I mentioned that I had a weekend getaway last month, taking advantage of the long weekend where everyone seems to be on holidays which are from Christmas to New Year’s day. I took two days off in between and voila, I have a break of 6 days consecutively (including weekends). So a bunch of us took the opportunity and brave the traffic and the crowd to Port Dickson, down south in Negeri Sembilan, not for the beach but just for the sake of getting out of the city.
Why not the beach? Oh well Port Dickson is a famous beach side stop for most locals in KL and its neighbouring towns, so much so that now it is to the brink of I-would-not-swim-in-it-for-the-life-of-me level. Anyhow, as it is just an hour drive from the city, many still return there for a short urban escape. There are still some preserved beaches by resorts that are still beautiful; I had a team building once from my previous company at one of the posh resorts where the sands are still soft and the sea is still blue. For most of the other commercial hotels though, the sands are black and the sea is of deep murky all-sorts-of-color, and that is when I have not even talk about the common beach yet. Let’s not go there, literary or not. So if you ever plan to come to Malaysia and her beach, try Pulau Redang instead; I went there for a holiday once and I felt that I had been to a place where people featured in postcards. Its difference with Port Dickson was like heaven and hell. It does no justice to Malaysia tourism if you come to Port Dickson for the beach. Let Port Dickson stay as our locals’ desperate getaways or just lazy holidays.
Since it is non-touristy like, there are still many locals that are still around, who should be smart enough to stay out of the beach. So early in the morning, J and I walked out of our Glory Beach Resort, down the street to the nearby shop houses in search for food. Beside the main road, before the shop houses, we found a stall selling our Malaysian most famous breakfast, Nasi Lemak (fatty rice), which is actually rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves and usually served with sambal! The stall was run by a little family of grandmother, daughter and son. I was so excited to have this food find, as it is rare for us to eat at these kinds of stalls, where the food is home made by a grandmother through her years of well experienced cooking. The food would be true Negeri Sembilan (the state) style, untainted by advancement or fusion of any kind. This would be just the way I like it.
I ordered Nasi Lemak with something very similar to Ayam Masak Merah (red cooked chicken) which is actually chicken cooked with chilli and tomato. The rice is fluffy, not superbly lemak (fatty from the coconut milk) yet still very aromatic of coconut and pandan leaves. The sambal was really spicy; a great kick for a chili lover like me and the chicken was fantastic. I am not kidding you here. It had been such a long time since I get to eat good home cooked Malay food.
As for J, he ordered the same as mine with extra of Beef Rendang. Oh wow, a taste at his rendang and I instantly regretted not ordering it as well. It was thick, full of spices and with that something extra I could not seem to identify. So I stole a few more spoonfuls and then I bit into it, cockles! Yes, this rendang is cooked with cockles and I was surprised it went so well with the rendang as well as the chicken. Whether this is the Negeri Sembilan style, or south style, I wouldn’t care less now as I know where to find it the next time. Or maybe I can use this idea if I ever cook up another beef rendang.
Finally we finished off with a nice kopi tarik, prepared the same was as the ubiquitous teh tarik, where the hot drink is poured from cup to cup, pulling (tarik) it really high each time, to cool the hot drink to the right temperature while creating a frothy drink. We had this courtesy from the ‘son’. Certainly different from the usual Chinese coffee shop taste, but still gives a good kick and a nice variety to my usual coffee regime.
The stall by the road side,
Before the Glory Beach Resort
Batu 2, Jalan Seremban
7100 Port Dickson