On Sunday, I went to Sg. Pelek, Sepang to see my TAR College ex room mate, Ms Pok together with another ex housemate, Ms Gan. Yes, it was a Mandarin speaking trip. I haven’t been on a Mandarin speaking trip for awhile, and I am glad that my mandarin is still smattering impressive; considering that I once mispronounced “mirror” as “sperm”.
Well, you people could consider this as a very mini fei chai trip… with the usual food galore, laughter and candid photography.
Being the one who is better in identifying routes, (despite always getting lost on my way to church), I took charge to drive Ms Gan to Sg. Pelek – coz if you depend on Ms Gan, you might as well ask the blind for directions. A piece of advice to drivers, especially the ladies, please learn to remember directions/ routes, other than going to your office from home, for your own good.
Ms Pok was a splendid host. She took us to Tanjung Sepat for brunch. Unfortunately, her usual haunt for ass-kicking Bak Kut Teh (Hokkien: Pork Rib Herbal Soup) was sold out by 10.30 am! Funny why she didn’t take us to her dad’s stall, selling the same thing, which was only 2 minutes drive from her home. We drove 15 minutes to Tanjung Sepat instead. (Sg. Pelek, orangnya pelik-pelik – Malay: The residents in Sg. Pelek are all weird) Heck. We drove 100 km away from KL to Tanjung Sepat for seafood.
Not discouraged, we were served the second best choice of dishes – the fish paste soup, stir fried ikan merah with bean paste and spicy calamari. The seafood was so fresh that I swore I saw the fish paste wiggling in the pot of hot soup.
After a hearty brunch, we took a stroll at the infamous Lover’s Bridge. I didn’t quite remember why it was called a Lover’s Bridge – considering I over ate during brunch and all my body energy was channeled into my gut area for digestion. The fishermen upload their goods from the boat to the shore using the connecting bridge. Ms Pok said, it was a sight to behold in early mornings to watch the fishermen coming back from the sea.
After basking in the hot sun, snapping away pictures, we were taken to this nice little kopitiam (Hokkien: Coffee shop) 2 minutes away from the Lover’s Bridge for a cup of aroma-rich authentic black coffee – the way my late grandmother used to love. The kopitiam also served the best toast bread that I had ever tasted. It was a delight to watch the elderly villagers nonchalantly kill time, playing Chinese chess on the porch of the kopitiam.
Stuffing our face with so many things in two hours proved much too heavy for us to bear. We went back to Ms Pok’s house for a breather. I took a short nap, sprawling on the cold floor of her living room. Yes – I am shameless. And the people in Sg Pelek do not close their doors during daylight. You could actually see people sprawling (not dead) in the living room to alleviate the heat from the sun, or just to chat with fellow family members. Don’t you just love small towns?
Cucumber in the Sky
We drove to Morib, which is about 30 minutes from Sg Pelek. There, we blended into a sea of people in their chatty and happy camaraderie; there was a small fest going on; bands and singers, ice cream sellers, colorful balloons and kites. It was an ideal place to bring your family members out. We had Ms Pok’s home made strawberry ice-sicle.
On our way back to Tanjung Sepat, Ms Pok took us to the mushroom culture plant. There, we could see how mushrooms are cultivated, harvested and packed. Couldn’t resist, I took some pictures – the boss of the plant was nice enough to explain the use of the many species to us.
At the backyard of the mushroom plant, we could see people harvesting lala in the torrid sun. Ms Gan and Ms Pok, being Puteri Lilins (Malay idiom: Wax Princess), couldn’t withstand the heat, they took a shelter in the car with fully blast air condition while I, being the one with elephant skin, snapped away pictures at the mangrove swamp. It was low tide and just perfect for picturesque shots. I offered to take pictures of a lovely couple whose camera chose to run out of battery unceremoniously at such a Kodak moment.
We had our lunch at 3.30 pm at the Lover’s Bridge’s seaside restaurant. Since we were all drained from the heat of the sun, we ordered dishes with a lot of water in it; fishball soup, lala soup, and fried mee hoon with crabs and the famous fried boneless fish (as claimed by the owner of the restaurant, this dish was recommended in the newspapers together with their famous fried calamari).
The boneless fish tasted a bit like keropok lekor, only slightly crunchier and flakier. The owner of this restaurant should come up with a signature chilli sauce to go with the fried fingers of fish. We were given an off-the-rack bottle of chilli sauce, which was an utter turn off for a serious food connoisseur like me. I wish there were a suggestion box where I could give them my two cents worth.
Not wanting to drive back to Kuala Lumpur in the dark with my sunglasses (yes- my spectacles are still missing), I suggested that we go home earlier. We made a brief stop at Bagan Lalang to check out the place. The sand was still soft and white. Unfortunately, there were too many litterbugs. The people should keep the place clean.
Colors in Bagan Lalang
The place was more commercialized compared to the last time I came here, some 8 years ago. There was a nice addition of colors to the place though. Those days, my group of friends and I would stay in a cargo made into a mini rest house. We would go to the beach; with spades and pails; not to build sand castles but to fork out the kepahs (Malay: mussels), embedded in the sand. We would take the pail of kepahs to a nearby restaurant and they would help us clean them up and cook up a dish for a mere RM3. Those were the good old days.
After filling our tummy, getting a nice tan, (for me – it is more like a heat stroke and sun burnt) and swearing off seafood for a week, we bid farewell to Ms Pok and promised to return again to fly some kites in Bagan Lalang.