Monday, December 18, 2006

Ikan Patin @ Some Jerantut Restaurant

Conducting a site visit to Jerantut is one of the activities which is not exactly our favorite. To begin with, our base is in Lipis. We have to drive to Jerantut town, then from town take another 45 min drive towards Kuala Tahan, which is Taman Negara in layman's terms. Yes, you can now get to Taman Negara by bus, car or 4WD. The road to Kuala Tahan is not the most pleasant to drive to, the view is constant, Left and Right you get Kelapa Sawit, bottom your legs and top the sky. The roads are often bumpy and winding. Potholes fill up most of the roads as we also share the same road with the lorries who transport wood out of these jungles. More often than not, these lorries are overweight.
There is this feeling though, that going to site feels longer to reach than when we come back. My gut instinct tells me, that when we go to Kuala Tahan, we are going uphill. So the car takes a longer time and we strain the engine a lot more. We can always check on the river levels at Sungai Pahang at Jerantut Ferry and compare with the river levels at Kuala Tahan.
Travelling around Lipis, Jerantut, Temerloh and Raub, you will always have someone come up to you and recommend you the famous Ikan Patin dish, cooked with tempoyak (not a nice dish for someone who doesn't like Durians). I love it. This is supposedly the authentic masakan kampung. My favourite is still Nasi Kerabu, Lontong and Nasi Lemak. These fancy dishes like Ikan Patin Masak Tempoyak are all fake patins I call them, not ORI wan. These are all Patin Sangkars, reared in cages by the river, their meat is often Soft and of without texture.
I get the feeling that these people have some obsession with this fish, and before long, I sense they could fish Patin to extinction as they did to Ikan Kelah ( another very very rare river fish). So after these site visits, we would always drive down to Jerantut town and help ourselves to Patin Tempoyak and Patin Curry. Whenever we enquired, Patin Ori is always sold out. We are talking about fish which costs RM80-110 / kilo. The Kelah which is almost extinct now, although still available on your table goes around at the rate of about RM300 / kilo.
Just drive around town and stop by any Malay stall, you are sure to find Patin Masak Tempoyak, and make sure to ask the mak cik for extra Tempoyak paste ( it looks like yellow mustard paste) yum yum !! This is the place I went to recently , Lot 20, Jerantut, don't really know where it is, but apparently quite a well known place in Jerantut, owned by some local orang besar here.