Monday, 28 April 2014

Royale Vietnam @ Starhill Gallery

Royale Vietnam @ Starhill Gallery brings you authentic Vietnamese cuisine 'royale' style.  If there's one thing that stands out in this restaurant is their food presentation as they pride themselves on fine carving and beautifully presented food.

Upon entering, you are greeted with beautiful lanterns hanging from the ceiling and plush sofas and chairs with comfortable cushions.  The timber walls with its decor of red coloured vases combined with red sofas, table cloth and cushions exude so much warmth to the place.

As I already had a heavy brunch earlier in the day, I was not too hungry at dinner time which was a 'blessing in disguise' since the prices here are pretty hefty...what do you expect, it's fine dining-wor (but luckily I had some vouchers from a group buying site to ease the 'pain').

We started with the Combination Appetiser Platter @ RM39.90 which is a platter made up of 5 (or maybe 4) popular Vietnamese starters (the last one I'm not so sure about) such as Fresh and Fried Spring Rolls, Net Spring Rolls, Sugarcane Prawn and Angry Baby Birds.

The Angry Baby Birds (which incidentally didn't look very angry to me) were made up of seafood paste wrapped around a quail egg and then coated and fried.  The Angry Baby Birds actually looked rather adorable with the end of a red chilli as its nose and black peppercorns as its eyes.  If you love quail eggs (like me), you'll find this a nice combo.  Another favourite Vietnamese snack is the Sugarcane Prawns.  This is minced prawn paste that has been wrapped around a sugarcane stick and fried.  The Fresh Spring Rolls, on the other hand, are made with cooked shrimps, fresh vegetables, including fresh (Vietnamese) mint, and cellophane noodles.  For those who like their food bland and subtle, they would enjoy this but not me as I prefer bigger, bold flavours + I hate mint!

This platter also included another well known Vietnamese snack, the Fried Spring Rolls. These are quite similar to our local popiah except it contains some ground meat (usually pork) but since this is a pork-free restaurant, minced shrimps and crab meat were used, with bean thread noodles, the usual vegetables, and then wrapped in spring roll wrappers and deep-fried.  The final snack is the Net Spring Rolls (which is also a form of fried spring rolls) except that net rice paper is used (which gives it a crispier texture) to wrap the ingredients (which include shrimps this time) before frying.  My favourites were the cute baby birds and fried spring rolls and you can eat all these with the 3 dipping sauces provided.

Next up was the Halong Bay BBQ Spicy Squid @ RM38.90 which was a whole squid marinated with their homemade spicy Vietnamese sauce and then grilled over a charcoal flame.  This was an ok dish, although rather spicy, you can definitely taste the barbequed flavour, but the portion was really small (just one squid) for the price.

We wrapped up our meal with an order of Fried Rice with Grilled Chicken Skewers @ RM26.90.  We ordered this for a change instead of the usual Pineapple Fried Rice with Seafood @ RM28.90 (very common) and Bamboo Fried Rice with Prawns also @ RM28.90 (tried this before).  This was just some plain fried rice with skewers of grilled chicken and capsicum (again, a meagre portion of just 2 skewers).  The chicken was tender with a lemongrass grilled flavour (lemongrass is a favourite and widely used herb in Vietnamese cooking).

As I mentioned before, Royale Vietnam prides itself on its food presentation...just look at this beautifully carved flower.  I guess they want us to feast with our eyes and not just with our stomachs!

In my previous outings to this restaurant, the food I had the privilege of sampling were:

1.  Seafood Mango Salad @ RM18.90 (top right) - a very refreshing salad with a 'twang' that just opens up your appetite.

2.  Crispy Golden Chicken (with salted egg yolk) served in Pumpkin @ RM32.90 (top left) - the deboned chicken pieces were mouth-wateringly fragrant.

3.  Flaming Coconut Seafood Curry @ RM38.90 (centre right) - delicious house famous dish served flaming.

4.  Pho Bo (Vietnamese beef noodle soup) @ RM28.90 - you can't come to a Vietnamese restaurant and not sample their iconic dish.....the broth was good, the beef was very tender.

5.  Vietnamese Style Wok Fried Beef Cube @ RM38.90 - another 'sure thing' at a Vietnamese restaurant is beef and their fried beef cubes were tender and flavourful.

Our drinks for the night:

Vietnamese Tea @ RM5.90
Orange Juice @ RM14.90
Fresh Coconut @ RM14.90 (the juice was really sweet)

My Personal Opinion

The Vietnamese cuisine served here is indeed authentic and the food is served fine dining style.  That's the reason for its higher than norm prices.....hey, someone's got to pay for the fine carving works of art, right?

The food is good enough to justify a return but the high prices mean it's not within the affordable range for many.  If the prices were 20% - 30% cheaper (or if they were to increase portion sizes), it would make this a very good Vietnamese place to dine.  So, do watch out for discount vouchers from group buying sites because it's definitely worth it.

Likes:  The ambience and décor, the food presentation....and the 5-in-1 appetiser combo!

Dislikes:  The portion sizes are a bit small for the (full) prices they charge.

Royale Vietnam
LG7 Feast Floor Starhill Gallery
No 181 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2143 9778

Monday, 21 April 2014

Chinoz on the Park @ Suria KLCC

Chinoz on the Park @ KLCC is a cool, sleek and modern designed brasserie that offers a Mediterranean-based menu for your dining options since 1993.  [#Note: A brasserie is a restaurant that serves alcoholic beverages, especially beer, as well as food and this typically describes Chinoz to a 'tee'.]  
They have a Bar Lounge which offers a comprehensive range of wines and spirits (if liquor is your 'cup of tea') as well as freshly brewed coffee (they offer illy here) which is more my 'cup of tea' (or coffee in this case).  Not to worry, it's not a stuffy or rowdy kind of bar and there are more diners than drinkers, so you can still bring your children (maybe just not extremely young ones) as they do have a kid's menu.  [#Tip: The drinkers are actually diners who enjoy a glass of wine (or beer) with their food.]
Nicely located by the KLCC park, you can meet friends over drinks at their al fresco terrace, which gives you a great view of the KLCC fountain (once it's turned on) and park (good to 'watch the world go by' or for 'people' watching too...hehe), or choose to dine with family inside the air-conditioned dining area.
We chose a starter of 'Popcorn' Prawn @ RM25 for sharing.   This dish comprised pieces of prawn flesh and prawn heads that have been battered and deep fried.
The batter was seasoned well and the deep fried prawns were excellent, especially the prawn heads which were fried to crunchy was so, sooooooo.....gooood!!!  I've always heard of celebrity chefs (like Anthony Bourdain) describing what it's like to eat prawn heads...and now I know just how good it is if done right.
The accompanying dip, which was rather like a chilli mayo (or cocktail sauce), worked perfectly with the crunchy prawns (and prawn heads).  The dip, with hints of paprika, was outstanding (so, double dipping is  Initially, I felt that the starter was kinda pricey but when we devoured it, we counted 7 prawn heads and so I'm assuming there are 7 (fairly good-sized) prawns in the dish which makes the price more than fair.

They also have a number of interesting starters and small bites (bar food) on their menu (which goes rather well with beer) like Tempura Prawns, Crispy Silverbait, Deep-fried Soft Shell Crab (to name a few) besides the 'Popcorn' Prawn.

We chose our mains from the grill section which comes with sides of Roast Potatoes and a Garden Salad.  You then select your choice of sauce from Hollandaise, Mushroom or Black Peppercorn Sauce or a Capsicum-Tomato or Warm Tomato-Kalamata Vinaigrette.
Our first main course was the Grilled Salmon Loin @ RM55 in a black peppercorn sauce. The difference with this salmon (as opposed to all the salmon I've eaten in the past) was the shape the salmon came in.  We are usually used to being served a salmon block or a salmon fillet but this was shaped like a roulade (or loin) they managed to cut it to this shape baffles me.  It was perfectly cooked with good grill marks on the top and bottom and slightly pinkish in the middle.  The flesh was soft and flaky with just the right amount of seasoning.
Our other main was the Charmoula Rubbed Red Snapper @ RM42 which was rubbed with some Mediterranean spices and then grilled.  The spices did not overpower the distinctive but delicate flavour of the snapper.  The fish was, once again, cooked just right and served with a capsicum-tomato vinaigrette (as recommended by the wait staff).  
The 'uncommon' vinaigrette that I tried (which was vibrantly red and looked amazing) was surprisingly good, it was not tart at all and went very well with the grilled snapper.  [#Note: If there's one complaint, it would be the portion size.]
You can add on either Mashed Potatoes, Potato Chips, Onion Rings or Sautéed French Beans for RM10 if you order any of the Grilled Dishes.  Our choice was the Onion Rings @ RM10.  Again, the onion rings were different from the norm.  The onions didn't seem to come in distinctive rings and it had a slight brown hue to it (like they've been pre-fried first before being battered).  The batter, with specks of chopped parsley, was extremely light and crispy.  All in all, we enjoyed the crispy morsels very much.

I also found the roasted potatoes pleasantly flavourful and the salad was truly refreshing with added crunch from the radicchio and peppery kick from the rocket with sliced onions, carrots, cherry tomatoes, frisée and salad leaves.

They also have a wide selection of soups, salads, pizza, sandwiches, pastas (price range from RM28 - RM48) and kids plates (about RM18) on their menu to cater to everyone's palate.
To end my meal on a sweet note, I decided to order a dessert (which I don't normally do and that's the reason why we ordered only one starter).  The dessert I'm talking about is the Rainbow Cake @ RM12 a slice.  I had always wanted to have a pic of the Rainbow Cake (ever since I first saw it in a magazine) coz it's so pretty and colourful!  [#Note: This is clearly a case of feasting with your eyes first.]
A Rainbow Cake is nothing but a plain sponge cake in 6 or 7 colourful layers with a butter cream icing (even the icing is somewhat rainbow coloured).  Chinoz's slice of Rainbow Cake came in 6 colours and 10 layers and when I saw what a humongous slice it was, I thought I would have a hard time finishing it but I succeeded as the cake was incredibly light (to my astonishment) as it wasn't overly rich or "jelat" (overwhelming)...after I scrapped off most of the icing on the top (and the sides), of course.  It was a stunning showstopper indeed!!
Also, with any order of a slice of cake, you can get a cup of freshly brewed coffee for just RM3....well, it was too good an offer to pass up (and so I drank an extra cup of coffee).

Our drinks for the night:
Iced Latte @ RM16
Fresh Lemonade @ RM12
My Personal Opinion

There aren't many good restaurants in KLCC and Chinoz on the Park may provide some relief though the food may be slightly pricey.

If their appealing 'Popcorn' Prawn is a hallmark of their excellent appetisers (cum bar food/snacks), I can't wait to taste more.  You know the song 'Can't Get You Out of My Head' by Kylie Minogue....well, for me, it's 'I Can't Get the Prawn Heads out of My Head'!!

The food is good enough and worthy of another visit.  I would surely return to Chinoz...if only just to eat the immensely gratifying prawn heads again.

At Chinoz, you......Eat.Drink.Talk.Watch....and we certainly did!

What I loved:  The crunchy 'Popcorn' Prawns...who knew prawn heads could taste so good.  This is a 'die die must try' dish!

What I liked:  The fish dishes were fresh and perfectly cooked.

What I didn't quite like:  The portion size of the fish....wished it was heftier.

Chinoz on the Park
G47 Ground Floor Suria KLCC
Jalan Ampang
50088 Kuala Lumpur

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Press Room Bistro @ Pavilion

The Press Room Bistro @ Pavilion is a modern interpretation of a European bistro focussed on serving wholesome, comfort food, using the finest ingredients, in a friendly and comfortable setting. 

The open space restaurant with its abundance of fans offers diners a cool environment inside (even though the bistro doesn't seemed to be air-conditioned) or you can just relax outside at the alfresco part of the bistro.  Polished cement floors, wooden tables and chairs (with some cushioned sofa seats) and giant chalkboards exudes a warm, inviting feel to its diners.  

Two things that's a standout here is their French Poilane and Josper Oven.  Poilane (a French artisan baker) is widely known for a round, two-kilogram sourdough country bread and these loaves are shipped worldwide.  This quality bread is made using stone-ground flour, natural fermentation and a wood-fired oven.  

So, wanting to try the renowned sourdough bread, I came here with my friend and "makan" buddy on a Saturday morning.  We arrived just after 10am but was disappointed to find out that their cheese, cold cuts and pates, served with toasted sourdough, were only available from 11.30am.  As we were famished and our tummies (more like my tummy and her stomach) couldn't wait any longer, we went ahead and ordered from the breakfast menu.

I ordered a simple dish of an omelette @ RM7 made from 3 fresh eggs, served with toast, with a choice of additional fillings of sautéed mushrooms @ RM5 and chorizo @ RM5.  There are other choices of fillings like sautéed onions or tomatoes @ RM4 each or smoked turkey ham, beef bacon or cheese @ RM5 each that you can add on as well.

The omelette was cooked just right, soft and fluffy as it should be, not overdone and not too runny (I have eaten my fair share of overcooked and runny omelettes in my time).  This was just perfect and the mushrooms and chorizo further enhanced the flavour of the omelette...absolutely delicious!

With the sourdough still freshly implanted in my thoughts, I took a chance and asked if I could have my omelette with sourdough bread instead of the normal toast and was more than happy they could oblige (and even more delighted when I was not charged extra for it).  The sourdough had a nice aroma and a crusty exterior, was thick and rustic, with a soft, chewy texture and a mild tangy flavour (that's why it's called sour....dough....get it?)

And to take it 'over the top', they serve it with the luscious, creamy and highly sought after (French) Lescure butter.

My friend ordered the Big Breakfast @ RM25 which was two farm fresh eggs cooked the way you like it (she liked it sunny side up), chicken sausages, beef bacon, grilled tomato, sautéed mushrooms (yummy with hints of thyme), baked beans and a slice of toast.  You can't go wrong with a Big Breakfast that offers you a bit of everything!

Of course, one can't enjoy a good breakfast without a good cup of's like having Fried Hokkien Mee without "chee yau char" (pork lard bits)!  And it's nice to know that they serve illy coffee here, so you can expect a cup of good coffee.

I had the Caramel Flavoured Caffe Latte @ RM15 which was recommended by the wait staff.  If you like your coffee more sweet, less caffeine taste, then this is the one you'll like, though good, it was a tad too sweet for's caramel flavoured, what was I thinking?  Should have tried one of the other flavour choices of coconut, cinnamon, Irish cream or hazelnut.

The coffee was served with a small piece of cake (which tasted really good, maybe coz it was such a tiny piece), instead of the usual piece of biscuit, and individually wrapped cane sugar (tasteful down to the small details!).

My friend enjoyed her Cappuccino @ RM13 which also came with the tasty, tiny piece of cake.  

We realised we had been chatting for a good 3 hours and since it was already close to 1pm, we might as well have our lunch too.  It also gave me the opportunity to order what I came here for in the first place....the Cold Cut Platter @ RM38, served with toasted sourdough.  It is a mixed platter of Rare Roast Beef, Turkey Salami, Turkey Chorizo and Beef Cecina (but they were out of Rare Roast Beef that day).

Just look at how paper-thin the slices of meat are perfectly cut!  To describe the taste of these cured meats simply, it would be a bit similar (though not quite) to eating a good quality waxed sausage ("lap cheong"), only better flavoured and more delicate (and way more expensive, of course).

The darkest coloured meat is the Beef Cecina (also the most expensive of the 4) and the accompanying cherry tomatoes, herbs, garlic and olive oil dip complemented the Cold Cuts very well.  The imported slices of sourdough bread were good enough on its own but tasted even better when dipped in olive oil.  They were nice enough to offer us extra slices of sourdough bread even though we did not ask for more (and even nicer when they asked if we would like to take-away our unconsumed sourdough...yes, yes, yes...why waste good bread).

The turkey salami is the one on the top while the turkey chorizo, which is more reddish in colour, is at the bottom of the pic.  Place a slice or two of the cured meats with some tomato+herb+oil combo and it's a mouthful of goodness.  Although all 3 meats were good (I liked the chorizo best), it may be a bit oily, so the tomatoes will help cut through the richness, saltiness and oiliness.  This is a PhD (not the doctorate kind).....but a Pretty Heavy Dish, so it's best shared!

You can also choose to eat your cold cuts with cheese (choice of Brie, Camembert, Roquefort or Reblochon)...choose any 2 cheeses and 2 cold cuts for RM34.  If 'cheese and wine' is your 'thing', then add on RM30 for 2 glasses of red or white wine for further enjoyment.  Cheese and wine are two things that go very well together (like bacon and eggs) but (sadly) I don't drink nor like cheese.
My Personal Opinion
Though the menu may be a bit more pricey than some western joints, it's more than acceptable because of the quality ingredients used.  

The menu items I sampled certainly impressed me enough to warrant a revisit.  As I only had the 'French Poilane' experience this time round, a return trip is 'on the cards' to try their Josper Oven specialities.

Also, deserving special mention is their flexible, warm and attentive service (from refilling our water to providing extra sourdough to making us feel really welcomed).

What I really liked:  Everything so far....the sourdough (without doubt), the breakfast menu, their friendly and welcoming service.  There's a reason why they are on the Shortlist of Time Out KL Food Awards 2013 under the category of Best New Restaurant.

What I wasn't thrilled about:  Didn't get the 'Josper Oven' experience.....yet!  In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger.......I'll be back!!

The Press Room Bistro
C3.10.02 Level 3 Connection
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2148 3889

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Mei Sin (Curry Laksa) @ Imbi

Mei Sin Eating Shop @ Imbi consists of hawker stalls, in a non-air conditioned coffee shop environment, that serve good and cheap food.

There's one stall that is 'reportedly' famous for its Dry "Hor Fun" which is a type of Chinese noodle that resembles "Kway Teow" but only thinner and smoother.  The dry hor fun is served with a rather wet black soya sauce and "kai si" (shredded poached chicken).  Though this was the reputed dish from this stall, I didn't quite share the same conclusion as some blogs as I found the noodles rather oily for my taste but, most of all, I found the taste of the noodles a bit 'odd' (but can't quite put my finger to it).

Instead, I prefer to order, not the norm, but the soupy version of the hor fun (with chopped chicken pieces) @ RM6.50 when I eat from this stall.  I find the soup light, clear and with a full-bodied chicken flavour (from all the poached chicken and leftover chicken carcasses, after the meat has been shredded, steeping in the stock).  Also, the soup is able to mask the earlier mentioned 'odd' taste of the hor fun.

I usually order it with chopped chicken rather than kai si as they usually give you shredded chicken breast (and I don't like breast!!).  If you ask for chopped chicken, you can ask for the parts you like and, with chicken pieces, you can taste the smoothness of the chicken.

The chicken rice stall, opposite the hor fun stall, is also renowned for its (white poached) Chicken Rice @ RM6.50 (drumstick part).  Normal chicken rice is RM5 for a single portion.  This stall was featured in Flavours Magazine's Top 5 list of chicken rice in 2012.  They use free-range "kampong" (village) chicken which is more flavourful.  Not overcooking the chicken ensure it stays smooth, tender and juicy...and it was all that! 

The "yau farn" (oily rice), on the other hand, was slightly mushy and broken and not the nicely separated grains of fluffy rice you come to expect.  However, I do like chicken rice in this colour (akin to the colour of clear chicken soup) as I detest the 'overly yellow' type.

You can also add on their "harm choy" (salted vegetables) and crunchy chicken feet salad, if you wish.  They also offer "char siew" (barbequed pork) just for more variety (it's no where near good though).  Still, the "hero" of this stall is, without question, the poached chicken.

The 'free' soup that came with the chicken rice (when you eat there) was surprisingly quite delicious (but not-MSG delicious), and if you want to "ta pau" (pack) the soup, they charge you 'extra' (RM0.50 I think) for the soup (that's a first).

Another stall that is also well known here is the "char kway teow" (fried flat noodles).  The flavour of this plate of Char Kway Teow (CKT) @ RM5.50 was quite decent even with the lack of "chee yau char" (pork lard bits) which is a key ingredient of a good CKT!  If you're trying to find the prawns in this CKT, that makes two of us. After digging and digging, all I could find was one measly prawn and cockles, bean sprouts (juicy plump ones which I like), chives and egg make up the rest of the ingredients (no Chinese sausage or fish cake slices).  Though, taste wise, it's pretty good but I feel they are rather stingy with their ingredients.  [#Tip: Just make sure you see the owner frying the CKT (before ordering) and not one of his workers.]

There's also a char siew/wantan mee stall, at this coffee shop, which used to be good when the 'old man' was manning the stall.  He has, however, passed it on to someone else now even though he makes his appearance every now and then (so order at your own peril or only when you see him).

This is my order of Char Siew/Wantan Mee, with additional 2 pcs of braised chicken feet, @ RM7.  The char siew is not too bad (though I've had much better) but the chicken feet is top notch!  I like this version of braised chicken feet because it renders a velvety, smooth chicken feet.  [#Note: The usual kind is normally deep-fried first until the skin is crinkly before braising.]

For even more variety, you can have the Pork Ball Hor Fun @ RM5.50 which turned out to be one of the lesser tasting stalls here.

Although the char kway teow, kai si hor fun and chicken rice are purportedly the more famous stalls in this coffee shop but, for me, the "curry laksa" (coconut-based curry soup) is the best noodle stall here.  This is indeed a 'hidden gem' as it's not covered by many blogs (as most of them write about the other 3 more 'famous' stalls).

My bowl of Wet Curry Laksa @ RM10, may seem pricey, but it's with 6 pcs of additional "yong tau fu" (for sharing-lah) like brinjal, bitter gourd, fu chuk (fried bean curd sheet) roll, meat ball.  It's simply 'out-of-this-world'....does it look good or what?  Just look at those juicy, plump blood cockles!

This is, by far, one of the best (if not the best) curry laksa I've had and my favourite one todate.  Absolutely great eaten with an added piece of chicken liver and heart!  The curry gravy has got 'oomph' with just the right amount of "santan" (coconut milk) and spice to add a distinct richness to the laksa.  [#Tip: If you want to eat a good curry laksa, you can't worry too much about the santan or the layer of chilli oil on top.]

They also offer a dry version which is just good.....and my hubby's favourite!  This plate of Dry Curry Laksa @ RM7.90 is with additional 5 pcs of fu chuk.

You can have your normal curry laksa which comes with usual stuff like chicken, cockles, tau fu pok (fried bean curd puffs), bean sprouts, etc. but I like mine "kar liew" (additional stuff) especially with added yong tau fu.  My family, on the other hand, likes theirs with added fu chuk.

Update: The curry laksa stall in Mei Sin has since moved to ICC Pudu.
Latest Update: This stall has relocated to Malaysia Boleh! @ Shoppes at Four Seasons Place.

My Personal Opinion

For the budget conscious, the variety of food offered by the various hawker stalls here are all above average (and some really good) and at reasonable prices.

Likes:  Without a doubt....the curry laksa is one of the best I've had!  Another favourite is the chicken rice and also the braised chicken feet (from the wantan mee stall).

Dislikes:  The place can be quite stuffy and the condition is not as clean as we want it to be (and, some days, it can even 'smell').....what to do, we're willing to overlook just about anything in order to satisfy our taste buds!

Mei Sin Eating Shop
No 16 Jalan Melati
Off Jalan Imbi
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Nyok Lan (Satay) @ Kajang

When we speak of satay, one word comes to mind.....Kajang!  Kajang town is synonymous with satay and many families (even those from out of town) would stopover in this little town to feast on its famous satay.  Sticks of marinated skewered meats, grilled on an open charcoal flame, with smoke billowing up (to the skies and onto your clothes and hair also) and the smell of aromatic charred meat....what's not to like about that (other than the smell on your clothes and hair, of course)!

My son's friends recommended this place to us and since I read about it in the newspapers, I knew I wanted to try Nyok Lan Satay (Restoran Malaysia) @ Kajang.  This satay shop, which has been around since 1971, is operated by a Chinese family and is one of the few halal satay stalls in town.

We arrived before 7pm and I was surprised to see the restaurant filled to the brim with customers so early on and already seated and waiting for their satay.  We were lucky to find the last unoccupied table. 

We quickly sat down and placed our orders with one of the workers there....and then waited for a good 30 mins (at least) before our orders arrived.  While waiting for our satay to arrive, there was a stall (manned by a Chinese as well) selling grilled chicken wings and "otak-otak" (direct translation: Malay word for 'brains'), and so I ordered some (and it turned out to be a good decision). 

The grilled chicken wings @ RM5 (for a pair) were a real treat.  They were succulent and tender with a good grilled flavour....absolutely yummy!  The grilled chicken wings were good on its own as I did not care for the chilli sauce that came with it (as it was not the tangy, garlicky type that I liked). 

We were still there (in the midst of our meal) when the chicken wings sold out (and it was barely 8pm)!

The otak-otak @ RM4 (for 5 sticks) were equally amazing.  Otak-otak is typically a mixture which contains fish paste, spices and coconut milk.  It is then wrapped in (softened) banana leaves and grilled.  Why they call it otak-otak, I've no clue...maybe because it resembles 'brain matter' which is soft and squishy but this one is 'oh-so-delicious'.....more 'brains' please!

It was so good, we immediately ordered another 5 sticks!  We could have eaten more, we just had to restrain ourselves from over-eating.

Finally, our orders of satay arrived.  This is the chicken satay @ RM0.90 a stick and fish satay @ RM1.50 a stick (not cheap).  The chicken satay (right of pic), marinated in a distinct blend of turmeric, lemongrass and local spices, was delicately flavoured just right (as opposed to the heavily spiced lemongrass of some that I've tasted).  What's different about Nyok Lan's satay is that they use lean breast meat and you won't find bits of chicken skin in between their satay skewers (unlike others).  Also, their satay has only very slightly burned edges compared to others that I've eaten in the past.  You would think that the use of breast meat without any fatty bits would render the satay dry and not as flavourful but that's where you're wrong!  I was amazed at how the satay manages to retain its tenderness and juiciness although it does lose a bit of its tenderness once it's, eat it hot off the grill!

I've never eaten fish satay (left of pic) until I tried the ones at Nyok Lan Satay.  The fish was unbelievably soft!  How they managed to grill it intact without it crumbling to pieces is beyond me.  Needless to say, we had to re-order more of the chicken and fish satay (and surprisingly we didn't have to wait another 30 mins as the re-order came very quickly....maybe, it's because they don't want to hold us up from vacating our table).

The beef satay also @ RM0.90/stick was just as tender, even more tender than the chicken.  I really liked this a lot.

They also serve traditional "ketupat" (rice cakes wrapped in woven palm leaves) @ RM1/pc that has been grilled (after they have been boiled, I presume) as it came with a brownish tinge.

Other usual condiments are cucumbers @ RM0.50 and onions @ RM1.50.

But the highlight of a good satay is the accompaniment of an equally good peanut sauce and Nyok Lan's signature peanut sauce is excellent.  I especially liked their peanut sauce with a dollop of "sambal" (chilli paste) and wished that I had asked for more sambal as it was not all that spicy.  Their peanut sauce is distinctively smoother (and not as chunky as some that I've eaten) and also paler in colour (in comparison to those I'm accustomed to) but I love, love, love this one!!  You can ask for more sauce (which I did) at no extra charge.

My Personal Opinion

So, "which is the best" satay in town?  Well, I don't know really as I've not eaten all of them.  Anyway, this question will forever be a hot debate as everyone have their preferences.

For me, Nyok Lan's satay wins my vote (hands down) with extra 'brownie' points for the 3 reasons below:

1.  It's more healthy (they don't use any fatty bits of skin).
2.  It's so tender (even with breast meat).
3.  It tastes so good still (even if the meat is not overly charred).

And.......the peanut sauce is just incredible!

What I loved:  Everything....satay, grilled chicken wings, otak-otak.

What I didn't like:  Very far from where I stay, waiting for table, waiting for satay.

Restoran Malaysia (Nyok Lan Satay)
No 31 Jalan Semenyih
43000 Kajang
Tel: 03-8733 1160

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