Ruby Restaurant revisited

big prawn rice

I haven’t been to Ruby Restaurant in quite a long time. My dad and I wanted to go on Wednesday but that was their off day so we had to go somewhere else instead. However, I was quite determined to head over since I’ve enjoyed their food a lot and so I went with my dad again and found them open.

ruby restaurant christmas

The place is much as I remembered, with a warm inviting interior and their small neon sign outside (the large signboard seems to have been taken down). The Christmas decorations are up though! :)

ambarella juice

We both ordered kedondong juice. Kedondong is a tropical fruit also known as ambarella (Spondias dulcis) and it’s makes for a tart and acidic drink.

butter prawns

I wanted to have their creamy butter prawns and the owner told me they have the large prawns that I like so I jumped at the chance to have that. This seems to be big white prawns instead of big head prawns but delicious regardless – the prawns are so crunchy you can eat them, shells and all but still soft and moist inside. I love their butter sauce – it’s so rich and appetizing.

puo chai chinese wine

My dad also ordered a vegetable dish – puo chai cooked in Chinese white wine. I was quite surprised at how good it tasted. Ruby Restaurant used to be a favorite of mine before I switched to Ming Mei Shi – which serves a more KL-style dai chow. I like the localized Ruby Restaurant better now. This is delicious, not overcooked, with a hint of raw Chinese white wine.

sour mayonnaise lamb

The other dish we had was recommended by the owner when I asked for something new. She suggested sour mayonnaise lamb. I asked her what the acidic component is and she *pretended* not to hear me twice before smiling and said it’s a trade secret. That definitely sounded promising and even my dad loved this – the addition of citrus or vinegar brightens up this otherwise cloying dish and the lamb isn’t overtly gamey too.

ruby restaurant sibu

The bill was quite reasonable – the prawn dish *alone* came up to RM 40 due to the two large prawns but the lamb and vegetables are surprisingly affordable. The two of us polished off everything in sight!

ruby dad me

My dad mentioned that everything they served tasted delicious and I have to agree. We had just come from a terrible dinner the night before and it’s nice to revisit an old favorite like Ruby Restaurant again.

sour mayo lamb

It’s even better when you find that the standards have increased and not dropped – Ruby Restaurant is truly a gem! smirk

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. :)

The Joy of Sharing, Kota Damansara

pulau ketam set

I wanted to bring my better half out to a new fish head place last night that I’ve been meaning to try for a while but it was raining heavily so there were no tables outside. It was also the Deepavali public holidays so a lot of people were out eating that night.

the joy of sharing

Unable to get a table, we went for a steamboat dinner instead at The Joy of Sharing. This is a very popular hotpot place that’s constantly packed but we managed to get seated. I always say that I’m not particularly fond of soup dishes or tofu (and steamboat has both in spades) but truth to be told, my palate has changed a lot as I’ve grown up.

joy of sharing

I’ll eat anything and enjoy it nowadays. We decided to go for a mixed Seafood Superior Soup and Tomyam Soup combination in our hotpot. The Seafood Superior Soup is the flagship of The Joy of Sharing and it’s actually quite nice. I also upgraded our order from the Pulau Ketam Set (RM 33.60 for 2 pax) to the Special Mix Set (RM 37.60 / 2 pax).

joy of sharing hotpot

The latter has everything the former seafood heavy option has, plus some pork offerings which you can cook shabu-shabu style in the hotpot:

  • Thick cut bacon
  • Pork balls
  • Pork slices
  • Scallops
  • Prawns
  • Fish balls
  • Fish noodles
  • Tofu
  • Eggs (quail and chicken)
  • Enoki mushrooms
  • Vegetables
  • Homemade dumplings
  • Rice vermicelli
  • Noodles

…and that’s just the ones I can remember. smirk

homemade dumplings

It’s actually a pretty good deal and I can see why the place is packed all the time. The service is good and refills for soup comes pretty fast too.

thick cut bacon

I found that I actually rather enjoy eating hotpot/steamboat during a rainy night and having to build up the flavors of the soup in the pot by gradually adding in ingredients is fun! The Joy of Sharing also has a new “soup” called Silky Porridge which is an innovative congee based soup for steamboat!

hotpot noodles

Parking can be a bit of a pain in that area, especially if it’s raining but as per custom with steamboat places over here, the staff actually helps you with parking. You can double park and block someone else’s car and if they finish before you, one of the waiters will come and get you to shift your car.

joy of sharing us

Our car was also blocked when we were done but the diner came out in less than a minute so I thought the system works really well. It’s a good dinner and we enjoyed the 2 hour respite from the rain, eating hearty and warm hotpot – the Seafood Superior Soup is really good.

scallops prawns

We’ll be back to try the new Silky Porridge “soup” when we feel like eating something more substantial. The bill came up to RM 48.40 for two, inclusive of drinks, which is quite cheap considering the items bundled into the set.

The Joy of Sharing
(also known as Ba Sheng Zai Huo Guo)
15, Jalan PJU 5/3
Dataran Sunway
Kota Damansara

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! :)

Lunch with suituapui at Ming Mei Shi

ming mei shi

I had a glorious lunch of braised pork, four emperor vegetables, and buttered prawns with the famous suituapui a.k.a. Arthur a couple of days ago. He suggested either Ming Mei Shi – a Chinese restaurant I haven’t been to, or Payung Cafe and I went with the former. It’s relatively new and one of Arthur’s favorite places to eat so I wanted to check it out.

Ming Mei Shi is owned by the chef of the now defunct Blue Splendor (a famous restaurant in Sibu). Word is, the rent at Wisma Sanyan was raised to levels he found unacceptable, so he opened a new restaurant at a different location.

Four emperor vegetables

four emperor vegetable

This is a dish made with four different types of vegetables – brinjal (eggplant), lady’s finger (okra), baby corn and long beans. It tasted really good and I ate most of it, much to my surprise, since I’m not usually a huge fan of vegetables. It’s the mixture of sticky starchiness in the eggplant and okra combined with the sweetness of the baby corn and the crunchiness of the long beans that did it for me.

Homemade silk tofu

tofu mayo

Okay, I don’t actually know what this homemade recommendation is called. It was the special of their day and I wouldn’t call it tofu at all. I hate tofu and this is awesome stuff. It has tofu in it but also surimi (crab meat) and a plethora of other flavorful ingredients all mixed together before being quickly deep fried, creating a very fine and silky tofu medley piece that goes well with the mayonnaise served on the side.

We didn’t really know what it was so we only ordered one piece each. I wish I had ordered more as it was excellent!

Creamy butter prawns

butter prawn

Our version of butter prawns is not deep fried with butter but cooked in a sweet and creamy butter sauce. Ruby Restaurant does this really well but I love Ming Mei Shi’s version too. Arthur preferred Ruby’s but I was rather taken with the sweet butter prawns the cook dished out. Perfection!

Braised pork belly with man tou

braised pork belly

This is the signature dish of the place and it’s a huge chunk of artery clogging pork belly. The waitress cut the string binding the porcine goodness and used a pair of scissors to dissect it into manageable pieces. You’re supposed to eat it with the warm man tou (plain steamed buns) as a sandwich of sorts.

pork belly slices

It is tender and flavorful, with a thick starchy sauce that goes very well with your rice. I enjoyed this dish tremendously.

suituapui sibu

I polished off everything – there wasn’t a morsel left when I was done with lunch – a testament to Ming Mei Shi’s delicious culinary offerings. The bill came up to about RM 50 for all that, which is very reasonable for the dishes we ordered.

perfect pork

Just look at this fine specimen of perfectly cooked pork belly! I highly recommend every single dish that we had that day. :D

Ming Mei Shi is located behind Rejang Medical Center in Sibu.

Jin Xuan Dim Sum in Puchong at the crack of dawn

jin xuan puchong

I had a rather delicious start to the morning by having dim sum at around 7 am this morning. This is quite an unusual hour for me to be up on a Sunday morning. There is a very good reason for that though.

lake edge us

I didn’t sleep.

lainey birthday

I have been up since I went to Lainey‘s birthday party since 8:30 pm on Saturday and spent 12 hours talking and nursing various alcoholic drinks (beer, cider, single malt, champagne, vodka) and shooting the breeze on a bewildering array of topics (to the casual listener) with Fresh, Gareth and Kim till dawn broke.

jin xuan dimsum

It’s been a long time since I did that. Heh. It was a lot of fun though and before crashing we headed to Jin Xuan in Puchong for dim sum.

deep fried har kow

Deep fried har kow
I usually don’t like deep fried dim sum but the har kaw (prawn dumplings) here are done quite well. No excessive crackly skin and it’s superb with a dash of mayonnaise. The ones with fu chuk (the soy bean byproduct) wrapped around prawns is good too – a nice variant of har kow.

pai kuat

Spare ribs (pai kuat)
This is really good as well. I like the ones that’s swimming in a pool of delicious marinate too:

marinated pai kuat

It’s a bit hard to get at the meat, but when you do, it’s perfection.

salted shrimp scallops

Salted shrimp scallops
This one is pretty good as well. I’m a huge fan of shrimp in general so anything with it can’t really go wrong. It has bits of scallops, salted egg, and other stuff inside too.

flowing custard bun

Golden flowing bun
I don’t know how this translates in Cantonese. It’s supposed to be the piece de resistance in Jin Xuan and is a custard bun with bits of salted egg (?) that flows like lava when you break it open.

jin xuan custard bun

The savory taste of salted egg is surprisingly good in the sweet custard bun. It’s supposed to be really runny and despite multiple exchanges initiated by Gareth to get the perfect golden flowing bun – all of them was just a tad overcooked this morning.

jin xuan us

However, if I didn’t know better I would have though it was excellent. I’m definitely going back again for the golden flowing bun. I bet it’ll be orgasmic if they get it right. However, we didn’t get charged for it due to the poor quality control so I guess it’s free dessert. Heh.

I totally crashed and slept for 9 hours when I got home. I had a total blast though. It’s a good thing tomorrow’s a public holiday. Have a great time everyone! :)

Ruby Restaurant, Sibu

ruby

This is one of my favorite places to eat in Sibu. I guess you can call it a dai chow place but over here we just call it “choo chiak” which is literally Hokkien for “cooking food”. I met up with Arthur a couple of hours after we touched down and headed over to this restaurant for lunch.

ruby restaurant

Ruby Restaurant has a surprisingly rapid turnover for a weekday lunch. I remember eating rice with cooked dishes for lunch when I was working for a short stint in Sibu. You can actually do that, and in fact, a lot of people do. There was a huge group of all-females in office attire occupying a huge table when we were there.

ruby coffee

Anyway, when you go to Ruby’s (the Chinese characters for the restaurant apparently means “red ruby”) with Arthur, you’ll be remiss if you didn’t order their coffee. It is made to the exact specifications of Arthur, a bit of a regular here, and it’s really good, thick coffee.

ruby coffee black

You can actually watch it turn from milky brown to black as the coffee seeps up.

ruby midin

This is midin – a local fern. I can’t find it outside of Sarawak so it’s a must-have dish whenever I go back home. It actually grows in the wild and locals pick and sell it in the local market. It’s crunchy to the bite and very nice when you get it right. That means it should be in the wok for just a short amount of time.

ruby mani chai

The other vegetable dish that we ordered is what we called mani chai. This leafy vegetable is defoliated from its stalk before cooking – only the leaves are eaten. It’s usually fried with eggs and it’s one of the few vegetable dishes I would eat as a kid…mostly coz of the egg. ;)

ruby beef curry

Arthur also asked about specials and the chef informed us that they just cooked up a batch of beef curry so ordered that too. It came out in a bowl and the beef curry isn’t overflowing with thin gravy like most Chinese style curry dishes but sat in a thicker, clingy gravy like rendang. I loved it, the beef pieces were tender and the curry is flavorful. There’s even bits of potatoes inside, which goes very well with the curry.

ruby butter prawns

This is the butter cheese prawns and the main reason I like going to Ruby. It’s not dry with sprinkles of deep fried butter on top, but made with a creamy butter sauce that’s heavenly sweet. I have really missed this dish – no one does it better than Ruby, IMHO. The prawns are battered and deep fried before being cooked in butter, resulting in a sweet, rather than salty dish. *drools

ruby arthur

It was great to meet up with Arthur again – we had quite a long lunch before he had to go fix his car and it hardly felt more than 30 minutes. Time just flies when you’re catching up with old friends. Thanks for the lunch, Arthur! :)

Shrimpz ethnic thai

shrimpz

Shrimpz is a small little eating establishment located at Aman Suria that we discovered one night. We have been eating a lot of nasi kandar lately and wanted to eat some Chinese food (or Thai food, which is about the same in my books) so I stumbled upon this little gem quite by accident.

shrimpz montage

Shrimpz is apparently the sister restaurant of the flagship Shrimpz restaurant in Langkawi, according to the table liner. I can’t remember the last time I was in Langkawi, but the leaflet claims that Shrimpz Langkawi was and still is the only dining venue in Asia located within a shrimp farm, which is where I imagine they got their name.

shrimpz water feature

Shrimpz Kuala Lumpur is not located inside a shrimp farm, but they managed to re-create some of that ambiance with a water feature I like to call the “Sobriety Test” that is currently in vogue. The water feature is made up of stepping stones, and while it’s not as challenging as the bla bla bla Sobriety Test in Kuching, it’s still requires a certain level of dexterity to navigate.

shrimpz al fresco

Shrimpz is decorated Thai style, with a lot of Buddha statues (sans the body and head) and the al fresco dining area is interspaced with a lot of water features and bodies of water to simulate the Shrimpz Langkawi dining experience in a residential area. It looks clean (probably coz it’s new) and elegant, but the place does not serve alcohol, which is unusual for a restaurant like this.

shrimpz prawn

It is almost heretical to not order shrimp in an establishment called Shrimpz, and beheaded (Convert or die!) we might be have we not, so we requisitioned for their renowned Shrimps / Organic Tiger Prawns from Langkawi menu and had the Stir Fried Tiger Prawn with Petai and Belacan (RM 34.90). It had the exotic sounding name of Kun Pat Khapit Sator.

shrimpz prawn macro

It was alright, quite nice actually, but paying RM 34.90 for six (6) tiger prawns seems a little bit steep. It amounts to RM 5.81 per shrimp – not exactly cheap, but worth the price for the occasional indulgence. It tasted great with the petai and belacan gravy and I ate the entire crustacean whole, much to the horror of my girlfriend. It takes a man to eat the shell of a prawn. ;)

shrimpz drink

I had the Shrimpz Special (RM 8,90 – comma done either to emulate the French, or coz I had to much to drink is up to you to decide), which is a mixture of lime, lemongrass and mint leaves. I will not delve into the drink my girlfriend ordered, which would usually be OJ or watermelon juice or some other citrus based drink.

shrimpz crispy duck salad

This is the appetizer that we had – Shredded Crispy Duck Salad (RM 26.90). I know the dishes are coming out ass backwards, but I did it in chronological order – the exact same succession that night. The shredded crispy duck salad is excellent! My girlfriend loved it to bits (no pun intended). The fried shredded duck skin is sinfully delicious, with a satisfying crunch to it. Lovely.

shrimpz glass noodles

My girlfriend had the Thai Fried Glass Noodles (RM 13.90). It looks rather sad and much can be done about the presentation, but tastes fabulous. It was seriously mouth-watering despite the sorry looking presentation. It’s definitely one of their best mains.

shrimpz fried rice

I had the Fried Rice with Anchovy Sauce (Budu) and Petai (RM 9.90). I like the petai, I read an article not long ago about Malay families nowadays excluding this traditional dish from their diet. It’s raw vegetables, dipped into sauce. The fried rice was plain though, nothing special, but tastes great with the prawns.

shrimpz us

The food at Shrimpz is mostly good, especially the prawns…

shrimpz end

We literally licked our plates clean.

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