When you're in Kukup, the best things to buy are the local produce over there. I'll just ramble a little about each one of them to justify my love these things..
What to buy: Way before the colonialization of american cusine took over South East Asia, the locals already had their own version of potato crisps. And they are none other than Keropok Udang ( Prawn Crackers) or Keropok Ikan ( Fish Crackers ) .
They're a lot like potato chips except that they're made up of a heady mix of spices, fish (or prawn) and flour and dried in the sun before they're fried to a golden crisp.
You can buy the fried or raw keropok in Kukup . Of course, if you buy the raw version, you'll need to deep fry it to a golden crisp before eating it. If not, the locals will reckon you're a daft squid.The fish crackers at Kukup are simply the best. They're made freshly and most of them have that salty, briny, fishy taste that I love. I especially love the ones that have chilli in them.
What to pay: About Rm5 per pack.
Now I don't really know whether this will be classified as Extreme Cuisine by Jerry Hopkins ( Author of The Weird & Wonderful Foods That People Eat ) but it's still worth a mention. Yup, it's one of those wierd things you can find in Kukup.
What to buy: If you baulk at the idea of eating anything fermented, than this is definitely not for you! Peranakans ( Straits born Chinese) like myself, love this briny dip made of krill (shrimp) fermented in salt and cooked rice. This mixture is then left to FESTER for three to four weeks before it takes on a light pinkish tinge...
To eat it, served Cencaluk with sliced shallots, chilli and some lime juice. Its strong briny and fishy flavour is an acquired taste, but what a taste! There is nothing like it and nothing else goes better with it than fried fish.
What to pay: About RM2.50 per bottle.
Address: Any sundry shop at the water's edge.
Belachan is one of those things that merrily falls under my extreme cuisine category. Again, I don't know if Jerry Hopkins have tried some of these. But I got a hunch he would love it..
What to buy: Again, this is something that is definitely not for the faint - hearted. Belachan is a paste made of a dense dough and it is made by mixing salt and fresh water shrimp. The lovely mixture is then left to FESTER for many rounds before it is shaped into a dough like mixture and sold in cakes.
Belachan has a briny, fishy taste and more often than not, it has a putrid smell. Leave it uncovered in the fridge and you'll be blessed with a powerful pong for weeks to come. Nonetheless, belachan is a main ingredient in most Malaysian and Singaporean cuisines, many of us can't live without it.
For more on extreme cuisine, click onBpacker's Kukup page
What to pay: About RM2 a cake
I must confess to completely switching off when doing the obligatory "shop when you stop" at all the local art & craft shops that you get sucked into on most of these organised day trips by bus.
But I quietly followed all the other tourists around the showrooms and politely shook my head when asked to "buy this, you like for yourself?" by the ever attentive shop assistants that follow you around.
But this little business card holder caught my attention for more than just a fleeting moment and before long it ended up in a small plastic carry bag with the name of the shop all over it and me carrying it to the waiting bus.
The Chinese character inscription on the pewter plate means "Luck".
Address: Pontian Kecil (I think)
- Road Trip
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
Businessmen have always thought out of money-making ideas, and the owners of this restaurant were no different. Located at the entrance of the restaurant, the tid-bit stall sells everything from prawn crackers to sweets.
What to buy: I don't know if the items that they are hawking are any cheaper than those sold around Malaysia, but it was definitely more convenient for us to do our purchase straight after after seafood lunch. The owners have set up an area where you can pick up a mix and match of items for a pretty reasonable cost.
What to pay: You can buy three different tid-bits all for RM10.
Address: No 1 Kukup Laut 82300 Kukup Pontian Johor
Directions: Located at the main entrance of the restaurant.
Phone: 607-696 0216
Another side shopping that you can do at the restaurant is toy shopping. Don't expect high quality stuff, but knick knacks of China-made toys that Asian children would not mind playing. From toys that emit sound when knocked, to bags and soap bubbles.
What to buy: Depending on the toys that you are buying. You have small knick knacks of hairpins, to children's tricycles.
What to pay: It all depends on what you are buying. But, the prices of items sold there are quite reasonable.
Address: No 1 Kukup Laut 82300 Kukup Pontian Johor
Directions: Located inside the restaurant
Phone: 607-696 0216
The only row of shophouse stalls is on the left of Kukup's main road... There are shops selling all kinds of packaged processed seafood ranging from slated fish to keropok... There are also grilled squids and all kinds of tib bits as well...
And of course, there are numerous stalls selling the ever popular and noted pineapple that is the product of Pontian district...
While it is normal to buy local products, you have to ensure that they are actual local products... I bought some packaged grilled squid assuming that being squids, they must be local from Kukup as Kukup is a fishing village... When i reach home to savour the food, I just check the label and found that it was from Pulau Pangkor...
What to pay: The prices are not too cheap as they cater to rich tourists from Singapore and the mighty Singapor dollars...
Just when you think that Kukup wasall about fish farms and seafood, out comes a roadside stall that promises the best services among all shops. This particular sideshow allows visitors to buy pirated DVDs without the dangers of being caught out by Singapore Immigration. They will deliver directly to your home.
I'm not suggesting that you buy pirated DVDs from these vendors, but I thought that such a service was interesting to note. The stall is located along the road to the jetty.
It was quite nostalgic for Singaporeans visiting Kukup as sundry shops in Singapore have been modernised. Seldom do we see shops with a traditional sign board, red chinese lanterns, long light tubes and also, old school ventilation grilles.
What to buy: You can get just about anything from these sundry shops. From fruits, to ice cream and even baby diapers.
This is on of the sundry shops that you'll find in Kukup. So what's so special about this shop? Well, they generally sells about the same items, but what attracted e into this shop was how nicely the crackers (Also known as Keropok in Malay) were lined. Aren't I Crazy!!?!! You have the red ones, green ones, the elongated ones, and many more!
Our guide helped us to order this Kukup specialty. A pack of 12 crystal jelly cost RM6 and there are many different flavours. I was not really interested in eating these crystal jelly but thought that my family might like it.
True enough, my family finished everything and I received rave reviews for these crystal jelly, though these crystal jelly was not made by the original shop. The originator of the Pinfen crystal jelly, was by a lady called Auntie Tay Hwee Choo.
Address: KK 469, Kukup Laut, 82300
Now if you're Singaporean, there's no real need to cry if you haven't changed your money after leaving the Causeway for Kukup. Most petrol stations accept credit cards and you can always get your ringgits from a money changer at the High King Restaurant. Rates were pretty reasonable.