Food In Cameron Highlands – Hmm….Nothing To Shout About
For dinner, we headed to Brinchang to look for a famous steamboat restaurant that my parents recommended. It was the Cameron Organic Produce. The owner also owns a farm where he cultivates his own organic produce which are also used in the steamboat. By the time we reached the restaurant, it was full house and barely 6pm. We waited for about 30 minutes before we were shown a table along the 5 foot way. The place was not classy but it brought back memories of my childhood where we ate at such casual settings. It may cause a bit of discomfort and unease among those who come from more developed countries where everything is nice and neat. For me, I enjoyed being able to eat outside as I can savour the cool mountain air.
There were 2 selections, the vegetarian one or the mixed one. We chose the vegetarian one and must say that for RM20 each, the quantity of food served to us was quite generous. Even though my parents loved it, my wife and I did not find the steamboat dinner as tasty as we thought. Over-rated was what I thought. Then again, the rest of the customers were not ordering the vegetarian one and had prawns, chicken and stuff in it, so those probably tasted better.
The next day, we visited the Barat Tea Plantation which produces the Cameron Valley Tea (this is the brand itself). There was a shop along the main road that perched over the edge of the road, allowing visitors to gaze upon its tea plantation. Though not as nice as Boh Tea’s tea house, it was nevertheless a nice place to sit and enjoy the mountain breeze and view. However, my eyes kept wondering left where the road show a nice S turn and inwardly I lamented the fact that I have yet to enjoy the roads properly. We ordered a Teh Tarik and though we requested Kurang Manis (less sweet), it was still too sweet.
We also visited the Lavender Garden which was packed the previous day. It was not very big and rather boring in my opinion. The flowers were pretty though.
The next stop was the highlight of my wife’s day – Scones and Coffee at The Smoke House. We went down the small road and parked at this charming little hotel. She ordered her scone set and me a high tea set. I am no connoisseur of scones, but I do know that it tasted better than those at Cameron Highlands Resort. The fruitcake was delicious by the way.The day ended with dinner at a local fast food restaurant at Tanah Rata – Mary Brown, a local KFC style fast food. I just had to try it since I won’t have a chance to have it back home. It was….average.
By now readers would have noted a common theme in my description of food. The food in Cameron Highlands average it seemed to me. Nothing really to shout about. But then again, Cameron Highlands is not about the food. Its about the place. The cool fresh air, mountains and nature. Its about being there.
Anyway, the next day, we visited the Boh Tea tea house (again) and spent an hour or so sipping tea and enjoying the view. It was quite crowded and a little noisy. If you manage to get a seat right at the front, it would be quieter. The last time, we walked in and I enjoyed the walk. However my wife has not stopped complaining about the long walk, so this time we rode in. No big deal, but I do miss the quite walk and the fresh air.
After that, we went to Tanah Rata’s Lord’s Cafe for, you guessed it, scones. My wife enjoyed hers while I got a chicken pie. She liked the scones but preferred the ones at The Smoke House. The cream at the Lord’s Cafe was whipped cream but the one at The Smoke House was Devonshire Cream or something which tasted better. We also went to the Kea Market where my wife bought corn. The steamed corn was absolutely delicious. Finally, something that actually tasted wonderful! God it seems is not only excellent at creation, but is also a good cook too!
The rain came after we reached our hotel to rest a bit and when it stopped, we rode over to Tanah Rata. After walking around, we decided to eat at Sri Brinchang. Bad bad choice. I have no idea why this big Indian restaurant is so highly rated in Trip Advisor. It was, as my colleague whom I bumped into there described it, “rubbish”. And he is Indian and knew what he was talking about. If only he had told me before hand. There were many Caucasians there and no locals. This should have raised a red flag in our minds. The Chicken Briyani that we ordered was average. The Tandoori Chicken was something else. It was burnt a little on the outside and cold on the inside. Go figure. We looked over at the Caucasian lady who ordered a Murtabak and it was burnt. Goodness.
May I suggest that if any of you want to eat local food to skip this restaurant and buy from the night market across the street. The Malay food stalls’ offerings certainly looked more inviting.