Travel Blitz #4 – A Sojourn In A Town Named KuantanApril 19, 2012 | 3,654 views
Wondering what’s Travel Blitz? Read the first 3 chapters and find out then. Trust me, even if you’re a staunch detractor of travelling to local destinations, there has to be at least ONE small town somewhere out there that will entice you with its charm.
A Hainanese-style Chicken Chop @ The Cottage Restaurant, Kuantan, Pahang
For tonight, I will not bore/overwhelm/drown you with wordy descriptions and lengthy/elaborate grandfather stories like normal. Although the mind is highly-tempted to do so, the hands and these lethargic pair of eyes started to shut down and the longing to lie flat on the plush, warm bed this rainy Thursday evening just got so much stronger as the minutes go by.
Where am I taking you this time around? Kuantan; the capital of Pahang. Ready?
Nice Quaker mug eh? Always a plus point for any old school restaurant to come up with classic cookwares and utensils. Adding that extra oomph to an already established legacy.
A sudden need to travel to Kuantan granted me an opportunity to travel to a town I barely have been acquainted with (only been there once, and it was for a very brief day trip last month), and the heart-stopping news about Firefly stopping their route to Kuantan (is this permanent?).
This left me with no choice but to take MAS; a clear disadvantage when it comes to distance since KLIA is a good an hour away from home, while Subang airport’s a mere 10 minutes away! Oh well, when someone gives you lemons, either you make lemonade or squeeze/squirt the damn juices back at that person ….
Bitter Gourd Stir-fried with Egg; a massive contrast when eating this with chicken chop and fish & chips, but we needed that comforting boost to our already guilt-ridden egos anyway.
The Cottage Restaurant reminded me of Shangri-La in Parit Buntar (no, this has nothing to do with the famous hotel chain), or First Coffee House/Miner’s Arms in Ipoh. A presumably Hainanese establishment with a menu possibly older than us Gen-Y delinquents, covering various Chinese dishes ringing a tune in sync with the longing hearts for mum’s homecooked fares.
Instinctively, I picked the Chicken Chop cooked either in Black Pepper or “Chinese” style; as blankly presented by the lady taking our orders; obviously closing the gap towards the tail end of her sexagenarian era. She ordered a Grilled Fish, but was presented with a serving of Fish & Chips instead.
And to our disappointment, the other lady rudely told us off, that … “Around here, grilled fish is the same as the fish & chips.”
Not the best way to win your way to a customer’s heart, dear lady. And clearly, we are not stupid. However there was no point retaliating for we were famished and the next appointment’s right around the corner. Credits where they’re due; the food’s not half bad, yet did not justify the annoying eat-here-or-leave attitude.
Vistana Hotel @ Kuantan (www)
Since everything was in a rush, I left the booking to my colleague. We were put up at Vistana Hotel, a four starred (I think) hotel in the heart of Kuantan town; close to RM200/USD70 per night at corporate rate. The room’s not shabby, yet without the bells and whistles you might expect from one of the better hotels in town. Fuss free, good location, near to Teluk Cempedak (the beach where you’ll be heading to anyway if you’re in Kuantan) and within a short driving distance to some of the more popular eateries in town.
Wifi comes complimentary (till now, I still fail to understand why some major hotels still charge for something so elementary, even kopitiams are providing FOC for diners having a cup of kopi-o!), while the greatest setback came in the form of NO complimentary bottled/drinking water. You have to boil your own, using the electric kettle which we were not comfortable in using anyway.
The most famous Satay in all of Kuantan; Satay Zul sees brisk business everyday. That’s why you should come early, preferably before 7pm to guarantee a table
Work took much of the day, and by dinner time we were already screaming for food. (Like you don’t know my insatiable appetite anyway …). A quick search with our GPS and the Net revealed Satay Zul to be a place not to be missed. Going along Jalan Teluk Sisek towards Teluk Cempedak’s direction will lead you past Satay Zul on your LEFT, but you have to be quick else you might miss this and have to make a U–turn further down the road. It’s a corner shop, so this will be easy to spot.
Satay Ayam (Chicken Satay) @ RM0.70/USD0.25 each
Satay Daging (Beef) and Satay Kambing (Mutton) @ RM0.80/USD0.30 each, and Nasi Lemak @ RM5/USD1.70 that came with a piece of fried chicken and fried egg.
The skewered meat came in chunks larger than most of the satay outlets you have ever visited. Relatively chunkier than even Haji Samuri’s Kajang Satay back in their heydays (I have to do this because nowadays, the quality of the satay at some of the Haji Samuri outlets have dropped significantly), the winning formula here is the delicious peanut sauce.
Don’t imagine chunky peanut overwhelming the experience with a sweetish base. But instead, the peanuts are blended well to a slurry but flavoured with a spicy and sweet sauce; the kind that makes you go polishing every drop dry from the bowl.
That being said, aside from the chicken satay, the others faltered somehow. The mutton ones came late, yet were horribly chewy with two sticks arriving with fats and tendons that were impossible to bite through. The beef was not tender like Nyok Lan‘s either, also presenting themselves as chunky, charred and some ridiculously hardened.
Nasi Impit; boiled rice compacted into cubes to be dipped into the sauce and eaten to fuel the stomach while waiting for the meats. (RM2/USD0.70)
Reasonable pricing, I’d say. Given the portions and the amount we shared among two. She’s a small eater, while I’m walloping more like … a Motormouth would. The bill for two came to RM24/USD8, but the environment can get a little warm after awhile, although the premise is cooled by air-conditioners.
Then … it’s time for a stroll. To Teluk Cempedak beach we went ….
McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King dominated the stretch along the beach, while the Malay stalls were pretty much all closed during dinner hours. Surprisingly.
Entrance to the parking area cost us RM2.00/USD0.70 per vehicle.The beach area was almost pitch dark, without a gentle breeze stroking our emotionless faces (after more than half a day on the road, how lah to emote anymore …. ) and the tide was really really low and stagnant. No crashing of waves either. Hmm. Best to come in the evenings, before the sun sets.
And that summed up the Kuantan experience. I left Kuantan on MAS again, this morning at an unGodly hour of 6.45am. And the plane suffered through turbulence once hovering above KL’s skies, because of the rainy spell. So, pardon me for any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, for I am typing half-heartedly all the way.
Off on ANOTHER working trip early tomorrow morning …. Where, you asked? Somewhere VERY familiar.
“Good Night. And if ever I reply your comments or e-mails late or none at all, please forgive me. After all, sexagenarians are made to be SEXY yet we are still old and amnesiac …….”
THE COTTAGE RESTAURANT (pork-free)
63, Jalan Haji Abdul Aziz,
Tel No : +609-5161069, +6012-9282128, +6012-9881939
SATAY ZUL (halal)
A2600, Jalan Alor Akar (off Jalan Teluk Sisek)
25250 Kuantan, Pahang
Tel No : +6012-933 4799, +609-568 7859
VISTANA HOTEL KUANTAN (website)