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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / malay-food

A few weeks ago one of my colleagues asked “hey KY jom makan”, and since there’s nothing outside of endangered species and kiwi I don’t eat, I got on the car without knowing where I would end up.

The destination turned out to be Ayam Bakar Wong Solo, one of my favorite ayam bakar/ayam penyet places that I’ve only had from take-outs.

Ayam Bakar Wong Solo at Ampang
Ayam Bakar Wong Solo at Ampang

Wong Solo at Ampang is situated by Jalan Dagang Besar, less than five mintues away from Ampang Point. Parking is a painless affair, and the restaurant, while having less than inspiring interior decoration, is equipped with air conditioning, a great feature considering you’re going to end up eating something spicy.

ayam bakar, terung, and petai sambal
ayam bakar, terung, and petai sambal

Both the ayam bakar and ayam penyet is served with a side of tempe, tauhu, a small portion of terung (eggplant), and those really addictive sambal. The tempe here is the first that I really enjoyed.

The difference between ayam bakar and ayam penyet is the way the chicken is cooked. One is over fire, and the other is deep fried and smashed. Both are equally good but I do prefer ayam bakar as it is a rarer dish among the two.

Terung is a pretty decent dish but we were glad we ordered sambal petai. Those stinky beans and prawns made for good side dish for sure.

map to Wong Solo Ampang

Address:
Ayam Bakar Wong Solo
G18/G19, Jalan Dagang B/3A (Taman Dagang),
68000 Ampang, Selangor
GPS: 3.148964, 101.754808
Tel03-4270 1947

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After passing Jalan Semarak en route to work for the past 6 months or so, I finally decided to check out the wet market/medan selera look alike building at the intersection of Jalan Semarak and Jalan Padang Tembak in the morning.

It turned out to be another good food find.

Nasi Kerabu at Medan Selera Semarak
Nasi Kerabu at Medan Selera Semarak

Selera Semarak is one of the older type of food court serving mostly Malay and Mamak food. After scouting the place for a little bit, I decided to order nasi kerabu from the second stall on the right of the entrance.

the blue colored rice is the result of butterfly-pea flower (kembang telang)
the blue colored rice is the result of butterfly-pea flower (kembang telang)

For those who aren’t familiar with nasi kerabu, it is a traditional Kelantanese dish with the signature blue rice. The color is obtained from the buds of butterfly-pea flower (kembang telang), which also gives it a distinct aroma.

Chopped long bean, cabbage, coconut sambal, and keropok (prawn crackers) makes up the rest of the dish. I added a fried chicken drumstick for good measure.

a cacophony of flavors, perfect for breakfast
a cacophony of flavors, perfect for breakfast 

I really liked the coconut sambal though it proved to be quite spicy, the aroma of blue rice and freshness of those vegetable made this a pretty awesome dish. For about RM 5 including the chicken, this was definitely one of the better breakfasts I’ve had in recent time.

map to Selera Semarak

Address:
Selera Semarak
Jalan Semarak
Kementah, Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.175878,101.720737
Hours: Breakfast and Lunch

A couple weeks ago we found ourselves at Empire Shopping Gallery in Subang during dinner time, the girls decided that we should dine at Serai. A decision I very much supported since Malay restaurants that serves made to order food aren’t exactly the most common type of eateries in the country, and it’s been a while since I went to one. (Alicafe TigaRasa at USJ)

Serai at Empire Shopping Gallery
Serai at Empire Shopping Gallery

According to Horng, the restaurant was pretty quiet the first time they tried a month or two ago, but steadily picked up returning customers over that period of time. By now, you often need to wait for a bit to get a seat during busy weekend dinner hours.

Interior decoration is pretty classy, menu easy to read, and the servers seemed to be quite well trained. It is quite similar in setting to some of the more successful modern restaurants in the country, ie: Madam Kwan, Ben’s, etc. Not a bad thing I must say.

deep fried brinjal with spices
deep fried brinjal with spices, our favorite of the day

The menu weren’t super extensive, but covers most of the popular local dishes you’d expect.

The first dish that was served to us was the deep fried brinjal with spices (RM 15). Thinly sliced brinjal deep fried with sugar, spices, and chili, the combination was superb and instantly became one of the very few culinary surprises that I experienced this year.

I highly recommend this dish.

steamed siakap with lime sauce, tomyam seafood, chicken with dried chili
steamed siakap with lime sauce, tomyam seafood, chicken with dried chili

Tomyam seafood (RM 22) here was not particularly spicy, but did come with plenty of seafood ingredients and carries a pretty good aroma with distinctive good tomyam sourness. This is very good for those who can’t have it too spicy and still want to enjoy tomyam closest to it’s pure form.

We were delighted by the steamed sea bass with lime sauce (RM 54.99), the fish was fresh and tasty, but the real winner here is the soup base – it was very flavorful and very sour, so much so that it actually overlapped the tomyam a little bit, not that we minded. The only problem with this dish is for the budget conscious, for over RM 50 a pop, it’s definitely not cheap.

Chicken with dried chili (RM 15) turned out to be just a kung pao chicken dish basically. It was decent, but lack the kick and spiciness that I usually expect from it.

deep fried salted egg with squid
deep fried salted egg with squid, berry pavlova

The deep fried salted egg with squid (RM 20), another classic Chinese tai chao dish that isn’t always available at Malay restaurants, is perhaps the only dish that disappointed me. It was a bit too wet, sweet, and too chewy for my liking. Your experience might vary.

For dessert lovers, the pavlova (14.8) is something to check out. It was sweet, crunchy, and simply delicious. The experience was like the best of macaroon, strawberry, and cake toppings all in one. I’m not a dessert lover, but this one I don’t mind at all, it was delicious!

serai drinks

While there are some creative and interesting drinks at Serai, they certainly don’t come cheap. Serai iced tea was RM 12 each, and milky bandung will cost you RM 8.5. Even though the iced tea comes with fresh lemongrass and a scoop of lime ice cream, I felt that it is still a bit too pricey for that sort of setting, if you don’t want to burst your budget, there’s always ice water.

Ultimately, while Serai at Empire is not the most budget friendly of restaurants, the quality of food and ambiance make it a place worth visiting, so if you are looking for some modern Malay cuisine, this is certainly a place to check out

Empire Mall map

Address:
Serai
LG  37, Empire Shopping Gallery
47500 Subang Jaya
GPS: 3.082109, 101.582716
URL:: http://www.seraiempire.com.my>
Tel: 03-5611 3200

Serai Empire

Most of us know Alicafe as the tongkat ali infused canned coffee drinks. In fact, it is my favorite driving companion to keep me awake whenever I’m on one of those balik kampung drives on the highway.

There’s more than just drinks when it comes to this brand, now there’s an Alicafe TigaRasa restaurant. I was one of the lucky few who was invited to get a taste of what they have to offer just a few days ago.

Alicafe Tiga Rasa restaurant, at USJ Taipan
Alicafe Tiga Rasa restaurant, at USJ Taipan

Located at USJ Taipan, Alicafe TigaRasa restaurant offers Malay cuisine in a contemporary setting and pretty good range of menu. The restaurant is tastefully decorated, giving it a bit of a kampung feel, but of course, dining area’s air conditioned.

The kitchen area is separated by glass, you can actually see your food being cooked (side effect: they always have to keep the place spotlessly clean).

here's the tiga rasa secret - sambal lemak, gulai lemak, and hebi-hiam
here’s the TigaRasa secret – sambal lemak, gulai lemak, and hebi-hiam

Now here’s how this restaurant got it’s name, tiga sara (three flavors) – from the three different traditional Malay sauces:

  • Gulai Lemak – the creamy coconut based sauce with kunyit, sambal, and lemongrass. Rich and flavorful
  • Sambal Lemak – a classic with plenty of chili, garlic, some coconut milk, and other spices
  • Sambal Hebi-Hiam – now this one is interesting, hebi means dried shrimp and hiam translate to spicy in Hokkien. So yah, this is  inspired by Nyonya cuisine and prepared with dried shrimps, curry leaves, onions, garlic, and more.

ikan pari, grilled lamb, and grilled chicken in different sambal, vegetable too
ikan pari, grilled lamb, and grilled chicken in different sambal, vegetable

You can then mix and match the three sauces with ikan pari (stingray) or ikan selar (yellowtail scad), grilled lamb chop, grilled chicken, mixed grill, or mixed vegetables. For those who like it even hotter, you can always customize the order with added chili padi too.

I tried the three sauces with pari, mixed vegetable, and lamb, and it is pretty difficult to pick a favorite. Each one offers a different experience, but they share the same characteristic of being rich and flavorful. I like the fact that terung (brinjal) and other vegetable is added onto the meat/seafood dish too. Goes well with steamed rice.

siakap tomyam, curry fish head, and fried chicken
siakap tomyam, curry fish head, and fried chicken

Other than dishes prepared from those three sauces, Alicafe TigaRasa offers dishes such as siakap tomyam, curry fish head, fried chicken and more.

Saikap tomyam (barramundi) is deep fried but served with spicy tomyam sauce, and the curry fish head reminds me of my mom’s style of cooking, the Nyonya version of curry that is slightly milder (unlike some Indian style would) yet plenty delicious.

The fried chicken has a hint of belacan to it, a very different style from some of those “KFC copycats”, and definitely a taste that I’m familiar of from the mixture of Nyonya-Chinese style of food we get in Penang.

this whole set for 4 can be had for RM 69.90
this whole set for 4 can be had for RM 69.90

To be honest, I’m quite impressed with the food at Alicafe TigaRasa, they do fill a niche by offering mostly traditional Malay cuisine with some mixture of other tastes that is still very close to home.

For the puasa month, there’s special promotional set that starts from RM 10.90 that includes a drink, kurma dates, a main course, and Hokkaido cake as dessert. For family of four (or 5), a RM 69.90 set gets you siakap fish, fried chicken, scrambled egg, TigaRasa mix grilled vegetable, Hokkaido cakes, kurma dates, and Alicafe’s homemade Pati Kurma Madu drinks.

the desserts, and the leng lui is of course, Hanis
the desserts, and the leng lui is of course, Hanis

I can’t wait for  them to have more branches!

map to Alicafe tiga rasa restaurant

Address:
Alicafe TigaRasa Restaurant
No.8, Jalan USJ 10/1H,
Subang Business Centre,
47620 Selangor
GPS: 3.04817, 101.68677
Tel: 03-8011 9412

Alicafe TigaRasa

For tourists, Bukit Bintang area is all glitz and glamour, with many shopping malls and world class hotels.

In those malls and hotels there are secret walkways to transport goods and workers hidden from customers. On a bigger scale, Bukit Bintang itself too have hidden back roads and walk ways that are not readily visible to tourists. This post is sourced from one such places.

stall Adik Tomyam at medan selera behind Fahrenheit 88
stall Adik Tomyam at medan selera behind Fahrenheit 88

Sandwiched between Jalan Imbi and Jalan Bukit Bintang just behind Fahrenheit 88 (previously known as KL Plaza), there is an old, beat up medan selera that have definitely seen better days. Most tables and chairs are in the state of disrepair, the place is not properly lit, and half the stalls aren’t even in operation. Nevertheless, there are usually groups of mostly Malay working class people lunching there.

I wandered into the food court on one hot afternoon. Most of the stalls offer nasi kandar, which I wasn’t particularly interested at the time, until I walked to the last stall – Adik Tomyam. The only stall that prepares food on order.

nasi paprik ayam - check out the ingredients
nasi paprik ayam – check out the ingredients

The menu are quite standard, there’s Malay style tomyam, beef, chicken, or seafood cook in paprik (spicy), merah (red sauce), halia (ginger), kunyit (turmeric) etc, and several types of fried rice and noodle too.

My first try was sotong halia (ginger squid) and a telur dadar (omelet with onion) to go with rice, and then I return a couple days later for ayam paprik (chicken with spicy sauce).

sotong halia and telur dadar
sotong halia and telur dadar

It was out of my expectation, and easily the best looking made-to-order Malay food from any medan selera I’ve had. There’s a host of ingredients in each dish. The sotong halia had squid, chili padi, cauliflower, fried onion, ginger, garlic, parsley, and more. Paprid ayam came with chicken, ginger, spring onion, onion, long bean, lime leaf, carrot, cauliflower, garlic, and more…

So you can imagine that even though they are a single dish, there’s a lot of variety in them, and the sauce tastes damn good too! Oh, best of all, with the telur dadar and rice, the meal was still only RM 5.50.

I’m gonna order their tomyam next time.

map to Medan Selera behind Fahrenheit 88

Address
Adik Tomyam,
Medan Selera at Jalan Padang, Bukit Bintang
GPS: 3.145101, 101.713108
Tel: 012-3538 440