Monday, March 31, 2008


Wakaf Baru may not ring any bell to many people outside of Kelantan. Most tourists coming to Kota Bharu via train will know of Wakaf Baru as it is the embarkation point for Kota Bharu. Kota Bharu doesn't have a railway station of its own since it is on the other side of the river. Wakaf Baru is in the district of Tumpat on the west bank of the Kelantan River opposite to Kota Bharu. After alighting in Wakaf Baru, a traveller must take a taxi or 'kereta sewa' be it licenced or the unlicenced ones. The unlicensed ones are also known by the locals as 'private sapu'. Whatever it is they will get you to Kota Bharu at a price. Make sure the price is agreed upon before getting into one.

The ride to Kota Bharu covers a distance of approximately 8 kms from the railway station to the other side of the bridge and the time taken varies from 5 minutes to more than an hour depending on how massive is the traffic jam trying to cross the bridge. Imagine a three lane traffic trying to converge into a single lane on the bridge and if you are a meek driver, those on the left lanes will cut into your lane from any point in front of you. Don't worry the Kelantanese are very tolerant so nothing happens when people cut the queue, if you feel like it, just join them.

Wakaf Baru is a small town. Due to its proximity to Kota Bharu, Wakaf Baru developed faster than the town of Tumpat itself, the administrative place for the district. Together with Pasir Pekan which is on the bank of the Kelantan River near the Sultan Yahya Petra Bridge, they will merge to form a satelite town to Kota Bharu. Housing development with SBJ being the major player, makes Wakaf Baru as the residential place for those working in Kota Bharu. Once the additional bridge is constructed to ease the congestion at the present single lane Sultan Yahya Bridge, the traffic jam will become history.

What interest me with Wakaf Baru is the number of Thai food and Chinese food or a combination of them in this small town. The restaurants are concentrated in a predominantly Chinese and Thai populated village of Kulim on the fringe of town. Upon closer inspection the reason for this phenomena is this Budhist Wat located withing the village. Anyway this is my guess as it seems to be the focal point for the restaurants.

The most peculiar thing about these restaurants are their names. One of the earliest to be set up was this Ban Kok Restaurant.

Later it was perhaps followed by this one called Chieng Mai.

The next one seems to be more down to earth and thus named after the very village itself Kg Kulim and thus Restoran Kg Kulim.

Kg. Delima is the next village to Kg. Kulim so the next restaurant took after the name of the village and is thus named Seri Delima.

The owner of the next restaurant must be an avid fan of Chef Yan of the famous television series Wok With Yan and so he named his eatery as Yan Restaurant.

The next restaurant has a very Thai sounding name of Prik Knu. This must be an authentic Thai food restaurant.

The front of this eatery below don't seem to be well kept. Either the food must be so good that it is well patronised as it is or it is facing a rough time.

If you don't know where to find those restaurants, don't worry there are ample signages to lead you to the place.

Since all of the above restaurants are non halal meaning they are not for moslems I can't say much about the food. Hopefully some of the bloggers who write about food glorious food will get to visit them and write about them. How about you l'abeille?

During the festive seasons, the Yam Seng will resonate through the nights. So who says you cant drink and eat pork in Kelantan? You need only to know where to go.

By the way KBguy lives in Wakaf Baru so he should be able to tell us something about these eateries.


cakapaje said...

Salam Pak Zawi, are cruel! Really! I'm on a diet - no dinners for 2 months now - and here you put some tantalising things in your're cruel :)

But got green curry or not? I love the stuff! my tummy got make noise.

cakapaje said...'s your daughter getting along? Do keep us posted. Thanks.

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Pak Zawi
Every Thai restaurant here claimed to be "authentic" Thai cooking but when you're in Thailand, it is really quite different.
Even the fresh green cili that you eat as "ulam" with the vegetarian spring roll is not as hot as it is here.
I guess the cooking here is tailored to the local palate.

Zawi said...

I won't dare take you to these restaurants as they are not halal though some may claim to be seafood restaurants. I will take you to the Selera Kita instead which is right smack in the middle of Wakaf Baru.
My daugther and her son is doing OK for now and recovering well from the caezarian operation. No news yet about the Ca. Will post something about it the minute I get any news about it.
Thank you for the thought.

Zawi said...

The fact that Wakaf Baru is in the district of Tumpat and quite close to border of Thailand make it possible for these restaurant owners to hire Thai cooks to produce the Thai dishes. I agree with you the cookings are tailored to the local taste. Afterall what sells counts. With that kind of competition, everyone of them will try to outdo each other.

mrs. lim said...

Good Morning, Pak Zawi. :)

I stay in Kg.Baru, Pasir Pekan, Wakaf Bharu.. It is a pleasent surprise to see you covering this area.

Being to some of the restaurants in your post. By the way, fyi, the owners of some of these WB restaurants have opened branches in Kota Bharu town providing halal menu. As nice.. :)

I hope Azura & son and you & your family are in the best of health.

mrs. lim :)

pB said...

Salam Pok Awi ....

jarae sungguh lar nok g alah Wakaf Baghu nie.
aBear memae dio tok sir naik re'tok tu ...
Jem .....

Dulu ....
Tahun lapan puluh an , pB selalu g makan kat Restoran Syam kat Berek Duo Belah tu ...
Still fames for his Tomyam ker ???

jupo doh kor Tepung Tukir???

Zawi said...

I wanted to do the above post with KBGuy so that he could do the food sampling as well as takes photos of people enjoying the food and also pictures of the food, somehow it didn't come about as we were not well acquainted yet then. It would have been nice if I could have included some of the menu and comments about the food being served.
Which of the restaurants in KB are theirs?
Anyway my daughter is doing OK. Thanks for the concern. Hope you are OK too.

Zawi said...

Lo ni takdok jam belah mano bab buke musim cuti sekolah.
Syam Restoren masih ado cuma ambo lama tak gi make sano.
Tadi kaka ipar dari Kota Baghu mari dia kata tepung tukir belanar d Kota Baghu cuma ambo tak gi cari lagi jah.

tokasid said...

Salam Pak Zawi:

As a fan of Thai cooking I read the posting while kecur air liur.
But felt frustrated when you mentioned they are non-halal outlets. but Mrs Lim did mentioned some of them had opened up in KB serving halal menu.that is nice. maybe you can check it out.

And nice names they have too. If more were to open we might get Restoran TakBai,Hatyai,Phuket,Songkla etc.

Zawi said...

Doc TA,
I will check all the Thai food restaurants in KB. Actually my interest in these restaurants were due to their names being mostly based on Cities and towns in Thailand. I may have missed a few cos I definitely did see one with the name of Pattaya but when I looked over my pictures I found none. They should have gone along that lines in naming their restaurants, after the names of places in Thailand.
All of them are only open for dinner.
We will ask Mrs Lim to tell us where is the best one in KB as I believe Mrs Lim is a connoisseur of good Thai food.

Akmal said...

Pak Zawi,
Those are indeed some interesting names to be chosen for restaurants' nomenclature. Very 'Thai'.
Speaking of Thai foods, I can be a connoisseur of sorts :)
Been in Pasir Pekan, for...what, 5 years, I have never really explored that place. Shame on me...All of the restaurants you named rang me no bell. In front of Maahad Muhammadi Perempuan Pasir Pekan, there's one restaurant we called it 'Mek Siam'. You can use it to distinguish between Falahiahs' students and non-Falahiah's student; all Falahiah student know that place by the name of the restaurant, the owner, the waiter and the cashier hahaha.
Have a nice day :)

pendita said...

wakaf baru? kalu restoren pok san tu dale wakaf baru lagi ko? so lagi sate wakaf baru sedak sengoti..kaloh samuri kaje... pak zawi, ambo nok tanyo.. duk kasa tu lamo doh ko? anok2 pak zawi skoloh SK mekasar ko dulu?

Zawi said...

The restaurants in Kg. Kulim were non halal restaurants. I am blogging about it so that non muslim tourists to Kelantan will have a choice to dine in a village ambience. It goes to prove that if you serve good food, no matter where your restaurant is located, people will go to it.
I guess you boys from Fallahiah must have explored all areas in Pasir Pekan and Kota Bharu too.
Where is kedai Mek Siam located? I wanna try it one day. The only familar eatery for me is the Selera Kita and Hamid Restaurant. I love the mee goreng special at Restoran Hamid.

Zawi said...

Restoran Pok San memang dikira masih dalam Wakaf Baru. Tapi restoran ini cuma terkenal dengan mee saja.
Satay Wakaf Baru memang khabarnya sedap.
Anak saya bersekolah di Gua Musang untuk sekolah rendah. Yang sulong dan kedua pindah ke Sekolah Menenggah Sains Machang sementara dua lagi di Sekolah Menengah Ahmad Maher.
Cuma isteri saya sempat ngajar di SK Mekasar sebelum berpindah ke pelbagai sekolah di Pasir Mas dan Tanah Merah dan kini di Sekolah Rendah Tanjung Bunga.

kbguy said...

hi Tuan Zawi ! I'm back from the holiday break. Did u go anywhere ?
Well for those of you from elsewhere, we (Kelantan) had a long break in conjunction with our state's Sultan birthday (2 days) plus the weekend. All in.. 4 days off ! So I took the opportunity to bring the family to Genting Highland ! Wow ! I met so many Kelantanese there ! Seems like everyone is doing what I am doing as well.
And Zawi,you finally publish this Wakaf Bharu restauraunts ! I have been waiting for it ever since you told me about it. It's great. Another job well done !
Just to answer to Fauziah Ismail, yes these thai restauraunts do really serve real thai dish. What I mean is their Chefs are from Thailand. U will be surprise they cross back to Thailand daily every morning to have their marketing done in Thailand.And the Kelantanese's taste is almost similar to Thais.. we are so closed. And last but not least, there are alot of outsiders / outstation people who comes here daily.. especially tourist and Sales people who flocks to these places to enjoy their food every night. Just one reminded, it's non Halal.
Oops, btw, the halal one in KB town is at jalan Sri Cemerlang called Cheng Mai Restauraunt as well.

Zawi said...

So you went to Genting for a holiday with your families eh? Good for you. I didn't go anywhere. My brother inlaw came back from Langkawi yesterday and he said Langkawi too was flooded with Kelantanese. 80 percent of the passengers on the ferry he rode in were Kelantanese and most of the shoppers in Idaman Suri a popular shopping place in Langkawi was full of shoppers from Kelantan. I guess Cameron Highlands was flooded with Kelantanese too during that 4 days holiday hahahaha.
There you have it from a resident of Wakaf Baru, kbguy no less that the food there is not only cooked by Thai chefs but even the ingrediends were sourced from across the border. How much more authentic can it be?
For Tokasid, go to Chieng Mai Restaurant not in Thailand but in Desa Cemerlang Kota Bharu for the halal ones.
KBguy, thank you for the info.

Gurindam Jiwa said...

Assalaamu'alaikum En. Zawi,

While you are covering the area, perhaps you could help us keep an eye on the newly elected assemblyman and appointed exco there. ;-) Keep him on his toe, so to speak.

Your travel narration is quite a reading. Too bad I don't eat much when I travel coz nati payoh nok caghi bilik air :))

Zawi said...

gurindam jiwa,
InsyaAllah we will keep tab on our elected Wakil Rakyat. We will tell the world what good they did and what more they can do to help the rakyat. They will perform better if they know they are watched.
Kalau nak makan biarlah berpada pada, jangan lebih-lebih bab makan berlebihan itu makruh.

Zawi said...

gurindam jiwa,
InsyaAllah we will keep tab on our elected Wakil Rakyat. We will tell the world what good they did and what more they can do to help the rakyat. They will perform better if they know they are watched.
Kalau nak makan biarlah berpada pada, jangan lebih-lebih bab makan berlebihan itu makruh.

mamadou said...

Assalamu'alaikum Ayoh Wi.

Salam perkenalan. Sebenarnya saya dah lama mengikuti cerita dan perkembangan blog Ayoh Wi ni, hanya baru hari ini teringin nak turut serta.

Mungkin kerana fasal makanan Thai ni ada di mana-mana sekali pun di Bamako, Mali (Land of Timbuktu). Di tempat saya la ni ada satu Restaurant Sukhothai namanya. Decoration dan harga memang ada class. Tapi nak makan kena booking dulu kalau tidak pakai balik saja.

Di Cotonou, Benin (Land of Voodoo)pun ada dua Restoran Thai; Tanh Tanh dan Bangkok Terrace. Dekornya cantik dan harganya sangat berpatutan.

Keraplah saya ke sana kalau nak teringin sangat nak makan makanan Asia/Thai. Komuniti Thai tak ada kat sini mungkin kerana orang Eropah dan Amerika yang sangat ramai kat sini dan biasa dengan makanan Asia/Thai, sebab itu ramai pengunjungnya dari kalangan mereka.

Mereka sangat adventure dan entrepreneurship, sanggup sabar bertahan, kerana masakan Thai makin di minati. Bila agaknya "orang kita" nak buat bisnes betul-betul kat sini. Yang datang kejap-kejap adalah......

Zawi said...

Memang saya ada perasan ada seorang pembaca di Mali. Ini lah baru Pak Zawi pasti siapa selepas membaca email mamadou.
Teruskan menulis mengenai Mali. Mungkin satu hari nanti akan tertarik untuk melabur disana. Yang paling bagus ialah untuk mamadou sendiri membuka perniagaan disana dengan seorang lain dari Malaysia.
Selamat bertugas.

kbguy said...

Ok, just to share some info about Thai food in Kelantan.. Rest.Payang(I think that's correct spelling) Serai along jalan Sri Cemerlang and Rest. Sham at Berek 12 do serve good Thai food. The Payang Serai is just afew doors away from Rest. Chengmai. And 2 days ago, I was at one of the restauraunt in Rantau Panjang which also serve very good Thai dish. Surprsingly, the staffs also speak Thai (the cook and waiters). I think they cross over to do business after since the Thai economy at the southern has gone down badly. And all of these restauraunt I mentioned are halal.

Zawi said...

I have been to Payang Serai once with The Shell Dealers. They serve good food. Now that gives me an idea where Rest Chieng Mai is.
Well most workers in Rantau Panjang are from Thailand and speaks Thai. Dont be surprised if the cooks are from there. Theya re all over Malaysia now working in restaurants.

Rusdi Abu Bakar said...

Ambo org Wakaf Bharu Jugok
Kota Kbg Labu!

sj said...

all the restaurants are new to me...i don't even remember wakaf baru existed in the 60's .

sun too was the vogue then and hassan was the pet worker of the chinese lady who owned the resto..i alwez salivate at the thought of the chow mein ( mee goreng )there..the ice cream was a luxury then...

later came syam the tomyam resto..the food there was fab at one time but the quality has declined over the years..

are they still there ?

Zawi said...

Ambo kelih doh rumah demo belake surau tu.

Zawi said...

All the restaurants are new. Wakaf baru has been transformed from its one street town to what it is now. It is becoming a satelite town of KB.
Sun Too has opened up a new branch in Jalan Hamzah. I will have to check on the original outlet as the location isn,t anymore due to parking constraint.
Sun Hua is still going strong in town.
As to Thai tomyam restaurants, they have grown up like mushroom after a rainy day.

anmic said...

Dear sir,
i see you've gotten urself a cool DSLR.i hope u will shoot many more pics of kelantan, esp. food *drool*.maybe u could include more details regarding the food i.e. names of outlet, location, etc-etc. or maybe u should embark on a new career as a food journalist, critique or something..

Zawi said...

First and foremost I would like to welcome you to my blogsite.
Will try to improve on the style of reporting as you suggested.
For the moment I wouldn't want to trade my retired status to embark on a new career. I am happy as I am writing on my blogsite for whoever wants to read it. Being tied down to deadlines is not my cup of tea. I will write as when I please. Retirement is enjoying the freedom till the call to meet our maker.
Thsnks for the suggestion anyway.