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Tag / indian-food

When I first received the invitation for Gin Rik Sha, I must admit that from the name itself I’d have never guessed what this place is all about.

Gin Rik Sha, Plaza Damansara
Gin Rik Sha, Plaza Damansara

Well, as briefed to us, the name Gin Rik Sha actually derived from the “pulled rickshaw” in Japanese, which does not really explain what they serve here and how it is all related, but it is definitely a fun quirky name that I’ll remember.

a drink after a long day's work
a drink after a long day’s work

As it turned out, this restaurant at Plaza Damansara specialized in something that isn’t very common around Klang Valley – modern Indian cuisine with a bit of fusion touch, as well as a fully equipped bar serving wine, whisky, spirits, and even cocktails.

how do you like your cocktails?
how do you like your cocktails?

Started the evening with cocktail, I wanted something sour and was recommended to go with Amma’s Potion made with gin, coriander leaf, lime juice, and cucumber syrup, a good refreshing start to the evening.

My second was Whisky Cha, a play of whisky, masala herbs, and sour which was a tad more sophisticated compared to the refreshing note of the first.

If you’re not a cocktail person, there’s plenty of other drinks to choose from, alcoholic or otherwise (see menu below)

chili chicken is great as bar snack
chili chicken is great as bar snack

If you like something with a bit of a kick to start, Chili Chicken certainly fits the bill. This is Gin Rik Sha’s interpretation to the classic popcorn chicken but one that is quite high on the spicy meter. Juicy inside, crispy out while being spicy and aromatic, I love it, a perfect bar snack to go with beer, or cocktail in this case.

kerala shrimp, wrap it up
kerala shrimp, wrap it up

Kerala shrimp is a classic Indian dish of spicy tamarind flavored shrimp with roasted coconut, and in this case served with toasted chapati instead of rice, which turned out to be quite a good combination. The sauce carried a kick and complimented the seafood well without being overpowering.

banana leaf baked sea bass
banana leaf baked sea bass

If you like fish, check out the Banana Leaf Baked Sea Bass – banana leaf wrapped with fresh aromatic sea bass and basmathi rice and served with brinjal sambal.

This dish is certainly a full meal, love the long grain rice and I wish there’s more brinjal sambal to go with! The fish was prepared properly and not overcooked, a good execution in this case. If this could be tapao as lunch I’d be a happy man.

Other interesting dishes on the menu includes spiced cauliflower rice, vegetable lasagna, chicken briyani, and even rack of lamb. There’s a good variety of modern and traditional classic to choose from.

hello Sammi! carrot halwa filo pastry samosa, kulfi with caramelized bananas
hello Sammi! kulfi with caramelized bananas, carrot halwa filo pastry samosa

In the dessert department, their menu isn’t exactly very comprehensive. We did try the Kulfi with Caramelized Bananas and Carrot Halwa Filo Pastry Samosa with Black Pepper Ice Cream as the sweet endings to the night.  I enjoyed the samosa and pepper ice cream, and thought the kulfi was perhaps ordinary and not having a lot to write home about.

Overall this was certainly an interesting visit, a place fit for after-work wind down or a proper meal with friends. The menu and combination is bolder than most, and I for one welcome more innovations in culinary offerings in KL.

map to gin rik sha

Address:
Gin Rik Sha
37, Ground Floor, Plaza Damansara,
Jalan Medan Setia 1, Bukit Damansara,
50490 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.150079, 101.652613
Tel:  010-243 8266

 

While we have mamak restaurants at pretty much every commercial all throughout the country, it is surprisingly rare to see “proper” Indian restaurants that aren’t the typical mamak style. The difference is subtle, especially when it is a Southern Indian cuisine, but you can always spot the tell-tale sign that beef isn’t on the menu.

Exotic Curry House, at Little India, Klang
Exotic Curry House, at Little India, Klang

While exploring dinner option at Little India, Klang a few weeks ago, we somehow got into this small back lane by the name of Lorong Tingkat largely due to parking situation on the main road and chanced upon this busy little restaurant by the name of Exotic Curry House.

If an eatery is located in an unfavorable location and manage to attract steady stream of customers, experience tells me it will usually be good, so we went right in as the only non-Indian couple that night.

all hail to the mutton murtabak
all hail to the mutton murtabak

Exotic curry house offers quite a good variety of chapati, roti, putu mayam, and many other traditional dishes (check the video below for a shot of their menu). I’m a big murtabak fan, so I got myself a mutton murtabak for dinner (RM 10).

Some 10 minutes or so later, the murtabak came, and boy was it a life changing sort of experience!

The roti was thin, meat was soft, succulent, and full of flavor, everything was perfect, and on top of that you get three different curry as condiments. It was just absolutely the best murtabak I’ve ever had in my life.

If you even remotely like murtabak or roti canai, you owe it to yourself to come to this place.

banana leaf rice available for lunch
banana leaf rice available for lunch

We went back to Exotic Curry House again a week or so later during lunch time looking for a repeat experience, but unfortunately banana leaf was the only option during the afternoon hours so we had that instead.

It was a pretty good meal which ticks off the right boxes in terms of ingredients served, but I suppose the murtabak has set the expectation perhaps a bit too high. It was good, but not life changing.

map to Exotic Curry House, Klang

Anyway, we’ll surely be back for more chaptai/murtabak. So happy we stopped by this place.

Address:
Exotic Curry House
39, Lorong Tingkat,
Kawasan 1,
41000 Klang, Selangor
GPS: 3.039962, 101.447853

Chola Spice Garden is slightly different from the usual Indian restaurants dotted around the country, serving a mixture of both northern and southern Indian cuisine instead of only concentrating on one. I was invited for a food tasting session and brought two noobs (Terence & Dree) along with me.

Chola Spice Garden at Sunway
ready to eat as well as order to cook options available

Food is served in two ways here, there is the mamak/nasi kandar style self served food on the buffet line, and order to cook items from the menu as well.

Chola Spice Garden at Sunway
Chicken Chitinat Masala, Chicken 65, Bombay Fried Rice

The first things we had was the strangely named Chicken 65 and the Chicken Chitinat Masala, to go with two types of tosai, the normal and “paper” version. I particularly like the strong tasting Chicken Chitinat Masala with it’s flavorful albeit spicy gravy. The Chicken 65 is a type of deep fried marinated chicken served with fresh onion and curry leaves. The contrasting texture and taste between the chicken and raw onion was quite refreshing and it became on the fastest dish to have gotten empty.

Chola Spice Garden at Sunway
Pataya Fried Rice, Potato Cheese Paratha, Tosai, Poori

I like the aromafrom the Bombay Fried Rice, it carries a slightly tomato-ish taste while being not overly spicy. We also had the Poori with potato masala as the condiment. However, the most interesting dish would be the Potato Cheese Paratha. At first I thought it was just a normal “roti”, but as the bread is cut, fillings of potato cooked with cheese and spices is revealed. The deceptively simple combination actually tasted very good!

Chola Spice Garden at Sunway
Madras Masala Tea, Mint Lime, Ice Blended Lemon, Mango Lassi, Saffron Almond Milk

As for drinks, we sampled 5 different types of thirst quenchers for the 3 of us. The mango lassi was very fruity and sweet with mango taste, ice blended lemon refreshing, and the iced mint lime drink rather interesting. My favorite though, would be the saffron almond milk. Creamy with a dash of sweetness and taste from saffron. It was the first time I had this drink, and I am sure it won’t be the last.

Chola Spice Garden at Sunway
Chola Spice Garden is located just next to Sunway Pyramid

As for the price, Chola Spice Garden is rather reasonable. For a semi air conditioned restaurant, you can have a rice dish with a piece of chicken and vege for just a few ringgit. Dishes from the menu ranges from a few Ringgit onwards. You can certainly get a pretty interesting meal for just above RM 10 per person here. Do try the saffron milk!

Address:
No. 5, Jalan PJS 11/28
Bandar Sunway
46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.072681, 101.609845
Tel: 03-5633 9449

After getting to know about this from the ever popular Ho Chak series on 8TV, Kelvin suggested that we give Gopala Indian vegetarian restaurant at Brickfield a try. I didn’t have to drive there, so why not? Although I’m not a huge fan of vegetarian food, I’m always willing to try just about anything. 🙂

Gopala Indian vegetarian food, Brickfield Kuala Lumpur
the restaurant is fairly clean and comfortable, other than the tiny ceiling fans

Located at Brickfield, KL, the restaurant is actually just a stone’s throw away from the Sentral Monorail station and the YMCA building. Gopala is a lot cleaner than most banana leaf or mamak places, which is always a good thing.

Gopala Indian vegetarian food, Brickfield Kuala Lumpur
excellent satay and the unique Indian style yong tau fu

After looking through the rather extensive menu, we ordered a set of satay, a clay pot yong tau fu, sambal petai, mee goreng, nasi goreng, and a plate of mixed vegetable pakora . The list of items would be very ordinary in any food court, but do keep in mind that we were in an Indian vegetarian restaurant instead.

Of the six dishes that we ordered, 4 of them were rather ordinary, and with the mixed vegetable pakora somewhat disappointing as they actually deep fried the mixed (chopped) vegetable and dahl instead of having many different types of pakora instead. A different interpretation I suppose.

Gopala Indian vegetarian food, Brickfield Kuala Lumpur

The two other items, however, were surprisingly good. The yong tau foo is not any less tasty than the real thing, and the soup carries a very unique peppery taste (in a good way) that is very different from the non-halal version.

The vegetarian satay too is surprisingly delicious. The peanut sauce has a stronger curry taste to it, and the best part is that you don’t have to deal with the tendons or fats that comes with eating meat. The texture is much more consistent and the taste is similar to very tender meat. It was a revelation. This is definitely the place to go if you were to introduce any of your vegetarian friends to this famous local dish.

map to Brickfield, Kuala Lumpur

The dinner came to be about RM 30+, not exactly cheap, but vegetarian food are never cheaper than the non-vegetarian counterparts anyway. The 5 sticks of satay did costs RM 5, but I think this is still a decent place to go for vegetarians to get a different taste.

Address:
59 Jalan Thambipillay
50470 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.131999, 101.687683
Tel: 012-351 3713

Continuing my eating spree back in Penang, I visited one of my favorite Mee Goreng stalls located at the small hawker center at Mount Eskin. This stall has been operating for well over twenty years, before there were any hawker centers at the same spot. Owned by one of my primary schoolmate’s mom, it used to be the Indian lady who does all the frying, but nowadays the son (my friend’s brother) has taken over the helm.

Mee Goreng at Mount Eskin, Penang
cozy little hawker center

The mee goreng in Penang is served slightly different from those you find in the Klang Valley, and argueably tastes alot better. Other than the usual ingredients such as shrimp cake, tofu, and egg, there is also bean sprouts and squid that you don’t find at mee goreng served up at, say, the SS2 mamak stalls. Some fresh vege and a slice of lime tops the dish. Apart from the ingredients, the dish is usually served wetter than their counterparts from KL.

Mee Goreng at Mount Eskin, Penang
squeeze the lime, and proceed to clean the plate

The mee goreng here costs RM 2.50 a plate without egg and RM 3.00 with, a little pricey for Penang standard but worth the gastronomical satisfaction in my book. Next time you head to Penang, don’t just glut yourself with the usual char kueh teow, curry mee, and laksa, there’re alot of other awesome hawker offerings too.

Map of Mount Eskin, Penang
just a short distance from Island Plaza and Gurney Drive

The hawker center operates from around noon to about 4 something in the afternoon daily.

Address:
Jalan Mt. Erskine,
Tg. Tokong, Penang

GPS: 5.450560, 100.302064