Many people know of Paya Serai which attracts more clientele from the local community rather than the expat market. We checked it out again recently near Ramadhan to see what the buffet might offer hungry foodies. The restaurant is modern but the food is traditional and worth checking out
A great array of sambal belacan
Hilton Petaling Jaya,
No 2 Jalan Barat,
Tel: 03 7951 5771
Sun-Fri, 6am-3am; Sat, 6am-6am
Consistent quality of food and taste
Can get pretty congested during fasting month
RM 150 - RM 400
Here, they specialise in good Malay fare. We heard that their chefs go around the nation trying out and learning recipes from other states, to see what they can bring back to PJ. So it's no surprise that they have a selection of rendangs as part of their buffet spread. Walking into the place, one of the first dishes to greet you will be the Malay Rendang Tok with lemang (glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaf). Surprisingly, their rendang version is good. As the Malay saying goes, the ingredients are 'cukup'(complete) which signifies that the chef knows how to make this dish.
Beside the rendang, is the Malay beef soup. The difference here is that the Malay version is lighter than Indian soups, as the ingredients are not herbs and spices heavy. Therefore, it has a heavier beef flavour and taste. We like the fact that they serve the soup with several kinds of chopped meats as toppings. Not for the unadventurous, some of the sliced meats are actually tripe, liver and lungs. But don't worry as these toppings have been expertly cooked. No trace of 'gamey-ness'. A bit of spring onions and crispy fried onions on top completes the dish. A splash of lime juice gives it a bit of kick. One sip and I know they got this right too.
Right at the back, someone is busy barbequing satay. Beef and Chicken. Quite nice comparatively to other hotels. But satay is not street fare here at Paya Serai so flavours are a bit subdued to cater to a wider audience. They do serve a wide selection of Malay fare and lauks. There's gulai ikan masin on one side, an array of sambal including one which I suspect is tempoyak, different kinds of malay ulams (organic Malay vegetables) and a variety of rice from biriyani to white rice.
Do also try their Malay desserts from kiuh akok, badak berendam, kuih lapis and seri muka. Finish up with some yummy cendol. The restaurant also serves Western, Indian and Chinese fare as well. Succulent and juicy enough Tandooris are neatly stacked in a clatpot with almost moist naans on the side. A good attempt. They throw in pastas and noodles to add variety to the buffet selection. Menus are rotated frequently though and I'm sure many of them will make it to the Ramadhan buka menu.
Pretty much all the Malay fare that we tried are good and we don't say this very often for Malay fare in a hotel where the chefs are known to make perfect brown sauce but fail miserably when making a simple sambal belacan. Apparently, Paya Serai is not one of them. Judging from crowds of multi-ethic Malaysians busily jostling for good food every year for Paya Serai's renowned Ramadhan buffet, it's probably one of the best known hotel restaurants in Malaysia for Malay fare.
FriedChillies was at Paya Serai recently under the invitation of theQGuides.Com and Hilton PJ. Cindy and Elaine of Hilton PJ is behind the hotel's new blog called ZestPJ.com dedicated to all the cool internet savvy people out there.
Prices range from RM64 ++ - RM 99++ for adults and RM 57++ - RM 59 ++ for children.