Travel Diary (Part 7) – Kampung Life at Sukasuka

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Sukasuka Day 2

I’m not the only city slicker in the group; our driver Tony struggles to deploy his mosquito net correctly and by the next morning his bed looks like a scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Shaukani snapped this picture of our driver Tony's bed at dawn, looking eerily like a scene from a UFO abduction movie.

Shaukani snapped this picture of our driver Tony’s bed at dawn, looking eerily like a scene from a UFO abduction movie.

Breakfast is a traditional Malay offering – nasi lemak plus different types of kuih including onde-onde, which in Perak is known as buah melaka (melaka-fruit kuih). Like the melaka fruit, the onde-onde served are tiny compared to ones I’m used to, and completely addictive. I’ve noticed on Sukasuka’s Facebook page that they host a significant number of European and North American guests, so knowing how Westerners like cereals and toast in the morning, I ask Pak Aziz whether he adapts the menu depending on the guests’ backgrounds.

“They eat what we eat!”, he says with a big smile. This appeals to my take-no-prisoners sensibilities where my food is concerned.

Pak Aziz is knowledgeable about lots of things and can pretty much talk about any topic at length. I show him a picture of the mysterious tree at the Gaharu tea plantation where I’d had the strange experience; he takes a look and immediately recognises it as a pontianak tree – if you know Malaysian folklore you’ll know a pontianak is a female vampire. This just gets better and better.

 There are a variety of activities to keep us busy during our stay – boating, fishing, walks through the village (Kampung Kelantan) within which Sukasuka is located, relaxing by the lake and just hanging out at the main house and playing traditional games and chatting.

The highlight for me though, is the cooking lesson with Mak Asiah on our second day there. The dishes are unique even to me – Chicken Rendang using a local mushroom (cendawan sisir – it looks, per its name, like small hair combs – nothing like your typical mushroom) instead of coconut. This Perak-style chicken rendang is a real eye-opener – if ever you make it to Sukasuka you absolutely have to persuade Mak Asiah to teach you how to make it.

 And then there’s sticky rice steamed in periuk kera – literally “monkey pots” – which are a type of pitcher plant. We also cook pajeri nenas – a pineapple curry dish, using pineapples from Mak Asiah’s garden. The dishes form part of what we end up having for dinner that night. Noah’s not generally averse to a bit of chilli in his food but even the dishes I think might be too spicy for him are gorged down with enthusiasm, so much so I’m finding I have to go back for third and fourth servings. It’s almost embarrassing.

Cooking lesson with Mak Asiah
Chicken Rendang with Mushrooms
Sticky Rice in Monkey Pots
Pajeri Nenas - Pineapple Curry
Mak Asiah
Getting ready for cooking lesson
Sarong night

By our second day we’re comfortable wearing sarongs and young Azam shows us some creative ways to fold and use it; it reminds me of those viral videos that show you how to turn a shirt into a dress or a scarf into 20 different outfits – I think he’s onto something there and suggest he should make a YouTube video on 50 uses for a sarong.

Day 5 and it’s time to leave Sukasuka with a lifetime of memories. These two days have completely changed my beliefs about travelling in air conditioned luxury and leave me toying with the idea of one day moving to this part of the world. You know how sometimes you come away from a trip feeling like you need a holiday to recover from your holiday? Sukasuka might be the answer.


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Tour guide – Mr. Shaukani Abbas (two-time winner of Tourism Malaysia’s Tour Guide of the Year Award) Some photos in this series are courtesy of Mr. Shaukani.

Tour Designer – S. Diana Nasution

Tour Company – People Express Travel, KL

Tour Package – 6D/5N Culture, Heritage and Nature Delight
People Express Travel logo

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