Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tell-A-Tale (Part 50): Kuala Selangor

There’s nothing tranquil about this place. In fact, I don’t think it ever was, since my first visit about 25 years ago. But one thing’s for sure. The roads are now wider and the number of shops multiplied. Cars piled by the road and restaurants seemed to be in full swing. I observed more foreign tourists too. That’s good news.

It was a hot afternoon when we reached the fishing village of Pasir Penampang. Here, it’s all about seafood, mostly dried. The busiest area is always at the junction or concourse as I like to call it, where the two most prominent restaurants are located. Sans proper traffic system, congestion is inevitable and it’s always entertaining for diners at the restaurants to see how drivers untangle themselves.

The few rows of shophouses, where most businesses take place, stretched thinner as we moved away from the restaurants. Some say that it’s along the narrower lanes that better bargains can be found. I left that to my momma and aunties to decide.

Playing tourists, we were very much anticipating the food that would be laid upon us. The restaurant did deliver, in terms of freshness of the seafood. However, the execution, be it intentional or not, left much to be desired. The oyster omelette was basically a thick, tough pancake (where’s the cornstarch?) with the slightest amount of oysters. Among other flops were the soggy fried calamari and greasy stir-fried snow pea sprouts. As for the visually delectable stir-fried bee hoon with crab, well, let’s just say that perhaps the only seasoning used was soy sauce. The sweet crabs and the springy rice vermicelli were cooked in vain. An addition of hotplate cockles saved the day with a flavourful sauce, which consisted of sweet beanpaste, onions, dried shrimps and chillies. Again, playing tourist, I’m sure the view from the restaurant’s amazing come sunset.

Restoran Makanan Laut Jeti
No. T26, Jalan Pasir Penampang
45000 Kuala Selangor
Tel : (+603) 3289 2917/ 3289 4917

Here, shopping for dried seafood after a meal seems obligatory. And why not? The briny smell and colourful local produce are invigorating. Crispy, amber dried shrimps, large dried oysters and gorgonzola-like salted fish were just part of the display that got me salivating. Let’s not forget the snack that’s synonymous with fishing villages - prawn crackers. As strange and even ludicrous as it may sound, I actually found one of the best heong pehng (fragrant biscuit) right here. Hot from the oven, the fresh bake, coupled with the sound of crispy crust against the steel tray got my imagination running wild. The simple filling of maltose syrup and fried onion oil was really delicious. The dozen that I bought stayed fresh for about a week. If I were to return, this will definitely be on top of my shopping list.

I remember the photo of a very young HairyBerry, in his little cartoon sweatshirt, standing beside one of the ancient cannons on top of Bukit Melawati or Monkey Hill, as my parents would call it. Among us were historical structures (mainly in white), silver leaf monkeys and long-tailed macaques. To a kid, this was definitely more memorable than the fishing village. So we decided to revisit the hill after stocking up at Pasir Penampang. Unbeknownst to us, visitors are prohibited from driving up the hill on certain dates and since the elders were reluctant to climb, we abandoned the idea and headed for some cooling coconut drink before leaving the old royal capital of Selangor.

It may not be every urbanite’s idea of escaping the hectic, bustling life but to absorb in a timeless town that promises everything from fresh seafood to history to lush greeneries and (to a certain extent) fireflies sounds like a fun weekend getaway to me.


Life for Beginners said...

"Gorgonzola-like salted fish"?

I wonder if salted fish can subsitute gorgonzola as the fourth cheese on a pizza quattro formaggio? The stinkier the better! :)

Precious Pea said...

I miss Kuala Selangor so much. I usually have my lunch at the fishing village at Bagan Pasir....very much cheaper and fresher. Next time bring you there yah?

ai wei said...

this is a nice write up and i get to know a little about KS.
i have not been to kuala selangor for agesss...

nowadays salted fish is not cheappp!

Faye fly said...

been there last few months ...miss it koropok ubi !!

Selba said...

So nice to see the pics... I don't think I've ever heard about Kuala Selangor, have I? :D

qwazymonkey said...

Hairy Berry went up the monkey hill to fetch a pail of water...

LOL. Pictures look divine as always. Love the crab meehoon and anchovies pic. So cool. Guessing the food look better than it tasted huh?

UnkaLeong said...

My family and I used to stock up our sea produce there monthly. Travelled there with a huge coleman with ice packs in 'em to keep the fish fresh for the journey back. I also remember the toilet being a urinal draining into the river. Heh.

CUMI & CIKI said...

we love this place. Has old school charm;)

Anonymous said...

i still remember Precious Pea's post on Kuala Selangor seafood.
almost salivated like no other.
though the hygiene level left nothing much to the imagination.

Hazza said...

Why would anyone want to buy dried fish bones?

Tummythoz said...

Why didn't you take the tram up the hill?
*digging old unposted pix*
Yes yes. Got kinda choo-choo tram servicing the route up.

ck lam said...

Sure is a nice place for a family outing...eating and buying :)
I love cockles but this is one version that I have not eaten before.

Nic (KHKL) said...

kenny, and i guess a lot cheaper as well..haha. well, if we can do it with anchovies, i think salted fish is an idea. let's start with the pasta first la.. :)

precious pea, yeah, i heard bagan pasir is for fresh seafood! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS, bring me there next time ya!!! :)

ai wei, glad u liked the post! :) oh, i didnt know the price of salted fish these days. gosh, things are getting more expensive these days, eh? sigh...

faye fly, oooh, u were there a few months ago? cool! talking about keropok ubi, yeah, i miss that a lot too!!! must get some this holiday.

selba, yupe, Kuala Selangor is mostly for locals but i do see lotsa foreign tourists during my last visit. it's even in wikipedia! :)

Nic (KHKL) said...

qwazymonkey, ya lor, and i thought i could reconnect with my own species...hahah! thanks for the compliment on the pics, dude! yeah, the food was really so-so la. sad, i tell ya.

unkaleong, seriously? omg, does that mean that we've been eating...errrmmm, ok la, better not think about that..haha! see ya soon, bro!

cumi & ciki, definitely worthy of a weekend getaway, hor? must revisit bukit melawati next time!

j2kfm, i thought the place was quite clean though. maybe cos i just scratched the surface la. haha, i remembered precious pea's post as well. very significant, i tell ya.

hazza, bones? oh, i guess u r referring to the last pic. well, there are some dried flesh attached to it. just dehydrated, hence the "thinning" effect. haha.

tummythoz, oh, even the main gate was shut la. and the elders werent keen also. sianz. i must go again la. never taken the tram before. :(

ck lam, yupe, lotsa activities there. a family was spotted fishing there as well! :) yeah, it was my first taste of cockles cooked that way as well.