Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Thursday, December 16, 2010
Most of my trips to Kuala Terengganu found me in Merang where I like to catch up on my fishing. Most of my classmates and friends are in Kuala Terengganu and they do not fish.
On my last visit, the weather was not conducive for fishing and I had the time to reconnect with my old friends. Take "old" in any way you like and it will be true.

Mat Nong, our class monitor insisted that we have tea at his house in Durian Burong. Ramli took his van and we picked up Hj. Hassan along the way. Daud, who was tending his goats chose to make his own way by motorbike.He did not expect the rain to be so heavy and he came soaked to the bone. We did not allow him to come to the table until he changed into some dry clothes provided by our host.
After enjoying the mee siam, keropok lekor and other Terengganu goodies, Mat Nong insisted on a group photo.
Prior to that, Daud wanted to show off his pawang skills by looking at Hassan's belly button. Nothing came out of it except maybe for some lints.

Later we caught up with Dato' Kadir Sulaiman at Permai Inn. Dato' Kadir was in Terengganu as a Labour Officer and later as the Legal Adviser. Now he has gone on to loftier appointment but found the time to meet old friends.
Unknown to me, Dato' Kadir also brought another mutual friend that day. Mr. Chua was my partner-in-crime during my madness for good hi-fi. He owned an electrical shop in Jalan Banggol and let me have all the equipment that I wanted even though most of the time I could not pay cash. It was indeed a pleasure to see Mr.Chua again. He told me that he is now retired. Looks like I have to get the Blu Ray player somewhere else.


Friday, December 10, 2010
Kuala Terengganu in December might look gloomy. There are rain-clouds over the city.

On the ground, everyone is prepared for the rain, even the hardy usually waterproof "teksi" men. Trishaws are called teksi in Terengganu while what city folks taxis are called "kereta sewa". This particular guy made doubly sure he doesn't get wet.
Visibilty from my window is limited. The sea is misty but still gentle. It is still early in the morning. The sun is still not up.

Further inland as in this kampong in Darat Batu Rakit, the monsoon rain turned fields into lakes.
And the boats at Merang jetty take a rest from their daily runs to Pulau Redang and Pulau Lang Tengah.
The tourists instead flocked to Pulau Duyong. They saw a fiercer monsoon this time around.

Labels: ,


Friday, December 03, 2010
When I was in Kuala Terengganu last February, I found out to my dismay that most restaurants in town were closed on Friday. Some popular warongs too took Fridays off. On other days of the week however, you can feast on many Terengganu delights. On my latest trip back home I did not starve. I even had nasi dagang twice on the same day. Once for breakfast and when I went for the tahlil in the evening, nasi dagang was on the menu. This was on the second day. On the third day, my breakfast was laksam (East Coast flat noodle) bought at a warong in Tanjung. I would not eat laksam without toasted belacan so my good friend Pok Daud asked his wife Ani to toast some for me, crushed it and brought it lovingly wrapped in tissue paper.

Lunch on the first day was at Coffee Beans, KL Sentral. Nothing memorable. On the second day another bosom buddy Pak Ramli brought me to a popular mee bandung stall next to the former Cathay cinema hall. The owner refused to take my money. Turned out that she was Ramli's sister.

On the third day we drove up to Merang. Ramli wanted to check up on his boat and I was salivating thinking of the ebek fish that we wanted to have for lunch. Unfortunately, the owner of the warong told us he no longer prepares lunch. He said he was too tired. I suspected that he was too rich already. He only serves breakfast. We were lucky that there was some nasi minyak left. I grew up on Tengku Hussin's nasi minyak and found this version edible but not spectacular.

Before I left for Kuala Terengganu I promised Mimi to bring home some otak-otak. Mimi needs some convincing that Terengganu's otak-otak are far superior than those fish-flavoured paste they passed off as otak-otak in the Klang Valley. We found one place selling otak-otak somewhere in Mengabang Telipot. There were not many left so we bought all.

The place also sells sata (also fish-based). Sata are grilled on a bamboo skewer but we were not allowed to take the skewers. The sata from here were delicious but not as heavenly as those at Pak Man's place at the food court near Sutera Beach Resort. Unfortunately, Pak Man moved elsewhere already.
As the plane was landing in Kuala Terengganu, I, for some inexplicable reason, thought of fried bananas. So as soon as I could, I rang my classmate Hj. Hassan inviting him to a goreng pisang tea. I asked him where the best goreng pisang can be found. Three generations ago, I would not ask Hassan that. Everyone knew then that the best goreng pisang (and kerepok lekor) would be at Mok Nik Awang Itam in front of Paya Tok Ber. Even the istana bought fried bananas and kerepok lekor from her. Hj. Hassan told us to wait for him at LAN BANANA a short distance from the Simpang Tokku roundabout.
It was not even tea time yet but the there was already a queue even though the line was a bit ragged. Lan Banana sells fried bananas, fried sweet potatoes, fried fish in batter (or as Terengganu folks call them ICT -ikan celup tepung) and of course fried kereopok lekor. This would be a place your cardiologist warned you about.

There wasn't any place in the establishment where you can sit down comfortably and eat the stuff you have bought. Neither do they sell coffee or tea. So Hassan got the goreng pisang, kerepok lekor as well as ICT and we headed to his house where we enjoyed the crispy and cholestrol-laden items. After tasting the goreng pisang I can see why there was a queue. I even forgot that they should call the fried bananas pisang goreng.