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. :)

Apple duck, prawn with black pepper and honey and midin

apple duck

I’ve never heard of an apple duck before – the waitress taking the order assured us it was a very popular dish and thus, we swapped one of the meat orders (black pepper beef) with this menu item. We were at Nice House Restaurant – me and Arthur originally wanted to go to Cafe Ind for some fusion Indonesian and Indian food, but it was closed.

Thus, we headed over to a place which serves a gigantic roti canai that I wanted to try but that was closed too.

nice house restaurant

We ended up eating at Nice House Restaurant. I’ve been here a couple of times before and it seems that their typical Chinese cuisine has changed into something which I’ll call quasi-fusion. It’s still Chinese food but it uses much more non-traditional ingredients to cook.

prawn honey black pepper

Arthur recommended the prawn with black pepper and honey. He said it was much better than Ruby Restaurant‘s famed butterscotch prawns and I have to wholeheartedly agree. The combination of black pepper sauce with honey creates a sweet and savory gravy that had us scooping up all the gravy till the plate was almost clean. :)

black pepper lamb

The black pepper lamb was really good too – the meat was tender and juicy, and it goes very well with rice. A superb dish which wasn’t as sweet as the prawns (coz it didn’t use honey).

midin sambal

We also ordered midin cooked with sambal – it’s a wild jungle fern that’s very popular in Sibu but hard to find anywhere else. It’s our vegetable quota.

green apple duck

I felt that the apple duck was the most interesting dish during dinner. We ordered half a duck since a lot of people don’t eat duck due to the gamey taste but both of us do and we have been rather deprived of this particular fowl. I quite liked it although I think Arthur didn’t enjoy it as much. He hasn’t tried it before so we ordered it and the two of us finished everything – right down to the lettuce and green apple slices.

me arthur nice house

I think a lot of people thought we were having a major argument coz when the time came to pay the bill, both of us stood up and insisted on settling it. It must have looked quite interesting since I was blocking his way to the cashier. Heh.

Thanks for dinner Arthur and see you next time I come back to Sibu! :)

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