NASI ayam penyet may have its origins in Indonesia, but it is a popular dish in Malaysia, especially among the Malay community.
Two things make a good serving – crisply fried chicken and a nicely seasoned sambal.
And if you had a cool, sweet cendol to go with it? All the better!
During a recent work trip to Labuan, I was taken by my guide for lunch at a local restaurant called Sayang Sri Utara.
The restaurant is airy, with a pleasant ambience and tables (some with table cloth, others without) not too tightly packed together.
One thing that is obvious when you come here are the specials, namely Ayam Penyet Sambal Ladoo with rice and Cendol Cinta.
The nice thing about the restaurant was they served customers who ordered one of the specials free bubur kacang as appetiser.
There were other specials but ayam penyet was the highlight.
The dish came with steamed rice, salted egg, sambal, some cucumber slices and a pleasantly crisp fried chicken. Penyet refers to the chicken being smashed with a pestle to soften it. The dish was served, not on a plate, but brown waxed paper.
There was also a small bowl of soup to go with the rice.
Tucking in, the first thing that hits you is the slight sweet taste to the chicken, which complemented the not-too-spicy sambal nicely.
Mixing a bit of soup to the rice helped to give it a slightly salty taste that went well with the dish.
Now, the cendol was where the lunch meal truly hit the mark for me.
Packing a rather large portion, the cendol offered a generous serving of corn, coconut milk, syrup sugar and three pieces of durian on top of the sweet, icy concoction.
The hot weather outside, coupled with the fiesta of tastes from the ayam penyet rice, made the cendol a perfect thirst quencher.
Slurping the sweet delight of the cendol, I was soon full.
Prices are reasonable, with the ayam penyet rice and sambal ladoo costing RM9 while the cendol was RM12.
The restaurant can get packed with locals during lunchtime, so it is best to go early.
Sayang Sri Utara, U0350/123 Jalan Merdeka, Shoplot Labuan Times Square, 87000 Labuan, Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan. (Tel: 016-247 2020). Business hours: 9am to 10pm daily. Halal.This is the writer’s observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.