300 Year Old Settlement With Trendy Cafes
Dating back to about 300 years ago, Kampung Cina where it now stands, was settled by seafaring traders from Southern mainland China. Kuala Terengganu was once a busy maritime trading centre that attracted merchants from across the region and of course, China. The descendants of these traders, known as peranakans, still make their homes here although changes are taking place where the old shop houses, seeing potential as a tourist draw, are now being gradually converted into trendy restaurants, cafes and guest houses.
Kampung Cina’s main street is a stretch of quaint old shop houses¬¬ where the peranakan heritage is celebrated and preserved. Stretching from Pasar Besar Kedai Payang, the one-way narrow street of Jalan Bandar ends at the welcome dragon arch at the Seri Malaysia hotel junction. Take a leisurely stroll and discover amongst the nooks and crannies, interesting alleyways with modern street art, new cafes and old abandoned homes. You can feel the history of a glorious past and seeing how it is slowly coming up again to be a centre of tourism and commerce.
Every year, the community of Kampung Cina celebrate their heritage in festival Peranakan which has been rebranded as Festival Mek and Awang Terengganu where there are cultural shows, photo exhibition, street art exhibition and food demos, and night markets. This is also the time where the meks or women (men are referred to as awang) proudly adorn their sarong kebayas, a dress which have cultural influences of the Malays. Most Terengganu Chinese speak fluent Malay in the Terengganu dialect and some of their food is also adapted and fused with Terengganu traditional ingredients and recipes such as budu, a shrimp paste. You will find unique peranakan recipes not found anywhere else in the country such as steamed kerepok lekor with its own unique chili sauce, ceranang (a kind of salad eaten with peanut sauce) and rojak betik, a young papaya salad, julienned with sliced carrots, and eaten with a sweet and sour fish dressing and keropok. You will find that some of the recipes of the Peranakans here are not found in other peranakan communities in the country.