Sunday, March 2, 2014

2D1N @ Bentong

It was a last minute decision to make the trip and to stay a night in Bentong.

Bentong is about an hour and a half away from PJ. What a difference an hour and a half away can make. There was no sign of haze nor the lack of water!

We reached Bentong at around 12. Passed by with the promise to return Kow Po ice cream shop. We wanted to fill our tummies with salty Hokkien noddles from SHL Restaurant first. 2 rounds in and out of Bentong, 3 pairs of eyes spotted and exclaimed together 'There it is!'. Unfortunate for us, SHL was closed as they had to get ready for a function that night. (I found out later that a close friend of my FIL attended that function - what a small world!)

So we asked the uncle to suggest a place to eat. He told us to turn round the corner to the food court and eat something there. From the looks of it local people in Bentong don't really eat out much and even if they do, there is nothing famous about the place that they eat!

Anyways, we took his advice and headed to the food court. We literally stood in the middle of the food court wondering what to do! It's one of those places where everything is written in chinese and you have to sit at the proper coloured table to eat whatever that coloured stall is serving!

A little marketing goes a looonnnngggg way. We were approached by a lady marketing her beef noodles. And since she enticed us with a nice little cooling spot away from the hot encroachment of the zinc-roofed  afternoon heat, we had our lunch from her stall. It helped that she also had a super keep-me-awake drink called 'keng chou ping'. Really 'keng chou' - with milo, coffee and tea and nicely 'ping'!
The noodles however was mediocre. Nothing famous indeed!

Ice cream to the rescue, all will be good. So, when Mr Driver Simon asked if we were going for ice cream, I looked at Mr and Mrs Driver with big 'are-you-kidding-me-don't-say-no' eyes! Between 4 adults and 4 kids, we had one scoop of durian, pandan, banana, vanilla, peanut and 2 choc scoops. I think I missed some flavours....but the gist of the matter was we had all flavours available and were playing rotating cups.

Checked into Tras Mutiara for the afternoon siesta. Not much of a siesta. For me, after that much of ice cream, the room we checked into was too small. I pity the neighbours down the hallway who must have been rudely awaken by my hyper kids! My daughter was screaming her lungs out singing 'rasa sayang hey'!
But for RM118, the 1 queen and 1 single bed was a tight squeeze. Next time I will throw my girl in her own bed!

Seems like a waste to sleep - that's not what holidays are for! :) We left about 1 hour later to buy the famous Bentong kaya and pineapple puffs. And then a visit to Chamang waterfall.

Mokie Homemade Pastry was a fun search. First locate Kg. Kemansur (general direction being left of Hospital Bentong). Once you are in Kg Kemansur, take the first left to Lorong Aman 1. And then just look for house no. 5. Alternatively you can call 09-2224825 for directions. I am not a fan of kaya puff but it was good. I gave the packet I bought away to my inlaws and parents. I kept the pineapple puffs for myself though. And it was so good. So good that I could eat 2 at a go without feeling sick! And by evening time, I didn't mind even eating another one! That is my measure of how different it was. The pastry is so different and not the least thick or oily! And you can really taste the pine in the apple! :) The address above is her house address. While the ladies ate and decided how many packets to get, the men tasted and played with the dogs. The kids? The 4 of them were on their fours playing with the dogs. It was trouble enough getting them to leave the dogs behind. And instead of saying bye to the aunty, they were busy bye-ing the dogs.

Next stop was to Chamang waterfall. It was in some parts up such a tight squeeze we were worried how cars could pass us if we encountered one. Thank God we didn't have to find out. And it was lovely at the waterfall. We didn't bring any extra clothing but it was a good think at least for my girl I always carry a change of clothes for her. I didn't have the heart to tell the kids not to get wet. So, I left the trouble of cleaning up to later.

The water was cool and clean. And like all waterfalls, remember to always play at the highest point. I can't imagine the folks playing downstream. We saw ladies washing their hair in the waterfall. My daughter pee-d near the waterfall (not inside coz she felt strange doing it inside the water). Hope the sun dries it up before it ever makes its way into the water! At any rate, the kids loved playing with the waterfall to bits. My son has no care in the world for what happens next. Just play first as long as mummy says 'yes'.

After that it was 2 very wet and 2 partially wet kids back to the hotel for a bath.

I am not sure what time we eventually went out for dinner. Mr Driver took us for a unintentional tour into the kampungs of Bentong. We were on a hunt for dinner. We ended up while the sun was still in the sky at a place which looked kind of famous (in that there seemed to be many people eating there). It was quite a long wait but eventually the food came and it was satisfactory. Cost us RM100 for fish slices, pai kuat + kai wong, vege, tofu and omellete.

After that we went for a walk around Bentong town. Saw the famous Wan Tan mee shop we intended to have breakfast in. The kids had a ride courtesy of Mr and Mrs Driver on those 'things' that cost 50sen. It was so hilarious when the kids were on that ride and cameras went click click click!

Remembering that on a holiday the last thing you should do is sleep. Also given the fac tthat the hotel room was nothing to shout about, we went to a supermarket! Crowded like mad, we still parked and bought some things. We are crazy people!

Had yau char kwai (I mean the Driver family had that and tricked my kids into helping them finish it) and coffee/tea. Hubby and I had ice kacang and cendol. We had all this in Old Town White Coffee which was nicely situated next to our hotel. According to Mrs Driver, not something they will ever buy again. Good thing we don't stay in Bentong. Loads of great yau char kwai in PJ!

We went to bed around 11pm. Good thing I was dead tired else I would not have survived the tsunami that was my daughter's kicking! Hubby was like the great wall of China. Kick also won't budget. Son was peacefully sleeping on the other single bed. I was so tempted at 3 am to wake everyone up and rearrange the bedding!

Mr and Mrs Driver had the authority to have us up and AIS by 7.30 am. We were a littel bit late due to a last minute request from princess of all girls for milk! AIS by 7.35 am, we headed for the famous wan tan mee. AND MY OH wonder there are things people blog about and there are things which no one mentions at all.

Yau char kwai definitely NOT mentioned. Wan tan mee definitely mentioned!

Kopitiam Yuen Kee hosts the stall Hooi Kee which makes the best wan tan mee in Bentong! It's near the market and it'e really the place where you have to be there before 8 to even get a table to sit. We aren't talking school holidays here but seriously, the whole Bentong town must eat here everyday!

Worth mentioning in Bentong are the stuffed things - stuffed ladies fingers, stuffed brinjals etc. The stuffing is nice with a blend of spring onions, without it being over powering. And the tau pork is so different - thin and not too much in a mouthful. Very nice - mentioned in blogs many times.

The wan tan mee literally bounces in the bowl. Springy and the small portion is quite big for a before 8 am wake the stomach up meal. Coffee in this place is also quite good.

Went for a Sunday morning market stroll after that. Bentong sells quite strange wood related items. Some acting as incense, tongkat ali in the original form and of course canes galore! The Bentong ginger of course selling at RM16-18/kg. I didn't see any tofu. We bought some kok kok sweets in little packets. So great being a small town market! Those large cookie jars still hold fascination for the parents generation!

At around 9, we headed back to the hotel and got ready to make our descend back to our hazed, water stricken town.

Another pineapple tart after lunch with my nice cuppa waiting for me.....that's Bentong at it's best.