Long time…

It sure had been a long time since I dropped by here (2.304404, 111.849343)…

Bus Terminal Food Court & Medan Hotel

…for the Penang har mee (prawn noodles)…

Bus Terminal Food Court Penang prawn noodles

If I am not wrong, that was in 2013 with my very dear friend, Jimmy, since deceased, may he rest in peace.

Well, if anyone is interested, it is located right across the road from the Sibu Bus Terminal, below the Medan Hotel there, near this huge supermarket…

Everwin Supermarket, Sibu Bus Terminal

They have this outlet of one of the popular KL bak kua (barbecued pork) companies there now…

Loong Kee bak kua stall

…but I have never bought any from them to try so I can’t say whether it is nice or otherwise.

The stall…

Bus Terminal Food Court Penang prawn noodles stall

…is closed on Mondays and according to the hubby, they also close for a few days sometime towards the end of the month, around the 20th thereabout, as he would have to go to Tanjung Manis to see to his business there so there would nobody around to help his wife at the stall.

It was RM6.50 then, RM8.00 now, but you sure get a lot of good stuff in the bowl, including four big prawns…

Bus Terminal Food Court Penang har mee 1

…a few fish balls, half a hardboiled egg and I asked for the fried wantons to be served separately…

Fried wantons

…for me to dip in the soup and the sambal provided…

Sambal

…and enjoy. Usually they would serve the wantons in the bowl and immersed in the hot soup, they would turn soft and soggy and would not be all that nice.

Add a bit of the sambal to the soup and that would bring the taste to a whole new level…and it was so very nice, good to the last drop…

Good to the last drop

…take my word for it!

I sure would want to go back for more…

Bus Terminal food court Penang har mee 2

…but I noticed that they now have something new, in addition to all the good stuff that they have to offer – the kway teow th’ng. I wonder if theirs is as good at the ones that I had had in Penang. Let me go and try it first and I’ll get back to you on this…

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Much to my surprise…

This was last Saturday night, the evening before Father’s Day.

Actually, we were planning to go to that new Thai place after the sunset service in church – my girl wanted to check it out and at the same time, give me a special dinner treat that night. We could not do it on the actual day, Sunday, as I would have sent her back to her school in the jungle before classes resumed the very next day. However, it was raining that night and the air-conditioning was extra cold and my girl, who is not so well-insulated like me, felt somewhat unwell by the time the service ended so we had to head straight home.

It so happened then that coincidentally, I got an unexpected call from Peter, the boss of Payung Café, asking me to drop by to collect some things that he had cooked and packed nicely for me to take home and enjoy. That sure was a pleasant surprise! I thought it would be some new dish that he had created, nothing really substantial, nothing to get excited about but boy, how wrong could I be!

There was salmon…

Salmon from Payung Cafe 1

…two thick slabs of it…

Salmon from Payung Cafe 2

…with the special dip for it…

Dip for salmon

…but it was good on its own so we did not really need that.

No, that wasn’t all! There was also the salad…

Salad from Payung Cafe

…celery, tomato and sliced Bombay onions on one side and potatoes and egg on the other and the dressing that came with it was so very nice as well.

As if those weren’t quite enough, there were also these delightful wedges…

Potato wedges from Payung

I could not really figure out what went into the cooking but my guess was there was garlic and a lot of herbs. They tasted really good and I did mention to Peter that he should add it to their menu – that should go down well with the regulars, I’m sure…plus it would be something parents could order for their kids to enjoy.

That sure was a lot for the three of us – we only managed to finish one slab of the salmon and had to save the other for the next day and there was at least half of the salad left as well. Of course, we did not get the nice plating that they had at their café, he and his staff that night…

Salmon platter at Payung Cafe 1
*Karan’s photo on Facebook*

They’re really so creative and I do feel that such nice presentations sure go a long way in making something taste a whole lot better…

Salmon Platter at Payung Cafe 2
*Karan’s photo on Facebook*

I wonder if they are going to have this as a permanent feature in their menu – that big platter would be enough for 4 or more, at least, I think.

That was indeed a pleasant surprise, a truly delightful dinner and an unexpected Father’s Day treat, thank you so very much, Peter.

Goodbye and hello…

My girl had planned to go to Korea (Busan and Jeju) with her colleague and her colleague’s friends since last year and they started making the air ticket and hotel bookings way back in January…and she specially wanted to take her mum along seeing how she is so hooked on those Korean dramas and Korean food which explains the ever ready supply of kim chi in all those jars in our fridge at home. Thank goodness she is not into K-pop – well, for that matter, she is not really into any kind of music and songs…and no, I am no fan of kim chi or anything Korean and I had heard of people going on their own and all that walking and climbing and running here and there to visit all the attractions…and losing weight more from the lack of nice (and affordable) food than all that exercise –  no, thank you!

They were leaving that very same day when I was flying off to Kuching for my nephew’s wedding. I had booked my ticket on the evening flight at 6.30 p.m. just so we could go to the Sibu Airport together…

At Sibu Airport

…and I would be able to say goodbye to them and wish them well – they departed earlier at around 3.

Once they had left, I dropped by here…

Sugar Bun, Sibu Airport

We had noodles for brunch that morning, no lunch and with  3½ hours to kill, I decided to do what I do best – eat!

The fish fillet…

Sugar Bun fish fillet 1

…seemed to have shrunk by at least one-third and I prefer the coarser bread crumb coating they used to have before. This one came across like one of those fish fillet sold in boxes at the supermarkets in town. Well, if it was any consolation, I thought it was all right…

Sugar Bun fish fillet 2

…and so was the broasted chicken…

Sugar Bun broasted chicken

…that came in the plate along with the pickles…

Sugar Bun pickles

…and the savoury rice…

Sugar Bun savoury rice

…but I thought RM16.50 for that plus one free drink was somewhat on the high side.

I went for one round on one of those Rest & Go massage chairs, 30 minutes and I did go online on my laptop to reply to some comments on my blogpost that day…but no, I don’t think there is free wifi at the airport – I had brought my girl’s wireless modem (that she uses in the jungle to go online) along. Then I went outside for a bit of fresh air a few times and I walked around – really, time does seem to stand still when you’re waiting! It actually seemed like forever, going by so so slowly…so to kill time, I decided to check this place…

Aero Kopitiam

…out.

It’s a nice small eatery…

Aero Kopitiam counter

…right beside the arrival gate and these are the things on their menu…

Aero Kopitiam menu

I had a glass of pretty decent kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee) and this plate of mee goreng (fried noodles)…

Aero Kopitiam mee goreng

…which was all right too – more or less what one would get when eating at many Malay shops and stalls in town, nothing really to shout about but at RM9.00 for the drink and the mee, I thought that would be a much more preferred choice should you be at the airport in Sibu and are hungry and looking for a bite to tide you over till the next meal. Something there smells really nice – I had noticed that every time I landed and was walking out of the airport but I never did go and check. Maybe it was the dishes for their nasi campur…but it sure would not be the mee, that much I can say.

If you would like something lighter, maybe this snack shop…

HS enroute cafe

…would be an option or maybe you can pick up something from the convenience store…

Sibu airport convenience store

…but I did check out their Walls’ Magnum ice cream once though and I found that the prices were a lot higher than what you would need to fork out at the shops and supermarkets in town.

There is another café…

Sibu Airport departure lounge

…in the departure lounge and a convenience store beside it. I learnt something that day – one can’t take nice photos while shakin’ all over sitting in a massage chair. Yes, I had another round of that – 30 minutes…before I boarded the plane and flew over to Kuching.

The Air Asia flight was on time, a little early, in fact and a cousin of mine was there waiting for me to take me to my uncle’s house – he was hosting a pot luck party, all the aunties and cousins in Kuching bringing something and all those of us from out of town were invited. Hello, everybody!!!

There was this kaki babi pansuh (pork leg cooked in bamboo)…

Kaki babi pansuh

…and this attempt by my cousin at cooking Foochow fried noodles…

Cousin's fried noodles

…which was not quite there but very nice, much nicer than the real thing at some of the shops in town here, I would say…and I think she made this salad too…

Cousin's salad

…and somebody brought this roast chicken and duck combo…

Roast chicken & duck combo

…and there was suckling piglet, babi masak hitam, chang (dumplings) and so on and so forth but unfortunately, most of the photographs came out blur.

Gosh!!! There was so much food, all over the tables all over the house that I was wishing I had starved and saved all my tummy space while waiting for my flight at Sibu Airport. Thank you so very much, everybody. It sure was nice to see everyone again and what can be better than a happy get-together with so many of one’s much loved and dear ones all at once. We really should do this a lot more often…

Go our own way…

Some of us had left earlier, the day after the wedding but there were some of us who stayed on for one more night before we went our own way and on our last night in Kuching, those of us who were still around were invited by an aunt and a cousin of ours to dinner at the exclusive Sarawak Club

Sarawak Club Kuching

…right across the road from the Dewan Suarah (Civic Centre)…

Dewan Suarah Kuching

…in Kuching. They even had some decorations put up…

Gawai decorations, Sarawak Club Kuching

…in the lobby for the Gawai Dayak Festival, ain’t that nice?

I can’t remember the last time I had dinner at the Chinese restaurant…

Hornbill Restaurant, Kuching

…there…

Table setting, Hornbill Restaurant, Sarawak Club

…but I am pretty sure that it was quite a long time ago.

No, this wasn’t what we had, the plate of fried rice…

Fried rice

They specially ordered that for a cousin’s two little kids who seemed to enjoy that very much but the parents had to tediously pick every carrot and sweet corn out and put them aside. LOL!!! Don’t we all love little kids? Muahahahaha!!!! They had that with the creamy corn soup…

Creamy corn soup

…that we all had as well.

One of the two children, the boy, loved the signature dish of this place, their creamy butter prawns…

Sarawak Club butter prawns

…except that for some reason, the two-year-old kept saying it was curry.

We also had this very nice dish of tofu

Sarawak Club tofu dish

…and midin (wild jungle fern) fried with traditional Foochow red wine…

Sarawak Club midin

…and I loved the Chinese-style beef steaks…

Sarawak Club Chinese beef steaks

…but everyone kept complaining that it was tough. All right, I would not say it was all that tender but no, it was not really tough either. Even I could manage, despite being quite toothless…so since everyone had a slice each only, I had the pleasure of feasting on all the rest. Hehehehehe!!!!

There was also this plate of fried noodles…

Sarawak Club fried noodles

– I think this is what is commonly known as the Cantonese style with the wat tan hor egg gravy. If it had been the Kuching style, the noodles would be deep fried till crispy this same way and the gravy would be the same except that there would be tomato sauce added as in their tomato kway teow, something very popular there too alongside their kolo mee and Kuching laksa…but no, there would not be all that sliced Chinese cabbage usually.

It sure was a very nice dinner that night, thank you so much to my aunt and cousin…and that, more or less, marked the end of my really enjoyable trip to Kuching.

Consolation…

I had arranged for another cousin of mine to pick me up at 2.00 p.m. but at that time, I was still having cakes and coffee with my other cousins so I asked her to pick me up where I was and off we went to the Green Road shops where this lady would set up her stall to sell her nyonya kueh and chang in the afternoon but unfortunately, she wasn’t there. What a disappointment!

Well, at least we did find some consolation here…

Swee Kang

…where I had their super delightful ang tao peng

Ang tao peng

…with just the red beans…

Red beans

I am not all that fond of the wriggly slithering cendol.

Boy!!! The place was packed…

Packed

…but thankfully, turnover was high and there were always people coming and going so it was not all that difficult to get a table.

I heard that the belacan bihun here was good – people seem to love it so much but I had never had it before. I did see a lot of people eating that at one place here but I was kind of put off by the smell so I did not give it a try then. Having heard so much about it, I ordered a plate…

Swee Kang belacan bihun

…but wait a minute! That was rojak paste – I think in its raw form, it is called otak udang or something like that, not belacan…and that certainly was not the smell that I detected a long time ago at that other place. No, I did not think it was all that nice and no, I did not think it was anything I would want to have again…ever.

My cousin went across the road to this coffee shop, formerly known as Peterson

Goh Cafe aka Peterson

…to buy some of the hay peah (prawn fritters) and everything else…

Hay peah and everything else

…and the fried tau kua (bean curd cake)…

Fried tau kua

– I wondered why they had packed this separately…when we were going to eat it all up right away, anyway….with their special chili dip…

Chili dip

…with lots of crushed peanut in it.

When we were done, I decided to walk over to the shop myself and yes, the young and handsome boy that I saw last year was still there…

Frying 1

…busy frying…

Frying 2

…all the stuff…

All the stuff

…and of course, the hay peah

Hay peah

…as well.

If you’re wondering why I went over, it was because I wanted to buy some of the hay peah home so I could fry them myself to enjoy as and when I would feel like it. Gosh!!! There were so many customers here too so I did have to wait for quite a while for my order to be packed to take it away with me. They were so very busy that they did not even have the time to put away all the money properly and they simply stuffed it under the trays in the glass cabinet…

Money money money

– just imagine that!

We went back to the Green Road shops once again but to no avail – the lady was nowhere to be seen but at least, I had the hay peah and that sure was consolation enough. The nyonya chang would have to wait till the next time I hop over to Kuching then.

My girl was absolutely thrilled and delighted when she came home from Korea and I fried those hay peah for her to enjoy – she loves those too. Well, what wouldn’t a dad do for their kids, eh? And talking about dads, Happy Father’s Day to all…

To love and be loved…

(Taking a brief break from my Kuching posts to blog about this happy event that I attended on Wednesday last week, the 8th of June…)

Aaron & Ling Hie's wedding - door gift

I certainly was most delighted to receive an invitation to the wedding of an ex-student of mine, the son of a friend and a very distant relative by marriage…

Aaron & Ling Hie's wedding - flower girls & page boys

I was at the church that morning…

Aaron & Ling Hie's wedding - father & bride

…to witness the happy couple exchange their vows…

Aaron & Ling Hie's wedding - handing over the bride

 I always make it a point to do that when I get invited to any wedding as I consider this…

Aaron & Ling Hie's wedding

…the most important part, not to be missed.

That evening…

Sunset view from Kingwood carpark

…there I was at a leading hotel in town for the wedding reception…

Aaron & Ling Hie's wedding reception

The ballroom was packed and it sure was nice to meet many of my ex-students and friends at the dinner. This is one thing that I love about such events – the opportunity to meet familiar faces and catch up with one another’s lives.

The food was generally the usual when one opts to hold the function at this hotel…

Starters

…so there was this favourite of mine, their signature dish…

Stuffed duck

…the duck stuffed with glutinous rice and whatever else…

Stuffed duck, inside

…and there was this steamed fish as well…

Steamed fish

…and all the rest. I did not take snapshots of all the food as I would rather spend my time chatting with my ex-students and friends at my table and I really appreciated those who took the trouble to come over to my table just to say hello.

Congratulations, Aaron & Ling Hie…and to the proud parents too, Peter & missus. Thank you so much for the invitation. God bless, all. Cheers!!!

The old courthouse…

Gee!!! I didn’t know there actually is a song by this name…but thankfully, unlike the one in the song, they are keeping this beauty, this precious heritage of colonial architecture…

The old courthouse, Kuching

– the old courthouse in Kuching with the Brooke Memorial right in front…

The old courthouse, monument

If I remember correctly, there was a Lebanese restaurant here once but now, it has been taken over by some people and they sure are putting it to good use and at this point in time, it is an outlet of one Penang franchise.

This is the courtyard…

Old Courthouse, courtyard

…surrounded by all the buildings around it…

Old Courthouse, one of the wings

…filled with all kinds of antiques and stuff like this intricately-crafted table…

Old courthouse, antique table

…for instance, or these old suitcases and drawers…

Old Courthouse, old suitcases and drawers

…and this display cabinet…

Old Courthouse, antique display cabinet

…and all the things inherited from the state judiciary that once had its offices here in these buildings.

It looks like they have live entertainment at one of the sections…

Old Courthouse, live entertainment

…but probably only at night as there was nothing on when I was there at around noon that day. However, if you are musically inclined, I guess you are more than welcome to go ahead and make your own music here…

Old Courthouse, music corner

…with your own group of friends.

After my breakfast plus our brunch that morning, I did not want to have any lunch that day but my cousin insisted on taking me here…

China House, Kuching

…where we met up with another cousin…for cakes…

China House, Kuching cakes & stuff

…and coffee.

I wanted their scones, RM12.00 for a set of two, but they were out of fruit jam and were in the process of coming out with freshly-made ones and I did not want to wait so I went for a slice of their quiche…

China House, mushroom quiche

…instead. It was all right…

China House mushroom quiche, slice

…as nice as a mushroom quiche could be, just that I would prefer those with lots of ham or bacon or both.

I can’t remember what cake this was now…

China House, cake

…but this…

China House apple, rum & raisin

…was their apple, rum and raisin (contains alcohol) and yes, it was very nice and so was their ginger cake…

China House ginger cake

Well, I would say they were all very nice…sweet, of course, but nice.

Then two more cousins and the daughters of one of them joined us so we had more cakes to sample. Somebody ordered the carrot cake…

Carrot cake

…and I remember this was what they called the lumberjack…

China House lumberjack

…and if I am not wrong, this was the lemon curd pistachio…

China House lemon curd pistachio

…and this one, the passion fruit lemon sponge…

China House passion fruit lemon sponge

I had their coffee, black with a special request for it to be extra strong but unlike the cakes, I’m afraid it did not impress me much.

Yes, there is definitely more than just cakes and coffee here so if you do not have a sweet tooth, perhaps you would want to drop by here for lunch or dinner instead and enjoy looking at all the interesting things all over the place and be part of Sarawak’s illustrious history.