"Their roti booms are da bomb!"
Many folks are divided on what makes a good roti canai. There’s the flaky-and-crispy camp (which I lean towards) and there are those who like the light-and-fluffy kind. My personal taste? I love the smaller and thicker reincarnations of roti canai and I know exactly where to get it. It's the same reason why a lot of people come to Naan Corner, it's one thing and one thing only: their incredible roti boom.
Most people agree that the best roti booms are crispy, with a bit of heft and layers to catch all the gravy it’s dipped into. They also shouldn’t be too big – so you can proudly say you’ve eaten 5 in a row – or too small that you can eat it in one bite, because you want to break apart that swirly mass of crispy dough. Naan Corner’s roti boom ticks all the right boxes. People have been known to brave the rain and traffic for it, and even some foreigners make beelines for it once they arrive in Malaysia.
Our favourite gravy for roti boom-dipping is their butter chicken. The moment the dish reaches your table, you’re almost assaulted by the scent wafting out of it. Tender pieces of chicken chunks are almost swimming in a sea of lightly spiced, yet almost obscenely buttery gravy. Ignore the surgeon general’s warning and have it anyway. More »
"Dream-worthy paru goreng!"
If we have to choose a national dish, nasi lemak would be a worthy contender. It's the most familiar and widely enjoyed dish in Malaysia. In KL, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to nasi lemak. One of our all-time-favourite NL haunt is R.A Nasi Lemak.
at R.A is what makes me come here over and over again. Theirs is the dry version where cow lungs are deep fried with ginger and shallots until crispy. To tenderize the lung, they boil it whole for a few minutes before cutting it into thin slices and then frying it. The texture of the lungs is like beef jerky, crisp on the outside and a little chewy when you take a bite. If you're a paru fan, be prepared to come early because these dream-worthy lungs would be one of the first things to run out every day.
is also popular here. The squid is covered with thick sambal while the texture is springy with plenty of bite.
Even eaten plain, the nasi lemak here is pretty good. Rice is cooked almost al-dente so it's not clumpy and dense. It falls into individual grains making them the perfect transporter for the chilli sambal. The rice is flavoured with just a hint of coconut milk, which makes it light enough to enjoy on a workday morning. More »
"Great for late-nite munchies..."
Adi Burger has been around since 1997. Most of my friends have grown up with this being their de facto neighbourhood burger stall, late nights hanging about chomping on a burger with a can of soft drink in the other hand. Started by Adi (yes, there is an Adi!), it's now run by his workers who diligently serve up tasty treats for residents and students who abound in this area.
The burgers here are so incredibly popular that Adi sells on average 500 burgers a night during the week and about 700 burgers per night during the weekends. What also sets Adi apart from other burger sellers is his truck, instead of the usual stall, he sells his burger from a modified lorry. He decided to use this set up because when he applied for his business licence, he was also required to get a lorry so he combined both requirements and the burger truck was born.
Here's the deal: you can have the burger 3 ways. There's option 1, where you order it to take away. Then there's option 2, where you get your burgers, fish a soft drink out of the giant orange bin, and sit on the chairs on the sidewalk. Option 3 is what my friends and I usually go for, and that is to get our order to go, but we head to the nearby mamak Silva, a little ways down the road. They usually let Adi Burger customers sit there as long as you order drinks. Several rounds of teh o ais and we're set for hours of good times and good food.
Adi's menu lists out the regular favourites of beef, chicken or lamb burgers, and chicken hot dogs. They also have lighter snacks like chicken nuggets and fish balls if you don't feel like gorging on a burger. The thing about this stall though, is that the guys here do everything with a little twist. First of all, their burger patties are more crispy than juicy. This is because the patties are split horizontally in the middle to speed up the cooking time, giving the edges a good bite. And if you order a special, they don't wrap the egg around the patty. Instead, they fry the eggs in ring moulds and pop them in the middle of their split patties, which makes for a yummy squishy burger. Adi also adds his own seasonings when he's grilling the patties, this secret blend of spices makes his burgers even more special. Plus, every Adi burger comes with a healthy squirt of black pepper sauce along with the usual chilli sauce and mayo, zingy!
"Always get the telur mata"
When you think about nasi lemak, there are thousands of stalls in KL alone, right? How many lie undiscovered, or aren't getting enough recognition? Beats me. I do think I've found one of the good ones though.
In an old taman perumahan
, at the corner of Lorong Tiong Nam 1 and Jalan Tiong Nam, at the backroads of Jalan Raja Laut, lies a stall. The stall, Gerai V3 Corner
(which I think is a hilarious, and very incongrous name!) is run by a family of four.
Among the office folk there, however, the gerai is more fondly known as "Makcik Buluh", although why that name stuck, I have no idea. There isn't a single bamboo bush in sight. Anyway, there's "Uncle" and Sani, who makes drinks, the daughter that serves, and Makcik Buluh herself, "Aunty", who every morning busies her self preparing breakfast for the office workers who almost exclusively make up the customers. And part of this breakfast spread is her nasi lemak (RM1.20) More »
"Best nasi ayam on the east side!"
Nostalgia’s my schtick. Memories of food occupy my dreams, day or night, teasing me with the emotions they offered when I enjoyed them last, in the company of good people and the appropriate light of day. So when someone tells me stories of their food nostalgia, I perk up and lean forward, relishing in every little detail. “You’ve been going here since how long ago?” “You mean he’s always been in this spot?” So on.
I’ve lived on the west side of KL my entire life, which means that my stories are firmly rooted mostly in PJ and its surrounds. But my social circle has been receiving a lot of east side friends recently, so I’ve been exploring what the eastern suburbs (especially Ampang and the like) have to offer. And with them, come their stories...
Nasi Ayam Isa has been in this quiet neighbourhood food court in Kampung Pandan since 1984, serving up some of the best Malay-style nasi ayam from either side of town. Many of my friends have grown up eating his nasi ayam – and yes, there is an Isa behind the counter still! It’s a fall-back lunch option, a weekend treat, a simple date, a family feast. Takeaway orders are common, but I recommend you have it at one their meja batu and enjoy it while sniffing the intense heady scent of chicken wafting in the air.
But let’s remove our rose-tinted glasses for a bit. Does it actually taste good? For those who have eaten Nasi Ayam Pak Mal, the setup is familiar. Chicken doused in red sauce, yellow-tinged rice, and a bowl of soup. Pakcik Isa (who hails from Malacca) tells me that the recipe was originally a nasi ayam Singapura dish taught to him by his friend, which he has modified over time to suit the tastes of his customers.
"Their burgers are massive!"
Hype: is it friend, or foe to a food joint? Well actually it's a bit of both. See, just the right amount of hype will spread the word around and bring in the crowds. Too much however, and one risks disappointing said crowds. Try googling 'burger bakar' then you'll start seeing a number of new upstarts who are grilling their burgers. Burger Kaw Kaw is one of them. The business was started by two burger-lovin' individuals, Mohd Faizul and Nini Haznita. Their burger empire have expanded and now they have branches in Puchong Utama and Taman Dagang along with the original stall in Wangsa Maju.
The stall in Wangsa Maju is located in Section Two along the main-road. You won't miss it because of the unbelieavable lines. Ah yes, I've been hearing rave reviews and tales of a street-burger unlike any other. Of big, chunky home-made beef patties piled-high and mighty. Each patty weighs 175 gm and these are all made at their own meat production house in Desa Melawati. More than anything else, I've been hearing about the lines forming at this place: people queue up for up to TWO HOURS to get these burgers! This waiting time doesn't seem to deter people from coming here because Kaw Kaw still manages to sell more than 1,000 burgers every night. More »
"Pahang-styled masak lemak..."
The Strand in Kota Damansara has now emerged as a buzzing lunchtime location due to the variety of eateries opening up in this area. Although parking spots are hard to come by, there are a few gems here that is worth the trouble. One of them is D'Teratak Bonda, a restaurant serving delicious Malay 'kampung' dishes.
Started by 2 mothers, the aptly named D'Teratak Bonda ( it means Mums' Little Hut - have no idea why there's a 'D' in front of it though ) is a busy lunch spot in Kota Damansara. I spoke to Ina who manages the restaurant and she told me that the restaurant is a collaboration between her mum who hails from Pahang and her aunt who comes from Terengganu so the menu is a mixed affair because they serve dishes from both states.
The standout star of the menu is of course, their ayam masak lemak. This is Ina's mum's recipe. Rich, creamy with a nice heaty kick, this dish should come with a warning. As soon as you try it, you can't help but pile up more rice on your plate. So good you kinda forget about the mountain of rice you're consuming. The chicken is stir-fried with fresh turmeric, chillies and shallots before coconut milk is added and then cooked further until the gravy thickens.This allows the gravy to cling to the chicken flavouring it in every mouthful.
The difference between the Pahang-styled masak lemak and the Negeri Sembilan-styled ones come down to the chillies. Here, they serve the Pahang version so they mix fresh red chillies with bird's eye chillies to help tame the heat level. So, if you like the tongue-burning masak lemak of Negeri Sembilan, you might find this one a bit milder than what you're used to. They also serve masak lemak patin here, another popular dish from Pahang. I had to do a rain-check with this dish because there is a limit to what my tummy can handle during lunch and too much of a good thing can result in a lethargic reviewer.