Friday, August 31, 2007

Thoughts on 50th Independence Day - Merdeka

Today is Malaysia's 50th Independence Celebration, and as usual we get a day off.

Somehow I don't feel festive at all, as after 50 years we gained independence from the British, we who were suppose to be a big multicultural family are still fighting on with the same topics.

Some recent issues that disturbs me on a day that is worth celebrating:

  1. Lim Kit Siang has been pointing out numerous times that our country are build on a constitution that states our country is a Secular society, and not an Islamic Country. Why does our present Prime Minister, as well as the ex Primer Minister kept insisting we are Islamic country, and will be ruled as Islamic Hadhari way?
  2. It is also very upset to learn that our forefather that fight hard to built this country with constitution can be removed overnight, when some ex Chief judge has a undying wish to govern the country using Islamic laws as compare to the English common law right now.
  3. While we trust MCA and Gerakan will keep on fighting on for our best interest, it seems that lately Chua Soi Lek and Lim Keng Yeik is already fighting among themselves. Are we now to depend on DAP that has never run the country before or what?

and of course there are many more other issues, that even I forget how they irritates me until it get mentioned again and again. Perhaps we might be desensitized with such issues one of these days, instead we shall move on to concentrate how to built a nation that can withstand global challenges at times of unknown like now?

Since that it will be our national election very soon, I have been pondering the fact that does my one vote counts at all? When the fact that still no one come explain openly why there were so many extra voters in Sabah there sudden turn out to vote on the previous election. Perhaps I should vote, because I feel very sorry for that DAP girl that seemed to get bullied by the Kinabatangan moron and the Jasin fellow too.

Well oh well... no celebration for me. Not feeling celebrative at all...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Kota Bharu Food Hunt

Thanks to wmw at, we have been doing some good food hunting in Kota Bharu this time.


Restoran 69 - Jalan Dato Pati, right in town center (Close Friday)

One of my biggest found in our trip to Kota Bharu is this Restaurant 69 (Jalan Dato Pati, right in town center). We came a day earlier on Friday only to discover it is closed. Came the next day, only to be welcomed warmly by this Chinese middle aged owner (shame on us for never even find out his name).

Although Nasi Padang (or Nasi Sumatera) is an Indonesian cuisine, it is actually very very common in Kota Bharu.

We sat down, and all the dishes came at once. I tend to think it is a set meal thing. Every table gets the same dishes: There were curry beef chunk, stirr fry beef strips, Curried Mutton knuckle (My favorite!), deep fried chicken tight, some veg, and top it up with a very savory tasting spiced beef bone stock soup. YUM!


The owner is very very proud of the good food served from his restaurant, so much so he kept insisting us to try variety of his dishes, and offered the lightly toasted bread so we can even dip the sauce and eat it all clean!

We love the environment here too, as workers of different ethnic and age work as a team helping to serve the best food to their customers.


Yati's Ayam Percik - Jalan Long Yunus (Daily 12pm - 11.30pm, Fri 3pm - 11.30pm)


No one leaves Kota Bharu without trying the best ayam percik in town. It is a specially marinated chicken being roast on charcoal flame. When done, a coconut milk based creamy sauce is poured lavishly all over.

At Yati's you order one serving of ayam percik, and then eat with the Nasi Kerabu. Nasi Kerabu eassentially is a white steamed rice, mixed with sort of local garden salad, comprising diced long bean, bean sprout, dry fried grated coconut, and some spice.



Apart from that, you can order the daging bakar too which I strongly recommended as well. Daging Bakar is made out of beef. You can call it a BBQ beef as well, and it usually taste a little salty, with a five spice sort of after taste.


Try come later around 9pm instead, because at dinner and normal weekday lunch time this place is packed! Nonetheless the staffs always seemed patience enough. So it is good.


Kebun Sultan Hawker Center - Jalan Kebun Sultan

If you are like us, hanging around KB on a Friday afternoon, you will find yourself hungry after rounding for food around the whole town. THIS IS TRUE! 90% of the shops in KB is closed on Friday, perhaps for prayer or so. Even the Chinese restaurant close too.

The only way to get something decent to eat, for us at least, was this Kebun Sultan Hawker Center. Lucky can find food here, otherwise must've died famine. Heh...


Loads of people eat the dim sum in the afternoon, looks a bit like a steamed sushi stuffed with fish meat. It taste alright. They have the indian food stalls here too, nothing too special. Other stalls include Cantonese fried noodles, Fish Ball Noodles, mixed rice, chee cheong fun. Take your pick



Pantai Cahaya Bulan Eateries - Where else? But the PCB Beach

There is no night club here, no disco as well, mamak (common local open tea kiosk) is mostly unknown here too. Women are rarely seen wandering around after 10pm, so their version of tea place -- Warung, is mostly frequent by men.

But fortunately Pantai Cahaya Bulan beach front is still the one place that still offer a decent hang around at late night. The last time we came, they still serve stir fried stuffs e.g. fried rice, maggie noodle soup in the mid of 2am in the morning!




Road Side Galore

Road side stalls is a major attraction around here. It is very common with the locals people to simply set up a make shift stand and everyone just sell the same thing along the same stretch of road. Things available along the road to PCB Beach includes this Keropok Losong thingy.

Product includes most famous boiled fish cake made with ground fish meat and tapioca flour. You buy them in newspaper wrapped packet, consisting of 23 small sticks (like churos), around RM5 per packet. Usually I see tourist buy them in 10 packets or so in a go.


When bring home, you can store them into the freezer for later consumption, or deep fried and eat as a snack, together with sweet chili sauce if you please. Highly addictive I warn you.

Apart from that, you can to buy all kinds of dried fish crackers around. Make sure you heat them lightly under sun before begin deep frying them. Otherwise they won't expand and will definitely taste rock hard.

There are thousand and one thing on sale at the road side - Boiled Corn, Nira Kelapa (fermented coconut juice), Nira Nipah (Fermented Nipah Juice), Dry seafood (squid, salted fish), Durian, Mangosteen ... so much so I have a feeling if I buy from everyone of them, I would be very full by the time I reach home!


When we drove home, we happened to pass by Terengganu. While most stalls sell the Keropok Lekor, Losong, you can chance upon few that sell this delicacy known as "SATA"



Essentially it is minced fish meat mixed with grated coconut and be wrapped with banana leave. Then they are left BBQed on the charcoal stove will perfection. It taste a little like the otak-otak (Amok in Cambodia; Hor Mok in Thai), but mostly it is more chewy like a fingerfood. Yum!

WMW trip can be read at:

Things to do here in Kota Bharu

Most people just came here, so they can head straight to Kuala Besut then to Perhentian Islands. In fact I think, the foreigner actually appreciate what Kelantan has to offer more than Malaysians.

A lot of them came stay few days, get ushered to eat with Malay family, learn stuffs like : Kite making factory, keropok making factory, batik factory, serunding factory. Mostly of cottage industry. But who cares, it is their frequent visit that makes small medium industry thrive, erm... somewhat I guess.



For us, it is mainly eating, sleeping, erm... roaming around the Malay village checking out local cultures. Sunset is usually not our thing, but there's seaside and river front everywhere here, so we hang around for sunset too.



Mark was very keen in looking for his WWII bunker left when the Brits fought the Japanese in 1941. Happily he took pictures with it. Heh...


Some days we hang around at the Pantai Cahaya Bulan (PCB Beach), finding it too hot at the sea mostly calm and without too much breeze. So, we mostly return at night to drink at the Malay food stalls at the seaside (erm, not too clean a place, too sandy)





One of those days we were there, we drove all the way to the border town -- Tumpat, only to find it is mostly quiet there. We dare not cross the border after those recent terrorist news been frequent on the newspaper.



Along the way, there's a new place name Pantai Sri Tujoh. It look like a man made sand bunk to us. This creates a rather scenic lagoon at the inside near the mainland. Many family brought their children here for a swim. Some students came around camping too, in bus loads though.



If you hang around up north, then of course you shouldn't miss the Thai temples. And usually some Thai people hangs around there, selling drinks and some authentic Thai food as well. But they usually speaks Hokkien, and a little Malay to the customer. Quite interesting.





The day we were there, it was such good weather. The sun so bright with very very blue skies. Blending with the paddy fields, river view... my my... I feel somewhat out of this world. Heh...





Our drive back was not bad as well. Along the way we were greeted with some nice coastline. Then arriving at Kerteh in Terengganu and be greeted by the Petronas Refinery. They look magnificent in the night so brightly lit up.




Perhaps we will come back here again some day. Till then, I will sleep dreaming the blue skies and the green paddy fields of Kota Bharu. Cheers!

All the photos that I've take from this trip is located at Flickr here:

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Weekend Getaway at Pasir Belanda

Perhaps the other sweet surprise we stumbled upon is this nice village lodging in the mid of a Malay Village.


We arrived rather late that night, and was getting a little anxious when we drove through the dark small bumpy roads into the deep village setting. Surprisingly when we were greeted by few sturdy looking wooden house with warm garden lights in the background.


The place is run by a Dutch couples - Harry Mulder mostly run the show. They bought over the place some years ago and built a paradise out of it, inviting people like me that've never stayed in Malay Kampung (Village) to have glimpse of Kampung life there.


The room is very clean and well maintained. The air-cond is very cold too in the mid of night. There's good basic bread an egg breakfast served in the morning, right next to a picturesque river.



We get a lot of extras bundled with our stay here. Apart from curious kids wandering around, and endless motorcyclist riding without helmets, there were goats, chicken, cows, ducks fighting for their right of way in the narrow roads here too. If you look keen enough, there is this house nearby that let their horses roam free around in the middle of the night!




Bugs are all over as well...


Found this curious 6 legged spider been hanging around in toilet for the past two days...


Mostly it is very quiet here, and breeze around seemed cooler than in city. There is a small scale duck farm just right across the road, and you get a lot of quacks all throughout the day. Quite often the smells get across too, resulting a need to stop breathing on a off.

But you know... that is what village life all about right, getting right down to the basic.

Harry is a very helpful and friendly person. We managed to get this map to ride around the kampung area, checking out a WW2 bunk hidden deep in there, and then right across a lagoon filled with colorful fishing boats. You should ask that from him too if you are ever visiting him.




More info of Pasir Belanda is as listed below:

Pasir Belanda

Pasir Belanda Resort & Travel Sdn Bhd
Kampung Bonggol, PCB Road,
15350 Kota Bharu,
Kelantan, Malaysia
Tel : +6 09 747 7046
Email :