It’s a long weekend and something had to be planned so the 3-day break would not be wasted.
That’s what my wife said.
So to make use of the Labor Day (May Day) holiday, we decided to visit the Mah Meri Cultural Village where the place is still sadly unknown even to locals. We also took the opportunity to go around Banting and Jenjarom.
Credit must be given where it’s due. The trip would not have been possible (especially food hunting) without the help from my good friend, Maya Kirana, who was raised in Banting. Though I have been to these two places but due to her insider tips that I dared myself to explore Banting and Jenjarom deeper and wider.
Let’s dive in and see what we had done during the road trip.
Mah Meri Cultural Village (MMCV)
Mah Meri literally means jungle people and they are one of the many ethnic groups of indigenous people (orang asli in Malay) who mainly reside in Peninsular Malaysia. Most of them can be found on Carey Island. Carey Island is an island, as the name suggests, which is near to Jenjarom and Banting. Although it’s an island but it is accessible by cars. It’s about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur.
Mah Meri Cultural Village is located in Kampung Sungai Bumbun on Carey Island. The MMVC is easily found with clear signage once you are on the island. Coming from Banting or Klang, you need to take a left turn right after the exit to Amverton Cove.
An entrance fee is required to the MMCV for those who are above 12.
Once you are inside the MMCV, there are a few “huts” with attap roofing. One can witness or even try his hand at weaving (origami with Nipah leaves) or wood carving.
If you are feeling more adventurous, there are huts which let you try out Mah Meri’s hunting weapons: the bow and arrow, crossbow, or the famous blowpipes.
J loved the weaving with Nipah leaf while K was really excited trying his luck bursting balloons with the sumpitan or blowpipes.
There’s a gallery with air-conditioning in the village. History of Mah Meri tribe is explained in the gallery together with their highly acclaimed wood carvings (Harimau Berantai, among others, has been bestowed with UNESCO Seal of Excellence for Handicrafts), rituals for the sick and the dead, musical instruments, weapons, and more.
To end your visit on a happy note, you can wear Mah Meri traditional costumes (consisting of dress made from tree bark, skirt, belt, headgear from leaves) and pose for the camera to prove that you have actually visited the cultural village.
Other facilities include a restaurant (it’s closed when we were there) and washrooms.
It’s been a very educational visit and we had gained better insight into the life and culture of the Mah Meri people from this visit.
Mah Meri Cultural Village
Kampung Orang Asli Sungai Bumbun,
42960 Pulau Carey, Kuala Langat,
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Entrance fee: from RM7/pax
Meng Kee Ah Tong Food Stall
After visiting the Mah Meri Cultural Village, we felt hungry and it was time to hunt for food. We drove to Banting town and stopped at one of its many food courts available there.
The main attraction? Abalone mushroom with pork.
Waze failed us this time and we had to resort to another reliable way of getting directions: asking people. We grabbed one of the visitors to the Kuan Yin Temple (near the riverside after Teluk Bunut) and told him where we wanted to go. He was extremely helpful and we got what we wanted and continued with our search for lunch.
Ah Tong (the cook) is famous for the dish and I noticed that he only serves a handful of dishes on his tiny menu. Most of the patrons, besides abalone mushroom with pork (the signature dish I guess), ordered fried egg and bitter gourd soup with tofu. The taste of Ah Tong’s food suits us well and it’s plain and not salty. If you are someone who loves strong flavor, his dishes might not be for you.
Meng Kee Ah Tong Food Stall
Stall 8, Jalan Teluk Bunut, Banting.
Tel: 012-2107825 (洪南东) / 017-6306688
Opening hours: 5:30 am – 4 pm
Unnamed Coconut Drink Shop
Move over, Coke.
Since it’s a hot day and to keep us hydrated, we found another place in Banting itself that is excellent to quench your thirst with healthy and natural drinks from Mother Nature.
We ordered a special drink: a mixture of sugar cane and coconut drink (RM4). I had not personally tasted this combo drink so I didn’t know what to expect. It took a moment for the owner to whip up the drink (you can choose chilled or room temperature coconut).
The drink was served in a stainless steel mug. I know it’s not very presentable but I was on cloud nine after I tasted the drink. It was so refreshing, especially on a hot day, and the result of the combination was distinctive and well-blended. Not to mention the coconut flesh that comes with the drink one can enjoy chewing. It seems that everyone of us loved this drink and making a comeback to this shop is as certain as the sun will rise tomorrow.
The shop owner should have prepared a menu, as I noticed, while more people were coming, he served more than coconut and sugar cane drinks. He also served blended coconut drink with ice-cream, ABC (shaved ice with syrup), and many others which I had not got the chance to find out.
The one-man shop is not in the best of conditions, with wet floor and all, but what it serves is more than enough to lure me back again one day.
Unnamed Shop (Coconut and Sugar Can Drink)
19, Jalan Budi 2,
Tel: 016-9694008 (Mr. Coconut)
Opening hours: 12 pm – 7 pm
We later visited Banting’s Kerepek House for some fresh and cheap crackers. I mentioned about it in another article in one of our past visits. Click here to read.
Ban Siew Keng Temple 万寿宫
Though we had been to Jenjarom for a few times in the past, we never took notice of this magnificent Chinese temple when we were on the way to the more popular Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Temple.
Ban Siew Keng Temple is located opposite Dong Zen Temple and it was first built in the 50’s. By the look of it now, from fresh coat of paint to new materials used and donors’ names still hanging on the sponsored items, it occurred to me that the old Ban Siew Keng temple had just been replaced with a bigger and better temple.
The spectacular view of the temple from the main road (Jalan Sungai Buaya) is hidden by a performance stage. One needs to go beyond the old building to get a nice view of the temple.
Don’t just sit in the car. Get out and walk up a staircase to go inside the temple to pray or to simply admire the design and architecture of the temple. I was blown away by the elaborate details of the temple and its monstrous size. Besides the temple itself, there’s an activity hall, washrooms and office on the ground floor.
There were food stalls lining both sides of the entrance to the temple (only open in the evening) and I couldn’t help but notice a bak kut teh stall that had attracted a non-stop stream of customers: both dining in or take-away. You might want to try it out.
Ban Siew Keng Temple 万寿宫
Lot 5623, Jalan Sungai Buaya,
Flying Pan Noodle (飞板面)
I was attracted to this wooden-house-turned-eatery partly because of its unique name and partly it is near to Ban Siew Keng Temple.
According to the chatty and friendly lady owner, who has operated the stall for more than 30 years, the name was given by a journalist to imply her speed in tearing the dough when preparing for the noodle. It’s as fast as bullets coming out from a pistol. I know it sounds exaggerating but you have to witness it for yourself.
We ordered the normal soupy pan mee (面分糕) and curry pan mee. The small serving costs RM4 while the big one costs 50 sen more. The price is relatively cheaper than what we have in KL but the portion is generous enough. Though it looked simple and plain but my kids and wife love the pan mee soup (comes with quail egg and pork). The curry pan mee (fish cake, half hard-boiled chicken egg and shrimps) that I had was very creamy due to thick coconut milk.
The stall was buzzed with customers as it reached 6 pm. And it shows that this is no ordinary pan mee and it has garnered a strong base of followers.
Flying Pan Noodle
88, Lorong 3,
Kampung Baru Sungai Jarom,
Tel: 016-6647871 (余玥宝)
Opening hours: 5 pm – 10.30 pm
Chinese Cruller (油条) and Ham Chin Peng (咸煎饼)
On the way home after the chewy and delicious pan noodle, we accidentally saw another house-cum-food-stall selling you tiao (Chinese cruller) and ham chin peng (a sort of Chinese doughnut with red bean paste inside) and desserts. You tiao is my favorite and I have a weak spot for them. Whenever I see them I just have to get them. As such, I stopped my car and asked my wife to quickly grab some for me.
It just happened that the stall had just started its business and what we had was just freshly out of the wok. The oil used for frying was golden and it looked clean. So save your concern if you’re worried if they used recycled oil.
I found the pale-looking you tiao too salty. But I liked the texture which was crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. For ham chin peng, they were just okay and the 5-spice flavor was not strong enough for my liking. However, it’s enough for me to fulfill my you tiao fix.
You Tiao 油条 and Ham Chin Peng 咸煎饼
Lorong 4 (I didn’t notice the house number but it’s diagonally opposite Flying Pan Mee – within walking distance)
Kampung Baru Sungai Jarom,
Price: 80 sen each
Opening hours: 6 pm onwards
For more ideas on how to bond with your child, check out my book “The Nonconformist’s Guide to Parenting.”