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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Kuala Kurau Roadtrip: Day 2

We went on a short road trip from 16-17 December 2017 to Kuala Kurau.

On the second day, we had breakfast provided by the hosts at My Home Twenty One Guest House. We were served fried bee hoon (vermicelli) with lots of prawns, and prawn and chives (koo chai) pancake.

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[Breakfast]

After breakfast, we rode the bicycles around the compound of the guest house.

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[One, two, race!]

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[Bike-ride with Mummy]

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[Bike-ride with Daddy]

Later in the morning, we went on a river cruise in Kuala Gula. We saw many birds commonly found in the area. Some may have been migratory birds but we were unsure. We were also taken to an area to feed the brahminy kites, an experience also found in Langkawi. At the river mouth, the boatman also tried digging for cockles but unfortunately there weren't many. Apparently many cockle rearing efforts in the area had failed. At some point during the river cruise, the boatman let the kids steer the speedboat - they were absolutely thrilled!

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[River cruise]

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[River cruise]

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[Justin steering the boat]

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[Lesser adjutant storks]

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[Brahminy kite]

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[Cockles]

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[Dried prawns]

After the river cruise, we had lunch at Ai Tee Seafood Restaurant. Since a visit to this area is not complete without sampling the seafood, we indulged in some fish and soft-shell crab.

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[Deep-fried soft-shell crab]

After checking-out of the guest house, we stopped at the Selinsing Charcoal Factory on Jalan Gula not far from the guest house. We left smelling a bit like bacon!

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[Mangrove tree trunks to be made into charcoal]

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[The kilns]

Heading back to Penang, we made a final tourist stop at the Aitong Coffee Mill in Taiping.

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[Coffee beans]

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[Antong Coffee Mill]

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[The Antong giant coffee cup]

Overall, the roadtrip had a mix of what the kids and adults enjoyed. We have to admit that what is educational is not always exciting, e.g. the salted duck egg factory elicited the familiar "now that we've seen it can we go now" response. Anyhow, we think the kids enjoyed the river cruise and the "blue house" best on this trip.

Kuala Kurau Roadtrip: Day 1

We went on a short road trip from 16-17 December 2017 to Kuala Kurau.

We left Penang just after 10am on 16 December 2017. Our first stop was the Universiti Sains Malaysia Engineering Campus in Nibong Tebal. It is a beautiful and green campus with lots of birdlife.

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[Bart at the USM Engineering Campus main gate]

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[USM Engineering Campus greenery and the pond]

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[Blue-tailed bee eater at the USM Engineering Campus]

After lunch, we look the scenic route to Ban Pecah. The area is famous for paddy fields just next to the sea, and the unique erosion prevention structures.

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[Family photo at Ban Pecah]

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[Inter-locking concrete erosion prevention structures]

We arrived in Kuala Kurau town around 2.20pm and headed straight for the Joo Hong Chan salted duck egg factory. They weren't making any salted eggs when we arrived but we saw the various equipment to sort the eggs, prepare the mixture of clay and salt, and coat the eggs with ash. They are ready to be eaten after curing for about 2 weeks. As we were leaving, a forklift was loading a lorry with boxes of salted duck eggs. We were told that there were about 30,000 eggs shipped out that day.

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[Duck eggs]

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[Sorting machine]

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[Clay and salt mixture]

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[Ash-coating machine]

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[Salted duck egg]

Next, we crossed the river over to Bagan Seberang and headed to an unassuming village stall selling the famous prawn fritters of Kuala Kurau. With clockwork coordination, a deep ladle is coated with batter, filled with a mixture of chopped turnip, chives (koo chai) and prawns, and topped with another coat of batter. The content of the ladle is then deep fried to golden-brown and crispy perfection. Delicious!

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[Prawn fritter ingredients]

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[Fritters-a-frying]

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[Fritters all done]

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[Kuala Kurau prawn fritters: Delicious!]

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[At the Kurau River riverbank at Bagan Seberang]

We stayed at My Home Twenty One Guest House in Kampung Leang Seng, off Jalan Gula. Formerly part of the surrounding oil palm plantation, the hosts built a number of chalets and a cafe around their old village house. We checked-in to our 2-room family chalet which comes with extra open-air rooftop space. The place is really a hidden gem. The cafe served food and drinks at reasonable prices and bicycles were available for a ride-a-round. The children fondly calls the chalet the "blue house" for obvious reasons.

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[My Home Twenty One]

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[[My Home Twenty One: Family Chalet]

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[My Home Twenty One: Original village house and cafe]