Aug 2, 2014

That's the Spirit!

Sleepy fisherman town of Kuala Kurau, Perak

I just got back home yesterday from Perak and my travel was filled with photos of Syawal celebration. The obligatory food porn, familiar faces and typical typography abound in this post naturally. What ever it is, I came back with a full stomach and a pleasant memory. Until next Aidilfitri!  


It's all about going back to the roots and indulging traditional Malay food. Unlike the overly ambitious and somehow tackily named modern kuih raya (and not necessarily tasty), below is the quintessentially Malays food that I love to chomp down recently...

Putu beras - a classic raya cookie before all the London Almonds and whatnot. 

Dried agar-agar - only found when I go back to Perak side of kampung. It's downright guilty pleasure downing a few of these in one go...

Burasak - a Bugis food hailing from Johor. It's essentially rice which is eaten with serunding. The banana leaves make it all fragrant and savoury.


A visit to old towns of Perak, or any old towns in Malaysia in general is never complete without capturing the typographical beauty (or ugliness and awkwardness) of the sign boards, just like what I did last year.

This could be inspired by NTV7 slogan

We spent time in Kuala Kurau at Mum's relatives'

So beautiful. I bet the neon signage must be the talk of the town during its heyday

It never cease to boggle me how Malay spelling changes from time to time.

I always have a soft spot on hand-painted signages like this


We didn't go visit that much this time around, thanks to the heat wave and the fact that not everyone's at home. But we managed to visit Tok Long who used to be neighbours with my Tok and had her wonderfully cooked dishes (now it dawns on me that authentic kampung food trumps overpriced restaurant food). She stays in Kuala Kurau, a fisherman village about 40 minutes from Taiping. It's a typical kampung in Perak/northern Selangor region, where the roads are single-laned and uneven, the sewage is dismal but the people still retain that village charm and warmth. Later that night we visited my neighbours' parents near Bagan Serai which is an annual routine for us.

Yellow helmet - this reminds me of the helmet I captured at the Louis Vuitton show some time ago.

Capturing a family capturing a #wefie

Not much going on at the jetty when we arrived

A dead siakap aka Asian seabass floating near the jetty. Mum says it's a waste because the fish is quite costly

Part of the ladies of the family

This uncle volunteered to take our family photo but at the end abandoned us. I guess operating a DSLR button is not for everyone.

These neon-clad kids are pretty shy at the sight of my camera
Later I captured him playing football, shirtless. This time around he seems eager to be photographed

Mum and Tok Long. She humbly served us her food but it felt like the cooking is fit for the king...

Tok versus Tok

My dearest Tok and I. 

She's 84 years old (around the same age with Tun Dr. Mahathir), yet she has the energy of a 30 year old - she's always busy at the back, preparing food for the family and her homemade kuih (traditional Malay delicacies) are the best! It's like miles better than all the gourmet food in KL combined (not exaggerating). Michelin would easily give her four stars for her perfectly done, simple food like ikan kembong goreng, cucur badak, kuih siput and kuih ros/loyang. 

She also used to make bahulu from scratch (you know, from beating the mixture manually until it becomes frothy and smooth to baking it with coconut fibre). Each time I go back I'd ask for her kuih, but as years gone by, she finds it more difficult to bake them (she's an octogenarian so everyone expects her to rest rather than squatting in the kitchen). But she still makes some of the food every now and then. I honestly don't know if she would make it till next Syawal but I pray for her health and happiness. It's good to know that my Mum inherits her skills and passion for traditional Malay kuih so I guess I'm in good hands...

Hafidzudin Zainal

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great effort! It's already rare to find Burasak in JB, what more in Perak! Going to go on Google Street View to see more of this little town.

- A Facebook fren

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