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!

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

50 Favorite Shots V

.Every picture tells a story. Here, I present to you my 50 favorite shots taken around Malaysia….

#21 Sir Francis Light. Fort Cornwallis, Penang. You can get to goof around with an empty rifle and ancient hat and take picture with Sir Francis Light. Stories here.

#22 Come away with me. Taiping Lake, Perak. Tranquility and serenity exude in this picture.

#23 Hail Sergeant! Taiping Museum, Perak. Sorry, I don’t know who this was. *Sheepish grin* The Museum is quite well maintained. I remember I always go there when I was little and the huge skull of the elephant at the entrance of the museum, always spook the shit outta me. Haha.

#24 Swaying Trees, Kuala Terengganu. Attended WY’s sis wedding and jumped on the opportunity to snap some pictures while waiting for the driver to buy some nila (fermented coconut water) from one of the many stalls along the road back to Kuala Lumpur.

#25 Moon River. Kuala Terengganu. Moonlight view from Primula Hotel. I said it’s a symbol of loneliness. Shae, a friend who is more optimistic would like to think this as a light of hope in darkness. See how one sees his/her glasses as half full or half empty.