Sunday, 30 November 2014

kelantan market: pasar besar siti khadijah

The bird's eye view of Kelantan market from the upper floor.

The big market at Kelantan - Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah - is quite an experience, a whirlwind of smells and colours. If I recall correctly, there were three levels: fresh produce on the ground floor, dried or processed foods on the first floor, and textiles on the top floor. I won't say much more... here is the pictorial tour!

This looks similar to snake fruit, but not quite - does anyone know what it is?

Assorted dessert jellies. The green one is used in "cendol", I'm not so familiar with the red one.

An array of pickles.

Malay ladies buying and selling "kuih" - cakes that are usually eaten for breakfast.

The market stall where we got our "nasi kerabu".

Really really delicious "nasi kerabu" at the market. The blue rice is coloured with natural flower dye.

Many different types of crackers, that you can buy home to fry up for a crispy treat.

Dried fish - so many sizes and varieties!
The end. I have to confess that I was mostly drawn to taking photos of the food and not much else. Hope that this post is, regardless, an interesting and satisfying glimpse of Pasar Besar Siti Khadidjah!
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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

kelantan: food, fish, and traditions.

Malay cakes - the ones pictured are "kuih lompang".

When we arrived at Kelantan, my parents immediately whisked us to one of their favourite restaurants. Upon arrival, we see a table full of Malay cakes. We had the "kuih lompang", a wobbly sweet steamed cake made with rice flour and topped with grated coconut. It was scrumptious.

For our main meals, we all got nasi kerabu, a traditional Malay rice dish with herbs, vegetables, and crispy coconut-flaked fish.

Nasi Kerabu, a Malay rice dish. Kelantan is famous for their Nasi Kerabu.

Kelantan state borders Thailand, and for dinner that night we had Thai food. We noticed the restaurant had fried hornet larvae (if I recall correctly - otherwise it might be bees or wasps) and decided to take the plunge. It wasn't as creepy as I imagined. They were crispy and hollow, and took on the taste of the garlic with which they were fried. I found them to be at least tolerable, and Simon actually liked them so much he kept going back for seconds!

Fried hornet larvae.

The next day, we drove around to get ourselves a few glimpses of Malay traditions in Kelantan.

We visited a shop/factory where we observed people weaving songket - a brocade textile.

Songket weaving in Kelantan.

We also saw some guys flying kites. But not just any kite - the traditional Malaysian kite, "wau bulan".

Traditional kite flying in Kelantan. This type of kite is called "wau bulan".

Dad took us to a wharf where fishermen store their catches. There are some cats around the place, I imagine they must lead a pretty good life. Fresh fish everyday!

Cat eating a fresh fish. That feline is living the life!

And of course dad had to buy some fish.

Fresh fish.

We took it to a restaurant that night, and had it cooked by the chef. It was truly excellent. As my dad said, "Sometimes you get seriously great fish, but not a great chef. Sometimes you get a seriously great chef, but not a great fish. Here, both the quality of the fish and the craftmanship is inpeccable." It was a lovely meal with which to end the Kelantan experience.

(By the way, due to the demographics of Kelantan, even though this was a Chinese restaurant, the songs played were Malay, which was quite a quirky juxtaposition, hehe.)

Fish cooked Chinese-style at a Chinese restaurant in Kelantan.

But wait - there's more about Kelantan to come! In my next post, I'll take you on a tour of the fantastic market there.

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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

buah binjai (white mango)

Buah binjai, or white mango, at the Terengganu market.

We came across these potato-like fruits at Pasar Payang, the big market at Kuala Terengganu. Curious, we asked the vendors what they were. "Binjai" was the answer. How's the taste? "Sangat asam." Very sour. "Makan dengan sedikit garam, sedap." Eat with a little bit of salt, it's delicious.

Convinced, we purchased a few to try.

Over a few days it ripened further and gave off an increasingly pungent scent. My mum was not impressed by this turn of events, and we were finally persuaded to take the plunge...

Mangifera caesia, also known as: white mango, binjai, jack, wani, yaa-lam, bayuno.

So we finally peeled it, sliced it and ate it - yes, with a touch of salt, as suggested by the fruit vendor. The first bite, and a few subsequent ones, had an intense acidity that made me cringe, but then it grew on me and became more tolerable, even addictive. It has the texture of a mango, and tastes like a super-sour version of a soursop.

I'm glad that we tried this, and hope to see it again in the future so I can buy more - with a texture that lends well to blending, and such a strong, assertive flavour, I'm thinking this white mango could be pretty amazing in a mixed fruit smoothie.

Intensely tart white mango with a sprinkling of salt.

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