Jaded by the commercialisation of various ramadan bazaars in KL, Adly went off the beaten track and discovered a pasar ramadan in Simpang Balak offering lovely gems like thick murtabaks and pandan roti jala.
A bit far off but so worth it...
Pasar Ramadan's around Kuala Lumpur and Pj are getting more and more commercialised and sometimes it's really hard to buy some of your old favourites that are as good as you remembered. So once in a while, hunting for my great favourites takes me thirty minutes out of KL and I'd like to share with you a pasar ramadhan gem at place called Simpang Balak, just off of Kajang. Here, nearly everything I tried was good and still reasonably cheap. It could probably even rival last year's best pasar ramadan, SS18, Subang Jaya.
Pandan colours the roti jala green as well as giving it an added aromatic flavour
One of the stalls sell a rare find in KL. Roti Jala Pandan with durian (kaya) gravy. If you love durians or roti jala, you should try at Roti Jala JB. RM2 for one set. The batter is mixed in with pandan and then pan fried on a flat pan. This is served with homemade durian sauce which I suspect is cooked with eggs, giving it a runnier kaya texture. The pandan version tasted absolutely awesome with the sweet gravy. they have the normal yellow egg version which comes with a runny curry gravy which was also good.
You don't need rice to enjoy this delicious barbecued chicken
I like the charcoal barbecued ayam bakar at this stall. The chicken is marinated in a sweet red glaze sauce and slowly barbequed over charcoal fire. It's not good with white rice but best eaten on its own. You can't miss this place. There are rows and rows of these chicken being barbecued so you can't miss this stall.
Fancy tilapia bakar for iftar?
Off the beaten track is this ikan bakar stall barbequing ikan talapia. A simple marinade of kunyit and salt on the fish, bbq'ed till juicy and served with the traditional air assam. This one is good with some rice and sambal belacan on the side.
Adly discovers that there's more than just popiah at a popiah stall, here, they also make excellent nasi lemak
Interestingly enough, I found Din Popiah Basah makes excellent nasi lemak bungkus for RM1.20. It's strange that there is nothing special or different about this nasi lemak. It has the same ingredients of a quarter cut boiled egg, anchovies, sambal and rice wrapped in a banana leaf. But the sambal is awesome. This is something you should try if you are in Simpang Balak. Also, next to this popiah seller, I could smell a whiff of laksa kedah which smelled out of this world. Maybe next time.
Murtabaks here are so popular that they usually finish really fast even though they have a huge supply of filling!
Murtabak's have always been a hit and this guy who owns a restaurant on the main Simpang Balak road I suspect is a murtabak maestro. Whilst other similar sellers are still selling their stock murtabak at 6pm, this guy is apparently almost on his last murtabak filling, scooping it out of a 6-foot diameter aluminium cauldron.
Thick and eggy filling...yum...
I like this guy's version. Thick with a curried meat filling. Good served hot or 'out of fridge cold' with a side of red pickled onions. The curry gravy given is not as good as the roti jala pandan guy so I paired the murtabak with the curry from the roti jala guy instead.
I am pleasantly surprised that the drinks here are quite tasty as well. the soya bean sellers sell their product thicker, more full bodied and sweeter. This means that the soya is less diluted hence more tasty than the ones found in KL. I like. This year at Simpang Balak, a new drink is trending which is Cendol Santan Sawit. There is a few of this sellers here. So, instead of using coconut santan, they use palm oil santan which is just as surprisingly delicious. Also, I suspect that they are using the F&N black syrup as the 'gula melaka' substitute. I expect this new drink will catch on in KL next year.
So, I guess what is different here is what the Malay's say as 'Air Tangan bagus' (Good Water on their hands). People here are maybe a lot less busier and hence can spend more time and love making the delicious food. I noticed that these people followthrough the cooking techniques better and do not skimp on ingredients as much as other places.
For a great place like this, you can imagine that the parking is horrible, but do come on a Sunday, where you can completely avoid the work traffic. All you need is 30 minutes, a sense of adventure and hungry tummies to feed. You'll be on your way.
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