5 reasons you should visit Serai

Wishing all our Muslim readers.. Selamat Berpuasa!

Fasting month or the Holy month or Ramadan starts today. For the Muslim, Ramadan is a time of reflecting , believing and worshiping God. The fast is intended to be an exacting act of deep personal worship in which Muslims seek a raised awareness of closeness to God. At the end of the day the community of believers break their fast together and here in Malaysia, it is called “berbuka puasa”.

Recently, I chanced upon Serai in the spanking new Empire Mall, Subang Jaya. This place has a massive selection of authentic Malay cuisine. Here are 5 reasons why one should “Berbuka Puasa” at Serai.


1. Nasi Kerabu Hitam – Pretty to look at, even better to eat!

Nasi Kerabu originates from the state of Kelantan on the east coast of Malaysia. Traditionally, the rice is tinted bright blue from petals of the Clitoria ternatea (bunga telang). One can actually use different herbs to tint the rice in different colors including red, black or blue. What makes nasi kerabu especially addictive is the aromatic herbs.. local mint, basil, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, turmeric leaves and raw vegetables; bean sprouts, long green beans, shallots, cucumber, are combined together with other strong flavored side dishes such as the salted fish, dried prawns, fish crackers, fried grated coconut (kerisik) and other savory garnishing. Each Malay household has their on variation on the Nasi Kerabu .. a secret family recipe if you like!


2. Tom Yam Pedas – Malay Tomyam is a spin on the Thai Tomyam.. feeling hot, hot, HOT!

The tomyam first appeared in Peninsular Malaysia around the late 1970s and early 1980s. Tomyam Noodles is basically Thai based but prepared in a Malay restaurant kitchen. The Tom Yam has a mix of typically sweet, hot and sour flavours as well as fragrant herbs and garnishing. Basically the ingredients that go into the Tom Yam are similar. The basic broth is made of stock and fresh ingredients such as lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce and crushed chili. Tom yam is usually made with prawns, chicken, fish or mixed seafood that float tantalizingly on top of the red, glistening soup. The soup is often topped with generous sprinkling of fresh chopped cilantro or coriander leaves.


3. Nasi Ambang – Ambang or Ambeng.. it’s still super delicious!

Nasi Ambang or Ambeng – A traditional Johorean dish that originated from the southern Malaysian state of Johor this super popular Malay dish is commonly found in the form of a packed rice. Some argue that it is Javanese but I guess while retaining the essence of the dish, each country has a slightly different spin on it.

This Johor nasi bungkus (packed rice) comprises a huge mound of fluffy white rice and rendang in a tasty, spicy sauce, french beans and tempe salad, fried noodles and serunding kelapa (spicy, pan-roasted grated coconut), all served in a huge plate. If you are re-reading that part about the noodles served with rice, don’t worry you read right. Nasi Ambang typically comes with a side dish of noodles.. strange but true. Traditionally this dish was served on a big tray lined with banana leaf and could feed a massive family of 10 and above!  Nasi Ambang is a great communal treat and it teaches the concept of sharing food equally.


4. Nasi Lemak – crème de la crème oh.. the rice in cream!

Nasi Lemak is the typical Malay dish that has become a bit of an icon for Malaysian. Read our past post on “The Malaysian big breakfast” here. The name itself ” rice in cream” is derived from the cooking process where regular white rice is literally soaked in coconut cream and then steamed to give a gorgeous, aroma of coconut-perfumed white rice that is then wrapped in banana leaf or served on a plate and eaten with the other side dishes mentioned above. Sometimes a knotted pandan leaf, or ginger or a stalk of lemongrass is thrown it to make the rice all the more fragrant.

The Malaysian nasi lemak has hot spicy sauce (sambal), hard boiled egg, cucumber slices, small dried anchovies (ikan bilis) and roasted peanuts at its core and to this you may add sambal cuttlefish, fried chicken, cockle, stir fried water convolvulus (kangkong), pickled vegetables (achar) or beef rendang (beef stewed in coconut milk and spices). Sinful and bad for the heart but incredibly delicious. Once you get hooked on the smell of that fragrant coconut rice, it will be the end of life as you know it!


5. Pavlova – OK, this is not Malay, but you can find it in Serai for dessert!

Ah.. the Pavlova, or affectionately knows as Pav , is the ideal dessert to placate the heat and malay spices from the feast we just had. The Pav is a cake similar to meringue with a crispy crust and soft, light inner full of rich whipped cream and fresh fruit. This strawberry pavlova is heavenly!

Selamat Berbuka Puasa!

LG37, Empire Shopping Gallery,
Jalan SS16/1, 47500 Subang Jaya,
Google Maps


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *