Features

Published: Wednesday August 6, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday August 6, 2014 MYT 11:41:41 AM

Banana leaf rice: Hidden gems in the Klang Valley

The banana leaf meal at Yap Kee Coffee Shop is served with vegetable of the day, cucumber and papadam along with your choice of chicken, fish or mutton.

The banana leaf meal at Yap Kee Coffee Shop is served with vegetable of the day, cucumber and papadam along with your choice of chicken, fish or mutton.

HAVE you nominated your favourite eatery for banana leaf meals for The Star People’s Food Awards?

You have until Aug 10 to nominate your favourite place in the Klang Valley and stand a chance to win hotel stays and dining vouchers at top-rated hotels.

Just take out your smartphone cameras, snap away and send photos, along with details of your favourite restaurant, via Metro Online Broadcast (MOB) at www.mob.com.my

The first 10 days of the month is the nomination period.

Every month, until May next year, the public can vote for the best category-based street food such as satay (for September), banana leaf meal or asam laksa via MOB from the 15th until the end of that particular month.

This week, we feature three more popular eateries serving good banana leaf meals.

YAP KEE COFFEESHOP

26, Jalan Besar, Klang

If you have arrived in Klang by KTM and find yourself hungry for a banana leaf meal, head to Yap Kee Coffeeshop .

The coffeeshop has been operating since 1923, its owner Yas said.

“My grandfather rented the space in the coffeeshop to the owner of the banana leaf meal business. So, we sell drinks while they sell food in the coffeeshop,” he said.

The banana leaf meal business in the coffeeshop was the heart and soul of Raman Nair, a man from India who decided to sell food to make ends meet for his family.

His grandson Esvaran Yamkaya is now running the business.

“My grandfather and the owner of this restaurant decided to work together and provide customers with good food and drinks in Klang,” he said.

The banana leaf meal business had been running in Yap Kee Coffeeshop for over 70 years.

He said the family recipe was passed down from his grandfather to his father, who then taught him how to run the business and maintain the quality of the food.

“I do my own marketing and only teach selected cooks on how to use the family recipe,” he said.

Raja Mohan, a regular customer of the restaurant enjoyed going to Jalan Besar, Klang for a meal at Yap Kee.

He praised the chicken and mutton curries, which came with rice, vegetables and papadam.

“I’ve been coming here for 16 years and every time I am here, I will order rice with chicken curry,” he said.

The peak hours for business are between noon and 2pm from Monday to Sunday.

A small plate of mutton curry cost RM5.50, a piece of fried chicken is RM3.50 while fried fish is sold for RM4 per piece. – KATHLEEN MICHAEL

PRASAD’S CHETTY NAADU MESS

14-44 Leboh Ampang, City Centre, Kuala Lumpur

A worker preparing the variety of food for the customers.
A worker at Prasad Chetty Nadu mess preparing a variety of dishes for its banana leaf meals.

The Southern Indian cuisine served on banana leaves at Prasad’s Chetty Naadu Mess is definitely a must-try for Kuala Lumpur folk.

It is situated above Prasad’s goldsmith shop, in the middle of Leboh Ampang.

As the waiters lay the banana leaves on the table, generous lashings of different side dishes like brinjal, poriyal, kootu, cabbage, tomatoes, potato chips or bitter gourd are served daily.

Restaurant manager Sarimala Naidu said the dishes were inspired by the South Indian way of cooking.

“Usually this consists of a lot of coconut milk and more spices. However, we toned it down to suit the local taste,” she said.

I was served with chicken and mutton varuval, chicken and mutton perratal, sura puttu, prawn masala, and Chicken 65.

Other dishes such as crab masala and fish curry are also available.

Sarimala said an average meal cost between RM8 and RM10 depending on the dishes.

“Some regular customers come for our chicken briyani on Wednesdays and turkey masala on Fridays,” she said. – JAROD LIM

SRI GANAPATHY MESS

Jalan 1/10, Old Town Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Banana leaf at Sri Ganapathi Mess in Old Town, Petaling Jaya. A combination of Chicken Varuval, small deep fried Whiting fish, Local Mutton, Fried Sotong (Squid), rice with an assortment of vegetable dishes as a side and of course papadum.
Rice is served with a variety of vegetable dishes and papadam on the side at Sri Ganapathi Mess in Old Town, Petaling Jaya. Choose from a variety of non-veg specialities such as chicken varuval, deep- fried Whiting fish, mutton and fried sotong.

Stepping into the unassuming house on Jalan 1/10, the scent of fresh fried food and spices hits you like a warm greeting into Sri Ganapathi Mess.

Exotic delicacies such as mutton head curry served on banana leaf are served at Sri Ganapathi Mess, which also had a small but good choice of Chettinad cuisine, said owner V. Kumar.

“We started the family business in 1998 serving South Indian food originating from Tamil Nadu, with recipes from my mother-in-law,” said Kumar, a former police detective in Brickfields.

Two dishes recommended by Kumar were the full flavoured crab rassam at RM1 per cup and spicy but tender, slide-off the bone local mutton curry at RM10 per plate.

The tasty spicy chicken varuval also deserved a special mention as it left the tongue burning.

For non-spicy dishes, the fried chicken or seafood is a good bet with a South Indian version of calamari, the crunchy fried sotong or squid that is deep-fried with curry leaves and onions.

The crispy, small deep-fried whiting that can be eaten whole is good too.

The mess hall operates daily from 11.30am to 4pm. – YVONNE T. NATHAN

Tags / Keywords: Central Region, Food Awards, banana leaf rice

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