Sibu’s famous kompia

sibu kompia dry

Sibu is well known for kompia as the birthplace of kompia began here. Kompia or kom pia
(literally baked biscuit) is a uniquely Sibu based product. There are
several different implementations of kompia, the most basic being just
the baked pastry without filling.

sibu kompia wet

However, the most popular implementation is arguably the meat filled
kompia soaked in meat gravy. It usually goes for about RM 0.50 per
piece. Different people prefer different variants, but the only type
I’ll eat is the gravy soaked meat stuffed kompia.

I like to soak the kompia in the meat gravy for a long time till
it’s all soggy before eating the whole soggy mess of bread and meat and
gravy. It’s like a salty Tim Tam Slam, Sibu style. ;)

Li Garden Chinese Restaurant

li garden chinese restaurant

Li Garden Chinese Restaurant is located in Hock Lee Center. It’s one
of the premier Chinese restaurants in Kuching. I have also been to the
recently renovated Tsui Hua Lau restaurant, but unfortunately, I didn’t
bring my digicam coz I thought it was just going to be our weekly
meeting. A slightly similar, but different, fate befell me yesterday at
Li Garden Chinese restaurant. I didn’t take as many photos as I wanted
to, coz it was a company dinner to accommodate a guest from Taiwan. I
didn’t think it would be polite. ;) Hello JP!

li garden interior

Li Garden Chinese restaurant was pretty full when we got there last
night. It’s a nice place, with sealed off rooms for banquets. The decor
is not as extravagant as the newly redecorated Tsui Hua Lau though, I
didn’t see sharks swimming in large tanks. Heh!

li garden soup

The course started with soup double boiled in a classic soup holder.
It’s made with thinly chicken stomach (gizzard), a yellow date-type
thing and pepper. The double boiling method makes the soup very rich
and invigorating. The heavy pepper flavored soup is hearty and the meat
is nicely tender and chewy.

li garden peking duck

Li Garden Chinese Restaurant is famous for it’s Peking Duck. It’s
the only establishment in Kuching where they actually bring out the
whole duck on a cart and the chef expertly slices off the skin of the
Peking Duck in front of you.

li garden peking skin

I was surprised at the skilled manipulation of the chef, that
harvested all the Peking Duck skin (the part which you eat), leaving
only a juicy naked duck, white and steaming hot, on the platter, which
is then wheeled away. You don’t eat the meat of this dish, just the
skin.

li garden peking platter

Here’s what Li Garden’s Peking Duck looks like. The large platter is
served with the skin of Peking Duck, freshly sliced off the duck. It’s
served with folded round pastry, spring onions and cucumbers, and the
Peking Duck sauce.

li garden peking wrap

Basically, you take one of the folded pieces of pastry, unfold it to
reveal a round, flour dusted pastry and put a piece of Peking Duck skin
on it, with spring onions, cucumbers and sauce to taste. The pastry is
then folded like a taco and you bite into it. I love the texture of Li
Garden’s Peking Duck. The flavors are complex and heavily infused into
the crispy, yet surprisingly chewy, Peking duck skin. Divine!

li garden prawn

Next up is a plate of very nicely done deep fried butter prawns.
There’s plenty of “butter shavings” (i.e. the fried butter batter) to
complement the large prawns. The prawns are crispy and partly peeled,
with just the right amount of crunchy shell for that extra Oomph.

li garden 3 egg

There’s also a green vegetable based dish cooked duck meat and three types of
eggs – salted eggs, century eggs and normal eggs. The normal eggs are
scattered into a nice mess and the salted eggs and century eggs are
partly whole. I enjoyed this unique presentation to a simple vegetable
dish. This is where the meat from your Peking Duck goes.

li garden cabbage

The next course comes in two dishes – the main dish and a plate
containing the cabbage wrap. The main dish is a meat based one with
chai bo and it’s meant to be heaped into the cups of cabbage wrap and
eaten like that.

li garden fish

The final dish is a medallion of fish on top of rice vermicelli
cooked with various savories. It’s served on top of a large mussel
shell. I also enjoyed this dish tremendously. The fish the good part
that has the right mix of oil for a good mouth-feel and slippery and
smooth fish. Nice!

Li Garden Chinese Restaurant is a great place for a Chinese style
dinner. I’ll love to go for the Peking Duck again, but I have an
uncomfortable feeling that I won’t be able to afford it. ;)

bing! lamb wrap

bing bernice

I didn’t go out for lunch today due to a backlog of work that I need
to get done. I wasn’t hungry anyway, so I just figured I’ll skip lunch.
However, Bernice came in with a paper bag from bing!

bing lamb wrap open

She bought me a lamb wrap from bing! the coffee shop that everyone seems to like in Kuching.

bing lamb wrap sauces

The lamb wrap comes with a small tub of sauces – mustard, chilli and mayonnaise and the familiar orange bing! sticker.

bing lamb wrap opened

I’ve never had their wraps before – there’s a lot of crisp, fresh
lettuce with a bed of lamb meat. I like the taste of game, as she
knows. I like mutton.

bing lamb wrap

I just poured the tub of sauce into the wrap, rolled it up and ate it. It’s good. Thanks for lunch, Bernice! :)

SMK Sacred Heart school canteen

smk sh

I thought I’ll do a food review on a school canteen for a change. I reckon it’ll be funny, but it was anything but…

smk sh cafeteria

SMK Sacred Heart has a full fledged (!) old skool coffee shop
operation going on in the canteen. I’ve never seen the likes of it
before. Why, in my previous high school, we only had RM 0.50 fried
noodles, precooked and stuff like that to choose from. This “canteen”
has a full ordering service.

smk_sh_mess.jpg

The ambience was nothing to speak of…standard mess style dining
area. The ordering area is like a coffee shop though. Jesus, kids
nowadays. Why, I could regale you with tales of the time when I was
young; when I had to walk bare foot through a jungle trail to get to
school, but that’s digressing. ;)

smk sh food

This is my order – Coca Ice and Iban Mee. “Coca Ice” turns out to be very dilute Milo but at RM 1.20, you get what you pay for.

smk sh iban mee

The Iban Mee was surprisingly good at RM 2. It’s a spicy fried
noodle dish, with a healthy (generous, really) sprinkling of fried
onions on top.

smk sh girls

I was surprised to find a couple of girls in there, since Sacred
Heart is an all boys school (except for Form Six, but they looked too
young for that). I talked to them and got them to pose for a photo and
they told me they are from Sacred Heart, but Jesus (no pun intended),
don’t they look rather young for 18?

Seafood at Buntal Kuching

buntal lim hock ann

Buntal is a fishing village about 35 minutes drive away from
Kuching. Buntal Seafood Village is a very popular place for seafood, as
it is located right on the beach and the produce is about as fresh as
it gets – straight from the sea. Lim Hock Ann Seafood is the longest
standing and most popular one in Buntal.

buntal fresh seafood

There’s a lot of fresh seafood; fish, crabs, prawns, lobsters,
oysters etc. Basically, if you can get it from the sea, they have it.
Lim Hock Ann is also popular due to it’s unique seating arrangements –
they actually have a platform suspended over the sea, with waves
lapping at the bottom while you eat!

buntal platform

Unfortunately, it was raining yesterday, so the platform was closed.
I was surprised to find a mini entourage of people waiting for me when
I came back from Sibu. I had called a friend to pick me up but when I
exited the arrivals hall, I was accosted by my friends who came in
several cars to whisk me off to Buntal. Jesus…

buntal dinner

Anyway, this is what the suspended platform looks like from one of
the photos in the popular Lim Hock Ann seafood center in Buntal:

buntal old

This outlet has been here since forever, or so it seems. It still
retains its old skool wood structures that I remember seeing when I was
still young.

buntal wood counter

Anyway, here’s what we ordered:

buntal kailan
Baby kailan
It’s a type of vegetable, very nice.

buntal butter prawns
Butter prawns
It came out very crisp and tasted divine. The granules are caramelized butter, it’s heavenly, I tell you.

buntal oyster pancake
O Chien
This is oyster pancake. I like Lim Hock Ann’s implementation of this
popular must-have seafood dish. It’s moist and there are generous
amounts of oysters scattered all around the pancake instead of just a
couple in the middle.

buntal crabs
Crabs cooked with egg and chilli

Here’s a video tour of Lim Hock Ann in Buntal:

buntal seafood

Download: Buntal Seafood [sixthseal.com]

buntal snap

I had a snapping good time, pardon the pun.

Adem Finest Cuisine

adem.jpg

Adem Finest Cuisine is the latest Vietnamese restaurant to hit Sibu
and I’ve heard nothing but good things about them. I went there for
lunch today to check them out.

adem interior

The seating arrangements are divided into two areas – the inside
(shown above) which offers a pub like ambience and the al fresco area
outside (shown below).

adem al fresco

I chose the latter coz it was a bright and cheery sunny day and also
because I found the water lilies they had growing in the trough lining
the al fresco area intriguing and very peaceful.

adem water lilies

I saw that the umbrella covers were all showing Trung Nguyen Coffee,
and the waitress confirmed that it’s their specialty Vietnamese coffee
so I had that.

adem vietnamese coffee

It came in the form of some metal contraption on top of a cup and saucer.

adem coffee lift

Noticing the befuddled look on my face, the waitress kindly
explained the system…basically, it’s a coffee filter, and you open
the lid when the water has seeped through and put it upside down on the
table.

adem coffee side

The other two contraptions is then lifted and put on top of the said
upside down lid “to avoid the coffee from spilling” or something.

adem coffee strong good

The resulting coffee was fragrant, with a nice robust aroma. It was strong and good, just the way I like it.

adem trung nguyen

There’s coffee service in the form of milk, ice cubes and sugar, but I espoused that in favour of the dark, rich coffee.

adem garlic toast

It also comes with complementary garlic bread toast, and man…I
can’t describe the feeling of chewing on a bit of garlic toast and
taking a sip of hot coffee to chase it down. It’s divine!

adem vietnamese omelette

As for the food, I ordered “Vietnamese Omelette” to start things off…

adem omelette

…it was just egg and sausages, nothing to write home about.

adem beef pho

I also ordered their famous Vietnamese beef noodles, shown here in all its glory – hot, steaming pho!

adem pho condiments

The pho came with three condiments – lime, chilli sauce, and sea salt.

adem vietnamese noodles

The pho was absolutely fabulous…it’s the understated but rich
type, with nearly clear stock, but it was well made and the natural
flavours of the ingredients fused together to provide a superlatively
wonderful meal. ;)

Seriously though, their pho is good…go and try it!

Hock Huat Chinese Pasty

hock huat chinese pasty

Hock Huat Chinese Pasty is an odd name for this establishment. They
have a couple of token pastries of Chinese origin but what the stall
really sells is chiffon cakes. It’s the flagship item.

hock huat cheddar chiffon

Now, I’m not a big fan of chiffon cakes, coz I used to eat a lot of
mediocre ones when I was younger. However, I decided to try one of
these, since a cheddar cheese chiffon cake does sound rather intriguing.

hock huat cheddar prune

The proprietor told me they specialize in two kind of chiffon cakes
– cheddar cheese and prune ones. It’s sold in halves for RM 5. That’s
half a cake, enough to fill most people, it went down just nicely for
me.

hock huat himself

This is the owner of the place. I think he might very well be Hock
Huat, but I didn’t think to ask. Instead, I asked to go into his baking
space and take photos.

hock huat chiffon prep

He showed me this large steel bowl which had a lot of oil (or melted
butter) and a tiny sprinkling of flour inside. There’s an automatic
beater preparing this one, which I was told is the first step.

hock huat chiffon make

Here’s the important second step – the one that really matters. I
know, coz he told me three times. I think it had something to do with
the indirect heating (double boiling) method. He was very enthusiastic
about stirring the chiffon cake mixture too. This one is the prune
chiffon.

hock huat chiffon

I bought half of a Kraft cheddar cheese chiffon cake for RM 5. It
made me instantly discard my long simmering prejudice against chiffon
cakes. It’s delicious! The chiffon cake is very soft, with a
melt-in-your-mouth texture. The cheese flavors came through just
nicely. I was amazed at how soft the chiffon cake is, it practically
disintegrated when I put it into my mouth. Highly recommended!

Hot Pot Herbs & Spices Mutton Soup

hot pot herbs and spices mutton soup

This is Hot Pot Herbs & Spices Mutton Soup, the newly opened
outlet which caught my attention when I went past during lunch hour.
It’s located in front of Ang Cheng Ho and the signage can be easily
seen while driving down Jalan Padungan. I decided to drop by and sample
their mutton soup just because I liked the sign board so much.

hot pot vivid

This is the very vivid mascot (of sorts) of the place. It’s a
harmless little sheep in a bathtub. The imagery couldn’t be more
gruesome – the sheep is not enjoying a luxurious hot bath, as its
shower cap would lead you to believe…it’s being boiled alive! You
killed it when you ordered your soup! Yes kids, mutton comes from
sheep, not your local butcher. ;)

hot pot counter

The counter of this eating establishment is adorned with sample
dishes from their menu offerings. I opted for their specialty – the
Herbs & Spices Mutton Soup at RM 8. I must also mention that this
establishment gets two thumbs up for being photographer friendly. The
proprietor (photo above) jokingly asked for a copy of the prints since
she noticed me taking photos of everything. :)

hot pot clean

Back to the ambience, the place was full of the typical crowd of 9-5
workers (except I’m 8 am – 5 pm), it’s common for newly established
outlets to be packed with people wanting to try the latest and
greatest. The seating arrangements consist of mostly 6 person glass
tables, and they were thoughtful enough to leave a Kimberly-Clark
tissue dispenser and a glass ashtray on every table. You won’t be
seeing any unsightly metal flimsy ashtrays or tissue boxes over here.

hot pot meal drink

It’s worthy to note that they do not serve conventional drinks, only
“natural drinks” which includes things like red bean drink, green bean
drink, barley drink and the like. I opted for the barley. The food
turnaround was very slow, but that’s because they cook every single pot
individually as can be seen in the open kitchen. I estimate it took
about 30 minutes for mine to arrive.

hot pot herbs spices mutton soup

The soup can only be described with a single word – divine! It is
spicy and hot and very substantial. This isn’t watered down
broth…it’s (very) hearty soup! I can only imagine about what goes
into the hot pot but I could detect a plethora of different spice
notes, and all of them good. The mutton was generous, there’s much more
mutton than can be seen from the photo, the dish is well worth the RM 8
and it comes with rice. There is a variety of different cuts in the
pot, so if there’s one you particularly favor, it’s likely to be in
there.

hot pot mutton rice

Hot Pot Herbs & Spices Mutton Soup. i’m lovin’ it.

Snow Flakes

snow flakes

This dry and unbearably hot weather warranted a visit to Snow Flakes
@ Tun Jugah Food Court during lunch hour. I decided on Sour Sop.

bring me ice

Bring me ice! Lots of it. Make haste! I’m burning up…

soursop snowflake

This is what it looks like – it has dragon fruit (again! w00t!) over
a bed of nice, refreshing sour sop, pineapples and a lime in the
middle. It’s heaven. Heaven, I tell you…

my snowflake

Perfect for a hot day.

snow flake 2

This is what one of my co-workers had. I don’t know what he ordered but I’m sure just looking at the photo will cool you down.

snow flake 3

Here’s another one, the heat wave made us walk to this oasis. This
place is really good, the snow flakes (a pretentious name for crushed
ice) is milky sweet.

In other related news, I’m now Senior Systems Engineer. I just got
back from work. Go secure that RM 3 million in VC funds tomorrow, team!
Go go go! =D

New Zealand Herbal Lamb Soup

new zealand herbal lamb soup

I went on a site visit today to Choice Deli (Tabuan Laru) and
noticed this particular product on offer…NZ Herbal Lamb Soup. It’s
the plastic containers flanking the bottom left of this photo.

nz herbal lamb soup

It retails for RM 5.00 per plastic takeaway bowl and it certainly
looks tasty from the photo. However, they didn’t have a spoon (and
neither have I, there is no spoon) so I had to pass this one by.

It was only later that I realized…I could just have drunk the soup
and then picked up the meat with my fingers and eat that. Doh!

I shall return, herbal lamb soup…

…and when I do, you’ll be like…er, lamb to the slaughter

or something. ;)

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