The Hari Raya celebrations are winding down, even as we gear up to celebrate Hari Merdeka and Hari Malaysia across the country. In the spirit of 1Malaysia foodies everywhere, we’ve rounded up a list of 5 halal food places that you’ll need to try – and maybe plan a food trip along the way – with your kawans. Forget about fast food or fancy hotel buffets; we all know that the best food is often found off the beaten track. After all, good food should always be shared, right?
Lemang To’Ki (Facebook)
Are you like me, still drooling at the thought of lemang (glutinous rice cooked in bamboo) even after Hari Raya has come and gone? Situated along the Karak Highway is a nondescript restaurant that attracts loads of motorists, especially motorcycle convoys, to stop and enjoy the delicious dish that is the restaurant’s namesake. Known as Lemang To’Ki, this village-themed restaurant is a forty-minute drive away from the Gombak toll plaza, situation on the main to Bentong. Regular customers say the lemang there tastes great, as its creaminess and saltiness are well balance and goes perfectly with the rendang. The roasted chicken (known as ayam golek) and beef are also must-try items. On weekdays, the shop prepares at least 150 sticks of lemang; on weekends and public holidays, the number of sticks prepared multiplies due to high demand from passing motorists looking to fill their stomachs with delicious lemang and rendang. The restaurant is open daily (except on Mondays) from 7am to late at night, offering breakfast, lunch and a la carte dishes at night. The lemang is available until 5pm.
Kelantan Delights (Facebook | Website)
If you’re craving for some good Kelantanese food in the Klang Valley, Kelantan Delights should be one of your top choices. While the prices may be pricier than your average warung, the comfortable, traditional yet stylish environment at its outlets, excellent service, and huge portions of authentic Kelantanese food more than make up for it. Favourites include nasi dagang, nasi kerabu, ayam percik and laksam. One of the more unique dishes found here is the Nasi Tumpang, which is a traditional meal wrapped into a banana leaf roll. Within the roll, you will find alternating layers of rice and condiments, including serunding ayam (chicken floss), gulai ikan tongkol (a sort of fish curry) and sambal prawns. It has to be ordered in advance though, as limited quantities are produced each day.
Mohammad Chow Chinese Muslim Kitchen (Facebook | Website)
This little restaurant located in the midst of Damansara Perdana’s business center is easily overlooked, if not for its striking red façade with the bold signage. Its clean, simple and minimalist interior belies the array of dishes available on in its menu, where diners can choose over 10 different ways for chicken, beef, seafood, veggies, tofu, soups, noodles and rice to be cooked. The food served here is halal without lacking the oomph of traditional (non-halal) Penang Chinese cooking. No worries about bringing your Muslim friends here to try some delicious authentic Chinese cooking, as the restaurant is a Jakim-certified halal restaurant, and uses 100% halal ingredients. Vegetarians will also be glad to find that their menu offers vegetarian options, and the meat from most rice and noodle dishes can be omitted upon request. Dishes to try include the Ying Yong (Two Style) Kai Lan, buttermilk chicken, deep fried kerapu mango fish, fried rice, and yam basket with various fillings. The durian crepe is a crowd favourite too.
Restoran Bei Ping (Halal) Sdn Bhd (Facebook)
This unassuming little restaurant in Shah Alam’s industrial area looks like any other Chinese restaurant, but its hidden secret is that it is actually a Chinese Muslim eatery. Run by a Beijing-Malaysian couple, the restaurant serves delectably authentic Chinese food that is completely halal. The restaurant has received coverage from local Chinese dailies and visits from VIPs, as evidenced from the newspaper cuttings and photos proudly displayed on its wall for customers to see. It’s not surprising to see many Muslim families dining there in the evenings and on weekends. Customer favourites here include Peking duck, yam basket, yam duck, salted egg squid, spicy Szechuan tofu soup and the signature dessert – caramelised taro and sweet potatoes.
Restoran Al Andalus (Facebook)
If you’re craving for more exotic food, Restoran Al Andalus will be able to satisfy your hankering for Arabic, Moroccan and Lebanese cuisine, all at the same time and place. Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, tucked behind the Indonesian embassy, the restaurant offers delicious Mediterranean food at surprisingly affordable prices (considering its location). It has an open concept design, perfect for shisha sessions and football screenings, with a more comfortable air-conditioned interior dining area for those who prefer it. Some of its signature items in the menu include lamb mandi (tender lamb pieces served with rice), kebabs, and lamb khabssa. The food there is all halal, and they also serve a range of Barbican non-alcoholic fruit drinks that are highly popular among the diners. Al Andalus opens till late, making it a favourite for night owls and weekend crowds.