A Taste of the Exotics @ Lawan Kuda, GopengNovember 24, 2010 | 9,834 views
A sudden two days one night excursion to that same hot springs park we ventured to back in 2008 had me feeling somewhat thankful; no matter how mundane the itinerary might get. After all, this might very well be the LAST outing with my current colleagues. After 3 whole years of tirelessly travelling on the roads, to the most ‘ulu’ (rural, outskirts) of places, eating at the most off-beat stalls and nameless eateries, putting up nights after nights in hotels, budget inns, training centres and even dodgy chalets.
With the size of a drumstick smaller than the size of a fork, is your interest piqued?
More on the surprisingly comfortable, pleasant and delightful stay at FELDA Residences Sungai Klah later. For now, let’s forgo the formalities, leave out the generics and clean your palate from the same old flavours. Let’s do ‘exotic meats’ in Lawan Kuda of Gopeng ……
JJ Fatt Restaurant is separated into two sections; the air-conditioned seating area and the half-open air area with fans.
Since the inception of this blog, I have always pushed for the idea of eating at Lawan Kuda in Gopeng, a small township populated by the Chinese community, and (in)famous for the many ‘dai chow’ restaurants serving an array of exotic meats.
Yup, from the more acceptable wild boar meat to the funkier terrapin soup, snake soup, and even stir fried fruit foxes. If you’re feeling squeamish this very moment, you can avert your attention to the safer choices like chicken, seafood and greens.
Lusciously creamy and pungent dry curry wild boar (RM8/USD2.60)
Thankfully, Mr Z came up with this brilliant suggestion today. To imagine I did my very best to gather a group of slightly more courageous and adventurous eaters back then. Sadly to no avail as the mere mention of exotic meats put some off like suggesting cannibalism.
JJ Fatt Restaurant came up somewhere on the first page of a Google search on restaurants in Lawan Kuda. Naturally, since we were unequipped with any GPS device this afternoon, we had to trust the power of Google.
Stir-Fried “Hiong Mak” (iceberg lettuce) in a “Fu Yee” (fermented beancurd paste) sauce (RM6/USD2)
Anyway, we were the first customers of the day. Ushered to the air-conditioned seating area (maybe we did look slightly flustered from the humid and scorching weather), we proceeded to browse the menu; a piece of laminated A5 printed with mostly Chinese characters, with some Malay descriptions.
Strange enough the more exotic options were not listed on the menu. Or anywhere else on the boards for that matter. Possibly a measure to protect themselves from the authorities prohibiting poaching? We never bothered to find out.
Anyway, since there were only 3 of us and it was barely 2 hours after the previous brunch, we settled for 3 dishes only. A recommended dish of wild boar in dry curry, the compulsory fibres in the form of ‘hiong mak’ in ‘fu yee’ base, and a claypot of squirrels.
Yup, a hearty pot of squirrels (don’t worry, you can’t even recognize the poor rodent anymore!) for RM20/USD6.70
The wild boar curry was certainly up to standard. Slices of leaner wild boar meat (unlike the ones from Son Wun Nam in Tanjung Malim) cooked in a robust curry paste. The gravy did not overpower the natural gamey taste of the wild meat, but complemented the wild boar really well. No laments here, and this was definitely the dish of the day for me.
The squirrels cooked in a creamy, pepperish gravy with lots of onions, carrots, black fungus (wood ear fungus) and ginger had this very warm/hearty sensation to it. Of course, since squirrels are not that easily available on the market (to imagine finding frozen squirrels in your regular hypermarket!) they were priced slightly higher than the average meats.
About two squirrels for RM20 per claypot, and there was barely enough meat to go around. But worth a try, and definitely meatier than a fruit fox in my opinion. Don’t worry, squirrels taste just like rabbits, chickens or even frogs.
Interesting enough, I bumped into an old ‘friend’ at JJ Fatt. Read the full article from Jason’s blog HERE.
JJ Fatt previously was opened for 24 hours, but then again due to the lack of help (or maybe customers, and increasingly competitive F&B scene?) they’re now operating for 14 hours/day only. A feat, nonetheless.
The meal came to RM39.40/USD13 for the 3 of us. Very reasonable, and predicted as this type of small town eats rarely cost a bomb. Especially when there are at least 8 or so Chinese restaurants along the same stretch. Maybe someday we will return for the “Seh Gang” (snake soup), terrapin (“Sui Yue”) soup, “Kor Ji Lei” (fruit fox), and whatever else they can surprise us with.
Until the day comes, I just hope that I can still do road trips like this in the near future.
J.J. FATT RESTAURANT
PT2032-2033, Jalan Besar,
Lawan Kuda Baru, 31600
Gopeng, Perak, Malaysia.
Telephone : 605-359 5701, 6016-442 2713 (Kong Yoong)
Business hours : 12pm – 2am daily. Off days not fixed.
GPS Coordinates : E101 9′ 32.8″ N4 27′ 27.5″
Google Map to JJ Fatt Restaurant
*Directions : Exiting the Gopeng toll exit on the PLUS highway, you turn RIGHT towards Gopeng town. Halfway there, you can see a turning to your LEFT, with a signboard stating Kopisan/Lawan Kuda. Turn LEFT and soon you will see Lawan Kuda on your LEFT. The restaurant is somewhere on your right, after turning into the main road of Lawan Kuda.