Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Malay Food @ D'Cengkih, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur


nasi dagang

Curveballs...don't you think life often throws us weird situations that we just have to make the best out of it? Our visit to this place was one big curve ball since the visit was prompted by the pursuit for Johor food but instead we discovered amazing rice dishes. C'est la vie!


nasi lemak in a packet

I was recently asked where do you get great Johor laksa? You could hear silence on my end when that request came through. I could feel the brain cells processing its internal search system and coming up with no results. Oops! Internal error? Nope, it ain't no error as honestly, my exposure to Johor laksa has been pretty bad since the great ones I have tasted have only been the homecooked varieties.


johor laksa

D'Cengkih has always been on my horizon, probably because we do a compulsory weekly visit to Taman Tun Dr Ismail to stock up pet supplies (yup, kitties don't just cat nap all the time, they also eat the house down!). One weekend, I finally made it here as like my friend M pointed out to me, this place is supposedly famous for its Johor food. A word of warning though about dining here - bring your earplugs if you love your peace and quiet when you're chewing your food - live music sessions go on within the narrow confines of the restaurant - thwang goes the guitar!! I honestly don't mind having an old tune (no Lady Gaga or Keisha ok?) to hum to when I'm chowing down but not when the acoustics bounce around so much that I can't carry a conversation with my friend about the merits of their food.

mee rebus

On to the food, apologies for taking so long to reach that point since it has been spiel for the past paragraphs. During the weekends, Johor laksa can be found here, which we promptly ordered. When they plonked the bowl down, it looked promising with the thick sauce, a dollop of sambal, a mountain of vegetables and the pre-requisite spaghetti strands. A spoonful of the laksa though revealed it was just an illusion as it way too sweet. Was my sweet ice tea corrupting my tastebuds? I took another spoonful and yup, it was too darn sweet despite it being thick (a plus point) even though it didn't have enough shredded fish. The next dish we tried was the mee rebus. I braced myself for the sweet attack and yes, there it was mingling among the thick broth garnished with crunchy fried shallots, sliced hard boil egg and crumbled crunchy prawn crackers.

Hold on, something is not right, my brain was screaming to me. Isn't this place packed with people? They must be here for the spread (all laid out at the back for you to pick and choose) since I don't think they're here for the music? A glance around the tables revealed rice dishes and nasi dagang that looked foreign here since they claim to be specialising in southern food versus the northern fare. Never mind we thought, throwing caution to the wind (or more the tummy) and M went to get a plate of the reddish brown and white rice. Visually it was promising with the pre-requisites of an excellent nasi dagang: halba or fenugreek seeds, finely sliced ginger and shallots, and each grain seperate, not mushy with a sheen only obtained from coconut milk. One taste and bingo! we confirmed that we were in the presence of greatness - amazingly good and authentic nasi dagang. Served with a fruit and vegetable acar and ikan tongkol (tuna curry) this was heavenly stuff that I could eat all day.

M's friend had also pre-warned her about the nasi lemak. We expected it to be served in a plate but instead it came in a humble little brown packet. Opening it, we discovered sambal slathered on a piece of banana leaf. Pushing that aside, we discovered the RICE. Looking a little compressed from the packing, a mouthful revealed a rich coconut milk taste and a hint from the fenugreek seeds - simply gorgeous. The sambal that was vying for our attention was also a little too sweet but decent tasting.

Conclusion of the day: zoom in on the rice dishes since they seem to excel in those versus the noodles unless you have a very higher tolerance for sugar. I reckon I'll be back for more especially their fascinating array of dishes at the back. Maybe the briyani rice since its also a weekend special or nasi ambang that is served daily.

No.6, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 012-4999908

(Halal. Open from 7am to 10pm. For more pictures, see the Flickr set.)


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.

Other reviews:

21 comments:

NekoHime said...

Think you are absolutely spot on about Johor Laksa. Best one i tasted is cooked by my neighbor! Will try the dagang, i love this kelantanese dish!

boo_licious said...

Meow Neko Hime! Yeah, I find no Johor Laksa is up to std. Hope u like the nasi dagang, good stuff.

CUMI & CIKI said...

wow, so close to home, cumi & ciki must definitely try it! cheers boo!

Simon Seow said...

Nasi dagang huh. See if I have time tomorrow to try or not kekeke.

boo_licious said...

C&C - ah yes, quite near yr place.

Simon Seow - we went for lunch on Sat, so I hope available during weekdays as it only says Nasi Briyani and Johor Laksa available weekends on their blog.

Paranoid Android said...

Just when I was dreaming about home and the Nasi Dagang. Sigh! Must organize a trip there. Hope my GPS has that road stored.

shake said...

Try the nasi ambang! It'll be brunch i tell you...

boo_licious said...

paranoid android - am sure it can't fight those ones from yr kampung!

shake - thxs for the tip! Will do, didn't hve stomach space for another plate of rice the other day.

Michelle Chin said...

Theses pictures will haunt me tonight! Sigh, craving for some laksa now. And it's cold

Au and Target said...

Not my cup of tea this sort of thing. Hey, meet up tomorrow??? Will email you...

qwazymonkey said...

thought of having salad today. but i think malay rice is where I'm heading to. hahaha

thule a.k.a leo said...

NAsi Dagang is a must try for me! Going to compare with Village Park's version which has been a firm fav for me

J2Kfm said...

Is it me or are the dishes from down south rather sweetish?
Even fried noodles and nasi lemak in JB were strangely sweet, not spicy/savoury.

J said...

I also hate it when laksa (or any other kinda food) is too sweet. :(

Izad said...

So far, the best Johor laksa is still home cooked IMO. That said, I think the one in Restoran Tambak Johor in Seksyen 11 Shah Alam, is not bad (and not expensive at all).

As for Nasi Lemak, if you're in the Section 7/i-City area, do try Restoran Nasi Lemak Cinta Sayang. Had my suspicions with the name at first, but found out that the rice is oh-so-fragrant, and the sambal is really good.

boo_licious said...

Michelle - poor thing! Cold weather always makes me crave for home.

Au&Target - busy time as its closing again though!

qwazymonkey - hope u got yr Malay food fix.

Leo - I like the Village Park one too but they use glutinous rice for that one.

j2kfm - weird that its sweet as I always thought it is the Kelantanese who love it with extra sugar.

J - I hate my savoury food to be too sweet. Desserts if too sweet I can understd but not my laksa!

Thxs Izad!! U're a lifesaver and they're around Shah Alam so I can access them easily.

Sarah said...

thanks for the link :) you're a brilliant food photographer!

fingercrackg said...

hi there..try 'Suraya' in Kg Baru KL..for nasi dagang,nasi kuning and my all time favourite, laksam..

the food mentioned only available after 12.00am...
and its located on the rightside just after the 'nasi lemak kg baru'..

ali said...

MARVELOUS...MARVELOUS..........

Budi Setiawan said...

jadi lapar nih

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

I want those crispy prawn thingies on the mee rebus!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...