Monday, 7 September 2009

Back to Pekan Gurney, Sitiawan Part 1

Having left the sanctuary in Si Kao, I'm heading back home to my roots-a little village known as Pekan Gurney in Sitiawan, Perak. I've not been back for awhile, good to be back to have a look.
The main occupation of the people of Pekan Gurney is mainly farming related - particularly rubber tapping and palm oil plantation. People here do get up very early to tend to their plantation, as early as 3-4 am in the morning. I also noticed there are many new 3 to 4 stories high building sprouting everywhere in this sleepy town. What is it for? It's not a residential home but a home build for swift to nest. Of course the intention is to harvest bird nest (rather the saliva of swift) which is an expensive elixir in Chinese medicine. I think the building of these sanctuary for birds in residential area is not very hygenic - birds dropping, stale drinking water container could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and etc. I do hope the local council should not approve building of such places in residential areas.
Here's link to what is this industry about....

I went to Sitiawan and the road system had changed quite a bit, many has only one way street access and road has been widened so much to acommodate for the heavier traffic seen in the last decade or so. But thank goodness with all these changes, I can still find my favorite Cheong Cia Gong Pian (hot biscuit) shop beside Wisma Ganda.

Worker busy rolling the dough

On weekends this favorite stall will have bee lines que of eager customers waiting to eat this snack. Many customers will buy in quantity of 50 or 100 pieces at a time. The biscuit is being stuck and cooked in a urn pot oven fueled by charcoal.

The worker checking on the gong pian in the urn pot oven

There are few varieties to the gong pian biscuit. The basic is with onion and some pork belly fats, some with pork and onion, pork onion and sesame seed and etc. My all time favorite is onion and pork belly fat. It is so aromatic once out from the oven, and is so crispy. This is definitely a Sitiawan Foochow food heritage. Not many places in Malaysia actually have this snack, as far as I know only Sibu in Sarawak where there are also Foochow communities and Sitiawan. I haven't eaten these gong pian for the last 4 years or so...... what an enjoyment of every bites.
My favorite Gong Pian

I have the opportunity to visit local ''pasar pagi'' (morning market) to see what is on sales especially the seasonal produce. To my surprise, there are some end of season durian for sales. Of course it's not the top end XO or D24 or Sultan durians but rather the "kampung" durians. Anyway I still bought some back to savor. There were quite a bit of tropical fruits on sales like the hairy rambutan, a sweet tasting fruit with white flesh lonkong, jackfruit equivalent of cempedak and etc.

Local juicy and sweet watermelon

Petai- Smelly bean, a favorite if fried with sambal belacan


Jackfruit's brother-The Cempedak

Hairy Rambutan-so sweet and juicy

Durian-King of fruit-smell like hell taste like heaven

It was indeed a nice trip to be able to savor fresh tropical fruits I don't get to savor back in UK. :-). So it's makan time!!!


adel said...

ah..good to be updated through here on my childhood days :) u back in cambridge already? i'm just ready to get going tmorrw..

fen said...

oh...I miss the gong piah...

Christine Toh said...

Hi Adel,

Yep am relieve to be back to cool Cambridge. It's too hot and humid in Malaysia and Singapore. Nevertheless enjoy the great makan in Singapore.If you're into dim sum should try Peony Jade restaurant at Keppel Club or Tung Lok restaurant (though their outlet at Market Square has been closed down for renovation).

Christine Toh said...

Fen, make a trip to Sitiawan when you're back in Klang. Just 3hrs away from Klang :-)