Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa

My wife had been talking quite a bit about Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa, but I had not heard of it and had no idea about its fame. She saw a signboard in Subang Jaya and waited for its opening, but it never did. One Sunday morning we decided to explore Kota Damansara for brunch, and our Garmin listed Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa as being in the vicinity.

Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa apparently originated humbly in Kampung Baru, KL. It has been around since 1973 and the parent shop caters for the night crowd, doing business from 6pm to 5 am. It has since grown and there are apparently some 12 outlets throughout the Klang Valley. Unlike the parent, the off-springs are normal day-time business establishments.

The Kota Damansara branch is a corner shop on Jalan PJU 5/10 on Dataran Sunway. It was very quiet when we got there. We were perhaps the 3rd occupied table that day. The place was tastefully furnished in green. The seats were comfortable. They had nice big pictures on the wall, including one of a queuing crowd at the parent shop.

The menu was totally local Malay fare. It looked very tempting with various combination of nasi lemak, extra toppings, snacks and local desserts.

We had nasi lemak with ayam masak merah,

... ayam goreng berempah,

... and rendang daging.

The rice was not aromatic - it lacked the flavor of santan. The sambal was sourish and did not taste right. The ikan bilis was soft and not crunchy. The accompanying meats were ordinary - not fantastic. I have tasted a lot more nasi lemak, even at road side stalls, that were more flavorful and authentic than this.

We had a side order of bergedel (a fried potato cutlet). It turned out to be a pathetically small piece of fried something that was totally tasteless.

We also ordered a serving of cucur udang (a kind of deep fried prawn pancake). That was good. They were fried in small pieces, came out piping hot and served with a chili sauce. They were delicious with nice pieces of prawn in them.

I was a little fascinated with the bottles of drinks that were placed on the tables. I did not know such drinks still exist. They brought back some memories. I remember when I was a young boy in my home town, we had locally bottled gassy drinks. Most times, we couldn't afford the more expensive F&N and had to resort to these cheaper drinks. They were not good. Still they were gassed and in those days, carbonated beverages were much sought after. I didn't know, in this day and age, people still produce and drink such stuffs.

I left Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa not at all impressed. Perhaps the parent shop serves better nasi lemak. But I am not prepared to drive all the way to Kampung Baru in the middle of the night just to see if does. I think the neighborhood road-side stalls would be better choices.

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