Saturday, 22 November 2014

Stumbling upon sights, adventure and lip smacking food

        After an extremely stressful academic year, hubby dearest has lined up a string of holiday activities for me. We kicked it off by exploring Kuala Kubu Bahru, a small town in Hulu Selangor. Not many would give this old mining town a passing thought, dismissing it as a sleepy hollow to pass through en route to Fraser's Hill. And that's where they are wrong.
        We had a most enjoyable day at this quaint little town and its surroundings. Leaving Ipoh at 4 a.m., it took us one and a half hours to drive to Kuala Kubu Bahru, well in time for sunrise shots at the famous Masjid Darul Quran. Surrounded by rolling hills and a peaceful man-made lake, the mosque is a favourite among photographers. Always striving to be different from the mass, Derrick was immensely pleased when lightning illuminated the skies as he was poised to take sunrise shots of the mosque.

After that, Derrick rewarded his patient wife with a most delicious Hainanese breakfast at the famous Sun Sun Nam Cheong,
The interior of the Hainanese coffee shop
a coffee shop that has been around for more than 60 years.There are many Internet reviews of the food served here, prompting us to make a beeline for this eatery located at Jalan Mat Kilau, right in the town center. We shared a plate of French toast with hotdog and a plate of the most divine chicken chop. 
The most succulent Hainanese chicken chop
Yes, this was for breakfast! And the chicken chop was so tasty that I could have easily succumbed to gluttony and ordered another plate! The French toast was also very nicely done. 

        With our tummies filled, we ventured around the little town with its colonial charm and moved on to locate Empangan Sungai Selangor, which was completed in 2002. The Splash information centre offers exhibition and information about the facility and is the best place to view the huge hole in the lake where water drops in to feed the supply pipes.
The mighty Sungai Selangor Dam
        The dam is situated on the road leading to Fraser's Hill but we decided against going on to the popular hill resort as the road features many twists and turns. I was not equipped with my motion sickness pills. But we did venture a little further, past a small iron bridge to reach a hidden gem in Malaysia...the Sungai Chiling Fish Sanctuary. It was a stumble upon unspoilt nature as this place has not been accorded much publicity. This picturesque nature trail is managed by the state fisheries department. Visitors register themselves at the office and pay a small entrance fee of RM1. The 1-hour trail starts by crossing the suspension bridge and then turning left, traversing over streams and puddles, passing through verdant jungle and admiring the gushing river that flows below. To reach the waterfalls, you need to cross 5 fast-flowing rivers which reach up to your waist...truly an adventure in itself. We wisely decided against proceeding because we had not brought a change of clothes. I certainly did not relish the idea of making my way back to Ipoh in a pair of wet jeans. But we promised ourselves that we will be back!

        Before heading back to Ipoh, we decided to have our lunch at Kuala Kubu Bahru town. Although I was keen for another round of Hainanese chicken chop, we decided to try another place. And boy, are we glad we did! Ninety Eight Seafood Restaurant serves such delicious food that we vow to return. We ordered steamed taufu with mince patties and prawns fried in soya sauce; both dishes being extremely tasty.
Slices of taufu on one side, minced pork on another side, splash a beaten egg over, steam the dish and garnish with lots of fried shallots and ginger strips

I can detect some tamarind juice and spot some black beans...which made a world of  difference in this platter of prawns

        Reviews on the Internet also pointed us in the direction of Teng Wun Bakery & Confectionery, a very old and unassuming place. Their kaya puffs come highly recommended and so do their butter cake, hence I grabbed both. We tried them during our drive back to Ipoh and I can testify that the raves were justified. I usually turn up my nose at butter cakes sold at shops because I believe they can never be as good as the one my mother bakes. But one bite of this super soft Teng Wun butter cake has me drooling all over it. The kaya puff, which comes individually wrapped for freshness, has layers of crisp flakes enveloping a not-too-sweet kaya filling...mmmm....

     Kuala Kubu Bharu for sights, adventure and lip smacking food...we will be back!