The end of October saw me head out to the East Coast state of Terengganu. Yes, again! I have lost count of the number of times that I have visited the state but Terengganu is just too large that it is impossible to visit the entire state during one trip.
Our first stop was Kampung Alor Limbat in Marang. We were there to check out the new homestay establishment managed by Koperasi Desa Alor Limbat Marang Berhad (KODESAL).
Alor means stream while Limbat is the species of a fish. Kampung Alor Limbat is located some 25 km from Kuala Terengganu. The population here is slightly more than a thousand.
Do be aware that this is a rural community and while the people are friendly and courteous, they may not have the same kind of outlook about things that city folk do.
Even though the homestay here is already open to guests, there is still plenty of work to be done to start receiving paying guests. The ten cabins are basic – they can accommodate two to four guests, at only RM100 per night.
The kampung (village) view is very peaceful and I think that given some time, when the trees have grown and flowering plants bloom, the village will be like a lovely, welcoming garden. This is the reason why I hope to return one day and see how it has developed.
Guests who come to stay at Kampung Alor Limbat can indulge in a number of old childhood games and get to savour traditional food too.
Petik Mata is a traditional game played by children and adults alike. Although I do not know the specifics of the game, the one who can hit the stick the farthest wins.
And then there is another game called Gasing Cacang. Like the name suggests, it is a game of tops. Top spinning is a traditional game of the East Coast. In Kampung Alor Limbat, villagers play it during the dry season, festivals and special occasions.
As a guest of Kampung Alor Limbat, I was able to witness for myself the making of traditional food. They were foreign to me as these are not what we can pick up from the supermarket.
Laksa is a very common food in Malaysia. Here at Kampung Alor Limbat, it is usually prepared and eaten after harvest season. This is an all-day dish and I would say, an all time favourite. At the same time, it can be found during festivals. The laksa noodles is made using “kebok”, giving it a very smooth texture and delicious taste. In Terengganu, it is eaten either with a red or white sauce.
Emping, to me, is like cereal (or flakes). It is actually made from rice, whereby the rice, young or old, is soaked in water for several hours. After soaking, dry it by frying it in a pan without adding oil, until they turn white.
Then, pound these flakes in a wooden mortar. These flakes are served with coconut and a sauce called “serawa”.
Lok Lik is a speciality prepared for banquets at the mosque. Made of young rice known as “pak ah”, it is pounded in a mortar with palm sugar and coconut until well-blended.
Gajah Mengamuk is a traditional food of the community. Usually served for breakfast, it is made from tapioca, boiled and then pounded. It is served with sweets, coconut or sugar.
How do villagers here catch fish? By way of gotong-royong, forming groups of 30 to 40 people when the dry season arrives. Scooping leftover water out of pools and creeks, the men usually use various tools and even their bare hands, get hold of the fish to be prepared for dinner.
Koperasi Desa Alor Limbat Marang Berhad (KODESAL)
Add: No. 4, Tingkat Bawah, Dataran Sri Limbat, Kampung Alor Limbat, 21400 Marang, Terengganu.
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