over the stall right next to it.

I did not quite like the kampua noodles but I thought the pian sip was not too bad. However, I did not want to have that again so this time around I ordered their lor mee

Twin Corner lor mee 1

…which was very good…

Twin Corner lor mee 2

The gravy was thick enough and had the hint of the five spice powder taste, not too strong – just right.

Janggut was not around and neither were the roti canai guys but there was a Malay stall at the far end to the back that did not seem to enjoy a lot of business. However, somebody had ordered a plate of fried noodles from there and had that with a drink at a table at the far end of the tables laid out along the five-foot way of the shop. After having had his fill, he left.

In the meantime, a little bird came along…

Bird 1

…and pecked at a strand of the leftover noodles…

Bird and noodle

…and hopping away to the side, it gave it to another bird…

Little birds

…probably the baby though it sure looked fully-grown already.

I was so captivated and could not resist taking a few photographs of the whole episode. As they say, caring is sharing…and I see the public display of it all here by our feathered friends. Don’t you think that was so sweet?

Be nice to me…

After our lunch that day, we dropped by here (2.302792,111.843028)…

Sweet Factory

…a coffee and bakery place right next door. Compared to the somewhat cold reception at the cafe, rather befitting their Frozen Christmas theme, I must say, the warm greeting from the ladies at this shop sure was a welcome change.

They just left us alone to let us browse around which was something that I liked. I just cannot stand those places where they stalk your every move like a bloodhound without saying a word. Others may follow you around and tell you about their products, giving suggestions as to what you should buy and why – I do not mind that but most would do that in Mandarin and with my limited grasp of the language, I may not be able to understand all of what they say at times. They do not do that here but if you ask them anything, they are very quick to respond…in English and I liked their very pleasant tone, quite unlike some that would get rather impatient if you ask one question too many and have not decided what you would want.

From what we saw, they had the usual bread and buns that one would see at other bakeries around. I would not know whether theirs would be any better as I didn’t buy any of those. My girl did ask for the lemon meringue tart (RM2.90)…

Sweet Factory cakes & tarts

…from the glass counter (bottom, second from right) to try. The meringue was a bit too watery while the crust was a little hard but it had a very nice buttery taste to it so on the whole, it sure has a lot of room for improvement.

We did not get to try any of the cakes and muffins…

Sweet Factory muffins

…nor any of the puffs and stuff…

Puffs and stuff

…as we were really very full and did not feel like eating anything. Perhaps we can do that some other day when we drop by for tea or coffee and sit in the area designated for that…

Sweet Factory seating area

Well, Christmas is coming…

Sweet Factory Christmas cookies

…and they have some cookies for sale and because the ladies were so nice and conversant in English and they happily answered all the questions that I asked, I just had to buy a tub of these cuties (RM22.00)…

Sweet Factory cookies

…to reciprocate. Now, what do you think those are? From one angle, it looks like a man with a thick moustache…and from the other angle, it is probably a sheep with ribbons in between the ears. The cookies tasted very light, not sweet at all and had the fragrance of milk powder. Needless to say, we walked out of the place to the very friendly wish of goodbye and thank you and do come again. The young guys next door should come over for a lesson or two on social pleasantries and good manners.

After our brief stop at this shop, we went to one of the megamalls in town (2.325549,111.853472) where we came across this stall…

iwateyaki stall @Giant Megamall

The iwateyaki

iwateyaki 1

…looked so irresistably cute that we just had to buy some and try. They were RM1.00 each but for RM10, you can get 12 of them. Inside, you will find a little bit of egg custard filling…

Egg custard filling

…that sure helped enhance the taste and I would say that we enjoyed them very much.

The young and handsome guy manning the stall was very nice and pleasant too and he explained how he would go about making those iwateyaki using this…

iwateyaki maker

…and he was rather apologetic that he had just finished making one batch…

iwateyaki 2

…and would not know when he would be making some more so I was not able to watch him doing that. I told him it did not matter and perhaps, I would catch him in action the next time around…and I would surely buy some more from him then.

There! Isn’t it so much nicer when people can be a lot more pleasant? I do think that being cordial and social can go a long way especially when you are in this line of business. What do you all think?

Theme for a dream…

I had not dropped by here since that very first time quite a while ago for a reason. It seems that they are having some kind of theme at their place and the last one that seemed to make the place come across like some little kid’s birthday party did not appeal to me all that much so I had stayed away. The current theme is in conjunction with Christmas so there is this huge Christmas tree outside…

Christmas tree

…and all the blue, silver and white baubles…

Baubles 1

…dangling from the ceiling inside…

Baubles 2

No prize for guessing what theme this is and thankfully, there is no sign of Elsa nor Olaf…nor any of the other characters anywhere. Honestly, we have had that over and over and over again so much so that it is beginning to sound like a repeating groove in an old broken-down record…or a song that has been played to death, an overkill. Yet there is one place here that has chosen this same theme and yes, you will get to see Elsa and Olaf in their so-called wonderland…but one would have to pay RM5.00 just to go in and look around and take photographs, but thank you very much. I would much sooner go for a nice plate of kampua noodles and a glass of kopi-o-peng to wash it all that and still have change. Perhaps it is high time to “let it go” and move on to some other things instead, things that are more creative and not all that dated.

Anyway, getting back to that place, it has a very nice menu now…

Menu

…with all the glossy photographs…

Photographs

…of what they have to offer. The last time we were here, they just had something printed on a piece of manila card or something and laminated. This sure looks a whole lot nicer and is very much more classier and impressive.

I ordered the Ceasar salad (RM13.90)…

Salad

…to share. Yes, that sure did not come cheap but it was very nice and the serving was huge, about the size of something one would serve at a buffet dinner party one is hosting at home, two or three times the amount one would get elsewhere, at least.

My missus had the nasi lemak (RM13.90)…

Nasi lemak

…that I had the last time we were here and enjoyed very much. She did not quite like the chicken and said that it was too soft or overly tender like what we had here – I did try a bit and yes, she was right to some extent but it was not as bad as at that other place. As for the rice, as far as the lemak-ness goes, the one here would win hands down.

Both my girl and I had their set lunch that came with a complimentary glass of iced lemon tea. She had the buttermilk chicken with fried rice (RM13.90)…

Buttermilk chicken with fried rice

…which was very nice and I really wonder what went into the cooking for she absolutely loved the fried rice.

I opted for the one with the golden salted egg chicken (RM11.90)…

Golden salted egg chicken with fried rice

…and yes, I really would have to concede that their fried rice was better than mine (which would anytime be a lot nicer than any that we had had elsewhere)…and yes, the chicken…

Golden salted egg chicken

…was very good too. Both of us were certainly very pleased with our picks that day.

True to the season, they were playing some jazzed-up instrumental versions of some Christmas songs but I was wishing the whole time that they would turn down the volume a little bit. When the music is so loud, one would have to speak up in order to be heard and when everybody is trying to carry out a decent conversation, it can get quite noisy and that would ruin the nice ambiance and make the place no better than some no-class-at-all coffee shop.

The members of the staff were prompt and efficient but I wish they would do something about their social skills or at least, smile and greet and say thank you. One would come to your table and give you the menu. Thank you, I said…*stone cold silence* Once we had made up our minds, I gestured to one of them and placed our orders…and I said thank you…*stone cold silence*  When the food was served, I said thank you again and again…*stone cold silence* When I was still teaching, I would insist on my students practising these simple manners, literally forcing them into it…but after a while, it all became habitual and to this day, whenever I meet them, I would be greeted by all those pleasantries, still. I guess the teachers these days are way too bogged down with all the work and all that stuff they would need to do online with their snail-slow connections and on those crappy official websites to have time for such things.

I tried to find out where the second outlet of this place would be…and the guy was rather evasive in his responses, insisting not very cordially that he did not know. The bill came up to RM53.10 and I paid RM100.00. Do you have 10 sen? the guy asked in Mandarin. Behold, he speaks!!! Aiyor!!!! I joked with him, 10 sen you also want!…handing over the coin that I managed to fish out of the pocket in my wallet…*stone cold silence* Bill settled, change returned…not a word of thank you, come again…not even a smile…just *stone cold silence* If you think I would want to leave a tip, think again!

We went next door after our lunch and the reception there was a completely different story altogether but that would be in my next post. Stick around!

Optical illusion…

We have been wanting to drop by here ( 2.307205,111.836993)…

VIP Kitchen 1

…for a while now ever since we saw their fishtail banners along the road and on one of them, there was something that looked like a very nice bowl of ang tao cendol. It is located among the shops in the Rejang Park Commercial Area (I wonder why the town authorities chose to call it the Rejang Park Shopping Centre which would make me think of a shopping complex or a mall) and we did walk past one morning and saw a lot of people inside – that must be on a Saturday or Sunday morning as on other days, they do not open so early, not until around 11 or noon.

Now, does anybody know these two characters?…

VIP KItchen 2

I seem to see them here, there and everywhere in the shop…

VIP Kitchen 3

…which is a nice decent-looking place, air-conditioned unless you choose to sit outside in the front portion of the shop.

Unfortunately, what we saw that looked like ang tao cendol was not anything of the sort. Actually, it was one of those desserts, the favourite of many…but not mine. Nonetheless, we just ordered it – the red bean and green jelly snow ice (RM6.90)…

Red bean and jelly snow ice

…to give it a try. I would say it was all right, the snow ice…

Snow ice

…and all but call me old school, ancient or whatever, I would much sooner go for my good ol’ ang tao cendol anytime, especially at that price! Ouch!!!

My girl opted for the mixed fruit snow ice (RM6.90)…

Mixed fruit snow ice

…which was equally pricey and was, at best, all right as well, nothing to shout about.

The what-they-call shao mai, our Sibu Foochow-style sio bee (RM1.20 each)…

Shao mai

…more expensive than most but cheaper than some, were very nice. I sure would not mind forking out the money for those but not for their Portuguese egg tart (RM2.20)…

Portuguese egg tart

The egg custard filling was very great, nicer than some of those in town but the skin was not good at all. It was not flaky and crispy and I am sure it wasn’t because they heated it up in a microwave.

We wanted waffles and ice cream – we had seen that on their banners too but we were told that they were not available but they had pancakes. I wonder why! Haven’t I heard it said that waffles are simply pancakes with abs? Perhaps their waffle maker had called it a day, I wouldn’t know. In the end, we settled for their pancake with Nutella and bananas (RM7.90)…

Pancake with Nutella & bananas

…which was not bad. One can never go wrong with Nutella, I guess but I do think that we make much nicer and fluffier pancakes of our own at home.

They do have a lot of other things on their menu so here’s a sneak peek…

Menu

…at some of what they have in store and you can decide for yourself whether there is anything worth dropping by for or not but do make sure you do not go on a Wednesday as they would be…

Closed

…on that day every week.