We enjoy a lot of short and long holidays in Malaysia throughout the year. One of the greatest welfare staying in Malaysia is that you will never be out of choice of where to spend your vacations! Now we are going to introduce one of the interesting vacation spots in Johor: the Southernmost fishing village in the country – Kukup!
1. Kukup Motorbike Tour
There are different ways to experience Kukup fishing village. The conventional ones are by walking or by cycling. Now the latest trend is to explore Kukup by riding a motorbike! There are much more you can see and experience by riding a motorbike. You could reach further locations for example the villages outside of the fishing village. You get to see more greens like coconut trees, fruit trees and farms and you could also take a stroll at the trail built along the river bank.
Can’t ride a motorbike? You better bring along a friend who can ride!
2. Local Special: Seafood Processing – The Jellyfish
You might have tasted a type of cold platter in a restaurant of which the main material is a transparent seafood cut into thin slices normally mixed with sweet and sour sauce. This is actually a type of jellyfish!
Jellyfish dishes are popular in Southeast Asia but jellyfish requires proper processing before it becomes edible. This type of business can hardly be found in Malaysia now. Kukup is among the one or two fishing villages in Malaysia where travellers have the chance to visit to jellyfish processing house.
3. Local Special: Cincalok
Kukup is knowned for its Cincalok as the Cincalok here is produced from freshly caught small shrimps which give the best taste for this traditional paste. The process of producing Cincalok starts from mixing small shrimp with salt. After that the mixture will be kept in containers and left to ferment for a few days. Cincalok is best to be served by adding chilli, garlic, shallots and lime juice as condiment. Some people also use Cincalok to steam seafood. Actually just having Cincalok together with rice is tasty enough! Travellers will surely be surprised by the daily production quantity when visiting the Cincalok production house.
4. Local Special: Keropok Lekor
Keropok Lekor is a traditional Malay snack made from fish and sago powder. Keropok Lekor, or Lekor is different from the Keropok we used to eat. Keropok is normally dry and crispy, while Lekor is thick and chewy. After deep frying, the outer skin of Keropok Lekor is crunchy while the inside is slightly juicier than the normal Keropok, giving it a strong fishy taste. Keropok Lekor is best to be served with chilli sauce. Travellers can also have a look at how Keropok Lekor is produced when visiting Kukup.
5. Jelly Cake Making Classes for Family!
Another must-try snack in Kukup is the crystal jelly or jelly cake. The local merchants have made crystal jelly into different shapes, colors and flavours. For family travellers, now jelly cake making classes are available at Kukup. It is another ideal choice for you to spend quality times with your kids！
6. The Sea, The Swamp & The Mangroves
Kukup is a 150 year-old fishing village situated in Pontian district of Johor. The village is built on swamp supported by tall pillar bases, surrounded by mangrove forest and facing the Straits of Melaka. Once a tranquil simple fishing village, Kukup is now popular among local travellers. Its strategic location is easily accessible, its accommodation and activities are suitable for family and group gatherings and the travelling expenses to Kukup is fairly reasonable. In recent years a lot of homestays in Kukup have transformed themselves into themed resorts. Some of them redesigned their interior while some even upgraded the whole buildings in order to stand out among others. The combination of natural attractions and modern facilities have made Kukup a popular photography point and social media check-in spot.
About 1km off shore from Kukup fishing village, there is a Pulau Kukup which is also a National Park. Pulau Kukup is the largest uninhabited mangrove island in the world and was declared as a “Wetland of International Importance” by RAMSAR in 2003. There are trails and boardwalks built in the mangrove forest for travellers to experience and explore this beautiful habitat to an abundance of flora and fauna.
7. Visit to Kelong
Kelong is an offshore fishing or fish farming platform built from wooden board and planks. The planks are bind together to form grids with nets hanging partially or fully into the water for fish farming purposes. Different species of fish are kept separately in a Kelong until they are matured enough to be sold to local restaurants, markets and export to Singapore. Most of the fish are the species commonly consumed by the people daily, for example, grouper, silver pomfret and red snapper.
There are about 60 Kelongs in Kukup currently. Normally chalet packages in Kukup would include a boat trip to Kelong for travellers to have a look at how local fish farmers carry out their daily works in this traditional fishing facility.
There are a lot of dried seafood productions in Kukup. Some of the air-dried seafood are made into snacks, while some are turned into cooking favouring or ingredients. The popular ones are dried shrimps, salted fish and dried squid.
Rainbow Crystal Jelly & Jelly Cake
There is something well-known among tourist but not related to seafood in Kukup – the crystal jelly and jelly cake. The few shops here who produce jelly cakes have been selling them for more than 30 years. What is so special about the jelly cakes? They are made into different shapes, colors and fillings. After the activities under hot weather, a piece of crystal clear jelly cake would definitely cool you down!
Cincalok, the salty fermented shrimp paste is normally sold in bottles. As the packing is nice and easy to carry and it represents the authentic taste of Kukup, travellers love to buy Cincalok as gifts to relatives and friends.
One of the famous spices in Malaysia – the Belacan is also made from crushed shrimps. It is an important flavouring for dishes like fried Kangkung and Belacan Mee Hoon. Here in Kukup you can get the freshest Belacan at very reasonable price.
9. Seafood Lover’s Heaven!
It is a must to enjoy seafood in Kukup for the freshness is guaranteed! Some of the seafood is from fisherman’s catch while some fish are productions of fish farms.
The people in Kukup are talented in cooking. They have turned seafood into different types of delicious cuisines. Kukup chalets would provide barbeque seafood dinner, while some of the shops make snacks from shrimps, squid and fish. There are plenty of seafood restaurants here. All of them serve tasty food with reasonable charges. Don’t worry about the price tags and enjoy Kukup seafood feast to the fullest!
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