kuantan. a surprising delight. -
work recently brought me to one of the larger cities of east coast peninsular malaysia, kuantan. i was pretty excited to go… my parents lived there for a couple of years and i came back to visit them over the summer holidays during my uni years. this was well over a decade ago, so understandably, i wanted to see what the years had done to it.
i arrived way past eleven on a wednesday night. i was surprised at how vibrant and energetic it was as compared to my previous desination: johor bahru. i was put up at the hyatt at teluk chempedak, a hotel by the sea. back then, the hotel was pretty much the only thing in the area. i was taken aback to see the raft of fast food places that had opened. good and bad i suppose.
the photo on the right was taken in the morning around eight. a pretty sight! too bad i was there for business. however, i didn’t need to start until about ten, so i decided to drive around the old neighbourhood where the family used to live, and also search for the nasi lemak or roti canai place our family used to frequent. THEY WERE ALL GONE :( well not really, but as i remember, the famous satay zul around kubang buaya (which serves great nasi lemak) used to be open in the mornings too. maybe my memory fails me as the launderette beside them informed me that they commence business at half past five in the evening.
a little downtrodden at the prospect of eating a hotel breakfast buffet, i drove back to teluk chempedak with an empty stomach (yet happy to see the many old places which brought back interesting memories). i was about to reach the hotel when i saw a little coffee shop called restoran hoi yin. it was PACKED. this is a rare sight as a lot of the mamaks or kopitiams will not have that level of patrons in their eateries. even more suprising is that there was only one stall offering three dishes. ALL patrons however, ordered only one thing. curry mee.
i decided to drop in and try what the locals were having. turns out it was a splendid rendition of curry mee. teeming with fresh ingredients consisting of chicken and seafood, it was certainly a treat for the senses. the broth was not overly thick (as it tends to be with a lot of the curry noodles you’ll find in peninsular malaysia), and the auntie gave two kinds of chilli (one belacan based) for you to adjust the taste to your liking. i piled it on. the result?
one big smile. my morning was complete.
a mere 2.5hr drive from KL, i will definitely consider spending a relaxing weekend in this charming town… so that i can have this curry mee… and attack satay zul!