A Savory Journey

11 Apr 2010 – Johor, Pahang & Terengganu

Thu: Headed towards the SIN causeway@Woodlands early morning and continued towards the Eastern Malaysian peninsular bypassing Johor Bahru. After 136km, in the state of Johor (Jawi: جوهر ) is Mersing town. For most outsiders this small tourist town is hardly more than a few-hours rest en route to Tioman Island and is thus best known for its passenger boat jetty where ferries depart daily for numerous offshore island destination. For us it was a snack+drink+restroom stop where the biggest and most tasty curry puff can be found@Hotel Timotel****

Located on the banks of the Pahang River 50km south of Kuantan is Pekan, the royal town of the Malaysian state of Pahang Darul Makmur (Jawi: ڨهڠ) where grandfather LAM Song Kee had a pawnshop, Lee Onn in the 1950s. Climbing the wooden door railings is a fond memory from the past and believe it or not, they could still take my weight today 🙂 The pawnshop was later sold to the FONG family, now it is the Sun Lee Onn; sun=new/cantonese. Mr & Mrs FONG were close friends of paternal grandparents; their family are still in close contact with ours and we address them as ku-tse=father’s younger sister/cantonese. Appreciations to FONG MoKit ku-tse who drove us to pay respect to her parents’ graves.

Kuantan- the state capital of Pahang and largest state in Peninsular Malaysia, is situated near the mouth of the Kuantan River and faces the South China Sea. My first visit was in 1957 when 14th uncle, LAM Tin Chong had guns to protect us from the real tigers as we were onlookers observing the turtles laying their egg then. The tigers are there to eat the eggs. Today, I am delighted to discover some long-lost relatives, grandfather LAM Song Kee’s two half-brothers, LAM Swee Kee & LAM Swee Kuan’s families. Thank you to their families who loan me their copy of the LAM family records. This is very exciting and interesting to add to my family research. They helped to confirm what I have heard about paternal great-grand mother’s kidnapped incident. Need to find out her name before I write about it.

With a population of app 607,800, Kuantan is famous for its delicious keropok=fish crackers and salted fish, where the fish are marinated mainly with salt and left out to dry in the sun for days. The most famous shop to buy these dried food is Chen Hing. The ginger fish@Mexica**** is one of the best fish I have ever tasted. Salted fish with pork@Baru Hock Hin**** was delicious and Nasi Lemak@T&L**** is certainly worth returning for another trip! The other eateries visited: Hainan Chicken Rice*** Mega Roti Prata*** Mustafa Chendo***

About 1hr drive north of Kuantan across to the Terengganu state (Jawiترڠڬانو/formerly spelled Trengganu) is Kamaman, famous for its stuff crab@Tong Juan*** I preferred the crab fried rice. For coffee & NasiDagand=rice steamed with coconut-milk served with fish@Kedai Kopi Hai Peng*** is worth a visit.

Thank you to Pat CHEE for sharing her lovely Kuantan condo@Tembeling Resort, to Jane TAY for driving and to Josephine LAM for her company.