Friday, December 26, 2008

Postcards From Perak

Sigh, how quickly the school holidays go by. Soon it will be back to school as we sing that tune from Abba, "Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning, Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile" (slipping through my fingers). Actually, truth be told, I hardly ever see them off with schoolbag in hand, at least not the older ones in primary school. I mean, school starts at 7.30am. I am still in the Delta phase of my sleep cycle.

Anyway, since times are bad, we decided this holiday to stimulate the local economy, and go Cuti Cuti Malaysia. We decided to check out the western seaboard of the Silver State.

Photobucket

Bidor Breakfast Stop. No journey up north is complete without the stop at the famous Duck Noodle place in Bidor. Yes, it IS overated and a tad overpriced, but hey, traditions become increasingly expensive to maintain....look at the price of turkeys at Christmas and Abalone at Chinese New Year. Fortunately, even though pricey, the food is quite good. Check out the delightful bakery along the same row, which boasts a variety of minature edible animals.

With all due respect, (digressing a bit), I find it peculiar, the chinese brand of vegetarianism, which seeks to imitate all living things in the menu. Vegetarian duck, charsiu, etc... however, it does result in a much more varied and interesting menu, as opposed to tofu burgers....

The drive to Lumut from Bidor is pleasant enough. A welcome break from Highway driving, and not too truck infested. A friend (Khaw Tai Tai) had told us before that the Damai Laut Resort was in the middle of nowhere, and I see now she was not exaggerating. The nearest shop is probably the distance from KL to Kajang. Well, maybe not that far, but felt like it.

Photobucket
Swiss Garden Damai Laut Resort.

Photobucket
There's something indescribably satisfying bonding with nature. Sipping beers under a coconut tree, watching the kids build sandcastles, and kicking them down. Life is a little like that huh.

I'm sure the turtle sanctuary is a very well kept secret. There are signboards along the Lumut Pantai Remis trunk road, which go, PUSAT PENGURUSAN PENYU, 2km, followed by 1km, and suddenly, NOTHING. Unless you were psychic, and had the turtle sense to know where to turn, you would never find it. Those signboards show distances to a junction, which lead to the place, but the actual place is like another 7km from the turn off. Typical Malaysian signboards. Even after you turn, you'd be wondering, "I don't see any sea in sight....are these condo living turtles or what?"

Photobucket

Our ongoing Perakian jalan jalan (and brother in law's GPS) led us to Pantai Remis fishing village. Very exotic.

Photobucket
Pantai Remis Fishing Village


Okay, now for the food part of the journey. Despite being located in the boondocks, the resort menu did not look appetising, not to mention, expensive, and with an entourage of 12, it made sense to suffer the ride out to civilisation.

We headed for a supposedly famous place in Pantai Remis for dinner, but of course, as arse luck would have it, it was CLOSED!!!! So we picked another aircond joint along the road, called Kok Kuen or something like that.

Photobucket
Marmite Chicken, was good. After foraging for food for some time, anything would taste good I reckon.

Photobucket
Mantis Shrimp, one of the supposed specialties of this area. I personally do not have any particular affinity with mantis shrimps. Give me good old big prawns any day. But it was flavourful enough, and the sauce went well with rice.

Photobucket
Steamed Sea Prawns, which were fresh, but rather non descript.

Photobucket
Deep Sea Grouper, which initially they said they didn't have, when they were trying to flog off a Pomfret, but when the Pomfret was snapped up, they miraculously had a grouper afterall. Disappointing, to say the least.

Photobucket
Fried err...meen seen? Not my favourite noodle of choice. My preferences are Yellow Noodle, Kueh Teow, Mee Hoon (the thin kind, not the fat one), followed by the "dan lain lain" in that order.

Our next adventure, lunch after the turtle sanctuary, on day two (the hotel breakfast buffet is largely forgettable), was this coffee shop in the Pantai Remis fishing village. This is one meal I will NEVER forget. I have never seen that many flies in one location before, it was absolutely revolting, even by my nonchalant standards. It probably made the Fly Plague of Egypt look like summer's picnic by Manly Beach. However, I thought it might a good trial in "toughening the kids"...and if they could escape this adventure diarrhoea free, then I have trained them well. I have always been scornful of overprotective parents who refuse to let their kids eat coffee shop food, etc....unless there's a specific allergy, I reckon kids should be exposed to as much different foods as possible.

Photobucket
Despite no covering, the flies were not attracted to these.

Photobucket

Photobucket
Note the solo fly on the plastic sheet. It was probably in transit.

Photobucket
The food however, was rather good. My pork noodles was yummy, and piping hot, thus warding off any threat of cholera.

Photobucket
The char kueh teow, fried by a damn hip uncle who spoke fluent english, and wore sunglasses, was also rather good.

Photobucket
Check out the flies hovering around the rim of the finished glass of milo. Actually, what really gave me the shudders was entering the toilet, and seeing the main mothership of flies.....brrrrr...... verdict, the kids, including my 2½ yr old toddler, emerged pretty unscathed, thankfully.

Moving back to civilisation, Ipoh. Dinner at Soon Fatt.... opposite was a kopitiam with a lady selling apam, with a long queue. I had to have it of course.

Photobucket
We're probably funding her kids education in Harvard or Oxford I tell you. The profit margin must be exorbitant. Kosong some more.

Photobucket
Delicious claypot tofu, which is a staple for the kids. Whenever in doubt, order rice and taufu, and you won't go wrong. Pretty low maintenance. I have trained them well.

Photobucket
More tofu. What a treat for them!!! Two varieties!!! Silken smooth, it really is a very good dish.

Photobucket
I think these were marmite ribs. Or guineess ribs. Very tasty, and the meat tender and succulent.

Photobucket

Photobucket
Lovely greens that were finished in a jiffy.


Photobucket
The highlight was this pomfret from the fishing village, bought earlier and brought to the restaurant. Unfortunately, due to some miscommunication, they only brought ONE fish to the restaurant. Pity, it was superbly fresh....sigh, it was like foreplay ....without ....you know.

Photobucket
Ginger chicken. I absolutely LOVE the gingery gravy. Give me this dish everyday, I don't mind.

Breakfast the following day, pork noodles at some kopitiam, also in the vicinity of Soon Fatt. I forget the name, but the dim sum is pretty good too.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Much as I love the aroma and taste of Ipoh White Coffee, I think the concept of "Kurang Manis" is not readily grasped by Malaysians in general, of all races.

What would a trip to Ipoh be without the requisite Ipoh Hor Fun. The folks opted for Nam Heong this time. I personally prefer Thean Chun. I found the stock a bit too sweet, literally.

Photobucket


Photobucket

Photobucket

Nothing like the aroma of freshly baked pastries. Charsiu sow and egg tarts.

Photobucket

Photobucket
It's my 3rd trip to Ipoh this year, and I still haven't tried the famous egg tarts from Sim Mee Market. Drat.

And across the road from Nam Heong, Sin Yin Loong Coffee shop, I think its called, more Ipoh White Coffee and the must have caramel custard.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Being Perak born, I naturally have an affinity for the TOMB. (Town of My Birth). Actually, I was born in Taiping. Okay, State of My Birth.

There's a lot more to see and do, and eat I'm sure. I can't wait to check it out again in the next school holiday. I want to visit Kelly's Castle, The charcoal factory, the tin mining dredge, etc etc.


28 comments:

ka..t said...

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year!! :D

I like D.Laut. Even if the beach is a tad inaccessible. I remember the first time we went, we were wondering if we would ever get there! But the brief glimpses of the sea kept us going. And what a sight for sore eyes! It's surprisingly popular for seminars and team building exercises during weekdays.

I come back later for more comments. So sweet-lar, your post. So nostalgic.

A HK friend made a rather interesting remark when she visited Msia. She says in some ways, we are still more traditional than HKies themselves.

Life for Beginners said...

Wowsers, sir! This must be by far your longest post yet! A veritable buffet of words and pics to delight your readers, us fortunate souls. :D

Now what's this about all them FLIES...?

babe_kl said...

Happy New Year FBB!

GFAD said...

Pantai Remis has some pretty good snails. Khiau khar leh, they call it. Literally, crossed legged snails. I think. Lovely just plain steamed and dipped in their femes chili garlic sauce. Our version of ass-car-go.

The femes Kg Simee egg tarts? Along with the lam yue pau. Great stuff. Gotta be early tho.

Did you try the Ming Court dimsum? In the vicinity of Excelsior Hotel. I like it that they shape the little morsels of delight, small and delicate. Unlike some places in KL where size is everything (and nothing else..). They've got lovely fishballs.

It's great that the smaller towns are still so steeped in traditions. Brings colour to the place. And points of interest to city slickers like us. Don't get to see those huge joss-sticks around town any more (maybe Jinjang or Serdang still got..).

Time to take the kids for a road trip when we come back. And a trip down memory lane for us back to the days where everyone used the trunk road to go north and we'd make pitstops to buy petai, chempedak and guava. Ahhh.. I miss deepfried chempedak!!

GFAD said...

Discovered the joys of picasa 3, eh? Makes me want to buy my own photo printer just to print out my own collages!!

FBB said...

GFAD (rushing off for dinner at M. Oriental, but HAVE to reply this one comment first), i'll have you know that twas ME who intro'd the new picasa 3 to AWOL....discovered it ages ago, just no time to post. the collages have been sitting in pc since early dec....

jaredc said...

hey FBB.. look like u having a great holiday yea...oh.. im leaving Bijou soon for Godiva Chocolate in Pavilion... hehe

Steve said...

A monumental post, mate - and one worthy of your blog. The egg tarts caught my eye - they look scrumptious.

I was in KL last week for 3 hours of power shopping only - not even a spare minute to try out some of your recommendations - before heading to the West Coast for Christmas with friends. I will be back for a more relaxing visit in the next 6 weeks, and I will be following up some of the venues in your (and AWOL's) posts (like Ozeki to try its soft shell crab salad - a post that still has me salivating to this day).

Happy New Year FBB! Here's hoping that 2009 is filled with great makan experiences like those that you have been sharing with us this year.

fatboybakes said...

steve, thanks, and we look forward to meeting you in 09. wishing u a great year ahead too.

jaredc, aiya, didnt even get to try out your stuff at bijou. when u leaving? godiva got serve food ah?

GFAD, and k.at... (err...same person right?)...wow, i didnt know you have such an affinity with ipoh and perak. but its a great holiday especially for city kids...let them get in touch with nature.

babekl, you too. let's hope 09 will be a better year for all of us.

kenny mah, those flies were really disgusting...and little disgusts me...

thenomadGourmand said...

Happy New Yr FBB! I miss Perak too..really good food & not so commercialised like Pg.

Nic (KHKL) said...

hehe, i've been to kellie's castle. the basement is kinda interesting (scary)...still cant remember the significance of castle though...

ipoh is really a good place for makan, hor? i think i must ask you where to makan already, if i'm going to ipoh...

Nic (KHKL) said...

oh, btw, happy 2009, fbb! ;)

Kenneth said...

Merry Christmas!!!!!! and a Brilliant New year FBB! :D :D :D

Your photos are making me miss home even more. Food here in Oklahoma is pretty ... unimaginative. And almost everything is FRIED and the servings are HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!

I can just feeeeeeeeeeeeeel the oil seeping into my blood stream! LOL! Thank God my mom is cooking loads of healthier, Chinese and Portuguese dishes. yummers ... nothing like Mom's cooking! :)

Henry Yeo said...

Happy New Year.
Have fun with the whole family (bloggers too),
lotsa wine, lotsa champagne and lotsa beer.
eat your way from here to the moon.

Argus Lou said...

Of all things, I was undone by your pics of the two veggies (laced with sambal belacan and foo-yue, fermented soy curd?) and that slapdash plate of char kway teow. Why ah?
Have you visited the Taiping Zoo night safari? I highly recommend it but go on foot; don't take that silly tram thing. And Azari's cendol (I'm sure I got the name wrong; sigh... dementia, or should it be Alzheimer's?).

jaredc said...

FBB, my last day at Bijou is this Sunday. so, do come to dine by then!! Godiva serve dessert made of chocolate... u may come to try too... hehe!!!

fatboybakes said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL.

jaredc, looks like will have to see u at godiva then. heh heh. no time to make it to bijou before then.

argus, why undone ah? hahah. oh, no, havent done the night safari in taiping yet, though have checked out the zoo by day, which is very nice, and well kept. that'll be next on the itinerary.

henry yeo, oh, dont even mention alcohol to me now....still recovering from NY Eve....

kenneth, what are u doing in oklahoma???!!!! your mum's there to cook for you too? wow, lucky fellow.

hairy, we must all plan a makan trip to ipoh. toy boy's aunt and grandparents live there ma.

thenomadgourmand, ssssh, i share those same views, (about ipoh vs pg) but might get executed by the hardcore PG-ites...

UnkaLeong said...

Man...am so looking forward to going back to Ipoh for the Chinese New Year. The chicken rice I have been having of late pales in comparison to the ones I can find in most coffee shops in Ipoh.

Happy New Year!

Precious Pea said...

Happy New Year FBB!!! May 2009 brings you even more joy and happiness!!

Kenneth said...

FBB: She's american now ... :) So have to travel for motherly pampering hahha ... haven't seen her in yonks ...

anyways - the egg tarts and noodles on your post ............ *sluuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrppppppp*

Hey Unkaleong - bring some chicken rice back to KL for me ok ehehe

Pisang said...

Why go Ipoh to have egg tarts? Canton-i has the best egg tarts that I've eaten in Malaysia. It's in almost every major shopping malls. Oh their siew yoke is to die for also. Downside, quite expensive lor, but convenient mah.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

when i least expect to see a new post..after drooling at wagyu beef for a good week..i see a huge archive of food pics!! haha yess..i see that you are a proud msian pumping money into malaysia..proud of u!

Argus Lou said...

Think it's just the homey goodness of the simple veggie dishes which I seldom eat/cook here. The CKT seems carelessly plated but somehow looks very aromatic.

You inspired me to cook ginger-garlic chicken - yum! Very good lah!

breadpitt said...

smy home town were in taiping too;-) and the post makes me feel like wanna go eat those all right now.....@!

Life for Beginners said...

"those flies were really disgusting...and little disgusts me..."

LOL. Oh dear, I wonder if that is a good thing or not. :P

Btw, 2009 is here already. Time for a new post, no? Hint, hint.

(Okay, so maybe that wasn't a hint so much as a direct suggestion but I always wanted to do that "hint, hint" thing folks do. Heh.)

CUMI & CIKI said...

i jus opened my bloglines RSS feed for the FIRST time this year! .. urs is the first comment i am posting.. haha.. ain't u lucky?! i love cuti2 malaysia.. X10, esp if the resorts looks like swiss garden inn damai laut.. oo yeah! nice one...

FBB said...

wah, ciki, i am indeed HONORED!!!! i ALREADY posted on your blog this year....so i beat u to it.

kenny mah, i dont have creative juices oozing out like u!!! you're like a zam zam spring of literary genius..

breadpitt, i must have mentioned it before right, that taiping is my birthplace.

argus, wow, i'm sure your ginger chicken would have been yummy. hahah, carelessly plated. like my cakes.

nipple joe, hahah, yes, there are a lot of gems of places one can visit in this country. just reading ciki's blog makes me want to devote my life to researching these places.

pisang, haha, i didnt go to ipoh specifically for egg tarts... really ah? canton i that good meh? i think i had them once.

kenneth, ohhh, wat fun, to have a mother in oklahoma!

pea, you too.

unkaleong, you ipoh mali meh? how did i not know that?

J2Kfm said...

wah .. what a long long post. hahaha ... Soon Fatt! since they relocated, revamped and refurnished, the prices have gone up considerably.

but attract the crowd like mad. esp on weekends.

Thean Chun's Kai Si Hor Fun is BEST. still. go Nam Chau for curry noodles? soooo near to my workplace. =P

and i still rmbr vividly swimming around in Damai Laut's 'borderless' pool. great time, bad food. ahhaha ...