I was first made aware of this farm seeking licensed alcohol by my step son whilst discussing a Malay restaurant where the dinner tables are actually in the river – you enjoy your food whilst the gentle waves lap over your feet.
We watched a video about the farm and decided this was a delightful way to spend an afternoon prior to his wedding. Chelliah Toppu Banting is a licensed today brewer.
Our arrival at the site was firstly with trepidation as we were aware in the past of dogs that might not be there to welcome is with open paws. The entrance was mostly as expected – no signage on the roadside or the entrance to the farm, thankfully no dogs either.
The impression is of a secret we share. The actual entrance is hidden and the staff unimposing. You find a shaded table and relax. There are about ten tables outside so this is not a busy place. The only noise is the chatter of the birds.
We can here for the toddy: a traditional alcoholic drink made from the partly fermented sap of the coconut palm. It arrives in a large round clay pot with two protruding pourers, one, closed, to hold, and the other to pour. Inside the pot is enough iced drink to keep the four of us happy for a couple of hours.
Our first glass, a shot glass, was drank in one go, a rich slightly sickly sweet and tangy but smooth and soft on the palate.
We ate to soak up the deceptively strong wine. We knew the food menu from the video: fried fish, monitor lizard in sauce, wild boar in sauce, egg, tapioca, and rice. I have not seen the lizard and boar on any other menu. The boar was, as expected, a little fatty. The lizard came with small bones.
To work out way through the next two hours we topped up our drink with either lager or Guinness. The former diluted it’s sweetness while the latter added bitterness to balance against the sweetness. Either way it was easier to drink with a little bit of fizz.
This is a sweet taste of unadulterated Malaysia. A quiet farm environment, pleasant company with afternoon conversation under the canopy, washed down with sweet alcohol.