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Tuesday March 18, 2008
Story and pictures by ZAZALI MUSA
The newly-opened Sarang Tempua Café in Kampung Parit Ahmad Laut, off Kampung Bumiputera in Rengit, Johor, never fails to attract curious onlookers.
The resort-like eating place is slowly gaining popularity among bargain hunters heading for Kampung Bumiputera, which is famous for its second-hand goods.
On weekdays, the outlet offers local dishes such as soto, mee rebus Johor, mee hailam and nasi goreng kampung, and nasi minyak on weekends.
For afternoon tea, customers can chew on local snacks such goreng pisang, keropok lekor, jemput-jemput ikan bilis and ubi rebus.
Prices aside, what attracts most is the ambience, decor, landscaping and small huts perched on the bank of the irrigation canal.
The café is a labour of love and it took me about a year to finish, said owner Ahmad Azam Johar in an interview recently.
He wants customers to enjoy the ambience and be patient for orders, as cooking is done by him and assistants Ismail Ibrahim, Nurul Hidayah Ibrahim and Nafisah Padikutty.
Azam said it would have easily cost RM100,000 if he had engaged a contractor, landscape consultant and labourers.
He needs no introduction when it comes to landscaping in Batu Pahat as he won first place in the Johor Landscape Contest in 2003 in the kampung and single-storey terrace house category.
Azam has won several top awards from local Malay décor magazines for his creativity in recent years.
He restores second hand furniture diligently and makes garden furniture, water fountains and pergolas.
He said one got a sense of satisfaction when one did things on one's own and it cut down on the cost of hiring experts.
Most of the wood used in the project are recycled, except for the kelerai and attap chee-leaf roofs, Azam said.
The kelerai are woven bamboo panels for huts bought in from Indonesia while the attap chee-leaf roofs were ordered from Parit Besar near here.
The windows in the main building were from an old mosque and the wood for chairs and tables were salvaged from old kampung houses.
Azam also displays collectibles such as old radios, fans, Malay silverware, glassware and paintings bought from orang asli traders.
For details, call 012-797 0064.
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