Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fresh Water Big-headed Prawns at Tanjung Tualang, Perak

After we were done at the Lata Kinjang waterfall, we headed further up north till we saw the signboard for Malim Nawar and turned into there. From Malim Nawar, we headed for Tanjung Tualang which Papa got to know from food bloggers that this place is famous for fresh water big-headed prawns.

By the time we reached Tanjung Tualang, it was about 11.00am and Juan Or was still asleep. Fearing that if we woke him up he may end up crying and fretting non-stop, so we parked the car at the road that houses many Chinese restaurants and waited in the car. During the wait, Papa decided to go browse at one hawker stall selling Chinese snacks and Papa came back with a packet of egg shat kek ma for RM3.50 which is much cheaper than the Pun Chun ones from Bidor which probably cost at least RM4.50. Turned out, much to our surprise, this so-called 'brandless' egg shat kek ma is so much tastier than the Pun Chun ones! Yum-yum, this egg shat kek ma has a lot of fragrant egg smell which makes this snack so tasty!

Papa had already eaten slightly more than half of the packet of egg shat kek ma before Mommy could even take a photo of it - an indication that the snack is very tasty!

When it was almost 11.30am, Juan Or was still asleep in the car. Mommy decided to take the risk to wake him up. As expected, he woke up crying so much so Mommy had to 'lecture' him that if he wants to go kai-kai (outing) with Papa and Mommy, he has to be prepared to wake up from sleep anytime for whatever stopover and not cry and cry and cry! Juan Or simmered down a bit after the 'lecture' and Mommy managed to distract him from his fretfulness by asking him to go see some big live prawns in the aquarium and the trick worked! So he happily got down from the car and while we walked on to choose which restaurant to go to, Juan Or happily feasted his eyes on live big prawns and fishes in aquariums placed in front of almost all the Chinese restaurants there.

We finally chose a restaurant to eat, but unfortunately Mommy forgot to take note of the name of the restaurant. During the waiting time for food, Mommy managed to snap some fun photos of Juan Or and the aquariums of live big-headed prawns.

During the waiting time, Juan Or gobbled up a lot of ice cubes - a new habit he picked up recently, but Mommy swears, none of us have this ice-eating habit!

A view of the aquariums containing live big-headed prawns and fishes placed in front of the restaurant.

Papa ordered 1 kg worth of live big-headed prawns to be cooked into two separate dishes - one fried and another steamed. The restaurant charged RM60 per kg for both the prawns and the cooking labour. The interesting thing about these prawns was that the roe was plentiful and was at the legs area.   Mommy preferred the fried one while Papa preferred the steamed one. On the whole, the cooking is good, only thing is that the prawns lacked the natural sweetness, so the prawn flesh, by itself without the gravy, tasted bland. This convinced Mommy that eating Sri Lankan crabs in Klang Valley is more worthwhile than eating this type of prawn.

Papa also ordered steamed pak so kong fish (is this the same as ikan patin?). This dish was excellent - the flesh was moist, yet succulent with its unique texture when you sink your teeth into it and had its own natural sweetness, and the gravy, when eaten together with the flesh, brought the best out of this dish. The price was RM28.00. This is definitely the best fish dish Mommy has ever eaten.

We also had kangkung belacan (water convulus in shrimp paste) which is Mommy's favourite when eating out. Turned out, this restaurant's version of kangkung belacan has no sambal (dried chillies, garlic, and onions ground into a paste). It was only literally kangkung stir-fried in belacan, which still tasted good, though not quite what Mommy expected. This dish was RM5.00 or RM6.00 (can't remember).

As for Juan Or, all throughout the eating session, he merely ate some plain white rice, drank Chinese tea and sucked ice cubes in his mouth. All efforts by Mommy to offer him prawn meat, fish or kangkung were all turned down as he refused to try them in the first place! The final bill came to about RM90-something which Papa said was cheap because if we were to merely eat 1 kg of live big-headed prawns only in Kuala Lumpur, it would have cost us RM100 per kg!

After the satisfying meal, we headed back south to go home. During our stopover at Bidor's fruit stalls (Mommy had wanted to buy some jambu air), Mommy was totally turned off by the throat-cutting price the fruit sellers quoted - RM12 per kg! The most they were willing to lower was only RM11 per kg. So Mommy left their stalls empty-handed.

On our way back to Selangor, just before reaching Tanjung Malim, we encountered heavy rain and cross wind happening simultneously. It was a scary experience because the rain was very heavy so much so the visibility through the windscreen was very low and we could see roadside banners flying wildly and very slantly (so you can imagine how strong the wind was!). Also, we could see zinc roof sheets already blown onto the road. This reminded us of the recent newspaper report of strong wind happening to a Ramadan bazaar in Malacca whereby some people died of getting hit by big metal objects. So we were hoping and praying that no big objects were blown towards our car's direction. Because of this too, Papa kept on driving, but slowly, to minimize chances of blown objects hitting our car. To top the scary experience, the car suddenly had the 'die fire' feeling, so Papa had to keep on revving to prevent the engine from dying out. The prime suspect of the car problem was probably a contact point cable that had its head fitting cracked already. So imagine having three problems at hand - the heavy rain, cross wind and car problem - all at one go! Not having to get stuck somewhere faraway from home was the best we can hope for.

After about 20 minutes of slow driving, we finally got out of the 'terror' area and reached Tanjung Malim where the rain has stopped. We were in luck to be able to spot a car accessory shop, so we stopped there to get the foreman to check the problem, and turned out, the contact point cable's head was indeed faulty! So we bought a new cable to change (cost RM75) and voila, the problem went away!

By the time we reached home, it was near 6.00pm, just in time for Mommy to cook a simple dinner - yes, a simple one would do (rice, stir-fried vegetable, canned sardin in tomato sauce and a vegetable soup) since we already had a heavy and high-protein meal for lunch.


BoeyJoey said...

My mouth watered when I looked at the prawns you had! jealous :-D.

Alice Phua said...

BoeyJoey, you can go try it out if have the chance. I think any Chinese rastaurant there should be nice and good in their cooking.

mNhL said...

i love sak keh ma. Can munch non stop. hehe

Phew...luckily the car did not die off half way driving under the heavy rain.

Alice Phua said...

I love this snack too! Yup, it's a blessing we were able to find a car accessory shop along the way to quickly fix the problem.

smallkucing said...

Gosh that is indeed a scary experience. Lucky nothing bad happen

Sheoh Yan said...

The food was cheap. Juan Or looked cute in the pictures. So many outings for Juan Or recently. He is so blessed.

Puan Isah said...

Prawns!! (large ones) my favorite! :)
My, that was a long day you all three had. But Juan Or seemed to be enjoying his outing. And eating ice cubes! :)

Alice Phua said...

Smallkucing, yup, luckily. It's time for us to count our blessings!

Sheoh Yan, we try to spend as much quality time with him as we can afford within the confines of the working leaves and public holidays we have instead of sending him to babysitter while hubby and I go jalan. After all it will be about another 16 to 18 years' time before Juan Or has his own life and leaves 'the nest'.

Puan Isah, oh, yes, this boy....instead of eating good food, he chose to eat ice cubes instead *slap forehead*! :-D

Alice Law said...

The prawns looked nice but unfortunately it didn't taste good as it looks... lol! I always have this kind of s'cary experience' on the road(especially highway) since my husband drives really fast!:p

Glad that you all have fun!