Impression on Sibu, Sarawak

Its quite unfortunate that I didn’t get to go out much during my time in Sibu. I was stuck at work most of the time. Coupled with the flood and rain, it really wasn’t a good idea to fit some sightseeing into my schedule.
For two nights I stayed at Li Hua Hotel, which is a three-star hotel overlooking the Teh-C-Peng-like Rejang River. My room window faces the river, and from the 7th floor the view is simply amazing. There’s something about big rusty old cargo ships sailing past equally old and rusty jetties that’s so beautiful, so quaint, so…. uniquely Sarawakian.
Rejang River and Ship

Titanic, this is not.

I always feel a sense of connection with the Rejang River, like we have something in common. Its not surprising though. After all, Rejang is Malaysia’s longest river, and I have Malaysia’s longest penis… nevermind. πŸ™‚
Wooden houses along Rejang

If I can’t afford a bungalow by the beach front, this is where I’ll be staying.

A lot of people regard Penang as the food capital of Malaysia. Perhaps I’m a little biased but I’m afraid I have to disagree on that. (Ok lah, I’m very biased! ;)) I think Sarawak has the best range of authentic Malaysian food that suits the palate of people all over the world.
The food in Sibu is disgustingly cheap and many times I feel like giving some tips to the kopitiam waitress just because service was so prompt. Sometimes I wonder why posh 5-star restaurants have the audacity to ask us for tips for their crappy service when the young girl at the kopitiam deserves it more and yet we never thought of giving anything extra to her.
Anyway, back to food. The trademark food of Sibu is the kampua mee (or ‘dry plate noodle’ in Hokkien). Although this Foochow dish is available in Kuching, Sibu is the place where you can savour this yummy noodle in all its authentic and original glory.
Kampua Mee

I like my kampua the way I like my ladies. Cheap, quick, hot and saucy. πŸ˜‰ But not with charsiew on top please.

This plate costs me RM1.80 (or AUD$0.60, the price of one pack of chewing gum in Perth). I had mine the way I like it, and that’s with soy and chilli sauce. It tastes very much like Indo Mee Goreng, except its drier and fresher. I reckon if you lick your computer monitor really hard you might be able to taste it.

The size of this coconut is about as big as my balls. Except mine is bigger.

I ordered a fresh coconut (RM2.00) to go with it. I’m a strong believer that coconut water should only be drank straight from its shell. Anything other than that is an unneccessary compromise.
Fruit Ice

Ice kacang? Pfft! Sibu people wouldn’t stoop to that level. So, they created FRUIT ICE.

This is Sibu’s famed Shui Guo Bing (or ‘Fruit Ice’ in Mandarin) for RM2.00. Its essentially a big bowl of shaved ice and some jelly atop pieces of watermelons, honeydew, pineapple, lychee, etc. This mouth-watering dessert is best savoured after a round of hot spicy dishes to cool your tongue down.
Hungry yet? πŸ™‚
11:30pm was the only time I could explore Sibu on my own. The good news is, there were pubs around the hotel I was staying that operate late into the night. The bad news is, these are dangdut pubs featuring fugly singers with thick make-ups and skimpy clothing unfortunate enough to be cursed with singing voices that rival the ah-peks of Chinese wedding dinners.

There’s something incredibly sexy about big-sized makciks cooking your late-night supper

I was lucky there were few late night kopitiams around, mostly selling seafood. I saw a makcik (Malay for ‘auntie’) skillfully cooking seafood on a sorry-excuse-for-a-BBQ stove. I remembered my workmate recommending the sotongs (‘octopus’) of Sibu, so I wasted no time ordering one.
Sotong + Sambal + Kangkung

Sotong + Sambal + Kangkung = Where’s my gym membership?

This is Sibu’s sotong, grilled to perfection with traditional Malay’s sambal paste and some fresh kangkung. It really is as delicious as it looks. A dish worth coming back to Sibu for indeed.
Sibu at nightSibu at night

Obligatory late-night shots of Sibu.

Before I leave Sibu, I just had to do a shot of the town’s landmark. The place was quiet except for a few loud and drunk teenagers loitering around. Not far from here is the Sacred Heart Cathedral where a mass was held mourning the death of Pope John Paul II.
Sibu Markets

What’s this “kilogram” thing you’re talking about? Sibu people still use the “kong” system.

Sibu is an intriguing little place that retains much of its old-town charm. Its so quaint, so fascinating. I can’t wait for the next time I travel to Sibu to explore the place a little bit more. Hopefully, without the flood.
To conclude this diary entry on a funny note. Introducing, the worst name for a cafe in Sibu…
Mobilephone cafe

Who the *toot* would call their business the “Mobilephone Cafe”?

A MOBILEPHONE CAFE? A cafe for mobile phones? wtf? I don’t know about you but this is what I imagine what the inside of the cafe would look like.

Mobile phone talking

Bartender: Hey wassup, what would you like to D-Ring?
Patron: The usual – just a glass of battery juice please. πŸ™‚

Just as I was editting this photo, my elder sister walked into the room.

Sister: “Why you took a photo of that cafe?”
Kenny: “‘Cos it has a funny name.”
Sister: “What’s so funny about its name?”
Kenny: “Well, its called Mobilephone Cafe!”
Sister: “I don’t see why that’s funny. I mean there are Internet Cafes so what’s wrong with Mobilephone cafe?”
Kenny: “………………”

I think my sister turned into Jessica Simpson after she got married.

63 Replies to “Impression on Sibu, Sarawak”

  1. The kampua is like normal noodles only right? Whats so special about it? The sauce they use or it is too simple but yet delicious? Hmm… Could it be the sauce? Cause from your pictures, it does look like normal wantan mee.
    the shui guo beng sure looks delicious. they pour santan inside ah? The sotong, i am drooling at it lah~! I am so hungry now! Thanks to you.
    LOL at the picture of mobilephone cafe.

  2. comment from previous post, I heard my parents were wading about in the flood waters outside my aunt’s house hahh..
    I’m drooling over the pic of the kam-pua..simple dish, but damn nice! (erm do you have a pic of tiang-piang-ngu? its the dish that still can’t be found elsewhere in Msia) Enjoyed your pics of Sibu as well. Its been years since I’ve been back. Looking forward to more!

  3. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHHAAHAHHA..omg… it is damn stupid. I can tell it’s stupid, because I’m not married. *erm…*.. Lol, that’s not a nice thing to say about your sister. no nono..

  4. speaking of kampua mee, a uni mate of mine brought some back to kl when she came back for the new semester. i find it, um… somewhat too dry, though i’m sure it’s because of the long flight back from sibu, hahaha… oh man, i seriously hope to visit sarawak someday, it’s one of the only 2 states in malaysia i haven’t visited.

  5. Kenny, balls as big as coconuts, dick as long as rejang.. it’s scarely.
    to Thai Boxing Girl, we can be friend. i love to fight ;)!!! Blackwidow

  6. Nice going! Clutching your genitals and sizing them with your meal. Yuk! BTW, how are the Kaliew chicks.

  7. Kenny, shit, i misread the sentence, your dick is not as long as rejang, but longest in malaysia. Still… KOWAI. Because the balls are so bigs that hardly see the dick. !!!! sorry malaysian guys. and sorry to all that i can’t get myself not talking about kenny’s balls and dick. Blackwidow ;P

  8. ok, thai boxing girl… just checked out your blog. sorry har…. when i saw thai boxing, i just got too excited… Blackwidow

  9. wah biang eh those noodles look damn tasty man! I have been deprived of south east asian cuisine for too long; tempt me no further, I cannot stand it!!!!

  10. Jason, its very much like normal wantan mee but this one is cooked really quick. The noodles are dry, fresh and elastic compared to the wantan’s soggy, overwhelming and well-cooked feel. The sauces are nothing to shout about and you can opt for plain ones if you want. As for the shui guo bing, I’m pretty sure it has santan in it.
    Diana, I’ve never heard of that dish but I’ll be sure to check it out next time I head over there. πŸ™‚ Sorry I haven’t got more pics of Sibu!
    Jayelle, ohh don’t worry there will be more entries on my sister’s naivity in the future. Its something I have to endure all my life. I still love her, but she’s annoying.
    livingmonolith, actually its mean to be dry. Its not called ‘dry plate noodle’ without reason. πŸ˜‰
    Rodney, wooooo~! *acts scared*
    TBM, you’re exactly right. ‘kong’ means container in hokkien and I just love it how they spelt it out like its another normal English word. The ‘kong’ in this case is about the size of a small Milo tin, so its really cheap.
    Pope, what’s “Kaliew”? I didn’t meet a lot of Sibu girls but the ones I noticed are all friendly and chatty. I was wrong in thinking that they are all innocent-looking and girl-next-door like. I was having bubble tea at a pub-cum-bubble-tea place and there’s one who made the first move to start small talks with me.
    Bidow (can I call you this instead of Blackwidow? Blackwidow sounded kinda “KOWAI” as well), my balls and dick are not scary. They are spectacular.
    Big F aka J Schnorng, oiii… you sounded as if you’re about to orgasm here. Heh.

  11. Hey Dude : MSG is what made Kam Pua so delicious. Foochows can’t cook without MSG, ask me, I am half foochow. Thank God, mom’s Cantonese.
    Those are SIRIM calibrated Kongs right ? I almost fell off the chair, too funny, dude. Love the Kong entry.

  12. Easy my virtual friend!, Kaliew is the only dirty Foochow word I know and can apply to all occasions much like many other filthy words; eg “you’re such as kaliew!”, “what a kaliew!”, “Your mother is a kaliew”, “Geez, that kaliew is huge! (your favorite subject)”, and so on.
    Check with Sibu friends and comfirm if I’m right.

  13. Eh, Pope, you got problem is it? You know what does “kahliew” actually mean or not? DIRTY? Maybe, depending on how you interpret it. It actually means “play” in Foochow. How can it be dirty unless you’re interpreting it in a wrong way?

  14. man u devil im fookin hungry nowwwww..then again food here have not much taste nor apetising. dammittt…

  15. It had been some 10 years that I had left Sibu. Spent some of the best six years of my life there. Should I ever return, I think I’ll get lost…traffic changed direction et cetera.
    The small bookshop in Sarawak House, is it still there?

  16. Kahliew from the written word “著溜” Stolling along the street. The term later evolved into a term describing having fun or playing ( my ex roommate an Ipoh’s Foochows from the Sitiawang district do not use this term). In the old days, when you ask a Foochow ” where ya going” “Go Kahliew, kahliew”..
    Seems that foochow likes to kahliew kahliew, it becomes a famous term for foochow, just like “Au leng bo hong” Γ₯¾Œè¼Βͺæ²’é’¨for the Heng Hua

  17. LOL… The mobilephone cafe is funny.
    What’s up with all this people, they just use whatever “words” which is in “trend”
    I saw a place call ” Something “Aromatic” Villa” and it’s a housing area… WTF ! let me go home and double check…
    may be take a pic of the signage.

  18. NSDS3, its a shame I didn’t get to explore much. I’ve heard about this small bookshop at Sarawak House place a few times from my workmates. If my memory serves me right, I heard that its unfortunately closed. I didn’t get to visit there so I can’t confirm. May I ask… what’s so special about that bookshop?
    E, thanks for the Foochow lesson! The pope needs to learn from you. πŸ™‚
    N, seems like we have something in common then. I’m secretly obsessed with bad English and stupid shop names myself. If you have a pic, do post it up or send me a mail.
    killarkai, if you like a good blend of small kampung + developing city then Sibu is a town you’d like. There’s something charming about the feel of that place its hard to describe.
    Selina, no more Sibu entries I swear! Eyyyy enjoy Aussie while you can. I miss that place like hell.
    Selina + Pope, chill… chill… everything here is light-hearted fun.
    Shan, SK + Chrissie, why do ppl always use the ‘F’ word when they’re hungry? Now now, remember what you learnt in Pendidikan Moral.
    Oh fuck, I forgot what I learnt in Pendidikan Moral.

  19. This is gotta be the funniest one i’ve read. and yes, i’m hungry..hungry for swak food! thanks, kenny. u brighten up my hectic day.

  20. Anyone knows what happen to the unfinished Durin bridge ? Where has the money gone to ? Kuching ko lok mee is better than foochow kampua mee though both are equally oily. The gerbang pintu is not really a gerbang pintu. Actually, the gerbang pintu should be an archway. Instead, it is just an expensive decorative item in front of Sugar Bun. Sibu has quite a number of modern decorations in town. Well, you have done your share of good work in being nice to Sibu and Sibuians. But you need to stay for a year or two to find out that there are a lot more room for improvement. The Sibu Municipal Council wants to make Sibu like Singapore. It will take years before the mindset of the people of Sibu will change to that of Singaporeans. But Singaporeans are changing to who knows what. Well, you have seen the many big Churches, the big Mosques, the big temples. But the people’s hearts ? Come here and stay for two years. Know them really well. But thanks agains for the good words put into Sibu.

  21. Hmm a few months late for this comment. Melbourne so many foochows but why is there no one selling kampua in Melbourne?!! Hmm the secret to the tastiness of kampua lies in the oil. They ‘boil’ the lard or how they cook it, before they serve the kampua.
    Kenny why u din try out the kompia lar.. though it’s not the best πŸ™‚

  22. If you think Sibu’s kampua mee is nice. Wait till you taste kampua from Bintangor! (a little town which is not far away frm Sibu)…Your site rocks, Kenny! πŸ™‚

  23. kenny, u made me realise how beautiful sibu is, and beautiful places are never too far from dad’s from sibu and we used to go back every year for chinese new year when my late grandmother was still around…i really miss the kampua mee there…but there’s one stall in kuching which is worth trying…it is located opposite siang siang corner at central park. i mean across the road, i dont quite remember the name of the shop….hehe…

  24. This is one of the best sites I have ever found. Thanks!!! Very nice and informal. I enjoy being here.

  25. that’s a cute little mobile phone cafe ??
    too bad that they don’t offer any real phones to play with ????
    sheesh . ..
    You’re breakin my heart !

  26. can i know how much is the price to stay the in hotel for a night? What name the hotel in sibu,which are low rated but has the common facilities?U can tell me bout the all name cheap hotel in sibu course i want to holiday in sibu with my girl friend.Sibu is beautiful.Im from kuching…

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  28. well.. thanks for going to sibu and introduce my hometown …
    i know a lot people wont know and wont like kampue mee… this kampua mee is one of our favourite food in sibu. i can say that is about 99% of sibuian grow up with kampua mee.
    for those supportage, please go and eat and comment here agian
    but just stay in sibu for 2,3 days is enough

  29. i have been to sibu , and my wife live in sibu and i must said it is a facinated little cowboy town ,where gun and fist rule

  30. HAHA…gosh that conversation between you and ur sis was so hilarious!!! true enough we pick hot and brainless celebrities cause they cant think….damn funny those last two sentences from the convo.

  31. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh missed sibu sooooooooo much… thanks for the nice picture, particularly like the mobildphone cafe ones….. so funny!!!
    By the way tiang-piang-gu is another noodle like dish ( make with rice flour), the best one is at the corner of Jalan Blacksmith…… been there for years………………… try it next time.

  32. Been back to Sibu last year after 30 years away! Cannot recognise the place at all. Even my former school -St Mary’s and St Elizabeth’s @ jalan Oya- seemed small now and so near to the town !. I love the Kampuan Mee and the Malay rojak opposite the old Cathay Cinema…. I was sad when I left Sibu after the quick trip [ was there for only 3 days] and recalled the happy memories of my happy childhood and the schooldays. Be happy to share memories and would love to keep in touch with any old friends from St Elizabeth’s – was student there between 1964- 1967]

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