On the road…

Last year, my friend, Philip, took me on a road trip to Kanowit. Well, he’s back in town from the US and this year, he took me and my missus to Bintangor.

Road to Bintangor

Originally, the town was called Binatang but I guess some people did not like the name as it is a Malay word that means “animal” in English so they changed it to Bintangor. It is very near to Sibu, around 30 to 40 minutes by road…

By the roadside, you may get to see some stalls selling fruits…

Roadside fruit stall

…such as the celebrated Binatang kam or Bintangor oranges…

Bintangor oranges

These are known to be very sour and when peeling them, there would be this very pungent smell that would fill the whole house. My missus loves these the most and prefers them to all the other kinds of oranges in the world but my daughter simply cannot stand the smell while the mum is peeling and eating one of these.

These are the very sweet honey pineapples…

Honey pineapples

…that we call kelapa sawit as they are grown as a subsidiary crop in the oil palm estates around here. They’re more or less the same price as in Sibu – around RM4.00 for a medium-sized one and up to RM6.00 for something bigger.

The sweet corn…

Sweet corn

…or what they call Ligo around here after the brand name of the canned kernels is much cheaper though – 7 for RM10.00 while in Sibu, that amount of money would probably get you 5 at the most.

Owing to the fact that Bintangor is well-known for its oranges, the fruit is used as the symbol of the town…

Bintangor waterfront

This replica is located at the Bintangor waterfront.

The town is a lot bigger than Kanowit. These old shops have been around for a long time – they were there already in the late 60′s and early 70′s when I used to travel to Kuching using ships like the Rajah Mas or when express boats would stop by en route from Sibu to Sarikei.

Bintangor shophouses 1

There are many new blocks of shophouses now…

Bintangor shophouses 2

…and this is the tallest building in the town centre…

Bintangor's tallest

There used to be a somewhat impressive hotel there but the proprietor had gone bankrupt or so I heard and the place looks quite abandoned, left there completely  idle.

I saw a few schools around and many churches including this big one…

Bintangor Catholic church

- the Church of Christ the King.

I cannot remember the last time I was in the town but I can recall stopping here sometimes for lunch when I was driving back from Kuching to Sibu – those days when my daughter was still a toddler, probably some 20 or so years ago…and I did stay there once when I had to run courses for teachers at one of the schools in the town or was it at the teachers’ training college halfway between here and Sarikei, I can’t exactly remember now. But this time around, I noticed that the town, though bigger than Kanowit, was rather quiet  and not as busy. Usually, at this time in the morning every day, one would find a hive of activity there but not here…unfortunately.

Now, what brought us all the way to this town then, you may ask? Well, I will let you know the answer…in the next post. You’ll stay tuned, wouldn’t you? LOL!!!

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36 thoughts on “On the road…

  1. for food i guess!

    one of my uni friend live at Bintangor, everytime after semester break, she would bring a box of kam for us :D

    You like? The original is really very very sour… Hmmm…you know me so well! ;)

  2. A trip to Bintangor won’t be complete without Bintangor’s rojak ;)

    The star attraction, I would say… LOL!!! :D

  3. I love road trips especially to little towns like Bintagor.Often you find surprises in such places and the most important thing is that it’s like a trip down memory lane.

    Next time you come, stay longer and we’ll make a trip to Kanowit. You will definitely enjoy it a lot – somehow it is different from Sibu…that cosy feeling in a nice and peaceful little town. Bintangor is more like Sibu, no point going if it’s a short trip and you can only make it to one place.

  4. Your photos are so colorful and very sharp! What type of fantastic camera you used?? My friend in Kuching was born in Bintangor and I always heard from the gang of Sibu friends how ulu and remote Bintangor town was. Your photos convinced me otherwise. The way they described was like it is just a one street town of wooden shops with sakais walking in tribal loin cloths! What a bunch of idiots! LOL… That Bintangor guy is so handsome that they always tried to match make him but failed. Now he is in his early 40s as architect and not married yet.

    The pineapples are not cheap even in that small town! Goodness I remembered buying them when I was a child. It was like 50 cents then! Ha ha ha….

    Oh? Architect? Still available kah? Wait till my girl graduates – as they say, “Lau ang siok ch’ee bor!” (Old husband very loving to young wife) Muahahahahahaha!!!!

    Yes, the Sarikei ones – later, RM1.00 each…I think, now RM2 at least. Those pineapples are small. They remove the skin and eyes and you can eat it holding on to the stalk like eating chicken drumstick.

    People over there often have that impression of Sarawak in general and of the places here. There always better, more advanced…and here, ulu. Notice how clean and well-maintained the town is – even a small town like this. I don’t think I can say the same about many places in the mainland – some seem to take pride in the fact that the place is so run-down, so very dirty and yet, people are queuing up for the food but unfortunately, it always puts me off…plus the horrendous traffic jams!

  5. I know, I know! You must have gone there for some special food! Can’t wait to see what it is…I am always excited about food :)

    Stick around, you’ll see it in tomorrow’s post… ;)

  6. Bintangor…I never know that those oranges are the symbol for Bintangor until I read your post. Thanks for sharing this info,.
    I been there once and I Love the “rojak paste” from Bintangor. Never know u been there la,or else can tumpang you help me buy the rojak paste.
    Any nice food in Bintangor?..the town is very quiet ..I been there 2 yrs ago during CNY…..

    Yes, it is so very quiet. Quite pitiful, I must say… You like the rojak too, eh? Come back and see it in tomorrow’s post. ;)

  7. Yea, have been there quite a few times. My bro-in-law is a Foochow from this small town but now they have moved to Kuching. I don’t like the sour oranges but I like the smell of it. The sweet corn really looks good.

    You’re like my daughter then – my missus loves those oranges! I would not touch it either, no, thank you. Fat people don’t like sour things. LOL!!!

  8. yeah, the name Binatang doesn’t really sound nice unless it’s something more specific like Kuching, hehe…

    You don’t know some of the names of the places here! Like when I was teaching Geography a long time ago, the students were so tickled by the name of a town in China – Lanchow…now more elegantly spelt Lánzhōu… ;)

    • guess you really need to know the local language huh, even they have different names for the fruits.. kelapa sawit for pineapple, ligo for sweet corn.. but kam makes sense to me for mandarin oranges as it’s actually named as such in chinese…

      I guess everyone knows Ligo but kelapa sawit is indeed misleading – people would think it’s oil palm…or grafted or related to it in some way.

  9. Hey Arthur, you got yourself a new camera ah? The pictures are so clear and beautiful… What brand are you using?: I thought of getting a new one, the present one makes the pictures as dull as the owner.. :(

    Same on – Canon ixus. They have newer models now and I’m sure they’re even nicer. Around 1K or slightly less. You can also try using Microsoft Office Picture Manager to “enhance” your photos – the brightness, contrast and so on to make your photos look better. This is not photoshop – I wouldn’t know how to do that…old man, so jakun! :(

  10. Kanowit. U told me to go try making a trip to Kanowit right? I’ve put that in my ‘to go’ list :D

    I kenot imagine the pungent smell of the orange. Must try myself to experience it.

    When are you coming? Would love to take you around here and to Kanowit as well. Stay at my house – free lodging, free food, free tours.,..just grab the air tickets yourself – itu saya tak tanggung! LOL!!!

  11. Nice post about Bintangor. HB likes those oranges. But not me…because its sour! hahaha…..

    Nice change! Usually, the ladies love sour things, the men..not so. LOL!!!

  12. Arthur, next time, Lanchau or is it Lachau? Thanks for the quinee, super delicious!

    I think it is La-jiao…sounds like chili in Chinese. No, thank you. That place is a bit too far. Welcome, thank you to my neighbour. LOL!!! :D

  13. Bintangor, it had change a lot! Now i cannot recall how it looks like, my last trip there was more than 20 years ago too? tsk tsk tsk.

    That is called bintangor kam? Hmmm..i tot it is call ” jepun kam” direct translate from foo chow. I can see a lot this kam in Sibu town, and i eat a lot when i am young too. Is it sour? I think it is sweet? ahhahah . And it is surprise me that Bintangor are famous for rojak!

    Jepun kam is sweet. My missus doesn’t like. If it is the real Bintangor kam, it is extremely sour. My missus likes. The ones in the photos…not too sure, maybe mixed. Usually the Binatang kam is greener. Not too sure which ones are those. Ya…the town is completely different from how I remember it to be – also have not been there for years…

  14. used to look forward to Binatang with my late grandma by express boat to visit my aunty. I can see the ‘tohlau’looking really nice now.She preferred to take my brother(the more obedient) than me,LOL!, for I loved to whine,asked to buy ‘pinkiling”,the flag with small lollies in its pole,so when express moved,it started flapping….. memories…….my late aunty’s house was near a hilltop n there was schools nearby.. wonder if they still live there…… Binatang ‘kikiang’ is nice but still prefer the matu kam. haven’t had both in ages!

    Yahor…there was the matu kam also. Forgot completely about those. Wonder what they are like. I’m not into those oranges…never mind which type. :)

  15. The Kam not the ones that you belanja us the other time ka? The ones you belanja us was very sweet wor

    No, those sweet…and you peel the skin, no strong acidic smell that will put people off – not the same.

  16. I like the pearl corn … is this the same?

    Nope. I had that at Cameron. I think this is a whole lot nicer. Didn’t really like the pearl one, just so-so.

  17. Is there a Part 2 here, coz this post is minus the food! An STP fruit post just isn’t enough! lol
    Btw, thanks for introducing me to this place. Haven’t heard of it before.
    +Ant+

    Yes, come back tomorrow for the continuing episode of…”Bintangor revisited”. LOL!!! :D

  18. The photos are lovely, perhaps a wedding? I’ll pop back to see the answer. ;)
    I love open markets, and I bet the pineapples were delicious.

    Indeed, they are. I’m not a fan of pineapples but these, I don’t mind because they’re very sweet and juicy. No, not a wedding – come to think of it, I have not been to a wedding for a long time now. :( I love weddings. Thanks for your compliment on the photos.

  19. Bintangor oranges! :x

    I don’t know if I’ve told you the story, but remind me to when I’m back in Sibu if I haven’t.

    I haven’t been to Bintangor in a long time, it looks like nothing has changed though. :)

    Can’t wait for your second post. :)

    No, you haven’t… Will wait to hear your story and coming from you, I would expect it is something “sensational”. LOL!!! ;)

  20. next time can hitchhike kah? :)

    My friend, Philip, drove. He’s going back to the US next week and will probably be home again around this same time next year. I wouldn’t dare drive my old jalopies there…may break down halfway! Touch wood!

  21. The corn looks good. My Quay Lo love those from Camerons. You said this is even better? Wow!

    Yes, I did not quite enjoy the Cameron one – had to struggle to finish one ear… :(

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