Cyberjaya Series 1: Dengkil Nasi Lemak

When I first found that I am going to shift to Cyberjaya for work, the infamous concrete jungle of Klang Valley about 30km from the heart of anywhere, the first thing that pops to my mind was “what am I going to eat for lunch!!??” Indeed it was a valid question, for both tham jiak or otherwise cause regardless, everybody needs to eat, and eating the same few things of mediocre taste for an extended amount of time does no good for the body and the mind. This for one I can be sure as I have consensus from my fellow Cyberions (this term coined by me makes us sounds like robots ain’t it?). But thankfully though, surrounding this concrete jungle are various good food places that are normally not that accessible to urbanites, such as Dengkil, Serdang, Seri Kembangan, Equine Park and the slightly more accessible Puchong.

“Fear not!” said a close colleague of mine, A (yes, she is that partner in crime that I grab out to my char siew endeavour), at that point in time she was both my ex and future colleague to be, how’s that for a complicated relationship? This is because we used to work together in a company, then I moved and so does she, and then a year later I am about to go to the company that she is currently working in, I believe there must be some secret forces pulling us together! To top up further on our interwoven lives, she is also from Taiping, but the similarities about stop there. So why did she so boldly told me not to worry, well this is because she had been living nearby the area for quite some time way back before, and later on has been working nearby till the year she is in the current company, so she does know all the nooks and crooks to take me around for good yet cheap food! Ah, so tham jiak is blessed in many ways, especially when it comes to food.

Therefore if you are ever in Cyberjaya during the day, or nature forbid might be even working in Cyberjaya, do not worry about what to have for lunch! That is if you are willing to drive out. Yes, regardless of which building you are in at the concrete jungle, good food mostly lie all around outside the perimeter of the said jungle, with exception of a few inside, which you would still need to travel in a car as nobody in the right mind would even brace the midday heat to walk around. This woe in Malaysia I shall put aside, as besides the crazy mad afternoon heat, Malaysia have some serious good food that is all worth the drive through the scorching sun for and the sweat soaking your cleanly pressed professional getup for too.

One of the good yet cheap food that A introduced to me, almost immediately when I was just recruited as Cyberion, which till now has been my cravings now and then if I am keen enough to drive a little further out, is the Chinese styled Nasi Lemak at Dengkil. Just about 10 minutes drive from Cyberjaya, this quaint little town is like a place as if stuck in a time warp. I am amazed to find such a town so close to the bustling cities, and I do wonder if the residence here feels that they were intruded after the build up of its neighbours Cyberjaya and Putrajaya or they enjoy the boost in their economy. Nevertheless, Dengkil boasts various eateries with old school style from stalls under zinc roof to shops that has stand the test of time. This particular place that I am about to introduce to you, which offers seriously addictive Nasi Lemak, is at a corner shop with extension outwards of zinc roof for more seating.

Chinese Style Nasi Lemak @ Dengkil / Cyberjaya
Chinese Style Nasi Lemak @ Dengkil / Cyberjaya

What is so good about this Chinese styled Nasi Lemak, and what do you mean by Chinese style? Well, first, the curry chicken that came with this dish is a Chinese version of curry chicken, which reminds me very much of my Pho Pho’s curry chicken where at that time when I was still a little tot and have yet to learn to take spicy food, I enjoyed this dish thoroughly for the tender chicken cooked to perfection in slightly spicy and rich coconut milky goodness that is full of spices. Then the sambal that served alongside is also very much Chinese, where you have onions cooked till the soft and nearly caramelized in the sambal, but amazingly, this is also not really spicy and in fact tinge with sweetness from the onions. Then throw in some good crunchy fried ikan bilis (dried anchovies) and roasted peanuts, halved hardboiled egg and sliced cucumbers, and you shall have the perfect simple and humble Nasi Lemak that makes one feel that they are eating at home.

Dengkil Nasi Lemak
Jalan Aman 1
Taman Emas,
43800 Dengkil,
Selangor

Garmin coordinates: N02 51.969 E101 40.410

Best of Penang Food 2

11.02 am
J and I got Jalan Penang (road) for a fix of something icy, this time it is
cendol. But it is not like the ordinary cendol we can get others places as this one apparently is Teochew style.

Teochew Cendol Stall @ Jalan Penang, Penang
Teochew Cendol Stall @ Jalan Penang, Penang

We ordered for a bowl and got into the restaurant, where this stall is parked right outside. This restaurant, charged extra rm0.40 if you ordered the cendol into their premise. I guess they can’t earn much judging that everyone drinks from the stall outside instead of their drinks. We obliged nonetheless as we wanted a place to sit and cool down.

Teochew Cendol @ Jalan Penang, Penang
Teochew Cendol @ Jalan Penang, Penang

The cendol came, looking ordinary, but once I tasted it, I found that it is milder in coconut taste than the usual Indian cendol and also there are more red beans. I can’t say this is the best cendol, in fact I still love the one back in PJ, still it is a cool refreshing drink to down the thirst.

Char Kuey Teow Stall @ Joo Hooi, Penang
Char Kuey Teow Stall @ Joo Hooi, Penang

Then J spied on a char kuey teow stall in restaurant and wanted to give it a try. After all we could not have the famous one at Lorong Macalister.

Char Kuey Teow @ Joo Hooi, Penang
Char Kuey Teow @ Joo Hooi, Penang

The plate of char kuey teow came, Penang style with huge prawns, cockles, lap cheong (Chinese sausage), fishcake, and taugeh (beansprouts). It tasted great, even better than the one we had at Kek Lok Si. So J quickly cleans out the plate.

 Joo Hooi Cafe @ Jalan Penang, Penang
Joo Hooi Cafe @ Jalan Penang, Penang

Joo Hooi Café
475 Jalan Penang
Opens 10-7.30pm

After that, I still yearns for more icy stuff and told J about a famous ais kacang (local shaved ice dessert) nearby at the next street. Just outside the restaurant, is the junction to four famous streets in Penang. We walk over the overhead bridge, which connect all four streets, one of it leading towards Komtar (shopping mall), towards our destination.

Bridge to Komtar @ Penang
Bridge to Komtar @ Penang

11.31 am
Down the street from the overhead bridge, we got into Kek Seng restaurant for its famous
ais kacang. We ordered for one and it came looking really special.

Cendol @ Kek Seng Restaurant, Penang
Cendol @ Kek Seng Restaurant, Penang

It tasted great too, unlike anywhere else I get, with sweet corn, red beans, huge jelly and two dollops of ice cream. The ice cream is even freshly made, as I saw a huge sign showing they have their own-made famous durian ice cream here, which was served with the ais kacang. Indeed the ice cream tasted great and complimented the ais kacang well.

Popiah @ Kek Seng Restaurant, Penang
Popiah @ Kek Seng Restaurant, Penang

Feeling bit nibbly, we ordered the popiah (Chinese spring roll) to go along. The lady came to serve asked us whether we want to pour in the broth (first time I encountered broth for popiah) then we agreed and it was poured over the popiah. It was a little bland but the texture was not bad.

Kek Seng Coffeeshop
384 Jalan Penang

11.55am
Feeling really filled up we decided to have a little break from our eating frenzy and head over for some massage and reflexology. It is located at the same row with Joo Hooi Café, at the other end of the row of shops. Here, they offer massages and reflexology by the blinds. Nowadays, it is really popular in Malaysia, for the blinds to learn reflexology, from a school which is catered to them specially. Going to these places always makes me feel that I had helped them in a way, where they can earn their own income. I opt for the reflexology while J went for the massage. The service was great and both of us enjoyed it. I would recommend you to stop by if you ever had a chance to be around town.

Massage / Reflexology @ Jalan Penang, Penang
Massage / Reflexology @ Jalan Penang, Penang

Aroma Reflexology
Jalan Penang
(same row with Joo Hooi Café)

1.49pm
After an hour and half of relaxing, we are ready to eat again (surprise!). So J and I got in the car and sped off in search of Char Kuey Kak (stir fried radish cake) and Or Chien (oyster omelette). I read that the one near the Chinese school was famous so we went there and alas again, we found that the stall was not open. Then we guessed that it is only opened for dinner. So we sat down and ordered har mee (prawn noodle) instead.

Har Mee / Prawn Noodle @ Jalan Gottlieb, Penang
Har Mee / Prawn Noodle @ Jalan Gottlieb, Penang

The noodle was great, expectedly as har mee is another famous dish hailed from Penang itself. It came in a superbly rich prawn broth, with prawns, sliced pork, eggs and beansprouts. It was good; we eat and drank the soup dry (we would not want to count the calories here).

Opposite Penang Chinese Girl School
Jalan Gottlieb

So, feeling satiated again, J and I decided to head on to some site seeing. I just found out, thanks to J that, besides the glorious food, it turns out there are some hidden places to visit in Penang.

To be continued….

Penang Food Diaries:

Part 1
Part 3

Best Rojak in KL @ TTDI, KL : Cham-cham of Cultures

Best Rojak in KL @ TTDI, KL
Best Rojak in KL @ TTDI, KL

Rojak is one of the unique cuisine of Malaysia. The word rojak is of Malay origin, which means, cham-cham, that is the mixture of things. Who would ever know that mixture of this and that from each culture would form such a medley wonderful tastes that excites the palate. There are two distinct rojak here in Malaysia, one is the Chinese version which is we called the rojak buah (fruit rojak), which do have other stuff besides fruits such as vegetables, tofu and keropok. These are then mix in a dressing, made up of belachan (shrimp paste), sugar, chilli, lime juice, dark sauce, prawn paste, black bean paste and so forth, with each rojak comes in its own variation and then top with chopped peanuts and bunga kantan (torch ginger). As for the Indian rojak, which is commonly known as pasembor here are mainly consists of fried dough fritters, hard boiled egg, prawn fritters, fried tofu and cucumbers all mixed in dressing of spicy peanut sauce, usually comes in stall that also serves cendol; one day I will talk more about this. I had discussed with J whether the idea of rojak is originated from the Chinese or the Indian culture. But for sure, it is truly a unique Malaysia cuisine. Come to think of it, rojak is actually a mixture of the three main cultures in Malaysia, since the use of belachan, which is a Malay paste and of course, the name itself is a Malay word.

One of the best fruit rojak I have tasted in town is this rojak stall in my new neighbourhood, which parks right opposite KFC. This is just a coincidence that it is in my neighbourhood, as I have long been hooked to it way before I shifted here. My cousin is the one who first brought it for me one day, when I was craving for some rojak, and I was hooked. Thus, fate must have somehow got me to stay here, and so one day (a recent one) on the way home, I took diversion there to get a pack for tea time snack. I ordered the usual Rojak Special, without the sotong (squid). I spied a newspaper cutting of a review of the stall, pasted there, which titles something like “the tastiest rojak in town”, I could not agree more. Since it’s so yummy, naturally you have to wait a little as there would be people all around. So I took the time to take some pictures of the stall and then the owner (the guy on the left with the apron) caught me in the act.

Best Rojak in KL Stall @ TTDI, KL
Best Rojak in KL Stall @ TTDI, KL

“You working for any press or organization?”

“Oh, no! I write all this just for fun.” I laughed

“For fun? How?”

“Oh, I write it onto the internet.”

“You can do that? I would love to see it.”

“Uncle, you play internet too?” I was shocked.

“Nah, but my son does. You can write this up for free?”

“Oh yea, you can post it up for free and then whoever reads it, uh – reads it.” Mentally whacking myself for not being able to describe blogging properly in Chinese.

“Oh, I must do too, as promotion for this stall” He smiled.

The thought of a blog, dedicated to promote a rojak stall cross my mind in a flash. “Sure you can, uncle” I said, flashing a big grin at him.

“I can leave my address for you, and have your son show my site to you. He can learn from there.”

Out of sudden, the wife who has been quiet all along, agrees with this, open the drawer and whips out a pen and a paper. Still in a faze, I wrote down my address, keeping in mind I better write this review quick, or they will be viewing with disappointment.

Then finally I got my pack of rojak, which the wife prepares all the while when I am chatting with the husband, and bid goodbye. I left with a smile on my face and their faces too, from the lovely conversation and also of course, the thought of able to devour my favourite rojak when I got home.

Best Rojak in KL @ TTDI, KL
Best Rojak in KL @ TTDI, KL

I open the pack of rojak and boy was it yummy looking. This rojak is consists of fruits, such as pineapple, guava, and many more that I forgot. Then there are the veggies, such as cucumber, sengkuang (jicama) and kangkung (water convolvulus). There are also tofu slices and the usual Indian keropok found in most rojak. The specialty that sets this rojak aside from the rest is the addition of fried youtiao (dough fritters) which is fried to the crisp (in oppose to the usual softer chewy ones), and the dried squid which gives a whole new dimension of taste to the rojak. But overall, as usual, the tastiness of one rojak lies heavily on the sauce itself, and this sauce, is absolutely yummy, enough belachan spiciness and the right sweetness. The sauce is coated all around the medley of fruits, veggies, tofu and keropok and then generously topped with chopped peanuts. Oh, yummy! It is hard to describe how a rojak taste like, until one taste it themselves, so go try it, if you are one of the lucky people who are in Malaysia, best yet in town to try out this stall.

Cendol @ Taman Megah : You Gotta Be Cool

Just like how Boo from masak-masak complained bout the weather, I am here to do so too. Luckily recently the weather is cooling down, but few days before it was like living in the middle of volcano. The sun was so scorching hot I sometimes believe my hair would sizzle if I stay any longer outside. The air was like the oven heat after a lovely muffin bake. The only think one can think of every time we are out, even in the car, is something really cool, better yet icy to drink. At times I would go for ais kacang, but for this time, we are attracted to another local icy drink, cendol.

Cendol @ Taman Megah
Cendol @ Taman Megah

Oh yes, cendol is actually a type of dessert, I believe from Indian origin, very popular and authentic to Malaysia culture. It usually consists shaved iced, with green cendol (this is the thin worm like pandan flavoured flour noodles) drown in coconut milk and drizzled with gula melaka (this pair seem to be in every local dessert). The usual fillings would be red beans, cincau, jellies, kacang and sometimes glutinous rice. Cendol is really unique in taste, the gula melaka (the most important ingredient here in my opinion) and coconut milk blends real well, along with the smooth worm-cendol and the rest of the fillings is great. The shaved ice completes this drink to be the ultimate thirst quencher and body cooler.

Cendol Stall @ Taman Megah
Cendol Stall @ Taman Megah

As for the one I’m talking about is the one at Taman Megah. We were just driving home on Sunday midday, cooking in our Proton oven (our national car) and we just had to stop by this stall to cool down before out insides boil over. The cendol here is really good, but I have yet to try the pasembor or rojak. Compared to the one in Taman Bahagia, this is more superior, but according to J, the rojak in the former is better. Oh well, you cannot get the best of everything at one go.

After our cendol fix, we head home with smiling faces, and paid no heed to the crazy weather.