We were supposed to be in Cherating for several days before heading down to Palau Tioman but due to Malaysian school holidays, buses being full for a week and the need to change money. We only managed one night.
Cherating is a small village next to the sea. It has that village feel to it. The beach is not the draw here, as it is not fantastic. It is the quiet laid back atmosphere and the friendliness of the people that draws visitors and keeps them there.
As it is next to the sea you would expect a lot of fish restaurants. Actually not that many. But we did search one out. Not really a restaurant by European standards but more of a cafe by Malaysian. It was a typical shop front, with loads of plastic chairs and tables outside, with a counter out front displaying a vast array of fish and shell fish on offer. A set of scales to weigh your fish, so you knew how much it was going to cost before we had it cooked. A large flat skillet was the cooking device here. It seemed all the fish was cooked one way, one top of a banana leaf and coated with a real yummy spicy sauce.
We saw this cafe earlier in the afternoon, by the time we returned at night the fish display had weaned down to just a dozen or so fish. The crab and clams had gone. We opted for a beautiful looking monster that weighed about 700g. No idea what type of fish it was, but it was the freshest one there. As I prodded around and checked the gills and eyes. Definately caught that day. We also ordered some rice and a plate of mixed vegetables.
The fish was cooked to a tee, and was still nice and moist on the inside. The sauce spicy but not mouth burning, just gave me a nice glow at the back of the throat. Thankfully the fish had large bones so they were easy to sort out. No medical emergencies there. We stripped that bugger clean. That had been our best meal in quite while, as Island food in the Perhentians had not been that great.
This cafe was run by three girls, all in their late teens I guess, and a boy making the drinks. Incredible that people so young could be doing so well. The only people eating their were Malays and a couple of Germans who did not like fish and just ate noodles. It baffled me.
It was a shame we were only in Cheariting for one night, as I know we would have eaten there every night, trying all the seafood they had.