Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Daytrip to Tanjung Sepat

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The old jetty behind the mushroom farm.  My city-son trying to haul the dis-used fishing net to get to the fishes trapped in between the netting

We took advantage of the recent Thaipusam long weekend to make a daytrip to Tanjung Sepat for some good food, CNY shopping and a no-screen excursion for our city kids.  

This quaint little fishing town is famous for its seafood bakuteh, homemade pau(s), fishballs and mushroom related products.  Due to its proximity to the sea, one can also find a string of seafood restaurants and small, homebased fishery/fishmongers where you can buy fresh seafood to pack home.

Our first stop was the popular YiKee Bakuteh.  We reached the restaurant at 930am and was told that they've just sold out! *Yikes*.  Thank goodness my friend has called ahead the day before and requested the boss to set aside some goodies for us. 

Yes, business is roaring at YiKee.  On weekdays, they sell out by 1030/11am and on weekends or public holidays, yes, by 930am.  So plan your itinerary well!

Don't look for fancy restaurants in TS.  The best ones look like this.

Our scrumptious breakfast spread...

The three must-order items : Traditional Bakuteh, Seafood Bakuteh, and FishPaste in Salted Mustard Soup

Have you tried Seafood Bakuteh before?  It is a intoxicating infusion of herbal pork broth and the briny sweetness of fresh seafood.  OH MY.

We enjoyed this huge pot of fresh bouncy fishpaste in a salty, sour and peppery hot broth.  Guaranteed to open up any blocked sinuses and stimulate those dulled appetites

Full to the brim, we headed off to our 2nd destination - the Gano Mushroom Farm.  They have a retail shop selling various types of mushroom related products, health drinks, cooking pastes etc.  There is also a small exhibition hall on the various types of mushrooms, and even a homestay section.

The mushroom farm/factory.  This is a good spot to purchase fresh organic mushrooms and other retail products at significantly cheaper prices than those in PJ

One of my favourite buy from here - mushroom stock powder. 

Perfect for your CNY yee sang.  Two packs for RM12.50.
Jaya Grocer is selling this for RM9 per packet.

The kids were fascinated with this live sized, stuffed puffer fish

After the mushroom farm, we were off to our third stop for some old school Chinese kopi and paus. 

Sample some old-school black kopi at Kwo Cha

...and drop by next door for some steaming hot paus. 

Hai Yew Heng is famous for their preserved mustard and minced pork pau (Mui Choy Chu Yok Pau), but personally, I prefer their sweet beans variety.  There is a little stall next to HYH (by the roadside) that sells really good fishballs and salted fish (sorry, no photos though).  Opposite HWH is a roadside stall that sells excellent white rice-wine chicken soup.  My friend and I shared a small bowl and it was superb. 

To entertain the kids, we took them to the Kuan Wellness Ecopark that houses a small petting zoo and a bird nest cultivation centre.

An over-rated location; but the small petting zoo is decent for the young kids

Besides birds and other small animals, they also have a koi pond to feed the fishes

Our final stop is the fishmonger to stock up on CNY seafood.

Our final, and most important stop

Fresh, huge catch of the oceans, all neatly packed in ice.  These catches have just been brought in by the fishermen in the morning.

I couldn't resist snapping a shot of this young man, expertly gutting a fresh fish.  He must be only around 13-15 years of age. 

Before you pack up your car boot with ice boxes and zoom down to Tanjung Sepat, let me set your expectations correct.  Prices here are NO CHEAPER than what you will find in PJ / KL.  In fact, they are actually a little bit more expensive.  So no cheap cheap seafood here.  What you WILL get is fresh sea catch.  Fresher than what you will get in your local wet market. 

Here are two dishes that I cooked immediately for our dinner that same evening - just to check how fresh it is, compared to what I can get in PJ at my local wet market.

A plate of tiger prawns - simply stir fried with ginger, spring onion and garlic, a dash of soy sauce and Chinese white wine.  No added salt or pepper or other seasoning.

Steam Siakap Teochew Style - with pickled sour plum, sesame oil, soy sauce and loads of spring onion, ginger and garlic.

These two dishes gave me a rude jolt of reminder that I have almost forgotten the taste of sweetness that can only come from absolutely fresh sea catch.  Yes, that's how fresh they were.  Both the prawns and the fish have that clear sweetness that cuts through the seasoning and aromatics.  Hubby was so pleased with it that he suggested we should make another trip soon to stock up more fresh catch! 

Two things that we didn't manage to get is dragon fruit and passion fruit.  There are plenty of dragon fruit farms along the way if you take the KLIA route.  We headed back on the opposite (but much nearer) Morib/Banting route hence we missed the opportunity.  Ah well, all the more reason to plan our 2nd trip back :))

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