Quite a few moons ago I went up to Cameron Highland for the second time in my life, and as with the last time, I was not entirely prepared by how long the winding road was, and how tiring a drive that can be, not to mention how frustrating it can get when you’re stuck being a vegetable laden lorry going at 30 km/h.
So, Cameron isn’t as much about the journey as it is about the destination, and one of the destinations to check out would be Water Cress Valley Farm & Restaurant.
Water Cress Valley Steamboat
Water Cress Valley, like the menu stated, is both a farm and a restaurant. Right beneath the semi-alfresco (the only way to dine in Cameron Highland) is a beautiful water cress farm. I suppose the water cress served here at this restaurant is right from the farm, and other vegetables most likely from the highland as well, but I’m just guessing.
Since Cameron Highland is many hours away from the closest fishing village, ordering seafood at this part of Malaysia would be a pretty silly thing to do. Hence we went with their vegetarian charcoal steamboat set to complete the farm to table experience.
They do offer chicken, deer meat, lamb, and seafood options, I believe this establishment is pork free.
Cameron Highland is famous for vege so..
The fancy charcoal pot did take a while to heat up, but once it got going that thing was ferocious. There’s no such thing as “turning down the heat, aunty” option. In a way, this sorta forced you to eat at a pace dictated by dead wood.
The watercress based soup was quite interesting in its taste, it was light, subtle, and perhaps lack sophistication. To be honest I thought we could also use a bit more leafy vegetables than what was provided, but there’s plenty of mushroom though so that’s a plus.
vegetarian steamboat set
Overall, the experience of dining in at Cameron Highland climate and freshness of produce makes up for the lack of fancy flavor and different condiments. If you’re already on the highland, this would be a place to visit, I wouldn’t suggest a 4 hour drive from KL just for this though.
A couple months ago we took a short driving trip to the winding roads that led us to Bentong, and while at Bentong, I thought why not check out the famous tofufa shop at “Bentong Tau Fu Sdn Bhd“?
Bentong Tau Fu Sdn Bhd
The shop is located within walking distance from the wet market where all the action is at. Like the name suggests, they offer homemade tofu for anyone who is handy in the kitchen, but additionally, they also server tofufa and soya bean drinks.
The tofufa, or tofu pudding, soya beancurd if you like, is what we were here for. While the smooth texture is really good, what stands out here is the unique ginger based syrup made from the famous Bentong ginger which really adds to the overall flavor.
tofu and tofufa (tofu pudding) with ginger syrup
We also bought a couple squares of tofu home with the intent to make a steamed fish dish out of them, and obviously proceed to immediately have the purchase erased from our minds, resulting in zero review of the tofu & a slightly heavier trash bag weeks later.
Oh, and if you’re dining the famous wantan mee at Yuen Kee restaurant and someone comes up offering you these peanut kuih, get them! They’re abslutely delicoius, and you’d end up having a lot of flour all around the mouth too. Good stuff.
Heading East from Klang Valley via the Karak Highway towards the direction of the East Coast, there exists quite a number of restaurants that offers “proper” food just a few kilometers away from the exit that brings you up to the mountain top wonderland that is Genting highland or Berjaya Bukit Tinggi (if visiting a Japanese garden is your thing.)
Late last year, we did just that with a couple Singaporean friends of Haze’s.
Garden View restaurant at Bukit Tinggi, there’s actually a vegetable garden
Our stop-over for late lunch was at Garden View restaurant, a pretty big zinc-roofed restaurant over viewing a vegetable garden. Looking at the size of the little farm though, I can’t be sure if it is sufficient for the crowd that this restaurant gets. Doesn’t bother me anyway.
The menu is quite extensive. They offer a variety of river fish, kampung chicken, pork, seafood, and a selection of “wild” meat such as wild boar, frog, ostrich, soft-shell turtle, and deer.
river patin, this is the expensive bit
We ordered a river patin (RM 90, 1.2kg of RM 7.50 per 100 gram) prepared in its purest form – steam with soya sauce. The portion was perhaps a little too big for just the four of us but it was delightfully prepared and certainly very fresh, smooth, and absolutely packed with seafood fatty texture which I really like.
You can also have the fish prepared by steam with ginger, with assam sauce, teo chew style, with chili sauce, in clay pot, or even deep fried. There’s also quite a variety of fish to choose from, with tilapia (RM 3.50/100gram) being cheapest, all the way to kelah (RM 40/100 gram)
steamed kampung chicken, wild boar curry, four kingdom vege dish
In addition to the fish, we also ordered steamed kampung chicken with ginger (RM 15), wild boar curry (RM 15), and “4 kingdom vegetable” (RM 15). These are very reasonably priced and tasted more than decent.
The chicken is my favorite and a speciality of sort of Bukit Tinggi. You can get pretty good ginger steamed chicken just about at any restaurants around the area, the key being the Bentong ginger they use, which is really spicy and extra fragrant.
Singaporeans, same as Malaysians, are trigger happy
Over all it was a very satisfying late lunch for us. The river fish is pricey but expectedly so, if you stay away from having river fish, the prices at Garden View restaurant is very competitive. So if you’re around the area looking for a good meal especially with a group, this place won’t be a bad choice.
Address: Garden View Restaurant Lot 19326 Pesona Heights,
Kg Bukit Tinggi, 28750 Bentong, Pahang GPS: 3.353010, 101.826982 Tel: 09-233 0282
A couple weekends ago after I got back from my weekly mountain biking exercise, Haze proclaimed that we should go to Janda Baik. Off the 2 wheeler with meat powerplant, and on with the Aprilia that consumes prehistoric dead animals as fuel.
sometimes a short half a day retreat works wonder
From KL to Tanahrima in Janda Baik is only some 30+ kilometers, but it may as well be a different country. Fresh air, tall pine trees, and those chirping insects make for an awesome relaxing environment. Wouldn’t it be great to have my mountain bike there…
4 season dessert and sweet potato fries
Tanarimah is a place that’s perfect for events such as wedding and team building activities. Additionally, there’s also a Purple Cane restaurant (yes, the same Purple Cane chain you can find in KL) attached there, a place perfect for a little afternoon tea.
The restaurant advocates healthy eating and has a menu full of pretty interesting dishes that are usually light on oil, sugar, or other spices that aren’t very good for you.
We had the “Spring” and “Autume” desserts, a sort of cross between jelly and kwai leng gou that carries a hint of the aroma from the seasons they represent, not overly sweet either, we really liked it.
Tanarimah at Janda Baik, love the tranquillity by the lake
The sweet potato fries was the titbit we ordered to cushion the stomach between lunch and dinner, and like other dishes here, it is light on salt and fried with a supposedly healthier selection of vegetable oil. It was a bit more like wedges than fries, but we liked its natural sweetness and the contrasting texture on the light batter.
Oh, and then there’s of course tea. Purple Cane is famous for their selection of Chinese tea and you can find them here as well.
If you’re up for a short excursion but want to avoid the crowd at Genting or Bukit Tinggi, this is a place to check out.
Every once in a while, it is good to take a little half day road trip to get away from the city and explore what some of the smaller towns has to offer. A few weekends ago, when the city is again covered with haze and heat, we decided to head to Bentong for a mini food trail and to bask ourselves in the surrounding with slower pace of life.
Bentong is located on the West side of Pahang, and only about 33 kilometers from the exit to Genting on the Karak highway. From KL, the journey will take about an hour.
The entire district has a population of about 100 thousand, but on weekends, there are also visitors on big bikes and city dwellers looking to buy the famous Bentong ginger. In between those group, there’s yours truly looking to fill up his stomach.
Hooi Kee wantan mee at Yuen Kee kopitiam
Our first stop was Yuen Kee kopitiam, we chose this as it was the busiest breakfast outlet among the few we walked by around the wet market.
Without knowing what to eat, we again used the golden rule of “picking the busiest stall” and ordered a couple bowls of wantan mee (RM 4.50) from Hooi Kee. As it turned out, this is actually the most famous hawker stall in Bentong.
sauce not overly sweet, and the wantan was delicious
The texture of noodle was pretty springy but not chewy, and I particularly liked their wantan that is packed with pork. The dark sauce carries a slight bitter taste which I find myself enjoying, but the charsiu (bbq pork) was rather average compared to some of the places in KL.
Be prepared to share table and wait for at least 10-15 minutes before food arrives.
After the wantan mee, we decided to try something that is a bit more special – wild boar curry.
Wild boar isn’t something that is easily attainable in Klang Valley. The meat is usually slightly tougher and more gamey, so the most poplar method of preparation is usually curry. The stronger flavour of spices and longer cooking masks the stronger pork taste while tenderises the meat.
wild boar curry with chee cheong fun and yong tau foo
We ordered a piece of chee cheong fun and two pieces yong tau foo to go with the wild boar curry (RM 4). There’s generous amount of sesame and sweet sauce covering the yong tau foo, and best of all, there’s even sambal belacan on the side.
I enjoyed this dish a lot, and discovered that wild boar curry really does go very well with chee cheong fun.
Address: Choy Kee Restaurant, Jalan Pasar & Jalan Chang Seng, 28700, Bentong, Pahang GPS:3.522082, 101.906792 Hours: breakfast and brunch
kedai kopi kow po, more ice cream than coffee
After two main dishes, it was natural to get some desserts in the system. For this purpose, Bentong has an old school home-made ice cream parlour by the name of Kedai Kopi Kow Po.
We shared an ice kacang with asingle scoup of home-made pandan ice cream, the shaved ice had all the traditional ingredients going for it – the black jelly, cendol, red bean, corn, and even pineapple. The ice cream was creamy and rather delicious too. I can see why this place has been in business for decades.
ice kacang with home made ice cream, delicious
Address: Kow Po Ice Cream, No. 2, Bentong Heights, 28700 Bentong, Pahang GPS: 3.522107, 101.910755 Tel: 09-222 1258 Hours: 10 am to 7 pm daily