Authentic satay in a shopping centre

Two of the local favourite dishes, sup tulang (left) and asam laksa. — Photos by ONG SOON HIN/The Star

THESE days, one does not need to head to a stall in search of satay as it can be found in shopping malls.

If you are shopping at 1Utama Shopping Centre and craving for satay, then Satay Satay is the place to go to.

As you enter Satay Satay, visitors will be greeted by rings of smoke rising from the front left of the restaurant where the grill station is located.

This is the only restaurant in the mall that serves freshly made satay and is definitely the place to be if you are a satay fan.

Satay, which is marinated pieces of meat on skewers and grilled, is customarily served with cucumber, onions, ketupat (rice cubes) and kuah kacang (spicy peanut sauce).

There is a choice of either beef or chicken at the restaurant.

The satay tasted really juicy and tender and went well with the home-made peanut sauce.

A worker at Satay Satay patiently fanning the grill to ensure the satay sticks are grilled to perfection.
A worker at Satay Satay patiently fanning the grill to ensure the satay sticks are grilled to perfection.

“We only use boneless and skinless chicken thigh for the chicken satay and beef tenderloin for the beef satay because we want the meat to be tender and juicy,” said restaurant owner Lydia Goh.

Each serving of satay has 10 sticks, in any combination of chicken or beef.

“It’s actually not easy to find satay sold in shopping malls and we started this due to requests from the mall’s management and demand from shoppers,” she said.

The restaurant, was previously named Penang Nyonya when it first opened about nine years ago, before relocating to a different part of the mall four years back.

Prior to the rebranding exercise, the restaurant served only home-cooked Penang Nyonya food.

Today, aside from the satay, the eatery whips out dishes that remind one of their childhood.

“We make everything from scratch – as it is our family recipes so diners can taste authentic flavours of Nyonya cooking in our dishes,” she said.

The mother of two explained that the dishes served here were those her mother and grandmother used to cook for the family.

One of her favourites is the Sambal Prawn, which was drenched in their own secret chilli blend which we found to be really fragrant, especially with the abundance of onions in the dish.

“My mum and grandmother, and even aunties were typical sarong-wearing Nyonya women and I grew up loving their dishes.

“I still can’t find any other place that serves authentic home-cooked Penang Nyonya food so I thought why not start a restaurant,” she said.

The Penangite’s restaurant initially had only a few dishes but now, there are more dishes on the menu including satay and Indonesian Nasi Bojari.

The nasi bojari comprises spiced rice, which tastes similar to fragrant briyani, and is served with sambal squid and two pieces of spicy chicken.

Nasi lemak is found in most eateries so I thought this dish may be something different to have on the menu,” she said.

Nyonya Fried Chicken is a restaurant specialty loved by younger diners.
Nyonya Fried Chicken is a restaurant specialty loved by younger diners.

The eatery also has Penang Nyonya Curry Chicken which we thought was really aromatic and tasted rather different compared to other local curries.

To stay true to its Penang roots, this chicken dish is made with a special homemade curry sauce and is cooked without potatoes.

Then there is Ikan Gulai Tumis, which is served with a blend of spicy onion, chilli and garlic.

Frying it over low flame, the sauce takes more than an hour to prepare.

Although it is time-consuming, this has to be done to give the dish a more flavourful tang to complement the soft red seabream fish (ikan merah).

Like most Penang restaurants, the all time favourite asam laksa has its place on the menu too.

Unlike the normal sour and spicy asam laksa found in many parts of the Klang Valley, Goh’s version is less sour but full of fish.

“We steam the fish before removing the flesh, and then boil the remaining bones to get the full flavour of the fish into the soup,” said Goh who also does catering.

Goh’s other Satay Satay restaurant is at Paradigm Mall.

SATAY SATAY, 1st Floor, Old Wing, 1Utama Shopping Centre, Bandar Utama City Centre, Lebuh Bandar Utama, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. (Tel: 03-7728 4828). Business hours: 10am to 10pm, daily. Halal.

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

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