Restaurant Padang Sari Ratu Prima

Ikan Berdiri

I was shopping with my better half over the weekend when we saw Sari Ratu Prima. I know that place, I told her. They had just opened up a huge branch opposite my condo in Kota Damansara earlier in the year and it’s just about the only decent halal food (not counting mamaks) in my area. My dear isn’t keen on Malay food but I come here quite often.

Sari Ratu Prima

Technically, Nasi Padang is Indonesian food and the Sari Ratu Prima brand comes from West Sumatra. I would call them a higher end halal eatery, with air conditioned comfort and the prices to match. The people are friendly and the best part is that the dishes come out all hot. Unlike chap fan or nasi kandar, the protein and vegetables are either reheated or cooked to order, making it a lot more delicious.

Restaurant Padang

I come here for their deep fried fish. I used to work with government ministries a lot, and had a client who was really into “ikan berdiri”. It means “fish that stands up” in Malay and basically he wants it fried whole in a certain way that makes it defy gravity. Sari Ratu Prima does this quite well. There are a lot of other dishes which you can pick from as well.

Gulai Kambing (RM 13.65)

Gulai Kambing

This is Indonesian style mutton curry and the priciest meat on their menu. I didn’t even realize that I had such expensive taste. Haha. All kidding aside, mutton always costs more than chicken or beef. There are quite a lot of bone-in pieces so it’s great value. I like their gulai too – it’s mild and creamy, not overly spicy. I think my dear can eat this if she liked the flavor combinations more.

Sayur Kailan (RM 5.50)

Sayur Kailan

This is supposed to be RM 5.50 but I got it for free. I’m not exactly sure how that works, but if you order above a certain price for 1 pax, the workers have some kind of leeway to deduct the lowest priced item (usually a vegetable) from your total. They do charge full price for rice though (RM 2.20). It comes in a pyramid shape like a famous Kota Kinabalu chicken rice shop.

Jus Durian (RM 8.90)

Jus Durian

This is a very creamy milkshake made with vanilla ice cream and durian flesh. It’s quite good and I like to order it whenever I come to Sari Ratu Prima. They also have an avocado fruit juice called Jus Alpokat for RM 10.50. However, you can get the avocado juice for free in their RM 12.90 weekday lunch deal (told you they have strange pricing) so I recommend doing this instead.

Ikan Nila Goreng (RM 25)

Ikan Nila Goreng

This is a whole fish deep fried until crispy. The nila fish has little bones to speak of so you don’t have to worry about getting any stuck to your throat. It’s also served piping hot since it’s cooked to order. I love the fish here. Their sauce is excellent too – it’s a mixture of sweet soy sauce and sambal and it goes very well with the fried fish. This is what I usually come for.

Nasi Padang

Sari Ratu Prima also has a RM 12.90 weekday lunch deal where you can get a few items + a drink which is quite good value. The bill came up to RM 55.20 when I ate here last but the fish made up 1/2 of the total. The reason everything tastes so good here is coz they follow the “cukup rasa” philosophy – all the dishes are overspiced and oversalted, including the fried fish. I had a sodium headache so bad that I had to go to sleep after the meal! It was still worth it though. smirk

Sapporo Central Wholesale Market and Curb Market: Seafood Donburi, Horsehair Crab, Fresh Sea Urchin, Grilled Hokke Fish

Hokkaido Central Wholesale Market

We decided to have lunch at the famous Sapporo Central Wholesale Market in Hokkaido. The market is known for fresh and local seafood and there are a lot of stalls which serve the crabs, seafood and fish they sell on top of rice (called kaisendon). It’s less commercialized than the Nijo Market and the Curb Market beside the wholesale market is open to the public. It’s the best place in Sapporo to eat sashimi on rice!

Sapporo Curb Market Donburi

There are several huge restaurants at the Sapporo Curb Market and I was intrigued by the beautiful bowls of fresh seafood there. You can have a luxurious bowl of rice topped with fresh raw uni (sea urchin) for JPY 4,500 (about RM 180) or a bowl of rice with a bit of everything for JPY 2,980. The prices might sound a little steep but these are super fresh premium local seafood.

Sapporo Donburi

However, my better half wanted to go to a locally owned restaurant instead and thus we popped into a hole-in-the-wall where the locals went to. The stuff they all serve are pretty much the same – it’s basically variants of different types of seafood on rice, since this is a restaurant attached to a fish market. You can also upgrade your miso soup to crab miso soup for JPY 500 (about RM 20).

Horsehair Crab Miso Soup

I did that for mine and this is what it looks like. The restaurant put both snow crab and horsehair crab (also known as Hokkaido Hairy Crab) into the soup for a 500 yen supplement, which is a good price. It has one leg from a snow crab and one body from a horsehair crab.

Seafood Donburi

I ordered the seafood donburi. You can choose as many types of seafood as you want and it’s calculated accordingly. I went with 5 toppings + sea urchin for JPY 2,800 (about RM 110). I chose horsehair crab (ケガニ/kegani), humpback shrimp (peony ebi), surf clam (hokkigai), squid (ika), scallop (hotate), and sea urchin (uni) in the middle. OMG! This is without a doubt the best donburi I ever had!

Hokkaido Horsehair Crab

The horsehair crab (far right) is a local species and the only cooked item in this bowl. The humpback shrimp is raw and extremely sweet! It’s called peony ebi in Japanese and it’s the largest shrimp in Hokkaido. I loved the crunchy surf clam and the soft scallop too. The squid was the most interesting thing – I was puzzled at first coz it didn’t look like any squid I’ve ever seen.

Uni Sashimi Donburi

This brown/orange stuff at 7 pm is actually part of the squid’s head! It’s superbly creamy (like foie gras from the sea) and has a wonderful mouth feel. Very sweet too. It’s hard to find squid like this unless you order ikizukuri (live sashimi) coz the squid head (brains?) is one of the most sought after items. I loved it! The uni was also perfect, freshest I’ve ever had. You have to eat the uni in Hokkaido, it’s a completely different species called ezo bafun uni (short-spined sea urchin).

Hokke Fish

Hokke (ほっけ) is what the Japanese call Okhotsk atka mackerel – it’s caught off the waters of Hokkaido so it’s super fresh and local. My dear wanted something hot so she had this for JPY 850 (about RM 40). It’s grilled and served whole with rice. The hokke fish is charred on the skin since it’s cooked yakitori style – they call it yaki hokke (焼きホッケ) in Sapporo. You’re supposed to pick at the meat and the awesome thing is that there are no pinbones inside.

Grilled Hokke

You can also eat the skin but it’s slightly chewy and crispy. The caramelized flesh is really delicious though – the semi burnt smoky taste permeates the whole fish and it’s quite substantial in size. This is served with miso soup and a bowl of rice and there’s nothing quite like eating such a locally caught fish inside a warm family owned restaurant attached to a fish market in the cold, snowy winter.

Sapporo Donburi Restaurant

The seafood bowls here are the best in Sapporo. The price is also relatively cheap – the grade of uni we get locally will never be served here, it’s not even fit for their dumpster (to be perfectly blunt). The sea urchin they sell get slashed to half price at 12 pm! That’s how much they put a premium on quality and freshness. You can’t get it any fresher than from the fish wholesale market so if you’re in Hokkaido, pay a visit to Sapporo Central Wholesale Market and Curb Market and enjoy the delicious raw seafood donburi! :)

Australian Yee Sang Dinner @ Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial KL

Australian Yee Sang Dinner

I just came back from my second yee sang dinner of the year. It was a Tourism Australia event for partners and media and this is a dinner I try to attend every single year. It’s always a blast to meet up with the tourism reps and the food at Celestial Court is good. This year had an ingredient for every dish (usually seafood) brought over all the way from Australia.

Abalone Yee Sang

I thought that was a brilliant idea!

Prosperity Yee Sang with Tasmania Ocean Trout with Truffle Sydney Green Lips Abalone

Prosperity Yee Sang with Tasmania Ocean Trout with Truffle Sydney Green Lips Abalone
The highlight of the yee sang is the Sydney green lips abalone (something I’ve been seeing a lot in yee sang this year) and the Tasmanian ocean trout. The plum sauce and acidity of this raw salad is spot on. I’ve never really enjoyed yee sang for the sake of it, it’s more like a tradition for me, but Celestial Court’s yee sang is quite yummy.

Double Boiled South Australia Mini Abalone Soup with Fresh Ginseng

Double Boiled South Australia Mini Abalone Soup with Fresh Ginseng and Wolfberries
I love abalone, especially in poon choy, and this year we’ll have another abalone filled poon choy too. The double boiled soup was done really well, with lots of ginseng goodness and a nice baby abalone in the clear broth.

Jasmine Tea Marinated Northern Territory Barramundi with Melbourne Vegemite

Jasmine Tea Marinated Northern Territory Barramundi with Melbourne Vegemite Soya Sauce topped with Fruity Dressing
This is my favorite dish of the night. I’ve had barramundi in Australia before and it’s always with crispy skin. However, barramundi cooked Chinese style with soggy skin is even more fabulous! I like the umami sauce, it’s made with Vegemite and goes very well with the flaky tender barramundi. I saw an extra piece on the table and didn’t hesitate to help myself to seconds. The hint of smokiness from the Jasmine tea marinate is just irresistible. smirk

Wok Fried Queensland Scallops with Celery and Flower Fungus in Premium Scallop Sauce

Wok Fried Queensland Scallops with Celery and Flower Fungus in Premium Scallop Sauce
The fresh scallops were really awesome too. There were two Malay guys sitting beside me (this is a pork free restaurant) and one of them told me this is his favorite dish due to the spiciness. The scallop sauce is actually a hot sambal and it goes surprisingly well with the soft and moist scallops. Very nice.

Stewed Bean Curd and Bean Puff with Dried Oyster Sea Moss and Darwin Broccoli

Stewed Bean Curd and Bean Puff with Dried Oyster Sea Moss and Darwin Broccoli
I am usually not a huge fan of soy bean and tofu byproducts but I was quite hungry tonight since I skipped lunch (was too busy and had to rush to make dinner in time). It turned out that this was quite pleasing to my palate, but no one could finish it, unlike the other dishes.

Five Grain Rice with South Australia Kinkawooka Blue Mussels and Barbeque Meat Topped with Bonito Flakes

Five Grain Rice with South Australia Kinkawooka Blue Mussels and Barbeque Meat Topped with Bonito Flakes
I ate every single mouthful of this individually portioned dish as well. It was the standard filler but I enjoyed the mussels from South Australia. I generally enjoy all types of seafood and would prefer it to any other protein.

Victoria Frost Berries with Chinese Nian Gao

Victoria Frost Berries with Chinese Nian Gao
The nian gao (sticky glutinous rice cake) is usually eaten around Chinese New Year. This was sliced and pan-fried and it tasted good with the tartness of the Victorian frost berries.

Chrysanthemum Ice Cream topped with Western Australia Macadamia Nut Crush

Chrysanthemum Ice Cream topped with Western Australia Macadamia Nut Crush
Wonderful stuff! We were all wondering what the ice cream flavor was since it was very mild when contrasted with the toasted macadamia nuts. I finally got a hint of chrysanthemum and thought it was ingenious to make a chrysanthemum flower flavored ice cream. It’s a very adult dessert, not too sweet with plenty of texture.

Tourism Australia Koala

There was a picture under the ramekins when they served up the ice cream. It’s either a hot air balloon or a tower and the latter was limited to 68 pieces. You can redeem it for a Tourism Australia koala soft toy while the default door gift was a gold wire mesh kangaroo with two Mandarin oranges. I got the first one but they were kind enough to give me one of each. The kids would love it!

HB Shamila

Thanks for the wonderful dinner Shamila! I really enjoyed all the seafood from Australia.

Yih Wen & Kian Mun’s 8-course Wedding Dinner

Yih Wen Kian Mun Wedding

I’m back in Sibu for the weekend to attend my cousin’s wedding reception. Yih Wen is one of my closest cousins on my dad’s side. I used to hang out with her while waiting to go to school at my grandma’s place when I was younger. She just got married and we had the wedding dinner at Tanahmas Hotel in Sibu.

Wedding Reception

I’ve actually met Kian Mun (the groom) during my previous trip back to Sibu. We went out for dinner together with Yih Wen’s family, a pre-wedding get-together so to speak. I find him to be a nice guy, his family is from Ipoh.

Grandma HB

Here’s my grandma! She’s the matriarch of the family, pictured here with me and my dad.

Calvin Noble HB

The wedding dinner was held last night on the 19th of December. I was seated with my cousin Calvin and Noble.

Marzipan Wedding Cake

This is the wedding cake. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had the proper marzipan covering instead of the usual icing. I believe this is the first time I’ve seen this in Sibu. It tasted good too.

Four Seasons Combination Platter

Four Seasons Combination Platter
This is the first course. It has six (6) items instead of the usual four. I rather enjoyed the prawn cocktail in the middle. I have a weakness for sweet mayo covered shrimp. The pickled jellyfish was nice too.

Sharks Fin Soup

Shark’s Fin Soup
A traditional soup course that’s eaten with vinegar. The server didn’t pour the vinegar into the soup though (coz not everyone likes it) so we helped ourselves.

Baked Fish Head with Cheese

Baked Fish Head with Cheese
I believe the fish was battered and deep fried first before being put into a salamander and grilled to melt the cheese. This is my favorite dish of the night – I find that I like fish more and more as I get older. This wasn’t the case in the past, actually I don’t think I’ve eaten fish willingly before my mid-20’s (except for stuff like smoked salmon). The fish goes well with the cheese, the latter imparts a pleasant umami component.

Duck Two Ways

Duck Two Ways
The right side is a classic Chinese roast duck and the left side is a braised duck. I thought the duck should have been rendered a bit more but the plum sauce was good.

Braised Sea Cucumber

Braised Sea Cucumber
This medley contains sea cucumber, Pacific clams and razor clams arranged over fu chuk (tofu skin) and broccoli bordering the side. It’s another established dish in the Chinese wedding dinner repertoire. I’m quite fond of stuff like this – anything from the sea would catch my fancy nowadays.

Deep Fried Prawns

Deep Fried Prawns
This is a huge prawn but unfortunately I was quite full at this point so I only had one. I was very impressed with the size of the jumbo shrimp.

Red Bean Pastries Two Ways

Red Bean Pastries Two Ways
I thought this was a very clever implementation – both the desserts are made using red beans but one of them is deep fried into thin pancakes and the other has a mung bean filling and is stuffed into a mochi-type casing. The former is a traditional Chinese festive dessert.

resh Fruits Platter

Fresh Fruits Platter
Oh, how I’ve missed eating plum powder! Haha. This is the stuff we used to get with sliced guava and it always seemed to be in short supply when I was a kid. It’s very more-ish and goes very well with all sorts of fruits.

Yih Wen Kian Mun Dad HB

I managed to take a photo with my dad and the bride and groom after the dinner. Thanks for having us Yih Wen and Kian Mun! :)

B & Best Seafood Noodles, PJ SS4


I discovered this haven for fresh fish connoisseurs way back in 2008. B & Best Seafood Noodles has a lot of different types of fish on ice and it’s one of the best places to eat a steaming hot bowl of fresh fish noodles. I was with my better half and her mom over the weekend and we decided to pop in here for a slightly luxurious breakfast.

B Best Restaurant

There is a wide range of premium seafood options for the taking – everything from grouper to huge prawns and scallops in the middle. The huge board above the stall lists down prices for every type of fish and ranges from RM 13 for Senangin to RM 26 for Estuary Grouper.

Red Grouper Fish Noodles

Red Grouper Fish Noodles (RM 15)
This is what my dear’s mom went for. You can opt for noodles or rice vermicelli or a mixture of the two. I personally think rice vermicelli goes better with all types of seafood due to the delicate nature of the meat but it’s personal preference. The fish didn’t disappoint, it was tender and the broth carried enough flavor while allowing the natural fish taste to shine though.

Queensland Grouper Fish Head Noodles

Queensland Grouper Fish Head Noodles (RM 26)
My better half had this one. It’s the special of the day. Queensland Grouper is just another name for Estuary Grouper. There’s only one fish head per fish so stocks are understandably limited. The fish head meat comes pre-sliced and it tastes better than regular body meat, at least for people who like fish. The texture of the flesh from a grouper’s face is a lot more pleasing – plenty of cartilage and collagen, I would highly recommend it over the regular cuts.

Napoleon Fish Noodles

Napoleon Fish Noodles (RM 26)
I had the humphead wrasse/so mei/蘇眉 with noodles. The fish is supple and yielding with a clean aftertaste. I liked it, but I exchanged a lot of my fish slices with my dear since I preferred the meat from a fish head. This place has a smorgasbord of fishes to suit all budgets from the humble mackerel (RM 13) to the midrange mullet fish (RM 20) right up to the Pearl Grouper (RM 26).

Whole Scallops

Whole Scallops (RM 18)
I also ordered a bowl of scallops to share. You can have this with noodles too, all the options are available with add-on noodles. The fat and juicy scallops are quite good, and fresh too. I chose this over the abalone since the latter comes in packs while the scallops are the real deal. They also have oysters, escargots, clams, and fish maw.

You’ll love this place if you enjoy a bowl of steaming fresh fish noodles. They have a range of species to fit every budget and you can even opt for the dry version (soup with seafood served separately) if you prefer. The prices are slightly higher than other dedicated estuary grouper fish noodle stalls like Ah Po Estuary Grouper and Min Yee Estuary Grouper but they have a wider selection of seafood here. The bill for the three of us came up to RM 84.50 but the fish portions are larger than it looks from the shock of green vegetables floating on top.

B Best Seafood Noodles

You’ll need to go early though. I made a Google Maps destination in my previous post, which I used to get there yesterday morning – I forgot how to go and the GPS marker is confirmed correct. :)

Boodle Feast – A Boodle Fight Meal!

Boodle Feast

This is the Boodle Feast that we had earlier this week. I had no idea what a “Boodle Fight” was until I saw photos of a previous one. It’s a tradition from the Philippines where you eat with your hands from a communal mound of rice surrounded with meat and seafood on a bed of banana leaves.

Boodle Fight

This seems to originate from the Philippine Military Academy, where they call it a Boodle Fight.

Boodle Sibu

My bro Eddy took the time to make this happen. It’s a good thing his wife is Pinoy (and cooks really well) and the 9 of us sat down to this unique dining experience at his home.

Grilled Meat

The meat is primarily grilled using the BBQ. Jona has been working the grill the entire day to prepare this dinner.

Toli Shad

There was the delicious ikan terubok (toli shad) – a popular local fish which is currently only available from several spots in Sarawak.

Ikan Terubok

This is what the fish looks like before cooking. It has been salted although it’s not salted fish per se. It’s a strange hybrid I’ve grown to love.

Banana Leaves

The banana leaves were laid down to cover two tables – first a bed of smaller leaves and then the full green luscious ones were put on top as the eating surface.

Making Boodle Fight

There are no plates or spoons – you use your hands for the Boodle Feast.

Layering Boodle Feast

It was a lot of food!

Boodle Preparation

There are three kinds of eggs – salted duck eggs were mixed into the rice together with boiled quail eggs and halved chicken eggs on the side.

Rice Mound Boodle

Pork chops, barbequed beef, mutton, chicken, fish and sausages represented the protein while cucumbers, okra and tomatoes provides a palate cleanser of sorts.


I thought the tomatoes were brilliant as it gives a burst of citrus like tang, which prevents an overload from the massive amounts of meat.

Boodle Feast Us

You basically take a portion of rice from the middle to your own eating spot on the banana leaf and start eating.

Boodle Table

Hands are utilized for everything and it made for a really unique and interesting no-cutlery-allowed eating experience. I ate so much from the boodle feast I felt like bursting!

Ikan Terubok (toli shad/Chinese herring), bitter gourd fritters, otak-otak sausage and other delights @ Eddy’s dinner

Dinner Spread

Eddy is my brother, not by something as accidental as blood, but something much stronger – by choice. He’s always been a solid friend ever since I met him in 2008. He’s usually the one picking me up when I fly back to Sibu and this time was no exception. His wife Jona is a great cook and I went over for dinner the other day.

Fried salted ikan terubok (toli shad)

Terubok Fish

This is ikan terubok (also known as toli shad or Chinese herring). It’s a very popular fish in Sarawak. Toli shad is only available here and there are two varieties – the fresh ones and the dried + salted version. You can see the distinctive pattern here coz the scales are not removed (!!!).

Ikan Terubok

You actually deep fry the entire fish and it comes out very crunchy so you can eat the scales and bones. I thought that was very intriguing – I’ve never had it this way before and wanted to get some for my better half to try. It’s sooooo delicious. You can only get this fish in Kuching though.

Meatball soup

Meatball Soup

I didn’t eat this until after I finished all my rice coz I didn’t grow up with soup so it’s not essential to my diet. I know some cultures like Foochow and Cantonese which accords soup a very important (even essential) place on the dinner table. I found the soup to be very flavorful from the meatballs and the texture of the soft vegetables (from boiling) to be quite heartening.

Stewed pig stomach

Stewed Pig Stomach

This is not for the picky eater but I love it. The hog maw is from Golden Happiness Restaurant. I’ve eaten the same dish before during Chinese New Year and they do it really well. It’s a mixture of organs – pig tail, pig ears, and duck.

Steamed vegetables

Steamed Vegetables

This is the healthiest item for the night. Eddy has two Indonesian maids and he treats them really well. We all eat together during buka puasa (the breaking of fast during the month of Ramadan for them, who are Muslims).

Otak-otak sausage

Otak-Otak Sausage

This is something new for me as well. I was quite hungry when I woke up (fell asleep at his place coz I’ve been working late nights during this trip) and had one of the otak-otak sausages before dinner. It’s very spicy and really tastes like otak-otak, although it’s not made of fish. I’m not sure what kind of protein is inside, let’s just say it’s a lip-smacking package of mystery meat in tube form. smirk

Onion omelet

Onion Omelet

A comfort food that most people has grown up with. It’s large Bombay onions chopped and fried with eggs. The sweetness from the onions make this a very familiar and welcome addition to the meal.

Pan-fried lamb chops

Pan-Fried Lamb Chops

I love lamb chops. My mom used to cook them for us when we she was still alive and all of our family like the taste of lamb. I’m particularly fond of unrendered lamb fat – it’s strong tasting and gamey to a lot of people but these very characteristics are the same reason I love the fatty parts.

Bitter gourd fritters

Bitter Gourd Fritters

Bitter gourd chips! This is thinly sliced bitter gourd that’s been battered and fried. It’s crunchy and slightly bitter – pure awesome! I’ve also never had it this way, that’s why I always like eating at Eddy’s house. Jona always comes out with food that I don’t eat often (or at all) so it’s a pleasure to sample these new dishes.

Group Photo

It was a delightful dinner. I’ve always enjoyed eating at Eddy’s place due to the splendid cooking. I tend to overeat and stuff myself but it’s worth it, coz I hardly ever eat here unless I’m back home. There’s always something interesting on the table and the fare is better than most restaurants out there.

Dinner with my cousin, her fiancé, his mom and 9 from our extended family

Hong Fu Sibu

I know, the title sounds a little unwieldy but it’s actually very accurate. smirk We had dinner at Hong Fu Seafood Restaurant last night. There were 12 of us and we took the largest table available and could barely fit everyone in.

Hong Fu Seafood

This dinner is supposed to be a “meet the parents” kind of thing for my cousin’s fiancé (and his mom) before their wedding at the end of the year. It morphed into a “meet the extended family” coz that’s just how we roll. Two of the uncles I’m closest with were there, as well as my dad, my grandma and several of my cousins and aunties to round things up.

Hong Fu Seafood Restaurant in Sibu is actually known for their crabs. It used to be RM 13 / kg which is an amazing price for Sibu (we’re a landlocked town). Here’s what we had:

Philippines Pork Leg (Crispy Pata)

Crispy Pata

I’ve always found it amusing that people from Sibu refer to this iconic Filipino dish as “Philippines pork leg” when so many other places have a similar implementation e.g. Germany. The proper term for this dish is crispy pata.

Philippines Pork Leg

It’s deep fried pork leg (with trotters) that’s been simmered in water along with spices beforehand. There’s usually a dipping sauce made with some combination of acidic, sweet and sour elements e.g. vinegar, sugar, soy sauce. Hong Fu makes one of the best implementations of this in Sibu. It came in two huge platters to accommodate our late party.

Midin (Local Fiddlehead Fern)

Sibu Fiddlehead Fern

This is a Sibu classic, fiddlehead ferns called midin that’s cooked with a bit of chilli. I quite like it, it’s one of my favorite dishes.

Signature House Tofu

Tofu Pork Mince

The large slabs (about the size of a CD case) of tofu is made in-house and lightly fried before a thick pork mince gravy is poured over it. I have been eating more tofu lately (get your mind out of the gutter) and I’m starting to enjoy it.

Stir Fried Vegetables

Hong Fu Vegetable

This the obligatory green dish. I’ve also been eating more vegetables lately and I’ve been developing a fondness for it too, thanks to my better half. I did not grow up eating veggies – in fact I hardly ever ate vegetables until I was in my late 20’s.

Mongolian Chicken

Mongolian Chicken

This is really yummy. I like sweet & sour pork and this tastes a little like that, but better! Everyone does this slightly differently, and it’s been bastardized in so many Chinese restaurants abroad. The chicken is fried so there’s a bit of crunch and the sauce is sweet, sour and spicy. Lovely stuff – I can just eat this dish alone with rice.

Braised Sea Cucumber

Sea Cucumber

I don’t know why restaurants in Sibu always pair sea cucumber with broccoli but I ain’t complaining about Hong Fu’s implementation. The sea cucumber is wonderfully tender and flavorful from the sauce. There’s just something very visceral about slurping the slippery things into your gob.

Steamed Red Snapper

Red Snapper

My uncle brought this fish to the restaurant. You can actually do that here if you have a better or fresher specimen that you want to eat. You’ll be charged for the cooking but not the fish – it’s a similar concept to a corkage charge for wine in BYOB restaurants.

Yih Wen

I actually came back to Sibu for several reasons – I needed to meet with my first client for Pulse Consulting, open up my company bank account, discuss a new project that’s in the pipeline (potential new client, yay), celebrate Father’s Day with my dad, and hang out with my bro Eddy whose mom just passed last week and I’m glad I managed to catch my cousin Yih Wen and her fiancé too.

It’s very rare that we all get together like this in one big family. :)

Chee Keong & Mei Sze’s wedding @ Summer Palace

Chee Keong Mei Sze Wedding Banquet

This is the first wedding we attended this year! I had missed a friend (and co-worker) wedding in December 2014 due to prior commitments, so this is the first wedding of 2015. It’s a bit unusual as the traditional Chinese wedding banquet dinner was held on a Sunday night and the restaurant was quite far in Putrajaya Marriott Hotel so we got home quite late yesterday.

Summer Palace Putrajaya Marriott

The bride and groom had a ceremony earlier in the day which culminated in this wedding dinner. I knew the couple from a previous trip to Bangkok and the 9-course banquet was held at Summer Palace – the Chinese restaurant at Marriott in Putrajaya.

HB Ling Wedding

It’s a very nice place for a wedding – I’ve eaten here before at a company dinner and the food wasn’t too bad but the scenery and service is the main selling points. The servers are very conscientious about changing your plates after every course and I had a glass of The Macallan 12 year old for my drink.

Deluxe Five Happiness Combination Platter

Deluxe Five Happiness Combination Platter

This is the first course and instead of the traditional “Four Seasons” plate with four food items this has five different hot and cold elements. There’s also the increasingly common theatre that goes with the first course, with the servers getting in line and doing a performance before grandly putting the first plate on your table.

Deep Fried Salted Egg

I first saw this at my sister’s wedding in Sibu but it wasn’t present at her wedding in KL. We thought the cold pork belly/duck breast slices were the best part of the dish – it was lying on a bed of pickled jellyfish which provided a wonderful acidic element. We also loved the boiled and deep fried salted egg.

Double-boiled Chicken Soup with Baby Abalone, Top Shell & Chinese Herbs

Double boiled Chicken Soup with Baby Abalone

Shark’s Fin Soup has gone out of vogue since the environmentalist types and the wannabes/sheep started a crusade against it. I’m personally ambivalent about the issue, as most people who really understand the issue, with the entire hypocrisy (and racism) of Sea Shepard and other militant environmental organizations on one side and the heritage of Icelandic culture (hákarl – fermented Greenland shark), Canadian legal seal meat and Japanese/French proudly unapologetic cuisine on the other.

However, I think the substitution of shark’s fin soup with a clear soup with premium ingredients like abalone, fish maw, top shell (magpie shell) and such is a good thing too and it tastes better and there was been a spate of fake shark’s fin going around in the few years before it became the “S-word”.

This is a good example of a nice clear soup which highlights the abalone, top shell, chicken and fish maw and it’s individually portioned beforehand.

Roasted Sesame Chicken & Roasted Chicken

Roasted Sesame Chicken

The chicken done two ways is a nice twist on the traditional roasted chicken. However, I’m not a huge fan of chicken done this way – there’s no sea salt or plum sauce for the slightly overcooked and dry roasted chicken and the roasted sesame chicken wasn’t much better.

Steamed Mandarin Fish “Unicorn” Style

Steamed Unicorn Fish

This seems to be the latest trend in serving fish at Chinese banquets! The fish is totally de-boned and filleted. The fillets of fish is then wrapped around a long, tubular “fish ball” and presented on the carcass of the fish so it looks like rolled up fish flesh.

Unicorn Fish

I’m a purist so I still prefer steamed fish served whole but I have to admit, this “unicorn style” platters of fish is very easy to eat, and the fish ball inside makes it taste artificially good with lots of MSG!

Chilled ‘Ming’ Prawns with Mayo & Stir-fried Prawn Balls with Butter Cream

Chilled Ming Prawns with Butter Cream

This is the best dish that we had the entire night! There’s huge prawns done two ways, and they’re all de-shelled and de-veined. One is cooked in a sweet and wet butter/mayo sauce and the other is deep fried in butter. It’s very creamy and I love the huge, juicy prawns – I had three and my better half had two.

Braised Assorted Dried Seafood with Broccoli

Braised Assorted Dried Seafood with Broccoli

I love the texture of sea cucumber! I’ll actually order this if I see it around. There was a RM 60 PNG (Papua New Guinea) sea cucumber promotion at Glory Cafe in Sarikei when we went but I was too full to order it. The sea cucumber here is done well, thickly sliced and full of slippery and chewy collagen. I also liked the mushrooms – very flavorful, especially with the bits of dried and rehydrated scallops in the reduced sauce.

Special Three Layered Fried Rice

Special Three Layered Fried Rice

There’s nothing special about this dish – it’s just rice done three ways. There’s plain fried rice on top, rice fried with light soy sauce in the middle and cooking caramel (dark soy sauce) fried rice at the bottom. That’s what causes the layered coloration and it was very oily – this is a dish for people who’re still hungry to fill up before dessert is served.

I know people who eat this way – main dishes only (fish, chicken, pork etc) with no accompanying rice in a multiple course banquet where they fill up on fried noodles or rice as the last course, it’s a different style of eating but we were too full at this point to eat more than a spoonful of the rice to taste it.

Special Dessert Combination

Special Dessert Combination

This is actually pretty decent! They made the crushed peanut covered mochi to be flavorless (except for the smoky and nutty accents from the peanuts) so the sweet component comes from the mung bean shaped and moulded into a cartoonish ear of corn.

It’s meant to be eaten together and it’s a good pairing.

The Chinese characters makes a lot more sense than the English translation though. Haha.

Chilled Mixed Fruits with Avocado Cream

Chilled Mixed Fruits with Avocado Cream

This is the highlight of the dish and it was what we had saved up space for. We both thought an avocado based dessert sounded delicious and we’re glad we waited for this even though a lot of people were leaving at this point to beat the traffic and try to get home before a work day. It has a wonderfully rich mouthfeel and a nutty flavor that’s very morish. Delectable!

Chee Keong Mei Sze Wedding Photo

Congrats and all the best to the newly-weds! :)

Min Yee Estuary Grouper Fish Noodles (RM 18)

Garoupa Fish Noodles

Min Yee is located at the same coffee shop which hosts Ah Po Grouper Noodles so it has some stiff competition. However, their estuary grouper fish noodles are cheaper at RM 18 compared to Ah Po’s RM 22. The portion seem to be slightly larger too, at least at first glance – this is due to them not slicing the fish too much and presenting beautifully thick slabs of fresh garoupa.

Min Yee Grouper Fish Noodles

They’re also known for their fresh handmade grouper fish ball noodles too! The Estuary Grouper Fish Ball Noodles are RM 6 per bowl and the fish balls have that prized bouncy texture:

Grouper Fishball Noodles

I ultimately found that each stall has its own charms. I’ll go for Min Yee’s Estuary Grouper Fish Noodles if I want a simple clear broth, untainted by soup stock, that allows the thick slices of estuary grouper (also known as “Loong Tan”/King Grouper) to shine through. The fish slices are equally fresh but this stall does it thicker so it’s more satisfying to eat.

Loong Tan Fish Noodles

I love eating fish noodles, and I don’t mind paying the higher prices, especially if it’s good fish. There’s a RM 30 fish noodle in Sibu but the fish noodles I’ve eaten here is a lot better, and more reasonably priced too.

Estuary Grouper Noodles Me

My current favorite is Ah Po Grouper Noodles but Min Yee Estuary Grouper Fish Noodles does a more than satisfactory job too, especially if you prefer a blander broth with no MSG that allows the estuary grouper fish slices to shine through.

Estuary Grouper Noodles

Min Yee Estuary Grouper Fish Ball Noodles
Restaurant Big Family
Lorong TSB 10A, Taman Industri Sungai Buloh
GPS: 3.166326, 101.569765

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