Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pottering About Ayer Hitam

There’s a quiet little town in Johor visitors will be happy to drop by. Ayer Hitam may not have much else to talk about but it certainly paints a delightful picture with its jumble of stone and glass wares, and local delicacies.

Filled with people frequenting the North-South highway, Ayer Hitam which literally means ‘Black Water’ is quite the popular stop for a meal and some quick shopping. Although there are no fancy shopping malls or stores, this is simply a great spot to pick up souvenirs that could easily have been taken off a shelf in a city mall.

Visitors are often surprised to find their half hour visit extended into a two-hour long spree. Meandering through alleyways chockfull of pottery, handicrafts, local snacks and fresh tropical fruits, they do tend to get carried away sometimes. And who can blame them seeing the hotchpotch of porcelain and ceramic items like flower pots and vases, jars, ashtrays, lampshades and table ware? To hold the attention even more, there are also potters at work, crafting out pottery with nimble fingers and lots of patience. While some of the pottery is produced right here, many more are brought in from other parts of Malaysia as well as neighbouring countries, thus displaying different shapes and motifs. Woodwork, pretty glass décor and woven items of rattan and bamboo are available too.

Aside from the craft souvenirs, Ayer Hitam is also dotted with many stalls selling local tidbits. Chips made of tapioca, banana and a number of other fruits are popular buys. Other offerings include prawn crackers, steamed corn and groundnuts, local cakes, seasonal fruits and the signature Johor delicacy, the ‘otak-otak’.

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