‘A Taste of Chow Kit’ takes you on a delicious journey all over Malaysia in just one plate — Pictures by Choo Choy May
By Lee Khang Yi
Friday, 11 Nov 2022 8:57 AM MYT
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — When The Chow Kit opened its doors, many just thought of it as another boutique hotel but it very quickly gained a reputation… for its food.
I had the opportunity to sample a spread of dishes laid out buffet style at a friend’s baby full moon party. It was one of the most enjoyable meals I have eaten at a hotel.
That’s the thing about hotel food in general. It’s usually boring albeit well prepared by chefs trained at culinary schools.
But what struck me about The Chow Kit Kitchen & Bar was how genuine the food tasted; whether it was chicken chop with a sauce rich with fried onions, or their take on fish and chips that saw tandoori marinated fish paired with thick cut fries with a crisp bite followed by fluffiness.
Even their Sago Gula Melaka — a simple dessert — got us returning to the buffet line for seconds.
Sago Gula Melaka is reimagined with coconut ice cream and crunchy water chestnut
Fast forward to the present day and their menu has morphed into one that celebrates our rich Malaysian heritage.
You have a variety of platters — designed to give you the best of Malaysia — all in one meal. There are also chef specials that celebrate feasting whether it’s the magnificent Australian Pure Angus Tomahawk that is a whopping one and half kilogram, Chargrilled Tiger Prawns or a well prepared Ikan Bakar grilled with local spices.
The grilled whole fish (a choice of snapper or sea bass) is served with a salad that makes it a great choice for those on a keto diet. You can mix the dipping sauces to get various flavours. There’s tangy air asam, a touch of sweetness from the kicap chili or a dash of heat from the sambal merah.
Order the ‘ikan bakar’ from the chef’s specialties to relish the fresh fish with various dips and sauces
If you’re not sure what to get, go for “A Taste of Chow Kit.” The platter with nasi ulam, starters and seven various dishes will grandly feed two to three persons.
I think the platter is the perfect way to introduce a newbie to Malaysia’s rich food culture as you get to sample a little of everything.
Start with fried chicken wings given an umami boost from the use of nam yue or fermented bean curd or even begedil sumbat stuffed with minced potatoes and beef.
Get a healthy taste of the tangy ‘pegaga’ salad with sweet tasting grilled prawns
For those watching their waistlines, how about a tangy good-for-you Pegaga Salad jazzed up with sweet tasting grilled tiger prawns? There’s also a refreshing Kerabu Mangga with tender grilled squid. Vegetables like Terung Balado and Pucuk Paku can also be selected.
Even the humble nasi kandar is paid tribute to here with the Daging Hitam Manis. The sous vide meat is tender and flavourful from the gravy cooked in various spices. If your tongue seeks a tangy hit, there’s Ikan Assam Pedas with a thick gravy. For fried chicken lovers, the Ayam Kampung Emas is one that has sweet, tasty meat and a light golden crunch.
Relish the three layered dessert of Boko Ubi Kayu
When it comes to desserts, I cannot resist well executed local versions. What stood out was the “ugly delicious” Boko Ubi Kayu. It’s a triple layer dessert of happiness. Think bruleed top, followed by a smooth coconut milk custard and a sweet tapioca layer.
Remember the Sago Gula Melaka my friends and I loved? Well, their latest version has slightly chewy sago pearls with coconut ice cream drizzled with fragrant gula Melaka syrup. As you dig through the pudding, it hides a lovely surprise… crunchy water chestnuts!
Ube Seri Muka is all about a custard layer made with purple yam and a glutinous rice layer with coconut milk
It’s hard to get well-executed kuih nowadays and the Ube Seri Muka doesn’t disappoint. Here the dual layers meld beautifully — purple sweet yam that is soft as custard — with soft glutinous rice steamed with coconut milk.
The Chow Kit Kitchen & Bar, 1012, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. You can book a table at +603-27786688 or via WhatsApp at +6017-2567489.