Besut | The Classic Barbershop

Pak Di is a barber in Pantai Air Tawar, Besut. He has a very small porch in front of his house, which he modified into this very peculiar, creaky, odd and antique looking barbershop. 


His service is very cheap, only RM4.00 if you want to trim your hair.


I sat down and asked him to trim down my hair as well. My hair will start to get all curly and wavy after it passes a certain length . I'll look really messy if I don't comb my hair right - which I didn't most of the time


He was very friendly. Pak Di is actually the brother of my uncle's wife. We talked mainly about religion, maybe because he knew I'm currently studying in Egypt. It was hard to find a rhythm on the conversation at first because we kept jumping on points, but eventually everything clicked. 


We had a nice exchange of notions on the differences between the 4 major doctrines of Sunni.


It was only when he finished cutting and trimming my hair that I realised that I didn't bring my wallet. My cousin who was with me only had RM3.00. I said to Pok Di that I'll pay the remaining one ringgit later and he was fine with it.


These are all my close cousins having a picnic near the sea, well actually in front of their house.

Me and my aunt went to the Friday Marketplace located in Kuala Besut.

We searched for a specific type of herb, locally known as pucuk midin to make porridge later on. There were loads and I mean loads of them on sale here..


We bought 2 bundles of it from this makcik. Can't remember the cost of it, RM5 I think? 


This is called lokan. If you steam it, it tastes like a sweeter and more chewy version of oyster. I tasted oyster once, accepting a dare from my sister and it tasted like......metal. I accidentally swallowed pen ink when I was young and I could've sworn that it tasted exactly like that.


On another note Anthony Bourdain said in his book Kitchen Confidential that his life was forever changed when he first consumed one. 

"It tasted of seawater... of brine and flesh...and, somehow...of the future," recalled Bourdain on eating the oyster.


We bought 2 kilos of sardines here.


Speaking of sardines, the food market was packed.


There were crazy amounts of food being sold. I can’t even fathom, the amount of ingredients used by all the sellers if we were to somehow pile all of ‘em up and weigh them.


In the end we bought akok and kuih kaya. The girl looked at the camera the moment I pressed the shutter. It was nicely framed too. :(


We bought ketupat too. I prefer the sweetened version more than the plain one.


I bought 3 packets of etok before we left. I've been craving this for months.


My father is a son of a fisherman. His father passed away when he was just 7 and her late mother - my grandmother passed away close to 3 years ago. This was the house where she raised my father and his siblings. The house had went through multiple renovations throughout the past 30 years.


Ketupat Sotong, the absolute favourite of my first sister. I was halfway through the meal when I remembered to take a picture, so forgive the rather unflattering shot. But the dish was good, make sure to have one when you're in the East Coast.


The lokan, fishes and herbs bought earlier were key ingredients of this porridge. Babur Lambuk Pucuk Midin is the name of this dish, and do try this out if you have the chance. 


My aunt cooked crispy deep fried fish to top it off. Crunchy and tasty.


I stopped by Pak Di’s shop once more to pay the remaining RM1.00. A debt is a debt they say, no matter how small.


We had a small chat once more, he kept telling me how alike me and my father are. He asked me to come by his shop again which I will. I promise.


I hope that his barbershop will continue to thrive, and one day able to attract outsiders too due to its uniqueness.