Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Oldest Kedayan Coffee Shop in Bekenu/Sibuti

The Rosnisa Coffee Shop is the corner shop on the first row of the old wooden shops of Bekenu town if you are facing the river. It is the oldest coffee shop owned by a Kedayan enterpreneur. The shop must be more than 50 years old. I hope that these two rows of shops may be conserved as a special historical tourist place for the future generations. Very quintessential and unique.

As you enter the shop you would be attracted to the amazing sliding wooden windows which is of 1950's vintage. My grandfather Tiong used to build wooden houses with this kind of windows in Sibu. Not a single hinge is needed and less wood is used. It is amazing that the coffee shop keeps these two panels of vintage windows. It only shows that security is good in Bekenu and no metal grills are needed!! Praise be to the values of these traditional people!!

This fried mee (halal ) is very famous and most people from Miri and Bekenu would make a trip just to have a taste. The sauce is thick a little like carbonera so I think there's a lot of egg yolks in the frying of the noodles. You may have a try of this noodles if you go to Bekenu in the future.

This is no soup kosong ( which is nothing soup for most kolo mee and it is indeed just lots of Aji no moto and pepper and some onion bits). For those who normally do not drink soup kosong you must really try it as it is actually Beef Bone Soup with nicely chopped spring onions and it is good to the last drop too. Don't miss it.

This is their signature kopi susu but it is not strong enough for me. However the price according to the fixture by the Coffee Shop Owners' Association is lower than that of Miri's.

Three packets of tapai (fermented sweet rice) are usually placed in a little dish to tantalise the customers. Besides there are dishes of hard boiled eggs and other kuihs too.

I need to take another shot of the windows ..This is from the back.

Most people would say that no visit to Bekenu is complete without a few moments in this shop.

As you sit down to drink your coffee and wait for the noodles to be served you can see tudung clad older ladies coming in in twos and threes often laughing together and giving great smiles. It is good to know that your sisters in Bekenu feel good about themselves and the world around them. And you also gather that they are really comfortable with the shop. This is indeed their own world - Kedayan land - Kedayan coffee shop. Bekenu is definitely a friendly and welcoming place - it is only half an hour's drive from Miri.

Hajis (MUslim men who have performed their Haj)wearing their lovely embroidered caps take their seats too at other tables and talk quietly in low tones while other gentlemen drink their kopi in silence and cracking an egg or two. They are not shy to make eye contact with you. Pink tudung clad waitresses who are charming and pretty with good complexion come quickly out to take the orders. The quiet towkay is the one who will collect the payments and serve the men. I understand that many land deals are made in this very coffee shop.

If you need a quiet and clean but well patronised coffee shop in Bekenu this is the one to go to. Also you get pretty inspired when you have a slow moving day and lots of time to stir that condensed milk in your coffee cup. The coolness from the wooden walls just sort of make your day!

15 memories:

RW FINE ART said...

ive been here. in fact we had a farm no far from here. here are my photos (not much) taken in our farm

Superman said...

even the shop looks old but the food looks nice!

justin said...

this is a great posting about old timers' shops. I agree with your views about the windows. I think the paintwork done by the towkay has protected the wood for such a long time.
Pleasant colours.

ngoh said...

This is a nice article about Bekenu! It is always good to be there early on Saturday morning and listen to all the Kedayan people speaking to each other happily but quietly.

sarawakiana said...

RW Fine Art This is nice to know you are from my area too. Lovely photos in your blog. Will visit it more often in the future.l

sarawakiana said...

The shop is old but it is clean and tidy. Neat I must say.
The mee goreng is quite special as only this cook can make it. Hope one day you will drive to Bekenu for a nice little trip. They too have a small inn. (small inns photos coming up on my blog soon)

sarawakiana said...

Justin Yes I agree with you that the painwork has protected the wood.
All these wooden shops have wider store front and are longer in length.
I like the way the morning lights play on the tables outside.

sarawakiana said...


Yes the Kedayans have a fine language that can be considered very classical and tuneful.
I find the ladies "playful" in their language and this kind of exchanges lead to a lot of fun amongst them. I really love their uninhibited laughter. I suppose this this the jell of their social group.

bliss said...

Ai yoh!! I agree with you about the "soup nothing". :) Give you a nice smile.
We always eat in this shop when we go at the beginning of the month. We like to buy rice and some jungle produce. The prawns and fish are cheaper than miri. So it is like picnic and shopping for us with our nenek too.
She can meet up with some cousins too. Thanks for writing about Bekenu.

kamaliah said...

I always like the coolness of the morning in Bekenu. There the ladies and gentlemen are always so quiet in the coffee shop. Yes definitely we all go there for the mee goreng. But the veg and other ingredients are getting less now. But the sauce is still good like before.

sarawakiana said...

Hi Kamaliah!
I thoroughly agree with you . Who knows we will bump into each other in Bekenu!! It's a small world after all.

chung said...

Now that there is a coastal road I must go there for a visit. Once one cikgu organised a fishing trip and we went there by the old bus (2 hours) . We swam in the clear river but now I shiver when I think of crocs. Last time we were never afraid of crocs . We did not sleep but stay under the roof of the petrol station. That was a long time ago . Our adventures in the past were different.

Thanks for the memories.

sarawakiana said...

It musthave been a great time for you and your cikgu to experience a camping trip next to the river. I suppose it must have been quite safe next to the petrol station. Wasn't there any where you could have slept etc?
I understand many Chinese towkays could give a small upper room to school students when they were not picked up by their parents with their boats a long time ago. I have heard tales like that.

HBS aqim said...

Hi,I just found this blog and was surprised to found this post.For you information, the shop belongs to my aunt.I don't know much on how old the coffee shop is but I do remember being there when I was 5.Back then it was called 'Nurhani Coffee Shop' or something when was owned by my grandmother.I always loved the place and it has a special place in my heart because it has so many memories there.

Thank you for posting this, reminds me of my kampung.


sheryzan said...

OMG..I accidently found this long long post...I'm from Bekenu and thanks for the recommendation of the place. I went there, but not that often, my mother prefer to eat at home.


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