I read about MaMa Nyonya Restaurant in Taman Molek on my blogger friend Jason's blog and through his kind introduction we were invited to dinner by Grace, the gracious owner of MaMa Nyonya.
The first thing that struck me about MaMa Nyonya was their Peranakan style decor. While I've seen this beautiful ornate style in Singapore, Malacca and Penang, this was the first time I've seen something like this in JB. It immediately gave me that warm and homely feeling (even though I am not Peranakan).
The few Peranakan friends that I have are all good cooks and are extremely proud of their culinary heritage. So I always approached Peranakan food with great anticipation and even greater expectations. I was delighted with my first dinner at MaMa Nyonya.
MaMa Nyonya has a unique way of ordering (besides the usual walk in customers who order items on the menu). Grace accepts telephone orders and prepares the food that you wish to have. It could be your favourites, something you remembered as a child or any Nyonya dish that you fancy. Just call Grace on her mobile at +6016-716-7190. For people unfamiliar with Nyonya dishes, Grace will graciously guide you along.
Grace who is passionate about cooking learnt the art of Nyonya cuisine from her Nyonya mother in law and MaMa Nyonya is named after her.
Today, we had a RM100 dinner for 4 adults complete with drinks and dessert (Nyonya snacks).
First up was MaMa Nyonya's popular Ayam Kapitan. Tender sweet chicken in a mildly spicy curry made with numerous herbs and spices.
Next up was the freshly made Roti Jala with chicken curry. Grace makes the Roti Jala from scratch only when there is an order, so they are extra crisp and we can taste the eggy flavour of fresh eggs.
The Roti Jala is eaten with a matching chicken curry. In MaMa Nyonya, Grace took extra care to make different curries to go with different dishes, exactly the same way it is done at home. This called for a lot more work and higher cost but to Grace, MaMa Nyonya is more than merely a business - MaMa Nyonya is dedicated to the preservation of fine Nyonya culinary heritage. So to Grace, mass produced, one curry for all dishes, is just not the Nyonya way.
Ayam Buah Keluak is a Must Try iconic Nyonya dish. This is something I will order whenever I am at a Nyonya restaurant.
Grace helped us dig out the fillings packed inside the Buah Keluak nuts.
It's amazing how much stuffing can be packed into those 3 black nuts. The taste of stuffing made with chicken, shrimp and rempah is very hard to describe. It was piquant, bitter sweet, and savoury - try it, it's an acquired taste but it's very often, love at first bite.
Nyonya spicy steam fish made with sea bass came shaped like a sail boat :) The delicately spicy, tangy gravy was refreshing and the tender fish was fresh. This lovely dish can also be made with Red Snapper, on request.
Grace was especially proud of this dish, which is her own creation. Made with thin slices of lotus roots, petai (stinky beans) and lightly stir fried with bits of dried shrimp and condiments. Ultra crunchy and loaded with savoury flavours.
After our sumptuous dinner, we settled down with coffee and savoured MaMa Nyonya's wide range of homemade Nyonya snacks.
Pulut Tatar or glutinous rice made with coconut milk and Bunga Terang which gave it the blue colour is dipped in sweet and savoury kaya... yum... yum.
Just look at those fresh coconut shreds and Gula Melaka in MaMa Nyonya's Kuih Ketayap. Makes me drool.
Oh... this is a glorious dessert made with pumpkin. I took a piece just to find out how it tastes and ended up eating another 4 or 5 pieces of this sweet and savoury treat on a full stomach. Greedy me even asked Grace to pack a few pieces for me to bring home :))
Yam cake loaded with the fragrance and flavour of fresh yam. Also served fried. This is one of MaMa Nyonya's hottest sellers.
Finally, we washed all that delicious food down with authentic Nyonya cendol. Everything was made with fresh ingredients from the coconut milk, to the red beans, to the pandan "worms". MaMa Nyonya uses pure gula Melaka with no cane sugar added.
All the above authentic homemade Nyonya dishes, Nyonya snacks and dessert, with drinks for 4 persons came to a very reasonable RM100.
MaMa Nyonya is a highly recommended Nyonya restaurant.
Restaurant name: MaMa Nyonya
Address: 8, Jalan Molek 1/28, Taman Molek, Johor Bahru
Hours: 11:00am to 8:00pm (Closed on Sunday. Dinners could be pre-arranged on Sunday by calling Grace on +6016-716-7190)
Non Halal - no pork, no lard served
Date visited: 26 Nov 2012