Fried Chillies was in Kelantan over the weekend. And we began our weekend with a bang, by hanging out at picturesque Pantai Cahaya Bulan, and discovering the delicious local snacks and delicacies being sold along the beach. Bereh boh!
A salty breeze, a lovely view, and some rockin' good food.
"Sedap dih maké kat pantai ni!" was what we exlaimed at Pantai Cahaya Bulan, Kelantan as we had some awesome beach-side treats. Fresh seafood, cool sweet ice cream and refreshing fruit and drinks. It was an excellent way to start a weekend in Kota Bharu!
Pantai Cahaya Bulan used to be known as 'Pantai Cinta Berahi, which, translated, literally means Beach of Amourous Love. Somewhere along the way the local government decided the name was a bit too, uhm, suggestive. So lo and behold, the name change took place.
It's a pretty, picturesque beach, although not for swimming, sadly. Due to erosion (we think), the authorities have fortified the beach with big rocks. Besides, the sea over here is pretty rough as well. But to chill out with your friends and family and enjoy the view, it's just about perfect.
A hot day at Pantai Cahaya Bulan should begin with a yummy, local ice cream cone.
Get your ice cream cone with a smile!
This uncle sells it for only satu riya' (RM1) per colourful cone with a double scoop. He said he's been selling ice cream for quite some time. He also didn't want to smile to widely for the photo because, uhm, he had no teeth. But he was very amiable and friendly. Beneath the late afternoon sun, it was a perfect cool-me-down.
If you're feeling hungrier, of course, there are various stalls and vendors plying their trade at PCB. There's a man selling sate ikan, grilling them on the spot on his grill-bike!
A grill on a bike. How cool is that?
But we wanted something to enjoy on the rocks while watching the sun go down. One stall sells large, fresh clams that you can either buy raw, or ask them to steam for you. They steam it plain, letting the natural flavours of the clams shine. A portion is about RM10. The makcik selling it wanted us to take a photo of the clams steaming, but when she lifted up the steamer... it was empty! "Buat malu ambo je!" (How embarassing to me!) she laughed.
Fresh clams ready for the steamer
The clams were meaty and tender. Served hot with a sweet chilli dip, it was a lovely snack to have by the beach. As a side, we had some excellent jagung bakar, which is about RM2 per cob of corn. Sweet corn, grilled and brushed with margarine was a great accompaniment to the clams. Coconut juice rounded up our beach-side minum petang.
For something fruity, this makcik below sells jambu batu. For five big pieces it only costs RM1! "Satu riya' je?" we asked, astounded, as RM1 only gets you one piece back in KL. "Ha la, ni Kelate, buké Kolumpo! Mughah lagi sini!" (Of course, this is Kelantan, not KL. Cheaper here!).
"Jambu Kelate mughah!"
Then the sun set and the air cooled down, and darkness blanketed the sky. Beneath the stars, have another Kelantanese seafood specialty: Maggi Ketam! (RM20). We had the one at Wan Zainab Seafood, one of the restaurants located along the beach. You won't miss this one, as it is directly in front of a gazebo. The place is more popularly known as 'Kak Ni'. The crabs they use are guaranteed fresh... as they are still crawling and snapping with their claws when brought to the kitchen!
Crabs still snappy and crawly!
They cook the crab with the Maggi seasoning and their own mix of spices. As for the noodles, they briefly immerse it in boiling water just to soften the exterior. Then, when the crabs and broth are cooked, it is poured over the noodles. The result is perfectly al dente noodles, and a curry broth flavoured with crab. It was a pretty special dish. The fresh crab was sweet and briny, a nice combo with the savoury and spicy broth.
This could be one of the best uses of Maggi Mee in a recipe...ever!
We thought it was a pretty excellent way to begin our weekend in Kelantan. If the food along this stretch of beach was already this good, we couldn't wait to try out what delicacies Kota Bharu has to offer. Stay tuned, folks!