Experience Kelantan in the city at Warung Kita

Experience Kelantan in the city at Warung Kita

We arrived unannounced at Warung Kita @ Kg Melayu Sungai Buloh to check out their food after communicating with manager Mohd Tarmin Fauzi nearly a month prior.

By about 6pm, they were already closing, and most of the food was already sold for the day, but people kept streaming in to make more orders. Warung Kita is only a simple stall with about 100 seats, and the place is usually packed on weekends as it is open as early as 7am.

The food here is attractive for two reasons. It is relatively cheap, compared to restaurants in areas with higher rent, but more importantly, it tastes just how Kelantanese food should.

Its signature dish, nasi manggey, which comes with curry gravy, steamed rice and sambal belacan, costs only RM5.50 a plate. They use cili padi for the sambal belacan, which gives it an extra kick.

“This is our most popular dish since we started this warung some three years ago. It has been our bestseller.”

I can fully understand why. At that price, it also comes with a piece of fried chicken or ayam cincang. In fact, the Kelantanese recipes are from the mother of stall owner Mohd Khairi Abdul Karim.

Khairul has successfully set up three other Warung Kita, apart from this one in Sungai Buloh. The other three are in Klang, Bangi, and Bandar Baru Ampang.

Their nasi lemak ikan tongkol, which costs only RM4.80, is available only in the morning. Also priced the same is their popular nasi berlauk ikan tongkol.

You can also enjoy their coconut shake – coconut water served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, priced at just RM3.70 – especially on a hot day. For those who like their coconut water plain, you can also order their kelapa baldi, which is priced at RM4.25.

While Warung Kita attracts mainly locals from the area, others come from afar with their families and friends – not just for the great food, but for the kampung atmosphere, especially since you can also choose to have your meal while duduk santai in special palm-covered booths.

Warung [email protected] Buloh is located at 95, Jalan Kusta, Kampung Melayu Batu 13, 47000 Sungai Buloh, Selangor.

Waze: Click here if you want to use Waze

Tel: 013-996 2525

Business Hours: 7am–7pm everyday

Facebook: Warung Kita

Getting the best of both worlds at Hyderabad Recipes

Getting the best of both worlds at Hyderabad Recipes

There is nothing like biryani from the source. We never flew to Hyderabad to taste biryani the way it was prepared for the Nizams, but we did go to the next best place: Hyderabad Recipes.

Our “flight” to Hyderabad Recipes was with two friends, Barnabas and Adelaine Boon, a couple in their sixties, to savour what has been called the best biryani in Kuala Lumpur. They told me that the biryani here was “an exception,” and I agree.

But I did something else. Because I wanted the couple to sample Mao Sheng Liu Bao tea as well, I brought along a Chinese tea set to Hyderabad Recipes – a practice which I hope will set a new trend here in Malaysia!

One of Hyderabad Recipes’ directors, Jasbeer Singh Kaura, and his very proactive operations manager, Jagannath, invited us to taste their “world famous dum biryani.” But later I found out that Jasbeer and I have something in common.

He told me that he has a Chinese tea set in his office – but it never occurred to him that biryani goes very well indeed with pu’er tea! As Barnabas put it:

“It is a perfect contrast between the spiciness of biryani with the mellow Chinese tea, which speaks of the calmness of the Oriental soul.”

Even Adelaine, who hardly eats mutton, agreed that the special mutton biryani lived up to its name, because of the soft texture, and the lack of the strong odour that puts many people off the meat.  

But the special chicken biryani was my favourite. Like a hidden treasure buried in the basmati rice, the chicken is slightly spicy, but went excellently with the Chinese tea. And it helps with digestion, too.

My suggestion is that if you are going to try out the food here at Hyderabad Recipes, you should bring along your favourite Chinese tea. They can even provide the pots and small cups at no corkage fee; otherwise, their masala tea is just as good to help with digestion.

If you are coming with a bigger group, I suggest you order their full portion BBQ platter, with tandoori chicken, grilled dory, prawns and mutton kebab. We were particularly mesmerised by the fish!

According to Jasbeer, he first discovered the magic of Hyderabadi food to be very good when he was based there.

“That’s why, together with two other partners, we decided to bring in the chefs from Hyderabad so that Malaysians can enjoy a meal of the authentic Hyderabadi food. One of my partners is in fact descended from the Nizams of Hyderabad. Using Hyderabad Recipes as a model, my partner has also expanded the business on his own since 2008 to establish some 126 franchisees around the world.”

Two of their signature dishes – the Hyderabadi fried chicken and Hyderabadi mutton fry – are best eaten with naan. As for naan toppings, you can choose from with garlic, chilli powder, sesame seed and mint leaves.

For desserts, though the gulab jamun reigns supreme for most, my personal preference is the carrot halwa, since I don’t have a sweet tooth.

And most amazingly, for a meal with for four adults and two children, the bill came up to just over RM100!

For the coming month of Ramadhan, their specials will include two flavours of chicken and mutton haleem. They also specialise in bheja fry (goat brains), malai paya (mutton soup), but these two dishes are only available for special orders and for catering purposes.

Hyderabad Recipes is located at No 78-1 Jalan Putra, near the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur. There is a nice parking lot just 50 metres away.

Tel: 03-40447786 (booking and catering)
Business hours: Mon-Sun: 10am – 10pm

Websites: Hyderabad
Facebook: Hyderabad Recipes
Waze: Type Hyderabad Recipes

Restoran Binjai brings the budu to BU

Restoran Binjai brings the budu to BU

While most Malaysians would agree that nasi lemak is a national dish, a large number would also agree that it isn’t necessarily as tasty as nasi kerabu golok or nasi dagang, especially if it comes straight from Kelantan and Terengganu.

But they probably haven’t tasted Restoran Binjai’s unique nasi lemak.

In previous articles, I highlighted Pok Nik Nasi Kukus Ayam Kampung in Taman Bukit Permai and Azizah Nasi Kukus Ayam Berempah in Bandar Sri Damansara.

It is this very ayam rempah that sets Binjai’s nasi lemak apart.

When my nine-year-old son tried the nasi lemak, he told me: “Daddy, this is great! Try it yourself,” pointing to the ayam rempah, which is leagues beyond the normal fried chicken you can find anywhere else.

Here, I also found their nasi kerabu à la Kelantan to be very good, if a little on the salty side.

However, restaurant owner, Izzman Hafiz, who hails from Binjai, Kelantan, told me that guests can always request the dishes to be less salty.

“It is just a matter of reducing the budu sauce,” he says. “It’s like chili. Some people like it with a lot of chili, others prefer it without.”

For kids, Binjai serves nasi dagang which can be prepared non-spicy. A plate of rice, with pickled carrot and cucumber, served with a piece of ikan tongkol cooked in high quality santan, costs just RM8.50.

Izzman started the restaurant together with his mother in 2008 when he was only 24 years old. The recipes are from Izzman’s own mother.

“We are well-known for our nasi kerabu since the day we started business here. Our regular patrons know what to expect. Some of them therefore even place their orders using Uber Eats.”

The Nasi Kerabu consists of rice coloured by Asian pigeonwings, desiccated coconut and about seven different types of ulam, bean sprouts and fish crackers, which only costs RM5.

However, you have the option of adding ayam rempah or ikan celup tepung to your dish.

They also serve nasi campur, which is mostly ready for the lunch crowd by 10am. By 12.30pm, they’re ready to start taking à la carte orders.

Restoran Binjai is located at a hidden corner of Oasis Business Centre at Lot G10, Jalan Changkat, Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya.

Tel: 012-274 7353
Business hours: 7 days a week (7.30am – 7.30pm)
Facebook: Restoran Binjai (Original)
Instagram: @restoranbinjai
Order: Through Uber Eats
Waze: Type Restoran Binjai

Dining with Caesar at Umi Restaurant Komtar

Dining with Caesar at Umi Restaurant Komtar

Caesar took time out from maintaining law and order among his fellow apes in San Francisco to dine with this band of human survivors, all the way here in Komtar, Penang.

Turns out, the star of Planet of the Apes is a fan of authentic Malay cuisine, which is how we found him at Umi Restaurant!

Either he was scouting locations for a sequel, or just enjoyed the good food and wonderful guests surrounding him.

When we asked him to recommend some of his favourite Malay dishes, Caesar, without hesitating not only recommended what we could have for lunch, but also introduced to us to Umi’s outlet assistant manager, Ayu Yusoff, and the chef who works behind the scenes, known to his guests as only Chef Nasir.

Signature dishes

Caesar and I appear to share the same taste buds. When I tried the chicken soup, I immediately gave my thumbs-up to him over at the next table. Although simple, it was tasty enough to renew our energy levels after an exhausting day exploring all the interesting places at Komtar, especially the Jurassic Research Centre and the Rainbow Skywalk.

“This is great, Caesar! Thank you for recommending it,” I called out.Caesar responded with a wink, and asked to try the masak lemak pedas.

Before I could reach out for the prawn, my son had already harpooned it with his fork. “Wow, this is really yummy!” he exclaimed. Was he able to take something as spicy as that? Anyway, another thumbs-up to Caesar for his recommendation.

According to Ayu, this is the authentic Negeri Sembilan style of cooking curry prawns.

“What I like my guests to know is that not all Malay cuisine is spicy. We can tailor it to the guests’ requirements. They can ask our chef to cook something less spicy and it tastes just as good.”

Ayu tells us that there’s another style we have to try, and showed us the asam pedas Melaka, which comes adorned with a bunga kantan (or red ginger lily).

For children who cannot take the heat, Ayu recommends the nasi goreng bunga kantan.

“Our fried rice is slightly colourful. The reason is because when I was growing up, I did not like to eat rice, but my mother would add some colours to it so that I enjoyed eating it.”

In fact, the name Umi is Arabic for “mother.”

“This is why we are trying to introduce our traditional home-cooked food for more Malaysian families to enjoy. Food taste is very subjective, some is acquired; others, you will naturally like it because you have never tasted it before.

“This is also something that our Malay foodie fans can share with their friends. It is nothing like tasting the real thing than just reading or talking about it.”

Most of the dishes here at Umi Restaurant are Ayu’s own recipes, which she picked up over the years from her mother, sister and aunt.

“Over the years, I have learnt to cook food that we have always enjoyed, and we like to share it with those who know how to appreciate home-cooked Malay cuisine from different parts of the country.”

Besides the dishes we tried, Umi also serves ayam percik Kelantan on their set lunch menu. It is served with steamed rice, keropok Kelantan and local sambal belacan, air asam and kerabu.

They also have asam pedas siakap, sambal tumis petai, gulai kambing kawah and udang galah bakar. But for the special beef rendang, guests will need to pre-order the dish in advance.

Besides the lifesize Caesar mannequin at Umi, guests can also dine and take photographs with Mr Bean, the original Ronaldo and the Captain of KTX from Train to Busan.

Umi Restaurant is located at Level 5, The [email protected], just opposite the Jurassic Research Centre.
Tel: 04-2623800
Business hours: 10am – 10 pm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UmiTheTopPenang/
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/T7QnXqv4LDn
Waze: https://www.waze.com/livemap?zoom=17&lat=5.41478&lon=100.32977

On-Demand Delivery, a new trend to be watched

On-Demand Delivery, a new trend to be watched

With both parents working these days, online food deliveries are gaining traction fast especially when the food is delicious and appetising to both parents and their children.

The cost of delivery is also reasonable (RM4 per delivery anywhere in the Klang Valley) and the deliveries are made within 90 minutes after the online order is placed. The food come in disposable microwaveable boxes.

Considering that parking is a hassle in most places and petrol prices have gone up, RM4 is affordable for most families and office colleagues who jointly order their lunch boxes.

It is also a great idea for Christmas get-together or Pot Bless (some call it ‘Potluck’) dinners where each family is expected to bring a dish each to share and do carolling together.

Recently, I was offered to do a review of online food by Mammam Deliveries, which has a central kitchen in Petaling Jaya Commercial City (PJCC). I particularly like the idea of their online orders for “dish only” local cuisine which is halal, and the beautiful thing was that it also caters to small group gatherings. Food is delivered straight to the home where the gathering is held.

At a public speaking skills for a group of young children whom I am coaching, parents come together. The initial plan was to meet at 8pm after dinner, but when the offer came from Mammam Deliveries, I thought it was a great idea to have the food reviewed by the mothers and children themselves.

After all, being a working Blue Monday for most parents, Mammam’s signature meals came in real handy. If they had delivered to my home, I would have the hassle of inviting family and friends to come and help finish up all the food.  

The response? Generally the feedback from parents and children was positive especially for certain dishes. I particularly like Mammam’s Butter Chicken with white rice (RM15.00), the Chicken Rendang Nasi Lemak (RM16.90) and the Tom Yum Fried Rice (Spicy) (RM13.11).

I would give Mamman Deliveries the thumbs-up for all three meals, especially their Chicken Rendang Nasi Lemak, being a fan of chicken rendang myself.

A pleasant surprise was when a mother, Elaine Xie who hails from Shanghai said that she likes the sambal.

“Although it is spicy, I really like it,” she said,

adding that she would prefer having acar (pickled vegetables) instead of normal vegetables.

Unfortunately, I did not get to taste the Chicken Chettinad (Varul) (RM15.90), the Indian Fish Curry with White Rice (RM17.90), Nasi Lemak Goreng (RM15.90) and Mee Hoon Goreng Tom Yam (RM15.90), but others tried them and their comments are on a simple video that I produced.

Besides over 30 dishes (Vegetarian, Indian, Thai, Malay, Chinese and all-time Malaysian favourite) to choose from, Mammam also has a wide variety of other cuisine and cookies.

Mammam Deliveries can be accessed online at https://www.mammam.com.my/.

Toll Free: 1800-88-6266

Ordering Time: 9.30am to 10.00pm (7 days a week)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mammamdeliveries/

Mobile Phone Apps: Mammam

Honey Chicken popular since 1974

Honey Chicken popular since 1974

With the number of food reviews that I have done, sometimes, it is a real tough decision just thinking what to eat for a simple dinner.

Malaysians are truly blessed with a wide variety of choices. Being the melting pot between East and West, for the foodie fan have some of the widest variety of food choices to satisfy the taste buds.

Craving for a good plate of Nasi Briyani, I noticed one particular Indian Muslim (Mamak) restaurant which was listed on top ten Nasi Briyani by TripAdvisors.

Honestly, I have always seen lots of people there, but never attempted to try out the food until I started reading the reviews by others.

Lesson learnt from here: Never underestimate what appears to be just an ordinary cornershop Mamak restaurant like Restoran Mahbub is capable of producing.

Here, although I can find better nasi briyani elsewhere, it is their signature dish, the honey chicken (ayam madu) which gets my thumbs-up all the way. A plate of nasi briyani and honey chicken is RM15.

Although being health conscious, I try to cut down on sugar, here they use honey and perhaps a little bit of chilli to prepare the chicken drumstick.

The moment I took the first bite, my eyes brightened up and a smile spread across. It was indeed delightful and so “refreshing” to have a delicious piece of chicken after a stressful day.

This is one which I think has a lot of potential to satisfy many taste buds. Let’s put it this way – when you walk into Restoran Mahbub, you have not really enjoyed the food here until you try their honey chicken.

According to 32-year-old owner, Omar Farook Ali the Nasi Briyani Ayam Madu (Honey Chicken Briyani) has become the best signature dish since 1974, the year when his grandfather, Mohammed Yusuff first set up the restaurant in Bangsar.

It was known back then as Restaurant Sharifa, but it became officially known as Restoran Mahbub in 1995.
No wonder the Honey Chicken was so good as Omar explains further:

“The restaurant has gained popularity as having the best Nasi Briyani Ayam Madu in town since 1974. This is my grandfather’s secret recipe.”

It was followed up by their Nasi Briyani Ayam Bukhara (RM15.50), which made its first debut in 2000, something that we will try later. By the time were there, they had run out of the Nasi Briyani Ayam Buhara.

However, my 9-year-old boy whom I encourage to develop his own opinion, likes his nasi briyani differently. He prefers it with his favourite fried chicken (RM15 a plate of nasi briyani and fried chicken). See his blog.

For those who cannot travel that far to try their nasi briyani, it is possible to buy their Briyani Box, which can be ordered and delivered to the home.

Or, those living in and around Damansara Damai will find Restoran Mahbub’s second outlet within their reach, and better still, it is open 24 hours seven days a week. Using waze, this is accessible for outstation guests who are using the New Klang Valley Expressway (exit at Sungai Buloh). Even this restaurant has been operating since 2004 after Omar’s father Datuk Seeni Abdul Kadhar and his sibling Mohamed Sidek further developed the family business.

With Omar as the third generation helming Restoran Mahbub, there are currently attempts to modernise it.

“We received the SME Entrepreneurs 2017 award recently,” he said. “Another feather added was the SME MIMCOIN (Successful Family Business) 2017 award.”

 

Apart from their nasi briyani, I would also recommend their Roti Canai Special. Although I would usually take thosai, their Roti Canai Special (RM4) is great way to give the roti canai an innovative touch but what is important is that the taste, too, was good.

Damansara Damai

The Damansara outlet is located at L-013A, Jalan PJU 10/2A, Vista Shop Damansara Damai, Sungai Buloh.
Tel: 03-6157 2587 (For Delivery, Take Away & Reservation)
Business hours: 24 hours / 7 days a week (Damansara Damai)

Bangsar

Bangsar outlet is located at No. 15-17, Lorong Ara Kiri Satu, Lucky Garden, Bangsar.
Tel: 012-6231 786 (For Catering Service).
Tel: 03-2095 5382 (For Delivery, Take Away & Reservation)
Business hours: 7am – 1am / 7 days a week (Bangsar)