Bedil Hunting

I came back to Kuala Lumpur last Tuesday after a two weeks Eid holidays in Kuala Terengganu. I had a wonderful holiday, doing lots of interesting and even ‘adventurous’ activities; among which were ‘Bedil Huntings‘.

On the 5th day of Syawal, my father drove my mum, sisters (Aeshah and Anisah) and brother (Ahmad Ali) to Bukit Pak Apil. All of us were provided with a camera each to try and snap the best bedil photos.

We arrived at the site rather early and since the view from the top of the hill was breathtaking, I spend the time snapping beautiful photos of it. After a while a ‘bedil’ contractor staff arrived accompanied by a policeman. Since ‘bedil’ is explosive, a policeman is needed to escort the contractor and to supervise the operation of ‘bedil’ shooting.

The contractor staff walking up to the site with a policeman escorting him.

The kind policeman told us about the safety procedures during ‘bedil’ shootings and then directed us to the safe site (just in case the ‘bedil’ did not shoot high up in the air as it was supposed to be; but instead explodes on the ground). He also told us that if that happens the flying debris from the explosion could reach as far as 100m away. There were a few unfortunate accidents in the ‘bedil’ shooting history in Kuala Terengganu. So we went to the ‘safe site’ and waited there excitedly.

The contractor staff walking up to the 'bedil shooting base'.

A few minutes to Maghrib, all of us were busy focusing our cameras towards the blue sky, trying to guess the right location of the ‘bedil’. We were really excited. Then, there was a thunderous ‘explosion’ as the bedil shot up to the sky. It was an amazing sight of a beautiful fiery light shooting up in the dusk sky. I managed to snap a photo of it and so did Aeshah.

The beautiful fiery light shot up in the dusk sky

The fire shot up so high up and went directly above our heads as it exploded into a huge firework display like a gigantic colourful umbrella stretching above us, with an amazing display of colourul lights ‘raining’ down as it faded and vanished into the darkening sky. I was too amazed by its size and beauty and was taken by surprise that I forgot to click on the shutter release. So I missed the shot of the climax! It was just like a dream; it all happened as fast as it ended and left us glaring into the sky speechlessly.

Although I missed the shot of the climax, I managed to get this: the smoky remain

We went back to the Bukit Pak Apil for the next two days until the 7th day of Eid which mark the last bedil shooting of this Shawal. On the second day, the only shot I managed to get was a cloud of smoke after the fireworks display ended and on the last day, I managed to snap a photo of the fireworks before it fully expanded. Anyway, during those ‘bedil’ huntings my dad and my little brother managed to snap beautiful photos of blooming fireworks at its peak.

It was an exciting and adventurous experience for all of us. It was something that when the accuracy of the location and timing is vitally important. Just a split seconds makes the whole difference; we may ended up missing the action and snapping photos of fading smoke in the darkening sky instead of an amazing colourful display of lights in the evening sky!

It was a nice experience to go bedil hunting and I hope that we could go back up there again next year to hunt for more bedil photos.

Nasi Ayam

Traveling back to Kuala Lumpur after our Eid holidays in Kuala Terengganu last year, we made a stop in Kemaman to visit our dearest Aunty Moon.

They own a beautiful and charming house with a huge fish pond inside the house. My wonderful Aunty Moon served us delicious chicken rice (nasi ayam) and rojak petis for lunch which she brought from a restaurant just a stone throw away from her house. Since then, we always drop by at the restaurant on our way to Kuala Terengganu or to KL if we happen to be there at around lunch time.

There is nothing special neither about the outlook nor the interior of this small restaurant. Moreover it is situated far away from the main road which connects Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu. Anyway their chicken rice and rojak petis are really delicious and worth the journey away from the main road.

The ‘Zainun Nasi Ayam Satu’ restaurant is located in Kampung Mak Cili in Kemaman. Among others it serves chicken rice, chicken porridge, rojak petis, rojak ayam and laksa.  So far we’ve only tried their delicious chicken rice and rojak petis. Generous in the   serving of both rice and chicken, their chicken rice is tastier than those served at those very popular chicken rice restaurants in Kuala Lumpur; and at a fraction of the price too! Even the rice itself is well flavoured and tasty.zainunnasiayam

Their service is also very good and their staffs are really nice and friendly especially the gentleman whom I think is closely related to the owner. So now we do not have to face the headache of wondering where to stop for lunch on our way to Kuala Terengganu or   Kuala Lumpur anymore. Our thanks to Aunty Moon and Uncle Kamil for solving this problem; especially now that we have to travel home to Kuala Terengganu more often.

My memories of Jiddah

Jiddah was my paternal grandmother. She had a major stroke on Wednesday November 12, 2008 and passed away 3 days later. She was such a loving and beautiful lady  whom was loved by most people who knew her.

I have lots of warm memories of the times shared with Jiddah. I can still remember the time when Jiddah playfully chased me on a ‘toy train’ at the Mines Wonderland. I was only about three years old at the time and I was screaming for the train to go faster for I feared that Jiddah could run faster than the train that I rode on. My mum’s family was also with us on that day.  We also went on a boat ride down the lake. We even visited the National Zoo but I wonder if either Jiddah or Nenek saw much of the animals at the zoo as they were too  busy talking to each other. They were such close friends and always shared never ending stories whenever they met.

We often took Jiddah out whenever she came to Kuala Lumpur or when we were back in Kuala Terengganu. Jiddah enjoyed eating out, visiting friends and relatives and also shopping. Last 2 months during the last week of  Ramadhan, we spent a lot of our time in Kuala Terengganu with Jiddah. We broke our fast together at Nenek’s house everyday until the last 2 days of Ramadhan when we broke our fast at Jiddah’s house instead after Jiddah’s other children were back from Kuala Lumpur. As usual, we were the first to be back in Kuala Terengganu for Eid and the last to travel back to Kuala Lumpur.

On the first day of Eid  Jiddah would give presents to everybody in our family. Jiddah told mum that she had something very special for me and my sisters. It was indeed a very special gifts for the 3 of us. We each got a very beautiful bracelet and what is even more special about the bracelets are that they are the last gifts from Jiddah.

During the Eid celebration we took Jiddah out to visit our relatives and friends. We  also took Jiddah out for lunch on most of the days and I still remember how she enjoyed the food we ate at Kedai Lempeng in Rusila. She really ate a lot that day and that was one of the last meals I shared with Jiddah.  And on the night before we traveled  back to Kuala Lumpur, she cooked us a delicious ikang singgang that we all ate at Nenek’s house.

I do miss Jiddah very much. However, I am glad that we had  shared lots of wonderful times together. I am sad that I did not have the chance to get to know Jaddi (my paternal grandfather). Jaddi passed away when I was just about one year old. Even though I spent a lot of time with him during the last few days of his life during which he was admitted at the Ampang Putri Specialist Hospital, I was too young that I can’t remember anything about it. Jaddi was one of Atuk’s best friend and I’m very glad that my grandparents are such good friends until the end of Jiddah’s and Jaddi’s life.

What A Busy Week!

I spent the last weekend attending a lot of Eid open houses. It was tiring but fun since I got to meet relatives and friends. Among the open houses we attended were Uncle Ali’s (Abah’s former SS classmate), Uncle Khairul’s (Abah’s friend), Atuk Zakaria’s (Nenek’s Yunan cousin), Tok Mok (Jaddi’s [Abah’s father] younger sister) and Uncle Zaini’s (Abah’s friend).

I also attended YM Pak Engku Raja Ahmad Aminullah’s open house at the R A Fine Arts Gallery in Jalan Damai where I had the chance to speak to Aunty Siti Zainon Ismail. Renowned artist Tuan Syed Ahmad Jamal was also at her table. Aunty Siti Zainon’s 15th solo exhibition, ‘Angin Si Pauh Janggi’ will be held at Wisma Kebudayaan Soka Gakkai Malaysia in Jalan Bukit Bintang until November 2nd 2008.

On Tuesday, I went to the ‘Preview Day’ of the Metrojaya Anniversary Sale at the Metrojaya in Jalan Bukit Bintang. Anyway there were not many customers at the store that morning; and even by 10 am the free breakfast prepared by Metrojaya for its card members was still aplenty. By the way, the fruit tarts and cream puffs served for breakfast were really delicious. The sale will go on until November 9, 2008.

The October 22nd 2008 was the first day of MPH Warehouse Sale. We reached the warehouse at about 10.00 am and spent over 4 hours at the warehouse sale. I really enjoyed myself that I almost didn’t feel tired at all even though I was standing for such a long time. It was a hot and sunny day and I was sweating; but honestly I could have spent the whole day looking at those beautiful books. I just love books and so do my siblings and my parents and we really enjoyed our almost half a day at the MPH Warehouse Sale. Even my little 5 years old blogging brother Ahmad Ali didn’t complain even though he was really tired after standing for hours. He read lots of books while waiting for mum and dad shopping for books. He wrote about the MPH Warehouse Sale in his blog. (Please click here to read his post on MPH Warehouse Sale.)

My parents bought us lots of books on Geography, Science, Arts, History, and of course storybooks. I was allowed to choose my own storybooks and I ended up with classic stories by renowned authors like William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Frances Hodgson Burnett. And I’m so proud that I only chose one Enid Blyton even though they had quite a huge collection of Enid Blyton’s books.

On a table, we saw a collection of ‘Herge’s Adventure of Tintin’ series. Mum was really excited as she used to read them when she was about my age. She has been looking for the books for sometimes and so was I, because I’ve been wondering what was so special about them. Well, mum had been telling me all about Tintin for years. They were rather expensive even during the warehouse sale; as what mum always told me. Mum bought us two books and said that once I read them, I’ll be asking for more… And she was right- not only that I want more but I wish that I can have the whole set! Now I understand why mum was so excited when she saw them and whenever she talked about Tintin.

And with all the books that dad bought us at the MPH sale; my siblings and I were kept busy reading. The books are so wonderful that it was hard to put them down. And that was one of the reasons why I did not update my blog for such a long time… Only my little brother was so disciplined and kept on updating his blog! He is such a good boy and I want to be a good girl; so I need to put down my books and write more often as I did before.

Eating Out: In Kuala Terengganu

Two weeks in Kuala Terengganu was really enjoyable. I visited a lot of interesting places and met lots of wonderful people. I also had the chances to sample a lot of Terengganu foods.

Pak Chik Changgeh mentioned about a restaurant in Rusila named Kedai Lempeng that serves ‘ttupak sutong’ everyday (Please refer to ‘TTupak Sutong’). We went there on the first day they started their business after their Eid break. I like the place and the owners are very friendly and polite. We tried their ‘ikang and sutong celuk ttepong’ (please refer to Cicoh – part 2), ‘ttupak sutong’ (please refer to ‘Ttupak Sutong’) ‘lepeng nyor’ (lempeng), ‘rojok ceranang’ (a type of Terengganu salad), ‘rojok kateh’ and ‘keropok lekor’.

The fish and squid were fresh and tasty; and so were their ‘ikang singgang’ and ‘budu’ (please refer to ‘ikang Singgang’). The ‘rojok kateh’ was also tasty  but the ‘ttupak sutong’ was rather “cero“. The ‘kuoh’ or the curry soup of the ‘ttupak sutong’ was not thick enough (too watery) and did not have either that wonderful flavour nor the lovely aroma of a tasty ‘ttupak sutong’. Anyway the ‘air nira’ and the young coconut drink which were both mixed with ice-cream were really tasty. And so were the lempeng or “coconut pancake” as my siblings called them. Actually that was the first time I tried the ‘lepeng nyor’!

The next day I ate ‘lempeng’ at another stall close to the Primula Hotel known as ‘Keda Atak Nipoh’ (Nipah Roof Stall). We prefered their ‘lempeng’ compared to the ones served at Kedai Lempeng. The people who run this stall were very nice and friendly. They also sell delicious Terengganu style ‘nasi lemak’.

Another place that sells delicious ‘nasi lemak’ was a stall in Jalan Kampung Kolam which was run by Mak Cik Ani and her husband. Mak Cik Ani used to work for Alam Akademik, a bookstore  that belongs to my grandmother. Mak Cik Ani’s ‘nasi minyak’ was delicious too.

We also had our ‘nasi minyak’ at a very popular ‘nasi minyak’ and ‘roti canai’ stall opposite the Sekolah Kebangsaan Ladang. When we reached there, the stall was almost full but we managed to get our seats. We waited for ages but nobody came to take our order and when we called the staff, she just looked at us rudely and ignored us!

The worst part of their bad service was there were customers who just came in could get their ‘nasi minyak’ almost at once while others had to wait for ages to order their breakfast! Infact another customer who was seated next to us just walked out of the place after telling us that he was already tired of waiting for his ‘nasi minyak’. At last we got our ‘nasi minyak’; but the ‘roti canai’ never came. Another customer said that being so popular, the  stall owner do not care if their customers walked out or gave up on them ‘cos more will come for their ‘nasi minyak’ and ‘roti canai’. And that reminds me of the rude lady at the sales counter of the very popular keropok lekor place in Bukit Tok Beng! (please refer to ‘Two Weeks in Kuala Terengganu’)

Two Weeks In Kuala Terengganu

I was so busy for the last 2 weeks that I can hardly find the time to update my blog. Apart from visiting our relatives and friends, I also visited many interesting places in Kuala Terengganu such as my grandmother’s shop, Alam Akademik (refer to ‘A memory of Kuala Terengganu’), Bukit Pak Apil (refer to ‘Special Ramadhan Treats from Terengganu’), Taman Tamadun Islam in Pulau Wan Man, Pantai Batu Buruk (refer to ‘A memory of Kuala Terengganu’), Sultan Sulaiman Secondary School – SSSS (refer to ‘A memory of Kuala Terengganu’), Pasar Chabang Tiga (a wet market) and places where they made keropok lekor (a special Terengganu delicacy made mainly from fish)

When we were at nenek’s place in Kuala Terengganu, I was too busy reading the new books that I got from Alam Akademik and also those that I borrowed from  my Apa – Hj. Yaacob bin Abdullah Al-Yunani. Apa is my maternal great grandfather (please refer to ‘A Memory of Kuala Terengganu’) and he has a huge collection of those lovely and very expensive Reader’s Digests books. So far he had already spent more than RM20,000 for his collection. My Apa is a wonderful man and he is always very happy to see us rushing to his ‘Reader’s Digest library’ choosing books to read every time we visited him.

A few days before Eid, dad took us to a famous keropok lekor place in Bukit Tok Beng. When we reached there, there was a very long queue outside the stall. This is not an ordinary  keropok place as they use machines to roll their keropok lekor. We were so impressed; but later we were shocked when a rude lady at the sales counter shouted rudely at us telling us to wait for our turn when it was actually our turn and in fact a few customers had jumped the queue and went ahead of us. Later we heard more ‘stories’ from our relatives and friends about their bad customer service and how their attitude towards their customers changed after their business flourished. What a pity…

The next day we went to another keropok lekor place. This time, in Tanjong. The place is very small compared to the one in Bukit Tok Beng and all the processes of making the keropok lekor was done traditionally. What is very interesting about the place is the lady who runs the place. She was so nice and humble as how Terengganu folks should be… It makes me wonder if the lady in Bukit Tok Beng was also nice to their customers before the place got to be as popular as it is now… And I just hope that this lady in Tanjong will never be rude to her customers even if  her business grows bigger than the one in Bukit Tok Beng!

Ketupat Nasi

These are some of the kelongsong ketupat nasi that mum and me weaved yesterday

These are some of the kelongsong ketupat nasi that mum and me weaved yesterday

In Malaysia, ‘ketupat nasi’ or traditional rice cakes are very popular during Eid celebrations. It is one of the most popular foods served in homes and hotels during the Eid celebrations. A greeting card with a picture of ‘ketupat nasi’ would be understood as an Eid greeting card even without any word written on the cover. By the way, I have never seen a birthday card with a picture of ‘ ketupat nasi’!

Neon lights in the shape of ‘ketupat nasi’ decorated houses, shops and buildings. Replicas of ‘ ketupat nasi’ in all sizes and colours are hanged in houses, shops, shopping complexes, offices, road side and other public places to mark the Eid season. Even shopping bags are decorated with pictures of ‘ketupat nasi’.

Even though in my hometown (Kuala Terengganu) ‘ketupat nasi’ is not as popular as ‘ketupat pulut’ as a special delicacy served during Eid, the significant of ‘ketupat nasi’ to Eid is still the same as in other parts of Malaysia. In fact, I’ve never seen of any decorative item in the shape of ‘ketupat pulut’ used in my hometown.

Since ‘ketupat nasi’ is not so popular in Terengganu, the Terengganu folks are not so familiar with the art of weaving the ‘kelongsong ketupat nasi’ (ketupat nasi cover). Mum was lucky to master the art – learnt the skill from their Indonesian helper when mum was about my age. And yesterday my sister and I had the chance to learn the art of weaving ‘kelongsong ketupat nasi’ from mum.

Learning to weave the ‘kelongsong ketupat nasi’ was not as hard as i thought. But I really need to pay attention, concentrate and be patient. Mum weaved slowly so that we can follow and after 5 minutes, I managed to weave my first ‘kelongsong ketupat nasi’! After a while I understand the ‘trick’ and be able to master the weaving process.

Since we were out of young coconut leaves, mum used ribbons instead of the leaves. Actually for cooking the rice cakes, we need to weave young coconut leaves into ‘kelongsong’ as moulds  to cook the rice cakes. The ‘kelongsong’ made from ribbons are used as Eid decorations.

Nowadays the city folks normally do not weave the ‘kelongsong ketupat nasi’ for Eid anymore. They either buy the ready made ‘ketupat nasi’ or the ready made ‘kelongsong ketupat nasi’ sold in farmer’s markets all around KL. In fact the easier and faster way of cooking ‘ketupat nasi’ is by using heat proof plastic covers as moulds instead of the traditional young coconut leaves ‘kelongsong’. There are even prepacked ‘ketupat nasi’ in plastic packets that only needed to be boiled in water.

No wonder nowadays the skill of weaving ‘kelongsong ketupat nasi’ is almost a forgotten art especially among city girls like me. What a pity when we prefer using plastics instead of leaves. Not only do the young coconut leaves give a nice aroma to the ‘ketupat nasi’; the leaves are also environmental friendly. And there is also the  question about which type of plastic that is safe to be used as the boiling process can take over an hour. So, using certain plastic to cook ‘ketupat’ could harm our health as well as our environment.