Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / baba

Economy rice (or mixed rice) is a dime a dozen, you can find them at every 3rd kopitiam in the country. More often than not, they are just what the name suggests, an economical way to have a few dishes and rice to fill up your stomach.

In another word, they are usually not exactly exciting.

That’s the run off the mill economy rice place, then there’s this Baba’s Nasi Lemak place at SS2’s wai sek kai.

SS 2 wai sek kai, a place with dozens and dozens of food stalls
SS 2 wai sek kai, a place with dozens and dozens of food stalls

While the name is a bit misleading, this super busy stall is in fact, closer to an economy rice outlet than a nasi lemak place. There’s those ‘buffet’ containers with various different dishes, and more people actually order usual steamed rice instead of nasi lemak.

So why is this place special?

Well, the short answer is that it’s super delicious!

here's maybe half of what they cook up everyday
here’s maybe half of what they cook up everyday (except Thursdays)

There are usually over 2 dozen dishes to choose from at Baba’s nasi lemak, and they aren’t always made with very economical ingredients. Here you’ll find some of the more “up market” dishes like “kao yok”, prawns, steamed fish, and even mantis prawns.

I’ve tried more than 10 different dishes from there thus far, and every single one of them was superb. Never too salty or too sweet or too anything, it was always just right.

As the name suggest, the cooking style is closer to Nyonya cuisine, which means you get a good mixture of spicy dishes and those prepared with traditional Chinese food methods.

and every plate is arranged precariously, macam pro!
and every plate is arranged precariously, macam pro!

The operators also seems to take their food very seriously. Every dish is meticulously placed on the plate, with appropriate amount of sauce on the rice.  I mean, when it looks good, you’ll feel more appetizing too kan? Just check out the photos above for some examples.

The down side is though, with the amount of dishes offered and knowing that they’re all super tasty, this economy rice is often not very economical for us. Picking 4 good dishes with rice can sometimes come close to RM 10 per plate.

Yah, it can be a bit pricey, but we kept going back, and judging from the rather long queue every time we were there, quite a lot of people shares the same sentiment. Maybe you should give it a try too? 😀

Happy eating!

map of SS 2 wai sek kai

Baba’s Nasi Lemak
SS2 Wai Sek Kai (hawker center)
Jalan SS 2/61
Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.118491, 101.620787
Hours: daily from 7pm, closed on Thursdays

When I first got the invitation from foodstreet for a food review session from Peony Garden at Kota Damansara, I did some searches on the internet and but was not able to find any blog entries. So I went to the restaurant with Eiling (who is going to give me some golden tickets) having little to expect.

note: tragically, this place is no longer in operation, it was one of my favorites! (20/9/2010)

Poeny Garden, Nyonya Food at Kota Damansara
seven dishes to sample, with original ingredients

As it turns out, Peony Garden serves Northern Nyonya food, which means they are actually from Penang, my hometown. The relatively new restaurant is run by a pair of siblings, Karen and Eugene Chew, whom despite knowing little about blogs and the way of cyber world, were very friendly (especially when we arrived at our common mother tongue, Penang Hokkien).

We were served the unique “green leaves drink” that is made of seven different types of grass and leaves. It tasted pretty refreshing though slightly on the sweeter side. The owners explained to us that many of the ingredients used are sourced from Penang and other states, and Karen cooks everything from scratch, the traditional way, even the sambal is made by pounding fresh chili and shrimp paste by hand.

Poeny Garden, Nyonya Food at Kota Damansara
Penang otak-otak, asam prawn, curry black pomphret, salted vegetable duck soup

We were then served seven dishes, and I recognized what they were instantly without having to be explained! Tau eu bak (soya sauce pork), asam prawn, curry bawal hitam (black pomphret), salted vegetable duck soup, Penang otak-otak, jui hu char (fried sengkuang with dried cuttle fish), and fried spring roll. These are the dishes I grew up with, the memory of mom working in her kitchen flashes back like a tsunami wave, the familiar smell, the sound of sengkuang sizzling in the wok, and how she always peel the asam shrimps for us. I wish mom was here to have this session with me.

In the taste department, the food actually measured up very well. The asam prawn, cooked with asam and dark soya sauce carries a strong and fragrant asam taste that is slightly salty and sourish, complementing the sweetness of the shrimp perfectly. The fish curry is done the traditional way as well, with black pomphret and a generous portion of laksa flower that adds to the taste. There is no substitute with another type of fish as “lemak” (fatty) taste of the black pomphret suits the asam curry best.

Poeny Garden, Nyonya Food at Kota Damansara
soya sauce pork, jui hu char, spring roll

I personally always prefer the Penang style otak-otak, and the version at Peony, though not the best I’ve had, was not bad either. As for salted vegetable duck soup, it might take a little used to if you are not accustomed to it, sourish and slightly spicy, I liked it.

Jui hu char is a dish that is cooked by many Penang family whenever they worship ancestors (don’t ask me why). It is best eaten with some sambal and wrapped with fresh lettuce, much like the way you’d have Korean BBQ meat. The deep fried spring rolls actually shares the main ingredient (sengkuang) with jiu hu char, but served with a unique blend of dark soya source and chili that gives it a pretty interesting taste, in a good way.

If you’ve followed this blog for some time, you know that I am a pork lover. The tau eu bak here was absolutely fantastic, cooked for hours to the very soft and tender texture, the soya sauce is imported from Nothern state to get the taste just right. Coupled with the original sambal, I had to fight with Eiling till the last piece, it was as good as it is sinful.

Poeny Garden, Nyonya Food at Kota Damansara
green leaf drinks, and eiling with the Peony plate

Dishes are priced from RM 8 to RM 20+, pretty decent even though the portions aren’t big. Authentic foods are hard to come by these days, and I don’t think you can get them any more authentic than here. A family run restaurant that prepares everything painstakingly the traditional way. I am sure I will return.

map to Poeny Garden at Kota Damansara
Poeny Garden is just 5 minutes away from IKEA/Ikano/Curve

The restaurant also host private events and birthday parties. If you like it the old school way with nasi kunyit, curry chicken, and hard boiled egg for your baby’s full moon, they do it too.

Lunch: Tue to Fri 11am – 2pm
Dinner: Tue to Sun 6 – 10pm

16-1, Jalan PJU 5/10,
Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara,
47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.150886, 101.593237
Tel: 03-6141 8323

It’s been quite a long time since I met this friend of mine, Drika (don’t really care if I can use his name here); and we decided to go for dinner after work last night. Since we had to pick up his special one at PJ, I figured it might just as well we try the interestingly named Restaurant Bibichick, the Nyonya place I saw on Ho Chak series on TV8.

Restaurant Bibichik, Nyonya food, SS2
these two diners were certainly happy

The restaurant is clean and decorated minimally but comfortable. There is a suspicious looking corner with a drum set, I sure hope there’s no karaoke session during the weekends, some Jazz would probably be fine though.

For the three of us, we ordered the recommended mango fish (with mar yau), honey squid, fried chicken with Bibi sauce, and a plate of vegetable.

Restaurant Bibichik, Nyonya food, SS2
mango fish, honey squid, vegetable, and chicken with Bibi sauce

While the vegetable is somewhat average, the other three dishes were all actually very good. The mango fish dish is prepared with the fish cut in small fillet (while retaining the whole fish) and deep fried, before pouring the mango sauce and shredded mango on top. The structure and taste of the fish actually matches the mango sauce very well, nice.

The honey squid was awesome too, reminds me of the honey chicken I had Kampung Atap. Last but definitely not least, the fried chicken with Bibi sauce actually tasted very close to belacan fried chicken, but with a slightly more complex taste. The girl had like 3 big pieces.

map to Restaurant Bibichik, Nyonya food, SS2

The bill came to around RM 80 for the three of us, including drinks and a 5% service charge. The biggest item being the fish at RM 32.50, the other dishes were priced between 8-15 ringgit, which were still reasonable for an air conditioned restaurant, and comparable to the Nyonya Restaurant at the other side of the same shop lots

No. 17 Jalan SS 2/30
47300 Petaling Jaya

GPS: 3.113498, 101.621003
Tel: 017-319 6191

it was kerol, horny, and myself

So we were hungry and we were at SS2, if you have ever been to the area at dinner time, you know it’s not easy to find a parking space. When we finally did, we were not far from this Melaka Street Restaurant. After taking a look on the menu to make sure that it was within budget, we were off to the uncharted water.

drool? drool anyone??

The place is reasonably new. I believe they might have taken over the old Vietnamese Kitchen shop lot after the former decided to concentrate on it’s 1 Utama establishment. Interior decoration is pretty basic but rather comfortable. It does try to create an old school Melaka’s atmosphere, I think.. not that I’ve been to Melaka yet..

check out our traffic light drinks!

We ordered fried asparagus with belacan, sambal squid (kerol’s favorite creature to eat), and this fried chicken with the name that has escaped my mind (something like aunty lam or .. .) The asparagus was absolutely fabulous, squid was equally good but not too spicy. As for the chicken, it came with some chili sauce for dipping, the taste gives a hint of belacan and a pretty decent job at marination. The rice served was well cooked and in a pretty soft texture, I usually avoid restaurants with hard rice no matter how good the food is.

Overall the meal was pretty good, though I am not sure if it’s a true representation of Melaka delights. The taste was just right and we did not even need any soya sauce or chili padi that usually goes with every meal. The price was rather reasonable too, for a proper restaurant setting with air conditioning.

So easy to get there..

Jalan SS 2/66,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.119744, 101.620574