Owners raise the staple fare into a signature dish.
IN a country where nasi lemak is a staple dish for many Malaysians and foreigners alike, it is sometimes not easy to find a nasi lemak joint that hits all the right buttons.
From street vendors and kopitiam to restaurants that specialise in the delicacy, each one boasts its own unique flavours.
Enter Brilliant Nasi Lemak House, a relatively new namesake restaurant started by 29-year old Chua Yeong Luoh and his aunt Chia Back King.
They started the flagship Brilliant Nasi Lemak shop in Kepong in July 2010 when Chua left the banking scene and decided that he wanted to start his own business.
Cooking nasi lemak was an annual family event, where some 200 family members and close friends would be treated to a gastronomical affair.
The restaurant has grown and expanded its reach in the past four years.
Apart from the Kepong shop, it has outlets in Puchong, Kuchai Lama and PJ Uptown.
Chua and Chia strive to maintain the
homemade concept by using natural ingredients and not cut corners in the preparation.
Brilliant Nasi Lemak has a 2,000 sq ft centralised kitchen behind the Kepong outlet, where the sauces are made and sent to the shops.
Patrons are given the option of eating an adequately portioned nasi lemak dish or take out as a set meal, which comes with dessert.
Chua said many diners opt for their Signature Nasi Lemak Set, which is a combination of Brilliant Nasi Lemak’s most popular dishes: shrimp, fried chicken and stuffed squid.
Priced at RM17.80, the dish also comes with dessert.
The rice is steamed with coconut milk,
pandan leaves and lemongrass, which gives off a fragrant scent, and is not starchy.
It also has three different sambal – the
common one, a sweet-sour prawn and one with squid, which is the spiciest of the three.
The common sambal is spicy and has quite an intense flavour.
The onions are crunchy, giving this dish a nice texture and bite.
Meanwhile, the prawns in the prawn
sambal are relatively big and fresh.
The restaurant also uses squid transported from Kuantan for the squid sambal.
The prawn and chicken stuffed squid is fresh, springy and easy to cut through.
“We put a lot of thought and effort into our dishes and most of them require a minimum of two hours preparation,” said Chia.
The fried chicken is one of the more popular dishes and is marinated the night before with several spices including lemongrass, galangal, turmeric and curry leaves.
The key to good fried chicken is in its skin and the chicken here makes a lasting impression with its light and crispy skin.
The chicken is nicely fried and does not feel too oily.
The signature dessert, which is bound to cool one down on a scorching hot day, is made using snow fungus, grass jelly, longan, sea coconut, sago and brown sugar.
The dessert is catered for those with a slightly sweeter tooth, but a less-sweet option is available on request.
Also sampled was the Curry Chicken dish, which is notably marinated with 17 ingredients, including lemongrass, and is mildly spicy.
For the chicken dishes, the restaurant uses only the drumstick and thigh, typically the softer and juicier parts of the chicken, to cater for the majority of patrons’ preferences.
Brilliant Nasi Lemak’s pork rendang dish is usually what attracts many curious patrons, said Chua.
A fusion between traditional Malay and Chinese flavours, the pork rendang is succulent and is amply covered with fragrant gravy.
The shop also offers many other non-nasi lemak dishes that were not sampled, such as Wantan Mee, Fish Head Noodle, Herbal Chicken Noodle and Curry Noodle, which is made with fresh milk instead of coconut milk.
Other local desserts such as Bean Curd Barley Tang Yuan and Red Bean Cendol are available.
It also serves the typical kopitiam snacks like homemade kaya and butter toast, among others.
Most of the dishes are priced reasonably, starting from RM6 up to RM17.80.
Diners can get more information at www.brilliantnasilemak.com.
BRILLIANT NASI LEMAK HOUSE, 10, Jalan Metro Perdana 8, Taman Usahawan Kepong, 52100 Kuala Lumpur (Tel: 03-6242 8925 or 018-2838888). Business hours: 10am-9pm (Mon-Fri); 9am-9pm (Sat-Sun). Non-Halal.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.