Just for me…

When my cousin and her hubby came to town, they brought a whole lot of goodies all the way from the UK just for me. There was this pack of coffee…

Monmouth coffee from the UK

…that she said is a favourite in England, ranking among the best of the best. Wowww!!! It certainly got a lot of rave reviews on this website.

I used the Vietnamese coffee filter to brew a cup for my missus but she did not say anything – I guess it did not get her all excited. It said on the back that it was intended to be for stovetop brewing…

For stovetop brewing

…so stovetop it had to be…

Stovetop

…and when it was done, I sat down to have a sip…

Cuppa of Monmouth coffee 1

…and yes, I would say it was very nice. It was different from our usual local brew – if I am not wrong, ours is Arabica, butter-roasted but of course, butter being so expensive these days, they say that they mix it with margarine and that would explain why even though it is still very nice, it is no longer as nice as in the old days.

This one…

Cuppa of Monmouth coffee 2

…was different. The fragrance filled the whole house but somehow, when you put your nose near the cup, it did not seem that overwhelming. Of course what is most important would be the taste and that too was different from our regular coffee. I thought it was kind of nutty or very lightly chocolaty but yes, I did like it…unlike some of those that I had had at the branded or celebrated franchise coffee places.

They also gave me this tall tin of biscuits…

Fortnum & Mason's biscuits

…and yes, I love pistachios and I loved clotted cream with fruit jam on those heavenly buttery scones but I have not opened this to try so at this point in time, I do not know what they are like. I did notice this…

Monkey

…though – the picture of the monkey! What a coincidence! This sure makes it an appropriate gift for Chinese New Year, this being the Year of the Monkey, 2016.

No, that wasn’t all. There were also this box of nougats and a box of “mousses, truffles & pralines”…

Nougats and chocs

…and if you are curious as to what you can find in the latter, this is what you can see at the back of the box…

What's inside

I have not tried these yet either.

This should be a lot more familiar to many. They also gave me this box of meat floss…

Meat floss from Penang

…that they got when they were in Penang.

Thank you so much, Eleanor & Phil, for going through all that trouble to cart all these things all the way…and thank you also for the ang pao for my girl – that was so sweet and thoughtful indeed. Too bad she was at her school when you came – she was grumbling that she had never had the chance to meet you two lovely people. Hopefully, she will get that chance someday.

It certainly was wonderful having you here. I had a great time taking you all around town…and I sure am looking forward to your next visit. Do come again, and rest assured that it would be my pleasure to welcome you two back to our good ol’ Sibu town. In the meantime, all the best, take care and God bless. Cheers!!!

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Got to have it…

My cousin, back here from the UK, said that she would want to eat kampua noodles and kompia, two things that one got to have here before leaving town. That was why I took them here for lunch so she and her hubby could have this…

Noodle House kampua mee

I’ve tried it not too long ago and I thought it was all right, not the best in town, of course, but it was good enough though I did feel then that it could do with a little less msg and that was why this time around, I put in a special request not to add so much.

I was thinking that it would be more comfortable for them, the place being air-conditioned and they could have both the noodles and the kompia with stewed pork belly…

Noodle House kompia, pork belly

…and minced meat…

Noodle House kompia, minced meat

…at one go here. They liked the latter more and when I tried it, I thought the filling tasted a little nicer than what they had in the ones I had before. However, it seemed that the kompia had gone thinner this time around so one would not get much of the cushiony bread-like texture inside.

I had the kway chap

Noodle House kway chap

…and it was good just that they had the regular kway teow inside instead of the noodles in broad white sheets. However, it didn’t really matter as it tasted great and went absolutely well with the ground chili sauce provided.

My cousin did not like the dry-fried dumplings…

Noodle House meat dumplings

…that I also ordered – she did not quite like the skin and she had had a lot all over the world that were very much nicer. I tried and thought that they tasted great but yes, there was something not quite right with the skin that day. Perhaps the fault lay in the cooking and it was not quite springy and chewy like pasta that is overcooked and not al dente. and many, I know, are not fond of that.

She has tried the celebrated Ladurée macarons in London and also in Paris so I insisted that she tried the ones here…

Noodle House macarons

…to compare. Well, she thought the ones here came pretty close, not quite there but was good enough – the shells could have been a little crustier, she said…and yes, I did notice that they were not as smooth and glossy too that day. She loved the fillings though, especially the matcha one but then again, she loves everything matcha. She does not like the ones there with fruit filling as she found them way too sweet and her hubby is not a fan of whatever macaron – it seems that he does not have a sweet tooth. For one thing, they sure do not come cheap there and especially when you convert it into ringgit, the prices can be quite shocking!

I sent them back to the hotel after that as another cousin would be coming to take them out that afternoon and yet another one had already booked them for dinner that evening.

Marketplace…

*All photos in this post (except one) through the kind courtesy of Phil, my cousin’s hubby, from the UK*

When my cousin and her hubby were in town, they were staying at a hotel around a hundred metres from the Sibu Central Market so I suggested to them that they could just stroll over and walk around to look and see. Many who came did that and they were absolutely enthralled as they saw many interesting things, not (easily) found elsewhere.

They did not do that the first morning they were here probably because the hubby was still recuperating from the food poisoning he experienced before he arrived. However, they managed to do so on the second day and he shared a series of photographs on his Facebook page.

One that got me really tickled was this parade of chicken butts…

Sibu Central Market chicken butts

…black and white. Gee!!! I’ve been to the market so many times but I never noticed them displaying the birds in that awkwardly compromising position. LOL!!!

These, what I call newspaper chickens

Sibu Central Market newspaper chickens

…are a star attraction and they even have them featured in the street art painting on the wall in front at the market…

Newspaper chickens & duck
*Archive photo*

They were not in luck though as they did not get to see any frogs nor sago worms but they did come across some ikan keli (catfish)…

Sibu Central Market ikan keli 1

…that we had for lunch the day before and one even managed to get away…

Sibu Central Market ikan keli 2

That happens quite often, I think, as I have seen it a couple of times and it sure is not easy trying to catch those slippery slithering eels.

They asked me what fish this was…

Sibu Central Market belt fish & fish maw

…and if I am not wrong, we call it the khor tua hu (belt fish) by virtue of the fact that it looks like a belt.

They also did not know what those long white cylindrical things at the far end were. Well, they’re hu phio (fish swim bladders) or fish maw, very popular in soups and believed to have some health benefits, a good source of collagen and it helps with one’s blood circulation.

I love the colours in this photograph that Phil took…

Sibu Central Market jambu air

…and what??? Durians again???…

Sibu Central Market durians

The previous season just ended and they are making their appearance again, and the same goes with the dabai (our local black olives)…

Sibu Central Market dabai

Phil, who had never had the fruit before, managed to get to try the sample and he said no, it sure did not taste anything like the olives he had eaten back home. Too bad they did not appear a week or two earlier around Chinese New Year time – those who came all the way home for the festival would have been delighted to be able to eat these seasonal fruits.

Well, the two of them sure enjoyed browsing around our market and you would too, I am sure so don’t miss this place should you ever have the chance to drop by our good ol’ little Sibu town.

One more time again…

My cousin and her hubby from the UK were here before and she mentioned in passing that she would like to go back there one more time again the last time they were in town but we did not have time for that and this time around, she said that she would love to go back there for the rojak

Payung rojak

…and so we did and that was what we had. I also ordered the pomelo salad…

Payung pomelo salad

…that I thought they would love and yes, they did! The hubby loves pomelo, something they can’t get back home and enjoyed this very much.

He was still recovering from the bout of food poisoning that he came down with when they were in Penang so I decided not to order all the nice curry dishes that they serve here. We had the Payung chicken…

Payung chicken

…with its thick yogurt and green peppers gravy and also the Payung fish…

Payung fish

– their version of our Foochow-style ikan keli (catfish) with soy sauce and lots of ginger. It was a bit spicy that day with the chilies added but he was all right with it and I, for one, enjoyed it a lot.

I also ordered the mushroom roll…

Payung mushroom roll

…and we also had the durian and quinee (our local mango) ice cream for  dessert.

This was on the house, their herbs salad…

Payung herbs salad

…and together with the drinks they had – one pineapple ginger soda and one banana shake or something, the bill came up to over RM80.00 which was around the same as what I paid for the dinner we had the night before when they arrived but this time around, my cousin insisted on picking up the tab.

Thank you so much, Eleanor. I do hope you enjoyed the food here as much as you did the last time around.

It’s good to see you again…

My cousin and her hubby from the UK were in Miri for Chinese New Year with her mum and the rest of the family there and then, they flew to Penang with her mum and her brother’s children – like Kuching, they have direct flight connections via Air Asia, but not Sibu and I wonder why! – to visit relatives on the late father’s side…and they flew back to Miri on Monday and the couple caught a plane to Sibu that same day.

The MasWings flight was delayed by almost an hour and it was almost 8.00 p.m. when they came out of arrivals, bags and all. It sure was good to see the two again and we stopped here for dinner before I sent them to their hotel.

Unfortunately, the hubby (and one of the aforementioned kids) came down with food poisoning at the dinner at some restaurant in Penang so he did not have much of an appetite. At first, I thought of taking him for some porridge but I was not too sure whether they would do something like that or not in England. Here, we would always have porridge and some light stuff to go with it, things that the weakened digestive system would be able to handle better. This was the reason why I did not order our favourite here – the very nice prawns with young coconut flesh served in a coconut. The rich and thick and slightly spicy gravy might be a bit too much for him to handle.

I asked for the fried pork with cincaluk dip (RM18.00)…

Tung Seng pork with cincaluk dip 1

…but I told him not to use the dip and just eat the pork…

Tung Seng pork with cincaluk dip 2

We also had the fried cangkuk manis or manicai with egg (RM10.00)…

Tung Seng manicai with egg

…and the midin, ching-chao (RM12.00)…

Tung Seng midin, ching chao

I enjoyed the steamed fish here on one of my previous visits so I thought that should be good for my cousin’s hubby so we had that as well (RM22.00)…

Tung Seng steamed fish, lajong

…and yes, it was very nice. Maybe it was a smaller piece but it was cheaper than what we had here and I did enjoy this one a little bit more. Unfortunately, the poor guy was not able to eat very much so the rest of us had to finish everything.

It was way past 9.30 when I dropped them off at the hotel. It seemed that they had moved the concierge booth/counter to somewhere further inside in the middle of the lobby, a bit too far in to see outside and we had to struggle to get all the suitcases and bags up those steps at the entrance and drop them onto one of the trolleys beside the door ALL BY OURSELVES before a bell hop came to lend a hand by which time, we could have handled everything on our own without anybody’s help. Tsk! Tsk! I certainly would expect much better service at a hotel of this class.

He said…

My missus said that her brother, my bother-in-law…oopsss…I mean, my brother-in-law (Hehehehe!!! Just joking!) said that the Hokkien mee here…

Ban Chow Fook

…was very nice. I was here once before sometime ago for the freshwater prawn noodles but I had not been back there since.

Well, my missus and I dropped by the other day to give it a try but unfortunately, it looked like some people had not completely swung back into action after the long Chinese New Year break and the guy told us that the people making the bigger Hokkien noodles had not resumed their regular daily deliveries so if we did not mind, he would just use the eyew mee – our version of the yellow noodles that is not so yellow and minus the alkaline thing and the smell.

We said it was all right so this was served (RM3.80)…

BCF Hokkien mee 1

…in no time at all and if you think that looked exactly like our Foochow fried noodles, you are absolutely right. It even tasted like it…

BCF Hokkien mee 2

…and since usually, lard is used in the frying, the presence of the pork fat crusts…

BCF Hokkien mee 3

…did not make any difference in the taste.

I am pretty sure that even with the right kind of noodles, it will still taste more or less the same – like Foochow fried noodles and not like KL Hokkien mee and considering that it tasted pretty good, I would not mind dropping by again if it is Foochow fried noodles that I want but no, this is not where you should be heading to if you are craving for some decent KL Hokkien mee.

Give way…

One reason why this is not quite our favoured place to go to and eat is that looking for a parking space can be such a pain…and that was why that day, when we went there for lunch, I dropped the two ladies off first and parked quite a distance away but I did manage to snap some photographs of our Tua Pek Kong Temple…

Tua Pek Kong Temple, Sibu

…here and its Seven-storey Pagoda…

Seven-storey Pagoda

…as I was walking to the place.

I heard that they had had some new additions to the menu and to give way to those, they had removed some of the not-so-popular items so we wanted to check this place out to see what was new. When I went in, I saw that my girl and the mum had not ordered – it seemed that they needed a little more time to decide what to pick.

What??? They got rid of that pork belly with salted fish rice set that we liked so much and the very nice pineapple chicken rice set had been unceremoniously removed as well? The vinegar pork leg rice set was still listed and I did see the stewed pork belly rice set too along with a whole lot of fried rice and whatever sets that did not tickle our fancy.

My missus had their sizzling fried noodles (RM7.90)…

Jack Pork sizzling fried noodles

…that I vaguely recalled having had a long long time ago when this place was run by its previous owners. She did not say anything nor did she complain so I guess it was all right…but for one thing, when it was served, it was not sizzling at all, no steam, nothing.

Previously, when this was an all-day breakfast place, the mee sua in chicken soup was very nice and since they have retained the same chef/cook and seeing that it is back in the menu, I decided to have that (RM8.90)…

Jack Pork mee sua 1

…and yes, it was very good, very much nicer than the one here and other pretty good ones elsewhere. The soup was thick and rich and bursting with flavours, very strong on the traditional Foochow red wine and I loved it to bits…but wait a minute! Where is the hardboiled egg? Whenever we have a bowl of mee sua

Jack Pork mee sua 2

…anywhere in town, nice or not nice, there MUST be a hardboiled egg. Hmmm…I must insist on getting one in my bowl of mee sua should I ever drop by for the same again.

My girl went for their Classic Burger (RM14.80)…

Jack Pork Classic Burger

…that I had had a couple of times before. It was still very nice, just that the price had gone up by RM1.00 and I could not understand for the dear life of me why they saw it fitting to place a bowl of keropok (prawn crackers) alongside the french fries. They could have just left that out and retained the old price.

All in all, it was a pleasant enough lunch but the drinks were the real killers – my girl’s hot honey yuzu tea was RM7.00 a cup and my missus had iced Ribena, RM4.50…and I had to fork out another RM1.00 for my glass of iced water bringing the overall total to RM44.10. Tsk! Tsk!