Kota Bharu is a cultural and culinary heaven. As the capital city for the state of Kelantan on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Kota Bharu is the mecca for Kelantanese unique traditions and heritage. I am blessed that my current job allows me to have work trips all over Peninsular Malaysia and with that, I could do more domestic travels and learn more of my own country. Recently, I had the chance to go to Kota Bharu and from my short stint there, here are the top things to eat (and drink) in Kota Bharu, Kelantan:
1. Nasi Berlauk
Nasi Berlauk or loosely translated as rice with dish is the staple breakfast for Kelantanese people. While most Malaysians have nasi lemak or roti canai for breakfast, Kelantanese opt for heavier breakfast, savouring on packed rice with dish that mostly consists of fish or chicken curry. The most famous nasi berlauk is Nasi Berlauk Air Dingin, which can be found at Kopitiam Kita and some roadside stalls. Nevertheless, nasi berlauk is available citywide in Kota Bharu. Almost every corner serves this menu for breakfast. Most stalls allow you to choose your dish to be packed together with the rice.
2. Roti Titab
Roti Titab is a toast but with a twist. I do not know where the name titab comes from but yeah, that is the name of the food. Roti titab is a toast with half boiled egg put in the centre of the toast and four small dots of kaya spread put on the four corners of the toast. To eat it my style, I would break the egg yolk so that it will be evenly spread on the toast and I would spread the kaya fairly on the toast. The taste? Amazing! Roti titab is available at Kopitiam Kita for RM 5 per set (as of 2015). To go to Kopitiam Kita, just inform your taxi driver. If you are driving, here is the address: Taman Desa Jaya, 4357-A, Jalan Pengkalan Chepa, 15400 Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia. The place is also available on Waze and Google Navigation.
Throughout my entire life, I have never heard or know about colek until my recent visit to Kota Bharu. I was wandering around, looking for food when I entered the food court at Stadium Muhammad V. A lot of people sell colek there, but what is colek? Colek is actually fried finger foods dip in spicy sauce. The finger foods range from sausages, tofu, sweet cekodok, keropok lekor, cow’s lungs etc. The items will be deep fried and then put on a plate together. The sauce then need to be poured onto the fried foods. I guess colek is a bit unhealthy considering the fact that it is deep fried and consists of internal organs too. But, unhealthy foods are usually the most delicious!
4. Laksam or Laksa Kelantan
Laksam and laksa Kelantan are two different dishes but with the same soup. As we all know, Malaysia is famous for its laksa especially the Penang Assam Laksa which make it as Top 50 Best Foods in the world by CNN Travel. Then, Malaysia also has Laksa Sarawak, Laksa Johor, Laksa Utara and other variants of the laksa. All of the laksas are different in terms of the noodle and the soup. As for the Kelantan version, Laksam and Laksa Kelantan have the same soup which is fish-based soup but white in colour, probably because of the coconut milk. The taste is very good and sambal (chilli paste) is also added to give that extra spiciness. However, the difference lies in the noodle. Laksa Kelantan uses the normal laksa but laksam uses rolled flat noodle. One of the best Laksa Kelantan that I have tried is at Restoran Aneka Hamzza Selera, located opposite KB Mall, on the same row with Tune Hotel Kota Bharu. Great food at very reasonable price!
5. Teh Tarik Madu
I save the best for the last. Malaysia’s favourite drink is teh tarik or pulled tea where the hot tea is pulled to make it warm and that act of pulling causes foam to develop on top of the drink. However, teh tarik madu is different because the foam is just… crazy! I got the chance to taste it and while some of my friends call it as the ‘diabetes drink’ because it is too sweet, for me, I think the taste and especially the foam is so nice. Teh tarik madu is one of the famous servings at Warong Pak Mat, Pulau Pisang. To go here, just head your way towards Pantai Cahaya Bulan and turn left upon seeing signboard showing Kuala Besar. This restaurant opens everyday from 7 am to 3 pm except on Tuesday.
Here is a video of teh tarik madu that I took. Ahh, can’t wait to have it again!
So, what is your pick? Do you have other alternatives on top things to eat and drink in Kota Bharu?
Wandering child of the earth
Do you know just how much you’re worth?
You have walked this path since your birth
You were destined for more
-Adriana Figueroa, Wanderer’s Lullaby