I stare at the menu, helpless. Everything on it is beckoning my tastebuds, from familiar things like inchi kabin to unfamiliar territory like perut ikan! I turn to one of my lunch companions. She nods reassuringly. When the waiter comes, I point to so many things on the menu so fast, it looks like I’m playing a game of Whack-A-Mole.
Loaded with lap cheong, seafood, and lard!
26-G Jalan PJU 5/21, The Strand Damansara
11 am - 10 pm, close on Mondays
Authentic nyonya food, and not one bad thing on the menu (yet).
As always, a great place to eat is marred by horrible parking
Dining at The Wok is like eating at your nyonya aunty’s place. Marble-topped tables, antiques everywhere, the smell of belacan permeating the air. Everyone I know who has eaten here left the restaurant raving. I know it is a terrible onus to place on a restaurant I have never been to. However one cannot help but have that feeling when you step into The Wok: that you have been given the promise of a great meal. Ordering just a few dishes would be blasphemy.
The dishes start arriving. Pretty soon there is barely any space for our plates of rice. I peer around the table and reach for the most familiar dish first, the gulai tumis stingray. Full of stingray chunks and ladyfingers, the gravy is thick and earthy in its spiciness. It reminds me of my own grandmother’s asam pedas – a high compliment in my books. If I were at home, I would be dunking toast into the gravy so as to not waste the precious liquid. Kangkung belacan is next. As grago season is here, little pieces of krill was sprinkled on top the stir-fried kangkung. This delights my dinner party to no end as we pretend we are whales feasting on krill.
Next up: the cincaluk omelette. It is a revolutionary concept to me, and upon tasting it, I immediately think “why haven’t I done this before?” The saltiness of the cincaluk matches the sharp onions and creaminess of the eggs perfectly; by far the most balanced dish on the table. The garlic pork is not as garlicky as I would like (and a touch too oily) but the crunchiness of the lard makes up for it. The lor bak is crunchy too, and the juicy pork filling goes well with the black sweet sauce.
The inchi kabin is marinated well as the flavor seeps right through the flesh of the chicken, though the taste is not as complex as other inchi kabins I’ve had before. Then comes the perut ikan. The gravy reminds me of asam laksa broth, herby and spicy. It is surprisingly tasty for someone who came here scared of all things tripe, and I might just order this again on future visits.
They also serve one plate/bowl dishes for a quick meal. I steal a slurp of the prawn noodle broth and it immediately fills my senses with prawn-y goodness. The scent is not as overpowering as some prawn noodles are, but it still packs a briny spice punch. My favorite is the char kway teow, loaded with lap cheong, eggs, squid, prawn and lard. We order it extra spicy and polish off the whole plate in about five minutes.
For drinks order their homemade teh kekwa (chrysanthemum tea), refreshing and not-too-sweet, perfect to cleanse the palate between bites. Also, if you come during lunch, you’ll get free soup and dessert of the day, like winter melon soup and bubur gandum. Our waiters are attentive, even wishing us a great meal, which is rare in non-fine dining places.
Restaurants are a dime a dozen here in Kota Damansara, which makes decent places hard to find. Who knew that an authentic nyonya restaurant was only 15 minutes away from the FC office? We’ll definitely be coming back here in the future. After all, there are so many things on the menu we haven’t tried yet…