Sometimes deciding where to eat can be tiring, especially when you just want something cheap, easy and tasty. Well if you’re ever in the Shah Alam area, a quick 5 minute drive across the Federal Highway to Padang Jawa can bring you to this little piece of food heaven – Pecel Lele...
Hissing spicy sambal pecel to get those juices going...
4, Jalan Berangan, Kampung Padang Jawa, 40200 Klang
Mondays to Sundays, 9a.m. - 11 p.m.
Value for money food, quick service
Can be very crowded and hot during lunch hours
The actual name of this restaurant is Syasya Syaheera – but nobody really calls it that. To most of its regular customers (hundreds of ‘em) the place is simply known as Pecel Lele. It’s famous for, you guessed it – the pecel. Pecel Lele started out as a small, one man stall in a busy corner of Padang Jawa 15 years ago. Haji Basri was just looking for an extra way to give back to the community while earning an extra income, and years later – it’s become a full blown three lot restaurant with its own parking space. The place is so famous that it doesn’t even have a signboard. It’s the quintessential word of mouth success story, and at any time of the day, the place will be at least half full. Most of the customers are students from universities around the area, but there’s also a healthy mix of the family and office crowd. There’s more than 7 workers going around with platters of food at any one time, and they’re all more than happy to assist and get your order, provided that you grab their attention quickly.
There’s two major things that blast the popularity model here. The first is the restaurant’s namesake – the sambal pecel. It’s a smooth, nutty paste with a kick of spice that’s just enough to get you hissing. As you devour the thick sambal, you taste the fusion of salty peanuts, ginger and garlic rolling in a cili blend. Dip it with some crunchy vegetables and you’re sold. The recipe is one that has been in Haji Basri’s family for generations, all the way from Indonesia. So it’s a safe bet you’ll get the good stuff here.
The pecel can be ordered with a choice of fried chicken, bakso (beef meatballs) or fried ikan keli. The fried chicken is very popular as it always arrives hot and steaming with a lot of flesh. If you’re up for something lighter and sweeter, have it with the fried ikan keli. While it may come slightly dry and small, the meat is tasty enough to satisfy your cravings.
Otherwise, have the pecel with the bakso. Home made chewy beef meatballs fried to a crisp outer texture – good enough to have alone with plain rice. It’s well seasoned flesh is slightly tangy and salty but the meat ratio is pretty high so you can still taste the actual beef.
Generally the dish is served with a slice of lettuce and cucumber, but you’re welcome to order extra vegetables. Rice is self service at middle area of the restaurant, where they also serve chicken soup, and a number of various lauk for you to pick, that rotates on a daily basis. Normally they offer such lauk such as tempe and cucuk ubi masak lemak. Worth picking up is the bergedil. Another Indonesian favourite, the potato balls are filled with tasty bits of meat and veggies. Pecel Lele also has fried meals, but nothing quite beats the demand for its signature dish.
The other Pecel Lele’s popularity pull is the Air Joss. Reminiscent of vitagen, the air joss is basically made from flavoured, glucose powder supplied from Indonesia. Mixed with a little bit of syrup and water, the drink can quickly become a pet favourite. There are three flavours to choose from: original, grape, and mango. They’re in pretty pastel hues and tastes lightly of yoghurt drinks – fruity, sweet and slightly powdery. For the extra deliciousness, ask for extra joss, where you can really taste the thick concoction.
The best part about the pecel is that it’s super cheap for its quality. At RM 4.5 per pecel dish, lunch meal expenditures are almost cut by half. A plate of rice (where the amount scooped is up to you to determine, as they charge per plate) is only rm1, with the bergedil at a tasty 50 cents and the Air Joss is rm1.50, even with extra flavor. Other drinks are within the range as well. It’s value for money is possibly the biggest reason why folks keep coming back, as nothing beats a basic cheap, easy, and tasty meal.