I was quite surprised to see that this little hidden away makan spot was quite packed at noon, and I am told that by 2pm you’ll be lucky to get anything at all. How do people even find out about the food in an area like this? I knew I was in for a treat.
The waft of fresh fish sizzling on the grill hit me as I entered and my tummy rumbled, a deep low grumpy rumble. This made me a little impatient waiting in the line eagerly with my plate in hand, but I knew I had to wait because good things come to those who are patient.
There is a good spread to choose from and I can see why many make this a favourite lunch stop…nothing beats a laidback kampung style meal in the midst of a busy workday. We made our way back to the table with plates of rendang, perkedel, ikan pari, paru, daun singkong and of course the famous sambal hijau.
I tucked straight into the rendang as soon as we set it down. As the sliver of beef touches my tongue I experience fireworks in my mouth, the complex mélange of flavours are all balanced well. The only thing I would have changed would have been the texture of the meat, it is a bit tough and chewy and I love my meat to melt in the mouth.
The perkedel here is not a smooth mush of potato that is fried, but instead textured with bits of spices and other herbs speckled within. The grainy potatoey texture makes this a pleasure to eat, especially when topped up with the rendang gravy. This alone could have been my meal and I would have walked away happy.
Being an absolute pari fan there was no question about what fish to have hot off the grill. I asked for two small pieces of pari, and the server doled out generous little bowls of the sambal asam and sambal kicap. I was drooling with anticipation upon my first bite of hot pari; sadly my senses were assailed by a strong punch of ammonia. This occurs in stingrays when they aren’t fresh. I was a bit upset by this, and so I tentatively nibbled on the second piece and thankfully that one restored my faith in the pari, it was tender and smoky from the slight char on the surface. If you ever order pari, no matter where you go, sniff it before you eat it, a strong ammonia smell will let you know it’s not the freshest of the lot.
I don’t eat paru, but my colleague who loves this delicacy expressed that they do it well here, crunchy and bouncy on the outside and yet tender at the same time. The thing that makes this delicious is the ketumbar spiced rempah that it is cooked with, even this just sprinkled on hot rice is delicious.
Now, if there is just one thing to visit this little spot for it would be the sambal hijau, they did after all name themselves after this spicy accompaniment. They make it with little beads of petai that elevates the flavour to another level. A bit of heat and a pungent kick and it works well with anything on your plate.
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