I’ve knew it all along what always draws us to Kuantan. It is its enticing food scene, especially when the sun goes down and the road leading from Balok to Cherating lightens up with neon from the restaurants. The catch is, be prepare to eat spicy as chinese food in this area is certainly not something I wish to try again (hint: Pak Su Seafood Restaurant), for the sake of my taste buds’ sanity and my hard-earned money.
Let’s start with the breakfast. Unfortunately, Kuantan is uninspiring in the morning and the only better breakfasts are with the hotels. Sis suggested to go to Sungai Lembing, a 1.5 hour drive from our hotel, just to try their signature Yong Tau Foo. To be honest, I did not want to leave the hotel. I had so much to do – reading a book, sunbathing by the pool side, catching the crabs on the beach et cetera et cetera. Okay, I actually dreamt the crab catching part.
Sg Lembing is a sleepy town used to be famous and prosperous for its tin mining activity, once known as El Dorado of the East. That was all in the past, and Sg Lembing now filled with very low population but getting travelers once in a while look for something close to eco-tourism.
Sis got what she wanted. A taste of the Yong Tau Foo. One taste! That’s it. I should have known better. Not to help someone-on-diet to order food. I ended up taking the responsibility to finish the food. While many day trippers rave about the Yong Tau Foo here, I found them to be a tad too salty for me.
Mum decided I am ‘not fat’ enough and a ordered a bowl of beef noodles, had two mouthful of them and all went into my stomach although I managed to coerced CS into helping me. It’s a good thing they cook really nice beef tripe albeit still a little salty.
Later in the noon, everybody were too full to have a proper lunch. I don’t even dare to suggest it but we were keen to show Kemamam (town) to Mum. She loves good coffee and we wanted to let her try Hoi Peng kopitiam.
Started off from Sg Lembing, we had to drive further, after passing our hotel to cross the state border to Terengganu. It was a long drive and I was super thankful at sipping the cold coffee.
And the coffee upped our appetites and all of ordered for something. The nasi lemak was a little meh but sis enjoyed the mi siam (mihum) a lot. I was careful not to ask for a single strand of it.
On our way back, I wouldn’t stop asking about the keropok lekor selling by the roadside and in the end, stopped at Warung Aziz Sata. As it was the fasting month, they’re not selling fried keropok lekor but I knew there were plenty of stalls along the way. Someone must be selling them but for now, I will have the Sata first. For RM5, we can have 15 pieces of the fish paste with coconut shred enwrapped in the banana leave. Their Sata taste so much better than Pak Soh’s.
We couldn’t get enough of them and stopped at another Warung Aziz Sata we came across. (Is this a franchise business or what?). This time they’re selling the fried keropok lekor. Oh boy, oh boy, they are outrageously delicious and fishy, in a good way.
For first timer, let me explain the process. The stalls will usually sell freshly made still-wet keropok lekor. We can choose whether to buy them as is, or buy them and ask for them to be fried on the spot.
We were literally fighting in the car for the scalding hot keropok lekor. You guessed it right. They were gone by the time we reach our hotel.
The dining location for the night was Ana Ikan Bakar Petai, literally translated as Ana Grilled Fish with Stinky Bean. Our family happened to love this little stinky petai. I did not realized that my tolerance for spicy had built up that high and failed to notice none of my family members eat as spicy as me!
The Grilled Stingray wasn’t savaged. It arrived just this way with pretty badly charred part and with the innard intact. I had the displeasure of tasting them and was awfully hit by the ammonia taste. The sambal was mediocre at its best. We had certainly taste better ones.
Lala Masak Tiga Rasa were downright disappointment with the lack of freshness and bad cooking.
The squid was probably the best amongst the dishes but we hated how they cut the petai without removing the skin. The skin emits bitterness that we were better off skipping the beans.
Next time around, we are surely going back to our usual haunt – Awang Ikan Bakar.