Sitiawan is a small town in Manjung District, Perak. The residents in Sitiawan are mostly Fuzhounese; a Chinese dialect group, so people also called Sitiawan as “Little Fu Zhou”. This is a great place for a short vacation. If you are not familiar with this town, let us introduce to you the top local cuisines here!
1. Yee Si Restaurant
This seemingly unglamorous restaurant may make you wonder what good food will be hidden in it. It was lunch time when we arrived at Sitiawan, and Yee Si Restaurant was the first stop for us to fill our stomach. We ordered Cantonese Ying Yong (a mix of bihun and kuey teow) and fish rice noodles.
The Cantonese Ying Yong of Yee Si Restaurant is almost similar to the one that we usually eat. What makes it different is the way they cook it. Usually, the bihun we eat is fried. Here, the bihun is stir-fried. First, boil the soup and thicken with potato flour and egg. Then, drop in vegetables, fish cakes and other side dishes. Lastly, pour it into stir-fried bihun and kuey teow. And there you go! A complete, full bowl of Cantonese Ying Yong is ready for you. This is my first time eating a stir-fried Cantonese Ying Yong. I’d say that this one has a special flavour!
Besides the ying yong dish, another dish we ordered had fresh fish fillets spread over a whole bowl of rice noodles. With the price that they offer, you won’t be able to get such big portion in the city! The sweet soup allows you to taste the freshness of the fish fillets. If you are a fish lover, you shouldn’t miss the chance to taste it. Let me tell you this secretly, this bowl of fish rice noodles comes in a really big portion.
If the two bowls of noodles can’t satisfy you, what about ordering some soft, fluffy buns? The Chinese also call these buns as “pau”. In fact, Yee Si Restaurant is not famous for his staple meals, but its Fuzhou Pillow Pau. While we were having lunch, we wondered why we were the only customers in the restaurant. Later we found out that their pau are only ready for sale after 3 PM. When it was near to three o’clock in the afternoon, the crowd started to fill up the restaurant. After a while, almost all tables were taken with customers ordering a cup of coffee or tea while waiting quietly for the freshly baked pillow pau.
The taste of the pillow pau is a bit similar as “Chinese Fa Gao”. It is not as soft as the ordinary lotus seed pau and red bean paste pau, but it is chewy. The pillow pau comes in three flavours: peanuts, red bean paste, and kaya. The most famous among the locals is the peanut-flavoured pillow pau.
During afternoon teatime, relaxing and enjoying a cup of hot coffee with slices of pillow pau, chatting with the neighbours about the past, the economy or their children has become part of the elderly life in Sitiawan.
2. James Cendol
After the lunch and pau, do you still feel that you are missing something? Let’s head to the nearby cendol stall and order a bowl of cendol to quench your thirst. Now you start to wonder, is cendol famous in Sitiawan? Actually, there is a Hindu temple on Jalan Lumut and in front of the temple stood an Indian cendol stall named James Cendol which is famous in Sitiawan.
This bowl of super-licious cendol is a measured combination of syrup, coconut milk and cendol. Either too much or too less of something would affect its taste. And with James Cendol’s concoction, the combination is just right. Its portion was also enough to satisfy our desire for dessert.
On top of being delicious, the cendol was also deeply loved by the previous Perak Sultan. James Cendol was invited by Perak Sultan to prepare for about 250 bowls of cendol for the guests. The newspaper clip of this news can also be seen in front of the stall. Even the Perak Sultan loved the Cendol, so what more reason do you need to put this in your must-taste list?
3. Jit Yue Hiong Seafood Restaurant
We had lunch, afternoon tea and desserts and so, what’s next? Before we set off to Sitiawan, we had heard that the seafood in Jit Yue Hiong Seafood Restaurant is a must-try food in Sitiawan. Hence, we decided to try this for dinner. Jit Yue Hiong Seafood Restaurant is not actually located in Sitiawan, but it takes only 30 minutes-drive from Sitiawan.
Since there were only two of us, we did not order much. We tried three dishes: Fried Squid, Fried Oyster with Eggs and Stir-fry Romaine Lettuce. Soon after we ordered, the dishes were quickly served. Although these are not expensive food, they made our mouth water. Let’s give each dish a close-up!
Best of these three that I would recommend is their Fried Squid. The Fried Squid was deep-fried to make it crispy. The moment these hot and crispy Fried Squids entered our mouth, the only word that we could think of was – TASTY! The normal Fried Squid is usually chewy but this one is crispier which is why we loved their Fried Squid so much. Moreover, even though they stir-fried it with some Thai sauce, it did not lose the crispy feeling of the fried squid. And guess what? All those seafood meals including the drinks costed only RM45.00.
4. ChapterD Café
You probably think the food options in this small town can only be at roadside stalls or kopitiam. Then you are wrong! In fact, there are few cafes in Sitiawan. We have selected a café randomly before we set off to home – Chapter D Café.
Chapter D is a famous café in Sitiawan where local residents would host birthday parties, celebrate full moons and other activities. In addition to the comfortable environment, they also offer various food options including vegetarian food. Hence, the café is suitable for everyone.
Weekday lunch sets is also available in the café. A plate of main dish is served with a drink with price from RM7 only, which is so affordable!
1. Sitiawan Cheong Cia Gong Pian
Sitiawan Gong Pian is a must-buy food in Sitiawan too. Visitors will pack it as souvenirs for family or friends when they are in Sitiawan. In this little Fu Zhou, there are many shops that make Gong Pian. We purchased our Gong Pian at a time-honoured shop – Cheong Cia Gong Pian.
There are two types of Gong Pian in the market; one with filling and one without filling. Without the filling, you get to enjoy the unique texture of the Gong Pian. Meanwhile, with the filling you get an extra taste of onion and lard. You can choose any Gong Pian that suits your taste.
Gong Pian is baked in a tandoor – a cylindrical clay oven, like how naan is baked. Whenever the Gong Pians are freshly baked from the clay oven, there will be long queues in front of the shop. However, when we arrived, the crowd had already dispersed, and only few Gong Pians left for us. Fortunately, we still got to purchase Fuzhou Gong Pian.
I heard that the Gong Pians out of Sitiawan are generally sweet, but the Gong Pians in Sitiawan are salty. Remember that Gong Pian is best eaten when it is hot. Otherwise, the texture will get hardened once cooled. If you want to bring the Gong Pian home as souvenir, remember to heat it up in the oven before you eat.
2. Fu Zhou Mee Sua
Besides Gong Pian, Mee Sua is another souvenir that you can always see in Sitiawan. Red Wine Mee Sua is one of the traditional cuisines of Fuzhounese that visitors get to enjoy in Sitiawan. The red wine they use is made from red yeast rice from Fuzhou, China which makes the taste of Mee Sua so special.
Once they get to taste this Fuzhou cuisine, many would be tempted to buy the Fuzhou Mee Sua to cook their own Fuzhou Red Wine Mee Sua. Therefore, the Fuzhou Mee Sua has become a must-buy souvenir in Sitiawan.
3. Kampung Koh Chili Sauce
Kampung Koh Chili Sauce is a chilli sauce brand known all over Malaysia. Even if you are not a Sitiawan resident, you might have heard of Kampung Koh Chili Sauce. The taste of this chili sauce is unique, rich in chili and garlic and is suitable for any type of food. Almost every restaurant in Sitiawan offers this chilli sauce. So, do not forget to purchase these Kampung Koh chili sauces when you come to Sitiawan.
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Let’s have a short vacation in Sitiawan with your family and friends. You can enjoy local cuisines and learn more about Fu Zhou culture just like what we have experienced! Let’s book a trip to Sitiawan now!