February 1, 2010

Memorable Lunch at Hock Chu Leu

Something I have been thinking of doing for a long long time - to have a meal at Hock Chu Leu in Sibu.

Years ago I thought that if I did not have my wedding feast there at least I could have a very memorable celebration feast or two for something special there. That is being the Foochow in me. But I moved away from Sibu and events did not happen as I would want them to. I am not as systematic as Shi Huang Di  in getting things done (sigh) and life  just goes on.

There are several  Foochow /Sibu ways of inviting friends for a meal.

You can call up and say "Hey friend come and eat a ready lunch with me...siak bian dou".  And you might already be sitting at the restaurant  and you can order simple dishes but might even include sharks fin depending on the thickness of your wallet.

You can also say..."Come Come...let's eat play...siak ka liu". You can order some kang kong and some tou foo. But again you might try something really fancy or something new the Chef wants you to try.

Or you can invite only very good friends and say... " Come come...nothing to do...let's have a simple lunch and spend time to chit chat...chiar diuh pow" . For this kind of gathering you can order fried noodles and some dishes which can be stretched over time. And if the conversation is still very good you can order some more! And you let your hair down and have some chill time. that is if you do not have to clock in to work!

A pre-ordered Foochow meal is a different thing all together. You may have to take time to think about the different meanings of the dishes and the availability of the seasonal items.

But I know where my children are concerned they will already have their list ready when they are home for their annual holidays or special holidays. Bless their hearts.

But this trip back I had a reason to celebrate with good friends  and make a "down memory lane" kind of visit to the village where I spent my childhood . ML Wong and Tumi would smile at this.  It was good to meet up with Ing Chiong and Tony. Philip was away from town.  Blessings must be shared. And indeed God's grace was sufficient.
This is a very tasty and memorable Braised White Cabbage which only HCL can do ! Melt in the mouth and natural sweetness from the fusion of all the ingredients braised slowly in a low fire for a long time. We normally cook this dish at home once a year!

This is the Foochow style sweet and sour pork ribs . Very tender. Note the design on the crockery. Very imperial and auspicious.

You can tell how skilled and well trained a waitress is by looking at the way she manages the ladling of the soup. She has very graceful arm movements. And you can tell that she will do a meticulous job.

This is the special and must have Foochow Meatball soup. Traditionally served with mushrooms and some bamboo slivers. I think every one gets three meatballs.

Hi these are my church friends/ school mates (junior) / blogger friends from Sibu - and all picking up a meatball for my benefit. Cheers and thanks!!

Siew Mai is a special long time favourite. We used to get them (air flown of course when someone visits) to us in Singapore and Miri by my mother!! Love is a packet of Siew Mai from HCL!! They are really big and well made. You won't be short changed here because they are really big and full of good value ingredients. Some shops in Miri sell "Siew Mai from Sibu".
I have a special liking for this dish : kai lan with fresh liver as topping which is really generous as you cannot see the vegetables.

Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of the steamed tapah because our conversation was too animated. . Next time I will order a bigger one and take a good picture! Tapah is my favourite fish. May be Steve has a photo of a big dish of steamed tapah from somewhere that I can borrow....(shy lah)

We were given white rice to go with the delicious food and free flow(?) Chinese tea. The bill came to a small and unbelieveable figure. Guess how much I paid?

So here is a wish : we will dine here again and soon!!


fufu said...

i want siew mai!!!! =p

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Fufu

How are you?
I now send you a cyberpack of siew mai from HCL>>!!!!

Greetings. Hope the weather is better now...

天鵝江畔 said...

CY, we are waiting you to come back again for Tapah! hahahahaha

Abunawas said...

Dear Sarawakiana@2,
I may be wrong the person on the left hand side looks like Mr. Paran Ara, a Kelabit from Bario and also a former banker?

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Let us book a good Tapah! And may I get a good check too from CEO!! hahahaha


Sarawakiana@2 said...

Abunawas :

The man on the left is Tony Hii (Premier Hotel) and next to him is Steve Ling. Ing Chiong is the young man and next to him is Meng Lei of Methodist Message.

No idea who this guy you mentioned is.....Sorry.

Anonymous said...

I have always wanted to make halal siew mai....do you have the recipe?



Bengbeng said...

i like the look of kailan n fresh liver. this place u mentioned is popular after seeing off the dearly departed. prices very reasonable

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Kay


Will put the halal siew mai recipe up one of these days. Would be fun to get a group of young people together to make it. Have a great teaching week!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Bengbeng
Good to eat kailan and liver once in a while. Replenish your blood. cooking liver is tricky though. Must buy from a trusted butcher friend and then must cook well marinated and thinly sliced liver quickly. I am sure you know all about this.

HCL is well known for "lou puon" (Foochow)or "Old Rice" which is the name for the post funeral lunch. Most people who attend funerals of their old old relatives would partake of this meal so that they would too live long lives. It is the last of the last respects but according to one loving and compassionate uncle who passed away some time ago this is a "thank you" lunch from the dearly departed. He himself planned the menu (his favourite dishes).

But another relative said that it is "the pride of the family for having such a member in the family" and good money (laid aside) will be spent on the lunch.

How do you look at it having been in Sibu for sometime?


Uncle Lee said...

Hi Sarawakiania, wow! Love this restaurant. You certainly know your makan shops.
And yes, I find the food where you are much different style of cooking to KL ones, I mean my time in the '80s.

I love the local fishes there too. Nice pics, you have a nice day, Lee.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Uncle Lee
Nice of you to visit and love my HCL...this is hometown cooking. Not like the Imbi Palace in KL or the Tai Tong where the dining is very refine and FINE.

But the cooks are homegrown and the food probably plain but trying the imitate the great dishes. There are in fact a few more in Sibu which offer good dining experience but Hock Chu Leu is a class by itself and has a special piece of my heart.

Over here we mainly have Foochow cuisine. KL is mainly Cantonese...and now all sorts are springing up. I recently dined in a Hakka restaurant - very fine food and naturally pricey...in KL. the Captain and supervisor are Hakka but all the waiters and waitresses are foreigners!

Tapah is highly recommended by me. I will take some photos of my late father's favourite fish "red eyes" soon. It seems to be in season and is about RM35 per kg...we used to get them free from the Rajang! Sob sob sob....

Have a nice day too...

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