Last Gluttony Rite in Taiping

23rd November 2008, Sunday

We started the day at 9 am since we were too groggy from all the food from the day before. Boy! They were good! As soon as we freshen up and got into the car, we drove to Pokok Assam wet market to try the kueh teow t’ng (RM2.20).

The kueh teow t’ng comes in one small bowl and there were only few strips of chicken and some taugeh and served with a dose of finely blended kick ass cili padi! Don’t let the simplicity of this dish fool you! The soup tasted awesomely good! We also tried out some nasi lemak from the place but I didn’t quite like it.

Taiping’s Red Chee Cheong Fun

Chai Tao Kueh

Springy Wan Tan Mee

Then, we went to Pai Ling in Taiping town to sample some food. Before that, we made a brief stop at the casual market under Larut Matang old supermarket to ta pao some chai tao kuehs (40 sen per piece! Pricey!) and Taiping’s signature chee cheong fun in red sauce (RM1.80 per pack). Then we proceed to Pai Ling for its wan tan mee. To me, the wan tan mee is a little too bland for my taste but the noodles used are not the ordinary wan tan noodles. They are extra springy (RM2.80). if you want something different, perhaps you can try this.

Sailor Boy chowed down the entire plate of steamed chicken rice all by himself. I was overly stuffed with the red chee cheong fun and chai tao kueh to try anything else!

Lake Gardens

We then, went to take a breather by walking about the Lake Gardens to take some photos. The weather was sunny but it moved on quickly to cloudy. One thing about Taiping is – it has the most rain in the whole of Peninsular Malaysia. So, it is wise to always have umbrellas with you if you are traveling in Taiping.

We went on to the waterfalls where I used to go as a child for a swim somewhere near Taman Suria. I think only locals would know how to get to this place. This is one of the many, many spots where I learned how to swim. My mom would just let us go to the waterfalls and learn how to swim ourselves and gave each of us a float. We learned how to swim by paddling and kicking in the water.

We were on the way to try some roast duck meat when we passed by Bismillah Cendol along Jalan Barrack. We made almost an impromptu stop and cendol is not in our must-eat itinerary! It cost only RM1 for cendol biasa and RM1.10 if you add kidney beans! For big bowl of cendol, it cost additional 10 sen only!! My goodness!! It was quite good but not as fragrant as the cendol we had in Sitiawan early this year.

We swing by the old railway station before proceeding to stuff ourselves silly with roast duck. I remember when the bus was not the main transportation before the development of highways; we visited our aunt and uncle in Kuala Lumpur (the house where I am staying now) during school holidays by taking the train. And also, to see my aunts and uncles off whenever they go to Kuala Lumpur.

I remember the platform was rather high but now the railway track is just a feet below the platform. Haha. I remember huffing and puffing while trying to climb into the train. Everything seemed taller and higher when you were little.

After monkeying around the railway station, much to the station master’s annoyance (he kept staring at Sailor Boy for crossing the railway tracks umpteenth times to take pictures), we stopped by this Loh Kee Sungai Sakap Roast Duck situated at the now defunct Mandarin cinema, opposite HSBC Bank.

I like it because the roast duck and pork is served with a bowl of mui choy soup! Yum! The taste is not entirely heavenly spell binding but it was nice enough to make an impression. We also ta pao a packet of rice for Gas Stove’s dad – roast duck and roast pork and all these cost only RM17.90. Dirt cheap,eh? Geez.. I think I wanna retire in Taiping!

After the duck feast, we went to Aulong again, this time to ta pao some heong peng. I cannot remember how to get there, so sorry! I think if you wanna get heong peng, you can go any shop around the Siang Malam’s food court and they do sell all sorts of heong peng. I personally like the one in red packing and a picture of Taiping Lake on it, which I think, is the most expensive one at RM3.80 per pack of 10. Others cost ranges from RM2.50 to RM3 for pack of 10.

We headed back straight to my late grandma’s place and slept like a bunch of well fed pigs awaiting slaughter in the living room.

We woke up shortly after 3 pm to get ready our stomach for another round of the devilishly delicious curry mee before we hit home. We were shocked that, the queue was horrendous, unlike the day before where it was less people. So peeps, please go and have this curry mee only on Saturdays instead of Sundays!

We stood around waiting for tables for about 20 minutes before we could have a seat. Yes, believe you me.. it’s THAT good and worth waiting for! In Sailor Boy’s own words – this food of the gods is worth getting a bypass for. Lol!!

We then packed our bags and bid good bye to my cousin brother and aunt, and went on our way back to Kuala Lumpur. The moment we got into the car, we were already start missing the curry mee.

The rain was torrential all the way from Taiping to Rawang. However, that did not deter us from stopping by Lan Je’s Steamed Tilapia. We were fortunate that, we got into the shop right before the rain came pouring like cats and dogs again and the rain began reduce to drizzles the moment we gobbled up the entire plate of steamed tilapia.

All in all, it was a jolly good outing (and insanely gluttonous!) to Taiping-Port Weld and we looked forward to going there again in near future.

Credits: Thanks again to Yuin for the salivating food pictures!

Idyllic Kuala Sepetang

22nd November 2008, Saturday

Port Weld or now known as Kuala Sepetang (In Mandarin, it’s called si pa ting or 18 sons) is about 16 km away from Taiping town and it’s just a long straight road after Simpang. It would take about 20 minutes to drive to Port Weld from Taiping town. The road towards Kuala Sepetang is flanked both sides by the fertile mangrove swamp. The effervescent green color was a nice touch to the otherwise pale horizon.

Before we go for the curry mee, we stopped by the charcoal factory to have a look around. The locals here are really friendly and nice. They let you take photographs without showing the tulan face. Haha! Some of the people here even willingly posed for you to take their pictures!

It is amazing that these people could work here for so many years. Most of the people who are packers for charcoal are elderly people. And they appear to be really strong and healthy. Even the old aunty could carry a 10 kg guni sack on her shoulder easily without help! I don’t know how the business thrives as most of us are using electrical and gas for cooking now, unlike yesteryears when my grandmother used to cook using charcoal. I think you can read all that here.

We then head on to the mangrove swamp area to have a look around. It was a mangrove reserve area with some man-made bridge surrounding the mangrove swamp.

Mangrove Swamp

The locals would normally go for morning or evening walks around this area. There were many chalets along the mangrove swamp which remain almost unoccupied so it appeared almost “haunted” to us. We just had a short walk along the bridge and headed back to the car to get back to the main agenda – pigging out.

This curry mee stall is just situated at the main curve of the road into Kuala Sepetang town. Run by the whole family, you will see the children coming out to help out during weekends. I guess if you would like to have the curry mee here, try coming on Saturdays instead of Sundays. It would be packed to the brim on Sundays! The kon lou is just as superb! You have to try to kon lou mee and pour some curry on it. Sinfully delicious!

The curry mee was so good that Sailor Boy vowed to come back to have some more the following day before we return to Kuala Lumpur.

After the scrumptious “tea break”, we walked by the road where the old railway used to be. For your information, Port Weld was the first place where the British built the railway in 1885 during the tin rush. It was unfortunate that the railway tracks were not preserved and roads and houses had been built on it over the years. The old station signboard in concrete still remains standing through test of times though. I found it rather funny as the old signboard has the English, Chinese, Tamil and Arabic names on it during British rule.. and now, Penang – are going to enforce having signboards in different languages to mimic old times? Are their mindsets still being colonized? What’s wrong having signboards only in Malay and English language?

We walked about and went to the Fisherman Wharf situated just behind the curry mee stall. I thought of taking a boat ride to the opposite site of the river and found it was actually a very “small” river. Haha! You can see the whole fishing village from the opposite side where we stand. Houses built on stilts and boats docking by. It cost only 10 sen for a boat ride to cross to the opposite side of the river less than 200 m away.

For dinner, we headed straight to Restoran Tepi Sungai, which is just 5 minutes’ walk away from my late grandmother’s house. The owner of the restaurant has a big and visible black mole in between his chin and his neck on the left and hence, his nick name “Or Ki” in Hokkien means “Black Mole”. Mr Or Ki is a very nice person. He recommended some really delicious meals for us.

House special – Yao Char Kuai stuffed with fish meat!

Our family has been living in Kuala Sepetang for many, many years, hence our family is quite well known around the town. My late grandpa and grandma were known as “Eh Loh” which means “short and tall”. My late grandpa was a handsome man standing tall at 6 ft whereas my grandma was a petite lady standing at 4ft 10. Hence, the nickname derived.

Super fresh steamed mantis prawn

We had scrumptious dinner consisting of fried yao char kuai with fish meat, fried tofu with fish meat, kam heong crabs, seong tong lala, steamed fish, fish in assam and stir fried kangkung in belacan!

Kick ass steamed fish

And we had all these food overlooking the quiet fishing village along the mangrove swamp. It was sad to know that there is a proposed development to build another “Sunway Lagoon” here. I don’t know how true that is but the locals informed us of this horrifying, impending plan. I will pray and pray.. and pray that this would NEVER happen!

Awesome Assam fish

Our night didn’t end there… Sailor Boy still had the stomach to eat a bowl of lam mee which he said was absolutely heavenly.. and after we took our baths, we felt that we should end the day of gluttony with a bang.

What is more happening than to go over to the Green House area along Jalan Tupai for some best char kueh teow (“CKT”) on the planet? (as coined by James from Loopy Meals) Unfortunately, I don’t know why they don’t serve it on the ketapang leaves anymore? That would bring out the aroma of the CKT! I think we should have ta pao one packet to go home for second round of supper! We had two plates of  the goodies fried with duck and chicken eggs each!

Taiping was unbelievably hip in the night with the new amusement park. Everybody seemed to be hogging the place. There was a nasty jam around the Siang Malam’s food court so, we decided to give the “wu kok” a miss (Wu kok is made of yam wrapped with minced pork, onions with green peas and all fried to perfection).

We then loitered around Jalan Eliathamby where the infamous transvestites and transsexuals would congregate. I think transvestites and transsexuals ought to be given equal opportunities to work. They are like that not because they want to be but because of their own nature of being.

The night ended with us snoring away in the comfort of my late grandmother’s home in Kuala Sepetang. It was a peaceful night sleep with a full, bloated tummy and we dreamed of nothing but having more and more spoonfuls of the sinfully delicious curry mee. Did we mention we vowed to have another one tomorrow before we hit home?

Credit: Thanks to Yuin for the food pictures as my camera batteries died unceremoniously during crucial hours and the genius me FORGOT to bring charger!

Good Ole Taiping

22nd November 2008, Saturday

*This is Taiping Bumper Issue. Will segregate the two days trip into 3 posts or else, you will go cock eyed and salivate nonstop. Reader’s discretion advised. Might cause serious gastric problems if you read this on empty stomach.

We hit the road at about 9.00 am for Taiping, as soon as we polished off some plates at the nice vegetarian noodles in Selayang, one of the places that I would highly recommend you trying if you were to come to Selayang one fine day!

The journey via the highway to Taiping is quite a breezy one. We cracked jokes, poked fun at each other and said the most ridiculous things. Journey to Taiping from Kuala Lumpur would take about 3 hours and 30 minutes, depending on how fast you drive and risk getting a summon! As for Sailor Boy, I told him that I am not going to pay for his summon if he wanna drive like Schumacher. Instead of taking the Taiping Utara exit, we exited via Changkat Jering towards Simpang. This would save us a few ringgit from getting out from the Taiping Utara exit and also, nearer to Taiping town. The whole toll cost about RM23.20 from Rawang to Jelapang and RM6.40 from Jelapang to Changkat Jering. I wonder why they bother to charge road users since the condition of the road is kinda bad especially at the slow lane.

The moment we reached Taiping at 11.35 am (record time), we had no time to lose. We parked near the Market Square and started our gluttony trip.

Whenever I am in Taiping, I would never miss out this dish. It’s the wet kueh teow which I believe, only Taiping has it. Instead of using cockles, bean sprout and egg, this one comes with char siew, fishballs and vege. I don’t know which the best stall in Taiping selling this is but, we tried a plate from stall no. 63 in the bazaar under the old Larut Matang’s supermarket. Not bad! We had the heh chien and or chien from stall no. 77 as well. I prefer the or chien to the heh chien though.

A funny incident though. It has been ages since the last time many people mistaken me as a guy.  When Gas Stove went to order a plate of char kueh teow (the normal one) from a stall, they said they will send the plate to where the bespectacled guy in black t shirt is sitting. Mah Chi B*i!!! The so called bespectacled guy in black t shirt is me!!! Lol!!!

After the kueh teow and some nyonya kuehs, we went on our journey to walk about Taiping town. We went to the Taiping War Cemetery to take some pictures. It’s a peaceful place here and there were two burials – one for Muslims and one for Christians.

Old War Cemetery

I didn’t realize this till I saw the jawi inscription on the tombstones at one side and a cross at the other side. This is probably the second time I came here. On how to get there, you just take the road towards the zoo and keep and eye on sign board to Maxwell Hill. The War Memorial is just 3 minutes away from Maxwell Hill.

Old War Cemetery

When we got to Maxwell Hill, it was only 1.30 pm and the tickets to go up the hill had been sold out. We were given offer if we would like to go at 4 pm instead but on top of the RM6 per adults, we had to top up RM10 as tips to the driver because it was already consider overtime for them. The jeeps going uphill operate from 7.30 am to 3.30 pm and go up hill hourly.

So if you don’t want to be disappointed, you better get your tickets at 7.30 am especially on weekends. I guess luck was not on our side and we didn’t do pre-booking so we didn’t go uphill. The weather wasn’t that conducive to go up either as there were signs of rain coming with the thickening black Cumulonimbus clouds forming.

We went to the Lake Gardens. I could see despite the rain, I guess Taiping is in drought. The waters are not as clear as they were before and rather shallow. We spotted a few families having picnics at the Lake Gardens.

I was somewhat disappointed that most picnickers left their things on the grass of the fields surrounding the lake and some didn’t even bother cleaning up after their outing. Actually, it’s mind boggling to know why on earth these people bother to have picnic in such hot and humid weather. I would prefer to stay at home and have a meal and then, watch tv with full blast air conditioners on during weekends! It was a hot and humid Saturday afternoon and even with the clouds, I could feel the heat burning my skin and practically sweating like a pig and here, you have kids running around in the afternoon sun.

After Taiping Lake, we were famished. So we decided to go back to Port Weld to have the kick-ass curry mee. Before that, we stopped by our old house in Taman Taiping to have one last look since my dad sold the house just last month. It was quite sad that the house we grew up in for a few years is now strange to us. The new owner undertook a new renovation on the house and we barely could recognize the house anymore.

Then we dropped by the Siamese Temple to pay respects to our deceased relatives. I guess nowadays, hometowns are merely places of memories and would probably fade with the oncoming developments. There is a new Taiping Sentral where the old Istana used to be. I used to pass by this Istana on my way to school and dreamed of living in there. It was an elongated bungalow house in yellow hues and brown windows. I am sad that it was made to go, to make way for development for commercialized Taiping Sentral.

We also stopped by Aulong to buy the kaya kok. When we reached the house no. 1106D along Jalan Masjid in Aulong, we were greeted by sweet aroma of rich butter. Sailor Boy was offered a kaya kok to munch on by the nice elderly lady and even offered some water. I think, we had been there numerous times and were not even greeted by such gestures! We were jealous!

The elderly lady was nice enough to let us take pictures of the nice homemade cookies– the hup tou sou, made from butter and grounded peanuts. My aunt loves this very much so we bought some for her. The kaya kok cost Rm3 for 5 pieces, kinda pricey but they were good! And hup tou sou cost about 50 sen each.

To be continued

Raising Sadists

A few days ago, I found two boys around age 8 to 10 loitering behind my house. They were so active and running all over the place, feeling excited. Actually, I hardly see any children running around behind my house till recently. Now I remember – it’s school holiday!

I saw the kids walking around with sticks and kept looking under my dad’s car. At first I thought it was the stupid neighbour’s small dog ran under my dad’s car. I watched as they tried to get the “dog” out just in case if they scratch my dad’s old car. After a few failed attempts they left.

I didn’t give it much thought till yesterday.

My cousin sister, Stephy told me, she overheard a commotion behind the house and decided to check it out. From our house balcony, she saw the kids were screaming with glee as they took out their self made sling shots and had a go at the cats.

Thinking it was merely a child’s play, Stephy didn’t really pay attention till she overheard one of them said, “I think I managed to hit the cat’s leg! It’s limping now! I can see blood!!”

Then, Stephy went out and was shocked to see that both of them took a narrow plank with a nail on it and started to shove it up and down the drain, hoping to get the scared cats out from its hiding so they could torture the cats further!

She shouted at them to stop. One of them heard and was alarmed that their actions were being watched. Yet, they kept shoving the plank with a nail towards the cats.

Stephy took out a pail of water and splashed at their side to get attention.

Being quite slow and retarded, they kept talking to each other and said someone was watching them but it didn’t occur to them to look up. Not very bright aren’t they?

My cousin shouted at them to look up. Then only these stupid morons looked up in shock. My cousin told them to go home to study if they have so much time at hand to chase after cats.

They left in a hurry but not without firing some shots at the birds clinging on the wires above our houses.

Fucking morons.

I don’t know how their parents teach their children about compassion. I guess everyone has some animal instincts in us but, animals kill for food and not pleasure. Or maybe they kill when they are provoked.

I wonder if these two children lead a very sad life at home where the mom is hit repeatedly by the father then, the mom hit the kids that they had to resort to venting their anger and frustration on hapless cats.

I know it might sound as if I am a hypocrite since I myself a meat eater. Well, like other “animals”, we eat meat because those meat are provided solely for consumption purposes. Cattles and chicken are reared and meant to be slaughtered and eaten. Or else, this world would run out of foodie bloggers. Haha!

Well, before I stray, what I am trying to say is that, these cats do not do anything harmful to you. In fact, I find with these cats around, there were less mice in my neighborhood.

And if you like to inflict pain on cats to show your superiority, by all means go ahead. It’s for people who have small balls or rather lack of, who would resort to hurting small and helpless animals in order for them to feel great.

So parents, if you have boisterous boys or girls, please check what they do to have fun during this school holiday. If running around the neighborhood and inflicting pains on small animals is an idea of fun for them, I suggest you take your kids to a psychiatrist for counseling. Maybe you ought to go to see a psychiatrist as well since you allow your children to do so. I think we have enough crimes these days and we do not wish for more serial killers coming from your houses.

Good Bye, Melbourne!

9th October 2008, Thursday

I guess you guys must have been bored shitless with the stories in Melbourne-Sydney. Haha! Anyway, to spare you guys from my long windedness, I am going to keep this final post on Melbourne short and sweet – and filled with pictures!

We spent the Thursday morning having some delicious breakfast at Gingerlee. It serves quite good tuna linguini and mushroom foccacia.

After the long and chatty breakfast, we made our way to Queen Victoria’s Market to shop for some last minute souvenirs, nougats and chocolates. Then, we proceed to St Kilda’s Beach for a look around.

We took the tram to St Kilda’s. The wind was quite strong and it was a little cold despite the glaring sun.

It’s good to come over here to this quiet place for a cup of coffee and wile the day away.

We spent the late evening back in Chinatown to buy some groceries for Curly and Al as they have been really nice to us by cooking for us almost every day while we were there.

So on the last night, we meet up with the rest of the gang in Melbourne and had dinner at Baba’s. It was a new outlet along Lygon Street. However, the portions served were too small so we left the restaurant with half filled stomachs. We made our way to Brunetti’s for some cakes and coffee and chatted the night away.

10th October 2008, Friday

The next morning, we went to have another big breakfast at Poached and it was time to bid good bye to our lovely host – Curly and Al.

Thanks to Curly for letting us sleep in the room while he took the sofa bed in the living room. Thank you for clearing your closet to let us have space to store our clothes. Thank you for letting me use your lotion and moisturizers! Thank you for lending me your socks! Thank you for doing my laundry! Thank you for cooking for me! Thank you for showing me around! Thank you for buying us tram tickets! Thank you for lending us some warm clothings! Thank God I could fit in one! Lol!

Thanks to Al for the jokes he cracked and number of tips he gave me to take better pictures. Thank you for letting us eat your biscuits! Thank you for making us coffee and cooking us maggi mee for supper! Thank you for the delicious caramel chocolates!

We bid Curly, Al and Ryne good bye with a heavy heart and were glad that we enjoy ourselves pretty much in Melbourne and it was a totally “unforgettable” trip for many years to come.

We reached Singapore and then, proceeded to meet up with some old friends for a day or two till we returned to Kuala Lumpur.

That’s about it for my trip to Melbourne-Sydney-Singapore. Hope you guys are not bored to death! Will resume with “normal” blogging in due course.