Five ‘makan’ places you need to check out when in Kota Bharu

PLANNING a foodie trip with your family or friends anytime soon? But don’t know where to head to?

Try Kelantan, a haven for food lovers that no one will contest.

I’m not sure about you, but I always, always enjoy the variety of food in Kelantan. And, here’s a list of some of my favourite eateries, which is not surprisingly also recommended by Tourism Malaysia.

Check these out!

GEARBOX SOUP

Head to Pusat Kraftangan Kuala Krai, located some 3km from capital Kota Bharu.

No, the craft centre is not pulling you in for a one-of-a-kind craft looking like a gearbox, a vital part of a car’s powertrain between engine and drive wheels. But of course, here you will find all sorts of beautiful local crafts and fabrics.

The gearbox available at the craft complex is referring to the cattle knee joints cooked with spices and herbs in good, hearty soup, or curry. Once you’ve done with your shopping, head out to an eatery located next to the craft complex to try this delicacy. The soup is spicy and rich, while the meat are so juicy and delicious. However, the crowd-puller here is its gearbox curry with roti canai.

FISH HEAD SUP AND HONEY TEA

Warung Pak Mat Pulau Pisang which is located at Jeti Medan Ikan Bakar (MIB) Kuala Besar is no doubt one of my all-time favourite breakfast spots when in Kota Bharu. 

Kelantanese loves heavy breakfast and it is no surprise that the restaurant, like other eateries, serves rice dishes in the morning. 

Visitors come here for its sup kepala ikan, which is a must try. The broth is actually made of combination of beef and fish, the reason behind its rich umami taste.

I usually end the morning binge with Pak Mat’s specialty – the teh madu, milk tea made with seven types of teas and pure local honey such as tualang (giant honey bee), kelulut (stingless bee) and lebah (bee). 

It’s a bit sweet but I’ve been told that the sweetness actually comes from the honey which is rich with health properties.

FLOATING MARKET

From the MIB Kuala Besar jetty, which is located 8km from the city centre, hop on a boat to Pulau Suri to visit Kelantan’s first floating market.

Looks like a festival, the floating market offers all sorts of local dishes such as lokan bakar, kerabu nipah, laksam, nasi kerabu and many more. 

Visitors often come here with mats and have a great picnic under the shade of the nipah tree. 

It’s quite a charming place for family quality time during the weekend. 

The floating market only opens on Saturday from 8am to 4pm.

EXOTIC ULAM

Nasi Ulam Cikgu is one of my favourite go-to places is Nasi Ulam Cikgu. And looking at its number of branches, I can say that it’s one the locals’ favourite too. 

The restaurant is a great place for lunch as it serves plenty of local dishes such as singgang, ikan bakar and many more. 

However, visitors come here for its assorted of fresh ulam-ulaman (local fresh salad) that is paired with a variety of sambal (spicy fresh dip or sauce). 

The best part about Nasi Ulam Cikgu is it’s affordable too! 

RICE AND MORE RICE

Crowded with visitors, Ayang Cafe located in Jalan Masjid Langgar Kota Bharu is another awesome breakfast spot. 

It serves all sorts of Kelantan’s nasi dishes such as nasi tumpang, nasi dagang, nasi kapit, nasi berlauk and many more. You can try everything as it comes in a small portion, with price between RM2 to RM4.

There are also many wide variety of local kuihs to try but a must-try dish is Ayang’s specialty – Roti Ayang, a thick toast served with kaya and a half-boiled egg.

By : Hanna Hussein -NST

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