Being from a somewhat typical family in Penang, I’m no stranger to Nyonya style cooking, this is mostly due to the fact that Baba-Nyonya cuisine shares many similar recipes to Penang Hokkien dishes.
So when we were at Baba Nyonya Restaurant in Avenue K, I had certain expectations on what they should be able to cook up.
Baba Nyonya, Avenue K, with my dining partners
The restaurant is located at the same level with the LRT station, with an interior decor that is pretty tastefully done, catering to mostly 2-4 people per table, though larger crowd can be arranged, to a certain extend.
The menu offers quite a variety of dishes, with selections from individual noodle or “daily plates”, as well as ala-carte entries to be eaten with steamed rice with a group of your favorite buddies, which was what we mainly did when I find myself with a few colleagues at Baba Nyonya a couple weeks ago.
proper meal for three, with poultry, fish, and vegetable
We sampled one single dish in the form of Ayam Masak Merah, and three shared lauk of terung belado (RM 16.90), chicken pongteh (RM 26.90), and asam fish pedas claypot (RM 35.90) over dinner.
The ayam masak merah is a dish you can enjoy over lunch and comes with loads of those sauce that has a good balance of sweet and spicy taste to it, there’s also a spring role to get you started.
terung belado, chicken pongteh, ayam masak merah, asam fish pedas claypot
Asam fish pedas claypot was our favorite among the three shared dishes. The fish retains some crunchiness while not overly fried, with the asam pedas broth brings forth a good kick, perfect when mixed with steamed rice.
The terung too was proper, soft, tender, and packed with flavor. However, we did agree that the chicken pongteh was pretty average, or perhaps just overshadowed by other offerings from Baba Nyonya during this session.
The experience at Baba Nyonya Avenue was certainly a positive one, I think I’ll be heading over for lunch one of these days to check out more of their individual dishes.
Haze always described me as someone who’s bordering insufferable when it comes to dining at shopping malls. It usually takes me quite a bit of merry-go-round trying to evaluate what is worth eating before settling into a restaurant. Luckily, at IOI City Mall, I found just what’s worth spending a meal – at Kakatoo.
Kakatoo at IOI City Mall
The restaurant is tastefully decorated with a modern touch and Baba Nyonya colors, and with a cute logo to boot, it is one of the better looking outfits among the many restaurants on the lower ground of this huge IOI City Mall.
As for menu, they offer a mix of Western & classic Nyonya dishes, I was only interested in the latter.
cencaru with sambal, just like how mom makes them
For the two of us, we went for the classic dishes that defines any Nyonya restaurants – ikan cencaru with sambal, and paku paki sambal belacan.
The fish (RM 29.90 for two) was on point. Fried to perfection and with properly seasoned sambal too. They gave a bit of extra sambal tumis in the middle, but I’d be a happier man if even more was offered.
paku pakis with sambal belacan
In retrospect, we probably should have ordered some other vegetable dishes that provides a bit of variety in taste, but thankfully the pucuk paku pakis (RM 16.90) did not disappoint. It was spicy, crunchy, fresh, and definitely went well with rice.
KY & Haze at IOI City Mall
The Nyonya dishes experience at Kakatoo was one that worth revisiting, and now if I go to IOI City Mall again, I know where to go for a decent meal I won’t regret.
Several weeks ago I was invited to a soft launch of Little Mums, the restaurant that was run by the same people that brought us Mum’s Place at Damansara Perdana, a restaurant that I’ve reviewed almost ten years ago, with shitty camera phone then. As the name suggests, this offshoot is run by the second generation, offering many of the best selling dishes from the parent restaurant.
Update 29/6/2017: This restaurant is closed, rumor has it that the owners moved out of the country.
Little Mums at Damansara Uptown
Located at the back row of Damansara Uptown, Little Mum spots a modern yet simple interior, and while parking isn’t the most ideal this part of PJ, it is not exactly an exercise of patient either. Little Mum serves both lunch and dinner, and offers several individual plates in addition to the usual “tai chao” style dishes.
On our visit, we started off with an appetizer with the crab cheese sticks (RM 16.80), a dish that would really go well with some cold beer, which sadly they do not offer.
Our main meal was served with steamed rice, and we had prawn with sambal petai (RM 31.80), fried cencaru with cili padi paste and petai (RM 26), soft shell crab with butter cheese sauce (RM 10.20/100g), daun keledek with lime juice (RM 15), and brinjal with black pepper (RM 15).
daun keledek, terung black pepper
These dishes were as good as I remembered them. The cencaru and soft shell crab stood out as the two must-order dishes were strong tasting in a good way, especially for those who like their food spicy. While daun keledek is one of their classics, I found myself really enjoying the black pepper brinjal even though as with the other previously mentioned dishes, it was really spicy as well.
crab cheese stick, sago gula melaka, cendol, pulut tekan
For dessert, sago gula melaka (RM 6.30) was really well executed, and pulut tekan (RM 7.30), served with homemade kaya, is another must-try. This version is like hot KFC vs stale fried chicken from the roadside, you gotta try it.
I did find the cendol with red bean (RM 6.30) a little underwhelming though, and perhaps being from Penang has something to do with that judgement.
KY, Horng, Yuki, Haze
Little Mums serves Halal food and the prices are nett. While it is slightly on the high side when it comes to pricing, they do deliver rather well in terms of quality of food. Would certainly visit again.
Horng and I were both from the same “11200” postcode back in Penang, an area that is called Tanjung Bunga (literally cape of flower). So it was a bit of a wonder why it took us so long to step into the Tanjung Bunga nyonya restaurant at SS2 despite having driven by the shop lots on multiple occasions over the years.
well, my very first address was under the Tg. Bungah postcode
As a rule of thumb, if a restaurant has been there for ages and do very little in terms of decoration or renovation, chances are the food is usually at least decent.
In that sense, Tanjung Bunga Penang Nyonya Cuisine is one such places, the interior is rather basic but clean, with air conditioning system that sort of works.
curry fish head, asam prawn, perut ikan
Tanjung Bungah restaurant offers pretty much all the essential Penang nyonya dishes. For the five of us, we ordered five different dishes for dinner. Serving time was actually pretty fast, with the first dish arriving some 10 minutes after ordering.
Curry fish head with garupa was rich, spicy, and true to Nyonya style, comes with a plenty of vegetable and even mint leaves. Fried asam prawn was prepared the way my mom would, which also reminds me of the version at Kah Soh – retaining the sweetness of tiger prawns while infusing the dish with just the right amount of dark soya sauce and asam.
Perut ikan, or pickled swim bladder curry, could be slightly richer and creamier, but a passable dish nonetheless.
inchi cabin and paku pakis
Then there’s paku pakis, or the wild fern shoots, a vegetable dish to fill the vitamin C quota, and one with texture that I always love. The preparation method here is more “lemak” than spicy, which suits us just find as there was already curry on the table.
Our favorite dish turned out to be the inchi cabin, or the Nyonya fried chicken. The unique blend of spices and sauce used to marinate this version of fried chicken was just spot on, We wish we ordered more.
Dinner came to be about RM 15-20 per person, which is on par with other similar restaurants, would not hesitate to go back there again.
Address: Tanjung Bungah Nyonya Cuisine 117, Jalan SS 2/6, Ss 2, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor GPS:3.116029, 101.616522 Tel: 03-7877 4531 Hours: lunch and dinner, closed on Thursdays
From this blog, I sometimes get invitation to events hosts by or for certain celebrity chefs and TV personalities, these are usually official or semi official events that are very structured and .. distant, something that I don’t usually enjoy that much.
Well, there’s those, and there’s the session with the Fabulous Baker Brothers who has a show starting October 16, 7:30p m on TLC (Astro Channel 707). Encores every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. and Saturday at 10:30 p.m.
Restaurant Limablas at Jalan Mesui Off Jalan Nagasari
Our initial destination of choice was Jalan Alor, but due to the uncooperative weather condition we moved the session to Limablas, and what a great adjustment that was.
Limablas, located right next to “No Black Tie” at Jalan Mesui, is a quaint little Peranakan Restaurant (Baba & Nyonya) run by Uncle John. The ambiance is that of an old Peranakan settlement, from the row of glass bottles filled with ingredients, to furniture, to the antique cash register.
Tom and Henry Herbert of the Fabulous Baker Brothers
While parking at Jalan Mesui usually isn’t most ideal, you can always leave your car at the paid parking at One Residence just a stone’s throw away.
Together with Tom & Henry Herbert, the baker and the butcher & chef who make up the Fabulous Baker Brothers, the group was about 20 strong, including PR, important people from Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, and writers/bloggers.
Our session was scheduled at 7 pm, and by 7:05 pm, everyone arrived. I cannot over stressed how happy I was in everyone’s commitment in respecting each other’s time. Being timeliness is often a lost art in many Malaysian.
nyonya tauhu telur, paitee, rojak
Our dishes on the day were recommended by Uncle John, and it was (I guess) basically almost everything on the menu.
We started out with a few appetizers in Nyonya tauhu telur, rojak, and paitee. These dishes were a little bit sweet, slightly spicy, and positively full flavored. I particularly like the paitee with its crunchy pastry and juicy stuffings, that piece of small prawns on top is a nice touch as well.
Since this is a pork free establishment, there were plenty of chicken dishes.
Ayam pongteh, Nyonya curry chicken, and ayam sioh were the three we tried. They were all distinctively different in taste.
Ayam pongteh is the Peranakan’s version of stewed chicken, a comfort food. Nyonya curry chicken has the same familiar taste I’m familiar with, and I so desperately want some nasi kunyit to go with this. Ayam sioh, or chicken in coriander and bean paste, is a stronger flavored counterpart that goes really well with steamed rice.
The kangkung goreng sambal belacan at Limablas is another well executed dish, carries a kick that this classic dish should.
cincaluk omelette, sambal udang petai, sambal terung, sambal ikan
Cincaluk omelette is a classic Nyonya dish that anyone should try, the cincaluk (fermented krill) gives it a slightly salty seafood taste that is a little similar to fuyu (fermented tofu). I find it very exquisite.
Sambal udang petai was awesome, but my favorite dish of the night had to go to the sambal terung – it was a perfect blend of sweet and spicy.
Our last main dish of the night was the sambal ikan (with tilapia). Another spicy dish that turned out to be rather decent, but in my opinion, doesn’t live up to the other dishes at Limablas. After all, it is just tilapia.
ais kacang & sago gula melaka, we had a feast
Desserts came in the forms of ais kacang, cendul, and sago gula melaka. They proved to be as good as those I’ve tried by the side of Melaccan roads, and it was a shame we had to share them.
Before the end of the meal, Cheng Yi of fatboybakes fed the two brothers some home made durian cheesecake while the rest of us (Nigel, Umei, Josen, Meena etc) watched on, they didn’t manage to finish the slices, but I give them credit for trying tho.
we had loads of fun, the two guys are really friendly and down to earth
The two brothers were ultra friendly and very down to earth, we had an awesome session sharing lots of stories over some really impressive food at Limablas. A few glasses of wine certainly helped too, I wish we’ll have more of these kinda meet ups.
Address: Limablas 15 Jalan Mesui, Off Jalan Nagasari, 50200 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.148872, 101.708399 Tel: 03-2110 1289 Hours: break from 3pm to 530 pm Mon – Sat