We drove all the way to town, but hadn't known where to eat .... but finally ended up at Wan Chai Food Centre in town.
CNY songs were playing in the air, heightening the festive mood. I loved the brightly lit exterior, where lots of tables were set up.
Not much choice of vegetables that evening, it being the rainy season and the restaurant was closing for CNY the next day. So in the end we ordered "Four Heavenly Kings", supposed to be made up of a medley for 4 types of vegetables. However, I counted only 3 types on the platter that evening. The portion was small.
Okra, with long beans and eggplant were 3 types of vegetables, unless of course, they counted garlic as type no. 4.
Black Pomfret Deep-fry
Looks wise and taste wise, I think I preferred the one at Airy Cafe we ate the other day.... the 2 oranges were given out free by the restaurant for dessert ....
Drunken freshwater prawns
We ordered a pair of freshwater prawns, steamed with egg and wine. I had not known that one of the prawns was male and the other was female, differentiated by the colour of the shell and the texture of their meat. Taste wise, it was alright, but not quite to our palate. The pair of prawns cost RM50.00.
All in all, we paid RM84.50 for our meal, inclusive of 2 drinks ....
The other night, the weather was rather fine ...and we went to the CNY Bazaar. I was surprised to find that there were whole stretches of stalls! So many of them!
An array of things were sold, from food to clothes to toys to decorations to flowers to household items ... and vendors were on top of their voices, coaxing visitors to purchase their wares, and after a successful transaction, wishing them all things good for the coming CNY.
It was sure crowded as I navigated the pathway slowly and carefully, while my eyes were scanning for interesting things which I could buy. It ended up that I did not even spend a single cent.
A beautiful pot of flowering orchid which attracted my attention
The food scene, to me, was not so interesting .... most stalls were selling the same things, i.e. bao or steamed buns, and shaomai, and Taiwanese sausages, and fishballs and meatballs. Hmn .... there were at least 2 stalls selling takoyaki, and Taiwanese chicken chop. I did get interested to try the smelly tofu sold at a particular stall, but in the end, I decided not to wait for it. I had instead a bowl of meatballs and a stick of Taiwanese sausage.
Later on we went to Leisure Cafe which was nearby (occupying a corner shoplot, at the next block of shop from Sin Liang Supermarket). We had wanted to eat laksa and porridge there .... but then, they were both sold out already at 9.30 p.m. The apologetic vendor urged us to order something else ...
In the end, we ordered a Stir-fried Kueh Tiaw ....
Stir-fried Kueh Tiaw
It was alright, tasting faintly of wok's breath, but a bit too salty. Later on, I found out that a former student was one of the cooks there ....
Leisure Cafe offers free wi-fi to customers, and it was quite a nice place to hang out at night! I would want to come back after CNY .....
When you're cooking for one, you cook a small portion at one time. So when I bought a little round cabbage and a can of sweet corn, I could use the two ingredients for 4 times. One could easily get bored eating the same vegetables ... but luckily, these two vegetables were versatile enough to be used in many dishes ....
Cabbage and corn in fried rice, together with some carrots and minced pork
It was rather easy, to dump everything into the work to stir-fry with rice. Nothing could go wrong with fried rice.
Corn, carrots, black mushrooms and minced pork stirfry. I added an egg in it too.
Cabbage and chicken stew to warm me up on a cold, cold evening ...
Cabbage, corn and minced pork stir-fry, served with an egg and rice
By the time I finished cooking these 4 wholesome dishes, I used up all the cabbage and corn. Thank goodness I am partial for these 2 vegetables. :P
Someone said there was a new eatery at Boulevard Commercial Centre. Was there? Hmn .... but anyway, we didn't find it and ended up at Airy Cafe.
What was really delicious about today's dinner was the fish.
Deep-fried Pomfret with Ginger and Shallots
The fish was deep-fried till a crispy perfection. The marinade was rather light, but tasty ... and I could appreciate the sweetness of the fish. The aromatics, of course, enhanced the whole dish. I really loved the fish a lot.
Drunken Chicken in Claypot
When the claypot came to the table, it was not bubbling at all. It just meant that they did not let it boil long enough. We sent it back to the kitchen so that they would boil it over again. This dish was unnaturally sweet and the red rice wine used was not fragrant at all. We both did not like it. Nonetheless, the ginger and wine warmed me up on such a cold, cold evening .... I'd been feeling cold for the whole day!
The vegetables were fresh and crunchy, but the sauce was on the sour side. I also felt that it could be more fragrant. There sure was room to improve the flavour.
Airy Cafe also served a fruit platter after the meal. That evening, we had watermelon and cucumber to complete our meal.
We went to newly-opened Starbucks at Permaisuri Imperial City Mall the other night. There was a bit of crowd there, but as the night crept into the late hours, people started to disperse. We stayed till 1 a.m., the closing time, making full use of the free wi-fi. Lol.
We sat at the bar top, facing the glass wall panel ... and there were switches there. I could actually charge my mobile device there! Yippee ... I'd know where to hang out next time. :P
We ordered ....
Grande brewed tea for me, Asian Dolce Frappucinno for AT; We also had a blueberry and cheese muffin, a baked marbled cheese cake, and chicken fingers.
For the whole tray of food and beverages, we paid RM49.10. I must say that it was easy to feel at home here .... I certainly loved the relaxed atmosphere very much. Will be back.
Starbucks at the Permaisuri Imperial City Mall opens at 9.00 a.m. daily.
A colleague's wife was doing us a favour by supplying us Nasi Minyak or oiled rice.
A triangular pack of rice in oiled paper, chicken masak merah and cucumber pickles packed separately
A pack cost RM3.00, and many of us bought for breakfast or brunch ....
A serving of Nasi Minyak
The rice had a very strong clove flavour, not for the faint-hearted. Lol. But I did like it, fortunately. The chicken masak merah was on the savoury side, and the cucumber pickles sour. I would have preferred them both to be slightly sweeter. I also wished there were more meat to eat with the rice .... as it was, I consumed about a third of the rice and threw away the rest .... what a waste.
It was, nonetheless, a change to my normal lunch menu. That made it interesting. :))
Today, we starved ourselves the entire day .... but after work, we went to Al Asna at Morsjaya for roti ....
Roti telur & chicken curry
I loved the pastry which was crispy and fragrant with egg. The curry was on the sweeter side, and redolent with the taste of spices. The chicken, of course, fully absorbed the aroma of the curry and was tender to the bite.
A perfect accompaniment with teh tarik. Thanks to my colleague H for the treat.
My colleagues have been telling me that they are perpetually hungry at work. Well, so am I. I've been surviving on oats and biscuits ....
But today, I am blessed to have eaten this Nasi Lemak, catered from the previous operator. Though it was such a simple fare, I was really thankful for it. I had not had such an "edible" meal at work for a long time.
Nasi lemak with honeyed chicken wing, sambal, cucumber, salted fish and hard-boiled egg.
The previous operator has been like a friend to us ... and we all miss her a lot. This is week 4. There are still 38 weeks to go. Many of us are looking for alternatives to supply us food at work .....
AT and I went to visit the newly-opened Permaisuri Imperial City Mall the other night .... and well, though the shops were not fully opened yet, I was excited to see labels like Skechers, Clarks, Esprit .... and of course, I do hope that more shops such as those will open soon, to end the deprivation of Miri shoppers ... saw a lot of familiar faces that evening. Lol. Maybe almost all of Miri was there ....
For the food and beverage scene, well, seeing Starbucks there really made me happy. It meant an alternative place to hang out ... lol. Other than that, there was Fullhouse, Old Town Coffee, My Chicken Rice Shop, Sajian Warisan ... just to name a few.
So the crowd was encouraging ... and there was a literal full house at the eateries .... and AT and I decided that we'd not eat at the mall.
It was already 9:30 p.m. .... and I hadn't wanted to eat except that AT had not had dinner and he preferred rice ..... and fortunately at that hour, there were some places still opened. One such place was Rainforest Cafe.
We ordered .....
Sea Cucumber Soup
I loved the tenderness of the meat. Each think chunk was coated with a honeyed crust, and was crispy on the outside. Quite yum ....
Baby French Beans
These baby French Beans were stir-fried with minced pork ... the vegetables were sweet and crunchy and tender ....
I think this was a good place to eat, if one wanted a substantial meal ..... Rainforest Cafe is located at the Pacific Orient Hotel.
AT found out that his younger sister liked Kenny Rogers Roasters .... and so he was curious about why she liked it so. So after hanging out at the mall the other day, he proposed that we have dinner there. I did not mind, as I had never eaten at the outlet here in Miri before, and it was about time that I tried it out.
1/4 chicken with aromatic rice and Caesar Supreme Salad
1/4 chicken with garden pasta salad, coleslaw and potato salad
Signature square muffins ...
It's been years since I had Kenny Rogers .... when it first opened in Malaysia in the 90's, my friends and I loved to go there for meals ... but over the years, the quality was not always consistent, and at one stage, I was so disappointed with the food that I had stopped going there for meals.
That evening at the mall, I thoroughly enjoyed my meal., reminiscing familiar flavours from the past .... I found the chicken to be well-marinated and well-roasted. A serving of gravy enhanced its taste. I had actually liked to mop up the gravy with the sweet and fragrant muffin .... The side dishes too were delicious, just as I remembered them to be ...
And so I had a really pleasant meal, actually .... perhaps I should go visit it more often, huh?
Lots of people would be baking now, in preparation for CNY which was just around the corner. I do not bake ... but joined in my colleagues to "learn" the other day. Lol.
We were supposed to learn to make a layered cake. We were supposed to pair up and bake our own cake, after we watched the demonstration by the teacher. Here's the recipe :
1) Whisk 400g butter with 75g of condensed milk till they appear white and creamy. Set aside.
2) Whisk 14 Grade A egg yolks with 6 whole eggs, 200g of Hong Kong flour, 200g of icing sugar, 1 tbsp of Ovalette and 60g of powdered milk.
3) Then mix 1 and 2 together.
4) Separate mixture into 3 portions and add different colours to them
5) Line the cake pan.
6) Preheat oven. Bake each layer at 250 degrees for 2 minutes.
The end product was supposed to turn out to be something like this ...
But then, the task proved to daunting and time consuming .... so instead of pairing up, the 4 of us grouped together to bake, not a layered cake, but an unlayered one. Lol.
My group members and I followed the exact steps, but then we cut down the amount of sugar we used, and we decided not do use colouring. Instead, we added in a sachet of instant coffee into a portion of the batter. Of course we had decided earlier on not to layer the cake. So we merely then poured it into a lined baking tin.
In another portion, we swirled some pandan essence into the batter and baked it ....
The cakes, cut and served
Well, we quite liked the texture of the cake which was fluffy and soft, and very fragrant of eggs. My friends and I divided the cakes into 4 portions and brought them home.
That evening, I let AT try some. "You did not put sugar," he said.
Lol. Of course I did. It was just being reduced. But he said it was not bad.
My friends also feedback that their families and children loved the cakes .... so see, it was not necessary to put layers on the cake ... hehe
For some reason I was starving the whole day. Lunch was just a portion scrambled eggs. Of course, I had wanted to eat more ... but there was not much of things to eat.
Scrambled eggs with string beans and carrots, and chilli sauce
Therefore, when I saw some fish crackers on the table, I squealed in delight. Yayy! Food!! So I opened the container and started popping the puffed up rounded balls into my mouth.
"Where from?" I asked my colleague. Eat first. Then ask. Lol.
"P bought it from Sabah," came the reply. P, my colleage went to Sabah one weekend.
"What are these called?" I asked again.
"Amplang," I was told.
"What is this made of?" I asked.
"Don't know," my colleague said.
Well ... a search online revealed that Amplang was a popular snack in Tawau, Sabah. Its ingredients include Spanish mackerel, tapioca flour with spices. The dough is formed into little balls and then deep-fried. These ones I ate were flavoured I think .... tasted to me like cuttlefish, with sesame seeds giving them a nuttier flavour.
Munch ... munch ... munch .... we sat around and chatted ... and soon, no more Amplang left. :P
I was hovering at the section selling local cakes at Krokop 10 Market. I never knew what I wanted to buy as I browsed the various types of local cakes on the tables. It was because I had bought a few types over the years ... and yet I had never found them to be extraordinarily yummy.
At one corner, there was this stall selling steamed buns or baos. Well, I had never bought the baos here before. But that morning, it caught my attention that a few people were buying the Big Vegetable Bao or 大菜包. I was wondering why. Was it really delicious? Or was it mere coincidence. I was not tempted to buy somehow.
Till my friend H disclosed to me that she would buy half a dozen on the baos at one go. H also told me that the baos would sell out by 9.00 a.m. That got me excited to try them, in particular the Big Vegetable Bao.
However, I was working on weekdays and could not go to the market .... and as soon as Saturday arrived, I hurried to there, just to buy the baos.
Big Vegetable Bao, RM2.00
I had some shaomai from Kuching to accompany my bao. The shaomais were brought all the way from Kuching by my friend R. So they were absolutely yum. But how about the bao?
Cross section of the bao ..
Well, let's start with the pastry. The pastry had a very fragrant aroma of good quality wheat flour. It smelled mouth-watering in fact. The pastry was also light, fluffy and spongy. Quite pleasant to chew on. I just thought it was too thick at the top. I guess it had to be in order for it to expand to its size. No offense, but I did not like it. The filling was mostly shredded jicama .... a bit sweet and savoury in taste. Not too sure, but perhaps there was just a teeny bit of minced pork inside too. There was a wedge of hard-boiled egg in the centre.
This bao was rather alright, but not really to-die-for. It was not something I would go back to buy in the near future. Perhaps till when I have a craving for it. :P
I have often heard people talk about the infamous bread from Marudi. But I had no chance of eating it. I had not been to Marudi before.
The other day, AT and I were talking about him going to Marudi ... and I involuntarily asked him to buy me a loaf. He agreed without hesitation. That was quite a few weeks ago ... and I did not actually think he would remember. But today, surprisingly, he sent the bread right all the way to my doorstep. Thanks so much.
What a beautiful loaf of bread ....
Well, first of all, this loaf of bread is really long, and had been baked to a perfect shade of brown. It retained its shape, even though it had travelled that far by air ...
The texture was also good - light and soft but not cottony, dense but not hard. And there was this very fragrant aroma of wheat that permeates this freshly baked bread.
I bit into a slice and enjoyed its the chewy texture and its delightful taste. The more you chewed, the tastier it became. Bring that cup of black coffee .... and enjoy it with the bread. :)
I'm one who loves to cook and eat cucumber stir-fries. The other day, I bought a Japanese cucumber from the market. These were dark green in colour, crunchier and sweeter than the local varieties. They were however much pricier. Just one piece cost RM2.00. When in abundance, a kilogramme of the local cucumbers would only sell for RM2.00 or less.
Back home, I sliced them up thinly and stirfried them with just garlic and a bit of salt.
The result was quite yum, in fact. The cucumbers were rather refreshing and pleasant to eat with rice. This is a dish I would definitely repeat.
What attracted me to Seed's at first were the mini buns. There were so many flavours to pick and choose from, and the best thing was that one could mix and match. My favourite ones were always bbq chicken, chicken sausage buns and the mexico buns. 3 pieces still sold for RM2.00.
Freshly baked and delicious ...
Seeds is located at Boulevard Commercial Centre. They are also pretty famous for their Korean QQ mochi buns.
With the rising cost of food prices, more and more people are searching to buy cheaper brands. And my colleague was promoting the 1Malaysia brand of products which he bought from Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M).
Indeed, I had never tried these products till he let us sample a few items. I actually liked the Special Cream Cracker. So I went to buy a packet the other day. While at KR1M, I bought a packet of 1Malaysia Muruku and a small bottle of 1Malaysia soy sauce.
Muruku RM3.20, Special Cream Cracker RM2.95 and Kicap Manis 60ml bottle RM1.00
Opened up to serve ....
I liked the cream cracker because it was thin, flaky and crispy. The muruku, too, was flavourful of spices though I found it slightly hard. It could be quite addictive, though. The only item I did not like was the soy sauce, which I found to be too diluted. I also did not quite like the taste of the soy sauce.
I paid RM7.15 for those 3 items ... bargain or not? Hmn ....