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The tasty Jala Mas. BTW the yellow colour comes 100% from the egg yolks. NO artificial colouring added.

The tasty Jala Mas. BTW the yellow colour comes 100% from the egg yolks. NO artificial colouring added.

Reading Awang Goneng’s post ‘The Sound of Heavy Metal’, reminds me of fasting and iftar in Kuala Terengganu. So it seems like Uncle Awang Goneng misses the ‘bubur lambuk’, ‘blede kerah’ and ‘akok’.

Iftar and imsak in Kuala Terengganu is marked by the sound of the ‘bede’(cannon shot) The best part is there will be two ‘bede’ for imsak. The first is a warning – to remind us to drink our last glass of ‘air nyo’ (young coconut drink) or to take the last bite of ‘akok’ (a type of sweet cake) before the sound of the final ‘bede’ that tells us to stop drinking and eating.

Ramadhan in Terengganu means an annual “Traditional Terengganu Food Fest”. This is the time of the year when I can see and taste the unfamiliar or hard to get ‘kueh’ (sweet/savoury traditional cakes) and dishes. The good part is, most of the traditonal Terengganu ‘kueh’ are free from artificial colouring, flavouring and also trans fat (refer to ‘Food Facts’). The main ingredients in our exotic sweet cakes such as ‘jala mas’ (jala mah), ’emas sejemput’ (mah jjeput), ‘pauh dilayang’ (pauh llayang), ‘bunga tanjong’, ‘akok’, ‘nganang’, ‘nekbak’,’ taik itek’, ‘skaye’, ‘puding telor’, and ‘tok aji serbang’ are eggs and sugar.

The delicious tok aji serbang.

The sweet and creamy Tok Aji Serbang. The brown colour came solely from palm sugar and contains NO ARTIFICIAL COLOURING

As in other parts of West Malaysia, the most special food in Ramadhan is the ‘bubur lambuk’. But unlike the ‘bubur lambuk’ in Kuala Lumpur (please refer to ‘Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru’) the main ingredients in our ‘Terengganu Bubur Lambuk’ are fish, herbs, sweet potato, special local vegetables, crushed black pepper and of course ‘budu’ (please refer to ‘Ikang Singgang’). In fact, our ‘bubur lambuk’ does not tasted or even looked like ‘Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru’ at all – their only similarity is that- both are special Ramadhan porridge sharing the same name.

Unlike ‘Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru’ which uses a lot of aromatic spices such as cloves, star anise, cinnamon, etc… the only spice used in our ‘Terengganu Bubur Lambuk’ is crushed black pepper. Nowadays prawn, squid and other seafood are added but fish is a must (use more fish for a tastier ‘bubur lambuk’). But sad to say, I do not really enjoy the rather ‘strong’ taste of our ‘Terengganu Bubur Lambuk’; instead I prefer the ‘Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru’.

Another special treat is the finger licking good ‘ayam golek’. For this tasty dish, the chicken is barbequed using a special creamy sauce that gives the ‘ayam golek’ its delicious taste and the mouth watering aroma. Next come ‘pulut lepa’, ‘sata’ and mum’s favourite ‘paih ikang’. Anyway the size of the fish or ‘ikang’ in the ‘paih’ is too small for me to enjoy them. Nenek and mum used to say that the size of the fish seems to be getting smaller and smaller year after year. Any way I can’t remember mum telling me about eating ‘Ceranang Mok Mek’ in Ramadhan… ‘Ceranang’ is a very tasty Terengganu salad and ‘ceranang Mok Mek’ was said to be the most popular ‘ceranang eatery’ in Kuala Terengganu and according to luckganu (please refer to luckganu’s comment). ‘Mok Mek’ also sells tasty ‘kerepok leko ikang yu’.

Fish is the important ingredient in most of Terengganu savoury ‘kueh’ as in ‘Pulok lepe’, ‘bekang kuoh puteh’, ‘sata’, ‘paong goreng’, ‘karipak ikang’ etc. ‘Orang Tranung berahi makang ikang, dok?’ (Guess the Terengganu folks love to eat fish). And by the way, two days ago we had ‘pulok gao nyo’ with grilled fish (refer to ‘Delicious pulok’) for iftar…’sedak sungguh’ (so delicious).

The yummy mah jjeput.

The yummy mah jjeput. Like the jala mas, it contains NO ARTIFICIAL COLOURING

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I just love looking at Malay kueh (sweet and savoury Malay cakes) sold during Ramadhan. They are so colourful and seems more delicious when I am fasting.

Anyway we avoid buying those colourful kueh for the artificial colouring and flavouring used is bad for our health. In fact mum cooks everyday for we prefer to eat in during Ramadhan. It is tastier and healthier too.

Mum buys a lot of fruits for she loves them very much. And she prefers to serve fruits instead of sweet kueh. We also eat lots of dates for Rasulullah peace be upon him loved to eat dates and how I wish that we can have the zam-zam (water) everyday.

Watching what I eat is easier in KL but when we are back at nenek’s house in Kuala Terengganu during the last days of Ramadhan, things would be real hard for me. Every evening nenek would be buying all kinds of Terengganu kueh for my siblings and me. She always remembers the kueh that we love and even buys the ones that she thinks we may like! And who can say no to those delicios Traditional Terengganu kueh such as Akok, Nganang, Tok Aji Serebang, Pulok Lepa, Jale Mas, Lopak Tikang, blede, Kue Belimbing and lots more. So I’ll ended up consuming extra sugar, eggs and coconut milk. Alhamdulillah, I am lucky because I am not spending the whole Ramadhan eating the way I did in Terengganu. Anyway I must  try to control myself this Ramadhan.

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Yesterday evening dad took home some “karipap” and “Seri Muka”. They were very, very delicious – it should be cos they were from Pak Cik Suhaimi (Uncle Suhaimi). Thank you, Pak Cik Suhaimi – we really miss your cooking.

Pak Cik Suhaimi is a very good cook. Among my favourites are his Laksa Johor, Roti Jala and of course his Sambal Tempoyak. Unfortunately Pak Cik Suhaimi only sells his Sambal Tempoyak during Ramadhan. He used various kind of herb (finely sliced) mixed with ‘tempoyak’ (fermented durian), cili padi, ikan bilis (Malaysian anchovies) and other secret ingredients!

Well, in Terengganu we have ‘Tok Aji Serbang’ which is quite similar to ‘Seri Muka’! Of course my family would prefer the ‘Tok Aji Serbang’ but Pak Cik Suhaimi’s ‘Seri Muka’ was good. Mum says that in Terengganu they use lots of eggs in their kuih (sweet cakes) – for example akok nganang (I’m not so sure what it is), jala mas, and much, much more.

Maybe the people of Terengganu loves using eggs in their kuih so much that my grandmother would crack an egg to mix with blede bodo (agar agar or a Malaysian jelly), pengat and sira pisang! And they taste very very good. My grandfather even love to have slices of hard boiled egg in his karipap’s filling.

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Both of my parents are from Kuala Terengganu and studied in Sultan Sulaiman Primary and Secondary School (refer to The Sulaimanians). And I’m proud to say that my father was once the head boy of Sultan Sulaiman Secondary School.

Anyway, I was born and grew up in Kuala Lumpur; hence I am not that familiar with Terengganu or Trengganuspeak (refer to ‘Solo Bolo’, Trengganuspeak and ‘Trengganuspeak 2‘). Nevertheless I do love Terengganu very much. Among my favourite places in Kuala Terengganu is my grandparents’ house. I’ll always remember the big smile on Atuk’s(my grandfather) face the moment we reached there. I love them very much. There are so many things to do over there- huge area to play and run around plus the endless dishes and kuih (sweet cakes) that can’t be found in Kuala Lumpur. My sisters and I would sleep in their room and spent our time talking and sharing stories.

The next place in my list would be my grandmother’s bookshop- Alam Akademik or Keda Pok Loh Yunang (as Uncle Awang Goneng remembered it! – Growing Up in Trengganu page 73). My siblings and I love books and we would be spending long hours at the bookshop. The best part is nenek (grandma) would give us lots and lots of books to take home to Kuala Lumpur!

Great Grandpa with Uncle Awang Goneng during GUiT launch Dec 2007 at Alam Akademik

Another favourite place of mine is my great grandfather’s house [a son of Abdullah Al-Yunani]. I always called his house ‘library’ for he has a huge collections of Reader Digest’s books. He always remember the type of books that I like and would excitedly picked the ones that I have not read (especially the new tittles). Great grand dad even gave me some books from his collections (which I know he loves so much) – knowing that I really would love to have them.

Sunrise at Batu Buruk beach, Kuala Terengganu - Dec 2006

And of course I love going to the beach. Dad would wake us up very early in the morning to watch the sun rise at Pantai Batu Buruk (the nearest beach). We would build sand castles, gather lots and lots of seashells, fly our kites or play with frees be. In the afternoon we can buy khepok leko, ikang celuk ttepong and a lot more.

At Batu Buruk beach Dec 2006

Dad like to take us around Kuala Terengganu . We visited his schools, Pulau Duyong, places where they make kerepok leko etc. Once dad took us on a boat ride along the scenic Terengganu River and on our last trip we drove around places mentioned in GUiT including Uncle Awang Goneng’s house in Tanjung (close to Atuk’s kitab shop-Jendela Ilmu).

My other fond memories of Terengganu is of course the food. Buah Khadeh (so far I still can’t pronounce it right), khepok leko, akok, rojok betik and a lot more that I don’t even know what their names are. Unfortunately mum says that rare fruits like buoh ppisang (not pisang or banana) are not easily found. I really wish that I can taste those fruits one day. Thank you Uncle Awang Goneng for telling the stories of rare fruits and old kuih of old Trengganu, the history and my roots, and thank you for teaching me Trengganuspeak. But so far I still cant speak ‘in Trengganuspeak’ and having a hard time trying to understand them!

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