Not too far from Kuala Lumpur lies a quaint fishing village called Sekinchan, located in the Sabak Bernam district, Selangor. As it’s about a one and a half to a two hour drive (depending on traffic), it’s an ideal day trip for a quick weekend getaway without the hassle of packing an overnight bag.
Sekinchan has a multiracial community with majority of the population being Chinese residents and the main economy of this quaint town stems from agriculture and fishing. This place is blessed to be a unique geographical environment, as it’s close to both the sea and land. Due to this dual uniqueness, the inhabitants of this little town also call Sekinchan the “Land Of Plenty”.
Having heard of Sekinchan several times but never had the opportunity to take the time to go, we finally decided it was high time we went and took a road trip to explore this “Land Of Plenty” and boy, plenty did we do! It’s certainly not a place that disappoints.
Here are our Top 7 Things To Do In Sekinchan:
1. Visit Bagan Fishing Village
Bagan is the main fishing village in Sekinchan and it’s located along the river and small seaport, south-west of the town. You can’t get fresher than this haul! And whilst the variety isn’t astounding like it is at a huge pasar borong, the choices are still decently plentiful and prices are cheaper than the big cities. It’s not that much cheaper especially once you factor in your petrol costs and toll charges but it’s the inane freshness of the seafood here that you simply cannot beat.
From prawns of all shapes and sizes to red snappers, stingrays, squids, eels, crabs, etc, you’ll be spoilt for choice and frankly, there maybe a slight danger in you getting a bit over excited when surveying the bounty from the sea and resulting in you overbuying!
So, if you are planning a trip to Sekinchan, our advise is to first, ensure that you’ve enough space in your fridge and freezer to store this lovely loot you want to bring home. Secondly, don’t go overboard buying too many kinds of seafood or you may end up with wastage, so buy smart! And thirdly, have a cooler box in the boot of your car with ice packs to keep the seafood cool whist you travel back.
2. Stock up on the freshest fish balls ever!
If fish balls is your thing, you’ll definitely love this place. Not far from Jalan Besar Bagan, you’ll see a house with three fishing balls tied to rope outside a gate with pomegranate trees and fruit trees. Though this may not sound like much of a landmark, that’s basically the description of the look of the place. If you walk in, you’ll see on the far right, a Chinese family literally churning out hundreds of fish balls made by hand, ready for sale.
They sell two sizes of fish balls, large and small. And they sell them in plastic bags, each priced at RM10. We bought the large fish balls as it’s been a long time since we last saw fish balls freshly made in this size. And if you tell them you’re traveling, they’ll pack it up nicely for you with loads of ice in the bag to help you keep the fish balls chilled for the journey back.
3. Marketing for fresh produce
So perhaps you didn’t come all the way to Sekinchan to do marketing but if you took a walk around the market, you’ll understand why we suggest you might as well take up the chance to do your marketing here. Besides the wonderful array of fresh seafood that Sekinchan has to offer, they also have some fantastic produce for sale.
The corn is amazingly sweet, even when eaten raw and it’s much cheaper than one would get in the city. The vegetables are very fresh and priced reasonably. They also sell organic free range chicken eggs by the carton and although they are more expensive than your regular eggs you’ll get at the supermarket, we were told by some local aunties that these eggs are excellent in quality and that they taste very good. Needless to say, we bought some back!
4. Buy keropok!
This is also the place to buy snacks! Keropok fans, you’ll be delighted to know that they have all kinds of varieties on sale. From the typical and popular fish and prawn flavours, they also have some unusual flavours such as sweet potato, both the purple and orange variety. They sell these keropok two ways: ready fried and individually packed and sealed in a large bag (7 packets for RM10) and for those who prefer to fry the keropok yourselves, they sell the raw ones there too.
The Chinese man selling these keropok snacks does so from a makeshift stall from his van. You can see him just across the road when you come out of the Fishing Village, opposite Restoran Jiann Chyi on Bagan Sekinchan. So look out for him, you’ll definitely not want to miss out on these yummy snacks!
5. Feast on seafood
There are several restaurants which are very popular such as Restoran Jiann Chyi in Bagan Sekinchan, Restoran Ka Lok in Lorong 6, Sekinchan, Guang Seng Long Restorant in Taman Sekinchan Damai and a couple more, but we were recommended this place specifically. These restaurants mentioned specialise in nothing else but seafood.
You’ll find that shark and yellow eel are one of the specialties in this village. As quite a number of Sekinchan natives are Teo Chew, the cooking style is commonly derived from the Teo Chew style of cooking. These restaurants serve delicious homemade fare at affordable prices. Case in point, at Restoran Cha Po Tion, for a table of 10 persons and for 9 dishes including plates of rice and Chinese tea, the bill came up to RM235.00. The address, map and telephone number for Restoran Cha Po Tion are in the photos above.
6. Visit the Paddy Processing Factory
Take a little drive out from the Fishing Village and head to the Paddy Processing Factory, where it is most popular for their Pearl Rice. The factory has a Paddy Museum where guides will show you a video on the process of paddy plantation using the mechanised planting method and explanations of paddy planting, harvesting and processing are also available.
You’ll need to purchase a ticket to visit the museum and listen to the video from the ticketing office as you enter the factory. You can also purchase the Pearl Rice from the factory at their in-house store. They sell various snacks, noodles, crackers and even ice cream popsicle sticks (the passion fruit flavour is delicious!). And if you walk a little further out, you’ll see another stall selling fresh fruits, popcorn and even freshly made rendang which they sell packed for you to take away.
Address: Lot No 9990, Jalan Tali Air 5, Ban 2, 45400 Sekinchan, Selangor, Malaysia
Tel: +603-3243 6558 / 016-205 6558
7. Mango King
Whilst we were lining up to buy fish balls, we met a local auntie who was kind enough to tell us about Mango King and she was even kinder to take us there. She told us that they sell good quality mangoes and that we ought to check it out. So, we took her lead and did just that. You see, it does pay to be friendly and strike up conversation at times, especially when it leads to good food!
Mango King is located in a house. There were of course mangoes for sale but there were also bags of fresh passion fruit, guavas (both the pink and green varieties) and snacks such as home-made banana chips, cookies and even bottled fresh passion fruit juice. The address and telephone number can be found in the photos above.
If you’re a lover of photography, you’ll find that you’ll have many subjects to shoot and frankly, you’ll have a gala time there capturing many subjects of interest from different angles. And if you come when the paddy fields are ripe for harvest, it truly is a sight to behold so look out for those dates and come early because Sekinchan has developed in the popularity stakes in recent years with photographers.
An important tip from us is to start your journey early (we left just after 7am). Many of the seafood restaurants open from 6:30am and close at 3:00pm. This is mainly due to them getting the fresh catch from the sea from the fishermen as they arrive back at the docks by 5:30-6am. We noticed that the locals there generally eat pretty early too. We had our lunch at 10:30am and when we walked in, the restaurant was almost full and we had to scramble to get a table.
And if you’d like to buy seafood, that’s yet another reason to reach Sekinchan early because if you don’t, there will be lesser choices available. They say the early bird catches the worm but in this case, it’s the fish instead.
Do take a day out of your weekend to explore this lovely town. It’s rustic charm is still present, food is great, it isn’t too far away and the people are warm. What more could you want? It definitely warrants a return trip in our books!
News source: (Ann Lee)