There are a lot of places to be explored in biggest state in Peninsular Malaysia, Pahang. Serene beaches that double as sought-after surfing spots during monsoon season, theme parks, lush jungles, wonderful waterfalls and quaint fishing villages, to name a few. Another vibrant scene that’s gaining its name in the capital Kuantan is the café culture. travel360.com went on a road trip recently to hunt for some good eats you definitely want to try:
Opened in 2013 by Farisha Mazlan, Kula Cakes’s star attraction is the delectable mango cheesecake. The tiny corner shop remained a local secret until Malaysian celebrities like Hanis Zalikha and Siti Nurhaliza started posting great reviews on social media. Farisha, an architecture graduate, mother of one and an avid surfer, said demands for the cake created by herself and business partner Aman Ishak started pouring that they had to open a bigger kitchen a couple blocks away from the establishment instead of baking from home. The cafe’s beautiful al fresco dining area certainly adds icing on your cake. Pun intended! Other bestsellers include the pavlova, peanut butter pie and signature drink Pandan Cooler. Kula Cakes also takes pre-orders for events like weddings and you can never go wrong with its rose-shaped mango cheesecake. Although there is no immediate plan to branch out of Kuantan, you can get the cakes delivered all over Malaysia.
on Instagram for details.
Operating hours: Tuesday-Thursday – 1pm-9pm;
Friday & Saturday – 1pm-10pm
Sunday – 11am-7pm
What started as an indie record store filled with limited edition vinyls, CDs and even cassettes now comes with a fancy coffee machine, great food, a mini library as well as an event space for music and arts. The cafe oozes vintage vibe as Arif Aizuddin Ramly, who used to manage a number of indie bands, fills the café with collectibles from his years of touring the world. So, if you want to relax with your favourite book or even enjoy a plate of nasi lemak and keropok lekor (local fish crackers) after a day of exploring, this gem of a cafe nestled in the row of old shops a couple of blocks away from Kula Cakes is the perfect retreat. For music lovers who want to enjoy live performances by both up-and-coming and established bands, keep an eye out for announcements on Coastal Store’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
Operating hours: Thursday – Tuesday : 12pm – 12am
Rasa Sayang Coffee Shop
Located in a quiet neighbourhood, Rasa Sayang Coffee Shop opened its doors earlier this year by Aman, a Kuantan-born surfer who also founded a restaurant in the city called Lila Wadi. The cafe settings may look simple, but the highlight lies in the menu. Unlike your typical neighbourhood coffee shops, Rasa Sayang serves a variety of international coffees and modern-day superfoods like smoothies and salad bowls, perhaps to balance out the caffeine and special desserts like the Musang King Durian Cake. Aman said other than mainstay dishes like pies and the Malaysian breakfast toast, the kitchen staff is constantly busy experimenting with unique dishes and drinks inspired by recipes of the world. Definitely worth a visit!
Operating hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 4pm – 12am
It’s not often that one would come across a hipster cafe by the beach (at least not in Malaysia). Spelled from the east-coast dialect which means ‘wave’, this rustic-looking cafe on the favourite Malaysian surfing destination of Cherating Beach is not only environmentally friendly – zero plastic policy (even the straws are stainless-steel) and weekly beach clean-up programme – it also serves healthy superfoods you only get in the city. The first thing you’ll see upon entering OMBOK is the plethora of surf collectibles, gear and merchandise because the owner, who is also the chef, Fairus Ahmad, is yet another surfer on this list. Although OMBOK operates on a two-man team — Fairus and his barista Tengku Shah Redza Tengku Shaiful Zahrin — visitors, mostly holiday-makers and surfers from around the globe, never seem to mind that their meals take a bit of time to be served. Asked if he gets overwhelmed with orders especially during monsoon season, Fairus said he simply leaves a ‘chef’s gone surfing’ sign and hits a few waves before working on the orders again. “I guess this place is so laid-back even the guests don’t mind waiting,” he quipped. How’s that for the best job in the world? BTW, OMBOK also serves as an off-season surf school – pretty cool in our book.
Operating hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 11am – 5pm
When it comes to getting a satay fix, the people of Kuantan would likely point to Sate Zul’s direction. Operating since 1974, this restaurant serves a number of meats like chicken, beef, mutton, venison, rabbit and beef tripe, to name a few. With a few branches and kiosks across Pahang, one of the directors of the family business, Mohd Faidzal Azli Mohamad Foad said the original restaurant in Teluk Sisek Kuantan would serve over 10,000 sticks of satay a day, enough proof for the taste scale. Other dishes to try: nasi lemak, nasi dagang (coconut rice served with curry and various condiments), bakso (soupy noodle dish with meatballs) and stuffed tofu.
Operating hours: Daily: 5pm – 1am
Ana Ikan Bakar Petai
Malaysian-style ikan bakar, or grilled fish, is always a must especially in coastal towns. Located 10 minutes away from Teluk Cempedak beach, Ana Ikan Bakar Petai serves massive crowds thanks to fresh daily catch it gets from the nearby fishing port. Resident fish expert Muhd Fairuz, nicknamed Acong, said the patrons’ favourite choice of fish are amberjack and John’s snapper, adding that stink beans works wonders in eliminating the fishy smell. Whether it’s sweet, sour and spicy, steamed or grilled, every meal gives a kick that would leave the plates empty in minutes. In case you’re overwhelmed with the long list on the menu, simply complement the fish with rice, kangkung belacan (water spinach cooked with shrimp paste) and a big serving of fried squid. Since the restaurant gets quite large crowds, especially during school holidays, do come early because things may start running out by 9pm.
Operating hours: Daily: 5pm – 12am
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