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.


  1. You're making me hungry with all of those food pictures :) Yes, even the hornet larvae - I wanted to try them when I was in Thailand but didn't get the chance.

    1. Hopefully you get the chance again to try the hornet larvae! I saw quite a few other insect dishes when I was in Thailand too... but didn't try them either!

  2. Wow!! How interesting! I must say you are more adventurous than I am, I don't think I would be able to touch the hornet larvae.

    1. I think I only have the courage because my parents said they had tried it before and it was not bad!


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