Due to the overwhelming success of Eat.Travel.Write Selangor Culinary Adventure 1.0 2015, Selangor State Economic Planning (UPEN) collaborates with Gaya Travel, again, in organising the food trail journey to the southern part of Selangor from 27 until 30 November 2015. This time around, Gaya Travel readers were also invited to join in the fun! A total of 50 persons including members of media, social network influencers and bloggers participated in the journey to hunt good food, excellent stays and exciting travelling moments!
Where We Dined:
Grill & Such, Seri Kembangan
Located in Seri Kembangan, Grill & Such is a rustic café serving grilled seafood and Western ala carte dishes. The furniture arrangement is designed in pallet seating equipped with grilling tools. A team of buskers performed while we were enjoying the grilled seafood, besides fried rice and fries, together with dragon fruit smoothies and juices. The ambience was sweet and filled with laughter from the tables, conducive for social gathering.
Willy Satay, Sungai Ramal
Willy Satay is one of the renowned satay houses located in Kajang and satay lovers start queuing for it as early as 4:30 p.m. everyday! Situated in an al fresco food court surrounded by other eateries and one and only beverage stall, Willy Satay has been attracting foodies. What is special about the satay is the fact that its size is larger than the normal satay, complemented by pieces of onions, cucumbers, delicious peanut sauce and freshly made watermelon juices.
Zest Café, Putrajaya Marriott Hotel & Spa
Zest Café, which is located within Putrajaya Marriott Hotel & Spa within the IOI Resort City, is a lunch buffet haven that serves mostly everything from chocolate fountains and desserts to halal Chinese dumplings, pasta, Malay dishes and grills. I started my lunch with a cup of ice-cream and continued with carbonara served with chicken slices and beef strips, including vegetable dishes on the side. I also tasted tacos with mustard sauce and chicken wrapped in pandan leaves that left me super contented – this is indeed one of the best buffet lunches in Selangor that I have ever tasted.
What we did:
How to raft using bamboo
We started off the first day of the programme with bamboo rafting as early as 9:00 a.m., which was fun because many participants experienced it for the first time ever. Each bamboo raft, which was long and medium in width, could support only two persons. Operated by a company called D’Ulu Hati, bamboo rafting is fast catching on as a popular leisure activity in Hulu Langat. Participants were asked to sit on the rafts and paddle for eight kilometres along the Langat River. The current was not fast yet sufficient for us to experience how bamboo rafting works.
Learning about satay at Satay Gallery, Kajang
Located close to the Kajang Stadium, this is the place where travellers can learn about the history of satay, how to make satay, and what ingredients being used – it felt like we were in a special archive totally devoted to satay. The programme participants also witnessed a satay-making demonstration outside the gallery. The person doing the demonstration, affectionately called Pak Acob, have long been in the satay and catering business for the past 35 years together with his wife. The satay demonstration started with the overview on the ingredients, including marinating, skewing and grilling processes, which were all tedious to ensure its taste and aroma. Since Pak Acob was demonstrating live using actual ingredients, once he was done, the participants wolfed down the lip-smacking satay that he grilled.
Playing Master Chef at Palm Garden Hotel
The participants had fun donning the chef’s hat and apron and pretended that we were Master Chefs. The participants were divided into two teams, one team decorated cakes while the other cooked two different recipe of from raw fish. The participants found that both decorating cakes and cooking fish were educational and fun at the same time since they learned the techniques on how to prepare them properly through the session.
Learning about herbs at Herbs Camp, Hulu Langat
Herbs Camp is one garden full of herbs and interesting plants. The owner of the place, Dr Noor, shared with the participants the types of herbs and their benefits. The garden is attached to a camping site, ideal for the public to use for team-building or family reunion. We passed through interesting herbs, among them are those that produce bubbles when bent while others help women to reduce weight. Dr Noor also prepared a few bunch of herbs and plants for demonstration such as peppermint that he passed around for us to smell. We then proceeded for cincau and cendol that were made from the herbs in his yard. Before we left, Dr Noor asked us to taste the controversial juice made from kratom (Mitragyna speciosa, which is a tropical deciduous and evergreen tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia) locally known as air ketum, which actually has been used in traditional Malay healing for ages but now misused by the present generation by converting the water into intoxicants that can become addictive.
Attending a Mini Craft Carnival at Orchard Santika Homestay
The participants visited the Orchard Santika Homestay, where they were given a rousing welcome by the locals accompanied by the melodious beating of the kompang (Malay traditional handheld percussion). The homestay is located 15 minutes’ drive away from the Herbs Camp. We were then given a tour around a mini craft carnival set up by the homestay. The participants played angklung and gamelan, traditional Malay musical instruments, besides we visiting a traditional house that provided us with the opportunity to pose on the wedding dais in Malay traditional bride and groom costumes. We then moved on to play traditional games such as congkak, tutup botol, and tarik upih; including the demonstration in the preparation of Malay delicacies such as kueh rose, dodol, rempeyek kacang hijau, kuih jongkong, and cendol. It felt like an endless food trail because we didn’t stop eating throughout the visit. Some of us also made some potpourri piles stacked with pressed flowers while others weaved some ketupat.
Witnessing Cukur Jambul Ceremony at Orchard Santika Homestay
In the evening, right after maghrib (dusk) prayer, the homestay organised a small traditional ceremony called cukur jambul (the act of cutting baby’s hair while reciting verses from Islam’s holy book the Quran). The participants sat in a circle with some of the people from the nearby mosque and started to join in with the verses. The baby was enveloped in a decorated baby swaddle and brought out to have its hair being shorn by bit by the attending congregation. The traditional ceremony is usually done after seven to fourteen weeks after the baby was born to rid of the birth hair so that the new set of hair will grow, which would be fuller and healthier. Some also said that the ceremony is held after the parents have named the baby as gratitude towards the Almighty for bestowing them with the child. The ceremony ended with a ceremonious feast of their signature dish, “Nasi Ambeng”. The huge portion is best shared with friends and family.
Hiking up Mount Nuang
Before the programme ended on the third day, the participants hiked up Mount Nuang. The six-kilometre trail up to the mountain was in good condition, sometimes slippery and long enough to summit Lolo Camp, taking approximately two hours to complete one way. The participants enjoyed the pristine scenery along the way. The rangers who accompanied us also showed us how to prepare food in the wild (they cooked chicken curry in a bamboo). While they were at that, we celebrated our joys with nasi lemak as a reward! I took the opportunity to walk around and climbed down to the river for some photos. The climbing down part was easier than climbing up and so we reached for lunch just in time.