I had a great evening at Kuala Lumpur's rustic Kampung Baru during my visit to KL for the Mega Fam programme 2015 hosted by Tourism Malaysia.
We were accompanied by Ms Jane Rai who is the Vice Chairman of KL Tour Guides Association. Jane is extremely knowledgeable about Kuala Lumpur and it's history. She has interesting snippets for every place in KL.
When I requested to try a good Ikan Bakar stall in KL for dinner, I am glad that Jane brought us to Kampung Baru (or New Village).
The sights and stories were fascinating, and the traditional Malay food was delicious.
Tradition and modernity co-existing at Kampung Baru.
Kampung Bahru is just a stone's throw from Kuala Lumpur City Centre.
The traditional Malay houses are set on stilts. This keeps the homes above flood waters and also the floor cooler.
In true kampung spirit, the village chief's name, home address and his personal handphone number are publicly displayed. (Pardon the poorly exposed picture.)
The village chief is easily accessible for any help or other matters regarding the village.
We walked around Kampung Bahru in the cool of the evening and caught some delicious Malay street cuisine as we went ;-D
I suggested eating ikan bakar and as most of us were hungry by then, Jane checked us in at Ikan Bakar Pak Long right away ;-D
There were lots of comfortable seats inside Pak Long Ikan Bakar.
There were dozens of pre-cooked Malay dishes laid out buffet style.
I love fresh vegetables and I can't resist the Malay style of cooking them. I loaded my plate to the brim with 5 different types of vegetables hehehe ;-D
Have you tried tempoyak or sambal durian?
It's fermented durian blended with different types of chili peppers and lime. So, we get a tangy, sweet, savoury and spicy paste with durian flavours.
Tempoyak is not for everyone, just as not everyone likes durian. Blending it with chili takes durian to another level of acquired taste that challenges both durian and chili lovers.
I like tempoyak but still love simple old sambal chili more ;-p
At the Ikan Bakar station, the fish were pre-cooked. There were Ikan Pari (Stingray), Pecel Lele (Catfish), Cencaru (Torpedo scad) etc
The staff put on the finishing touches with house blended sambal chili after the customers chose their fish.
I opted for my favourite, pecel lele. Admittedly, not the most photogenic dish but I love grilled catfish for it's soft moist sweet flesh which absorbs the savoury spicy sambal chili flavours well. (I didn't have to use the two accompanying small bowls of sambal chili sauce and kicap pedas or soy sauce with cut chili.)
After our scrumptious dinner, Jane took us for a walk around Kampung Bahru.
"Do you know the satay man who lives in ......." as the children's song from my childhood goes.
This is the street side satay man of Kampung Bahru selling Satay Padang.
We tried the chicken and beef satay.
Padang style satay is grilled drier than the Malaysia / Singapore way. The gooey smooth dipping sauce is peppery with spices and pepper but no peanuts unlike the Malaysia/ Singapore style.
After satay, we strolled along and checked out the many traditional Malay sweets at the shops. There are some hard to find desserts here at Kampung Bahru. Some of which I have never seen before.
We tried a few sweets and I was most impressed with this one.
This is glutinous rice cake, fried, then coated with gula Melaka (palm sugar) and topped with lightly fried sesame seeds.
Layers of sweetness with slight nuttiness and soft crunchiness.
Decadent but supremely irresistible ;-p
Next stop, the famed Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa or "International Nasi Lemak".
Mak Normi is the founder of Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa, one of the KL's best loved nasi lemak stalls.
Mak Normi started selling nasi lemak right after the 1970 KL Big Flood, to support her family. The flood water nearly reached the roof of the homes. She started by selling nasi lemak from her family home in Kampung Bahru.
Office workers from the area would packet nasi lemak from her. Mak Normi's nasi lemak was an instant hit.
She then started to sell nasi lemak from a stall set up right in front of her home, which remains to this day.
We asked Mak Normi how the name "Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa" came about? She replied that from the begin, she had many customers from all local and international communities living in KL. So, she decided to call the stall "International Nasi Lemak".
Today, Mak Normi is a celebrity with fans from KL and around the world.
See that pot of sambal chili on the left? That's Mak Normi's signature savoury spicy sweet chili sauce.
Beef rendang at Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa.
Anthony Bourdain once said that "char kway teow is the tastiest ugliest looking mess". He is right and to that, I might also add beef rendang.
After tasting many beef rendang, I came to the conclusion that the uglier the rendang looks, the better the taste.
Inside that dark brown, almost black mess, every fibre is deeply infused with spices and herbs. Biting into a piece of good beef rendang is like biting into a sponge saturated with perfume.
Many people are big fans of Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa's sambal sotong. I can understand why, just from the looks of it.
Nasi Lemak CT Garden.
Another nasi lemak shop which I want to try again soon. Ate here more than 10 years ago and it was great at that time.
I shall be back to Kampung Baru as there are so many more tasty things I want to try here.
If you are a foodie visiting KL, you must make some time to take a walk around Kampung Bahru and try some of the delicious Malay food here.
If you didn't, you ought to regret it when you get home ;-D
Address: Jalan Raja Muda Musa, Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
GPS: 3.162395, 101.703354
Date visited: 12 Mar 2015
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