On my previous trip to Japan earlier this year I had a five day stopover in Kuala Lumpur on the way back. Five days at home with my family in Petaling Jaya (PJ) and five days to strike all the foods we miss and fit in some new ones my family want to recommend. Admittedly because I’m from PJ we practically never left PJ. Any Malaysian from that area will know this joke – “What for, PJ has everything”. For the record, I truly believe it does. Not just everything, good versions of it too. It’s a city not so far outside KL, perhaps 20 minutes by car without traffic? Oh side note, Uber and Grab Car is pretty affordable there so by all means download the app and use it. Anyway, get ready for a lot of photos because I’m going to show you what we ate in five days.
First a mammoth task such as this requires military precision and planning. It all begins with a draft that looks a little something like this:
Our traditional touch down meal has always been Banana Leaf Rice and so that’s how it all began.
Meal 1 – Kanna Curry House
Banana Leaf Rice is really rice with a mix of vegetables, pickles and curry on banana leaf except now some places are cutting costs and use wax paper which obviously has no leaf fragrance. Kanna has always been really good but this time it’s slipped. The curries no longer as fragrant and seem to be missing that X factor. Still good but time to strike it off the list. Competition is very tough in PJ so….I’m sorry guys. Side note: on the next trip we went to Ratha’s Briyani House and it was way better. There’s another one at The Curve with a neverending line called Macha & Co which I’m keen to discover next.
Kanna Curry House
29 Jalan 17/45
Meal 2 – Jin Xuan Hong Kong Dim Sum
Jin Xuan is not from Hong Kong but they serve Hong Kong style dim sum with some Malaysian influence I believe. This is something I always miss a lot because it is THAT much better. To be brutally honest WAY WAY WAY better than anything here. Never had a bad dish really but our staples always include double orders of Har Gow (prawn dumpling) and Xiao Long Bao, Lor Mai Gai (glutinous chicken rice), Yam Puffs, Golden Custard Bun, Rice Noodle Rolls with BBQ Pork & Prawn, Pork Ribs with Black Bean, Egg Tarts and maybe Radish Cake.
Xiao Long Bao is really good here, the egg tarts are a beautiful golden custard with flaky pastry, and prawn dumplings fresh with succulent whole prawns. Everything else is top marks in the flavour department. I know I’ve said this before but it’s nice to see a restaurant this good never change.
Jin Xuan Hong Kong Sdn Bhd
59-63 Jalan SS22/19
Snack 1 – Komugi Japanese Cheese Cake
First of all Komugi is a well presented tempting store selling authentic handmade Japanese breads, cakes and confectioneries. While not a Japanese brand they have Japanese pastry chefs bake them fresh daily. We were here for the cheesecake which comes as original flavour, chocolate or matcha. The original flavour was the best to us. It was a really nice moist cake with prominent cheese flavour yet not the smelly cheese kind of level that puts you off. It’s really good. We actually only tried one single piece of Hanjuku Cheesecake for RM4.05 and loved it so we bought a six pack deal. Highly recommend, very authentic. 1 Utama is my hangout place but they’re also at The Mines, Aeon Shah Alam, Cheras Leisure Mall, Sunway Pyramid, Subang Parade, Paradigm Mall, IOI City Mall, Melaka, Aeon Tebrau City, MyTown Cheras and Vivacity Megamall.
1 Utama Shopping Centre
LGK1A, Lower Ground Floor, New Wing
1, Lebuh Bandar Utama
Snack 2 – Croissant Taiyaki
This was a random pick because we saw it across one of the stalls in 1 Utama. Curiosity got the better of us. Taiyaki are fish shaped filled pancakes. Popular street food in Japan. Just like Cruffins and Cronuts, Japan came up with their version of fusion known as Croissant Taiyaki. We picked a Matcha Ice Cream filling one. While the shape is less defined, you can see the flaky pastry layers once you bite into it. It’s also covered in sugar to give you extra crunch. Pretty good actually.
1 Utama Shopping Centre
LG K103A Lower Ground Food Street, New Wing
1 Lebuh Bandar Utama
Snack 3 – Pablo Cheese Tart
Funny enough we didn’t actually have Pablo Cheese Tart in Japan!! We had Bake Cheese Tart downstairs of Umeda Station, Osaka instead which was incredibly good. Pablo is up there in the elite league and blows a lot of competition out the water. This has become a must hit now when we go back. They also do creamy Japanese style soft serves. One mini tart will set you back RM8.90 + GST while a Soft Serve costs RM11.90 + GST. Also available at 1 Utama. Told you I don’t have to go anywhere else.
Pablo Cheese Tarts
1 Utama Shopping Centre
S130, 2nd Floor, Old Wing
1 Lebuh Bandar Utama
Meal 3 – Gerai the Food Loft
Gerai the Food Loft offers classic Malaysian hawker style dishes in a comfortable air conditioned environment at Centrepoint BU. The decor has rustic charm with nostalgic items of the past. We came here for the Mee Rebus which is gravy noodles with a variety of toppings as pictured. Although very similar to its cousin Mee Jawa from Jawa, Indonesia it is NOT the same thing. Mee Rebus gravy is rather thick and made from prawn broth, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, palm sugar and a few other aromatics. It’s always served with a hard boiled egg, potatoes, prawn crackers, firm tofu, bean sprouts, shallots, sliced green chillies and calamansi lime. This dish is harder and harder to find, it seems no one makes a good one anymore so this actually made me quite happy as it was one of my favourite childhood dishes. Two thumbs up for this Mee Rebus by Gerai!
Gerai the Food Loft
G106 Ground Floor
Centrepoint Bandar Utama
Meal 4 – Naughty Nuri’s
When we were actually in Bali we didn’t have this or any roast pork ribs. Guess what popped up in the newly reopened Atria Shopping Gallery? Naughty Nuri’s! This chain originates from Bali and serves Indonesian/Balinese food with their Pork Ribs being the signature dish. Their Indonesian Style Nasi Goreng is really fragrant, large servings with fish crackers and roast pork.
Their signature Pork Ribs are called Naughty Nuri’s 1995 Signature BBQ Spare Ribs so I’m guessing it’s the year they started making these. The ribs are marinated with Balinese spices and coated in their signature sauce. The sauce is sweet like BBQ Sauce.
G25, Atria Shopping Gallery
SS 22/23 Damansara Jaya
Snack 4 – Taste Better Durian Puff
Their One Bite Durian Puff is their signature and it is filled with good strong real durian flavoured custard. If you like durian I highly recommend this snack. If you don’t maybe you can try their other custard filling puffs but we only ever get the Durian Puff. It’s so good!
CK3 Atria Shopping Gallery
SS 22/23 Damansara Jaya
Meal 5 – Devi’s Corner TTDI (Update: Permanently Closed)
This was my mum and brother’s Sunday mamak stop so we came here for Mamak food because the really good one in my area has closed long time ago. What a shame. My standard breakfast order is Maggi Mee Goreng SPICY which they always seem to do well. It’s basically fried instant noodles using seasoning from the packet along with other sauces, egg and shallots. Nothing healthy or natural about this dish I’m sure but just simply delicious. Mr Foodie has his roti order as usual be it roti canai, roti telur (egg), roti milo, roti kaya, roti cheese….you name it he’s had it. They do this red chicken curry that is really good too so we always have a piece each with our breakfast. I have been notified that this location is now permanently closed.
Restaurant Devi’s Corner
Banana Leaf Curry
38 Jalan Dato Sulaiman,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
Meal 6 – Hayaki Kelantanese Food
Hayaki is a chain selling Kelantan food. Kelantan is a northern state in Malaysia and their delicacies do differ a bit. Prices are reasonable and affordable. I went for a classic dish of Nasi Ulam with fried chicken. Also known as mixed herb rice this is exactly that. It is a traditional Malay dish of rice served with a variety of steamed or raw vegetables, egg, sauce and sambal. I like picking at different dishes so I do enjoy eating something like that. Also if you don’t add the fried chicken it’s really quite healthy. They also have options of curry chicken, grilled chicken or fried fish. The other signature dish is Nasi Kukus Hayaki which is steamd rice. I know it looks like Nasi Lemak with the peanuts, cucumber and anchovies but it’s not coconut rice. The plain rice is cooked by steaming so you can see the individual grains. The curry sauces and seasoning for the fried chicken is also different but I couldn’t tell you how exactly.
Hayaki @ The Curve
Lot 153 1st Floor
The Curve, Mutiara Damansara
Meal 6 – Restoran Wong Poh Mud Crabs
A place I have visited since the end of high school. I first discovered this place with my friends. Back then it was RM25/kg of crab and one of the best prices in town. Plus it was delicious. Their special signature was the moreish Claypot Butter Crabs which we liked to mop up the sauce with deep fried mantou buns. Anyway seafood is their jam. While extremely delicious with butter, cheese and curry leaves we gave it a miss this time.
I prefer Mud Crabs because they are a meatier variety and you get more reward for the hard work of cracking the shell. Having said that Australian blue swimmers have this sweet taste to the flesh so each used for different styles of cooking. We ordered Kam Heong Crab and Chilli Crab. Chilli Crab is self explanatory. Kam Heong literally means golden fragrance and it’s made with a lot of aromatics such as curry leaves, curry powder, dried shrimps, shallots, garlic and chillies along with dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and some other ingredients. You can cook any seafood and chicken this way. In the background of the picture below there’s our favourite Marmite Pork on the right. Mr Foodie loves this dish. My family don’t often go out for crabs so I’m not sure if there is a better place to eat them now. If you have any recommendations for my next trip please comment below!
Restoran Wong Poh
34-38 Jalan BM 1/2
Bukit Mayang Mas
Snack 5 – Brader John Ramly Burger (yes it’s a snack)
Ramly Burger. It’s a full size burger but in Malaysia we call it supper or late night snack. No idea what’s in the patty or if it’s even real meat. Ramly Burger is found after 8pm from a roadside stall or truck at all sorts of random places. Just gotta find it yourself. Be cautioned, there are bad ones. Brader John operates out of his food truck in Damansara Uptown pretty much on the side of Texas Chicken. I think he’s bought a permanent parking spot there now. The wait is minimum 1 hour so if you really want to try be strategic. Order FIRST then go eat Nasi Kandar (Indian Curry Rice) across the road at Nasi Kandar Salam which is pretty good then pick up your burger, go home and wait till you have room to eat it. OR visit one of the many dessert/coffee shops across the road while you wait. I’m pretty sure there’s a bar somewhere too. A few drinks should work up a hunger for ya.
Brader John Ramly Truck
Jalan SS21/58 Damansara Utama
Meal 7 – Annie 1 Family Restaurant
One of my favourite hawker noodle dishes growing up was Chu Yuk Fun (pork noodle soup). Annie 1 Restaurant in Uptown does a pretty good one. The portions are certainly bigger now but then again I’m not eating nor paying hawker prices. A lot of hawker stalls seem to have been wiped out but it’s still pretty affordable for air conditioned basic dining. I usually go for rice vermicelli noodles. The pork broth has good depth and is really delicious. It’s served with some fried lard pieces, mince pork, pork liver, pork balls, sliced pork and vegetables. These guys also do a really good Curry Laksa and Wanton Noodles. They’re always busy so be prepared to wait a little for a table. Their dry curry chicken wanton noodles is really good too.
Meal 8 – The Auntie Arrives Bearing Food Gifts
This lunch at home features a few takeaway dishes across two states! Yes, my auntie arrived from dad’s hometown!!! And she came with food so we decided to dine at home. My dad comes from Teluk Intan, Perak which is famous for the Anson Chee Cheong Fun. They are steamed rice rolls with filling rolled throughout, very different to the Hong Kong style yum cha ones. Filled with preserved radish and served with pickled green chillies this is a trip down memory lane. She also brought some delicious fried fish fillets and baos with a sweet sauce. Pretty yummy. The bottom two dishes are procured by my dad from the famous Village Park Restaurant. Famous for their super fragrant Nasi Lemak and delicious Beef Rendang. This place is heaving all the time.
Village Park Restaurant
5 Jalan SS21/37
Snack 6 – Claw Set Cafe
When I heard there was a dog cafe I just had to go check it out. They serve food like waffles, apple crumble, chicken chop, pasta and fish and chips. Simple Western food. They also have a good variety of drinks and mocktails. This place is not licensed but there’s a NOT BEER on the menu. Situated next door to a pet store and groomer this cafe is a place you can bring your four legged friend. Or just come and play with the resident PR officers.
36A Jalan SS22/25
Meal 9 – Texas Chicken
You’re probably wondering why we eat fast food when there’s all this other food. Let me explain, have you ever heard about KFC is better in Malaysia. It is, way better. Just accept it. Anyway when I was in America I found I liked Popeye’s chicken much more than KFC. Texas Chicken rocked up to Malaysia and my family said it was better so we went. If you think Americans know how to make fried chicken, Malaysians really know their fried chicken. The coating was crispy and well seasoned, chicken not overly greasy, meat was juicy inside. The fried chicken was good. But let me tell you about the standout. It’s the biscuit. Yes, the biscuit that had us going downstairs twice to order more. It’s sooooo goooood. Glazed with sweet and savoury honey butter this biscuit is soft and just melts in your mouth. Very very good. Again it’s a chain so you’ll find it everywhere.
Texas Chicken @ Uptown
1G, Jalan SS21/1A
Snack 7 – Durian
Durian is expensive. But, it’s been a while and it was durian season so dad picked up a few varieties. It’s quite a rich and filling fruit with pungent flavour and aroma but we love it. Yums!!
Snack 8 – Nana’s Green Tea
There’s a big market for Japanese stuff in Malaysia so it’s no surprise to see really good authentic Japanese food and Japanese chains. Nana’s Green Tea has that thick matcha quality. You do pay the price for it but it’s the whole deal. They also do some really nice and pretty parfaits with their signature soft serve ice cream. We sat for a iced Matcha Latte before continuing our shopping at you guessed it…..1 Utama. The parfaits can be topped with brownies, cake, cornflakes. mochi, ice cream, red bean. fruit, shiratama and chestnut cream. They also have a savoury menu of typical Japanese dishes such as hamburg, salmon udon, karaage and curry don.
Nana’s Green Tea
1 Utama Shopping Centre
Lot LG355, Lower Ground Floor, Rainforest Section
1 Lebuh Bandar Utama
Meal 10 – Goon Wah XO Fish Head Noodles
This place has two signature dishes. One is their Fish Head Noodles. It’s not what you think, you don’t have to eat the fish head not even see it but it’s a type of noodles usually made with rice vermicelli noodles. Here they use the Asam Laksa noodle. The soup base is of course made from fish broth and preserved vegetables which gives it a hint of sourness. Evaporated milk is also added for that mild milky flavour. It’s a really good version of Fish Head Noodles.
The second dish is Claypot Lou Shi Fun (rice drop noodles). They look like rat’s tails so…hence the name. It has really good flavour and is different to what I’ve had in the past. This one comes with chunks of pork lard, dried shrimp, marinated mince meat, spring onions, chillies and sesame seed with their house made chilli. You might think it’s just soy flavour but it’s not, it has different layers to it.
The Guinness Chicken Wings took Mr Foodie’s eye so we decided to order one to try. It had a delicious marinade with that malty stout flavour. The wings were nicely caramelised and quite fragrant. It’s a pretty good snack.
Goon Wah XO Fish Head Noodle
38 Jalan SS 22/21
Snack 9 – Tsujiri Matcha Soft Serve
Seriously you wouldn’t think we just came back from Japan. Clearly not sick of Matcha Soft Serves yet. This one at Tsujiri is pretty decent but more like the normal soft serves, not the extra thick intense flavour type.
58 Jalan SS21/58
Meal 11 – Michele’s Kitchen
Michele’s Kitchen specialised in Hakka Cuisine but that was not what brought us here. We ordered a few dishes to try but it was the Nyonya Style Asam Fish Head that brought us here. When I say fish head you actually get the top half of the fish, so there is meat. Don’t worry. This was a tamarind based curry like sauce with snake beans and okra so it had that rich and slightly tangy flavour. A very well balanced delicious dish that makes you want to eat the whole pot of rice. The fish was cooked just right and the meat was buttery.
The Ginger and Sesame Oil Free Range Chicken was very fragrant. Simple flavours but the free range chicken shined through with much better tasting meat than the usual erm…..non free running chickens. The Curry Wild Boar was also a pleasant dish that wound up being Mr Foodie’s favourite. Wild boar is a more gamey meat but can be tough if not cooked well. This wasn’t tough at all.
37 Jalan SS22/23
Meal 12 – Mamak Round 2
We can’t just go to the Mamak once, it has to be 2 or 3 times because Roti Canai and Maggi Goreng are staples.
Meal 13 – Jin Xuan Dim Sum Round 2
Meal 14 – Meat in Claypot Bak Kut Teh
Although the famous good ones are in Klang, this place at Centrepoint Bandar Utama is pretty decent for Bak Kut Teh. A deep broth of pork and pork bones with assorted herbs and spices. You can choose which cut of meat you want, I usually go for ribs because I don’t like fatty pork. Also do yourself a favour and get the shallot rice and chinese donut sticks because those fried sticks dipped in that beautiful broth is the best thing. They also do a vegetable one if you like the broth but don’t want to eat meat. Each pot comes with the meat, bean curd sheets, lettuce and mushrooms. Condiments for this one? I do the raw garlic and bird’s eye chillies in dark soy sauce. This was actually our last meal before flying off so I’m not sure if the person sat next to me was too impressed hahahaha!
Meat in Claypot
Lot LG K1 Ground Floor
Centrepoint Bandar Utama
Truth be told there were a few more snacks that weren’t mentioned because somehow we had no photographic evidence including curry puffs and Cinnabon. Snacks were squeezed in between meals whenever there was room. Also if I were to be honest with myself it’s not exactly healthy to be on a eating spree like that but a holiday’s a holiday right?