North Bound Trip

Apologies for lack of updates. Apart from being awed by the amount of people who turned up for BERSIH (I didn’t go because I am such a chicken shit!), I went up north for a short trip with my family and also, to attend an ex colleague’s wedding in Changkat Jering.

Well, I guess I would keep this post and coming posts short and well illustrated because, I guess nothing beats nice photos right? Haha. Perasan habis. Sendiri say photos nice!

We went back to Taiping on Saturday night. The journey was surprisingly smooth, given that it was a long weekend. We chanced upon a few Bersih participants when we stopped for a short break. I wanted to say Thank You to them for standing up for our rights but didn’t manage to because the group was walking away when I got out from the toilet!

Simpang Hua Soon “Fireworks” Char Kueh Teow

The first thing we did when we reached Taiping, was to scout for this Char Kueh Teow. I guess this Simpang Char Kueh Teow is probably the first to use duck eggs. According to my aunt, duck eggs used to be cheaper back then and many people opted to have their CKT with chicken eggs because it was such a luxurious treat. Now, it’s back to duck eggs and duck eggs now are so expensive! The old uncle frying the kueh teow has nifty hands, alternating between frying, adding on charcoal and pulling a pulley which connects to the wheel of fan which fans the fire. It was really cool! My aunt read the mandarin words on his stall sign board. It says, “Simpang Hua Soon’s Fireworks Char Kueh Teow”. How apt! The sparks of fire from adding the charcoal indeed look like fireworks! He noticed I was snapping his photos so he grinned at me with his toothless mouth. Am certainly proud of Taiping local hospitality!

Fruits to make assam gelugor

The next day, another group of friends and family came to Taiping. We met up at the Larut Matang hawker center for food. What you may try here, I guess, you would have known by now as I’ve been blogging about Taiping trip a few times. So, we went about ordering the usual, the fishball char kueh teow, the pasembor and nyonya kuehs. We stopped by several places to snap photos. The Taiping War Cemetery, Maxwell Hill and the Lake Gardens, making a brief stop for cendol before we proceeded to Changkat Jering to attend an ex colleague’s wedding in Kampung Paya.

Random snapshots of Charcoal Factory

Mangrove Swamp

After attending the wedding, we proceeded to Charcoal Factory in Kuala Sepetang and also made a brief stop to visit the Mangrove Reserve. The Perhilitan has done a great job maintaining this area, I must say. We stopped by for a quick tea time snack – curry mee! and kon lou mee! before we proceeded to rest at my late grandmother’s house along Trump Road. Now only I noticed, the road is named Trump, even way before Donald Trump is known to us Malaysians. LOL!

Alrighty.. I will continue tomorrow, on Kedah to Perlis posts. Stay tuned!

Kuala Sepetang & Taiping: Revisited

Quiet Taiping Lake

Over the weekend, in order to appease someone’s insatiable appetite for Sepetang Kari Mee, I had to skip work and missed my sister’s food tasting for her wedding banquet to make a trip to Kuala Sepetang. Hahaha! No lah.. had to replace work this coming Saturday (yawns!) and buy my sister an expensive gift for her wedding later at someone’s expense.

Budding Lotus

Some records were set this time round. This makan trip would be in point form.

1. This is the first time we had so many times of duck meat and didn’t get bored. Duck leg noodles at Bidor, duck in dong guai and porridge at Kuala Sepetang and duck meat at the old Mandarin Cinema.

Dong guai duck! The ladies’ favorite!

2. I met 3 new friends at one go.😀

3. The group of 5 turned into group of 7 when Jasmine and colleague came to join us. Welcome!

4. Someone who doesn’t eat duck, coagulated pig’s blood and chicken feet, suddenly ended eating two out of three in this sitting. She didn’t want to try the chicken feet because maybe the chicken pijak tahi before it was being slaughtered. LOL.

5. Someone sudah slow down and cannot eat as much as he did last time. Or maybe he wanna jaga image. Cis!

Dusk in Taiping Lake

6. Three persons took turns to drive the car up down the North-South highway. Normally one kesian bugger would do the driving job.

7. This is the first time I felt ticklish/ joy/ calm to see a particular stuffed animal in the museum. (Private joke).

Robert Sandland through “astigmatized” lens

8. We knocked off at 10.30 pm on Saturday night because, basically there is nothing to do in Taiping at night.. and also we were wary of the recent clashes in Kamunting area. I wonder how’s the business in Jalan Eli Thamby on Saturday? Yuin, any ideas? LOL!

9. Small world. Everybody seems to be connected. My cousin brother knew a common friend of one of the makan buddy.

Monkeys at their best table manners

10. Someone “lost” his Touch n Go card for a few minutes and hit the panic button. Luckily the mangkok found it under his car seat and not jatuh inside the jamban during a pit stop. It has never happened before in any makan trips. I actually google to find out what will happen if we ever lost our touch n go card on toll exit but couldn’t find an answer. Any advice?

Green lungs of Kuala Sepetang

Oh yeah.. I forgot one more record.. the three stooges who sat behind the car managed to fasten their seatbelts in 5 seconds flat when my cousin brother and I shouted, “POLICE!” during a road block. LOL!

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!