“Let’s go to Sekinchan”, Jac said to Jeannie and I. “They have the best curry mee.” My immediate thoughts, “all the way to Sekinchan for curry mee?”
“It’s one and a half hours drive away”, I said.
Jeannie: “Yes. It will be exciting. We can go see the famous padi (1) fields. There are travel documentary films made about Sekinchan and its padi fields.”
“Yeah, yeah; let’s go”, said Jac. “We can go this coming Saturday, she said.” “It will be fun”, she continued.
It was Thursday, 2 days from Saturday when this suggestion was brought up. Even if I didn’t want to go (which I didn’t); these two ladies had two days to work on me to get me to go. Sigh! Padi fields, muddy, water clogged, mosquitoes, insects….
Met with Jac at her place at 9.30am. From them, we got in her Porsche Macan for the drive up to Sekinchan.
We got onto the NKVE highway, drove North and got off at the Sekinchan exit. From, there, it was an area we had not been through before. We got on another highway heading towards Kuala Selangor. It was like visiting a whole new world of living, an area dotted with people living along the way, passing through towns more like villages upgraded to tiny towns.
We crossed several bridges over rivers and by time we got to town, we were greeted by a fairly long jam. Jac was a bit flustered by the jam, couldn’t believe it for a small town.
Based on the information from travel bloggers; this place that sells that “famous” (I didn’t want to use that misused 6 letter word again but had to to emphasize how famous this was) curry mee, closes for the day at 11.30am.
We got to the market place just in time for the last bowl of this “famous” curry mee. To be shared between the three of us. I didn’t think it looked that extra ordinary to be famous. Last bowl left was because the whole market place closes for the day around that time. Jeannie and Jac tried this curry mee and thought it to be ordinary.
I had conlo mee with wanton soup. The conlo mee had a nice presentation to it, different from most others. It tasted quite nice, too.
I think the curry mee was meant to be famous in Sekinchan or the best that Sekinchan had to offer.
We decided to drive around town after brunch in search for a preserved calamansi “what-cha-may-call-it” lime with sour plum, which is supposed to be good for sore throats. It seems the calamansi juice that is sold in Sekinchan is really good. This refreshing drink of sweet sour plum and calamansi juice is a refreshing drink on its own, too. You can drink it either with hot water or as a cold drink with ice cubes.
We drove all round town, to the medicine halls and sundry shops, but could not find it. Until we came across this shop that sold cookies, snacks etc.: “Sekinchan Kayapo”.
This shop looked good from the outside. Its inside was even better. It is a restaurant in the evening because it has tables and chairs inside, as well as outside. It had a nice setting.
Once we were done with shopping, we headed to what Sekinchan is most probably best known for: its padi fields. As we were coming into Sekinchan earlier on in the day, we could see the padi fields to the right of us.
The padi fields were in a nice shade of green. We don’t know at what stage of growth this padi was at before harvest. We spent a few minutes there, then decided to head back home. Though there was a bustling fishing village nearby, it never crossed our minds to go there.
I found it an interesting thought that the people here, in Sekinchan; are in most ways happy with their way of life. Kuala Lumpur (KL) is the nearest city to Sekinchan even though it is some 90 minutes away. The Sekinchan-ians don’t seem to be attracted to KL. Maybe, it’s good to know that KL is nearby whenever it is needed as a getaway.
Sekinchan is a small town located in Sabak Bernam, Selangor, Malaysia. Sekinchan is Chinese for “suitable for planting“. It is a lively fishing village and is one of the major rice producing areas in Malaysia. Wikipedia
Padi (paddy – Oxford langauges spelling) is rice stalks before harvest. Oxford languages states it as (i) “a field where rice is grown”. (ii) rice before thrashing or in the husk.
The swim race season takes off from the starting blocks again this weekend. Jeannie and I, having spectators’ front row seats in front of our big computer screens, watching Laura (1) and Millikin university swimming team race; will be upping the ante in our “Go Laura GO!” cheering campaign this year.
Watching a sport live on a big tv screen is nothing new. In 1999; we were at the Sepang Petronas Formula 1 race. In that race, we got to see Michael Schumacher (2), Mika Hakkinen, Eddie Irvine and Rubens Barichello race.
That whole weekend was an enormous fanfare of excitement. Jeannie and I pitched our place on the small hillside at the last few corners of the racetrack at the back of the grandstand. We laid out a mat and used two large umbrellas to shield us from the blazing sun. We enjoyed the aerial display of the Malaysian air force’s F-18 Hornets, Mikoyan Mig-29s and Sukhoi SU-30s. Simply outstanding. There was a race of wannabe racers in Proton Satrias. Then, followed a motor parade of the Formula 1 drivers taken around in vintage cars for a lap round the track.
Malaysia’s hosting of the first Formula 1 race took place after that. It started with the formation lap where all the cars did a lap around the track with the safety car leading in front. Then, they took position on the grid. The 5 starter lights went out and the race began.
Soon the cars made way around the track and came up to our section where we were sitting. We knew they were coming because their engines were so loud that they muted the sound of thunder. They were gone like a flash in the pan, all in a brief few seconds. Then, we had to watch the rest of the lap on big monitor screens until the cars came up in front of us the next lap and all the following laps until the end of the race.
It was a 56 lap race. So, if the cars were in front of us for about 5 seconds, it would have meant that we got to see the cars live in action for 5 seconds x 56 laps = 280 seconds or 4 minutes 40 seconds only. That was the last time we watched the race at the track. Needless to say, the 4 hour traffic jam getting out of there, helped cement our decision.
The weather which threatened with rain clouds to wet the whole of Petaling Jaya in the morning, looked like it was clearing up quickly as we started our journey south of the border (♪♪South of the border, down Mexico way♪♪ – remember that old song?) of Selangor to Malacca.
The drive on the highway was smooth, despite fairly heavy traffic. Our ride was in our friend’s Porsche Macan. The car was powerful, fast but the ride was very firm, so much so that the step count on my Samsung Watch 4 Classic read every tiny bump as a step walked. The firmness is expected of this sports car.
We entered Malacca through Alor Gajah and was in the city centre in no time. We came to Malacca to have authentic Portuguese food. So, where do we get authentic Portuguese food? Why, the Portuguese Settlement, also known as St John’s village; of course. The Portuguese Settlement is home to the “Kristang” people, more popularly know as the Malacca Eurasians. We made our way there in no time at all.
A huge disappointment. At 1.30pm, all the restaurants were closed; the earliest was only going to open at 4.00pm. It might have been their “siesta” time. We wondered if they followed the habits / traditions of Portugal and Spain. (3).
We asked a lady who was outside her house just next to the “Portuguese Square” where we could find authentic Portuguese food for lunch. The Portuguese Square is a building in the Portuguese Settlement. This “square”, houses shops all round the square perimeter of the building; the centre of it is where cultural shows are performed, with patrons of these restaurants and shops sitting at tables there to watch these shows.
We were famished as we had worked up an appetite all the way down to Malacca. The lady whose name was Ann, directed us to go to the end of a road, two roads behind where we were now. “You go to the last house at the end of the road and say Ann sent you”. We asked if it was far from where we were now. She said the exercise will do us good, that we can’t drive there as the roads were too narrow.
So, off we went, in the hot, blazing Malacca sun. It was not that far, we reached there in about ten minutes.
Tommy Savage (that is his real name) and his sister, Jenny (4); greeted us when they saw us and invited us in their home. In typical Kristang / Malaccan Portuguese Eurasian fashion; they went into overdrive with excitement and friendliness. They were in the business of selling pickles. They brought out mango, fish and fish roe pickles; all going for RM15 per bottle, cinchalok (5) and home made wine.
Jeannie and our friend sampled the fish roe pickles and before I could say anything, Tommy poured a glass of the homemade wine for me to try. I tried to say “no” but the glass was shoved in my hand and he said, You must try”. I drank it. It was fruity with some amount of alcohol. Jeannie tried some, too. Made from “pulut hitam” or black glutinous rice. The taste was quite nice and light. They did not have any of the wine to sell as the stock they had was being shipped to Johor (the southern most state of Peninsula Malaysia).
Tommy and his family were very gracious. They even took us of a short tour of their long house, which seemed to be 2 or 3 houses joined together. They had many dogs all around the house. Tommy said it was a necessary security as theirs was the last house before some open land filled with tall grass and then the sea. Their family have owned that land for hundreds of years.
We bought some bottles of pickles and a bottle of cincalok, then, made our way back to the SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle).
By now, we had given up on the idea of Portuguese food and decided on some nyonya food. Jeannie knew of a restaurant that served some of the best nyonya food in Malacca. Opposite the entrance into the Portuguese Settlement, is a little shack-like restaurant that is rumoured to serve the best nasi lemak in Malacca. But it opens only from 4pm – 7pm, daily. We’ve been there once before with Laura, when she was in Malacca to compete in one of the national swimming championships.
We headed to “Nancy’s Kitchen” – the restaurant which was just a few kilometers away. When we arrived there, the restaurant had a long waiting queue. We were not going to wait and started walking to other restaurants around the area.
We came to this restaurant called “Face to Face Noodle House” (6), that served freshly made Sarawak conlo mee. Simply delicious. This restaurant is a few doors away from Nancy’s Kitchen.
Every ingredient in the meals served, seemed to be well balanced. We enjoyed lunch. It was worth the trip to Malacca.
After lunch, we went back to Nancy’s Kitchen to buy nyonya cookies.
Then, we did a short “ronda-ronda” of the famous Jonker Street (Malaysians like to go to all those famous famous places and restaurants. Don’t know how they became famous but if someone said so, then must be true “lah” (7) ). We visited all the surrounding attraction sites, stopping by at several more shops along the way to buy more cookies and snacks.
We started our journey back home at nearly 4.00pm, feeling satisfied that we got some good food. The irony of going to Malacca and having Sarawak food. Malacca is an interesting place for great food, a good getaway for relaxation and lots of sight-seeing activities.
As for The Porsche Macan, priced above the budget of most. Should you get one if you had the money? If you want brand, then yes. Porsche is race bred. Explains the very firm ride. If you are a young family, you may look at other options with a more comfortable ride.
This Saturday morning (today), Jeannie and I will be going up North-West to a town for an often talked-about, famous (that “famous” word again) curry laksa. Stay tuned for a write up on it.
Laura Kristen Atkinson, a state swimmer for Selangor, Malaysia before relocating abroad for her tertiary education.
Michael Shumacher did not win that race. He won his 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th world titles from the following year onwards.
Paolo Pinto, Few people in Portugal actually take a «sesta» (siesta is a spanish word). When they do, it’s after lunch, some time between 1 and 3 pm. Unlike Spain, where shops and businesses usually close in the early afternoon, in Portugal lunchtime is short and there is no time for a nap, even in the hottest months. April 12th, Quora
Jenny Savage, Tel: +60142651989; Portuguese Settlement, Malacca, Malaysia