Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Food Galore At Nibong Tebal

Short note: This is the second entry from my trip to Nibong Tebal last weekend, after I blogged on the places of interest in this town in the first entry. This entry will solely focused on all the nice food which Kae Vin took me to try on them. It is not advisable to read this entry with an empty stomach, more so if you are living in oversea. Do not say I did not warn you beforehand.
Here we go.
The first thing we did after Kae Vin picked me up was eating. He took me to the laksa-cum-ais kacang stall, in which he is very familiar with the tauke because he used to work there for a couple of months there after his SPM few years ago. Well, he mentioned about this special Nibong Tebal's laksa to me one time ago, and promised me that he would treat me to a bowl of the laksa if I drop over at his hometown. That is the main reason I visit him this time xD
Nibong Tebal's asam laksa, with prawn crackers.
This stall serves asam laksa, the one which is the sour type. One main difference between the normal asam laksa and the one here is that they have prawn crackers (hea pia) coming together with the bowl of laksa. It has been some time since I had laksa with hea kor, a thick sweet prawn paste, usually comes in dark black in colour to give a distinctive taste to the bowl of laksa. Laksa being one of his favourite food, Kae Vin did blog a very detailed post about the laksa in Nibong Tebal and how it is different compared to the laksa found elsewhere.
Ais kacang, with ice cream topping.
It is best to serve ais kacang or cendol together with a bowl of laksa. I do not think I have come across this kind of ais kacang, which has ice cream as the topping. The flavour of the ice cream may vary, according to the tauke. Another thing I love about the ais kacang is that they have a lot of ingredients underneath, which I do not find it always, such as dried raisins and atap chee. The fragrant syrup poured on the ice just tops it off, easily making it one of the best ice kacang I have ever tasted.
By the way, I got treated to this bowl of ice kacang for decoding this 'ip!dnt5' correctly.
Hokkien tar.
This is known as Hokkien tar, which is my first time coming across it. I woud say it is a fusion between dry curry mee and wantan mee, which is served with char siew (pork barbecue) and chopped spring onions. It has a little bit spiciness in it, but not too spicy that you will look around for a glass of water the moment your tongue makes contact with the noodle.
Coming to a town which is located so close to the sea, the trip would not be complete without having a seafood dinner. Well, it was not exactly a nine-course dinner at a luxurious restaurant, for all of us are stil studying and certainly would never afford to go to such places. Anyway, we picked up Kae Vin's brother, Kae Min and another friend of mine, Ming Chong who is studying at USM's engineering campus nearby before we headed to have dinner together at this restaurant. Chang Kee Restaurant is a Chinese restaurant that specialise in old Hakka cuisine, and people from Penang island and outstation would make all the way to this restaurant to taste the food, especially the crab porridge.
It was still early, but the seats are almost full already.
Kae Min and Kae Vin; apart from their interesting way of laughing, it is hard to find any similarities between the two brothers.
Me with Ming Chong.
It is so well-known that it is even mentioned on Wikipedia's page when you search for Nibong Tebal. We came to this restaurant to have the famous crab porridge, which looked different from what I thought initially when it was served on our table. I thought they have peel the crab meat from the shell, and we just have to eat them in a bowl. However, it was the opposite, as the crabs are served together with the shells still intact. In fact, they cooked the porridge with excessive amount of water and that made the rice still in grain form, which I personally prefer compared to the normal disintegrated mushy soft rice.
That type is more suitable for ducks, or people without teeth.
Crab porridge.
We of course, did not have only crab porridge for our dinner as we tried some other local delicacies like boiled mini octopus which will never grow up and remain that small, known to the locals as tu boe s'ng. Translating that directly from Hokkien would mean 'mother pig's ice'. Clearly there is no relation at all whatsoever.
Tu boe s'ng.
I think twice whether to try the round head of the octopus but still, that is way much better than any disgusting food from Fear Factor. I gave a try and it was not as bad as I thought. It was juicy and a little bit soft but not easily broken (jun jun) when you bite on it.
The brain of the octopus, inside its head.
Having nothing to do while waiting for the crab porridge, Kae Vin made me do this.
We did not order too much of food, because we were still quite full and we would be heading to the pasar malam after that. The last dish was a plate of tua pan char (大板焼), which I usually call it as waatan hor.
Tua pan char, with pork, fish balls and fish cake.
Our table after we finished our dinner.
After going to watch the fireflies, we went to the weekly pasar malam, just a few minutes drive from Kae Vin's house. We walked one round through the pasar malam, and bought a few stuff before we sat down to have some chat.
Mua chee - sticky starch covered with sweet grountnuts.
Tom yam mee.
The tom yam mee was not bad, which is cooked together with huge prawns, shrimps, mantis shrimps, meat balls and cuttle fish. It was not that spicy despite the sour gravy looked so red and spicy. Overall, I love the mantis shrimp the most. Just like how he pointed out, I find that most of the food found in Nibong Tebal are more spicy than average Chinese food. Nevertheless, it was just alright to fit my tolerance for spicy food as it was not too spicy, but just mild.
I would love to stay a little bit longer there but unfortunately, he was leaving for his trip to Cameroon Highlands with his friend the next morning. We went to have a breakfast first, and I was left to choose between chee cheong fan and Hokkien lor. I chose the latter, because the chee cheong fun there is similar to the one in my place. Hokkien lor is actually a combination of Hokkien mee (prawn mee) and lor mee.
Hokkien lor (pun unintended).
The gravy must be too nice that it attracted so many house flies to our table when we were eating.
Just before he dropped me at the bus station, we dropped by this shop selling hiau pia (it could also mean 'perverted biscuit' in Hokkien lol) to grab a few packets for me to bring home. The hiau pia here is slightly different from the one found in Taiping, because Nibong Tebal's one are bigger and more flat. Generally, there is not a vast difference in terms of the taste between the two.
The shop which sells perverted biscuits.
Hiau pia (香餅), or biskut wangi.
This marks the end of my short trip to Nibong Tebal and I would like to thank Kae Vin for taking me around his hometown, trying the nice food there and keep me in his house for one night. I shall be waiting for you in Taiping during the next summer ;)


mg said...

i wan penang laksa wit lotsa hae kor too!! oh ya tht type of ais kacang can be found in mlk. next time i take u there =)

elaine said...

Argh!! Feel like going back now..
I miss the laksa..and tom yam so much..sob sob..:(

Anonymous said...

haha... there r still plenty types of food u did nt try ... lol, as u r 'forced' to come over NT to get ur spec back (lol so forgetful~), then, u would hav one more chance to try something new be4 going back... ... -kaemin

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
wait till you have tasted taiping's lemak sui laksa. i am sure you will love it too ;)

you mean ais kacang with ice cream topping in malacca? waiting to have try it soon =)

calvin said...

@ elaine:
just come back. after all, it is just a seven-hour flight home xD

calvin said...

@ anonymous a.k.a kae min:
haha. i think my specs purposely made me forget about it, so that i will be returning to nibong tebal once more.

i feel that i am getting more and more forgetful nowadays, just like ha thau. maybe that indicates i am getting older already =/

Kae Vin said...

So how much weight have u gained? Hahaha

Endoru said...

There you go posting these pictures and my 2nd time looking at them but still they catch my attention again. Yes, I saw your warning but they are simply looking to good to resist.

Joyce said...

The food looks super duper good.

Man.....so many things i`ve never tried before. Argh......

K3ViN said...

wah the food look yummy... torture me nia.... i dame hungry nia........ lau nua lioa chat lor..... go to pantry room 2 make some drink sin......

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
six kilos, since i am back to malaysia =.=

calvin said...

@ endoru:
don't worry, when i am back to japan already and view those pictures again, i will be going through what you guys are going through when you saw those pictures >.<

calvin said...

@ joyce:
it was really good, and i think i will be going down again to have those food =D

calvin said...

@ k3vin:
you can have those food anytime, since you are still in malaysia. but it is a different case for us =/