Sibu Ching Ming Trip Part I: Malu Apa Bosco? Big Prawn Noodles at Bosco Café, Sibu Pasar Malam, Kompia Burger, Ruby Restaurant

I just came back from a short trip back to Sibu to clean my mom’s grave. It’s Ching Ming, an annual practice by Chinese for remembrance of the dead. I brought along Mandy along and the first thing she wanted to eat was Foochow red wine mee sua. We headed to Happiness Café in Delta – they do one of the better versions in town. I wanted to eat kampua mee but I couldn’t resist ordering this too.

It’s a new stall selling kompia burger! Technically, this is chu nu miang – the sweet and soft version of kompia. I think it’s called thus coz chu nu means virgin in Foochow and virgins are supposed to be sweet and soft. Don’t quote me on that though. My Chinese is terrible and I could be making all these up. I asked the two ladies manning the stall if it’s their own stall but it turns out they’re only working here and couldn’t tell me the background of the stall.

The stall is called Zen Don Bin and they have different types of kompia burgers with beef, sausage and fish fillet patties. I asked for a recommendation and they unreservedly told me the Fish Fillet Burger with Egg and Cheese (RM 3.90) was their bestseller. This actually tasted pretty good! I liked the crunchy fish fillet and the creamy egg with the pillowy soft chu nu miang. Nice!

I also had my kampua mee fix. This is a tossed dry noodle that’s a Sibu specialty. You don’t find a lot of people making this with lard nowadays. There has been a trend of using vegetable oil on the pretext that it’s a healthier option. I suspect it’s also a cost-cutting measure too since lard is significantly more expensive. I love the ones with lard.

Mandy had the Foochow red wine mee sua. This is chicken soup with Foochow unfiltered red wine with sediment. It tastes surprisingly good. I’m not a fan of this dish but they do a really nice version here.

Of course, you can’t leave Sibu without trying the Big Head Prawn Noodles. These are freshwater prawns with huge heads that’s cooked into a Foochow style soup dish. The noodles are fried then boiled and it’s quite a distinctive local taste. The head juice from the prawn heads leach into the soup, adding tons of flavour.

This dish costs RM 38 at Bosco Café, which is considered a reasonable price. A lot of other places charge upwards of RM 50 for this.

My sister came back in the evening with my niece and nephew so we went to pick her up from the airport and headed to Ruby Restaurant for dinner. This is a favorite among our family. The must have dish here is their butter prawns but since my niece is allergic to dairy, we went for the Nestum prawns instead. It’s not as good, but decent.

We also had their famous pandan chicken. These are dark boneless chicken pieces marinated in various spices before being stuffed into a pandan leaf and grilled. It’s smoky, sweet and delicious!

I also ordered midin belacan – a type of jungle fern – for Mandy. You can’t leave Sarawak without tasting midin. It’s a crunchy type of vegetable with a core like okra – ever so slightly slimy.

This is sour lamb, another dish I always order at Ruby. The lamb pieces are tenderized till they’re melt-in-your-mouth and tossed in a sour mayonnaise based sauce. Very delicious!

We also ordered a tapah curry fish head since there were so many of us. Tapah is a local fish that’s similar to catfish. The flesh can be incredibly fatty due to their sedentary lifestyle but it’s a real treat – creamy mouthfeel juxtaposed with firm flesh. This is quite a small fish head but costs RM 63. Tapah is a local favorite so the prices tend to be higher.

The meal came up to RM 186 for the 4 of us plus 2 children. We usually run up at RM 50 bill for two pax so this seems par for the course. I feasted until I was absolutely stuffed! This is one of my favorite places to eat in Sibu.

Mandy has never been to the Sibu pasar malam before so we headed there after our dinner. Our pasar malam has lots of stalls specializing in pork. Sibu is a majority Chinese town so pork is the choice of protein here. You can get various different cuts of meat from pork belly to tail to even a full pig face!

I bought a few pieces of chai kueh and also a crispy apam balik. Both were dismal. I had better versions of both during my Penang day trip for work before coming back to Sibu.

It was still fun to walk around town and do all the things I normally wouldn’t do. It’s nice to see my hometown from the perspective of someone else too!

Part II of my Sibu Ching Ming trip coming soon!

Fraser’s Hill Valentine’s Part II: Strawberry farm, Allan’s Water boat paddling, Restoran Nine Thy Eight KKB seafood dinner and a Valentine’s Day present

I’m not sure who Aida Daniya is but she (?) seems to have taken over Fraser’s Hill with a vengeance. Not only does she have a picturesque tea house, said restaurant overlooks a beautiful garden and there’s also a strawberry nursery named after her. We walked down to the garden after lunch at Aida Daniya Tea House – there are well tended flowers and plenty of spots to take the perfect Instagram photo.

Wake up and smell the flowers! Background: I pretended to be possessed by a female ghost on the drive up. I let her come out to play.

My Mandy was very proud of this photo. 💁‍♀️

I tried to recreate her pose. Unsuccessfully. 💁‍♂️

We tried doing this trendy shot at Sekinchan but failed to get a good photo. This is a better attempt.

The flowers here are exceedingly beautiful – it must be the cool weather here. 🌸 The unforgiving sun down the hill tends to wilt flowers.

We headed over to Fraser’s Hill Strawberry Garden (now renamed Aida Daniya Strawberry Garden) but it was unfortunately closed. Luckily the gate was partially open so we took the opportunity to do a little breaking and entering.

The F&B outlets were closed but the nursery was visible. One strawberry fell down from its vine so I thought it’ll be permissible to consume the strawberry instead of allowing it to rot. I did feel mildly guilty about doing so but hey, it’s not like I plucked the damn thing from its creeper. That would delve into morally questionable territory, perhaps even theft by consumption.

It’s not very delicious but grown locally. 🍓

We also went to Allan’s Water. This is a place run by Tourism Malaysia where you can feed fishes and rent paddle boats for RM 8/15 minutes.

We went on a working weekday so there was no one paddling, just a family feeding the fishes. 🐠

The river section you can use is quite large, but blocked at two ends with strategically placed logs and obstructions so you can’t go too far.

It’s far enough to give you a sense of space and privacy though.

I found it very peaceful and the weather at Fraser’s Hill is perfect for this type of activity. The temperature was in the high teens all morning so you don’t sweat. There’s also a cool breeze going on that makes you feel like you’re in a different (colder) country.

My only complaint was that the life vests provided smells really bad. They probably haven’t been washed in years! It stinks to high heaven. Aside from that, paddling in the water under the mild sun and cool weather with my Mandy was perfect.

We decided to head down for our seafood dinner after so we drove to the Fraser’s Hill Clock Tower for some final photos…

…before making the 1 hour journey to Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB).

We saw a family of monkeys (baboons?) on the windy road down. There was a male who got quite inquisitive and kept trying to look into our stopped car. I think he might have stolen my girlfriend’s handbag had she wound down the window. He looks like that type of monkey. 🐒

Our Valentine’s Day dinner was at Restoran Nine Thy Eight at KKB. Mandy loves crabs and I like Chinese food so a Chinese seafood restaurant was the perfect place to go. This is a sleepy restaurant that serves primarily locals and the occasional out-of-state people heading to Genting or Fraser’s Hill. The owner is very friendly and was happy to recommend several of their signature dishes.

This is Crab Porridge (RM 61.60) which is their flagship specialty. 🦀 It uses a whole crab cooked in very flavorsome porridge topped with some crunchy bits. We hesitated before ordering this coz Mandy likes other ways of cooking crab but she finally decided to give this one a try. It’s what this restaurant is famous for after all.

Here’s what it looks like after it’s been mixed. I’m not a big fan of porridge. I usually find porridge too mild but Restoran Nine Thy Eight does an excellent version of crab porridge. The congee is so flavorful and thick! It’s packed with savory and crab goodness. I finished the lion’s share of this porridge despite not generally liking congee. Delicious!

I also ordered another specialty of theirs – Catfish Steamed with Soy Sauce and Half Boiled Egg (RM 26). 🐟 How unique! I’ve never seen soft boiled egg paired with Chinese style steamed fish. It’s really good! The creamy egg yolk adds richness and mouthfeel to the soft and tender catfish meat. I wish this place was nearer so I can eat this every day. That’s the highest compliment I can give this dish. I want to smash 3 platters of this in a single sitting!

Tofu Cooked with Broccoli and Mushroom (RM 16). 🥦 We ordered this just to fulfil our vegetable quota. It tasted mediocre in comparison to the two other excellent dishes. It probably isn’t bad by in another setting but we’ve just had two superlative dishes so this seemed to pale as a result.

The bill came up to RM 120 for the food and drinks. I ordered a large beer and Mandy had carrot juice. Restoran Nine Thy Eight does their signature dishes very well. I highly recommend it and will be back if I pass by the area again. I’ll like to try their other flagship dishes. The prices are very reasonable too.

We got back home at around 10:30 pm and I presented my girlfriend her Valentine’s Day gift. I noticed her looking at a Swarovski pendant last month and skilfully brought her to Sunway Pyramid to look at other jewellery to see what kind she likes. It wasn’t very subtle but I got to know her tastes and preferences.

I bought her this gold necklace to go with…

…a golden M from Wah Chan’s official Disney Mickey Mouse collection.

This is what the pendant and chain looks like combined. It cost around 1.2k for everything. The M was supposed to stand for Mickey but here it stands for Mandy. It’s a coincidence they both have the same initial.

Happy Valentine’s Day Mandy! I love you. 💕

Fraser’s Hill Valentine’s Part I: Aida Daniya Tea House, steamboat dinner, a gruesome night drive up

I wanted to surprise my girlfriend with a trip to Pulau Ketam (which was our first trip together) on Valentine’s Day, but I thought going again so soon would be diminish the magic. I decided on Fraser’s Hill instead – a cool hilltop destination about 2.5 hours from KL. She’s never been there before and I booked a nice AirBNB on the top floor of Silverpark Resort with amazing views to spend the night.

She has her off day on Thursday (which coincidentally is 14th February) and I won’t start work until the 18th so it’s perfect for a weekday getaway without massive crowds of people. Indeed, Fraser’s Hill was almost deserted. It was also rainy and misty on the way up and I entertained (scared?) Mandy with ghost stories and pretended to be possessed by a female ghost. She was not amused. 😨

I planned this trip a month back and sent her a Powerpoint presentation to detail what I have planned for Valentine’s. Haha. What a corporate thing to do. It came complete with an itinerary, which we managed to complete!

I also arranged for flowers to be delivered to her workplace. I got her 12 roses.

She finished work at 6:30 pm and I flew in from Pontianak at 3 pm and I timed it so I just had enough time to buy ingredients for a steamboat dinner and pick her up from work. It was 10:30 pm by the time we checked into our apartment at Fraser’s Hill.

The place is very nice. It’s a studio unit with two queen beds…

Two balconies – this is the one facing down the hill (too misty to see anything unfortunately but the view is great on a clear day)

And this is the one facing inwards.

There’s also a full kitchen and I decided to cook her a steamboat dinner since it was so late when we got there.

Here’s the spread for the night! I got pork slices, two types of fishballs, bacon, soft tofu, assorted seafood, sausages, broccoli, eggs and mushrooms.

I used a tom yam – chicken stock base with Shaoxing wine and fish sauce. Unfortunately, I spilled the Shaoxing wine and fish sauce all over the back car cushion on the way up. It smells so bad now. I need to get it cleaned.

I also brought up some Mi Sedaap noodles I got from my recent Pontianak trip to enjoy with the steamboat. This is a new type of Mi Sedaap soup noodles with real egg. Only available in Indonesia.

My babe surprised me with a cheesecake that she made herself! She labored over this a few days ago coz she was thinking of what to get me. This is the first cake she has ever baked.

It’s really delicious! I would have said it’s yummy even if it’s not coz she made it for me, but honestly, this tasted great! It’s been contributing to my expanding waistline coz I’ve been eating it everyday since.

The next day we headed over to Aida Daniya Tea House for lunch after checking out. This place has amazing views and a comfortable balcony where you can enjoy the cool breeze and see the beautiful flowers growing at the cultivated park beneath.

This is the view we had sitting at the tables outside.

I ordered a double cappuccino (RM 15) as my morning coffee…

…and we got another couple to take a photo of us at the balcony.

We also ordered their English cream tea for two (RM 38)…

…which came with scones, clotted cream, jam and a selection of cakes and pies. The highlight was the orange cake, the pie and the other cakes were forgettable and the scones weren’t the best.

We also had something called an Irish Chicken (RM 25) which is a gruesome creation of a deep fried chicken roll slathered with mashed potatoes. It doesn’t taste half bad but it didn’t taste good either. The bill came up to RM 85.80. You pay for the scenic views and the nice ambiance, not so much the food. The food was quite mediocre but I enjoyed the quiet and cool surroundings. Recommended if you want a nice place to chill in Fraser’s Hill but manage your expectations on the food.

I love you my Mandy! <3

Part II of our Fraser’s Hill trip coming soon!

Sekinchan: A day trip to Pantai Redang, famous Sekinchan wishing tree, paddy fields, rice factory, bus café, capped with a seafood dinner

I went on a day trip to Sekinchan with Mandy last week. Sekinchan is a small village with fishing and paddy cultivation as its primary industries. It’s a sleepy small town where everyone seems to know each other. One of their most famous landmarks (?) is a tree by the Pantai Redang beach called the Sekinchan Wishing Tree. This is an old looming tree that has strands of red hanging on its branches. People write on red threads and throw it into the air so it hangs from the tree. It’s a wish fulfillment thing.

It makes for a really nice picture!

There is a Chinese temple beside this tree where you can get the red strands of clothes. I can’t read Chinese but there are recommended donation amounts for things like joss sticks. The threads are freely available for the taking but you’re supposed to put in a donation into the box. The donation can be any amount you feel like giving.

You take the red strip of cloth and write whatever you want on the provided table. This is usually a wish you want fulfilled. Mandy wrote both my name and hers in Chinese. Coz this is an Oriental tree, you see. It may not understand English. Haha.

The red cloth has two round metal weights at the end so you just need to lead one and it’ll hook around something. I managed to get it up on the tree on my second try.

Our names in Sekinchan for all eternity, bound by the red threads of fate. Or until a strong wind comes, which is more likely.

Pantai Redang is not a swimming beach. The sand is quite dirty and the water is polluted. However, it’s a nice place to chill and walk with your loved one.

There are stalls at one end of the beach selling seafood dishes and drinks. We got a coconut and took it to a hut by the beach to enjoy.

The best thing about taking leave to come on a weekday is the lack of people around. We had the beach hut all to ourselves and we spent a good hour here talking with our arms around each other. It’s fun. There’s a cool sea breeze, the smell of salt in the air, the warm indirect sun beside you, stray puppies coming to sleep by your feet, and a refreshing drink of coconut within arm’s reach. Bliss.

There’s also an abandoned café (I think) made of red Coca-Cola shipping containers which makes for a good photo opportunity. It has the Coke tagline and Sekinchan on one of the sides. This is my #emoforever contribution.

My beautiful Mandy does it better though. <3

There’s not much to do in Sekinchan. Like I said, it’s a sleepy little town but another place people go to is the Sekinchan Paddy Processing Factory and Museum. The road here is lined with paddy fields.

This is actually just a rice processing factory which has a small museum attached. Entry is RM 5/person and comes with a free small packet of Sekinchan rice.

The tours are guided, which an option of Chinese or English. I learned that rice factories add in 5% broken rice to meet government specifications. The technology is already there to produce 100% unbroken rice but this is more to keep with government regulations on rice price controls.

There are also 3D photo walls inside the museum where you can take photos.

…as well as various old scenes from Sekinchan past. It’s worth the 45 min or so coz there’s little else to do in Sekinchan.

You can also get cendol made with their special Sekinchan brown rice and ice cream there.

Of course, another popular destination in Sekinchan is the No. 16 Sekinchan Bus Café. I’ve written about it in a previous post.

The best part of the café is the photo ops, not the food per se.

Definitely worth a trip if you stick to the cakes and drinks though.

It’s a great place to get the perfect shot for Instagram.

You have to try Sekinchan’s local seafood before you leave. We choose a restaurant at random and ended up at Restoran Pantai Redang. This is a family run seafood location near the beach.

Mandy wanted to have their crabs. This is a crab of around 600-700 grams that’s simply steamed to preserve its original flavor.

It’s very good! Juicy and succulent, much better than the crab we had in Pulau Ketam. I love the Shaoxing wine flavored sauce too.

We saw the owner carrying in two huge fishes. They looked fresh, so we ordered two slices of that as well. It’s also cooked with minimal seasoning. I don’t think Mandy liked it but I really enjoyed the simple, clean flavors. You can only get fish as fresh as this in a fishing village.

Lala cooked in taucu and chillies were very decent as well.

We also ordered huge ass mussels steamed with garlic and rice wine. This was my favorite dish of the meal. They’re only RM 2 each and perfectly steamed so they’re still juicy and plump. This isn’t one of those overcooked mussel dishes you normally see – Mandy made sure to tell the owner to steam it for a short while so it’s barely cooked. Delicious!

It’s important to note that there’s no fancy techniques or complicated sauces at this restaurant. The food is cooked and presented simply, allowing the freshness of the seafood to shine. We both enjoyed the meal and it only came up to RM 127 including beer. Food alone was just RM 93 which is a great price for seafood of this quality. Sekinchan may not be for everyone with its slow pace of living and relatively uncommercialized tourist attractions but both Mandy and I enjoyed it immensely. I love going on trips with her.

No. 16 Bus Café in Sekinchan review: Excellent photos, mediocre food

“Do you want to go to the bus café in Sekinchan that’s inside a real vintage bus?” I asked Mandy. “Oh! That one lots of 小妹妹 (xiao mei mei) go one.” The irony of her reply is that she’s also quite young. She’s 24. Haha. I’m clearing my annual leave so I took yesterday off to go to Sekinchan with my Mandy. I’ve never been to Sekinchan. It’s about 1.5 hours away from KL/PJ and we had fun in another rustic, rural setting (Pulau Ketam) so I thought we’ll enjoy the day trip.

I timed our journey so we’ll arrive at Sekinchan Bus No. 16 Café right when they open for lunch. The café is an air-conditioned bus that’s mounted on a few shipping containers.

The kitchen is inside the shipping containers and the shell of the bus contains the café proper. There’s also al fresco seating at a small balcony to the side but the main draw is the authentic, vintage bus.

These are the types of buses that used to ply Malaysia’s roads. We had the exact same bus in Sibu! The green ones work the Lanang routes. I lived closer to town so I took the red Sungai Merah buses but the fittings are the same.

I remember the dingy interior, faded seats and the large “PRESS ONCE” button you push to let the driver know you want to get down at the next stop.

It’s very nostalgic!

It’s one of those themed cafes that people come to for the perfect Instagram shot. They’re not exactly known for their food. I knew that coming in. I’ve been to a few character cafes in Japan (where the food is generally excellent), only to be disappointed by their dismal attempts at a meal.

You’re here for the environment, not the food. You need to have this mindset when you come to No. 16 Sekinchan Bus Cafe coz the food is very subpar.

They have a very limited and streamlined savory menu under “No. 16 Sekinchan Bus Bento Boxes”. We ordered the chicken chop meal and the Korean fried chicken wings. Unfortunately, they said the Korean fried chicken wings weren’t ready yet so we switched to the Korean-style Chicken Bibimbap.

Mandy had a mango Barbican soda and I had their White Coffee. You can’t go wrong with bottled soda but the brewed white coffee was extremely diluted and borderline tasteless.

Mandy is laughing here coz she thought the shaved ice in the bucket meant to cool your drink is for pouring the drinks into, until I corrected her. Haha.

I thought both our food orders were horrible – I honestly don’t have anything good to say about the mains we ordered except that they’re both dreadful. Food isn’t their forte. I compared it unfavorably with airline food! Service was also spotty – the Chinese girl was disinterested and low-energy but the Malay girl fared better. Another gripe of mine is that the bus was way too stuffy during the afternoon heat despite the air-conditioning going full blast. I shudder to imagine how hot it’ll be with more people inside.

We also ordered their Dark Chocolate Cheese Cake with a LEGO chocolate dude on top. I did enjoy the malty chocolate cake – it tasted like it was made with Ovaltine, which is a nostalgia tinged memory for me. This was the only thing I enjoyed. I recommend you go for the cakes and drinks if you want to meet the minimum RM 30 per table spending. This minimum spend is only for weekends and public holidays though. We were hungry so we ordered a full meal. Our bill came up to RM 59 for two.

I really like the ambiance of No. 16 Sekinchan Bus Café. You can get excellent photos here. It was also empty when we came so we could take as many photos as we wanted. Don’t come here for the food coz you’ll be sorely disappointed. Think of it more like rent for use of their photography studio e.g. the bus café. I loved going with Mandy coz she’s really good with photos and she’s interested in taking nice photos so we had fun here.

Whether you’ll enjoy it depends on what you want to get out of this experience.

Pulau Ketam Trip Day 2: Exploring the island, electric bicycles, oyster omelet, haunted house, and a remarkable coincidence

Pulau Ketam isn’t very big but it might take you a while to walk around the island. Most people get by on electric bikes or regular bicycles. Electric bicycles usually go for RM 20/hour but our homestay rented them to us at RM 15/hour, so off we went to explore the habitated areas. There are 2 primary schools and a secondary school on the island so there’s a good amount of younger folks still here.

The main commercial area by the jetty is sleepy on the weekends though. It has a very familiar small town vibe. Both Mandy and I are from Sarawak so we felt very comfortable here. You can hear snippets of Teochow and Heng Hua, old ladies with curly hair smoking cigarettes, and men with Buddhist tattoos undergoing traditional Chinese cupping while seated on low stools. This can be any rural town in Sarawak – Serian, Lundu, Batang Ai.

Most of the shops serve some kind of noodle dish in the mornings so we went to a random one. Interestingly, all the coffee shops had their shutters half closed and lights off to save electricity but they’re actually open.

Mandy ordered a kueh tiaw soup dish with several different types of fishballs. This tasted peppery and mild. She didn’t like it and ended up eating my noodles.

I went for a dry tossed noodle with pork, shrimp, and boiled eggs. This tasted good but unfortunately I didn’t get to eat much of it. Mandy swapped her noodles with mine after tasting my superior order. I don’t really enjoy soup noodles but I’m a nice guy so I exchanged with her.

We also ordered 3 coffees from the next coffee shop. This one only had canned drinks and they asked us to order from their neighboring shop if we wanted brewed drinks. You can only do this in small towns where the competition is less and the spirit of cooperation is higher.

Thus satiated and fueled with caffeine, we went to Lover’s Bridge. This was marked as a tourist attraction on official Pulau Ketam maps but in reality, it’s just a rickety arch bridge. It’s good for photos though.

Mandy is pointing at the richest person in Pulau Ketam. Haha. This house is so different from the wooden structures surrounding it. Modern, sleek and tall, it’s the highest point on the island.

There’s also an old cinema beside the Lover’s Bridge. It’s amazing to think that at one point, the population of Pulau Ketam was large and vibrant enough to support a theatre as big as this one. 👏

Mandy randomly asked me what my IC number was and we found out that our last 4 digits were in sequence! What a coincidence! These checksum numbers are always odd if you’re male and even if you’re female so we can’t be the same but having ours in order is serendipitous.

It was an extremely hot day so we went to get some ABC (shaved ice dessert) to cool down. Our homestay told us about this stall, which he says has the best ABC on the island.

It was pretty good! There’s peanuts, nata de coco, jellies, cendol and all the trimmings underneath a mound of shaved ice and gula Melaka.

We sat with the owner, who told us many tales about the history and origin of the people who’re now at Pulau Ketam. He had a stroke a few years ago so his daughters run the stall, which is actually a shaved ice machine in front of their home.

We also went to the temple opposite which has very old tortoises and a huge, long python. Their toilets are very interesting too – little more than a carved rectangle on the floor. There’s no sewage system in Pulau Ketam. All human waste goes into the sea and it’s washed out by the tides.

We decided to cycle to the furthest end of the island until we couldn’t go any further. All the paths here are made of wooden boards on top of stilts. Only the main jetty and commercial area has concrete roads. It’s very exciting.

The view on the bridges that connects the island is nice towards the further regions of Pulau Ketam. You can see fishing boats moored to the individual jetties connected to houses. This is a less commercialized area of the island.

There was a very friendly woman running a drinks and snacks stand near the end of the island. We stopped there for a couple of beers. She told us she’s from Klang and come down during weekends to stay with her mom and run the stand. It’s a good place to refuel. She’s one of those people with natural PR skills.

We found an abandoned wooden house with creaking, rickety floorboards that would make a perfect photo op. The floorboards were so rotten we nearly fell through into the sea a few times.

I did a cool pose (or so I thought) and I ended up looking like such a sissy we couldn’t stop laughing for a good 3 minutes. In my defense, this looked manly and casual when conceived in my mind. The execution and angle could have been better though. 😄

Here’s a proper one so you can get rid of the previous mental image.

This is my favorite photo of us. I love the emo vibe. I told her to do a sad pose. #emoforever

We went back to Remember Me Restaurant to have o chien (oyster omelet) and a beer. This isn’t as good as the ones you’ll get in Penang or Kuching but edible. Especially on vacation since everything tastes better when you’re having fun.

The ones here are gooey and soggy instead of the crispy variant we get in Kuching but they’re both equally good.

It was a good overnight trip! Pulau Ketam is a chill and relaxing place that’s perfect for a weekend getaway. It’s not too far from KL or PJ either – just a 40 min drive and a 30 min boat trip away. I can see why people like it here. I’ll definitely be back someday.

Goodbye Pulau Ketam! We made great memories here and we’ll miss you. 🦀

Pulau Ketam Trip Day 1: Remember Me Restaurant, cycling under the full moon, what people do in small towns

HB-Mandy

My housemate Mandy and I decided to make an impromptu trip to Pulau Ketam over the weekend. She’ll be moving out this week so it’ll be a fun thing to do together. I’ve never been here but I’ve heard a lot about the idyllic small town vibe and I really enjoy places like these. I come from a smaller town myself and I like visiting even more rural places like Kapit or Sarikei.

Pulau-Ketam-Crab

Pulau Ketam is only accessible by boat. It’s a 20-30 minute trip from Port Klang and the ferries and boats usually charge around RM 9-10 per pax. I saw a few souvenir Pulau Ketam tee shirts at the jetty and assumed they’ll be more at the island itself but surprisingly, no one sells them at the island. Haha. I actually wanted to get one.

Pulau-Ketam-Ferry

The boats are the same express boats that we have in Sarawak. A lot of our rural towns are only reachable via the river so boats are a major mode of transportation there.

HB-Mandy-Ferry

These boats are air-conditioned and leaves every 45 minutes. There’s another type that’s open to the elements but much faster for RM 1 more. We took the other kind back.

Pulau-Ketam-Jetty

This is the view from the Pulau Ketam jetty. It’s not a very big island and most of the commercial areas are concentrated in the middle.

Pulau-Ketam-Us

It was an exceedingly hot day and I have gotten more sun in the past weekend than the previous 10 years of my life. I’m sunburnt and peeling right now despite applying liberal amounts of SPF 50+ sunscreen.

Mandy

We stayed at a homestay called Little Happiness Family. Little Happiness and Happiness Family is owned by the same people who runs Pulau Ketam Mini Market. They’re a friendly mother and son duo who gave me a RM 50 discount when they heard about the price I’m paying via Agoda. Agoda charged me RM 174 per night and they said it was more than they charge if you book direct so they refunded me RM 50. I thought that was nice of them.

Little-Happiness

The room we booked had a large double bed and two singles in a double decker bed format. I think it’s meant for families. All the units have their own shower/toilet as well as air-conditioning. Ours had a window with a view of the back too!

Remember-Me-Restaurant

Our hosts recommended a place called Jia Jia for seafood but it was closed for Winter Solstice Festival. We went to the most famous one in Pulau Ketam instead – Remember Me Restaurant.

Kam-Heong-Crab

Crabs are a must! This is Kam Heong Crabs. It’s RM 68 per kg. This is slightly more than 1 kg for RM 78. It’s not bad but I’m actually not a huge fan of crabs, mostly coz I don’t enjoy deshelling them. I like huge crabs like Alaskan King Crab though. To clarify, I love the taste of crab, I just don’t like picking at them and getting bits of shell in my mouth.

Nestum-Prawns

We also had Nestum Prawns (RM 38). These are pretty good and they’re fried to a crisp so you can eat the whole prawn without peeling, even the head!

Mandy-Peeling-Prawns

I had someone to peel the prawns for me though. Hehe.

Eating-Prawn

Best!

Kung-Pow-Mantis-Prawn

I also added on Kung Pow Mantis Prawn (RM 26). This are not fresh ones, obviously. It’s the frozen and pre-battered type that’s mass produced and sold everywhere from Langkawi to KL. Not my favorite.

Obligatory-Veggie

There’s also an obligatory vegetables dish – cabbage stir fried with belacan for RM 16.

HB-Mandy-Seafood

The bill came up to RM 180 for 2 pax including drinks and beer, which is around the price you’ll expect to pay in PJ too. Not bad, but I’m keen to try Jia Jia next time since it was not only recommended by our homestay, a random aunty selling snacks in the furthest habituated edges of Pulau Ketam also told us about it.

Bicycle-Ride

The nightlife at Pulau Ketam is pretty sparse, although we spotted an 80’s style karaoke pub and an uncle told us about a feng tau joint. Most people seem to congregate at the jetty to hang out and relax and that’s what we did too.

Pulau-Ketam-Jetty-Night

The jetty had a psychedelic strobing light which was a little out of place but kinda nice.

Bicycle-Selfie

Our homestay provided bicycles but there was a huge family staying there who was about to take the last two. Mandy convinced them to let us have one of the bicycles. I should add that these are two little kids of around 6 years old or so. Hahahaha. I think their grandpa gave Mandy a look of mild disapproval. I didn’t dare to ask even though I wanted a bicycle coz they’re so small, so I’m glad she did. 😌

Mandy-Jetty

There was a cool breeze coming in from the sea and the night was bright courtesy of the full new moon. I put on some tunes on Spotify and we ended up talking and singing and riding bicycles till midnight. Good clean fun.

Drunken-Chess

I brought along a bottle of JW Black Label and we ended up playing drunken Chinese chess in the room. We had to Google the rules and made up many of our own so it wasn’t much of a structured game but still a lot of fun. I really enjoyed myself despite being a man who prefers my own company most of the time.

Day 2 coming soon!

A 2D/1N staycation at MOV Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Lobby

I was invited to check out this new hotel smack in the middle of the heart of the city last weekend. It’s just a 3 minute walk from Bukit Bintang MRT station. I know coz I took the train here. I’ve been taking the LRT/MRT a lot lately since I work in KL Sentral and live in USJ 21.

MOV

I hadn’t consulted my friend Google before coming and half expected it to be a boutique or shoplot hotel. I was quite surprised to see it was a recently built, tall, standalone building.

Slide

One of the highlights of the hotel is the awesome slide that goes from the lobby to the in-house restaurant in the basement. It’s quite fast but a blast to use.

Bathroom

The rooms are very modern, with hip architectural accents like wooden ring towel hangers at different heights.

Bed

The bed was comfortable and large and there’s blackout curtains. The entire place smells fresh and clean and that’s always a huge plus point for me. I’ve been to more than a few musty smelling hotels with the scent of the previous occupant’s hair gel, deodorant, or worse – armpit stank on the bedsheets/pillows/linen so it’s refreshing to smell freshly laundered sheets.

Switch

I was also intrigued by a switch that states “No More Monday Blues Here. Just Rainbows. Turn it On.” in the bathroom. It activates the ambient mood lighting in the shower. This is a pulsating glow that fades to different colors every few seconds. It sounds like it’ll be distracting but the effect is quite pleasant.

Rooftop

There is also a Rooftop which is home to hanging lounge chairs…

Pool

…a swimming pool with an excellent inner city view,

Gym

…and a gym. I have been getting into the fitness lifestyle lately and bemoaned many hotel’s focus on light weight dumbbells which do not offer a challenge to intermediate and advanced users.

Curl

Not here. They have dumbbells up to 25 kg, which is honestly more than I can curl.

Me

Joyce also took this photo of me in their gym, which I promptly uploaded to Facebook as my cover photo. I’m happy to report that it has received the most likes and reacts out of all the cover photos I’ve used.

Wings

MOV Hotel is located within easy walking distance to eating hotspots like Jalan Alor.

WAW

This is where you can indulge in the famous chicken wings and Hokkien mee at Wong Ah Wah. They’re equally famous for their brusque and no-nonsense service, so keep that in mind.

BBQ

This is not someplace you’ll want to bring a business client, lest the captain be rude to him, but if you’re on a vacation and have a hankering for overpriced wings, it’s worth a try.

Gelato

There’s also a gelato place called Jersey Jack right beside the hotel which is owned by an expat. They have creamy creations ranging from Guinness gelato to Asam Boi with Apple and Tangy Lime. Highly recommended.

Changkat

Of course, the hotel is also close to the nightlife of Changkat Bukit Bintang, where you can grab a beer and listen to some live music.

Wurst

Wurst is the in-house restaurant/cafe and the room I stayed in has breakfast included. You can come down via the slide or the more pedestrian lift/stairs.

Sausages

I read they’re famous for their sausages!

KLCC

I like how clean and new the hotel is and how central the location is to everything. There’s the MRT if you need to get around and you’re right in the middle of the action at Bukit Bintang. Lot 10 and Pavillion shopping malls are just a short walk away and we even went to KLCC via the covered and air-conditioned pedestrian overhead bridge. I didn’t even know that existed before last weekend! I would definitely stay here if I were travelling to KL. The prices are not as cheap as the dodgy hotels lining Bukit Bintang itself but the experience is way more comfortable. The rooms start from RM 209 per night.

Hotel

MOV Hotel
43, Jalan Berangan, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

20 photos from my trip to Kapit

Kapit Boat

I went to Kapit a while back for a 2D/1N stay. Kapit is a town 3 hours from Sibu by express boat. There is no other way to reach it – you can’t drive there and you can’t fly in either, the river is the only route.

Sibu Kapit

This is a uniquely Sarawakian feature, there are a lot of random towns that is connected only via Rejang River and lacks the proper highways or road connections to civilization.

Express Boat View

The funny thing is that you have to fill in a form detailing your name and IC number so they know who’s on board. This didn’t exist before, it was the high profile express boat capsizes and accidents resulting in multiple deaths that initiated it.

Live Chicken

I meant human deaths, not livestock. ;) You can find lots of interesting cargo onboard, including live chicken!

Kapit Sibu Express

Interestingly, they don’t overload the express boats anymore too. This makes it a lot safer compared to previous journeys. Previously, there would be people *on top* of the boat, hanging on to the side rails.

Kapit Jetty

We arrived in Kapit 3 hours later and had to disembark.

Sarawak Express Boat

You do this by walking along the side of the express boat. I’m used to it coz I’ve done it when I was a kid, but new people might find this disconcerting since the river is just beside you.

Kapit Town Square

Kapit is a very small town. You can walk around town in a matter of minutes and that’s what we did. We passed by Kapit Town Square on the way to our hotel.

Star Hill Inn

We stayed at Star Hill Inn, one of the best hotels there.

Kapit Hotel

I took a room and my bro Eddy took another room.

Kapit Shoplots

The hotel is in a shoplot, as you can see from the view.

Kapit Roti Canai Goreng

One of the highlights of the trip was eating roti canai goreng. This is a distinctive Kapit invention, they literally fry the roti canai inside a wok of boiling hot oil. Ingenious, and very tasty too.

Kapit Fair

We managed to have some time off the next day and went to see what was going on in Kapit Town Square. It turns out there’s a lot of games of chance, like an indoor funfair of sorts.

Fun Fair Games

I took a spin as well. You pay RM 1 for a can of soft drink and put it at a color of your choice. You get a 1 in 6 chance of winning equal odds e.g. you win 2 cans if you wager 2 cans.

Fun Fair

This works by throwing a tennis ball into a receptacle with 6 possible colors which matches the one on the table. You get unlimited tries, there’s no penalty if you miss or if the ball bounces back up. You simply try again until you get the ball into a color square.

Kapit Gambling

Behold! These are the high rollers of Kapit! smirk

High Rollers

Seriously though, these whales are betting cartons of 24 cans at once. We thought that was quite funny.

Durian Isu

I also managed to get some wild jungle durians to bring home. This is a native durian called durian isu. It’s very different from regular durians, it only has 4 segments. I’ll do a comprehensive review during the weekend.

Maggi Instant Noodles

We had a quick lunch of Maggi instant noodles at the wharf the next day before we departed…

Kapit Wharf

…and caught the afternoon express boat back. It was a really fun overnight trip with my bro Eddy. I haven’t been to Kapit in such a long time!

Roti Canai Goreng in Kapit

Roti Canai Goreng

I first heard about this wonderful creation a couple of months back. Fried roti canai is a staple in Kapit and one of those quirky inventions that can only take hold in a small town. I decided then and there that I must personally investigate this dish and planned to go on a trip downriver. Kapit is a small town that’s only reachable by boat – you can’t drive or fly there.

Roti Canai Goreng Kapit

The journey to Kapit takes 3 hours via express boat from Sibu and I went down with my bro Eddy for a night. It’s not just to eat roti canai goreng, but that certainly was a highlight (at least for me). Haha. The stalls in question are located at Gelanggang Kenyalang (loosely translated as Kenyalang Court). It’s an assortment of stalls under one roof, an indoor food court of sorts.

Gerai Makanan Islam Sri Suria

There is one stall that’s famous for their roti canai goreng but everyone essentially does it the same way nowadays. I went to Stall #25 Gerai Makanan Islam Sri Suria and the kind lady manning the frying pan told me about how the roti canai goreng is made. I was quite surprised to find out that it’s not grilled first – the raw dough of the roti canai is slipped into boiling hot oil and fried straight away.

Roti Goreng Kapit

The same treatment is done for the roti canai telur goreng (fried roti canai with egg). The egg is folded into the dough and deep fried till crispy. It’s served Sarawakian style with curry chicken and a sweet sambal sauce. The latter is truly local, I’ve never had this saccharine sambal anywhere else except at home.

Roti Canai Kapit

The roti canai goreng costs RM 2 and it’s plain roti canai that’s been deep fried. The dough is cooked through, with a crispy exterior. You can taste the sweetness of the dough by picking up the sliced pieces and munching on them. It’s very satisfying!

Roti Telur Goreng

Roti canai telur goreng comes in at RM 4 and it tastes totally different with an egg. I was surprised at how distinctive the two are! This one has a pockmarked surface (from the hot oil) and it tastes a lot more savory than the previous one.

Roti Canai Goreng Inside

Here’s a look at the inside. The egg is perfectly cooked from the heat of the cooking oil. The funny thing about the two roti canai variants is that the egg version is rectangle in shape while the plain is round and circular.

Roti Goreng

Roti canai goreng has a distinctive texture that’s very moreish. I could eat several of them, although it’s probably not wise to do so as it’s quite oily and I feel that excessive consumption would probably be bad for your cholesterol.

HB Eddy Kapit

This is definitely worth a try. I’ll come again just to eat this! You can only find it in Kapit, so if you’re ever in Sarawak and looking for something different, take a boat here and eat their famous roti canai goreng! :)



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