RM 30 Coconut Tom Yam Big Prawn Noodles @ Dian Xiao Er

dian xiao er prawn noodles

I’ve heard people telling me about this after I posted about the RM 33 big prawn noodles in a coconut available at Glory Cafe in Sarikei. Rowena and Alex both told me that Sibu itself has a version of this which they copied from Glory Cafe so I went to check it out with my dad yesterday. It’s located far inside the Ding Lik Kong industrial area near Igan River, which is about a 20 minute drive from Sibu town.

ding lik kong 31

It’s actually quite easy to find, I just forgot about the place. My dad called my uncle and got us oriented and it was just a matter of following road signs after that.

dian xiao er

The name of the coffee shop is Dian Xiao Er and it’s located along a block of shophouses that has three (!!!) coffee shops – it’s the middle one and they have a large banner promoting their Coconut Tom Yam Big Head Prawn Noodles.

dian xiao er sibu

The guy taking our order was a very friendly and chatty young kid who seemed to take a liking to me. He told me that there’s at least 5 different places in Sibu that offers the same thing now – all duplicates of the original recipe from Glory Cafe. He also confided that he’ll be shifting work places at the end of the month and he personally did not think this was as good as the Sarikei version.

sibu coconut big prawn noodles

I was pleased to see that the big head prawn (大头虾) is indeed quite large with claws intact.

big head prawn

The big head prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) is favored by Sarawakians due to the more intensely flavored meat. The other common type of prawn here is the big white prawn (Litopenaeus vannamei) which is milder. You can see the difference – the former really has a huge head in relation to the size of its body. If it were an inanimate object, I’ll compare it to a bobblehead or a chibi anime character. smirk

claws 2B pencil

The claws are very important too as the meat from them is equivalent to a *2B pencil*!

me big prawn noodles

I had a taste of the tom yam soup and I thought it was quite similar to Glory Cafe except for five key differences:

  • Calamansi lime not cooked in
  • Lemon grass stalk is chopped up (makes it hard to eat with the short inedible bits)
  • Cheap canned mushrooms from China used here
  • Not as much coconut juice
  • Spicier tom yam soup but less prawny broth

uncooked calamansi lime

The uncooked calamasi lime is the obvious one as Glory Cafe in Sarikei has a very mushy lime that’s almost *disintegrating* compared to this relatively fresh specimen and that adds a lot to the tom yam flavor profile.

sibu me dad

Nevertheless, I enjoyed my meal and it turns out to be cheaper than driving down to Sarikei for their RM 33 Tom Yam Coconut Big Prawn Noodles. It’s also better than the notorious RM 35 big head prawn noodles in Min Kwong. There are some problems with the recipe and it’s not exactly similar to the original one in Sarikei – anyone would be able to tell from a blind test taste.

sibu big prawn noodles

However, the one in Dian Xiao Er is a reasonably good facsimile of the original Glory Cafe Tom Yam Coconut Big Head Prawn Noodles and I’ll recommend it if you don’t feel like driving down to Sarikei – you can have your fix right in Sibu! It’s located at Lorong Ding Lik Kong 31.

Umai and other local delights @ Fisherman Restaurant

claypot tom yam prawns

I’ve been craving for umai lately and had the chance to eat it again for dinner with Arthur last night. Fisherman Restaurant is a popular local restaurant to bring visitors coz it has a lot of Melanau native delights like lokan, umai and ikan terubok. These are all Sarawakian dishes – they even have dabai (a local type of olive) when it’s in season.

umai

Umai is a local version of ceviche. Fisherman Restaurant does it in a style that’s similar to umai jeb in Mukah. I’ve had it when I went to Mukah in 2008 – it’s very fresh fish (in this case white pomfret or ikan bawal putih) that’s been cured with lime and mixed with chopped onions and chillies.

sarawak prawn crackers

It’s delicious when you eat it with the prawn crackers they serve as an appetizer.

prawn crackers umai

(although it’s traditionally eaten with sago pearls)

individual prawn claypot

We also ordered an individual serving of large prawn in a mini claypot. These prawns are huge and used in big head prawn noodles. The prawn is cooked in an assam tom yam broth soup and it costs RM 20 per prawn. It’s worth it though coz they do it very well – the broth is flavorful and spicy and the prawn meat is firm and juicy and sweet.

paku santan

The fibre quota was fulfilled by paku santan. It’s a local fern cooked Melanau style in santan (coconut milk) and shrimp. I really liked this dish too, everything the cook sent out really hit the mark.

fisherman restaurant

That’s why Fisherman Restaurant is so popular despite being relatively decrepit – peeling paint on the walls, dated single-unit wall air conditioners, and a musty interior. There were a lot of people who came after us coz we went really early – the place was quite full. I do wish that they put some money into renovation though – it looks the same (except a bit more worn) as when I went in 2008!

fisherman restaurant sibu

This isn’t even the original restaurant – they were located at a different part of town at first and shifted to this place.

fisherman restaurant us

I have to say that the best dish of the night is the roast lamb with mint sauce. This is a newer dish that came to pass with the current generation (the son came back from New Zealand where he had his own restaurant and brought some recipes home) and it’s cooked really well. I have to say that it’s even slightly better than my late mom’s famous lamb (sorry ma). smirk

roast lamb mint

The roast lamb here is sliced generously thick and the meat is juicy. You’ll love this if you’re fond of the slightly gamey taste of lamb, and they don’t overcook it unlike other places. They have two sauces – the mint sauce and a garlic inspired Asian dip, the former is the one you want since the latter is uninspiring. It costs RM 50 for the dish with two large slabs of lamb, definitely a must-order if you visit.

thick lamb slabs

The bill for the two of us came up to RM 126.40 but the roasted lamb (RM 25 per slice) and the tom yam prawns (RM 20 per prawn) accounts for RM 90 so the dishes aren’t really that expensive if you don’t order the premium stuff. Thanks for dinner Arthur! It’s always good to catch up when I’m back home. :)

Tom Yam Big Prawn Noodles served inside a coconut for RM 33

coconut tom yam big prawn noodles

Behold! This Coconut Tom Yam Big Prawn Noodle is the latest innovation from Glory Cafe in Sarikei and it’s not just served inside a coconut, it’s cooked with *coconut juice*! I’ve been eating their famous tom yam spin on big prawn noodles since 2008 and it’s worth the hour’s drive from Sibu. It used to retail for RM 14 and was subsequently raised until the current price at RM 33 per bowl (or coconut, rather).

glory cafe sarikei

The first time I went, I was so taken by their take on the big prawn noodles that I wrote a glowing review. Strange thing was, the owners actually took notice and printed out my blog post and pasted it on their stall. Thus, the next time I went, they actually served me a complimentary bowl of their tom yam big prawn noodles for the early exposure!

glory cafe

I drove down to Sarikei to show my better half and my dad what this storm in a teacup bowl is all about over the weekend. We just had lunch and wasn’t sure what time Glory Cafe closes so it’s a good thing Joyce got us the number and I called ahead. It used to be cheaper than the notoriously priced RM 35 big prawn noodles in Sibu so people in the know started coming here but it’s now almost the same price.

big prawn noodles sarikei

The Coconut Tom Yam Big Prawn Noodles here tastes a lot better though! They still serve the old version in a bowl instead of inside a coconut but the new coconut variant is better. The updated recipe is actually very sweet and I asked what the difference was – it turns out that they actually use coconut juice instead of water to make the tom yam soup for the big prawn noodles!

coconut tom yam prawn noodles

There are two different options for prawns/shrimp – RM 25 for a coconut bowl of big white prawn (Litopenaeus vannamei) and RM 33 for the larger giant freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii). The latter is actually cheaper in Sarikei coz it’s closer to the source and it’s what people here call da tou xia (大头虾) or big head prawn. We went for the latter since it tastes a lot better and it’s the traditional prawn to go into big prawn noodles.

prawn noodles in coconut

It’s absolutely delicious! My dad was still full so me and my dear shared a coconut bowl of the tom yam big prawn noodles. There’s actually not a lot since the volume inside of a coconut is rather small (the husk makes up a large mass of the actual coconut) but it’s the perfect serving for one.

sharing plates

There’s one large big head prawn inside split into four and about a fistful of noodles but it tastes soooo good – the broth is spicy and savory and sour and sweet at the same time, this really hits all the notes. I wished we ordered a coconut bowl each but that would be too much since we just ate lunch.

coconut juice

We also ordered coconuts for drinks (RM 3.50 each) and my dear tried their new homemade coconut pudding (RM 6). The coconut pudding is very popular – almost every table ordered it, and we wanted to check it out too. It’s made in-house with coconut milk and coconut juice and it’s not the same thing as the coconut jelly that we have in KL and Thailand. It’s sweet and the perfect counter-balance for the tom yam big prawn noodles.

coconut pudding

The tao geh nio gave me a strange look when I paid the bill and she said I looked familiar and I told her about how I used to make the hour long drive down just to eat their noodles and wrote the original review they printed out six years ago. Haha. This is a relatively new dish – it was just launched last year so if you haven’t been back in a while, I would highly recommend Glory Cafe’s Coconut Tom Yam Big Prawn Noodles.

glory cafe us

It’s definitely worth the time to drive down but keep in mind that they’re very full during weekends and the last order is before 4 pm.

Glory Cafe’s Big Prawn Asam Tom Yam Noodles, Sarikei

glory cafe

I drove down to Sarikei to sample the famous RM 14 Asam Tom Yam Big Prawn Noodles at Glory Cafe on Sunday morning. I went with Faye and the journey from Sibu to Sarikei took about 45 minutes. It can take up to an hour (or more/less) depending on how fast you drive – the distance is approximately 105 km. Glory Cafe is located at the only Magnum 4D outlet in Sarikei – do note that there are other gaming operators there (Sports Toto) – it’s the Magnum 4D outlet you should be looking for. The QAG 4114 arrived at Glory Cafe at just a little before 12 pm and parked right in front of a fire hydrant no-parking zone. ;)

asam tom yam noodles

It took about 20 minutes for our order to arrive. The Asam Tom Yam Big Prawn Noodles came in a large glass serving bowl and is filled to the brim with huge big prawns, noodles and the asam tom yam soup. Asam Tom Yam is a cross between asam laksa and tom yum soup. It is made of tamarind, lemon grass, lime leaves, fish sauce and chili peppers. It is a delicious contrast of sweet and sour flavors with a hint of spiciness thrown into the mix. You can opt to substitute the default noodles with other carbohydrate chains e.g. rice vermicelli, kueh tiaw, tang hoon etc.

big prawn macro

The big head prawns in the RM 14 Asam Tom Yam Big Prawn Noodles are huge and the chef was generous enough to include several of them in the dish. Each prawn is sliced vertically for easier consumption. Nevertheless, this is not a dish for dignified foodies – you almost certainly have to manually separate the shell from the crustacean with your fingers to get at the flesh.

asam tom yam mee

I went for the Asam Tom Yam Big Prawn Noodles (RM 14). The egg noodles is thick and has an almost tangible sweet undertone that goes very well with the asam tom yam. The noodles go well with the sour (from the tamarind) and sweet flavors from the soup. I noticed that the noodles also tend to absorb the flavors better. The noodles taste better than rice vermicelli due to the latter being unable to absorb the flavors of the asam tom yam soup. The portion is huge and it will definitely satiate all but the most voracious appetite.

asam tom yam mee hoon

Faye went for the Asam Tom Yam Big Prawn Rice Vermicelli (RM 14). Rice vermicelli is known locally as bee hoon. It’s the same dish except with rice vermicelli in place of the noodles. She thought it tasted alright until she sampled my noodles…after which she promptly took possession of my bowl. I am considering an appeal to the International Court of Justice for the disputed two-cubit Asam Tom Yam Noodle Island, I mean, bowl.

glory cafe us

It should be noted that the asam tom yam concoction is a notorious fabric stainer. You should probably reconsider wearing white or light colored articles of clothing during the consumption of this particular dish. The splash damage can be considerable despite elaborate measures to avoid such occurrences.

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