On one rainy Thursday evening coming back from work I found myself taking a detour to Taman Melawati, a neighbourhood where I grew up in. The place seems to be bustling with activity nowadays, with shop-lots and new buildings abound. But the familiar crowds of people walking towards a single point, on a Thursday evening, meant only one thing: Pasar Malam.
The gravy makes it addictive
Pasar Malam Taman Melawati adjacent to Wisma LJT
That gravy will go well with anything
I used to frequent the pasar malam in Taman Melawati when I was younger, always getting fascinated by the cacophony of sounds and myriad of colours. I made my way through the fruits and veg section, the butchers and the dried goods and arrived at my favorite section of any night market: the food stalls. Apam balik, putu piring, nasi lemak… name it, you’ll find it here. But it was the alluring smell of meat grilled on charcoal that sort of pulled me to a particular stall. Yes, it was satay. But not the more famous ‘Kajang’ sort. This stall is serving Sate Minang. If you’re a satay fan and you haven’t tried this version, then give yourself a punch in the stomach.
Now, the beef and chicken used tastes pretty much similar to your run-of-the-mill sate, but the key difference is that, after grilling, the sate is soaked in a spicy, thick and viscous gravy which also serves as the ‘kuah’. No kuah kacang here, mind you.
I walked up to the stall (being quite early, it wasn’t crowded yet) and ordered a mix of five beef and five chicken sate (RM0.50/stick). You can order a set, which is 4 sticks of sate and nasi impit smothered in the gravy (RM3.50/-), but I opted for just the meat. Bagging my purchase, I walked over to a nearby foodcourt and ‘borrowed’ a plate to have my sate in. The sticks of meat were absolutely covered in the gravy. I took a bite. The marinade was slightly sweetish, not unlike regular sate Kajang. The pieces of beef and chicken struck that fine balance between a good, crunchy char on the outside, and at the same time maintaining a moist, juicy tenderness on the inside. No wonder, as they use the tried and tested charcoal grill.
But it was the gravy that took the sate to its heights. I can’t really pinpoint what was in the gravy: I tasted hints of dried chili, black pepper, cumin, coriander. It was hot, spicy, smoky with a good balance of saltiness. It was, simply put, outstanding. I felt like I could eat anything with this gravy and it’d taste good. In fact, I was imagining all sorts of foods I could dip or smother in the sauce with, while eating the sate.
The stall also serves other Indonesian delicacies like soto, bakso, noodle soups and lontong. I should probably check the other items out next time. But I have to be honest: I probably won’t be able to stop myself from getting anything other than the sate minang there. The sate is good on it’s own; the gravy though, makes it addictive.
I eagerly await the next pasar malam.