mountain house hotel

A trip to Cameron Highlands would not be complete without the obligatory yin yang steamboat dinner, since the ambient temperature and wind chill factor can be pretty cold at night. We went southbound to Brinchang instead of Tanah Rata but it turns out that both towns were equally packed with tourists.

organic steamboat

There are a lot of places offering steamboat dinners, most of them yin yang style – so called due to the two different broths and the similarity to the symbol of good and evil. We went to Restaurant Mountain House Hotel, which offers “organic” steamboat priced at RM 16 per head.

yin yang

The yin yang steamboat comes with seafood, tofu (urgh…), noodles, rice vermicelli, assorted super processed food, and homegrown vegetables. Cameron Highlands produces a huge amount of fresh, organically grown vegetables, so it’s really cheap there…which is probably why we got an ultra generous portion of veggies.

noodle trick

The yin yang steamboat consists of a chicken broth and a tom yam broth – it’s usually a mild broth with a spicy broth, keeping with the themes of absolute good and absolute evil. Exhibit A above shows the patented sixthseal.com method of ensuring your noodles are cooked.

1. Use your chopsticks to snag some noodles.
2. Apply pressure to the noodles with your fingernails.
3. It needs to be slightly soggier than al dente – you’ll get a feel for it (pun not intended) the more you do it.

It was originally invented a good 17 years ago by yours truly, intended to gauge whether instant noodles are ready to eat when I started cooking Maggi at 10. :)

me doris steamboat

This photo is making the post look dated – I went to Cameron Highlands with my ex last month, but never got around to posting it until today due to a massive backlog of posts. Quickly switching subjects, the vegetables in Cameron Highlands comes in the most vibrant shade of green I have ever seen!

no veggies

Nooooo….no more veggies!

cacti

Cameron Highlands is known for its strawberries and roses but it also has a relatively obscure but healthy cactus industry going on.

cactus point

Cactus Point is a popular tourist attraction, and why not? Cacti are easy to take care of – they don’t need watering or any other affectionate gestures.

cactus spine

A cactus is a very lovable plant, with sharp spines protruding from every inch of its surface. I have a few sharp protuberances as well, so perhaps that’s where my affinity for cacti stems from. Pardon the lame pun.

cactus eat

You can break it open in times of dire need for water if your office or house is lacking. Or so I heard.

cactus camwhore

You can even camwhore with it.

cactus sale

Cactus Point has a wide range of cacti for sale…

cactus nfs

…and some marked NFS (Not For Sale).

cactus buy

Cactus Point has almost every species of cacti, according to the brochure. There are miniature versions as well – I bought some to bring back home. I’ll probably bring one to the office too.

I am now the proud owner of an evil looking cactus.

big red strawberry cafe

Big Red Strawberry Café is located in the renowned Big Red Strawberry Farm in Brinchang, Cameron Highlands. The place was packed full of tourists during the long weekend. We went on Sunday afternoon and I couldn’t even take a decent shot without at least two tourists armed with cameras blocking my view. ;)

cafe montage

We headed straight for the Big Red Strawberry Café (the official café of Big Red Strawberry Farm) coz I was famished – we woke up late after sleeping in until 10 am and haven’t had anything to eat since the previous night. The Big Red Strawberry Café mainly concentrates on strawberry products but they also serve a very fresh salad due to vegetables being one of the main produce of Cameron Highlands.

big red indulgence

Behold! The strawberry indulgence (overdose?).
The actual food looks nothing like the photos – this is after all, a tourist trap and they make do with disposable forks and spoons and paper plates instead of the well presented menu pictures.

big red drinks

I had the Strawberry Juice (RM 3.90) while my girlfriend went for the Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie (RM 5.90). The strawberry juice is very sour – Cameron Highland strawberries tend to be small and a bit on the acidic side, but it tasted very fresh. The Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie was better, since the tanginess is diffused by the yogurt.

big red strawberry waffle

The Fresh Strawberry Waffle (RM 5) is a mass produced item made with a waffle iron (I stand witness) and strawberry preserve and jam. It still tasted pretty good though due to the rather frigid temperatures up there. Big Red Strawberry Farm is located on the highlands and the wind chill factor can be quite cold. It’s topped with ice cream AND whipped cream.

big red fried ice cream

This is the Strawberry Fried Ice Cream (RM 3.90) adorned with two Cameron Highlands strawberries. The strawberries they serve in the Big Red Strawberry Café is a bit on the minute side, the big and juicy ones are in the farm, where you can pick your own. It’s good nevertheless, I like fried ice cream – despite knowing my physics and heat transfer it still amazes the inner child in me that the ice cream does not melt while being fried. :)

big red yoghurt

My girlfriend had the healthy Strawberries with Honey and Yogurt (RM 3.90) for dessert. Big Red Strawberry Café uses real yogurt (e.g. the very sour kind) and it goes well with the honey (from a bee farm in Cameron Highlands) and strawberries. I pronounce it Heart Healthy (TM).

big red sundae

I, being no stranger to cardiac arrests and strokes, opted for the Strawberry Sundae (RM 5.90) topped with whipped cream. In my defense, it has a plethora of fresh strawberries at the bottom of the sundae…at least a quarter of the dessert consists of fresh strawberries.

big red strawberry cafe us

I think we both felt nauseous after the strawberry themed brunch – I had to eat a healthy plate of Maggie Mee Goreng with a Heart Healthy (TM) cholesterol laden sunny side up egg to counter the fructose and glucose intake.

picking strawberries

The best part about Big Red Strawberry Farm? You get to stroll through the strawberry farm and pick your own big and juicy strawberries. :)

arrive

I drove up to Cameron Highlands over the long weekend with my girlfriend at 6 am in the morning. I consulted Google Maps and wrote down the directions from my place to Tapah. It wasn’t very difficult once we got on the PLUS highway but we still managed to get lost coz we didn’t realize the NKVE highway is part of the PLUS expressway.

speed
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step (of the accelerator)

I managed to clock a decent speed once I got on PLUS, managed to hit nearly 180 km/h driving on the fast lane before switching from D to 2 and maintained about 190 km/h. My girlfriend wouldn’t take any photos of the speedometer after that, preferring to hold on to the passenger side handle with one hand braced against the glove box.

fail
Tourist destination peace of mind for travelers – FAIL

The toll costs a cool RM 19.20 so it’s about RM 40 for a return trip – make sure your Touch ‘n Go card is loaded with the appropriate amount coz we had to reverse (much to the annoyance of the cars behind us) and switch to the cash lane due to a lack of credit in the card.

lata iskandar

We managed to reach the Lata Iskandar waterfall after about an hour of driving. The Lata Iskandar waterfall is a popular rest stop for people driving up to Cameron Highlands.

lata iskandar waterfall

The Lata Iskandar waterfall is a magnificent sight with (very cold) water from the highlands rushing down a steep cliff. People can be seen frolicking in the water and generally chilling out before heading towards Tanah Rata (the main strip of Cameron Highlands).

lata iskandar us

It’s a great spot for vacation photography too – the “I was here” type shots. ;)

fake strawberry

I didn’t get to eat a real strawberry then but the next post will be on the Big Red Strawberry Farm where we picked our own strawberries. :)

fairy

The fairy (in his best ah gua pose) is reporting live from Starbucks Cameron Highlands. The ah gua stance…only slightly marred by the cigarette dangling from my hand. It’s Dunhill Top Leaf though. ;)

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