According to plan, I was supposed to go to Pulau Kapas during the Wesak weekend getaway. Because it was planned for weeks, I wanted to see my clients who were based along the paths heading towards Marang. Appointments arranged and a somewhat irresponsible friend stood me up at the very last minute. No Pulau Kapas short trip but I ended up with two appointments; one in Dungun and one in Kemaman Supply Base during the weekend.
I brought two attachment students for I did not want to drive to the east coast of Malaysia alone. We left at 7a.m. on Saturday morning. The girls kept me accompany and we had one stop over before we reached Kuantan. I made it clear to them that I wanted to stay anywhere near Pantai Kemasik, a beach deemed the best in Peninsular Malaysia by dear friend, Adida.
Also, I wanted to try Hai Peng Kopitiam in Kemaman. I read and heard a lot about this old coffee shop. We reached Kemaman at about 10.30 and went in search for this place. It is ain’t hard to find because it lays just near the Kemaman-Dungun main road. To our surprise, the coffee shop was crowded and full. People were standing just at the edge of the road waiting for empty tables to enjoy the piquant and aromatic taste of Kemaman coffee. We could smell the coffee from just across the road where we parked our car.
We were lucky enough to get a table for less than five minutes as, old uncles got up leaving the table full of coffee cups.
They left after paying approximately RM40.00 for breakfast for three! I had two half boiled eggs, two cups of rich coffee and a plate of home-made kaya bread. Huda had the most delicious tuna sandwich I have ever tasted. Home-made tuna; blended fish paste and black pepper. Vouched for yours truly as a must try in Kemaman.
We proceeded to Pantai Kemasik where we were taken aback by its serenade beach. Sgt cantik. The only setback is that the place is not commercialised at all. You cannot even find resorts or guesthouses within 15km range from the beach. How I wish I could just camp up by the beach.
As we were in a hurry, we dragged ourselves to the car and continued driving to Dungun. All fine hotels had been fully booked due to the long weekend. We ended up in Damai Guesthouse. A so-so place to live in but what choice did we have then? We slept during the noon for it was too hot and went to the beach during the evening. I gave a call to my friend from law school who is now a Timbalan Pendakwa Raya in Dungun manning cases in Dungun, Paka & Bukit Besi.
We went out for dinner to find the recipes though named similarly like the one in Kuala Lumpur, were cooked in Dungun style. Example came in the form of Chicken Butter Susu which we thought would be similar to butter chicken. We were proved wrong when we got a bowl of chicken in a butter cravy full with daun kari. Funny how we made face eating that butter chicken. Tak sedap tapi makan juga.
Akmal told me the tales of how a Alor Setar born man not knowing a single person in Dungun locality settled down in Dungun in order to make Dungun a better place to live in. How he was stalked by God knows who! How he lived in a haunted Rumah Pegawai Daerah Dungun and survived for nine days. How he work day-to-day without leave. All I have to say to him is try hard to get out of Dungun. Hats off to Akmal for his survival in Dungun. I can now imagine the hell that you are facing daily, Akmal.
Everything else about my trip were food hunt and work.
Hingga jumpa lagi.