Allow me…

After our dinner here that evening with all the local ethnic delights, my friend, Mary, extended her invitation to all of us to drop by her place the following night for her pansoh ayam (chicken cooked in bamboo)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen Mary's pansoh ayam

…and yes, she cooked it all herself, no holds barred (I asked her Thai chef, Jos!)! Impressive, eh? Instead of the usual “old mother hen”, she used those free range kampung (village) chicken and look at those unlaid eggs! I never had any of those before – everytime when my mum slaughtered her own and there was any inside, I think she ate it herself…and maybe, there was a reason for it. I tried one but no, it was nothing like a regular egg yolk, not at all. The texture was completely different – it was rubbery and no, it did not have any of the egg yolk taste that I like a lot. In fact, it did not get me all excited, I’m afraid and let’s just say that I wouldn’t mind if I never get to eat it again.

As for the chicken, it was very nice – the soup was absolutely great and went really well with the rice but there was fish…

Flavours Thai Kitchen crispy fried garlic bawal hitam

…with the very very nice sambal (dip) by the side. I love fish – and if it is very fresh, I would prefer it to meat or other kinds of seafood anytime.

I loved the crispy fried garlic ikan bawal hitam (black pomfret)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen fried crispy garlic fish

…that night which was just as nice as the barramundi that we would usually have here before and I sure enjoyed it to the max.

Everybody loved the awesome prawns…

Flavours Thai Kitchen giant prawns

– huge tiger prawns, so sweet, so succulent but Mary says this is only available upon special order and it will depend also on the availability of the prawns, this size!

I loved the beef the last time I was here, the one with the exquisite sauce with freshly-ground pepper…

Flavours Thai Kitchen black pepper beef

– not the bottled ones that I do not enjoy at all and I would agree with my missus when she remarked that this time around, it was even better! Thumbs up, Jos! It was really good.

We also had the fried bitter gourd…

Flavours Thai Kitchen fried bitter gourd

…with fermented beans and ikan bilis (dried anchovies) and also the krapow gai (chicken)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen krapow gai

…which is one of my favourite dishes here.

Thank you so so much, Mary, for that exclusive dinner treat…and I must say that I do enjoy any dinner at your place very much and I sure would want to go back again and again. Great place, great food, great people – just couldn’t ask for more!

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I wanna go there…

It was Tuesday night and my slowboat to China was already setting sail out to sea…when my telephone rang! Tsk! Tsk! It was my friend/ex-classmate, Robert, calling to invite me out to dinner here the following evening. Ahhhh!!! Now that kind of call, I sure would not mind receiving any time of day. Hehehehehe!!!

He had seen my posts on Facebook and here in my blog but he had not gone to try yet so he said he wanted to go there…

Anak Borneo pansoh

…I told him that I would make the reservation and promptly contacted Mika’il, my ex-student, and requested for some of my favourite dishes from their lunchtime selections to be reserved for us and we would order the rest when we got there. He said it would be fine but the next day, he texted me again to tell me that they had different dishes that day on their menu but his mother-in-law, Patricia’s mum, would cook those dishes specially for us. I told him that would be nice but if it would be too much trouble, we could just order what they would usually have in the evenings, all the barbecued stuff and the rest…

Anak Borneo pork belly on the grill

Mary and her two Thai chefs were there as well – it was their off night, every Wednesday and Das, Robert’s friend, too…and yes, we had the barbecued pork belly (two plates)…

Anak Borneo pork belly

…and the ribs (one plate)…

Anak Borneo pork ribs

…and also the pansoh babi, pork cooked in bamboo (two plates)…

Anak Borneo pansoh babi

The mother-in-law cooked the kacang ma chicken with tuak (ethnic rice ine), two plates…

Anak Borneo kacang ma chicken with tuak

…for us and also the tapioca leaves (two plates)…

Anak Borneo tapioca leaves

…that Mary loved to bits and ate most of what was there in the two dishes/servings. LOL!!! The kacang ma dish was nicest the first time we had it, too dry for our liking the second time and this time around, we thought it was a little too watery but still, it was nice and I, for one, enjoyed it. We can’t get it easily here unless we cook it ourselves.

Everyone sang praises of the buah keluak and rubber seeds with cincaluk (fermented shrimps), two plates…

Anak Borneo buah keluak and rubber seeds with cincaluk

– something they had never had ever before and the lokan (two trays)..

Anak Borneo lokan

…took their breath away – it was love at first…gulp! LOL!!!

We all had the dabai (our local black olives) fried rice ( I think we had 6 or 7 plates, some of us did not want so much and shared)…

Anak Borneo dabai fried rice

…which I thought was very nice. It had the fragrances of the bunga kantan (torch ginger flower) and everything else used in the cooking but either there wasn’t much dabai in it or the taste was drowned out by all those very strong ingredients added.

That certainly was a lot for the eight of us but yes, we managed to finish everything and licked the plates clean…and enjoyed it all to the max. So how much do you think all that cost – 13 altogether, plus 6 or 7 plates of fried rice? Care to make a guess?

She likes it too…

Last Sunday morning, after the church service, I asked my girl what she wanted for brunch and she said porridge so I took her for the one that I like the most in town. She had the regular…

Choon Seng pork porridge, regular

…so there wasn’t any liver nor intestine in what she had. Yes, she liked it too – the texture of the porridge was just right, not like rice with soup poured all over it nor was it too mushy and lumpy.

The mum ordered the fried kway teow (flat rice noodles), dry (RM3.50)…

Choon Seng fried kway teow, dry

…from the chu char place at the back and I was wondering why she did not order the one from the Muslim stall…

Choon Seng fried kway teow, Muslim stall

She had that one the previous time when we were here and she said it was very nice and besides, they even gave one fried egg for that same price…but she said she could not remember. It certainly looks like her memory isn’t so good these days or we’ve been to so many places so she is all confused as to what she had and where. Anyway, it was good that she had this one instead so we were able to compare and would know which one to order next time.

I decided to try the pian sip, soup…

Choon Seng pain sip, soup

…from the same stall as the one selling the porridge and it was so very bland which reminded me of my no salt-no msg cooking. It was perfectly all right for me as I am not fond of places where one would walk away with that lingering taste of msg in one’s mouth. I certainly would not go back for more and if I have to, I would tell them to reduce the amount of the white stuff.

At least, here, they did give a little bottle of chio cheng (light soy sauce) for anyone who would like it saltier and a bottle of pepper too…which may be for the porridge as well but no, we did not add either.

On the whole, I thought the pian sip was at best, all right – I felt the skin was a little too thick. I prefer places where it is so thin that it is actually translucent and I sure would not mind a little bit more meat in the dumplings.

What I liked most about their kampua noodles…

Choon Seng kampua noodles

…that I also ordered was the fact that it was not oily, or rather there was very little oil used in the tossing which makes it a little healthier than the rest. I did not feel the msg in it as well nor was it very salty but I would say that I did enjoy it. In fact, I would prefer this one here to the celebrated one in town that people would praise to the skies. That one, I’m afraid, did not impress me much, I’m afraid.

The coffee was great so needless to say, we would be back again sometime.

I want that…

My niece, the one working in Singapore, was home last weekend and she saw in my photos on Facebook and also in my blogpost, what we had for our dinner recently with my sister-in-law and she wanted that too so there we were back there again last Saturday evening.

She wanted the miang kam

Flavours Thai Kitchen miang kam 1

…and yes, we all had a great time putting all the little condiments onto the daun kaduk and adding the very delightful sauce…

Flavours Thai Kitchen miang kam 2
*Mary’s photo on Facebook*

…before folding it and popping it into the mouth. It was really tasty, light and refreshing – I do think this is something one can eat again and again and will not get tired of…or at least, not so soon.

My brother-in-law, the father, wanted the fish, the barramundi, again but Mary (the boss – same name, different person) suggested serving it differently, with some kind of special sauce…

Flavours Thai Kitchen barramundi with special sauce

…and yes, this was very very nice. If you ask me, I would say that I like it this way a lot more.

No, I did not forget the oyster omelette…

Flavours Thai Kitchen oyster omelette

…this time around. My brother-in-law loves omelette and would always order it everytime we have dinner outside so we ordered that specially for him to enjoy.

We had the seafood tom yam the last time and for a change, that night, my niece asked for the fish…

Flavours Thai Kitchen tom yam fish
*Mary’s photo on Facebook – mine came out a bit blur*

…and yes, once again, it was a hit!

This was on the house and no, it wasn’t really Thai but Mary, the other one, insisted on us having it and giving it a try – the black pepper beef…

Flavours Thai Kitchen black pepper beef

…and yes, it was very good with freshly-ground black pepper, not black pepper sauce from the bottle. Thank you, Mary, for the special treat and thank you also for the free-range kampung eggs that you insisted I took home – you’re always so kind and generous.

Business was really good that night, a full house, and I sure am glad that they are doing so well and no, we did not get carried away and ordered too much this time around. The bill came up to around RM150.00 for the 6 of us (inclusive of rice) and I thought that was reasonable especially when we enjoyed everything so much. I am quite sure that my niece, Mary, who insisted on picking up the tab – thank you so much for that, would think it was relatively cheap, around SGD50.00 only. She probably would have to fork out a lot more if she were to have this for so many people over there.

Can’t win them all…

Last Saturday, my girl wanted tosai (RM2.30)…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang thosai

…for lunch so I took her here. She had not been here before as that time when I came with the mum, it was a week day and she was away at her school in the jungle and I thought she might want to give the one here a try. However, she thought the ones she had here were better. Even though what she had that day was freshly cooked, it was cold when it was served and the dips were a little too watery for her liking. Other than that, I noticed that there were only three – the last time I had that…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang thosai telur
*Archive photo*

…there were four.

We went a little later that day, past 11.00 a.m. unlike the previous time when we went around 10 something so most of the dishes for their nasi campur were ready and yes, they did look really good.

These were my picks…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang nasi campur

– the sotong (squid) curry, the shrimp sambal, the mutton curry with potatoes and the pineapples. I saw the papadum in an air-tight tin and I could not resist opening it and helping myself to one – my guess was those were the leftovers from the nasi bryani the day before, available only on Fridays.

So how much was that altogether? Well, I do not really know…as when the lady came to collect the money for all that we had including the drinks, she asked for something like RM14.00 something and she did say something like it was RM6.00 altogether for the nasi campur. Good grief! That was unbelievably cheap!!! And everything was very very nice especially the pineapples.

Then she sent another lady to come to our table to apologise saying that they had forgotten to include my missus’ plate of nasi campur and asked for an additional RM5.00. What? But she only had the sotong, the shrimps and the pineapples with the rice while I had so much more, plus the papadum and I just had to fork out a ringgit extra for mine? Ah well!!! Never mind! She enjoyed her selections very much too and no doubt, RM5.00 is quite reasonable, value for money…but honestly, I think I was undercharged for mine. Well, who’s complaining? Hehehehehe!!!!

Just when all of us had finished and had had our fill, this…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang buah petai sambal

…came out of the kitchen. Ooooo…buah petai (stinky beans)!!! I love those!!! Ah well…I guess that would have to wait till the next time we drop by here – hopefully, that will be available then. You win some, you lose some – you just can’t win them all.

The garden…

These came from my garden…

Ladies fingers
*Archive photo*

– the ladies’ fingers that I planted sometime ago and so far, the labour is great but the harvest are few and I would only have enough to boil and eat them with sambal (pounded dip)…

Ladies fingers, ulam
*Archive photo*

However, the other day, I managed to collect enough to fry and these were the ingredients that I pounded…

Ingredients for pounding

…- a shallot, three cloves of garlic, a bit of ginger, kunyit (turmeric) and lengkuas (galangal) and of course, a chili.

Ah yes, I did add some belacan (dried prawn paste)…

Belacan

…too, toasted lightly on a non-stick pan.

I soaked a handful of hay bee/udang kering (dried prawns) in water to soften and I pounded those too…

Ingredients, pounded

…and I did get a stalk of serai (lemon grass) from my garden, bruised at the end, as well for the added fragrance and taste.

I sliced the ladies’ fingers thinly…

Ladies fingers, sliced

…and yes, it did not look like much but I had quite a lot of the udang kering – the sambal would go great with rice, with or without anything else. I was wishing the whole time that there was something in the fridge that I could add to it, like baby corn or four-angle beans perhaps, but unfortunately, I could not find anything that would be compatible.

Ok, time to start cooking…so I heated up the oil in the wok and added the pounded ingredients and once, that had turned brown and fragrant enough, I put in the serai, followed by the udang kering. It took quite a while as I only used a little bit of oil but at the price of cooking oil these days, one will have to make do with a lot less and anyway, I guess that is, in fact, a healthy thing to do. Once the sambal was done, I pushed it aside and broke an egg into the wok and scrambled it. I was thinking that this would help make sure that there would be enough to go round. Lastly, I added the ladies’ fingers…and a bit of water sparingly to cook it. Ah yes!!! I did add a teeny weeny bit of soy sauce – my missus said it would make the vegetable less sticky or gooey but don’t add too much, just a little bit will do…or it would be too dark and the end product may not look as nice.

Once it was done, I dished it out and served…

My ladies' fingers, fried with sambal

Well, it did look kind of nice, don’t you think? I know self-praise in no praise but I would say it tasted great and there was more than enough for the three of us (along with a fish, ikan bawal hitam/black pomfret that I fried) for dinner that evening.

In a row…

I was lucky that morning to be able to find a parking space in that very congested part of town…

Centre of town, Sibu

…so I decided to drop by this coffee shop to try the rojak thamby [SIC] that people have been praising to the skies but the stall was closed.

As a matter of fact, it was closed most of the time when I drove past. Maybe I did see it open once or twice but I was not in the mood for it especially when one might have to go round and round and round and end up going some place else after a futile search for a place to park the car…legally. Many will just leave their vehicles by the roadside, never mind if there is a yellow line or not – no, I do not do things like that.

I decided to try the vegetarian chap fan stall at another coffee shop a couple of doors away but the shop was closed – perhaps Thursday is their off day, I wouldn’t know. In the end, we decided to go this place next door – yes, it is a block of around 5-6 shops and 3 are coffee shops, one occupying 2 shop lots, all in that same row. That is Sibu for you! You throw a stone, chances are you will hit a coffee shop. LOL!!!

Guna, the very nice and friendly boss, was not around but the young guy there, equally nice and friendly, could remember me even though I had been to this outlet once only. I ordered their mutton curry (RM10.00)…

Sri Pelita, Causeway mutton curry

– they did not have that the  previous time we were here and also their fish curry (RM4.50)…

Sri Pelita, Causeway fish curry

Other than these two curries, they also had chicken, curry and masak merah but we did not order those.

The mutton was nice – a little too much for me and my missus so perhaps we would ask for half of that should we feel like having it again…but it paled in comparison with the very much stronger and flavourful fish curry, Indian-style. This was different from the Malay-style fish curry – the taste was not the same and it took me back all the way to 1973 in Singapore and that Indian stall at a coffee shop at the end of Katong, Teluk Kurau Road. No, I did go looking for it on Google streetview but I don’t think it is there anymore.

I used to tapao food from the stall and I loved their fish curry…or their sotong (squids). They were much cheaper than the meat dishes at the time and I was trying to scrimp and save so that I could use most of my pocket money to go pub/music lounge hopping or dancing at the discos…and to buy the most trendy clothes – yes, I was young and slim then and real happening, believe it or not. LOL!!!

Anyway, back to what we had that day – sorry, I digressed – I thought the eggs (RM2.00)…

Sri Pelita, Causeway eggs

…looked interesting but no, it did not get me jumping with delight – I prefer the sambal eggs at the Malay stalls…or maybe, it was overshadowed by all the curries that we had.

They only had four vegetable dishes and none looked like anything I would like a lot but I certainly was wrong about my choice – the Indian-style brinjal (RM2.50)…

Sri Pelita, Causeway brinjal

Wowwww!!! It was really good, very much nicer than the Malay version with sambal or the Chinese version with minced pork and salted egg. My girl loves the two varieties so I simply had to tapao some of this one back for  her to try when she came home for the weekend.

I asked for my selections to be served in separate bowls for my missus and I to share and when everything was served, seeing how substantial the amounts they gave were, I thought it would cost quite a lot but I was pleasantly surprised that the total was only RM19.00, RM21.00 if we include the two plates of rice…and less if I had asked for just half of the mutton curry.

If only parking here isn’t such a pain, I certainly would want to come back a lot more often.