Ipoh

Ipoh is the apital of the state of Perak and the fourth largest city of peninsular Malaysia with a population of 760,000 (Metro area: 1.4 Mil). It is scenically located amoung karst limestone hills in the Kinta Valley, about 2 1/2 hours north of Kuala Lumpur. The city is somehow forgotten by most travellers in Malaysia, however it has a lot to offer with many colonial buildings and shophouses (it used to be a very rich city around the turn of the 19th century due to tin mining) and the nature (hills, caves) around. Among Malaysians it is known for good food like the popular Ipoh Chicken Rice.

Cherating

Cherating is the only real backpacker hub at the east coast of the peninsula on the mainland. Offering plenty of affordable chalets and a relaxed atmosphere, it is good place to stop for a night or two on the way up or down the east coast. The beach itself is not that spectacular and misses the palm directly at the beach. But it has a good vibe and few things you can do like taking a tour or renting a kayak up the river into the mangroves. There is also an active surfer scene when the waves are right. Cherating is located about 30km or 1h by local bus north of Kuantan.

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Keropok Lekor

The easiest way to describe Keropok Lekor is to call it fish sausage. It is the specialty from Terengganu, a state at the east coast and omnipresent in the streets and villages and very much a part of the live of the people there. Here are some pictures from one of the most popular Keropok Lekor stalls or shall I say factory, in Kuala Terengganu.

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The mixture is being hand-rolled into a sausage form. Ingredients of the mixture: Fish (Ikan Parang or Ikan Kembong), Sago Flour, Salt, Water, Ice Cubes, Pandan Leaves. There are some basic machines at the back of the house to do the mixing processing.


The sausages are thrown into boiling water for a few minutes until they are cooked and ready to be sold. This stall is so popular that the sausages are sold freshly right from the pot with people waiting patiently in a long queue.


At home, the huge and long sausages are cut into smaller pieces and thrown into the pan to be deep-fried until they turn crispy gold. Another option to take Keropok Lekor is to just steam it. This gives it a fishier flavor but tastes as good as the crispy ones according to some people. A completely different kind of Keropok is Keropok Keping and it comes in different flavours : fish, squid and prawn. Here, the Keropok is shaped into even bigger tubes and cut into thin slices to let it dry in the sun. (They are sold in packets and consumers will have to fry them and they are taken as crackers. During frying, it is entertaining to see the pieces of Keropok expand to bigger pieces when they hit the hot oil.)


Keropok Lekor ready to be served with their chili sauce, or with own home-made chili sauce if one prefers or shrimp-based sauce is also common. You get the best of it if you take it right after frying when it is still hot, crispy on the outside and tender at the inside. Definitely a must-try if you want to experience the Malay culture from the east coast in Terengganu and its diversity in food is one of the ultimate elements of the culture.
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