Kota Bharu, Kelantan - Thai "Khao Jam" at Wat Phothivihan, Tumpat
Wat Phothivihan in Cabang Empat, Tumpat District, just outside Kota Bharu has the largest Reclining Buddha statue in South-East Asia (http://www.asiaexplorers.com/malaysia...) - all 130 feet of it.
Tumpat district in Kelantan, Malaysia, has a large Siamese populace, very similar to the neighbouring Thais, and their influence extends to the local cuisine.
Wat Phothivihan has a very good casual Thai eatery which opens for lunch, and usually sells out by late-afternoon. What we had there:
- "Khao jam", a fabulous rice dish, where the rice was tinged a deep green after being cooked with the juice derived from, what I'm told, between 12-16 types of wild jungle herbs and leaves. Apparently, one needs to know the varieties of greens to be used, to prevent the end-product from becoming bitter in taste. The rice is then tossed with dessicated coconut, minced boiled fish-meat, and finely-julienned cucumber, raw beansprouts, onions and torch ginger. "Budu" (fermented fish sauce) is added as a flavoring.
- "Som tum", Thai-style green mango salad - as good here as any one can find in neighboring Thailand.
- "Khao man kai", the Thai take on chicken rice. It's mild and tasted pretty average here. We were just curious to try it for taste, but I'd not recommend that here.
- Deep-fried fish balls. Now *these* were amazingly tasty and meaty. The fishballs here did not have the springy texture and consistency of Chinese-style fishballs which I don't quite take to. These ones were absolutely beautiful!