5 can't miss places to visit in Seremban, Malaysia
Peggy is a freelance writer, avid traveler and amateur photographer. She is currently based in New York City. Take to the open road with her on her blog: www.takingtotheopenroad.wordpress.com
My hometown, Seremban, in Malaysia, is a tiny dot on the map between Kuala Lumpur, the country's capital, and historical Malacca to the south. Most visitors breeze by on their way between the latter two cities, but Seremban is filled with hidden gems - you just need a local to show you where to go.
Seni Budaya Cultural State Museum
The first settlers in Negeri Sembilan were the Minangkabau, who came from nearby Sumatra, Indonesia. The legend is that when they were about to be attacked by the Javanese, both sides chose to hold a contest between two animals, each representing one faction. The Javanese chose a tiger; the Sumatrans a water buffalo. The latter gored the tiger to death and since then, Minangkabau houses have a distinctive horn shaped roof, designed to honour the water buffalo’s victory.
The State Museum references this story, with its curved, Minangkabau styled roofs. The building itself is built completely out of wood and without the use of nails. It was once an old royal palace. Now it houses displays of historical artifacts such as photographs, weapons, silverware and pottery.
Pasar Besar Seremban
Known colloquially as the "wet market", this is where the locals do their shopping. Asian vegetables like bokchoy and choy sum are piled high in mounds, as well as pickled peppers and wrinkled roots for soups. Verdant starfruit, hairy rambutans, and jewel-like mangosteens can be bought here in season. Downstairs, you can ask for a freshly butchered chicken, or just chicken feet, sold by the kilogram. There is also a seafood section, where fish, squid and crabs sit on ice, waiting for buyers.
But the main reason to come to Pasar Besar is for the food, especially the beef noodles, sold from Sin Yee Kee, a stall on the upper floor. These beef noodles are the best in Seremban, and often sell out early. The noodles come with thick slices of tender, stewed beef mixed with a sticky, sweet-savoury soy sauce, garnished with spring onions and sesame seeds.
Seremban Siew Pau shop
A must on any visitor's list of things to eat in Seremban is the Siew Pau. It is a flaky pastry bun filled with a savoury meat (usually pork) filling. Unlike steamed dumplings, Seremban Siew Pau dumplings are baked until crisply golden on the outside and glazed with a sweet sauce. My favourite Siew Pau shop is from Kee Mei Siew Pau, at 1849 Jalan Tok Ungku, Bukit Rasah. The shop only bakes small batches throughout the day, so if you have a large order, it's better to call and give notice in advance to avoid long waiting times.
Every urbanite needs to get away from the city now and again. I love going to City Park for the views, space and green fields. You can see the new Seremban High Court building here, with its distinctive Minangkabau roofs. There is also an expansive pond filled with greedy, gobbling fish. The park is often filled with picnicking families on the weekend, as well as sportsmen playing basketball or badminton.
Singapore Road is lined with pre-war colonial shophouses with arched colonnades and louvered wooden windows. The crumbling plaster facades are painted in their original pastel blue, yellow and pink hues and the shops make for a wonderful photo. Singapore Road is filled with interesting merchandise, with shopkeepers selling everything from household items like tableware, brooms, buckets and pots, to prayer items, incense sticks, lucky bracelets and ancestral offerings.