Regional flavours take centre stage

FOR some living in peninsular Malaysia, dishes such as Pansoh Manok, Ikan Ampap Bajau and Sayur Midin Belacan Sarawak might sound unfamiliar.

Those who fancy trying out these authentic dishes from Sabah and Sarawak, which are prepared by a local chef, can head to Nipah at EQ Kuala Lumpur to enjoy its “Negaraku” food promotion.

In celebration of National Day and Malaysia Day, the all-day dining restaurant is presenting a showcase of local specialities highlighting a selection of regional cuisine from around Malaysia.

“Although the occasion will be observed differently this year, we continue to bring back classic dishes for those who are missing their hometowns,” said Nipah chef de cuisine Ali Tuwin.

“We hope to bring a familiar sense of celebration and warmth to many families through our food.”

Ali said the menu, which is rotated daily, highlights cuisine from different Malaysian regions – south, north, east coast and Borneo.

Ali, who hails from Sabah, takes the lead when the menu focuses on the Borneo region.

It includes dishes such as Pansoh Manok featuring chicken meat steamed and baked in bamboo stalks; Sup Ikan Sabah where chunks of red snapper are served with a clear soup made from fish stock, pepper and tomatoes; Ikan Ampap Bajau featuring Spanish mackerel or seabass stewed with turmeric, bird’s eye chilli, turmeric leaf, ginger and shallot; Udang Masak Tumis Kulit Tembikai Sarawak where stir-fried prawns are braised with watermelon skin as well as a beef dish called Tiyula Itum.

The famous Sayur Midin Belacan Sarawak is available too but with a slight twist.

“We had to substitute the midin (stenochlaena palustris) with pucuk paku (fiddlehead fern), as we couldn’t get a consistent supply of midin,” said Ali of the vegetable dish stir-fried with belacan, chilli, onion and garlic.

“Pucuk paku was the closest replacement we could get as its texture is very similar to midin.”

The carvery section showcases Semporna Grilled Fish and Kepak Ayam Madu Sabah.

While he would have wanted to showcase more dishes from Sabah and Sarawak, Ali said it was a challenge to get a sufficient and consistent supply of ingredients such as tarap (similar to jackfruit), latok (sea grapes) and bambangan (wild mango), hence he had to make do with a pared down menu.

Depending on the day’s menu, the live action station offers dishes such as pasembur, nasi ambeng, nasi kerabu or chicken rice while the noodle station offers mee rebus, asam laksa, laksam or Sarawak laksa.

The hot dishes section has Braised Yee Mee Noodles, Egg Beancurd and Crab Meat Gravy, Itik Salai Masak Lemak, Solok Lada with Percik Sauce, chicken and beef satay as well as made-to- order roti canai with dhal and fish curry.

For dessert, chef de partie Muhammad Afiq Abdul Malek recommends the lempeng pisang (banana pancake) and Puding Diraja (royal pudding).

“The Puding Diraja is a signature dessert at EQ. It was inspired by a dessert served to the royal family in Pahang.

“It is made from eggs, syrup and milk, topped with cherries and prunes,” he said.

“The lempeng pisang is made upon order. This Malay dessert is served with sambal and grated coconut, though some diners may prefer to enjoy it on its own.”

When the Bornean menu is on rotation, Muhammad Afiq suggests that diners try Sekaya Labu, a dessert of steamed pumpkin with chilled custard made from coconut milk and duck egg.

Also available at the dessert counter are Aiskrim Malaysia with cendol, sirap selasih, asam boi and Milo flavours, assorted cakes and kuih, fresh fruits as well as a selection of EQ’s mooncakes.

In the interest of maintaining safety and hygiene, diners must place their orders at Nipah’s respective counters and they will be served their selections on their plates.

The “Negaraku” promotion is available until Sept 16. It is priced at RM88 nett per adult, while children aged six to 12 get to dine at half price.

Diners may also choose to add a barbecue meat and seafood platter for two, priced at RM38 nett per person.

Lunch is served from noon to 3pm and dinner is served from 6pm to 10pm.

NIPAH, Ground Floor, EQ Kuala Lumpur, Equatorial Plaza, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2789 7839/ 7840). Business hours: 7am to 11pm, daily. Pork-free.

This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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