Nigel is a Malaysian who is very passionate about Malaysian cuisine and keen to learn more about cuisines from around the world!
Malaysian cuisine, where is Petaling district, and why a short food hunt?
"Awak sudah makan?" (English: Have you eaten?) is the common phrase when it comes to a Malaysian greeting. As you can tell from that phrase, we (Malaysians) take our food seriously. Malaysian cuisine is a cultural blend of Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisines with all dishes having influence of each of the ethnic groups of Malaysia. Petaling Jaya is a district situated in the state of Selangor, Malaysia where it is one of the most populated districts in Malaysia. Having this short Malaysian food tour around this district is part of our college assignments but at the same time, there's an opportunity to showcase what good food our district has.
The district of Petaling Jaya from Google Maps
A short story about the food hunt
Yes, as mentioned in the paragraph above, this was a plan by me and my friends where we had to complete a college photography assignment, which was regarding event coverage. Our initial plan was to cover the morning & night markets of Malaysia, however, an unprecedented event happened in the location we picked, so we reverted the idea into a food hunt style event.
While we can't move out of a district during that time (due to a partial lockdown in Malaysia), we had the idea to do a food hunt around our district, Petaling Jaya, to see what the district we live in has to offer. In 12 hours, we will cover some of the the best breakfast, lunch and dinner spots around the district and some teatime favorites in between!
It's breakfast time!
Thong Kee Cafe
We started our day with a traditional Malaysian style breakfast, a plate of Kaya & butter toast, a ham & cheese toast, half boiled eggs and a cup of hainanese styled coffee.
This was the photographer's recommendation, the coffee was the highlight of the first stop of the day. The coffee had a strong flavor, paired with the good balance of sweetness and creaminess of the condensed milk and evaporated milk, makes a good coffee.
The kaya & butter toast was decent as the kaya flavor was sweet and the butter helps to cut the sweetness by giving a little savory flavor. The half boiled egg was well cooked, the inside of the egg was still runny and i would say, it is a perfect half boiled egg.
TIP: The term, Kaya, refers to a Malaysian style spread made from, pandan leaves extract, coconut milk and sugar.
The location of this spot
Ban Huat Heng Coffee Shop Section 17
One of our favorite chicken rice spots in the district and it's taste is as good as the ones you can find in my hometown, Ipoh, Perak. Chicken rice as the name says, is chicken (in roasted or steamed form) served with fragrant rice which is cooked in chicken stock and aromatics such as, garlic and green onion.
The coffee shop is packed with hungry patrons during lunch-time, so it is advisable to have it for brunch for the food items may be sold out by 1:30pm.
This chicken rice stall serves many types of dishes, from roasts like char siew (BBQ pork), crispy skin roast pork, roasted chicken and steamed chicken, to sides such as, beansprouts with soy sauce, pork meat balls, grilled chilli fish and tofu with soya sauce and fried garlic.
Personally, we usually go for the combination of, steamed chicken, roast chicken, char siew (BBQ pork), crispy skin roast pork and beansprouts with soy sauce. Our favorite from this combination is the char siew (BBQ pork) as it is marinaded with sweet flavors to counter the salty flavors of the other favorites.
Another element to feature in this dish is the chilli sauce, which is made with garlic, chilli and vinegar. It is an important element to the dish where the sourness and spice from the chilli sauce gives the dish a 3-taste flavor.
A pit stop
Rojak & Cendol Mustaffa
Although the main attraction to this roadside stall is the Rojak (a mix of different ingredients in one dish), we had too much Chicken Rice from the previous paragraph, so we went for the desert, the cendol.
A Cendol is a Malaysian favorite which consists of coconut milk flavored jelly which is the cendol, kidney beans and sweet corn, which is then joined by palm sugar syrup and coconut milk. The whole bowl is served cold with shaved ice.
What we like about this desert is the mix of sweetness from the palm sugar and the creaminess of the coconut milk. Also, it is a desert to have on a hot day in Malaysia because this bowl of Cendol cools you down.
This is our favorite spot for a quick bowl of Cendol and probably a plate of Rojak on the go. They make one of the best Cendol and Rojak in the district.
Location of the Rojak & Cendol
Another pit stop
Dou Dou Bake
Well, we move out of the traditional pastries in Malaysia and move in with a little hint of French pastries where there is one famous bakery in the district called Dou Dou Bake, famous for its pastries and cafe ambiance.
Most Malaysian influencers can be seen, chilling in this cafe sitting in the heart of Kelana Jaya, another area in the Petaling Jaya District. What we got is a box of their pastries, mostly because the writer didn't know what to choose so he decided to get a whole box.
The camera lens eats first
However, it wasn't a bad choice, we all found the pastries absolutely different from the French pastries we find in the district, the croissants had many layers in the inside, which is a plus point when it comes to croissants.
What we got:
- Chocolate Croissant
- Original Croissant
- Savory Ham & Cheese Croissant
- A fruity Danish
- Something my friend got but it was good! (that spiral looking thing).
The croissants tasted like the ones you can get in France, there were many layers of pastry which is a plus point when it comes to making croissant. Besides that, after eating the croissants, i'm now eager to visit France sometime in the future.
Ah Wa Restaurant
We ended the trip with a feast, a wide array of Malaysian favorites, which the writer will describe one by one for a better understanding, lets start from the left!
Sotong Kangkung (Squid with Water Spinach)
This is a local favorite, a simple dish using squid and water spinach which are boiled and topped off with a sweet sauce, a little dash of chilli sauce and peanuts on top. Some places drench it with satay sauce.
Hokkien Fried Noodles (next to the squid with water spinach)
This was what we came for as the restaurant is famous for their Hokkien fried noodles, a dark colored fried noodle with pork, prawns, vegetables and thick yellow noodles. One thing that makes this dish taste so good is the pork cracklings, which are fried into the noodles.
Yin Yang Fried Noodles (next to the hokkien fried noodles)
A Cantonese style dish where flat rice noodles are fried in dark soy sauce (yin) and vermicelli noodles are deep fried to crispiness (yang), these are the two noodle elements which are then drenched in a eggy gravy.
Fried Chicken Wings
A good snack to go with the hokkien fried noodles, the chicken wings are marinated in a special Hakka style sauce which are then deep fried to crispiness.
Last but not least, a Malaysian favorite, the Satay which are chicken or beef marinated in a sweet turmeric flavored marinade which are then skewered and grilled on charcoal. One of the best sides from a Malaysian point of view.
Location of Ah Wa Restaurant
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© 2020 Nigel Koay