Addicted to you…

Kampua (noodles) and kompia are synonymous with Sibu. As a matter of fact, I have heard stories of people who had been away for a while even if it was just for a week-long tour and the moment they touched down, they would head straight to the coffee shop for their kampua fix before heading home.

Needless to say, those who live and work elsewhere, when they come home, for instance, when they come back for Chinese New Year, they would go and eat like there is no tomorrow. I’ve seen some stopping by so many places and sharing the photographs on Facebook of the kampua noodles that they had eaten…all in one morning, believe it or not!

Well, my friend in Singapore, the one originally from Sibu who was here briefly over one weekend not too long ago, contacted me via Facebook, all excited about this kampua mee stall…

Sarawak Sibu Kampua Mee, Singapore
*Friend’s photograph*

…that she came across in Singapore.

She said that the guy…

Kampua mee guy, Singapore
*Friend’s photograph*

…is from Miri and speaks Foochow and makes his own noodles. She gave his kampua mee an 8 out of 10 but she did not like the pian sip though as she found the skin rather thick. According to the guy, she said, he used those factory-made ones so of course, those would not meet the standard of discerning pian sip lovers.

I shared their link on Facebook and tagged those friends of mine in Singapore and in no time at all, one went to try and sent me this photograph that he took of the stall…

Sarawak Sibu Kampua Mee stall
*Friend’s photograph on Facebook*

…and the  things he ate…

Sarawak Sibu Kampua Mee kampua & pian sip
*Friend’s photograph on Facebook*

The kampua mee

Kampua mee, Singapore
*Friend’s photograph on Facebook*

…got his nod of approval, very authentic, he said, just like any of the original ones that one would get to enjoy in Sibu but he too was not so thrilled by the pian sip as he found the skin too thick for his liking. We also buy the skin here from the stalls at the wet market and they are also sold at most/supermarkets in town. I don’t know if it would help but I’ve seen at a lot of stalls here people sitting down by the side rolling the pian sip skin sheet by sheet to make them thinner so it would be nice and translucent when cooked…like the ones that I enjoy very much here.

It seems that they have a lot of variations, deviating far and wide from the original, and of course, the die-hard true blue kampua mee lovers would frown on those. Perhaps it is to cater to the taste of Singaporeans and others who may not be so attached to what is authentic and would not mind trying the rest which may be more to their liking. Well, if anybody is interested in dropping by to give it a try, this is the location:
115 BUKIT MERAH VIEW #01-30
151115 Singapore
…and you can click this link to view their Facebook page to see what’s in store…and incidentally, I hear that you can put in a special request for the “Sibu chili sauce” to go with your kampua mee, otherwise you will get the regular ones.

Go, go ahead and try and let me know how you find it, whether it is to your liking or not.

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Anything else…

We dropped by here again for brunch last Saturday – I was told that there would be new dishes regularly, not the same things day in and day out so I wanted to see if there was anything that I had not tried yet that I might like.

Unfortunately, it was closed. I was puzzled – their regular off day would be Sunday, lunch and dinner, but that was Saturday. I asked the people at the coffee shop and they said they would not be open for lunch but it would be business as usual that night…and they did not know what the reason was. There wasn’t even a notice of some sort pasted at the stall to inform customers and to apologise for the inconvenience caused. I PM-ed them via Facebook, “Not open today?” and I got a reply very much later, a simple, “No.” Period.

Anyway, since I was there, I decided to check out the other food stalls at that same shop. I was told that the kueh chap guy moved from here and yes, I did have that a few times when he was there and I would say his would rank among the better ones in town. Word had it too that the kampua mee guy was at some small alleyway beside the Hock Hua Bank in the town centre in the evenings a long time ago – I did go there for the bak chang (rice meat dumplings – I think they are at the Sibu Central Market hawker centre now) but I do not recall having the kampua noodles there.

For one thing, I would say that the kopi-o-peng kao kao (iced black coffee extra strong) here…

Champion Corner kopi-o-peng kao kao

…is consistently good. I’ve had it every time I come here and it has never failed to satisfy.

There are other stalls as well including the chu char (cook and fry) place at the back but I picked the one in front located at the section on the left…

Champion Corner stall

…if you are facing the coffee shop from the front.

My missus had the chao chai hung ngang (RM4.50)…

Champion Corner chao chai hung ngang

…which did not look all that good with all the fish cake slices, no fish, no prawns but she did not say a thing so I guess it was edible.

I ordered the black vinegar pork leg rice (RM6.00)…

Champion Corner black vinegar pork leg rice 1

…and I loved it! It was very nice, nicer than some other places where I had had the same and I was glad they did not give me the trotters…

Champion Corner black vinegar pork leg rice 2

…with nothing other then the skin and bone and  the cartilage, no meat though I did wish they had served it in a separate bowl instead of in a plate together with the rice like that.

It so happened that the sister-in-law of Annie, my friend in KL, dropped by this same shop with her son, Anson. The boy had the kueh chap while she had the pek ting eyok too kha from this very same stall and she said it was nice. I ordered the fried kompia to try and liked it as well. It sure looks like this is a pretty good place to drop by for breakfast, brunch or lunch – so far, all that we have tried are pretty good.

Different way…

Kompia is the Foochow unleavened bread…

Sibu kompia
*Archive photo*

…baked in the traditional stone oven…

Making kompia
*Archive photo*

It is chewy, softer than the ones in Sitiawan, Perak, I hear, but not as soft as the cushiony soft sweet version, the chu nu miang. Some call the kompia the Foochow bagel but I would not say they are quite the same.

There are those who love eating it on its own, my missus for one, while others love it this way –

Kompia with sauce

– soaked in sauce and stuffed with meat except that these days, they do not bother to cut the kompia and would resort to just putting the slices of meat on top.

You can find kompia at a lot of places here, oven-toasted or deep fried and stuffed with minced meat but I do prefer the ones with pork belly…

Kompia with pork belly
*Archive photo*

…like those that we can get here.

There have been other ways of eating kompia but usually, they would stuff it with something and eat…and this is the first time I’ve had it…fried!!!

Champion Corner fried kompia 1

This is available at one of the stalls at this coffee shop here (2.293072, 111.836789) right behind the Rejang Medical Centre……

Champion Corner
*Archive photo*

…where they cut the kompia into slices and fry it char kway teow (fried flat rice noodles) style and for that reason, it has a similar taste to that of those noodles…

Champion Corner fried kompia 2

…except that it has the texture and taste of kompia which, of course, is very different from kway teow or for that matter, pek koi (white rice cakes).

However, at RM4.50 a plate…

Champion Corner fried kompia 3

…it is relatively much more expensive than the regular fried noodles that we have around here, usually ranging from RM3.50 to RM4.00, so it probably would be a while before I would drop by and order this again.

Who dunnit…

I was mighty pleased when I spotted some buds…

Ulam raja bud

…appearing on my ulam raja plant. Gee!!! So far, I only knew that the leaves were edible and eating them would bring a whole lot of health benefits but little did I know at that point in time that it would flower.

I thought it would look like a mini-version of the chrysanthemum, yellow in colour, but my blogger-friend commented on my photograph on Facebook and said that it would be pink. So I went and googled and saw this – it was a nice shade of pinkish purple, very pretty!

However, when it bloomed, it was indeed yellow…

Ulam raja flower 1

…and never mind the difference, it was very pretty too. It seems there are two varieties actually and the one with yellow flowers has longer leaves or something.

It looked like there were a lot of seeds…

Ulam raja flower 2

…and some people started asking me for them. I would not know how to go about collecting those but somebody said that I would have to wait till the flower had dried up and withered and then I could take the seeds.

It was very lasting, the flower – I think it was in full bloom for at least three days and on the morning of the fourth day, I was aghast when I woke up and saw this…

Ulam raja flower 3

Drats!!! Now, who could have done that? The petals were almost all gone and the seeds as well!!! Was it the wind? Or was it those birds in my garden? When I first planted the two seedlings that I got from Peter – he just pulled two out from one of the pots at his café to give to me, those feathered creatures got to them, leaving behind a tiny little sprig. I managed to salvage that and kept it under cover for a long while till the plant was big enough – let them come and eat, there would be enough leaves to spare.

It is now over a meter high and that is why when somebody suggested cutting away the flowers so more branches would grow, I said no way would I do something like that! Why on earth would I want more branches when we have more than enough for us to enjoy…and for the birds too! Let the flowers bloom and I can find pleasure in looking at them in all their glory.

There is another one now…

Ulam raja flower 4

…though I don’t know if I can get any seeds from it this time around and yet another bud has appeared too – obviously, there will be another flower soon.

Fingers crossed!!!

Number Three…

I was here once before a long time ago…

Crispy Shop, Star Mega Mall

…for the gelato…

Gelato
*Archive photo*

…but it does not look like they are selling that now. Well, I can’t say there was any love lost as I did not think it was anything to get excited about, nice though it might be plus it was mighty expensive – like the nice ones here

Nica gelato
*Archive photo*

…which, for me, would not be something I would go for all that often.

I noticed that now their main attraction would be the coconut ice cream served in a coconut with the toppings of your choice but I did not bother to give it nor their coconut milk shake a try. However, I saw that they had gula apong (nipah palm sugar) ice cream…

Crispy Shop gula apong ice cream 1

…so of course, I wanted to see if it was any good. I asked how much it was and was duly informed that it would be over RM7.00 a cup and RM4.00 if served in a cone. The cup did not look all that big, like the ones used for the gelato in the 2nd photograph above, so I requested for one in a cone (RM4.00)…

Gula apong ice cream

As you can see, it was not as smooth nor as creamy as my favourite in town (RM3.00)…

YS ais krim gula apong
*Archive photo*

…and I do love that swirl of fresh gula apong on top but it was heaps nicer than the one I had in Kuching (RM2.00)…

Ais krim gula apong Kuching
*Archive photo*

…sometime ago.

It was very light on the gula apong taste or perhaps it was gula Melaka (coconut palm sugar), I could not really tell but I did see the word Melaka on the sign on top of the ice cream making and vending machine. Despite the fact that they used vanilla ice cream here (RM3.80)…

Kpg Datu ais krim gula apong

…I thought it was quite nice so I would rank that one as 2nd and this one here…

Crispy Shop gula apong ice cream 2

…would be Number Three…

Time of day…

I first met this very nice and friendly lady at the Ramadhan bazaar in 2015 and I loved her nasi kuning ayam berempah so much that I went back for more at least once or maybe twice in that one month. She is now permanently located at one of the Bandong shops here but she only opens in the evening, around 6.00 p.m.

I did not go out much during the fasting month this year but I did hear that she did have a stall this time around like the year before. Not too long ago, I did drop by the shop to tapao her rice and I was pleasantly surprised that she could remember me – she asked me why she did not see me at her stall at this year’s bazaar! Wowwww!!!! I thought that was amazing considering that she has so many customers day in and day out. The problem is she only opens late in the evening when usually, we would be having our dinner already so for me, the time is not quite right.

Anyway, I saw this sign…

Nasi kak wok/ayam berempah stall, Bandong

…at the nasi kak wok stall at Bandong the other day so I decided to stop by and buy it to try. The dark and big Kelantanese guy whom I met before had gone back to his state, I was told…and from what I understood from my exchanges with the nice and friendly people there, the sister is running the stall now.

The freshly-fried ayam berempah

Ayam berempah

…looked good and yes, it tasted great and I was glad they were using that brown paper…

Brown paper

…to wrap it all up. Despite the ban here in Sibu, I still see some people using those polystyrene containers, unfortunately. I guess most do not give two hoots about it but when I see anything of the sort, I would definitely cancel my order and not buy from the party concerned.

No, it was not as nice as the aforementioned lady’s – for one thing, they used plain white rice (RM6.00)…

Nasi ayam berempah, Bandong

…instead of the nasi kuning and they did not have those add-ons like the very nice tempeh, for instance. However, they were very generous with the chicken, three huge chunks including a wing, and the curry gravy that came with it was pretty good plus the chili dip was very spicy hot and very much to our liking.

I also bought this gulai ikan tongkol (RM2 a piece)…

Gulai ikan tongkol, Bandong

…from them and yes, it was very nice – I sure would not mind buying from it again should I happen to stop by. For one thing, it is very conveniently located along my usual route home from visiting my parents at their house plus it is open early in the morning so the timing is just right for us to tapao and bring home to enjoy for brunch.

Some place new…

I could tell from the furniture that they must have shifted here from elsewhere, not exactly new and true enough, when I asked the nice lady, she said that the shop…

Kheng Nam Cafe

…used to be in some place in town and now they have moved to this new location in the vicinity of the Sibu Bus Terminal, right next to this Malay shop…

Kayu Manis

I don’t know if the latter has closed down for good or what – according to the lady, they have not been open for a few days already. I have never managed to go and check it out so I would not know if it is any good but it has been around for quite a long time, I must say.

Well, I would not say there is anything special in this coffee shop. We decided to stop there to check it out as we saw a lot of people and was wondering what the attraction was. There was a kampua stall in front selling all kinds of things including lor mee, laksa, mee sua but I did not feel like trying anything from there.

My missus had the fried kway teow, wet/with sauce or gravy (RM4.00)…

Kheng Nam Cafe fried kway teow

…from the chu char place at the back and yes, she said it was nice though there are places around town that are cheaper and are just as good or even better. The chap fan (mixed rice) was not ready so there was no way I could go for that.

There is a chicken rice stall opposite the kampua mee stall in front…

Kheng Nam Cafe Chicken Eating House

– do excuse the language, please…run by a young girl, probably Indonesian, all by herself and unlike others that I have had encountered, this one was definitely not the friendliest of persons, far from it!

I did not see any steamed chicken…

Kheng Nam Cafe Hainanese chicken rice

…in the cabinet and anyway, at RM8.00 for that, I don’t think I would want to order it even if they had it at that point in time.

The girl was in the midst of all the frying so obviously, what she had in the cabinet was freshly cooked. I just told her what I would like to have and went to my seat. For one thing, I must say that I liked how she would put on plastic gloves when she was chopping the chicken and this was what I got (RM5.00)…

Kheng Nam Cafe fried chicken rice

…in the end.

The rice was at best, all right, the pickled cucumber was ok and yes, I loved the chili dip and I did wish they had been a bit more generous with the chicken…

Kheng Nam fried chicken

…which was good too! Having said that, I do think the one I had here was nicer even though they were just as stingy with the meat.

The coffee was nice but no, I would not say there was anything that would get us to go out of our way to come here and eat unlike the Penang prawn noodles at the coffee shop round the corner, just a stone’s throw away.