Crab Noodles

Crab Noodle

This is the famous whole crab noodles in Sibu! It is the natural evolution of our big head prawn noodles, but instead of a large shrimp, you get one (1) whole crab instead. It’s a luxurious lunch for the times when you want to splurge a little. There is a place that specializes in crab noodle called Wai Mai Lou near the Public Library in Sibu.

Wai Mai Lou

I first heard about this beautiful crab noodle on Facebook. I was told its around RM 73 / bowl which I thought was rather expensive. I decided to go and check it out for myself and it turned out to be a lot cheaper than that. The place is family owned and one of the brothers told me all about their crab noodles.

Sibu Crabs

The crabs are picked by hand from Tanjung Manis and arrives at around 3-4 pm each day to Sibu. They have several different sizes – the regular ones weigh around 300 grams per crab and that’s the option I went for. They also have a smaller crab (which averages 150 grams each) and I was told that some people prefer this as the broth would have a stronger crab flavor since they put 2 crabs in each bowl for the same price (RM 20).

Sibu Crab Noodles

You can also opt for the larger crabs which will be sold by weight – RM 7 per 100 gram. However, the owner advices against choosing ultra large crabs since they’ll be better cooked by themselves. I was eying this 1/2 kg frisky fellow for RM 40. However, I went with the advice and had the regular 300 gram crab noodles for RM 20 per bowl.

Crab Noodles

The crab noodles are cooked Foochow style (fried, then stewed) with a soy sauce based broth and the whole crab is put on top. The crab meat is very nice! I was surprised at just how tender and sweet the flesh is, especially in the area where the legs join the body. The flaky white crab meat is lovely and the crab claws are delicious too!

Crab

外卖佬 (Wai Mai Lou) is open from 11:30 am till late and I spent RM 22 for the crab noodles plus a drink. The regular crab noodles are just RM 20, which I feel is a great deal if you love seafood. The crabs are very fresh – you can see them actively moving around and they’re replenished each day. Don’t miss this crab noodle if you ever come to Sibu!

20 photos from my trip to Kapit

Kapit Boat

I went to Kapit a while back for a 2D/1N stay. Kapit is a town 3 hours from Sibu by express boat. There is no other way to reach it – you can’t drive there and you can’t fly in either, the river is the only route.

Sibu Kapit

This is a uniquely Sarawakian feature, there are a lot of random towns that is connected only via Rejang River and lacks the proper highways or road connections to civilization.

Express Boat View

The funny thing is that you have to fill in a form detailing your name and IC number so they know who’s on board. This didn’t exist before, it was the high profile express boat capsizes and accidents resulting in multiple deaths that initiated it.

Live Chicken

I meant human deaths, not livestock. ;) You can find lots of interesting cargo onboard, including live chicken!

Kapit Sibu Express

Interestingly, they don’t overload the express boats anymore too. This makes it a lot safer compared to previous journeys. Previously, there would be people *on top* of the boat, hanging on to the side rails.

Kapit Jetty

We arrived in Kapit 3 hours later and had to disembark.

Sarawak Express Boat

You do this by walking along the side of the express boat. I’m used to it coz I’ve done it when I was a kid, but new people might find this disconcerting since the river is just beside you.

Kapit Town Square

Kapit is a very small town. You can walk around town in a matter of minutes and that’s what we did. We passed by Kapit Town Square on the way to our hotel.

Star Hill Inn

We stayed at Star Hill Inn, one of the best hotels there.

Kapit Hotel

I took a room and my bro Eddy took another room.

Kapit Shoplots

The hotel is in a shoplot, as you can see from the view.

Kapit Roti Canai Goreng

One of the highlights of the trip was eating roti canai goreng. This is a distinctive Kapit invention, they literally fry the roti canai inside a wok of boiling hot oil. Ingenious, and very tasty too.

Kapit Fair

We managed to have some time off the next day and went to see what was going on in Kapit Town Square. It turns out there’s a lot of games of chance, like an indoor funfair of sorts.

Fun Fair Games

I took a spin as well. You pay RM 1 for a can of soft drink and put it at a color of your choice. You get a 1 in 6 chance of winning equal odds e.g. you win 2 cans if you wager 2 cans.

Fun Fair

This works by throwing a tennis ball into a receptacle with 6 possible colors which matches the one on the table. You get unlimited tries, there’s no penalty if you miss or if the ball bounces back up. You simply try again until you get the ball into a color square.

Kapit Gambling

Behold! These are the high rollers of Kapit! smirk

High Rollers

Seriously though, these whales are betting cartons of 24 cans at once. We thought that was quite funny.

Durian Isu

I also managed to get some wild jungle durians to bring home. This is a native durian called durian isu. It’s very different from regular durians, it only has 4 segments. I’ll do a comprehensive review during the weekend.

Maggi Instant Noodles

We had a quick lunch of Maggi instant noodles at the wharf the next day before we departed…

Kapit Wharf

…and caught the afternoon express boat back. It was a really fun overnight trip with my bro Eddy. I haven’t been to Kapit in such a long time!

5 photos from Sibu Market

Sibu Market

Sibu Market is a source of a lot of interesting products from the far corners of Sarawak. The traders come from places like Belaga to Song to sell their stuff. The wharf and passenger jetty is within walking distance so a lot of them just hop off the express boats (many towns are only reachable by boat) and come over to hawk their wares. I have acquired a few hundred dollars worth of local durians (called buah pekan and buah isu) and am compiling that for an upcoming post!

Kek Lapis

There are also quite a few people selling the famous Sarawak kek lapis here. Kek lapis is actually of Indonesian provenance but the Malay communities in Sibu and Kuching have claimed it as their own. You’ll find them in the Kuching Waterfront / Padang Merdeka / Lao Pa Sat (Old Market) area. The kek lapis comes in all sorts of flavors like prunes, Milo etc.

Telur Terubok

Ikan Terubok is a delicious fish that is currently only obtainable from Sarawak. The fresh ones are usually sourced from Satok Market in Kuching where they have dedicated terubok sellers packing whole boxes of them to be shipped. These are the dried version which I believe comes from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh – it’s not as good, but it’s cheaper. They also sell the prized terubok fish roe here.

Lokam Jellyfish

Lokam is one of the local clams that you’ll find aplenty in Sibu. One restaurant in town called Fisherman’s Restaurant is renowned for their stuffed lokam (they take the clam meat and mix it with pork before stuffing it back). It’s quite good if you cook it well. There’s also a lot of jellyfish for sale due to an old wives tale – it’s said among the Foochow that you have to eat jellyfish after a haircut so the hair can be digested (something about the juices in the jellyfish) so it’s common to slice this raw and serve with a sauce of lime and chillis after a trip to the barber. I’ve had it lots of times as a kid at my grandma’s place.

Ghetto Ice Cream

Ghetto ice cream! These are simply satay skewers that’s been inserted into a tube filled with either Milo or strawberry flavored milk. Both are watered down but it’s pretty enterprising of these young boys to sell them for RM 1 each. I bought one last time my better half and the kids were in town for them to try, the “ice cream” is made by physically turning the huge churn (which rests on a bed of salted water with ice cubes) which will slowly freeze the receptacles holding the liquid.

De Vulture Café, Sibu

De Vulture Cafe Sibu

I caught up with my ex classmate Chew Yieng and her husband last night for dinner. I haven’t seen her in a while, I used to hang out at her house when I was 15 and back for winter break – she had a really awesome pool that we swam in at 2 am in the morning. Haha. It’s been a long time since those days, we were all in New Zealand back then.

De Vulture Cafe

I heard that she was back from China and based in Sibu now so it was good to catch up. We had dinner at De Vulture Café, which just opened a few days ago (!!!). I was quite surprised to see a lot of people here since it’s a little out of the way, but there’s a huge local community in the Ulu Sungai Merah area

Jug Orange Juice

The café is decked out like a ship with real doors and ports scavenged from a real vessel.

Grilled Lamb Chop with Yoghurt Mint Sauce

Grilled Lamb Chop with Yoghurt Mint Sauce (RM 19.90)
I had this for my dinner. I thought the portion was decent but it was the yoghurt mint sauce that I really enjoyed. It tasted good. They serve a wide range of “Western” dishes from the usual grilled chicken/beef/lamb to sandwiches/burgers/tortillas.

Fish and Chips with Tartar Sauce

Fish & Chips with Tartar Sauce (RM 15.90)
This was Chew Yieng’s order. They had come here the day before and wanted to bring me someplace new to try out. There has been a bit of a boom in the café/restaurant business in Sibu nowadays, heaps of new places have sprung out and even more surprisingly, there seems to be a market to sustain it.

Chew Yieng HB

The food at De Vulture Café is reasonable but not particularly impressive. I may be the wrong person to ask since I’m based in KL and there are so many options there which are better but I guess it’s pretty decent for Sibu standards. I liked their orange juice (RM 16 for a jug) and it’s a nice place to chill. It was awesome to catch up with Chew Yieng again, so much time has passed since our school days. See ya all when I’m back for Chinese New Year! :)

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) 2016 Dinner in Sibu, Sarawak

PKR Dinner Sibu 2016

I was invited to come along for dinner last night at Good Happiness Restaurant in Sibu and listen to the PKR politicians speak. This is (as I understand it) a fundraising dinner of sorts – each table has paid a minimum of RM 400 for campaign contributions. Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is one of the opposition parties in Malaysia.

PKR Dinner Sibu

I’ve always been very transparent in my political leanings – I voted for DAP (Democratic Action Party) in the last general election and make it a point to go for Bersih gatherings. I thought it would be interesting to hear the speakers and see the 2016 Sarawak State Election lineup.

PKR Dinner 2016

Good Happiness Restaurant was very packed, they had the entire second floor with over 100 tables. There were provisions for halal diners as well with outside catering.

Foochow Fried Noodles

Foochow Fried Noodles
This was the first dish that came out. Good Happiness Restaurant does decent Foochow style fried noodles, I quite like it. I think almost everyone was hungry at this point so it was smart of them to start with a carb heavy dish.

Pork Belly Soup

Sup Babi (Pork Belly Soup)
I have honestly never had anything like this before! It’s pork belly and leg that’s been boiled with pickled vegetables and served as a clear broth. It’s a nice soup but the sheer amount of adipose tissue is staggering…the abundance of unrendered pork fat makes you feel a bit jelak after a few bites.

Sup Babi

Interesting execution though. This is a very Iban style of cooking – simple and wholesome (in the sense that it’s filling and slightly oily).

Curry Fish Head

Curry Fish Head with Steamed Rice
This was the third dish that came out. The menu for the night seems quite starch intensive, which I guess is appropriate for massive events like these. It’s nowhere near as good as places like Sheraton but it’s done decently enough.

Abalone with Mushrooms

Abalone with Mushrooms
This is a classic Chinese banquet dish with abalone slices and enoki mushrooms stir fried and stewed, surrounded by heads of broccoli. It’s not very tasty but food is beside the point here – people come for the politics, the food just serves as a backdrop and a vehicle to raise funds. It’s purely secondary and I don’t think anyone minded.

PKR Candidates 2016

This is the Central lineup for 2016! These candidates would be the ones contesting in the upcoming Sarawak State Election 2016 to be held in four (4) months or so.

Anwar Ibrahim Badge

I got an Anwar Ibrahim (leader of PKR) button for contributing to the campaign. There were people going around with donation boxes – these will go towards campaign funds so I was happy to give to the opposition coalition.

PKR Dinner Me

It was an interesting dinner. I felt that some things could have been done differently to make things more conducive e.g. less ceramah (political speeches) would be nice since everyone in attendance is in agreement with you, it’s a little like preaching to the choir. I also think more mileage could be had from getting the upcoming political candidates to speak to and connect with people at each table – perhaps next time eh? Good luck! :)

Roti Canai Goreng in Kapit

Roti Canai Goreng

I first heard about this wonderful creation a couple of months back. Fried roti canai is a staple in Kapit and one of those quirky inventions that can only take hold in a small town. I decided then and there that I must personally investigate this dish and planned to go on a trip downriver. Kapit is a small town that’s only reachable by boat – you can’t drive or fly there.

Roti Canai Goreng Kapit

The journey to Kapit takes 3 hours via express boat from Sibu and I went down with my bro Eddy for a night. It’s not just to eat roti canai goreng, but that certainly was a highlight (at least for me). Haha. The stalls in question are located at Gelanggang Kenyalang (loosely translated as Kenyalang Court). It’s an assortment of stalls under one roof, an indoor food court of sorts.

Gerai Makanan Islam Sri Suria

There is one stall that’s famous for their roti canai goreng but everyone essentially does it the same way nowadays. I went to Stall #25 Gerai Makanan Islam Sri Suria and the kind lady manning the frying pan told me about how the roti canai goreng is made. I was quite surprised to find out that it’s not grilled first – the raw dough of the roti canai is slipped into boiling hot oil and fried straight away.

Roti Goreng Kapit

The same treatment is done for the roti canai telur goreng (fried roti canai with egg). The egg is folded into the dough and deep fried till crispy. It’s served Sarawakian style with curry chicken and a sweet sambal sauce. The latter is truly local, I’ve never had this saccharine sambal anywhere else except at home.

Roti Canai Kapit

The roti canai goreng costs RM 2 and it’s plain roti canai that’s been deep fried. The dough is cooked through, with a crispy exterior. You can taste the sweetness of the dough by picking up the sliced pieces and munching on them. It’s very satisfying!

Roti Telur Goreng

Roti canai telur goreng comes in at RM 4 and it tastes totally different with an egg. I was surprised at how distinctive the two are! This one has a pockmarked surface (from the hot oil) and it tastes a lot more savory than the previous one.

Roti Canai Goreng Inside

Here’s a look at the inside. The egg is perfectly cooked from the heat of the cooking oil. The funny thing about the two roti canai variants is that the egg version is rectangle in shape while the plain is round and circular.

Roti Goreng

Roti canai goreng has a distinctive texture that’s very moreish. I could eat several of them, although it’s probably not wise to do so as it’s quite oily and I feel that excessive consumption would probably be bad for your cholesterol.

HB Eddy Kapit

This is definitely worth a try. I’ll come again just to eat this! You can only find it in Kapit, so if you’re ever in Sarawak and looking for something different, take a boat here and eat their famous roti canai goreng! :)

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! :)

22 photos from Yih Wen and Kian Mun’s wedding

Wedding Vows

Yih Wen and Kian Mun had their wedding vows done yesterday morning.

Lighting Firecrackers

I was there to help set off the firecrackers. Haha. These are the large 39,999 Chinese firecrackers roll.

Dad Wen HB

I went with my dad early in the morning and took a photo with the bride. Yih Wen is my cousin, my uncle’s daughter.

Mee Sua

I had the traditional mee sua (longevity noodles) with chicken soup.

Firecrackers

I was told to light it up just before the groom’s delegation came.

Groom Delegation

Here there are!

Wedding Gatekeepers

These are all my cousins. They are the gatekeepers keeping the groom out until ang pows (red packets) has been distributed and questions answered in a satisfactory manner.

Bride Dad

My uncle, the bride’s dad, led Yih Wen down from her room…

On Bended Knee

…and the groom went down on bended knee to present the bride with flowers.

Exchange Rings

There was the exchange of rings…

Ring Bride

…for both parties.

Kiss

The bride and groom then attempted to kiss for a full minute.

Tea Service

The customary tea service was done by Noble.

Bride Parents

The bride and groom basically bow three times to people in their lives (these are the parents of the bride) while serving them tea.

Chinese Tea Ceremony

It’s a Chinese custom.

Dad

My dad, being the brother of the father is pictured here.

Group Photo

We all took a group photo together…

Bride Leaves

…and the bride left for the groom’s place.

Bride Leaving

Since the groom is from Ipoh, there’s no house to go to – they went to his hotel room instead.

Driving Off

It’s a symbolic gesture to mean the daughter has officially left the care of the parents.

Car Ceremony

The car is backed out and in three (3) times…

Yih Wen Kian Mun

…and they’re off! Congrats Yih Wen and Kian Mun! :)

Bintangor: Famous Bintangor rojak, Bintangor orange juice and river travels!

Boat

My better half has never been to Bintangor before. It’s a small and sleepy town which is one of the major transit points to further destinations accessible only by river. We thought about dropping by the last time she was here but went directly to Sarikei instead.

Sibu Swan

Her parents were in town and I thought they’ll enjoy the small town vibe so I drove all of them down from our hotel in Sibu (after snapping a few quick photos at the swan statue).

Express Boat

It takes approximately an hour to reach Bintangor by car. The main feature in town is a passenger jetty with express boats departing to obscure villages and micro-towns like Dalat, Song and other similar places which can only be reached by the large Rejang River which runs along the entire length of Sarawak.

Jetty

The express boats are the only way to go to these places upriver and that’s why you’ll see them packed to the brim (with people jammed in every nook and cranny and even occupying the roof). Boats like these are supposed to carry 103 pax but regularly exceed that and it makes accidents a very real possibility – a capsized boat killed quite a lot of people last year.

Bintangor Me

There are no roads to the towns further down, you can only get there by boat or helicopter.

Bintangor Orange

I like how the major export of Bintangor is featured as a statue in the middle of town. There’s a local orange that features predominantly in the esplanade and the last time I was here, it was in a very sorry state – paint all peeling and unkempt. It’s been maintained better and the colors look more or less like what a real orange would look like. Trust me, it looked a lot worse in the past.

Bintangor Market

We also dropped by the Bintangor Market to check out their produce. They have a lot of interesting local vegetables, knick knacks and other assorted daily essentials.

Wet Market

I made it a point to bring them to the famous Bintangor rojak at Wong Hung Ping. This place is very popular even among Sibu folks, people would make the 1 hour drive to eat rojak during weekends and drive back down again. I ordered a large portion for us to share and my dear’s dad enjoyed it tremendously.

Famous Rojak Bintangor

There are steamed sweet potatoes, cucumbers, pineapples (from the neighboring town of Sarikei), fried crullers and other miscellaneous ingredients tossed in a sweet homemade sauce and sprinkled with toasted peanuts. I think what makes it so good is that everything is sourced locally and very fresh. The sweet potatoes are even cooked to order!

Bintangor Rojak

I also highly recommended the local Bintangor orange juice (RM 3) which is the squeezed product of the fruits grown just on the outskirts of town. You can’t get it fresher than this!

Bintangor Orange Juice

Her dad enjoyed the rojak so much that he bought a bottle of their homemade rojak sauce to bring back to KL!

Famous Bintangor Rojak

It’s a really fun day trip to do with my dear and the family. I haven’t been here in a few years and it seems like time hasn’t marred this small town like it has other places. Bintangor is still a serene little place you can escape to if you want a change of pace, to experience a quieter way of life.

A local durian stall on the road to Bintangor

Durian Sarawak

Sarawak (or at least Borneo) is said to be the home of the largest variety of durians in the world. My better half came to visit with the kids and her parents and I drove them to the rural town of Bintangor.

Bintagor Durian

We had just seen durians in the local Sibu market the morning before and I expected a few homegrown stalls to be selling the wonderful fruit.

Borneo Durian Stall

I wasn’t disappointed – one wooden structure on the road leading to Bintangor had a few cars pulled up and browsing the durians on offer. Her dad (who is also a passionate durian lover like me) wanted to see what the local durians were like so we also joined the fray.

Durians

This man was literally selling durians out from his van. He’s local and says the durian trees were grown by his father. He looks to be in his early 40’s so that says a lot about the age of the durian trees – it’s a lot more mature than most of the cultivars you get in Peninsula Malaysia.

Borneo Durian

The price was RM 100 for 10 durians or RM 15/durian, which is slightly more expensive than the prices we get in KL.

Durian Stem

Keep in mind that these are local Borneo durian species instead of special cultivars and no one really knows what the species is but it tastes quite good. The walls of the fruit was thick and the stem is relatively long and slim like a D158/Ganyao durian. It had the characteristic frayed look of a durian that dropped naturally too.

Durian Flesh

The flesh is creamy and sweet with almost no bitter notes. Significantly, the odor wasn’t very strong too, but that didn’t affect the taste much. The small fruits bore about 7-8 seeds which we all shared. My dear loved the durian coz it didn’t have much fiber, unlike some cultivars like D2 durian.

Durian Us

My better half took this photo of us – she didn’t want her parents to appear on the blog so she asked me to put in her head instead. Haha. I forgot to take a photo with her inside coz my hands were dirty.

Sarawak Durian

It turns out that this was the *only* durian stall around so it’s a good thing we managed to try some during the bridge season. I’ll be back!

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