Categories
Tourism Malaysia

Lost “Kuih” of Yesteryear

Growing up, I always looked forward to Hari Raya for a few reasons, one of which was the yummy ‘kuih’ or cookies only available during this festive season. My favourites included cashew cookies, peanut cookies, ‘bahulu’, makmur cookies, batang buruk and putu kacang, to name just a few.

 

‘Bahulu’ and makmur cookies were an extra favourite because these were made by my great-aunts who made these the traditional way, and each year they had orders by the thousands from their regular customers.

As time went by, most of these cookies are now easily and readily available, but after tasting one or two, the quality of the cookies sold now are a far cry from the traditional ones from yesteryear.

One of the reasons may be due to the fact that the ingredients used have changed and been altered to suit the nature of the business these days where it is required for the cookies to have an extended shelf-life, and of course, cost.

While this is all good, and it helps create some awareness of some of the long-forgotten cookies, we can’t help but yearn and mourn for the loss of the tradition of baking cookies just a few days before Eid, while families come together and gather for the big celebration.

 

Perhaps in this fast-paced world, we compromise on tradition in favour of speed and convenience. However, of late, there are still a few people who try and uphold the old traditions, and hopefully this practice will catch on and be a ‘trend’ amongst the newer generation who might be interested in reviving and maintaining a bit of their cultural heritage.

 

Article source: http://blog.tourism.gov.my/feed/

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

LIFE LESSONS IN RURAL MALAYSIA

As city dwellers, we are used to demanding for things to be done “yesterday.” We are so used to listening to the scripted customer service dialogue at fast-food counters that we’ve learned to tune it out. We are used to the mass-produced “nutrition” in polystyrene boxes. And no matter how much we “communicate” on our hi-technology gadgets, truthfully, we are actually distancing ourselves socially from more meaningful inter-personal connections.

Seriously, city life has become the bane of our existence. And I, too, have become a sad part of it! But at least I have learned to recognize it and done something about it.

My pill for life – which I pop whenever I feel I’ve become too stressed out, too deep in work, too “out of the loop,” irritated at the world – is a quick getaway. By that, I mean “get-away-as-far-from-the-city-as-possible-and-do-it-fast!”And it’s not just to any fancy resort of a certain star-rating. These places I go to are hardly rated at all. In fact, they’re not made of glitzy perfection; they don’t have turn-down service, butlers lurking at every corner nor room service.

But that hasn’t stopped them from offering the warmest and most welcoming hospitality I know. I’m talking about the more than 3,000 kind families scattered around Malaysia’s kampungs who have graciously opened up their homes to total strangers like me looking for a genuine Malaysian experience. They call it the Malaysian homestay programme. I call it first-class hospitality.

In my escape of the clutches of city-life, I have ventured to several Malaysian kampungs that have taken part in this national tourism venture, meant to give the rural population a piece of the tourism pie. The programme has actually been well-received and today, 15 years after it was first introduced in Pahang, there are more than 200 villages listed under the programme.

They have all been pleasant experiences to remind me that a satisfying life is more about being in the present moment rather than in the pursuit of the next promotion, the next big gadget, the next sleek car.

I felt this most when I was making my way to Kampung Pantai Suri in Kelantan. We had to abandon our car for a more eco-friendly transportation. From the Kok Majid jetty, we glided slowly down the Sungai Kelantan estuary on a long boat (it was the only way to get to the village). Along the way, we passed sandbanks, wooden bridges, and the sight of young boys diving off a tree into the river in wild abandon. The splashes, their gleeful laughter, the friendly teases exchanged among them reminded me of a life less cluttered.

But it’s not just the children who know how to enjoy life. Even the elder folks have a deep sense of appreciation for the present. They know that they’ve worked hard, and they know that their bodies deserve a good respite. Despite the urban dwellers high-flying life in the cities, it is these folks in these older parts of Malaysia who lead much more enriching and full lives.

At the end of my stay at Kampung Pantai Suri, I was rushing off to board the boat home. On the way, I passed by a group of elders joking and laughing away under the shade of a huge mango tree. It was high noon and the heat was searing but the shade beneath the tree was a cool place to relax. These folks were sitting around hacking away the tops of coconuts to get to the juice and fleshy insides.

They saw me in my rush and called me to slow down and join them. Not wanting to miss my boat, I hesitated, but finally, their jovial demeanour and cheery calls won me over. “If you miss this one, you can take the next boat,” they said. So I sat with them as they selected a coconut for me to drink. It dawned on me that we sometimes lead our lives with clock-work precision that we forget to stop and drink the coconuts, so to speak.

This was as natural as it gets. The wind to cool me off, instead of the air-conditioning; a leafy, shady tree overhead, instead of a zinc roof; and fresh coconut juice in my hands, instead of those mocktail glasses with the little umbrellas stuck in them.

The kampung folk’s hospitality is legendary in Malaysia. When you check in at one of the homestay kampungs, you’ll notice that it’s like coming home to your grandparent’s home for Hari Raya. Some people may find the idea of staying at a stranger’s home rather awkward, but whatever they say about Malaysian hospitality being genuine and warm is true – in fact, they could possibly put public relations agencies to shame! It doesn’t take long to bond and you’ll immediately feel like part of the family. Many “host families” and their guests have parted ways in tears at the end of their homestay duration. I know I have…!

Another thing in abundance here in these traditional villages is time. Things around here move at a slightly slower pace than in the city. An entire morning can be dedicated to the preparation of lunch. On one occasion, the womenfolk who were neighbours with each other congregated at their friend’s kitchen and commenced their preparation of the day’s meal. Amid their twittering gossips, teasing banter, the peeling, cutting and slicing of a variety of herbs, leaves and spices, and the steaming pots of what-not from the stove, lunch slowly took on the form of a feast! Just another example of teamwork at its best!

Despite being in a kampung, you’d be surprised at the variety of things to do. Each kampung is unique, has its own traditions and cuisine heritage (depending on its location in Malaysia) and lifestyle. Some of the villages are set near jungle, others may be by the sea or river. Some may be surrounded by paddy fields or fruit orchards.

A host family at Kampung Haji Dorani has their own paddy field and during the harvesting season, I had a chance to help them out in gathering the crop. I considered it as my little contribution to alleviating world hunger, and took great pride in it! They also happened to have a small fruit orchard and many an evening was spent on the patio of the house peeling away the skin of the mangoes to reveal the juicy, golden flesh beneath. There’s just something so satisfying about picking your own fruit, harvesting your own rice and catching your own fish for the night’s dinner. This is exactly what they’ve been saying about the farm-to-table concept, and there I was living the life!

The afternoons are usually my favourite time because that’s when I get to spend time with the village kids. At Kampung Batu Laut near Banting, Selangor, the children would rush down to the beach after school and practice their sailing skills. These kids are being groomed to be the next sailors and sea captains and some of them have excelled so well as to compete in sailing competitions worldwide!

Despite the age difference, there’s a whole lot to be learned from these kids — about creativity (fashioning kites from bamboo) and teamwork (building a raft made of old tires). It was way better than those corporate training sessions in hotel meeting rooms!

The Malaysian homestay experience may have some similarities with the bed and breakfast concept in Europe, but I dare say that we’ve perfected it. It’s not only a retreat for those wanting to escape the city, it’s a lesson in life about humanity, patience, and for us, Malaysians, our heritage and traditions.

So if you find yourself stuck in life, corporate meetings, a 4×4 cubicle, traffic jams, or whatnot, perhaps it’s time to take a little drive back to our kampungs and learn to enjoy the simple pleasures of life again.

Article source: http://blog.tourism.gov.my/feed/

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

TOP THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR DURING HARI RAYA

When the takbir is heard echoing from far, we can immediately see smiles on the faces of everybody. That marks the end of one month of fasting during Ramadan, and Syawal is knocking on the door, ready to be celebrated. Eid Day, or commonly known as Hari Raya comes once per year and is a day where families and friends get together and celebrate with various types of traditional delicacies after a full month of fasting in Ramadhan.

For first-timers to Malaysia, you might be wondering what to do on Eid Day. Well, read on to know how Malaysians celebrate the day and the iconic things not to miss during Hari Raya.

HARI RAYA OPEN HOUSE
It’s a common thing for fellow Malaysians to invite friends, neighbours, even strangers to their houses to celebrate together, especially on the first day – this is in the spirit of the Malaysian Open House. It’s a great way to try out the typical Hari Raya dishes and join in the fun. Keep an eye out for Open House invitations by some popular local personalities, Government agencies, and even the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

FOOD AND DELICACIES
Rendang, Ketupat and satay are the signature dishes of Hari Raya. It would not be Hari Raya without these dishes. Rendang is a spicy meat dish made from meat, coconut milk, chili, ginger, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, turmeric and onion (shallot). Each state will have a slightly different version of the recipe (and claim theirs to be the best!). For example, chicken Rendang from Negeri Sembilan would look and taste differently from chicken Rendang made in Kedah.

Ketupat is a type of dumpling made out of rice packed inside a diamond-shaped pouch of woven palm leaves eaten with a thick and spicy roasted peanut gravy. You can also eat ketupat with rendang.

Another type of ketupat is made with starchy glutinous rice wrapped in daun palas into a triangle shape. These are usually found in the northern region of Malaysia.

Satay is a seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with Kuah Kacang. It is eaten on sticks and served hot right after being grilled, garnished with ketupat, cucumbers and onions.

SWEET TREATS
Every household celebrating Hari Raya will definitely have some Kuih Raya to serve the guests. There are a variety of Kuih Raya and snacks, but all are bite-sized sweet delights. Our favourites are the pineapple tarts and London almonds!

Cakes are also served on this day to sweeten the celebration. There are a few signature Hari Raya cakes that are so special, they only make an appearance on the day of celebration.

Kek Lapis or Layered Cake is also typically served during Hari Raya. It is especially popular in Sarawak where a whole table is often dedicated to displaying all the different and colourful varieties.

Also famous in Sarawak is the black-as-soot steamed Hati Parek cake made of black raisins, caramelised brown sugar and lots of eggs.

FIREWORKS – AN ENTERTAINMENT FOR ALL
It’s habitual for Malaysians to celebrate Hari Raya with one of the most compulsory things: fireworks. Don’t be surprised to hear fireworks going off or see them in the sky, it’s a sign that Hari Raya will be tomorrow. As for kids, you will see them lighting up sparklers, ground spinners, rocket-style Thunderclaps and others to welcome the celebration.

FASHION
What is celebrating Hari Raya without wearing new clothes? For Malays, we have our own traditional clothing worn during Hari Raya, which is Baju Melayu (for men) and Baju Kurung (for women). You can find these two traditional clothings in many different colours and designs. Visit shopping malls during the month before Hari Raya and you will see all the trendy designs. If you wait right till the last day of Ramadan to shop for your clothes, you may even get them at deep discounts.

HARI RAYA MALL DECORATIONS
Hari Raya is a great time to head down to the nearest shopping centre and witness the most amazing mall decorations. Shining lights, decorative walls and attractive scenery will get you in the festive mood! In fact, the malls in Malaysia will often try to out-do each other with their mall decorations and festive activities so shopping in Malaysia is definitely not dull!

Article source: http://blog.tourism.gov.my/feed/

Categories
Travel to Melaka

IBIS MELAKA AT JALAN BENDAHARA IS OPENED FOR BUSINESS



Ibis Melaka has opened for business. Soft launch still but will officially opened for business before Hari Raya.
This is the latest International hotel chain to open in Melaka.





Ibis Melaka is located at 249, Jalan Bendahara, 75100 Melaka. Mobile: ++60126626368
email: [email protected]
Website: https://www.Facebook.com/ibisMelaka/

Article source: http://tourism-melaka.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

Categories
Wonderful Malaysia

Hari Raya Puasa (Hari Raya Aidilfitri)

The Muslim village in Malaysia and all over a universe applaud Hari Raya Aidilfitri, or also famous as Hari Raya Puasa, to interpretation a Ramadan holy month of fasting. Hari Raya Aidilfitri is regarded as a happy jubilee as it outlines a person’s delight and success on fortify and self-resistance that symbolizes excellence and rebirth.

It is required for Muslims to quick during a month of Ramadan, where they have to say their self-resistance in gratifying their simple needs and urges between morning compartment sunset. They refrain from food and drinks, as good as from smoking and passionate relations. It is also critical that they keep their minds pristine and not bay any ill thoughts or intentions during this holy month.

The fasting doesn’t deter a celebrants from creation preparations to acquire Hari Raya Aidilfitri. The fad builds adult approach before a initial day, where families start to emporium for new clothes, delicacies and goodies and allow their home with new seat and emblem weeks. Brightly-colored lights, in a common hues of green, yellow and gold, can be seen adorning a mosques and a offices of supervision agencies.

When a new moon is seen on a dusk of a final day of Ramadan, a fasting duration comes to an end. Such sightings are done by eremite officials during several hilltops via a nation and when a crescent moon is seen, a following day outlines a initial day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

On a morning of Hari Raya, a group perform prayers during a mosque while children ask for redemption from their parents. The tiny ones will also be given ‘duit raya’ or gifts of income in tiny immature packets. While a initial 3 days of Hari Raya are customarily indifferent for throwing adult with a family, many families reason open houses via a month where friends and neighbors of other races are invited to share conversation, delight and a accumulation of cookies, candy and normal delicacies.

hari-raya-aidilfitri-1

Ketupat is one of a must-haves during Hari Raya. It is served together with beef rending (beef baked with coconut divert and malay spices) together with satay (skewered grilled meat). Other tasty delicates are such as lemang (glutinous rice baked in bamboo tubes), serunding (dry coconut boiled with chilli) and curry chicken.

hari-raya-aidilfitri-2

hari-raya-aidilfitri-3

In Malaysia, a initial dual days are regarded as open holidays though many will take a week off for this celebration. Those operative in a cities will lapse to their hometowns (balik kampung) and reunite with their parents, kin and aged friends in a jubilee of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, withdrawal a cities still and dull during a gratifying deteriorate (usually there are really good airline deals in a weeks/months before a Balik Kampung period). Although a cities start to be populated again during a finish of a week, a jubilee doesn’t finish there as one month of Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations follow a month of fasting. People continue visiting any other’s homes and throwing open houses until a festivities approaches a finish 30 days later. It isn’t mostly that festivities final for a month long, so take a event to locate adult with friends and family while indulging in a several delicacies!

Share
More associated articles

Article source: