Thursday, March 4, 2010
Kampung Nelayan @ Kukup, Pontian
Pekan Kukup is a rather small fishing village located in the district of Pontian. Throughout my life I never got the chance to see how a real Kampung Nelayan (i.e. fishing village) is like. With a bit of online research, my hubby found a place with some interesting things to offer. So, we went off to experience, for the first time ever, the fishing village in Kukup.
After driving for more than 80km from Johor Bahru, we arrived in Kukup just around noon. We parked our car at the parking bay near the Kukup bus station and made our way on foot to the village area. There were houses and shops and restaurants along the small road, all were built on stilts. From far we could smell the unpleasant aroma of fishes and sea during low tide. The smell was quite strong it took us quite a while to get use to.
As we reached the end of that small road, we saw a group of people queuing at the jetty next to a Chinese restaurant. My hubby, being ever so curious, asked one of them and we were quickly told that they were waiting for a boat. So, there is a boat ride for us? Great! After purchasing our tickets at one of the restaurants, we joined in the queue. There were actually many boats and when ours arrived, we got ourselves in it with ease. I put a life jacket on my son and one for myself as we settled in the boat. Personally, the boat was OK but not that clean. It was in fact the actual fishing boat that they used for fishing. Hmmm...
Throughout our first 15-minute ride on the boat, we could see many wooden-stilt kampung houses along the bank. It was actually a very unique sight for us. I have seen many kampung houses before, but the one we saw here were on very high stilts. It was built that way for a reason - to prepare for the high tide, I supposed.
We were then brought to the Floating Fish Farm in the middle of the sea, not so far from the jetty. We had to walk on narrow floating wood planks that were built around the fish farm so we would be able to see the cages in the water where they keep the many types of fishes. Among the fishes we saw were Cod Fish, Garoupa, Star Fish, Baby Shark, Archer Fish and Puffer Fish. My hubby took the opportunity to touch the Puffer Fish. It was really amazing because the fish became bloated once he rubbed its body and I could see its tiny thorns around its body which some said could be poisonous. I wouldn’t want to touch any of them. I was so afraid :-).
The Archer Fish was another amazing fish! It has a remarkable ability to accurately shoot insects down with a squirt of water and eat them. The guide did show us by putting some small dried anchovies on the wood plank and within minutes, the Archer fish will squirt water to it which made the dried anchovies fell into the water and they ate them. It was really entertaining. I realized, that’s why it’s called the ‘Archer’ fish – suited to their natural skills of archery.
We wanted to go to the Kukup National Park, which was not far from the Floating Farm but the guide told us that the place was almost close for that day. He told us that we may need to come earlier if we would like to go to the National Park. Our boat’s Tekong (i.e. Guide) brought us to the front of the National Park jetty and I managed to get a glace at the operating time. Shucks! 4.00 pm. And it was almost 3.30 pm at that point in time. Well, it was not our day, I supposed, although The National Park looks rather interesting and tempting. We will definitely be back for it someday. :-)
Now, if you have the penchant for Seafood, then Kukup is the place! The seafood was really fresh and cheap. But we had to ask around to find out which of the many restaurants could offer Halal food for us. There was one Chinese restaurant (High King Restaurant) that served Halal Chinese-style seafood. We had our late lunch there, relishing their succulent crustacean offerings. Their 3 best offerings were Deep Fried Nestum Prawn, Black Pepper Crab and Fried Chilli Calamari. 3 words for the 3 best offerings - finger licking good! Sorry guys, I didn't get to snap any photos on the food. My camera was out of battery at that point of time... silly uhh?
Before we left Kukup, we bought some seafood snacks such as dried cuttlefish sprinkled with sugar, salted fish, dried prawns, anchovies, fish biscuits and spicy seafood sauces to bring back home. It can be bought at the shops along the village area or on the floating farm itself and the price was relatively cheap and they were all fresh from their harvest.