FINDING authentic local dishes, that taste as good as mum’s food, can be challenging.
But for those who enjoy cuisines from Terengganu and Kelantan or even Peranakan fare, Restoran Kukus Stim Habis in Taman Tun Dr Ismail has dishes to whet your appetite with.
Serving up local dishes, made with family recipes belonging to the proprietors of the restaurant, Restoran Kukus Stim Habis endeavours to bring homemade flavours back to the dining table.
The menu is catchy as some of the dishes are named after P. Ramlee movies.
To give this place a nostalgic feel, old Malay, Indian and Chinese songs fill the air.
It is also decorated to resemble a Malaysian restaurant back in the 1960s.
The Ganu Nasi Dagang is served with Kari Ikan Tongkol, sweet achar, pickled carrots, cucumber and chillies, hard boiled egg and sambal belacan.
The freshly steamed rice is glutinous, aromatic and full of flavour with coconut milk, shallots, ginger and fenugreek among the ingredients.
Meals are served thali-style, borrowing the South Indian serving style where curries, vegetables and condiments are served in little containers on a stainless steel plate.
The Nasi Kerabu Tulen, a dish found in Kelantan and Terengganu, is served with fried keropok, solok lada (made from minced fish stuffed into green chilli), spicy and sweet kerabu seafood, gravy and a choice of budu or sambal belacan.
In this dish, instead of hard boiled salted egg, they serve fried salted egg and gulai.
Nasi kerabu is tinted blue with natural food colouring from bunga telang (Asian pigeonwings) just like how it was done in the past.
Being a Kelantanese, I was excited to try both dishes as I wanted to know if they tasted as good as the ones back home. Both dishes surprised me and passed the test.
The Kari Ayam Kapitan Cina, a local Peranakan dish was simply lovely.
It was my first time trying it and I loved the combination of ingredients in the dish.
Peranakan curry, I learnt, has kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and nutmeg among its ingredients and it was fragrant and tasty.
The chicken curry is to be relished with a slice of toast.
I also tried their signature Master Dulang comprising nasi lemak kukus that comes with four different types of sambal, a half boiled egg, poached egg, boiled kangkung, cucumber, peanuts and fried anchovies as well as fried chicken and fried rice.
There are four distinct types of sambal such as sambal adek (sweet and non spicy), sambal tebaboh (extra spicy), sambal mambang (coconut milk based) and sambal la forfo (belacan based, spicy and has anchovies) to go with your meal.
Restoran Kukus Stim Habis co-owner Abdul Bari Hsiung said their fried chicken was marinated with ground coriander seeds, lemon pepper, garlic, salt, turmeric and chilli powder, and then fried with shallots, fried onion, dried chillies and kaffir lime leaves.
Other nasi lemak kukus sets are also available such as Peranakan chicken curry, Alakazam (smaller portion of Master Dulang) and Ekonomi (nasi lemak kukus without chicken).
I also enjoyed the Nyonya curry laksa which reminded me of the curry laksa I used to eat when I was living in Malacca.
The curry laksa is served with prawns, grated cucumber, fishcakes, boiled egg and daun kesum as well as sambal belacan on the side.
“Many young restaurant owners, these days, prefer serving Western food. The traditional way of preparing local delicacies is disappearing.
“We want this to be a place for the younger generation to get to know local cuisine,” said Abdul Bari.
The restaurant, he said, used 100% basmati rice, which is steamed three times to give it a nice fluffiness.
RESTORAN KUKUS STIM HABIS, 26, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-7731 3559) Business hours: 7am to 10pm, daily.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.