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Ahad, 22 Mei 2011

Danok: A Food And Shopping Haven

May 20, 2011 12:51 PM


Apart from a shopping paradise, Danok is also a dining aficionados. Danok is a small town in Thailand, and only takes about 45 minutes from Alor Setar, Kedah.By Sakini Mohd Said

SINTOK, May 20 (Bernama) -- A little-known shopping haven lies at the border between Malaysia and Thailand, selling goods that are much cheaper than those in Petaling Street.

The place is called Danok. It is a small town located in Thailand, just after Bukit Kayu Hitam in Kedah.

You name it, Danok has it. Shirts, jeans and handbags from top brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Coach and Prada, can be found here.

The price - pardon the pun - is the main selling point. If you thought the prices at Petaling Street seemed like good bargains, the prices in Danok mat will certainly make you rethink your opinions.

Aside from its shopping attractions, Danok is also known as a food-lover's paradise.

HAVE SOME "PULUT AYAM"

"If you go to Danok, you must try the 'pulut ayam' (chicken in glutinous rice)," recommended a local.

"Pulut" aficionados might find his statement intriguing.

Malaysians might be familiar with 'pulut durian' (durian in glutinous rice), 'pulut kuning' (yellow glutinous rice, usually eaten with chicken rendang) and 'pulut mangga' (mango in glutinous rice), but the idea of eating pulut with fried chicken is a novel concept.

Nevertheless, this unique dish is popular in Danok.

"Every weekend, my family and I travel to Danok just for its pulut ayam. It's so delicious and you can't get it anywhere else," Kamarul, a tourist, told Bernama.

Stalls selling pulut ayam can be seen lining the streets in Danok. They are sold according to size, with the most expensive version priced at RM6.

"The chicken get its red colour from being marinated in certain spices. But it's not spicy and does not taste like 'mamak' fried chicken," said Aminah, a pulut ayam seller.

"The pulut is also different from pulut durian or mangga. It's harder and is eaten with a special sauce, similar to the one we eat with 'keropok' (chips), but the one for pulut ayam is tastier," she added, although she declined to share her sauce recipe.

MUST TRY THE 'KEMSOM'

"Kemsom" is very commonly found at most Thai food stalls in Sintok and even in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur.

But there are still some people who don't know what it is.

It is a savoury dish that is similar to the popular Malaccan dish "asampedas". However, it is spicier, contains bamboo shoots and has a deep yellow appearance.

What distinguishes the kemsom in Danok from the varieties found anywhere else is the use of the 'ikan puyu' (climbing perch). This makes the dish quite unique since the fish is usually salt-cured or used for decoration. This is due to the belief that it will ward off evil spirits.

Tourist guide Anwar said that he usually urges tourists under his care to try the dish when they visit the region.

"The most popular kemsom is the one cooked with ikan puyu, which is the size of a talapia.

"Initially, tourists would be put off by its appearance. But after tasting it, they would express delight about how delicious and soft the flesh is," said Anwar, who had been with tour agency Sulai Tour for six years.

He added that barbecued meat, pulut mangga, pulut durian and tomyam are also popular among tourists who visit Danok.

TRY THE SPA

Aside from being a shopping and food haven, Danok is also known as the place for women to enjoy a day at the spa.

"The services offered are very cheap," noted Anwar.

"You can get a massage, a body scrub, a sauna bath and milk bath for just RM70. Such a spa package would cost hundreds of ringgit in Sintok (Kedah)."

However, some tourists are sceptical about such offers, which is understandable. This is because, unfortunately, Danok is also notorious for being a 'red-light' district.

But Anwar said that there are several spas offering genuine services.

"Yes, there are two types: one of them offers genuine services, such as massages, scrubs, sauna baths and manicures. The other offers the same services with sexual favours attached.

"A good rule of thumb is to find spas where the masseuse is an older woman. They tend to offer genuine spa services," he added.

GETTING TO DANOK

Tourists visiting Sintok, Kedah, should not miss the opportunity to visit Danok.

Public transportation options, such as buses, are available from Alor Setar to Changlun. From there, a taxi can be taken to Danok.

A tourist from Melaka, Fatimah Wahab, said that she would visit Danok every time she visited her daughter, who is studying in Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) in Sintok.

"Sintok is only 15 minutes away from Danok town. If you're from Alor Setar, it's a 45-minute ride away.

"But distance should not be the sole consideration for a visit. If you forget about that for a while, you will see that it really is a quaint little town with a lot of things to offer," she pointed out.

"I, for instance, like to come here because of the unique sight of elephants roaming the roads."

-- BERNAMA

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