Posts Tagged ‘Kota Bharu’

Family, friends and colleagues (including bosses too) had gotten used to either having to turn the  lazy susan around or moving the dishes- to be in the path of my camera viewfinder when they dine with me , ahh..what kind folks you lot are. And occasionally they will remind me ‘ Ekkk..why no need take pictures one ? I don’t normally take pictures or blog about the makan places when it is a re-visit, so, this could be one reason why I no take pictures one. BUT in the case of Khengsom, I owe it to the world to write about it a second time..so, here goes..

My first encounter with  Khengsom was when it was at Jalan Sultanah Zainab  , you can read about it by clicking here.  , but it had since moved to Jalan Kebun Sultan. Frankly, when Khengsom was suggested, I did not have high expectations , due to past experience and  thought that it would be hard to beat  the likes of the Thai food at Wakaf Baru area, with the likes of Cheing Mai, Ban Kok  , Kulim etc.

We arrived at Khengsom at about 8pm, the place was starting to fill up, Khengsom is a halal restaurant. The waitress who took our orders was friendly and she  recommended to us some good choices as well.sos

We started off with Mango Salad – a mixture of mango shreds, shallots,dried squid and chili padi made up this mouth watering entree. A good start , I am starting to be impressed !mango salad1

Khengsom fish (RM) 60– the kakak laut fish was garnished with kangkong and coconut stem- ek, I don’t know what they call this, but just know that it was a shoot or something from the coconut tree. This was kinda spicy but very tasty, Fish was wonderfully fresh. Nicekheng som fish

Fried bittergourd with egg, I am not sure can this be considered a Thai  dish, but anyway, the weather was hot and bittergourd is said to be a cooling vegetable. This is a simple dish, but oh gawd, so well executed. The gourd was soft yet not mushy or wet, it just worked. I think I have to start a Khengsom fan club soon..bitterguord1

Fried Kampung Chicken  42– the chicken was well seasoned with a bit of saltiness to it, the meat was tender and not dry. Maybe not as tasty as the fried chicken at Kulim, but still, not too bad tasting chicken.fried chicken

Fried petai with prawns– even those at our table that do not take petai commented that the gravy tasted delicious. The petai still had a bit of a rawness to it which gave it a crunchy feel. Prawns were really fresh too. I likeyypetai

Soft shell crabs with salted eggs 55- If there is a heaven, this dish might probably be served in my heaven. So nice one ! The unique flavour of the salted egg blended with the fragrant of the curry leaves and of course plus the wonderful crabs was so very nice..so so very nice..crabs

Squid with soy sauce – this is one other dish that will be served in my nirvana without having to worry about Lipitor . I don’t know how they do it, the squid had a bit of a charcoal-ed smoky flavour to it, the meat was soft yet springy but not tough, succulently fresh- it was almost unreal !  The texture might be best described like a sashimi . So so very good !sotong

Everyone at the table commented that among all the Thai restaurants that we have visited in Kelantan –  this is one of the best Thai food that we have tasted. The flavours had more dimension and the tastes were more refined compared to the rest. Hurahh for KhengSom !

Oh, there was one downside to the ordeal – the charges were slightly more expensive compared to the Thai restaurants at Wakaf Baru, maybe 30- 50 % more, but then this place is air-conditioned and located at the town centre in KB. The meal above plus drinks and rice ( for 8 pax) came to ~RM280

Location :

menu

A friend introduced us to this relatively new hotel in Kota Bharu and highly recommend the  Chinese restaurant in the hotel  –Crown Palace Chinese Restaurant. Since people recommend already, so we try try lorrr..The restaurant ambience was pleasant and comfy. Although we had pre-ordered the menu a few days ago, we still had to wait for quite a while….lucky that we had some nuts to chew on….And probably the best pickled chilies that I have  tasted (and the soy sauce was yummy too )..Although it was only a 2 months ago that we had ‘Buddha Jump Over The Wall’ ( read about it by clicking here ) , I think we must have been beaten by the jumping wall bug for we and the Buddha decide to take another leap over the wall for the second time this year…I must say that for all the hype of the restaurant in Nilai, I found more reasons to jump over the wall for the Crown Palace’s version than the former. The soup was smoother , fuller and pleasant down to the last drop. In the individual bowls, we get goodies like  : abalone, fish maw, mushroom, piece of shark fin, cordyceps etc .. Steamed village chicken – I thought the dark sauce would resemble soy sauce but it turned out to be rather hot , the sauce went well with the chicken. the chicken was nicely cooked ; the meat was tender and juicy without the toughness expected of kampung chicken.Steamed mandarin fish with two preserved beancurd – the taste of the sauce was rather interesting – a combination of tau-see ( fermented beans) and fu – yue ( fermented bean curd) . The sek-pan fish was fresh too . This was good.Vegetable with mushroom and tofu  – there were a few exclamation of ‘ wahh…so big dish one ahh’ when this arrived at the table, the serving was really big ! Succulent siao-pai chai surrounded the centerpiece of mushrooms and tofu. There were a few types of mushroom in the dish : button mushroom, abalone mushroom, straw mushroom and golden needle mushroom. This was tastyPumpkin fried rice – we always blamed Mum for some of the food that do not make up our diet – on top of the list was : pumpkin !! In order to make up for lost time, we ordered this dish. This was good fried rice . The rice were fluffy, the flavour was just nice and if you are lucky you get a tiny speck of salted fish onto your spoon ….yummmy… Mixed vegetable and soohoon in Claypot – Picture below was the portion that I was served.  This dish had a very strong fu-yue ( fermented tofu) flavour which turned to be overly salty after a few bites. Order this only if you are a fan of fu-yue !Dessert : these petite balls came to the table still warm. It was a nice experience to bite passed the warm outer skin into the core and  get rewarded with lotus paste.  I wish there were more of these to go around the table…so nice one …

 Overall , an enjoyable meal, compliments to the chef  . The bill came to ~RM550.

 Crown Palace Chinese Restaurant – 7th Floor                                           
11.30am – 2.30pm
06.00pm – 10.30pm
 PT302 & 303 Jalan Kebun Sultan
15300, Kota Bharu
Kelantan
 http://crowngardenhotel.com/

My (faint) memories of the Kampung China temple consist of 3D dragons, big crowds.  smell of incense ,  watching my grandmother praying while  throwing and re-throwing two kidney shaped thingies on the floor.

temple-ex

Mention temples in Kelantan, and you will probably be swamped with images of  the many many colourful Thai/ Buddhist temples along the roadsides and in the kampungs. When I googled for Chinese temples in Kota Baru, the search resulted in tours to the Buddhist temples. Frankly, I am ( still) not sure of the name of this temple, we refer to the temple as the   唐 人坡 廟 meaning the temple of kampong china , and from my net search and matching the photos, this seemed to be = Tokong Mek, and when I try to confirm with family members and friends, no one seemed sure..hmmm…can anyone help ?

The temple is located close by to the shore of the Kelantan river, you can actually see the river from the outside of the temple grounds and vice versa. At the time of visit the temple was under some renovation- this could be  part of the Jabatan Warisan Negara restoration projects for 2007 ? click here  

Stepping into the hall, there will be pillars with entwining dragons and the big incense holder.

hall

The main deity of the temple is the Ma Tzu  妈祖 , the  goddess who is  associated with the sea

maju

Flank on the right by  Kuan Yin

 kuan-yin

And on the left General Zhou (  mum is not sure about  General Zhou). Anyone can help with the info ?

general

Incense ‘station’  at the side of the main shrine hall

incense

 Price list of the New Year large incense which will be lighted on the 1st, 9th or 15th day  ( 4 ft incense RM15/ piece, 6 ft – RM60, 8 ft -RM120 ..12ft – RM220). We paid for  two 6 ft incense to be lighted on the 1st and 15th day, and I was given the honour of writing new year wishes on a red piece of paper which will be stuck on the incense, I hope the gods can read my ugly scribble.

 new-year

 I remember my elderly neighbour Ah Chim ( elderly auntie) who used to visit the temple a few days before Chinese new year and bid  to bring the ‘gold turtle’  home, the bidding goes like this. You would have to pray to the gods and the gods give their consent via the 2 kidney shaped wooden thingies. Each kidney has a rounded surface and a flat back . what you want to achieve in a throw- when the kidneys hit the ground –  one kidney is facing up, then the other should be  facing down. And you will have to get 3 consecutive up/down for it to ‘count’ as a ‘yes’ / ‘success’ . There is a ‘ minimal value’ for  each throw, example RM5/ throw , so you can imagine it can be a rather large sum if the kidneys refuse to cooperate , and some might not even be successful,  but AhChim being a good and pious person always managed to bring the turtle home every year.

 oil-lamp

I have always been in awe of these dragons, they look like  they are ready to pop out of the wall

dragon

This big drum is a gift from the Sultan ( Sultan Mohammad the 2nd) in 1879, which makes it pretty ancient , I guess.

drum

Mum didn’t know much about the history of the temple , although she mentioned there used to be a Kapitan who stays around Kampung China.

temple

Click here to view an interesting blog with nice pictures about Kelantan