Father’s Day @ Payung Cafe (and the best Father’s Day present)

fathers day dinner

17th of June is Father’s Day for most of the world with some notable exceptions, namely Australia and New Zealand. I guess that’s why my sister was a bit puzzled when I told her that we’re heading out during her usual Skype session with my parents.

payung cafe sibu

I asked my dad where he wanted to go, giving him a couple of suggestions like Tom’s Too. Arthur, being the resident food expert also contributed to the list. My dad wanted to go to an al fresco dining area where people doesn’t smoke and he hasn’t been to Payung Cafe yet so I brought him and my mom there.

payung sibu

Payung Cafe is one of the little known eateries in Sibu – the owners are friendly and the ambiance is great, with little touches like freshly cut flowers on the table and off-the-menu specials written on a chalkboard every single day.

payung cafe

It doesn’t have a large menu but they have an admirable aim of having cuisine from all over the world, with a focus on Asian countries.

myanmar vegetables

Myanmar Sayur (RM 8)
Sayur means vegetable and this dish is a kind of salad that contains an assortment of raw and cooked vegetables mixed together rojak style. The sprinkling of sesame seeds and the raw vegetables provides a nice texture that goes very well with the gravy.

payung jelly pisang

Jelly Pisang (RM 7)
Jelly Pisang is a dessert that used to be very popular in Sibu back in the days. It went the way of dinosaurs when I was born and to the best of my knowledge this is only one of two places that still serves it in Sibu. The other one is at a hotel (see link). Payung Cafe’s interpretation comes with loads of jelly and thinly sliced bananas.

I asked my dad if this seemed authentic enough and he mentioned that back in the days it wasn’t really served like this but…

close enough

Heh.

lamb masala

Lamb Masala (RM 17)
It doesn’t look like much but this one was the first dish to go – the lamb is flavorful and tender with none of the gamey taste usually associated with this particular animal. It was a hit with both my mom and dad. The portion is a bit small and I only had one piece but other than that it’s highly recommended.

payung otak otak

Otak-otak Fish with Rice (RM 13)
This is the most popular dish in Payung Cafe, bar none. It’s one of their signature menu items and it’s hand made otak-otak! One of the proprietors actually does this each evening and it’s fresh and very different from the usual mass produced otak-otak. People with a sensitive palate beware! This is not for the faint-hearted for it’s quite spicy.

turkish milkshake

Turkish Milkshake (RM 8)
It came highly recommended from the proprietor and I have to agree – it’s quite good. It’s one of the specials on the chalkboard so this is a limited time menu item. What is a Turkish milkshake? Well, it’s based on the drink called Salep in Turkey. It has ground dried tubers of the orchid flower (!) with spices topped with cream and chocolate flakes. The owners travel around to add new stuff to the menu.

indian red beef

Indian Red Beef (RM 17)
This is a rather spicy affair which was the special of the day. It was quite spicy and I ended up eating most of it. I didn’t like it as much as the lamb masala.

pineapple ginger soda

Pineapple Ginger Soda (RM 5)
I wanted the Durian Milkshake I had last time I was here but they ran out of durians (it’s not the season anyway). I asked for a recommendation and got this one – it’s apparently one of the most popular drinks and the combination of pineapple and ginger works surprisingly well. I like the sediments at the bottom, which contains a bit of both ingredients. Lovely.

belimbing pasta

Belimbing Prawn with Spaghetti (RM 16)
I also had this dish last time and was quite enthralled by it. Belimbing is starfruit (or carambola) in English and it’s a fusion dish that works very well. The type of starfruit they use is known locally as belimbing asam and it’s a very sour variant of the fruit used in cooking. It’s served with prawns and I wanted everyone to try this. It’s a very different dish that works very well. :D

The total bill came out to RM 99 which is very reasonable for a dinner for three that had us struggling to finish the dishes.

fathers day

However, the best Father’s Day present that I gave my dad (and mom) happened to be a totally random act while I was talking to them the night I came back in the living room. I was showing how swipe typing works on my Android phone and my dad casually asked what app I was using. I didn’t know he’s unfamiliar with Whatsapp since my parents are pretty IT savvy, navigating the maze of social media pretty well.

whatsapp

Anyway, I found out that my sister is on it (coz she was on Skype with my parents at the time) and I gifted the app to my dad’s cell using my iTunes account. I added myself and my sister to the contacts list and showed my parents how to use it. They didn’t know there’s an option for free texting (although they use Viber) with quick photo, video and audio file sharing.

fathers day 2012

The look on my mom’s face when my sister snapped a photo of my newborn nephew and instantly sent it over followed by the smiles on my parents faces was worth the USD 0.99 I used to gift the app a gazillion times over. :)

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24 thoughts on “Father’s Day @ Payung Cafe (and the best Father’s Day present)

  1. I did not like the Myanmar sayur when the boss cooked for me to sample that day…and I never got round to trying the red curry. Hmmm…should stick to the masala then. I had both the chicken and the lamb and both are good…enough. Ya, thanks for the special mention…

    • Yeah, the red curry can be a bit spicy. My mom even commented on it and she can eat really spicy food,

      I personally like spicy stuff so I found it alright but lamb masala anytime for me! :)

      Cheers mate! :)

  2. I’ve never eaten jelly pisang before. Didn’t know such a drink existed. Lol! I just taught my mum how to use whatsapp, viber and tango. Now she’s constantly “tango-ing” with me. :P

    • I didn’t know such a drink existed until recently too. Heh.

      It’s Sibu’s lost heritage, the older generation (the ones in their 50′s – 60′s) will remember it, but somewhere along the line, it got lost.

      Nice! It’s good to stay connected! :D

  3. Bro,

    This post is so mengiurkan. I shall visit Payung Cafe should I have the chance to go to Sibu.

    Haha.. An app as a gift. Who would thought of that. Cool yo!

    Cheers man!

    • Yeah, it’s a nice and different place to eat in Sibu.

      Heh! I got a batik shirt for my dad (and a scarf for my mom) when I was in Jakarta, but this turned out to be a *WAY* better Father’s Day present than that.

      Cheers bro! :)

    • Yeah, it’s quite good eh?

      I like it too, especially how they made it into a fusion dish, goes better with pasta than rice, in my opinion. :)

    • Haha! Me too!

      It has contributed to 1023% less accidents for me when tweeting/FB/texting etc while driving. ;)

      I had to always look at the phone when I type but with this, it’s very instinctive and I don’t even have to look except a quick check before I send. :D

    • Thanks mate! :)

      The place serves Nyonya/fusion cuisine (one of the owners is Straits Chinese).

      It’s quite a nice place to eat in Sibu, my only complain is no WiFi and air-conditioning but that’s pro if you think about it – makes people more prone to socialize instead of being on the various social media platforms. :)

    • Hmm…good question.

      The rice was free so I went back and looked at the photos.

      That’s my mom’s drink, totally forgot to take a photo of it, but it’s visible in the table shot – it’s a Mango Milkshake (RM 8).

      Good observation, thanks for that. :)

    • Yeah, it was quite a pleasant experience. :)

      We (me and my sis) both though our parents has Whatsapp but just doesn’t use it. It turns out that they didn’t know about it.

      “Yih Jia” is my sister, which I don’t really communicate much with, hoping this would change that too.

      A much better Father’s Day “gift” than the batik shirt I got from Jakarta or the dinner – this lets them see photos of my newborn nephew which they adore. :D

  4. I cobbled together a sweet skype box for work, but turned out everyone used it for chat at that company. I almost never use the whole rig to capacity. Sucks, I was soo amped.

    That cafe reminds me of the Caribbean food joint down the street from me at one of my old places. The food was inexpensive and delicious. (You should try guiness punch sometime.) No wifi of it’s own, but several viable networks in range, and I didn’t even have a phone of my own then, so…
    The Turkish Milkshake sounds lovely. Congrats on your nephew newly dispatched to the realm of the living. : )

    • Nice! Enterprise Skype! :)

      I would love to try the Guinness punch! It sounds very promising. Caribbean food sounds great right about now.

      Cheers mate! :D

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