Flavours of Sarawak for buka puasa


A mouthwatering ‘Briyani Kambing’ with tender cuts of lamb for the Ramadan buffet dinner at Chatz Brasserie in Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur. - Photos MUHAMMAD SHARIL ROSLI/The Star

A mouthwatering ‘Briyani Kambing’ with tender cuts of lamb for the Ramadan buffet dinner at Chatz Brasserie in Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur. - Photos MUHAMMAD SHARIL ROSLI/The Star

ONE ingredient that will receive special attention this Ramadan at the Chatz Brasserie in Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur is wild ginger from Sarawak. Banquet sous chef Stewart Rajau calls it tepus (etlingera coccinea) and it is a must-have when it comes to making Ayam Pansuh Sarawak, a traditional Sarawakian dish cooked in bamboo stalk.

As it cannot be found at the local markets, it has to be sent by post with arrangements being made a week in advance for each delivery. The tepus stalks are frozen so they can keep for a month.

As head of this year’s Ramadan buffet theme, diners can expect to savour more flavours of Sarawak from Stewart who is of Iban and Bidayuh descent. From this spread, 25 dishes here, including the chicken pansuh, are his mother’s recipe.

There is bubur pedas, a spicy rice congee with pieces of beef tripe, cubed meat and carrots; quail rendang where the birds are deep-fried so that they will keep their shape during braising in rich coconut sauce; and the very popular mee kolok.

Ayam Pansuh Sarawak, featuring only the tender cuts of chicken thigh, is a crowd favourite. — Photos: MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/The Star
Ayam Pansuh Sarawak, featuring only the tender cuts of chicken thigh, is a crowd favourite. — Photos: MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/The Star

Another dish worth mentioning is the oxtail in a spicy tamarind sauce. Fall-off-the-bone tender, we were told that this is an in-house creation, inspired by the Melaka style of asam pedas dishes.

The recipe calls for a beefy Australian oxtail to be oven-steamed at 100 degrees for an hour before being braised in chillies, cinnamon, star anise, clove, cardamom and dried tamarind.

For the right level of sourness, Stewart recommends a ratio of 300g for every 1kg of meat.

Oxtail Asam Pedas is new to this year’s Ramadan buffet.
Oxtail Asam Pedas is new to this year’s Ramadan buffet.

Loyal diners of the hotel who remember Bossa Nova, the hotel’s Brazillian churrascaria, which has since closed, would be delighted to discover beef and lamb espetadas grilling near the roast leg of lamb counter.

Tender and juicy on the inside, slightly crusty on the outside, the skewered beef and lamb cuts are flavourful to the last bite.

For want of a bit of activity, there is a Chinese fondue corner offering a variety of stuffed vegetables, seafood and fish balls in three types of soup – tom yam, chicken and miso. The stuffing is made up of minced chicken, carrots and onions, so be sure to let it boil for at least four minutes.

An array of Malay kuih for the Ramadan buffet dinner.
An array of Malay kuih for the Ramadan buffet dinner.

As a thirst quencher, look for that pitcher of iced palm nectar and young coconut flesh and sip it while waiting your turn at the apam balik stall. Wildly popular with a long queue, diners can have their choice of fillings of chocolate flakes, creamed corn or peanut butter.

From observation, the apam balik chef is very obliging. We saw him run into the kitchen for a cup of shredded cheese just so he could please a diner who wanted hers with that filling.

The buffet is priced at RM138 nett for adults and RM69 nett for children. Diners can get 20% off if they show up with a flyer available at the hotel lobby.

The Ramadan buffet is on until June 4.

Chatz Brasserie, Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur Jalan Sultan Ismail Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2782 8301) Business hours: 6.30am to 10.30pm, daily.

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