Kelantan, previously a territory of the Siamese empire is probably one of the most underrated food destination in Malaysia and is usually given a miss by most tourists – including Malaysian travellers.
It’s close proximity to Thailand in the north gives the local cuisine a different taste and aromatic twist compared to other parts of Malaysia.
It’s curries are a little sweeter compared to that in other parts of Malaysia and don’t be surprised at the spoonful of sugar that is served up with you roti canai and curry at restaurants.
This state is pretty much underdeveloped compared to its counterparts in other parts of Peninsular Malaysia. There are vast rubber and palm oil plantations, and the surrounding forests are a source for timber which yields much needed income for development of the state.
There are hardly any fancy fine dining restaurants here. Most eateries are small family run businesses, but the food served up takes the skill and patience only a few have nowadays.
Also the locally sourced ingredients, give the food a distinct flavour, specific to this region.
Here are some of my favourites:
Curried wild boar with petai and white rice @ 888 Restaurant Kampung Baru Gua Musang
Thai Nasi Kerabu – rice cooked in a blend of local herbs, vegetables, fish flakes served with sambal and fish keropok on the side @KK Town Kopitiam, 200, Jalan Ah Sang, Kuala Krai.
Enjoy a drink and local delights at the KK Town Kopitiam, 200, Jalan Ah Sang, Kuala Krai, Kelantan.
Char Kuey Tiaw – more of a Penang speciality but this version is a pretty good recreation served with sambal on the side.
Kolo Mee, the Kelantanese version of dry Wantan Mee, served with curry, fried wontans, fried beancurd and soup and sambal on the side
Cendol Pulut Durian DZ @ Jalan Batu Balai K.Krai
Cendol Tapai – fermented sweet potato served with shaved ice, cendol, brown sugar and sago.
Our must stop in Kuala Krai Town for the famous Tanjung Fried Chicken at Jalan Ah Sang, Kuala Krai, Kelantan.
Tanjung Fried Chicken, beef curry and ayam masak merah (chicken in red sauce) are just some of the yummy dishes at Tanjung
Nasi Lauk Tanjung, no need for proper composition, just imagine the taste of a good curry with an even better fried chicken served with salted egg and sambal.
Thai Chicken Rice, similar to the Chinese Chicken Rice. Difference is the taste of the sauce and dark brown chili paste made with birds eye chili, soya sauce and fish sauce.
Tea time treat – Look out for this sign if you’re travelling along the Gua Musang-Kuala Krai Highway. Usually only available in the early afternoon.
Kuih Beko made with coconut, eggs, flour and sugar and cooked over a stove using coconut husks and coal for fuel.
Akok, a softer and smoother version of the Beko
Bahulu Pandan, Pandan flavoured fluffy cake, a more refined version of the Beko.
A wide array of tea-time treats at the Sri Jenut Akok shop
Hungry travellers stock up for the long journey home to the city
Nasi Lauk Kak Ton is a popular shop among the locals in Kuala Krai. Located along Batu Balai. It has a long line during lunch hour. This place serves delicious cakes, bites, nasi dagang and kerabu for breakfast, and rice and side dishes and curries for lunch. It is famous for its spiced fried chicken.
Nasi Lauk KaK Ton@ Jalan Batu Balai, Mengkebang
Wok fried chicken marinated in tumeric and spices
East Coast style diced spicy beef and fish curry @ Kedai Kak Ton
Kak Ton’s shop is open from 7am to 4pm daily.
Apom Balik Telur Gedik
Apom Balik Baby
The above is comfort food for many – rice fried with shrimp paste, served with herbs, vegetables, fried egg, Chinese sausage (lap cheong) and kicap (soy sauce) beef.