Tuesday, 18 December 2007
Pasar Payung Shopping and Seafood Splurge
Well after the very short 3 days 2 night stay at Awana Kijal due to the tiring journey, we proceeded to Kuala Terengganu's Pasar Payung, oops Pasar Payang for my wife periodic stocking up of silk batik suit materials, amongst other things. This is normally the routine for our family when we visit the east coast, stay within 50 kilometres Kuantan and then make a day trip to Kuala Terengganu, or KT for short. Only this time we intended to stay at a hotel in Cherating for the night after returning from KT instead.
The reason my wife likes to stock up on her batik suit materials in Pasar Payang is because if you are able to locate a good shop, you are able to buy it at a steep discount and the pattern you get is unique and usually one of a kind, so you will not find anything similar elsewhere and thus it will not age. This is true if you are a regular client as they will offer you the exclusive designs at not exclusive prices, so you can actually purchase high street wear at regular prices. Just to give you and example, a 500 ringgit piece was offered at a price of 180 ringgit and to demonstrate to you that the price is really below the normal offering, this was shown to us via calculator rather than spoken out loud so nobody else in the store will know. So basically you are able to get five pieces of silk batiks at less than a thousand ringgit, as a piece of batik for my daughter was only sold at 150 ringgit as a friend's price. So for a sum that may not get you an exclusive designer piece in a Kuala Lumpur boutique, my wife was able to buy 3 pieces for herself, 1 piece for her mum and one piece for our elder daughter. Still makes it worthwhile to drive all the way to KT right.
In addition to batik, we usually stock up on indigenous food and this time we manage to borong the special leaf wrapped tapai of the east coast. Usually this is difficult to find but this time we managed to find four stalls selling the tapai. So I bought a whole bundle in various stages of fermentation based on the condition of the leaves. Heaven! This time also we looked for brassware to prepare the wedding items for my daughters as such brass ware are usually used in the ceremonies. Even though my daughters has not even entered their teens I told my wife we should start making a collection as I am afraid that such items will be difficult to find in the future, at least the good quality stuff. Actually our fears were well founded as the ones on offer was awful, especially on the soldering portions. Finally we only bought some basic stuff as the batik shopkeeper told us to come again next time and go the master's workshop itself as they themselves agreed that the brassware shops in the market are now selling poor quality brassware. So it is off to the mastershop's next time.
Finished shopping, off we went to off Cherating to have our overnight stay but made a pit stop at Batu Burok Hawker Centre for lunch as the Chinese Moslem Seafood shop we initially wanted to to go to was already closed for lunch as it was already past three. We had a great Chinese style chicken rice there complete with complimentary taugeh. Thus this will be a regular pit stop from now on. Anyway this time we didn't buy any keropok from KT as the best for us is at Batu Rakit instead of Losong as everybody else keeps claiming and this was too far away from KT city centre for the day trip since we were so tired. Instead we bought some at Merchang just because it stopped raining there while the rest of the way was rain non stop. In fact in Kerteh my MPV somehow got submerged by a water splash from a tinny winny Kancil that it felt like we were in a submarine for awhile. The rain also stopped me from buying roti poung(the Terengganu name for roti pound), fresh corn and nira vinegar so I guess another trip to KT after the rain stops is in the cards. Other than that, since we were so delayed by the rain and poor road conditions that I had to change the hotel of my original reservation to another one nearer to the border. This was a good stroke of luck in a sense as it was the hotel I originally wanted to reserve but it was full at the time I called for reservations but that day it was quite empty as many groups had cancelled due to the floodings. So I managed to get cheap and reasonable stay finally. However I wonder how will Visit Trengganu Year 2008 fare since major portions of the roads to KT is still under construction just two weeks until its start, so good luck travelling!
Next morning found us lazing till check-out at noon and pool time for the kids. Before heading to Kuantan we made a return trip to Kuala Kemaman where we found much better satar than the one we initially purchased and also great pais ikan made from the freshest ikan tenggiri. Sadly on this trip I was unable to locate the charcoal fired roti pound vendor along the Cherating-Kemaman road that I had mentioned in my previous posting but then found another stall that advertised they were also selling warm roti pound. Unfortunately that day was the day of their rest so they were not selling any so we must try this spot the next time we are around Cherating. We then had lunch at the venerable Pak Su restaurant that I had been meaning to bring my family to and I ordered their Vietnamese fried prawns, stuffed crabs, scallops, bak choy in home made oyster sauce and mapo tofu. The kids loved the stuffed crabs and scallops so much so the prawns were neglected even though they were still excellent. However they polished off the oyster sauce from the bak choy as the home made oyster sauce did not have any of the brownish stuff you normally get from the bottle, just pure oyster juice. So it tasted naturally excellent without needing the sacharine sweetness. Too bad the mapo tofu was too sourish as the cook was too generous with the towcho and vinegar, otherwise it would have made a memorable meal. And all that for eighty-eight ringgit that made my wife blinked with disbelieve. I told her we should have taken their imported lobster as it would have cost us only around one hundered sixty bucks for a kilo sized live one, and this was no crayfish like the one in Desaru.
For desserts we crossed the road to buy the famous beserah baulu and also tried their kuih bakar that actually tasted more like bengkang pandan. My elder daughter loved their pandan baulu and basically ate the whole lot up. The funny thing was when I buy these baulus on journeys by flight, they usually dry up when I reach home but this time they remain as fluffy as they were originally at the shop. We then stocked up on dried fish products at our favourite ikan masin shop in Beserah before making our journey home. Luckily the highway remained open so we made the jounery back to Kl in the normal 2 and half hours instead of the horendous journey of 9 hours on the way to Kijal. Now what remains is to finish off all the good stuff we bought in the journey.