Cameron Highlands Food Guide
Steamboat is one of the local favourites among Malaysians who enjoy this type of dining for its fresh foods and hotpot of soup. In Cameron Highlands, you will be able to enjoy all types of cuisine but steamboat is one of its most popular foods here. This is because visitors here like the hotpot dining within the cold and chilling weather which makes the food all the more delicious.
What makes steamboat so popular here is because of the fresh vegetables which are naturally produced here. As such, you actually get to enjoy vegetables which are freshly supplied from the farms around Cameron Highlands as well as a wide variety of seafood like fish, prawns and even crabs. Take it together with the local freshly produced tea and you have a perfect meal within the cold weather.
Steamboat in Cameron Highlands
There are a few main types of steamboat available around Cameron Highlands. You can locate them through their signboards in the major towns of Brinchang and Tanah Rata. The normal gas pot is the most common way of enjoying steamboat where the pot is connected and fired up through a gas tank usually placed under the dining table. Organic vegetable hotpots are another type of steamboat which has been quite popular recently using produce that are organically grown which was made popular by Cameron Organic Steamboat.
Another type of pot used is charcoal steamboat. You will notice this type of pot has very tall chimneys as they are designed to avoid the ash from dropping onto the soup surrounding it and disseminate heat evenly. Unlike gas pots, this the intensity of the fire cannot be adjusted which means you might have to dine faster. Using charcoal for steamboat was quite popular in the 80s when gas was still expensive but it is known to be tastier and more delicious. If you are going for the charcoal steamboat, make sure that you take the clear soup instead of the spicy one.
During weekends and public holidays, the steamboat restaurants are very crowded and packed. To avoid disappointment, make an advance booking by calling in or order online beforehand. Besides that, parking might be quite limited in the surroundings of Brinchang and Tanah Rata, so you might need to find your way around.
Hawker food is very popular if you are visiting Malaysia and more so at Cameron Highlands as you can find them almost at every corner of the major towns like Brinchang and Tanah Rata. When it comes hawker food, you actually get to try out some of the local delights without having to pay exorbitant prices because of their simple setting and usually non-air-conditioning outlets. After all, you get to enjoy the ‘natural air-conditioning’ when eating outdoors here in Cameron Highlands.
Hawker food is available usually throughout the day in Cameron Highlands. You can spot them through their widespread tables and chairs which are placed in front of the string of stalls. This is most evident at the Bus Station in Brinchang town. You will notice that these stalls practically come alive during the night and is the perfect place for supper. The stalls usually close around 1.00am in the morning and you can find a wide variety of Malay, Chinese and Indian foods. You should try out the cooked dishes like Nasi Padprik, Mee goring or if you want to heat up your body, try the Sup Ekor. Otherwise, local favourites like Nasi Goreng and Chicken Rice are available as well.
Located in Brinchang, the KFC outlet here offers a great place to dine if you are looking for something quick and delicious, particularly the unique and original fried chicken which KFC is known for across the world. Take note that the KFC outlet here is usually very crowded as a lot of locals and visitors prefer it for it convenience. While the taste and the recipe is consistent, the freshness of the food is one that could be improved. This is because being in the highland, some of its foods are sourced from the nearest towns and cities which could be frozen for several days.
Like every other fast food chain, Marrybrown is a popular outlet here in Cameron Highlands. Its branch is located in Tanah Rata which is not far from Brinchang town. Compared to KFC, Marrybrown’s fried chicken is more famous among the locals as it has a distinctive ‘local flavour’ to it. Besides that, Marrybrown is homegrown and has a variety of traditional dishes as well. Its western choices meanwhile are quite popular among urban visitors and foreigners. However, it must be noted that freshness of the foods provided can be doubtful as they are usually frozen before they are cooked and served to the customers.
Foods in Pasar malam
The infamous Night Market in Cameron Highlands remains as one of the top attractions among both local and foreign visitor here. If you are familiar with the Pasar Malam concept round Malaysia, you will know that this is the place to go for food, snacks, products and everything else you can think of. In Cameron Highlands in particular, the Pasar Malam is full of surprises with some of the best foods around.
If you have visited a Pasar Malam somewhere else in another state, you will notice that most of the foods sold are deep fried and cooked. In Cameron Highlands, the Pasar Malam is slightly different with a lot of fresh produce and farm products. Along here, you will come across the Apam Balik. This is a type of traditional pancake normally made with butter, peanuts and sweet corn and then folded in half. Look for the stall with a lot of people and large crowd because there are quite a number of sellers here of which some are quite tasteless and badly mad.
Meanwhile, you must try the Goreng Ubi Ball which is sweet potatoes rolled into balls and then fried in hot, boiling oil. This snack is very popular among Malaysians but in Cameron Highlands, it is a lot tastier mainly because of the availability of fresh potatoes.
Steam corn is another type of food that you must try. Known locally as Jagung, it is a healthy snack and very fresh because Cameron is known for its locally grown, large and yellow corn. Before buying your cup of sweet steamed corn, ask the seller if the Jagung is locally grown or ‘imported’ from Ipoh because they are not as sweet as the former.
If you come across fried mushroom or fried vegetables most notably water crest, you might want to try them out but you should only do so in moderation because this type of food might not be too healthy. While they are naturally vegetables, the oil gets absorbed into the food during the frying process which we think makes it too oily to be taken in large quantity.
Western food can be found at almost every restaurant, café and coffee house outlets around Cameron Highlands. Besides the local cuisine, if you are one who likes steak, lamb chop, scones, fish and chips, grill fish, mash potatoes and salad, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to western food. The reason why you find that there are quite a lot of steaks, chops and chips is due to the strong English influence here dating back to many decades of history when the English discovered Cameron to become a hill station. As the top manufacturer of tea leaves, you can rest assure that you will taste the best English Tea usually taken with bread, pastries and other snacks which are freshly produced, packed and served. Meanwhile, you will be able to enjoy the original continental sauce and recipe used to prepare the likes of pork chops, scallops and many more.
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