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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’)

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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!

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A year ago I would be stunned if somebody were to tell me that I’m going to write on the subject of Trengganuspeak as I know almost nothing about it (please refer to ‘Solo Bolo’). It was Uncle AG‘s (Awang Goneng) GUIT (Growing Up In Trengganu) that started my interest to learn Trengganuspeak. Thank you again Uncle AG – you are a great sifu. Or is it siput in Trengganuspeak as Pok Chang Siput (in GUIT: pg 203)? (refer to ‘A New Trengganuspeak Word From Awang Goneng’)

How true it is that spelling words in Trengganuspeak is really challenging even for Terengganu folks in Terengganu. As for me; even to pronounce the words are challenging enough. Just now my little brother Ahmad Ali asked for his vitamin in English. I corrected his pronunciation and dad teasingly corrected mine to ‘bitameng’ (that means vitamin in Trengganuspeak). Upon hearing ‘bitameng’ mum asked, “Isn’t it ‘bitaming’?” Dad said it is ‘bitameng’ and left my mum puzzled…

That brings me back to ‘kerejong’ or ‘kherjong’ (refer to ‘A New Trengganuspeak Word From Awang Goneng’). When I first saw it in ‘Kecek-Kecek’, I thought it meant ‘keras’ (hard). But mum said that ‘kherjong’ got nothing to do with ‘keras’. The word that explain the state of ‘keras’ (hard) is ‘khejong’ – ‘kerah khejong’. Mum later explained that apart from ‘kerah khejong’, there is also ‘kerah ccokkeng’. ‘Kerah khejong’ refers to the feel of hardness or very chewy (for food). For example if one bite into a cold leftover fried keropok lekor; especially the ones sold in KL; one would say, “‘Kerah khejong’ doh khepok leko ning” (The keropok lekor had turned very chewy).

On the other hand, ‘kerah ccokkeng’ refers to the ‘visual’ state of hardness or may even be fresh in food. Mum gave an example of a sentence she used to hear, “‘Kerah ccokkeng’ ikang (fish) ni”.

Until now I guess I’m still confused and could not distinguish the meanings ‘khejong’ and ‘ccokkeng’ for they are too confusing and difficult. Worst , I may end up getting confuse of ‘kherjong’/’kerejong’ (straitjacket) and ‘khejong’ as in ‘kerah khejong’. So now, I’m getting more and more confused than I used to be.

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