cafe ind

I’ve wanted to come here for ages but it was always closed when I was out. I heard the food is good and they serve both Indonesian and Indian cuisine – thus Cafe Ind. My good friend Arthur came over and dropped off some of his muesli cookies…

(which I’ve almost finished, eating them as a midnight snack)

cookies

…and we headed out to check out the curiously named Cafe Ind(dehouse).

Nasi Pecel (RM 14)

Nasi pecel is one of the unique Javanese rice served with pecel (cooked vegetables with the classic Javanese spicy peanut sauce) and warm plain rice (nasi putih). It tastes best when eaten with fried tempeh and the traditional cracker called peyek. In reality pecel has a lot of versions and ours has it’s own uniqueness. It’s served with chicken satay on a lemongrass stick and herbal boiled egg.

nasi pecel

I got that from the menu liner notes and it doesn’t leave much to the imagination. It’s a really good dish where every single one of the sides tastes good. Arthur ordered this one and I tasted the tempeh, which I didn’t think was tempeh at first.

It’s not deep fried but cooked so flavourful that it made a convert out of me. I like the way they skew the chicken stay onto lemongrass stalks too!

Nasi Tumpeng (RM 15)

Nasi Tumpeng is traditional Indonesian rice platter served during special events such as birthdays, weddings, or any other occasions. It’s somewhat a Nasi Lemak for big occasions. Our aromatic rice, served on a bed of banana leaf, is complemented by several different which varies daily. You have the honor to have the Tumpeng as the mark of an achievement!

nasi tumpeng

That semi-garbled bit of liner note in the menu describes my dish perfectly. It’s santan (coconut milk) rice with with a nice hat made of banana leaf on top – cute! :)

There’s a side of kangkung, which goes very well with the peanut sauce from Arthur’s Nasi Pecel. The chicken kurma is superb too! Choice, tender cuts in a flavorful and creamy curry. I also like their spicy beef and the otak otak that’s made in-house.

Indian Ginger Tea (RM 6)

indian ginger tea

This is an iced ginger tea which is rather diluted from the vast amount of ice they put inside. It would have been much better if it had been thicker.

Butter Curry Chicken (RM 14)

butter curry chicken

This is something we ordered from the Indian menu. They have three menus – one for Indonesian food (which is what we had for mains), one for Indian food, and one for beverages. There are three (3) pieces of chicken inside, including a drum. I thought it was delicious!

mulu ice cream

We also went to the new Payung Mahkota and had the Mulu Ice Cream. It’s the best ice cream I’ve had in Sibu! Very complex textures with the cake, ice cream and muesli sprinkled on top. I said this would be national level ice cream – it’ll be great even in KL! One of the best ice creams I’ve ever had. It’s hands down the best dessert on their menu.

kahlua ice cream

The liqueur ice cream is pretty good too. There’s Kahlua and Blue Curacao. The former needs to introduction, being the most popular coffee liqueur around but if you’re not familiar with the latter, it’s used in cocktails for it’s blue color. The refinishing citrus taste from Blue Curacao comes from the laraha fruit, which is a predecessor to Valencia oranges.

blue curacao ice cream

The orange juice I drink back when I was studying in Melbourne uses Valencia orange concentrate around winter if they have a severe shortage of Australian oranges – it’s 100% orange juice squeezed daily otherwise and they’ll tell you when it’s not by stating it on the label – a very transparent move I love in Australian products.

payung mahkota

Dinner at The Cafe Ind is great! I had a lot of fun talking to Arthur about everything. Thanks for getting the desserts! :)

waitress

I like the service there – the waitresses are knowledgeable, speaks English and will take the initiative to ask if there’s something they don’t know (which a lot of Sibu and KL restaurants don’t do).

I asked her about the tempeh, which doesn’t seem like the usual deep fried ones I’ve had. This is much better.

peeping tom

The Cafe Ind charges for water though – RM 2 for a glass of RO water and RM 4.50 for mineral water. However, the meals are very reasonably priced and dinner came up to a little over RM 55 for the both of us. I love the ambiance too, Cafe Ind would be perfect if they turned off the flashing lights and pop music.

cafe ind sibu

You have the honor to have the Tumpeng as the mark of an achievement! smirk

sss

I’ve been a huge fan of these absurdly sweet concoctions since I first encountered a variant of the diabetic-inducing delicacies in Sri Lanka. The first time I had it, I had a look of pure shock in my face from the insulin response. It delighted the Sri Lankan shopkeepers.

The SHEER amount of sugar inside will astound you.

indian sweet vendor

I recently found one a place in town called Bakti Woodlands that offer similar sweets. It called mithai and touted as South Indian in origin, but most are from the continental Indian area (most of the sweets are similar throughout the region, with just different names).

sample box

They had a sample box of 10 different types of sweets for RM 10. I bought that and spent the night savoring the sweets and went back for more a few days ago.

They didn’t have the boxes anymore – I was told that the sample boxes are only sold during festive seasons. I knew what I liked and what I didn’t so I bought it a la carte at RM 1 each.

mithai

What I like about these sweets is that you can taste the different types of milk (goat, cow etc) inside. Here’s a sample of the sugar laden, ghee-infused concoctions that will delight (and challenge) everyone with a sugar tooth:

Jangiri

jangiri

This is the most common sweet you’ll find around here. It tastes like a very light and fluffy doughnut and is made with urad flour and sugar before being deep fried in ghee (clarified butter).

indian sweet stall

There’s a stall just beside Bakti Woodlands selling it for RM 0.70 instead of RM 1 but I find the former to taste slightly better.

Mysore pak

indian confection

This wonderful slice of sweet heaven is made with a truckload of ghee, sugar and gram flour/dhall flour. The interesting thing about dhall flour is that it’s gluten-free, which means my niece can probably eat it. This is my second favorite mithai (Indian confection / sweet).

The dude who was behind the counter didn’t recognize me at first until I brought up the topic of the sample box. He was intrigued and asked me if I was doing research. I wasn’t. Heh. I bought RM 30 worth the second time, and here’s the second video of him introducing the sweets – first one didn’t turn out right.

Laddu

laddu

There’s a type of laddu that costs RM 2.50 (as opposed to RM 1 for the others, like the one above). It’s a huge, fist-sized round ball made with brown sugar, cashew nuts and dried fruits.

There’s also a smaller type of laddu, generically named Ghee Ladhu here:

coconut laddu

The word laddu means “small ball” and can contain almost anything. There are some with ground coconut (the red one) but I prefer the plain ones with raisins inside.

Halwa

indian sweets

This has gotta be my favorite mithai ever!

Halwa is a very generic term that describes a lot of sweets across the Indian subcontinent and even to the Middle East. The name itself is Arabic for “sweet”. I first encountered it in Sri Lanka. I’ve also heard it referred to as barfi.

almond halwa

I like the white almond slices that contains an obscene amount of condensed milk. Halwa tends to be crumbly and insanely sweet. I imagine the recipe for it looks a little like this:

  • 2 tons of sugar
  • 40 kgs of ghee

for a tray of sweets. Heh.

apple halwa

I’m particularly fond of the apple shaped halwas. I highly recommend this if you’re willing to test the limits of your insulin tolerance. It’s sweet, crumbly and has a distinctive milky taste that you can smell as well as taste. The “stem” of the “apple” is made from a clove stick! :)

apple sweet with cinnamon stick

You might need a shot of insulin to stabalize but its worth it! Melt-in-your-mouth buttery goodness! :D

a.k.a. The Worst Fish Head Curry and Banana Leaf Restaurant in the Known Universe

jothys fish head curry banana leaf rice

Jothy’s Fish Head Curry Banana Leaf Restaurant is located in Api Api Center in KK, Sabah and has a lot of impressive stickers on its front window facade, including one that says “as seen in Lonely Planet”, which was the reason we headed there to eat in the first place. I place a certain amount of trust in the Lonely Planet brand.

jothys interior

The first clue that it might not exactly be the best place to eat when we walked in is the underwhelming crowd in the restaurant. We were the only ones there. I swear I could hear crickets chirping.

jothys banana leaf

Their banana leaf rice seems authentic enough…

jothys banana leaf rice

…but the taste did not live up to expectations. I tried every single one of the side serves and found them severely wanting.

jothys curry fish head

Their flagship signature dish – the curry fish head – was tough, overcooked and dry. It’s certainly not “the freshest fish head from the market”.

jothys curry fish head meat

I don’t know what kind of fish this head came from but finding meat is like looking for a needle in a haystack (or insert other cliched analogy here since there are a lot of fish bones in there).

jothys prawn

The fried prawns were not “succulent” as the menu claimed, but tough. I’m also highly doubtful about the “choice fish eggs fried to perfection” description as our fish roe had the same taste and texture of cardboard (not that I’ve ever eaten cardboard – it’s what I imagine cardboard would taste like).

jothys lonely planet

I find this unforgivable in a place known for it’s abundance of seafood. The bill was exorbitant too – the fish head curry alone was RM 50.

jothys herpes

It’s a tourist trap. Avoid it like a bad case of herpes.

sri shan curry and such

Sri Shan Curry & Such is an eating
establishment offering “authentic rich aromatic Southern Indian
cuisine” that opened its doors recently. There aren’t a lot of
authentic South Indian food in Kuching so I went with *x to check out
the place. She was buying lunch.

sri shan decor

Sri Shan Curry & Such is located at Jalan Ban Hock and has
interesting décor at the open entrance which looks like a cross between
an elephant and Bigfoot. Sri Shan Curry & Such is a large
establishment that spans two shop lots and there are ample seating
arrangements.

sri shan vegetarian

There are vegetarian options for the ones who practice vegetarianism…

sri shan meat

…and meat for the rest of us normal people. ;)

sri shan chicken

This is ayam kurma (chicken cooked South Indian style) which goes for RM 5.

sri shan lamb

This is kambing paratal (lamb cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce) which goes for RM 6.

sri shan veggies

She also ordered deep fried vegetables at RM 1.50.

sri shan saffron rice

The food comes with saffron rice (RM 6) and a cracker.

sri shan dhal

We also ordered some dhal (free) to go with the saffron rice.

sri shan meal

It was a great meal, and I really liked the lamb. The total damage
came up to RM 22 inclusive of drinks which *x says is overpriced
compared to another authentic Indian cuisine outlet.

tandoori_chicken.jpg

Tandoori Chicken at Ali Maju, Pusat Bandar Damansara. It goes well
with garlic naan and I always ask for the drumstick – it comes with the
upper part of the thigh too at Ali Maju. A tasty and filling dinner
would be one tandoori chicken (shared between two people), garlic naan
(a must have, one serving each) and maggi mee goreng (one serve each).
I don’t know why but that combination tastes really good. The best way
to enjoy it is to alternate between naan + tandoori and maggi +
tandoori i.e. one bite of the first, then one of the second, repeat
till plate==empty or person==full. One ABC special with ice cream (they
make huge ones here) after that and you’ll be sorted. :)

On a more serious (well, perhaps personal would be a better word)
note, I’m about to decide on a very, very big issue which may have long
lasting and severe consequences that will affect me on a personal
level. Of course, I can’t talk about it here due to my readership, and
if you know about it (yeah, both of you), you shouldn’t comment here
coz it’ll jeopardize me. I’ll think it through, discuss it with several
people and then we’ll see how it goes okay? I’ll post about that when
it’s set.

Oh yeah, would someone please come over and run a needle and thread through my lips? I just did a very stupid thing today. I’m famous for that, you know…

guess_nasi_campur.jpg

Guess how much this combination of nasi campur costs? There’s more
sotong pieces than meets the eye, some of it is obscured by the chicken
drumstick. No, I didn’t play “Hide the sotong” intentionally, it was
due to the real estate on the styrofoam packs. By the way, “Hide the
(most expensive item)” is a technique where you cover up a more
expensive item with a less expensive one – like covering a drumstick
with cabbages. This is an extreme example, it’s just to illustrate the
point. I’ve never done that intentionally though, not for any moral or
personal reasons, it’s just coz I don’t bother.

The way things work over here is like this – you get handed a plate
or take away pack filled with rice and you choose whatever you want
from the array of dishes displayed. You can opt to have as many items
as you want and the portions you choose is up to you. The price (which
can vary depending on time of the day, whether you’re a regular, as
well as many other factors) is tallied up when you’re done, based on
your choices. However, “Hide the xxx” doesn’t work all that well
nowadays, because the proprietors usually check underneath due to the
popularity of this method.

Back to the post, my lunch has a drumstick, sotong and chili covered
brinjals. You don’t eat for a couple of days and then you feel hungry
enough to eat a horse. ;) Anyway, guess how much this nasi campur pack
costs?

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