Archive for April, 2010

I am ashamed to say that – as a Tumpatese ( that was what one of my colleague categorized me as, anyway…)  and after all these years ( well, let’s not get into the details), this was my first visit to the Tumpat Thien Hou Temple.

 As far as I know ( not that I can see very far or know much), this is probably one of the few ( or maybe only one ?) Chinese temple in Tumpat ! Thai temples dominate the area like maybe 30:1 ? ( don’t quote me on this figure). But I can see that some newly built Thai temples or even existing ones, sometimes include or add some ‘chinese’ origin deity to the temple new wing or structures,  to cater for the Chinese community. So, even before the 1Malaysia thingy, the temples were farsighted enough to unite and have the 1Temple concept .But I digress…

The Thien Hou temple fence was eye catching in yellow and maroon. During the day of our visit, the front gate was closed but not locked, we unlatched the gate and made our way into the temple feeling a bit like trespassers.


The building with wide span wooden trusses, faded lanterns, painted yellow interior , very simple and basic – no gregarious dragons prancing on elaborate columns, looked a bit run down but yet, it felt like an elderly relative, kind and approachable ( oh..sorry, you mean your elderly relatives are all grouchy and intimidating ?)


 On a closer look ..

The richly attired  Deities with elaborate head coverings


You can also check with the Gods what the heavens have in store for you by shaking a wooden/bamboo vase like thingy , which is filled with numbered sticks. Shake the container up, down, left or  right, anyway you want it – a few times (concentrate while you do this and think about what you would like to know about your life or think pleasant happy thoughts) , after a while   there should be one ‘stick’ that will stand out among the many ( if more than one, continue the process until you only get one stick (unless you feel kinda kiasu and want to have 2 sticks for ‘safety purposes’  ) .Referring to the number on the stick, go to the ‘board’ ( shown below) and extract the correct piece of paper that will show you your destiny….. 


The most interesting part about the temple was the location -Kampung Tanjong Che Mas, is right smack in a malay kampong. But both temple and kampong manage to co-exist all these years without any unfavourable incident ( well, why should there be ? ).


Some info from web searches…

Other popular names for  Thein Hou include :  Mazu媽祖 and  Thien Shang Shen Mu天上聖母 ( empress of heaven) –among other names .

Extract from Wikipedia :  Mazu is the indigenous goddess of the sea which is said to protect fisherman and sailors , and is invoked as the goddess who protects East Asians who are associated with the ocean. Born as Lin Moniang林默娘; in Fujian around 960 CE, cult worship of Mazu began around the Ming Dynasty, when many temples dedicated to her were erected all across Mainland China, later spreading to other countries with Southern Chinese inhabitants.

Although she started swimming relatively late at the age of 15, she soon became an excellent swimmer. She wore red garments while standing on the shore to guide fishing boats home, even in the most dangerous and harsh weather.

According to legend, Lin Moniang’s father and brothers were fishermen. One day, a terrible typhoon arose while they were out at sea, and the rest of her family feared that those at sea had perished. In the midst of this storm, depending on the version of the legend, she fell into a trance while praying for the lives of her father and brothers or dreamed of her father and brothers while she was sleeping or sitting at a loom weaving. In either story, her father and brother were drowning. However, Moniang’s mother now discovered her and tried to wake her, and diverted Moniang’s attention, causing her to drop her brother, who as a result drowned. Consequently, Moniang’s father returned alive and told the other villagers that a miracle  had happened.

 Some other interesting sites ( with video of Spirit Medium of Mazu) Taiwan Mazu Society – Chinese  – Mazu temple in Taiwan ( broadband is rather slow at time of posting, i can’t seemed to be able to load the 3D virtual tour of the temple.) Quen Zhou ( China) Thien Hou temple website – Chinese

Jalan Kebun Sultan in Kota Bharu is a good place to be, if you are looking for food, there are a large number of eateries there- ranging from mobile –style hawkers, hawker centres to restaurants. Parking can be difficult but with a bit of patience ( and luck), you wouldn’t have to starve for too long lah.

Golden Leaf is one of the restaurant located at Jalan Kebun Sultan. This was recommended by Auntie Miew who insisted that this was one of the better Thai restaurants in KB.


Mango salad – mango shreds, onions, carrots and  tomato topped with  dried sotong, dried prawns, and roasted peanut- and seasoned with a potent brew of  lime juice, chili padi, sugar and maybe macam macam lagi made this a difficult to fail dish ! this was great ! Started the gastric juice working and ready to devour the next dish  


Kangkong Belacan – kangkong stir fried with belacan- ….the kangkong wasn’t over fried and retained some crunchiness, the enhancement of taste when biting into bits of dried prawns. Ahh…nice nice..


Deep fried sotong – this dish came with bits of fried garlic too, which added another dimension to the fresh ( and sweet ) sotong-ish taste. The sotong was fresh but a bit on the chewy side . I find this a bit dry  lah

Mongolian ribs – the meat was tender and succulent and the best part was that  the sauce worked so well with the ribs, the sauce was rich –some sour plum sauce maybe, some santan maybe and a tinge of curry leaves. Jackpot !!


Ban Suan fish – this was like a combo dish –mango & lemongrass salad draped over deep fried fish and generously bathed in sweet-sour-ish gravy. The fish was meaty and fresh and the accompanying salad was so tasty. Two rights definitely made this very very right .

 Overall- an enjoyable meal. We were pleasantly surprised that the figure on the bill  was rather reasonable too.

 Location :


No 255-256, Jalan Kebun Sultan,

13500 Kota Bharu.

Tel 016-9326468 / 019 9446029

Back in my hometown , for our Thai food fix, we would normally dine at the Thai eateries around  Tumpat where we know of the quality of the food as well as we would expect the prices would be more reasonable being  in a more kampong-ish area compared to restaurants around Kota Bharu. We were in KB that day and decide to try out Keng Som , which was recommended by some friends.

Well, we were so used to the Thai restaurant in Tumpat that we could probably order without batting an eyelid, but being in a new restaurant means that we have to read the menu from top to bottom and see what Keng Som has to offer.

 The conversation went somewhat like this:

 Us : what’s this ‘soup kering’ ( dry soup) dish harr ?

Waitress : this is our specialty, we cook the dish for several hours until it’s tender, this is very nice, my husband cook this

Us : so this is dry lah, no soup one hor ?

W : yes, dry. 

Us : Ok, we try this lah

W :  this one today don’t have , you would have to pre-order .

Us : mean cannot order ah ?

W : have to pre-order one


Us : what’s the specialty chicken dish here harrrr ?

W : we have Mongolia chicken, lemon chicken, Kung Pou chicken, green chicken curry. Pat Porn chicken  etc etc

Us : * look around the table and ask –what type of chicken you all want ah ?

Those around the table replied : cincai lah, anything la..

Us : we don’t like chicken without bones , we would like chicken with bones, which ones are those ah ?

W :  * pointed at a few chicken dishes on the menu *

Us : how do you cook  Pat Porn Chicken ?

W : it’s xxxxxx , xxxxx

Us ; Got bones one ah ?

W : No

At this point, the waitress ( we guessed to be the owner) got a bit fed up of our questions  and asked another waitress to take over.We weren’t trying to be difficult one lerr, we just need to know more about the menu maahhh…and we really  don’t like chicken without bones one lorrrr


Mango salad – I find the mango shreds weren’t firm enough to give the texture, and maybe need a bit more of dried prawns and lime juice to give this dish the Ummpp..but still ok, not bad.


Keng Som fish- (asam pedas)   –the soup was full of Ummppp..spicy, tangy and sourish. The fish was fresh and sweet. The coconut thingies ( I initially thought they were bamboo shoots) were cut into wedges – were rather nice, crunchy and seemed to have absorbed the flavour from the soup. Yumm..


Pat Porn chicken ( yes, the chicken pieces came with bones) was very tasty and rich, the chicken were coated in creamy, thick goeey gravy heavily flavoured with chilli powder, santan and don’t know what else. Plenty of   cauliflower and  carrots were served with this dish. But after a while the overly rich dish became a bit overbearing for the taste bud.


Bittergourd omelet  – err..we had wanted to order bittergourd with egg rather than in an omelet but we must have confused the waitress with our order. The bittergourd were sliced very thinly, we didn’t detect any bitterness. This was not bad for an omelet dish.


Kangkong belacan – this dish was a bit more spicier than what we would have liked and was rather oily . The kangkong were tender though. This was average.

 Overall – not bad .

 Location  : Jalan Sultanah Zainab, locate Dynasty Inn Hotel, Keng Som is a few doors away – Look out for the sign board.  Keng Som is now at Jalan Kebun Sultan.

Operating hours 6pm – 11pm.

Keng Som  is a halal restaurant. Non air-conditioned