To Kampung Baru Broga for its famed grilled fish

One kilometre from the village entrance is the 148-year-old Sak Dato Temple, the pride of the villagers and now a tourist attraction.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

The wait for their favourite ikan bakar or grilled fish on weekends is getting longer.

But Kampung Baru Broga villagers are used to this and the traffic jam as diners and tourists throng their village.

"Your ikan bakar might only be ready by 9pm," said village chief Yong Kin Leong, when StarMetro visited Kampung Baru Broga.

He cautioned that the wait might even be longer at certain popular eateries.

Yong said to-date, there are 41 eateries in the village, and counting, thanks to the surrounding areas' rapid development and tourism.

Kampung Baru Broga, located at the Negri Sembilan-Selangor border, is nestled in a hilly area and has all the attractions of tourism - eco, agro and cultural.

Big holiday resorts have mushroomed in and around the village in recent years, Yong said.

Kok Chee Yee and his family operate the first ikan bakar restaurant in Kampung Baru Broga and they have been in business since the 1990s.​Photo: The Star/Asia News Network

Kok and his family operate the first ikan bakar restaurant in Kampung Baru Broga and have been in business since the 1990s.

Once a predominantly agricultural village, the rising land prices also saw many villagers selling their land to investors.

Yong estimated that some 70 per cent of the land owned by villagers had changed hands.

The locals said the price for one acre land, which was about RM300,000 between 1996 and 2000, is now RM1.5mil.

Amid the changing landscape, Yong is glad that the village's old-world charm is still intact.

He makes an effort to preserve important documents, including letters and newspaper cuttings on the village.

One kilometre from the village entrance is the 148-year-old Sak Dato Temple, the pride of villagers and now a tourist attraction.

The suspended bridge at the Sak Dato Temple was built using money donated by the public and villagers. Donors' names are inscribed on the plaque near the bridge.Photo: The Star/Asia News Network

Yong said the early village settlers built the temple to honour a local who helped and saved them.

He said the temple, which started as a small shrine, began to expand in 1992.

The development of the temple, he added, was financed by the public, especially people who wanted to give back to society.

Perched on elevated land, the temple offers a panoramic view of the village and its surrounding area.

Thanks to tourism, one young couple are enjoying brisk business running a roadside stall selling coconut shake.

The 22m Monkey God perched on top of the Sak Dato Temple.Photo: The Star/Asia News Network

Chang Kai Hau and his wife Ko Seiw Min busily served customers while fielding questions from StarMetro.

They started their business at Chang's parents' village three years ago, operating from their porch for two weeks before setting up the roadside stall.

"I wanted my own business. Broga is a tourist area and there are opportunities for the food and drink business," said Chang, 29, who worked as an air-conditioning technician, mosaic tiler and sundry shop assistant.

Their stall name - Nan Peng You - or "boyfriend" in Mandarin, is catchy.

When asked how they came up with the name, Ko said: "We were busy trying out recipes for our business and never thought of a name for our stall until the last minute. I looked at him (Chang) and we decided to name our stall Nan Peng You."

It may be lunchtime, on a weekday but Kok Chee Yee, who runs an ikan bakar restaurant in the village, has his hands full.

Yong (left) and Seremban new village development officer Yeong Chee Chung, 29, at the Sak Dato Temple.​Photo: The Star/Asia News Network

Vehicles with outstation registration plates are parked around the restaurant.

Surrounded by trees and a pond, the restaurant with its unpretentious setting provides a relaxing atmosphere for diners.

It is said to be the first ikan bakar restaurant in the village and started operating in the 1990s.

The village's old-world charm, like its ikan bakar, has not only stood the test of time but has also become an invaluable tourism asset.

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