Sunday, March 9, 2014

Top Picks for Malay Food, you must not miss!

Rice is a staple in Malay cooking, and sometimes, even breakfast is not to early to indulge in some steaming hot and spicy Malay food.

Here are our top picks for some terrific Malay dishes that should be on everybody's list of 'must visit' restaurants in Kuala Lumpur.

1. Warung Cherry @ Kampung Sungai Penchala KL

Amongst one of our favourite Malay restaurants that serves home cooked nosh such as the comforting sup tulang, fish cooked on a hot grill, clams, kuih and curries can be found at Warung Cherry, located in Kampung Sungai Penchala.

 Not unlike the ecomony rice, the Nasi Campur at Warung Cherry, Kampung Sungai Penchala is full of choices, and comes laid out, sometimes with dishes stacked on top of each other, for want of more space.

 Some of the popular picks here come from a variety of dishes (not just nasi campur) such as Nasi Ayam Berempah, Gulai Ketam, Patin Tempoyak, Pulut Durian, Sup Tulang, Gulai Itik, Gulai Balitong, Siakap Masak Tempoyak, Gulai Siput, Asam Pedas, Ayam Berempah, Sambal Terung, Nasi Dagang, Laksam, Sup, Ikan Keli Bakar, Nasi Kerabu, Kerabu Kaki Ayam, Gulai Ayam Kampung, Gulai Daging, Ayam Percik and Kuih Cek Mek Molek.

We like it when the Nasi Campur counters display in excess of 100 different lauk (dishes). These range from vegetables, to fish, to various types of meat. The price you pay in the end depends on the amount of different dishes you have on your plate and the type of dishes too – meat and seafood dishes are generally more expensive than vegetables.

 No Malay rice meal is complete without adding ulam – i.e. raw vegetables to the plate to round up the meal and, and this goes with a lusty dollop of either Sambal Belacan or Tempoyak. The Sambal Belacan at Warung Cherry is spicy, bursting with shrimp paste, flavour with a nice hint of lime juice for added zing, that really spices up your meal nicely.

 Actually some of the Sambal Belacan on offer is less spicy than the others so you should really ask the kakak (sister) before selecting your poison of choice. You can either have the sambal with your main meats, have it with plain rice or dip your ulam in it. It’s all still fantastically good!

Warung Cherry,
Under the flyover,
Kampung Sungai Penchala,
60000 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +6019-344 1326

2. Malay Rice at D’Anis Putri/ Rozita Catering at Pantai Dalam

Known simply as Anis Putri Corner, this comfortable, spacious and almost always packed to the rafters restaurant is situated somewhere in Pantai Dalam, Kuala Lumpur (not too far from Gasing Indah and the Pantai Baru Highway).

This restaurant serves a fantastic variety of Malay dishes as well as a wide variety of Kelantanese food. They do special in-house dishes like Malay style cooked duck, which is difficult to get in any run of the mill Malay restaurant, and some hot favourites like the Ikan Panggang (grilled fish) and Gulai Daging Kawah (dry beef rendang).

 You need to get there early to get a place to sit, as it gets really crowded during lunchtime. But don’t worry, the turnover is fast, and there are always people coming and going. There is even a comfortable air-conditioned dining section for those who do not take well to the heat.

From traditional Malay dishes to grilled and deep oil fried chicken or fish with spices, you name it, this place has it. The seafood selection is great too, and I am crazy about the lala dishes as well as the balitong. Balitong are snails, or if you want to be more “French” about it.

 Escargot. Lala are succulent clams cooked in a delicate sauce that makes you want to suck the be-juices out of it. Then there is the Ulam counter that covers raw vegetables in every form, that goes with the delicious tempoyak that I crave and love. It has to be said that I don’t like eating durian, but Tempoyak that is made with durian, that, I like.

 They also do a great Ikan Patin Tempoyak at Anis Putri Corner. This is made with patin fish, which has been soaked in tamarind juice and lime juice for an hour to get rid of the fishy smell/taste. The tempoyak paste is added to the pan of fried shallots, chili padi and tumeric, mixed evenly with water and brought to the boil . The fish is then added to the mix, along with birds eye chillies, julienned galangal, laksa leaves (daun kesum), sugar and salt. This makes a delicious meal with rice and ulam.

Drinking water is free but you may order your other drinks from the staff clad in brown uniforms with the D’Anis Putri/ Rozita Catering logo printed on the back, who will come around to take your order, and also to see what you have taken and give you your bill. You can settle it on the way out. Such is the trust of the Muslim community, and I think that’s a great way to do business.

3. Restoran Hatinie at Shah Alam

Restoran Hatinie is normally packed to the rafters, as early as 7am onwards. This is a great place for Malay breakfast, but there's also Nasi Campur which is great for lunch and dinner.

 Some of the highlights here are the great Kelantanese dishes and snacks. I normally make a beeline for the Laksam and Soto Ayam, but the Nasi Dagang and Nasi Kerabu are all equally good.

 Pick for a selection of ikan masak lemak, ikan tongkol curry, and kerisik (grated coconut) to go with your rice. It gets really spicy after awhile, and I love to feel the burn on my tongue.

 The Gulai Kuah, Masak Daging Kerutup and Keli Bakar are also our hot favorites here. There's also a huge display of Malay kuih-muih( sweets) and you can knock yourselves out with desserts. Cucur Udang, Jemput Pisang, Kuih keria, Tepung pelita and Pengat Pisang are there to tempt you, all hours of the day. Hatinie is definitely a great choice for some delicious Malay food located in the Shah Alam part of town.


Restoran Hatinie
No. 18 & 20, Jalan Selendang 10/10
40000 Shah Alam.
Tel: 017-256 2825
Open 7.30am to 11pm.