We hardly write about Malay cuisine enough, so here are our top picks for hearty Malay food in KL and PJ. What are your favourites? Please share in the comments section!
Here are our Top Picks for some super tasty Malay cuisine…
1. Warung Cherry @ Kampung Sungai Penchala KL
Amongst one of our favourite Malay restaurants that serves home cooked nosh such as the comforting sup tulang, fish cooked on a hot grill, clams, kuih and curries can be found at Warung Cherry.
Not unlike the ecomony rice, the Nasi Campur at Warung Cherry, Kampung Sungai Penchala is full of choices, and comes laid out, sometimes with dishes stacked on top of each other for want of more space. Some of the popular picks here come from a variety of dishes (not just nasi campur) such as Nasi Ayam Berempah, Gulai Ketam, Patin Tempoyak, Pulut Durian, Sup Tulang, Gulai Itik, Gulai Balitong, Siakap Masak Tempoyak, Gulai Siput, Asam Pedas, Ayam Berempah, Sambal Terung, Nasi Dagang, Laksam, Sup, Ikan Keli Bakar, Nasi Kerabu, Kerabu Kaki Ayam, Gulai Ayam Kampung, Gulai Daging, Ayam Percik and Kuih Cek Mek Molek.
We like it when the Nasi Campur counters display in excess of 100 different lauk (dishes). These range from vegetables, to fish, to various types of meat. The price you pay in the end depends on the amount of different dishes you have on your plate and the type of dishes too – meat and seafood dishes are generally more expensive than vegetables.
No Malay rice meal is complete without adding ulam – i.e. raw vegetables to the plate to round up the meal and, and this goes with a lusty dollop of either Sambal Belacan or Tempoyak. The Sambal Belacan at Warung Cherry is spicy, bursting with shrimp paste, flavour with a nice hint of lime juice for added zing, that really spices up your meal nicely. Actually some of the Sambal Belacan on offer is less spicy than the others so you should really ask the kakak (sister) before selecting your poison of choice. You can either have the sambal with your main meats, have it with plain rice or dip your ulam in it. It’s all still fantastically good!
one of the best sup tulang in town.. pick from the bony bits, or the cartilaginous bits ..
sup kambing.. crazy good.. if you can see past the oil!
Warung Cherry is located literally under the Flyover, at Kampung Sungai Penchala.. you stay dry if it rains!Add:
Under the flyover,
Kampung Sungai Penchala,
60000 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +6019-344 1326
2. Malay Rice at D’Anis Putri/ Rozita Catering @ Pantai Dalam
Known simply as Anis Putri Corner, this comfortable, spacious and almost always packed to the rafters restaurant is situated somewhere in Pantai Dalam, Kuala Lumpur (not too far from Gasing Indah and the Pantai Baru Highway).
This restaurant serves a fantastic variety of Malay dishes as well as a wide variety of Kelantanese food. They do special in-house dishes like Malay style cooked duck, which is difficult to get in any run of the mill Malay restaurant, and some hot favourites like the Ikan Panggang (grilled fish) and Gulai Daging Kawah (dry beef rendang). You need to get there early to get a place to sit, as it gets really crowded during lunchtime. But don’t worry, the turnover is fast, and there are always people coming and going. There is even a comfortable air-conditioned dining section for those who do not take well to the heat.
From traditional Malay dishes to grilled and deep oil fried chicken or fish with spices, you name it, this place has it. The seafood selection is great too, and I am crazy about the lala dishes as well as the balitong. Balitong are snails, or if you want to be more “French” about it.. Escargot! Lala are succulent clams cooked in a delicate sauce that makes you want to suck the be-juices out of it. Then there is the Ulam counter that covers raw vegetables in every form, that goes with the delicious tempoyak that I crave and love. It has to be said that I don’t like eating durian, but Tempoyak that is made with durian, that, I like! They also do a great Ikan Patin Tempoyak at Anis Putri Corner. This is made with patin fish, which has been soaked in tamarind juice and lime juice for an hour to get rid of the fishy smell/taste. The tempoyak paste is added to the pan of fried shallots, chili padi and tumeric, mixed evenly with water and brought to the boil . The fish is then added to the mix, along with bird’s eye chillies, julienned galangal, laksa leaves (daun kesum), sugar and salt. This makes a delicious meal with rice and ulam.
best tempoyak in town!
Drinking water is free but you may order your other drinks from the staff clad in brown uniforms with the D’Anis Putri/ Rozita Catering logo printed on the back, who will come around to take your order, and also to see what you have taken and give you your bill. You can settle it on the way out. Such is the trust of the Muslim community, and I think that’s a great way to do business.Add: No. 4, Jalan Pantai Dalam, Pantai Dalam, 59200 Kuala Lumpur Tel: (+60) 19-282-6908 Open everyday of the week, except for Fridays
3. Restoran Hatinie @ Shah Alam
Restoran Hatinie is normally packed to the rafters, as early as 7am onwards. This is a great place for Malay breakfast, but there’s also Nasi Campur which is great for lunch and dinner.
Some of the highlights here are the great Kelantanese dishes and snacks. I normally make a beeline for the Laksam and Soto Ayam, but the Nasi Dagang and Nasi Kerabu are all equally good. Pick for a selection of ikan masak lemak, ikan tongkol (a variety of tuna) curry, and kerisik (grated coconut) to go with your Nasi Dagang rice. It gets really spicy after a while, and I love to feel the burn on my tongue.
The laksam here is so good.. noodles in a thick, creamy coconut sauce has always been my thing so, this is truly the bomb. It comprises rice noodles, in a thick white sauce, smothered with minced fish. To this they add uncooked bean sprouts, sliced cucumber, chopped herbs and a teaspoon of sambal. The noodles should be firm and springy, and the gravy creamy, rich with coconut milk, thickened and flavoured by the minced fish.
The Soto ayam is equally good – a nice spicy chicken soup with lontong or nasi empit or ketupat (compressed rice that is then cut into small cakes). I just love the delicious scent of turmeric, fried shallots and the crunch of the peanuts. Koya, which is a powder of mixed prawn crackers with fried garlic or bitter Sambal is added to make this soupy dish insanely tasty.
The Gulai Kuah, Masak Daging Kerutup and Keli Bakar are also our hot favorites here. There’s also a huge display of Malay kuih-muih( sweets) and you can knock yourselves out with desserts. Cucur Udang, Jemput Pisang, Kuih keria, Tepung pelita and Pengat Pisang are there to tempt you, all hours of the day. Hatinie is definitely a great choice for some delicious Malay food located in the Shah Alam part of town.
No. 18 & 20, Jalan Selendang 10/10
40000 Shah Alam.
Tel: 017-256 2825
Open 7.30am to 11pm.
4. Capital Nasi Dagang Kelantan @ Damansara Uptown
I remember Nasi dagang, as the fishermen village stops we use to make, on route our holiday destination along the East Coast. It is a specialty of Kelantan & Terengganu that I find hard to resist. I love Nasi Dagang for its thick coconut curry and chunks of ikan tongkol, which is just so delicious.
At Capital Nasi Dagang Kelantan in Damansara Utama you can find a great selection of beef rendang, ikan tongkol curry, prawns, chicken curry and squid curry. And of course the piece de resistance is the nasi dagang, served with a choice of side-dishes such as beef rendang and squid besides ikan tongkol. The food here is not cheap, and if you go for the special it will cost RM18.90 for a most high-end plate of Nasi Dagang Capital.
If you go for the no frills one, the nasi dagang with gulai ikan tongkol, it will cost you just RM7.90. This comes with brown rice, some fish in curry, a dollop of red sambal, half a hard-boiled egg, and a few slices of pickled onion, an itsy bitsy bit of fried salted fish and fresh cucumber. The gulai is rich and thick and the rice is nice and fluffy. You will definitely be mopping up the sauce with that hot steamy rice!Add: Capital Nasi Dagang Kelantan 29, Jalan SS21/1A, Damansara Uptown, Petaling Jaya.
5. Nasi Kerabu @ Kedai Che Wan and Ikan Patin Masak Lemak Cili Api @ Kedai Nasi Lemak Boss, Ampang Jaya
I love the Nasi Kerabu and also Ikan Patin Masak Lemak Chili Api, and two of the great places that serve these dishes (and they are located side by side) are located in Ampang Jaya. These warungs are located along a row of shoplots just past ISKL in Ampang.
The Nasi kerabu served here is super fragrant, especially accompanied by serunding kelapa, sambal budu, telur masin and keropok on the side. Budu, by the way, is an acquired taste – a fermented fish or anchovy paste that I learned to really enjoy, thanks to my Kelantanese friend. Anyway the lady dumps 3 types of chillies onto the rice for good measure – one is sweet, one savory, and one is belacan based. Side dishes include, solok cili, daging salai or even ayam percik but I love mine with some ikan masak lemak & buah peria(bittergourd). Some may opt to go vegetarian and just have the nasi kerabu with ulam, serunding coconut and sambal.
Nasi Kerabu is as pretty as it is tasty, due to its colors – serunding kelapa, ulam, sambal budu against the blue rice – a real sight for sore eyes. The best way to eat this is to get messy and get in there with your fingers! Totally 100% delish!
Ikan Masak Lemak Cili Api – As its name suggests, it’s bloody spicy. Only the Patin fish will do – it’s super fatty and full of flavour. Sometimes they only do masak lemak with kembong fish which I don’t fancy so much – full of bones, and not quite fatty enough.
Add: Ampang No. 20, Boom-Inn, Taman TAR Ampang, Jalan Kerja Air Lama, 68000 KL