Monday, June 29, 2015

Sibu — Pride of Central Sarawak

THE BAT V team has been travelling along the mighty Rajang over the past six days — starting from Tanjung Manis before proceeding to Sarikei, Meradong and Julau.

Along the way, we also visited smaller towns and settlements such as Durin town, Pasai Siong and Sungai Bidut.

At last, we finally had the time to discover more of Sibu, which is known as the ‘nerve centre’ of the central region.

Here, the team found time to explore and discover what this historical town had to offer for visitors, especially in terms of food, as it had been well-known to be among the culinary havens in Malaysia.

The team also stopped at Sungai Merah, where Wong Nai Siong Memorial Park is located.

It was built to commemorate the vast contribution of Nai Siong to the people of Sibu. It is a well-known fact that about a century ago, the Foochows from China began arriving here at the invitation of the White Rajah to cultivate food in Central Sarawak to feed the swelling local population.

The hard-working Foochows have made Sibu grow by leaps and bounds into what it is today, with a population of about 200,000.

Widely known as the ‘New Foochow’, Sibu definitely looks much busier nowadays, crowded with people and its roads more congested.

In a small alley at Jalan Blacksmith near the Methodist primary school, there is a small rustic shop selling the most authentic ‘Dian Mian Hu’ (wok noodles) in town.

‘Dian Mian Hu’ is a popular Foochow dish and the two brothers — 70-year-old Kin Chiong Lui and 60-year-old Chiong Teng — have been serving customers this savoury dish for over four decades.

The brothers take turns in cooking the dish as the process is tedious and rather complicated. They would first fill a wok half-full with stock and as it comes to a boil, the flour batter would be poured around its side.

Then, the cook would delicately scrap off the batter and let it fall into the broth. To finish the masterpiece, black fungus, dried squids, fish balls, pork and light soy sauce would be added.

Having breakfast in such a famed ‘kopitiam’ is a struggle — we had a hard time finding a table that could fit the four of us since it was packed with foodies.

The silky noodles tasted heavenly with the light broth. The two beautiful ladies of the BAT 5 team, who would usually only finish half of any dish — slurped the whole bowl in mere minutes.

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