What To Eat In Tanjung Sepat : Handmade Pau, Coffee, Cendol and Snacks

At first glance, Tanjung Sepat looks like any sleepy fishing town – boats docked by the river mouth, narrow roads flanked by wooden homes, quaint flower gardens and vegetable patches. Venture further in to Lorong 4, however, and you’ll find a bustling area where you can find all sorts of delicious delicacies, from handmade paus to local snacks.Villagers have made the area into a food street of sorts, with their homes doubling as food stalls. Some offer seating, while others sell snacks that you can get for takeaway.

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Tanjung Sepat is famous for its pau (buns) – and there are two popular places to get them. One is Mr Black Handmade Pau, which is closer to the centre of town; the other is Hai Yew Hin, located at Lorong 4. The shop is a nondescript wooden building, but you can easily find it by looking out for the long line of patrons spilling out onto the road. Their signature is mui choy bao (pork with Chinese mustard), sang yoke bao (pork chunks with egg), vegetable bun, as well as various baos with sweet fillings such as red bean.

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Tried the sang yoke bao when I got home; it did not disappoint! I enjoyed its light and fluffy texture. The egg and pork was filling as well.

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If you want to have your buns fresh out of the steamer, you can dine in at the coffeeshop across the road. They also sell loads of snacks such as fried crab rolls, shrimp fritters and fishballs.

HAI YEW HIN 

Address: 405, Lorong 4, Off, Jalan Besar, Pekan Tanjung Sepat, 42800 Tanjong Sepat, Selangor (opening hours: 1PM – 6PM (Mon-Fri), 10AM – 6PM (Sat – Sun) 

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Next to the pau place is a store selling pastries such as tarts and biscuits, which are made fresh in house. It’s easy to be enticed by the smell of baked goods as you walk past the shop, and you’ll get to see the store assistants in action as they expertly pack up kaya puffs, lou por beng and egg tarts neatly into plastic containers.

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Another must-try in the area is coffee from Kwo Zha B. This small but charming kopitiam is run by 3rd generation coffee roasters, and is quite popular – there are pictures of food show hosts and celebrities adorning one side of the wall. The coffee beans are locally sourced from a nearby village and roasted with sugar, margarine and salt – creating a deliciously smooth and rich flavour.

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Perfect for a hot day! You can add a scoop of ice cream for extra oomph. Kwo Zha B also sells their coffee in powder form so you can make your own drinks at home.

KWO ZHA B

Address: No. 15, Medan Selera Lorong 3, Tanjung Sepat, 42800, Selangor (Open daily 10.30AM – 4.30PM) 

 

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If you still haven’t gotten your fill of cold desserts, walk a bit further to Jalan Sekolah’s Hin Leong, which has great cendol. They offer several flavours, including the traditional one with green cendol and red bean, as well as pumpkin and durian.

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The inside is air conditioned, so you can escape the sweltering afternoon heat. There are other snacks for sale as well.

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The traditional cendol is good, and the chewy rice flour jelly has a satisfying texture. If you like flavours like salted caramel, you’ll enjoy the pumpkin cendol, which has a salty aftertaste that balances surprisingly well with the rich coconut milk. I like that they serve the cendol in coconut husks – more sustainable and environmentally friendly, less mess and easy to clean !

HIN LEONG TRADING

Address: 359, Jalan Sekolah, Pekan Tanjung Sepat, 42800 Tanjong Sepat, Selangor (Open daily 10.30AM – 5.30PM)

Kuan Wellness Eco Park, Tanjung Sepat, Selangor

With state borders reopened and regulations eased, the government has urged Malaysians to help boost domestic tourism by travelling local (following SOPs, of course)! Heeding this call, the fam and I decided to go for a short day trip to Tanjung Sepat, located on the fringes of Selangor, to feast on seafood and check out some attractions. I’ve been here a few times (you can read about what to do in town here) – so I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are some places I missed out on, like the Kuan Wellness Eco Park.

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The park was founded as an ecotourism attraction, in addition to being a birds nest business, which is a booming industry in Malaysia. In Chinese culture, birds nests created by swiftlets (using solidified saliva) are considered a delicacy, and they are eaten for their purported health and beauty benefits.

The main building is a 3.5-storey swiftlet house, the ground floor of which doubles as a visitor centre. Traditionally, swiftlet nests are collected from caves, but these days, swiftlet houses (rumah toko) are becoming increasingly popular. These are enclosed concrete structures meant to emulate the dark, warm environment of a cave.

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The museum is not big, but the exhibits are educational. There’s a mini theatre where you can watch a documentary on birds nest harvesting, how to differentiate the different types of birds nest, what to look out for when picking out one for consumption, etc.

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Structure of a rumah toko.

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Running a swiftlet house is more than just having a building – there are multiple factors to consider including pest, water quality and bacterial control. Pests such as rats and certain insects, as well as predators like owls can snoop in and destroy the swiftlet population, so keepers have to be vigilant to ensure that the swiftlets are protected, there is no contamination and it yields the best results. Typically it takes six weeks before the nests can be collected, as you can’t harvest them if there are young swiftlets within.

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Samples of birds nests. Sometimes you get stuff like faeces, feathers, mold, broken nests, etc.

Top grade birds nest are usually pure white, with minimal breakage and contamination. Previously, ‘blood’ nests – nests that are tinged red – were much sought after, as it was believed that the red colour came from the blood in the saliva of exhausted swiftlets hurrying to finish their nests.These blood nests fetched a very high price, sometimes much more than regular birds nest. We now know that the red likely comes from exposure to nitrites (in caves or the swiftlet houses), and can actually be harmful.

I mean the idea of eating bird saliva is probably quite gnarly to some, but why anyone would wanna eat bird blood vomit (and pay 10s of 1000s of dollars!) is beyond me lol.

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Bottled products for sale. Birds nest is usually sweetened with rock sugar. Sometimes they can also include other ingredients such as jujubes (red dates).

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Despite its purported health benefits, science has never really backed birds nest as a health food, although those who swear by it will tell you otherwise.

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Aside from the museum, there is also a mini zoo of sorts within the park, which has a RM5 entry fee. I do not recommend visiting this, as the enclosures are poorly maintained and the animals are unkempt. In fact there was a dead bird in one of the cages, and the other birds were taking turns doing something we shall not write about in this family friendly post @-@. The caretaker removed the poor thing after my mom alerted him, though.

 

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Rabbit enclosure. You can go in to feed / play with the rabbits. They looked dirty and some of the ones that were in cages had sores and wounds, with patches of fur falling out. Not good. 

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At least the fish looked okay.

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A nice building for photos. The inside has a small shop selling organic products. Next to it is another building with a nostalgia theme, selling snacks and children’s toys.

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Cafe area where you can order birds nest soup and other snacks.

 

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An outdoor display of vintage cars.

Overall, Kuan Wellness Eco Park is a place you can consider visiting if you’re in Tanjung Sepat, although I wouldn’t drive all the way here just for it. The birds nest exhibits are interesting and educational, but the mini zoo needs some serious upkeep.

KUAN WELLNESS ECO PARK 

408, Tanjung Layang, Kampung Batu Lapan, 42800 Tanjong Sepat, Selangor

Open on Sat / Sun only : 9AM – 5PM

kuanwellnessecopark.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things To Do in Sungai Pelek & Tanjung Sepat, Selangor

Located far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the small town of Sungai Pelek, some 20 kilometres from the Sepang International Circuit, seems like an unlikely place for tourists. The town, which grew from a Chinese new village (the Chinese-majority settlements set up by the British during the Malayan Emergency, to combat the spread of communism), is often overlooked in favour of the more popular Tanjung Sepat and Bagan Lalang beach nearby – but it’s sleepy backwater vibe, with vintage shop houses and quaint kopitiams – has its own charm. Not to mention a few gems. Here are a few things you can do in the area:

Tuck Into Scrumptious Seafood

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For its size, Sungai Pelek boasts a good selection of seafood restaurants, thanks to its close proximity to the river and sea. It is also more reasonably priced compared to restaurants in Tanjung Sepat, which have jacked up prices because of tourists.

A good place for seafood in town is Cheng Kee Seafood : review here.

Visit A Dragonfruit Farm

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Sg Pelek is home to a number of dragonfruit farms. Not all are open to the public, but a short distance from town is Multi Rich Pitaya, which has a shop within the farm where you can purchase the fruits and their by-products.

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The shop is divided into an indoor / outdoor area. The setup is simple and laid back, and you might be greeted by the owners’ two pet chihuahuas as you walk in. The indoor part carries a selection of juices, distilled essences and enzymes – primarily from dragonfruit, but also other stuff like passion fruit, herbs + honey, and more.

We bought a bottle of dragonfruit enzyme to try. Because of the fermentation process, it has an alcoholic aftertaste  – kind of like wine, minus the bitterness. The owner recommends to drink a small cup each day, mixed with water, which is supposed to promote better health.

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Outside is where they sell the actual fruits, which come in varying sizes and ‘grades’. This section overlooks the vast dragonfruit farm.

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For those of you who have never seen a dragonfruit tree, here’s what they look like!

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Can’t remember the exact figures, but the fruits were pretty cheap.

Trivia: Did you know? If you drink a lot of dragonfruit juice, your pee becomes pink for a period of time! This is because of its rich content of betalains, a type of pigment that has antioxidant properties.

Buy Fresh Longan

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Also within town is Wan Tee Longan farm, which sells longan. Unfortunately during our visit it was not in season, and the owner doesn’t sell dried ones. Don’t let that deter you though – the shop has lots of other things for sale, such as fruits/vegetables, homemade pastes and cookies, and even some souvenirs.

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Gourd-shaped souvenirs + traditional Chinese remedies for cough

Visit A Mushroom Farm

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Drive 15 to 20 minutes away from Sungai Pelek, and you’ll come to Tanjung Sepat, a predominantly Chinese town famed for its fishing industry. There is a mushroom farm close to the coast, complete with mini museum where you can learn more about mushroom cultivation, as well as a spacious shop selling various fungi-related products.

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Buy Birds Nest 

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In Chinese culture, birds nests created by swiftlets (using solidified saliva) are considered a delicacy, and they are eaten for their purported health and beauty benefits. You can buy quality bird’s nest at Kuan Wellness Eco Park, a swiftlet farm-cum-eco tourism attraction. While you can’t enter the buildings where the birds nest, there is a small but informative visitors centre which details how the birds nest industry works, harvesting techniques, types of birds nest, etc. Next to the visitor’s centre is a mini zoo which charges a RM5 entrance fee. It is quite sad though as the facilities aren’t well maintained and the animals are unkempt (during my visit, at least). There is also a collection of vintage automobiles at the park’s entrance. Read a more detailed review here. 

Take A Walk Down Lover’s Bridge

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One of Tanjung Sepat’s most popular attractions is the “Lover’s Bridge”, which stretches around 100 metres out to sea. Parts of the previous bridge were made from wooden planks and had a quaint, rustic charm to it, but it collapsed several years ago. The new one is made entirely from concrete.

Buy Local Produce

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Right in front of the bridge is the Qingren Qiao (Lover’s Bridge in Mandarin Chinese) Local Produce Store, which sells everything from local and imported snacks to dried seafood goods. A section of the store is plastered with photos of famous local/Hong Kong/Chinese celebrities (Simon Yam included) who have paid a visit. Apparently fish maw (above) is a best seller here.

Take A Trip Down Memory Lane

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Just next to the store is a street-cum-outdoor museum, filled with nostalgic paraphernalia. Expect to find everything from old scooters to traditional Chinese wine jars, a sedan chair, flour grinding tools, rubber tapping equipment, shoulder baskets, and more.

The parents, who grew up in small towns, were more than happy to explain most of the items to this city kid lol.

 

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A mural fashioned after the famous Penang original by Ernest Zacharevic.

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Rubber tapping equipment, which the Dad was familiar with because my paternal grandparents used to work on a rubber estate. They’d leave early in the morning, while it was still dark – and it was dangerous because rubber estates were often close to jungles and there would be wild animals like boars, snakes and even tigers. It was a hard time and looking at these items, I feel thankful for their sacrifices to give the next generation a better life.

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Before plumbing, people used potties for their waste, and a waste collector would come by to pick up and dispose of your pee and poop.

Probably unimaginable to most of us urban folk today, but that was how people in my parents’ time lived, and the sad reality is that many poor people in other parts of the world today don’t enjoy the sanitation and hygiene we tend to take for granted.

Feast Your Way Through Lorong 4, Tanjung Sepat’s ‘Wai Sek Gai’ 

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Wai Sek Gai is a Cantonese term that translates to ‘glutton street’. Lorong 4, located within the Tanjung Sepat new village, certainly fits the bill, as the entire stretch (plus a few adjacent streets) features restaurants, eateries and food kiosks. You will find the Tanjung Sepat Pau (Hai Yew Heng) shop here, which is famous for its fluffy buns with various fillings. The mui choy bao (pork bun with preserved vegetables) is a bestseller and runs out fast. Also on this street is Kwo Zha B, which sells local coffee. A more detailed post on what to eat here

Getting To Sungai Pelek / Tanjung Sepat

Public transport is poor, and its remote location far from major cities means that taxis and Grab will be impossible to find. A useful guide on how to get there here. 

Alternatively, Waze to any of the above locations as they are available as destinations on the app.

Happy travels!

If you find this info useful, please support this website by buying me a cup of coffee! 

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Review: Cheng Kee Seafood Restaurant, Sg Pelek

Sungai Pelek, located about 20 minutes from the Sepang International Circuit, seems like an unlikely place for tourists – but that was what the fam and I were there for recently, to see what the small town had to offer. First order of the day – lunch! Owing to its close proximity to the river and the sea (Sungai Pelek literally means ‘weird river’ in Malay – a name attributed to a local legend where the river flowed upstream), there are several established seafood restaurants in the area.

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Cheng Kee Seafood Restaurant is one of the larger ones in town, complete with air conditioning so diners can eat in comfort.

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No question as to what’s popular here.

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Typical Chinese seafood restaurant interior : underwater paintings, red and yellow ingot decorations, red tablecloths.

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We ordered one of the house specialties – clams in superior soup. We were impressed with the size of the clams, which were much larger than the ones you find in city restaurants, and juicy to boot. The generous amount of ginger got rid of any unpleasant odours, while the soup was clear, peppery and sweet, thanks to goji berries.

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Perfect with rice and some chopped garlic + soy sauce.

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The stir-fried sweet potato leaves were crisp and fresh.

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Deep fried tofu, egg and fish paste cakes, which were light and fluffy on the inside. Tasted excellent when dipped into a side of chilli sauce.

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Last but not least, “salad” chicken – essentially fried chicken cooked with mayonnaise. The mayo wasn’t prominent, but gave the chicken a sweetish tinge. Meat was fresh and juicy and tasted homecooked.

All in all, it was a satisfying meal that ticked all the boxes! Pricing is quite reasonable as well.

CHENG KEE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

1416, Jalan Sungai Pelek, Kampung Baharu Sungai Pelek, 43950 Sepang, Selangor

Opening hours: Mon – Sat (dinner only, 5PM – 11.30PM), Sun (11AM -2.30PM, 5-11.30PM)

Phone: 011-2306 6880

 

Sun and Seafood @ Tanjung Sepat, Malaysia

My fam loves travelling – which is a good thing. Although we can’t always afford to go to exotic, faraway destinations, bwe make do with random road trips to interesting places nearby.

Tanjung Sepat is a fishing town, so it’s famous for it’s seafood. It’s pretty laidback, with a mainly Chinese population. The village houses each have their own design and characteristics, since they were built from scratch by the residents (aka what we Chinese call jo uk – the ancestral house). How often do you see gates and doors open wide without fear of crime? It’s  definitely not something you find in big cities.

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One of the attractions here is the Lover’s Bridge (Ching Yun Kiew). It stretches for about 200ms, half of which is concrete and the other half rickety wooden boards. There are lots of fishing boats with people living on them: you can see the pots and pans used for cooking strewn across the deck.

The bridge is also a famous place for young people to exchange vows of love, hence the name. The view should be really beautiful in sunset, but we were there for lunch so it was pretty hot.

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We were really lucky coz guess what? A week after our visit the rickety wooden part actually collapsed. A couple of assemblymen and gov people came to do site inspection and it just collapsed while they were all on it (too heavy maybe? Fortunately no one was badly hurt. :>)

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Fishing boats. With people living in them. They got TVs and stuff.

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Walked around for a bit after lunch. There were many stalls peddling all sorts of local specialties, like the dried fish and Tanjung Sepat buns (apparently they’re really famous for their vegetable pao!). I also saw some cute ice cream sticks made in little holes in a steel container. They had flavours like dragon fruit and passion fruit, but I went for chocolate. It melted really quickly and tasted like frozen Milo.

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And of course, one can’t go to TS and not have their famous buns. We got a couple to takeaway and they were really good! Soft buns with generous fillings.

Overall, a nice weekend excursion. it’s not fun to go to shopping malls all the time. So if you have time, why not visit Tanjung Sepat for some seafood and sun?