Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Day In Ayer Tawar

As a kid that has grown up in a small town of Taiping throughout my childhood days and being so used to the simple way of lifestyle in such environment, I always long for spending my holidays in some other different small towns; towns which are far away from the hustle and bustle of a city, a tranquil and peaceful place, where you can spend your time relaxing and forget about your hectic life for a moment, just to see whether there are any differences. You may find it unusual for someone who is currently studying in Japan to think in such way, but visits to these kinds of places will always be my preference over big cities.
When my friend asked me whether I would like to join him back to his hometown after his exams, I immediately jumped to his invitation. I know Looi from the National Service camp that I attended four years ago, and he is one of the few friends that I still keep in touch with. He comes from a small town called Ayer Tawar, located about an hour drive south of Ipoh. When he first told me about his hometown, I did not know the location of it, until he mentioned Sitiawan, a town slightly bigger than Ayer Tawar. I have been telling him that I will pay a visit to his town one day, and finally I set my foot at this town, which is according to him, a very small town with nothing to do.
Despite having him telling me that, I told myself that I must visit the place at least once.
When you could spot a Mercedes in a town, it cannot be that small, ain't it?
He doesn't live in the middle of the town, but in another village called Kampung Jering. However, most of the houses there are not wooden houses even though they named it a kampung. In fact, the majority of them own their own oil palm plantations, that they are actually as rich as the Datuk and Tan Sri in much bigger cities. The only difference is that they do not show off their wealthiness to the public.
They only lead a simple life, and don't drive luxurious cars, or own big banglos.
The entrance to Kampung Jering.
We didn't make any plans for my visit here, instead we just let it be random. Personally, I prefer my holidays in such way, without being fixed to a schedule. Having said that, a rough plan is still essential, but it still depend very much on the places you go. We went out with his bike to grab our lunner (lunch plus dinner) at the local pasar petang. They neither call it pasar pagi nor pasar malam, because it opens at noon and finishes by late evening.
We bought one burger each and two cups of pearl shake, and went to a park to have our lunner while chit chatting. Although I stayed over at his place in Kajang for almost a week, we hardly had time to talk much because he was still busy with his exams, while I would go out in the morning and only be back late at night. That was the time I became the unofficial tour guide for the Japanese who came to Malaysia for their holidays.
Well, the park was not that big, just enough for the people living there to relax in the evening under the shade of the trees.
The park is so green that even the water in the man-made pond has the same colour as the trees there.
The main attraction has to be the gigantic green dinosaur. Credits to the people who built it, because it looked like a dinosaur and not a giraffe, and I would say that it looked quite cute.
I look like a dwarf here.

He later took me on his bike to go around the village. I do not get to hop on a bike that often; in fact the last time I sat on a bike was more than a year ago and it was also Looi who gave me a ride then. So, I was a bit nervous at first but later, I began to enjoy the ride. It is like a pastime activity for the people, especially the younger generations here to go around their village on their bikes in the evening.
Normal sight in the evening at Kampung Jering.
When he said he would take me to see leng lui in his hometown, I was wondering where would that be. In the end, I found out that this what what he meant earlier. Leng zai will come out to see leng lui, and the same applies to the girls. They call this pak kuan, or long gai in Cantonese. Sounds like longkang to me though. No offense to all Cantonese speakers out there though.
Anyway, the best part of it is that they will never wear any helmets.
If you were to wear a helmet while riding around this village, you will certainly receive weird stares from the locals and they would almost straight away know that you are an alien there. Ironically, they still turned on the lights of their bikes although they do not wear their helmets.
For younger kids, they use their bicycles instead of bikes to go around the village.
A Chinese temple in the village at dusk.


Shop lots and coffee shops which are patronised by the older generations mostly.
Later that night, we went to the food court to have a light dinner.
The food court in Ayer Tawar.
The food court is just a small area, with not much choices of food, to be honest. However, the interesting thing is that inside the same restaurant, there were Chinese, as well as Malay stalls under one roof offering various kinds of food. Still feeling a bit full, we only ordered a plate of chee cheong fun, which is somehow different from what I always have in Taiping. It is wrapped with prawn and pork inside, and they only use one type of sauce - sweet soy sauce. Instead of chilly sauce, they put a scoop of sambal paste and also some cucumber acar. To top it of, fried shallots are spreaded on top of the chee cheong fun.
I would say the taste was not bad and it is worth a try.


Chee cheong fun.
I asked him to spend a day in Taiping the next day, but unfortunately he had to return to his hometown on the same day after he sent me back because his niece was celebrating full moon. It is like a tradition for the Chinese to organise a party-like gathering when a newly-born is one-month old. The usual food on this particular day would be yellow glutinous rice, chicken curry, red eggs and ang koo. All his family members and relatives were expected to have a gathering to celebrate the event later that night.
Looi gave me a box of sponge cake with two red eggs inside to take back.
One of his nephew, but I was told that this little boy can be mischevious at times.
They spread some sticky kaya-like thing on a paper to trap the house flies. Even the lizard got trapped here.
So, before leaving, we had a breakfast at his house first.
Mee sua in red wine.
It was mee sua, cooked in red wine. Usually, we cook mee sua in chicken soup or some other herbal soup. Apparently, it is well-known among the locals in this area and certainly, it was great to get the chance to try something different. Before we left for Taiping, he took me to a few more places first, and that will be on some other posts. Although we did not get to go to many places, but it was a nice short trip to his hometown in Ayer Tawar.
It was a whole new experience for me personally, to get to visit such place.


Anonymous said...

really good post , as they say , anyone can write a blog , but u need a great "describer" to really describe what happens in the surrounding to be a good blogger , and ur photo taking of specific shots are great , bcoz its the simple pics that make us feel that we can relate to it ,and all i can say is, calvin , i do not know u , but im becoming a fan of ur blog!

Endoru said...

Ayer Tawar, still have a few relatives there. Have you tried the "kom piang", something like Chinese bagels ? Anyway, the "ang jie mee suah", my grandma used to make that for me so much. Absolutely yummy.

Anonymous said...

nice post..well, haha..sorry.. i'm not really good at describing wif words, so all i can say is 'nice' each time, hehe..

quiet n peaceful town would be one of my choices for visits too.. n how does mee sua taste in red wine? previously my friends told me it's like their trademark there, but have yet to try it..

calvin said...

@ duke of mask:
well, all i can say is that i'm flattered to hear something like that. i'm glad that my post has managed to give that kind of impact to my readers, but i just hope that you will excuse me for the grammar mistakes i make at times. my grammar sucks, to be honest.

anyway, thanks again :)

calvin said...

@ endoru:
yes, i tried that biscuit and that will be in another post. i have to agree with you that that mee sua taste great. the combination of wine and chicken aroma makes it a perfect combination :)

calvin said...

@ sakura:
it's alright. i am not a person who can describe something really well either xD

that was only my first time trying on that kind of mee sua and i can't wait to have another chance to taste it again. although red wine is used to cook the soup, it didn't make it too sour but just enough to give it a nice aroma. you have to try it yourself to know how it really taste like ;)

Kae Vin said...

hehe. I guess this post reflects that u r missing Malaysia?

=chuan guan= said...

kaevin just jealous..muahaha...nice post..haha..da curry mee sua seem appealing..

Anonymous said...

i like the "hong jiu mien sien" with the chicken drumstick inside. it'll be just perfect if added with some black mushroom. that's just too tasty.... Cant wait to have the taste again. . hmmmmmmmmm........

Ralph.. ;)

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
no, not at all =)


errr, i am just bluffing =(

calvin said...

@ =chuanguan=:
why he has to be jealous with me? it should be the opposite >.<

calvin said...

@ anonymous:
you can always have that whenever you go back to your hometown, right? but i am not that lucky =\

Kae Vin said...

This proved that Chuan Guan never properly read ur blog. What curry mee sua? It's red wine mee sua ok?

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
who doesn't know him. he is always like that one lah.

Kae Vin said...


see he hasn't realized we are talking behind his back yet. lol

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
i tried to give him some time to see if he really don't realise it, and i guess you are right >.<