Saturday, February 13, 2010

Restoran SS2 Murni / Kuala Lumpur

I'm back in KL for the Chinese New Year holidays, yippee! With food typically going over the top to usher in the Year of the Tiger, hear my belly roar!

Tonight was a first at Restoran SS2 Murni in SS2. Be kind, in KL culture I know this means I haven't lived till now. For those that are not native KLites, this is well and truly one snazzy jewel in the crown of Mamak-dom. Mamak being the local term for Malaysian street food where all Malaysian cuisines come together, usually an extremely basic, sweaty, noisy and often open-air environment. Despite its chaotic surroundings, this is very much a destination venue for those in the street food know.

Mamak menus don't tend to vary tremendously, so typically you just have to know your dishes. Like going down to your local boozer, you already know your poison without a menu. So when you feel like you need one, you know it's a little different. This was also a glaringly obvious example of how long I've been living away from home. The food has evolved far beyond the good ol' mixture of Malay, Indian and Chinese, it's now incorporating cuisines of further-flung origins. For example, the guy in charge of roti canai was making something resembling a calzone! I swear it was a tandoori-filled calzone.

Surfing through other Malaysian sites, I find other examples of these mad concoctions like Roti Hawaii or Cheese Naan (served with Condensed Milk!).

Though very tempted to try these exotic creations, I returned to my own stubborn rule that a place is best judged by a classic dish, so I chose the Nasi Lemak. Firstly because it's a staple that a mamak MUST get right, secondly because there were about 5 in the table across from me and it's blackened, caramelised chargrilled chicken leg was hollering my name out.

And oh, did this luscious siren get her victim. Chicken was fragrant from the pandan leaf that it was grilled with. Breaking the perfect fried egg to release it's yellow goo into the coconut rice was a deadly kiss. Finally the zappy sambal belacan cut through the creamy mixture. Super. Spicy. Harmony.

Aside from the alternative take on mamak food, Murni's is famous for these lurid-hued drinks that are both fascinating and scary. Essentially a fruit smoothie, fruit juice crushed with ice taken from a massive container looking like a small skip, and topped up with lychees, cubed jelly and fresh fruit pieces. I wanted to be brave and try the Ribena Special (Ribena syrup swirled in with other juices), but its bright punk purple colour put me off! My brother's tame looking Mango Special however, was actually wonderfully refreshing.

Whilst paying on the way out, the lady in charge handed us flyers for their new opening in Sunway. She said they are so popular they can't cater for the crowds and proudly mentioned the new place was air-conditioned. But what's a mamak without pespiring into your Maggi Mee Goreng? A super-fun and tasty find, I will definitely drop by again before the holiday is done.

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