Unforgettable catfish meal at Mak Alang’s stall
Mak Alang’s tasty servings of ‘ikan sembilang’ earns her a place on Perak tourism map.
CONTINUING my quest for good makan, I ended up near Kampung Matang Gelugor in Taiping, Perak.
Now, what brought me to Perak’s historical town?
I was there to join the Taiping Foldie Fans (TFF) and the Ipoh Foldies (IF) on a Kayuhan Silatulrahim (Friendship Ride) over a weekend . During the get-together, Megat Tok Chiru, an old-timer with the Taiping cycling group, mentioned Kari Ikan Sembilang (spear-tailed catfish curry) (top pic).
“Eh Saman, engkau nak makan kari ikan sembilang kat Kuala Kurau?” (Saman, do you want to try the catfish curry in Kuala Kurau?)
(“Saman” is the nickname given to me by Megat.)
Megat also invited me along with my cycling buddies Johnny Ng, Mohd Radzi Md Noor, Yun and Mr Cheng who came from Kuala Lumpur to join the ride.
I agreed to Megat’s suggestion and made the 25-minute ride to Kuala Kurau, which is near Parit Buntar.
“Tempat ni memang best la, tapi kita kena pergi awal, gerai tu kat tepi laut (It’s a good makan place near the seaside),” said Megat.
We gladly jumped into his car and were promptly taken on a whirlwind tour of Taiping and Kamunting.
Mid-way through the journey, our host came up with a better idea.
“Ahhh.. Tak payah gi ke Kuala Kurau, kat Matang pun ada gerai kari ikan sembilang (We don’t have to go t o Kuala Kurau, there’s a stall in Matang),” he said.
Earlier in the day, we were taken along this route by Jamell Chiru, Megat’s good friend.
From the Matang-Port Weld junction, we took a left turn to Kampung Matang Gelugor and ended up in Kampung Matang Pasir.
The makan place in question was Gerai Mak Alang (GPS N 04°46’21.2” E 100°40 ’48.4”), loca ted along Sungai Batu Gantang.
At fi rst glance, I thought this was just an ordinary stall.
But upon a closer look, I learned that Mak Alang’s kari ikan sembilang is on the state’s tourism map.
There’s even an article that appeared in StarMetro’s northern edition that was written by my colleague in Ipoh.
Without wasting any time, Megat ordered the kari ikan sembilang as well as ikan sembilang goreng (curry and deepf ried catfish), a plate of egg omelette and a serving of sweet-and-sour crab.
When the dishes finally arrived, I was impressed with the servings.
Our kari ikan sembilang came in two claypots.
Megat had ordered four pieces of the catfish and they turned out to be larger than expected.
The fish curry was very tasty and I ended up having two plates of rice.
Sweat was streaming down my face as I downed the crispy-fried catfish served with sambal belacan.
I was told that the sweet and fine-tasting flesh of the catfi sh was attributed to absolute freshness.
The cook said the fish is caught live from the tanks and cooked to order.
I would rate Mak Alang’s kari ikan sembilang an eight out of 10 on the Samoscale, while the fried fish version got a mark of seven.
The bill for our meal came up t o RM118 for five people.
> Mak Alang’s Kari Ikan Sembilang stall is located in Kampung Matang Pasir. To get there, you will have to take the PLUS North-South Expressway and exit in Changkat Jering. Since it is featured in the Perak tourism map, you can also get directions to the shop by utilising the road map.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement of Star Metro.