Ringed by greenery, Balik Pulau is a place where cottage industries and farms still survive.
If you are tired of crowded streets and congested traffics, Balik Pulau is definitely a perfect getaway for you to head over the next time you visit Penang. Located in the Southwest of the island, it offers an insight into the beauty of untouched nature and the ultimate peace of mind (especially for urbanites like us!).
Rich in traditions and culture, one of the local treasures it has to offer is the surviving cottage industries and farms. Hence, on the second morning in Penang, the team has decided to go on a venture along the winding road of B alik Pulau to discover the rural charms of the quiet hamlet.
Paradise of Tropical Fruits
Literally translates as “the other side of the island”, Balik Pulau is known to be the home for over 250 types of tropical and subtropical fruits, some of which will tantalise your taste buds. Tourists and foodies, local and international, have been visiting some of the orchards and farms to satisfy their craving for fresh fruits. Among the famous ones are nutmegs, cloves, coconuts, and above all, the King of all fruits – Durian.
Tastes like heaven smells like hell – that’s what they call it. The distinctive smell can be unpleasant to certain people and the scent can be picked up by human nose even from afar. Funny enough, durian is the only fruit that is forbidden in most public transportation like trains and planes, and in hotels.
Our first stop – Lim Brothers Farm at Titi Serong, Balik Pulau.
This one needs no introduction as it is a must-visit place for durian devotees, especially during its season. Also known as Peng Siew Farm, the farm is famous for its wide variety of delectable durians such as Musang King, Or Chi (black stone), Hor Lor (Labu), Kun Poh, 101, D14, Capri and many more. Though Musang King is the most commonly preferred, Chong Teng, one of the Lim Brothers recommends opting for Hor Lor or Kun Poh as these two taste better than the over-rated Musang King.
We were lucky on that day when a durian just fell off from the tree half an hour before we arrived. And yes, we took the golden opportunity to taste the fresh flesh of this King of fruits!
Apart from durian, there are also nutmeg and cloves trees planted around the farmhouse which bears fruit in July and between November and January. Oh! While looking at the fruits, beware of the venomous ‘guardian’ of the tree chilling on the branches.
Well, Lim Brothers Farm is not all about fruits as they also have in their grounds a poultry farm where they sell fresh farm eggs. The next time you want to buy quality eggs, you know where you should be heading to.
As a wholesaler, they always make sure quality above quantity. Therefore, to achieve accuracy, they use an egg-sorting machine to assist the process of weighing and grading eggs before they are arranged accordingly into cartons.
The next time you are in Balik Pulau, make sure Lim Brothers Farm is on your list. You can thank us later!
Lim Brothers Farm
Mk 5, Titi Serong, Balik Pulau
Tel: 04-866 8551
Hold Your Nose, Folks!
Durian is not the only “tastes-like-heaven-smells-like-hell”. Belacan or shrimp paste, despite its pungent smell, is one of the most important ingredients in Malaysian cookery. Made from krill (tiny shrimps) mixed with salt and fermented, a small portion of it is usually used in Malays, Chinese, and Nyonya cuisines. To name a few, Asam Laksa, Belacan Fried Kangkong, Belacan Fried Rice (Thai), and sambal belacan are among the most common cooking.
Located at Pulau Betong, Chop Kim Hoa Belacan Factory is another cottage industry in Balik Pulau that produces popular belacan. Started as a small business in Batu Feringghi, the residence-cum-factory has been passed on from generation to generation and today, it is jointly owned by four siblings with half a dozen workers operating the factory.
Used to catch their own krill in the old days, the factory now has to import krill from Kelantan, Perak, and Johor due to the increasing demand from buyers, local and international. In addition, the whole process of making belacan can take from six to 12 months depending on the climate/weather. During raining season, the manufacturing slows down and the process will take longer time.
The process begins with mixing the freshly caught shrimps with salt. Upon reaching the factory, the salted shrimp pulps are dried under the sun for about three hours. The dried pulps are then put into a grinder machine and later they are stored to ferment for a period of two weeks. The process is repeated three times and after two to four months, they are taken out to be dried and ground again.
Chop Kim Hoa belacan is sold all over Malaysia including in Johor. Visitors from Singapore, Indonesia, and even Holland would buy cartons of belacan to bring home because of its high quality. What about you?
Chop Kim Hoa Belacan Factory
No. 390, MK 7, Pulau Betong, Balik Pulau
Tel: 04-866 8245
*This trip is sponsored by Big Blue Holidays, an online travel portal that offers you a wide range of exciting experiences that cater to the young and the young-at-heart, be it adventurous or leisure. Check out more about them at www.bigblueholidays.com.