Day 2: In Kuantan for a meeting

I woke up early feeling tired but determined. Late last night, Edah talked about frying rice noodles for breakfast but I told her that I wanted to have nasi dagang Ubai for breakfast. Since it is a working Tuesday, we had to go there early so as to avoid the jam.

Ubai is located on the left hand side of the road if you are travelling from Kuantan to Pekan. The nasi dagang stall is located at a corner on the left hand side of the road and opposite a Petronas station. However, the stall has been demolished and the operator will be moving to a newly constructed row of shop houses which have yet to obtain the CF. So, for the time being, they operate from makeshift tents but the nasi dagang is still as awesome as ever.

We each had a plate of nasi dagang and we brought home with us nasi minyak, laksam and pulut palas. What is the hype about nasi dagang? Literally translated, it is known as traveller’s rice. This dish originated from the state of Terengganu. The rice itself is a combination of Siamese rice and glutinous rice but you need to get the proportion right. The rice is soaked and steamed and then coconut milk is stirred into the hot rice. You also need to mix in thinly sliced shallots and halba or fenugreek. The rice is then served with a coconut-based gravy with pieces of fish in it. Most operators now serve the gravy with pieces of chicken in it. The gravy is the test of the dish. You have to get it right since it is the crowning glory of nasi dagang. You also need to serve a mild cucumber salad with this dish. My late mum cooks her own nasi dagang and I have helped her prepare it so many times that theoretically, I know that I can cook the rice but definitely not the gravy. Just last week, I stumbled upon my late mum’s recipe and I guess I need to have a go at this.

Well, I had my plate of nasi dagang with a hot steaming mug of teh tarik or pulled tea.

Nasi dagang and teh tarik – the plate is layered with paper since the operator has limited access to water supply

Image may contain: food

Nasi dagang and teh tarik from the same stall in March 2017 when they were operating from their stall

An assortment of kuih for breakfast

With our packed food in hand, we went home. Sue has always liked nasi minyak and Azwa now likes the ayam masak merah that goes with the nasi minyak. She calls it ayam orang kawin since her first encounter with this dish is at a wedding reception! You fry the chicken pieces and then stir them into a tomato sauce based gravy. You need to add chilly paste if you want some heat in it. I had another plate of nasi dagang and laksam and pulut palas.

Laksam

We spend the rest of the morning at home and Edah had to do her weekly shift duty at the retiree’s association. She came back with beef soup, kerabu sayur, ikan sumbat and sambal tempoyak. We cooked rice and after a quick lunch (since I’m still full from my 2nd breakfast), I left for my meeting at the Pahang State Library in Jalan Kemunting, Kuantan. For those who are familiar with Kuantan, Jalan Kemunting was a housing area for government servants and the new state library is built on the site of a house we stayed in for about 9 years. Five of my siblings were married there.

The meeting that I attended was the Pahang State Library Board Meeting and I represented Persatuan Pustakawan Malaysia. This meeting was chaired by the Menteri Besar of Pahang. It was short and sweet and we were then taken on a tour of the new state library. I was totally blown away with the decor of the library and can’t wait to explore further when it opens to the public on 4 September 2017. The Book Cafe is breathtakingly beautiful and we were served tea there. I had a bowl of laksa utara and after a round of good byes, headed home.

Here we go

With the MB of Pahang and some of the Board members

Giving the Jawi script prominence

Sneak peek – you have to wait till 4 September 2017 for the full view

Looking forward to this

Laksa utara at the Book Cafe

Entrance to the Book Cafe

We stayed in for the rest of the day and had leftovers from lunch for dinner. It was an early night for all of us. Tired but happy and looking forward to tomorrow.

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