6 November 2012

Zaini satay in ExpatriateLifestyle.com


Malay Food

by Samantha Chin1 Jun 2012
Malay Food
With the diverse ethnic and cultural history of Malaysia, food is often a topic of passionate debate among its people. Many dishes are heavily influenced by proximity, and culinary fusions are not uncommon; for example many of the local Malay dishes have Javanese influence.
Possibly the most important dish that defines the Malaysian national identity, ask any local where their favourite place to have Malay food is, and they will list you a hundred and one places that serve the best nasi lemak. Although its name literally means ‘fatty rice’, it connotes creaminess as the rice is cooked in coconut milk.
The fragrant rice is commonly served with cucumber slices, crispy fried anchovies and roasted peanuts, topped with a healthy amount of spicy gravy called sambal - a type of chili-based condiment. Extra side dishes can be added to accompany the meal, such as fried chicken, sambal sotong (chili cuttlefi sh) and cockles.
Selera Jaya 223, the food court at Jalan 223, Petaling Jaya is known for its nasi lemak. Served fresh and piping hot, the nasi lemak is wrapped in banana leaf and readily placed on the table; the packets are quite small so it’s not unusual to see people unwrapping two or three packets at the same time.
Village Park at Uptown Damansara is always busy and if you want to have lunch during peak hour, be sure to be there early. The rice served at Village Park has a very strong coconut flavour, but compliment it with the sambal and one of their most popular add-ons, the fried chicken—soft, tender meat with crispy skin and you will understand why people are still queuing up outside the shop to have a bite.
While on the topic of nasi lemak, it would be near criminal offense to not mention the rendang. Just last year, CNN’s online poll of more than 35, 000 voters saw rendang taking the number one spot as “World’s 50 Most Delicious Food.”
Rendang is a spicy beef delicacy slowly cooked in coconut milk and ground spices until the liquid begins to evaporated, in which then it will be stir fried until dry, giving it strong complex flavours. It is usually served with ketupat, which is a sort of rice cake; lemang, glutinous rice cooked in bamboo tubes or just plain steamed rice.
Rendang is also a very popular accompaniment to the nasi lemak and places like Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa boasts not only great nasi lemak that keeps the customers returning, but also exquisite rendang to go with it.
Satay is a popular dish of skewered meat, often served with peanut gravy. Chicken, mutton or beef meat are commonly used, marinated for a few hours before skewered through bamboo sticks and grilled over charcoal fire.
People say that the satay from Kajang is the king of all satay—Satay Kajang Haji Samuri is the face of Kajang satay. The pieces of meat are succulent and tender with scarce traces of fat, nicely charred but never overcooked.
Besides the usual poultry, here you can also fi nd rabbit, deer and mutton satay. The peanut gravy is thick and chunky; the sambal is served separately so you can control how hot you’d like it to be. Outside of Kajang, Zaini’s Satay stall at the Naan Corner food court in Ampang is fighting the rivalry with a recipe passed on by the ‘king of satay.’
The story went that Zaini Ismail’s grandfather used to sell satay carried over his shoulder with a pole, and locals who grew up in the sixties would remember his shop at Dang Wangi (used to be Campbell Road). With the recipe now in Zaini’s hands, he and his wife had been operating the store in Ampang serving to loyal customers and travellers who come from as far as Singapore.
The ubiquitous Ramly burger can be found on almost every street corner of KL, and everyone will point you to a different direction when you ask them which store is their favourite.
The Ramly burger is a distinctively Malaysian delicacy usually found in mamaks or stalls by the roadside; each store cooks it a little differently but generally the burger is made up of a Ramly burger patty, either chicken or beef, cooked with margarine, onion, cabbage, and Worcestershire sauce before topping it with mayonnaise.
Ask for a Ramly Burger Special and you fi nd it wrapped preciously by a layer of fried egg, sometimes with melted cheese in between the layers depending on what your burger connoisseur offers.
OM Burger stall next to Naan Corner has a legendary status. Parked right in front of the 7-Eleven convenience store at Jalan Kerja Ayer Lama, a Javanese husband-and-wife team are operating the stall.
OM does it right: thick labs of patty cooked in margarine are removed from the heat when they are still juicy and tender, and the edges slightly crispy.
If you’re thinking of taking it home and reheating it in the microwave for supper, forget it—the Ramly burger has to be enjoyed on the spot; by the sidewalk with mayonnaise and chili dripping down your fingers as you chomp onto the hot, freshly cooked meat.
These are the places where you will find true Malaysian flavours that locals love and eat on a daily basis, and they’re not hard to find. Good food can be found at every corner of town and a little adventurous scouring will usually result in a delicious fanfare.
WHERE TO FIND
Chawan
69-G Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, KL
Tel: 03–2287 5507
D’Cengkih
6 Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, KL
Tel: 012–499 9908
OM Burger
Lorong Kolam Ayer Lama 1, Ampang, KL
Sate Kajang Haji Samuri
Lot 1,2 & 3 Tingkat Bawah & Tingkat 1,Bangunan Dato’ Nazir, Jalan Kelab, Kajang
Selera Jaya 223
Jalan 223, Petaling Jaya
Village Park
5, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03–7710 7860
Zaini’s Satay
Naan Corner, Jalan Kolam Ayer, Ampang
Tel: 03–4257 4520

Full Review in ExpatriateLifestyle.

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