Friday, 31 December 2010

Christmas 2010 in Taiping

This year, the family decided to go to Taiping for Christmas. Taiping, if you are not aware, is the town of "eternal peace". Peace and quiet was what we were looking for so we all agreed to head north this year. Another compelling reason (and also the main reason for Gd, Ros and myself ;-) was the famed Taiping food. We were keen to try the Taiping popiah (vegetable roll), cendol (a sweet dessert drink using palm sugar), char kuey teow (fried flat rice noodles) and chee cheong fan (flat rice noodles in a sweet or spicy sauce). Well we managed to try all except the chee cheong fan and all were pretty good.

From our 3 days in Taiping, worth a mention were:-
  • The popiah from the stall at the Peace Hotel which we found to be better than the one from the famous Taiping Ais Kacang shop.
  • The Bismillah cendol was a little too sweet for us and we preferred the Ansari one instead which although less sweet, had a better overall taste. The Bismillah red beans also had a distinct burnt smell
  • Restoran 8383 at Pokok Assam. Ros and myself had been here once before in 2007 with some friends from Taiping and we were keen to return to try more dishes. From my notes (yes, I do keep notes about the food places I have visited J) their signature dishes were a fried kerapu fish in a type of curry sauce and a chicken in tauchu (fermented soy bean) sauce with chili padi. Look out for the full review in a separate posting.
  • Xin Seafood Restaurant at Kuala Sepetang (Port Weld). Where else could you get fresh seafood – straight off the fishing boats ? Everything was super fresh – crabs, fish, prawns and squids. We'll post on this place separately too.
    Taiping was indeed a good break for us. Special mention to our eldest brother Joe who made the rounds to ta-pau (pack) most of the hawker food we tried.
    Finally, thanks for following us in 2010. Look out for more updates in 2011 and do keep the feedback coming.

    Saturday, 27 November 2010

    Restoran Siaw Kah Kampung Ayam Sup Pedas

    The title above is the actual name of the restaurant. That's bad grammar in both English and Malay. Perhaps its a direct translation from Mandarin ?
    This place actually appearred on Ho Chak some years ago. That may explain the slightly higher pricing. However their competitor, Ah Hee Hot Soup (located in the block behind their restaurant) also appeared on Ho Chak last month. That could mean that Ah Hee's prices are going up too?

    Now we've been coming to this place for many years and we're pretty familiar with their fare. Here's some of our favorites:-
    1. The hot pepper soup (of course)
    You can have the hot soup with chicken, pork, mixed pork and chicken and also with various pork offal (intestines, stomach, ears etc). We like it with the pork and offal. The soup here is really pungent from the pepper and ginger. The addition of  celery leaves (yes, the leaves and not the stalks - also known as daun sup or daun saderi) adds another level of flavour. This is our benchmark for hot soup in Kajang. Great for a cold rainy day.
    Verdict : Excellent
    2. Fa diu kai (Chinese wine chicken in claypot)
    Another must have at this restaurant. The chicken is coated in a layer of thick sweetish soy sauce. The Chinese wine is not apparent in the taste but gives the dish a very nice aroma.
    Verdict : Excellent
    3. Oil Steamed Tilapia
    A supremely simple dish that is done very well here. The fresh tilapia is steamed and then topped with a simple oil and soy sauce.
    Verdict : Excellent
    4. Stir fried cabbage with dried prawns and chilli padi
    Another simple dish done very well. This is a great choice for a vegetable dish here.
    5. Braised pork belly with preserved vegetable
    This was recommended by boss. The texture suggested it had been braised for a suitably long time. However taste wise, I suggested that my mother-in-law's version of this dish was better. That brought a smile to her face (and earned me some brownie points too, I'm sure). I'll be getting a larger portion the next time she cooks this dish !

    Other dishes worth trying here are the sei tai tin wong (four vegetables in sambal), otak-otak (either steamed or fried and the usual fresh greens. This is certainly our recommended place for hot pepper soup in Kajang. It may even be a contender for a place on our Top 10 restaurants list, although their limited menu holds them down.

    Location : No. 278, Jalan Berjaya 8, Taman Berjaya, Sungai Chua, Kajang

    Monday, 8 November 2010

    Tian Xian Seafood Restaurant (CLOSED)

    Gone but not forgotten.
    One disadvantage for our team is that none of us reads Chinese. So we tend to miss out on places reported in the Chinese press. And if the newspaper and magazine reports pasted on the walls are anything to go by, then Tian Xian has received it's fair share of publicity in the Chinese print press. We on the other hand have Uncle Goh, an eminent Kajang foodie (and a friend of our Dad actually) to thank for pointing us in the direction of Tian Xian. The restaurant has been open for more than a year now but this was our first visit.

    We were informed that the see tau poh (lady boss) here used to work at the legendary but now defunct Tai Wah Restaurant. And a few of the latter's signature dishes have been recreated here. The chef is the see tau poh's brother and he's an award winning Chinese chef in his own right too. Here's what we had:-

    We were recommended the fish in a claypot. It turned out to be fried red garoupa pieces which were then braised in a claypot with taufoo, green beans and, lettuce and mushrooms. This would have made an excellent one-dish meal and the tasty gravy goes very well with plain rice. Excellent dish but a tad expensive at RM52.

    Uncle Goh had recommended the roti babi (fried minced pork in bread). This was a signature dish of Tai Wah and it's pretty hard to find these days – Yut Kee in KL being one of the few places you can find this dish nowadays. The version here took us back 30 years to the Tai Wah days – it's that good. Highly recommended.

    Using the same tasty minced pork filling, but with a crispy fried outer layer was the 'Vietnamese spring roll'. It came topped with some mayonnaise and ebiko (fish roe) which was not quite necessary. The rolls were good with the accompanying sweet chilli sauce.

    For our vegetable dish, we chose the unusual combination of pumpkin and bitter gourd. Thin slices of these were stir-fried with abalone mushroom and wolfberries. The pumpkin and bitter gourd remained nice and crunchy. Well executed and worthy of a recommendation.

    The see tau poh advised that they have retained some other signature dishes from the Tai Wah days – a 'cold dish', spring rolls, fried rice, noodles etc. That's reason enough for another visit in the near future. We can't wait.

    Location : No 82 Jalan 1 / 2, Seksyen 1, Bandar Teknologi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor
    Contact : 012-2728889


    Tuesday, 2 November 2010

    Bukit Mewah Restaurant

    We just realized after we published our Top 10 Best Restaurants list that we have not posted a review of this place. That's a mortal sin for a place that we frequent on a pretty regular basis in Kajang. Our apologies for our tardiness, but better late than never. Since we've tried most of their dishes over the years, we'll stick to their specialties and also our favorites.
    Their signature dish, and one for which they were featured on the Ho Chak TV show, is the lotus leaf wrapped fried tilapia fish. A deep fried tilapia fish is smothered in a hot spicy sauce with lots of onions and wrapped in a lotus leaf. The lotus leaf imparts a wonderful aroma to the dish. 

    A definite 'must-try' here. Make sure you squeeze the calamansi lime on the fish before eating for an added tangy taste.

    The lotus root fried in a batter with century egg is pretty good here, although we have had it a little soggy once. The century egg adds a salty and tasty dimension to the plain tasting lotus root. Cripsy on the outside and crunchy and juicy inside, it's a dish we would recommend here.

    The pai kuat (pork ribs) here comes in various popular varieties such as Guinness, marmite, cheese or plain fried. They allow you to choose 2 varieties of your choice to be served on a single dish. The Guinness and cheese varieties are worth a mention.

    Another signature dish is the fried special taufoo (soy bean block) topped with a minced meat sauce on a sizzling hot plate. It's just a jazzed up taufoo dish but done quite well.

    Vegetable dishes are generally well executed here and these include the baby French beans with garlic and the sei tai tin wong or four beans in a spicy sambal.

    Standards have dropped a little of late (new chef?) but the place is still pretty crowded, especially on weekends.

    Location : Taman Restu, Off Jalan Semenyih, Kajang


    Friday, 22 October 2010

    Restoran Sup Ketin UK @Section 7, Bandar Baru Bangi (BBB)

    I find it rather strange, writing about this place as it happend by chance, that I found it. I was hungry, driving around in Bandar Baru Bangi Section 7 (closer to Sg. Chua) when I noticed the crowd in this shop - so I went to investigate. My first experience was a ta'pau - after choosing from the spread layed out. I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome of that packed soup and swore to go back for more.
    Delicious! Notice the ox-tail in the soup

    My 2nd and 3rd outing here was with friends and they too gave thumbs up to the beef soup here. The use of celery gives the soup a very nice flavour, different from other offerings. This is how it works, you go up to their counter - select the various 'parts' available, they mix it up in a bowl and add the brewed soup and some chillies if you want it spicy and serve it to you. It goes with rice.

    The selection counter - a good spread
    I would have prefered some sliced french loafs to go with this soup, it would have made an excellant offering. I must suggest to them next time I am there.

    Simply Delicious!
    No doubt, the soup is simply delicious - you just have to try it. I had two friends who were hesitant to try it on the first time, but ended up giving it a thumbs up after trying it.

    The other interesting thing here is the number of satay they sell. We just had to try it - chicken and beef. Chicken was ok, but the beef was exceptionally good. Well marinated and tender, much like Malaysia Restaurant (in our shoot-out). No wonder they were selling in large volume - and they acquired another shop across the street to cater for the satay lovers in Bangi.

    Now according to another blog I read, the owner used to sell watches in Chow Kit area, before embarking in this business. Originally from Terangganu - he brought with him the east-coast taste to the offering. Each bowl of goodness cost RM6 - RM8 depending on what goes in. It is said to be a very Kelantanese type of cooking. Somehow, the Kelantanese always get food right, I have noticed.

    Fish Head Noodles @Sri Kembangan

    I've been wanting to write about this fish head noodles for some time now. Located just behind the famous Hee Lai Ton Restaurant at Taman Muhibah in Sri Kembangan, it's a normal corner lot coffee-shop place.
    An unassuming coffee-shop
    Restoran Hing Fatt serves about the best tasting fish head noodles in town. I was told that these guys are under the same ownership as the famous one in Taman Desa, off Old Klang Road. The uniform is the same and the taste is the same too. I was also told on weekends, you have to queue up to get your serving. My favorite time is weekdays, late morning or early lunch here, normally with my partner in crime.

    Mouth watering serving, in milky soup, just how I like it
    There are 2 choices for your serving, either the fried fish head or the fish paste. I always prefer the fish head - being able to nibble and extracting the goodness from the bones. The soup is very tasty and the fish head comes with ample flesh to nibble on. You may also call the fish paste as a side order, served in a bowl of soup.

    Fried fish head served in bee hoon soup
    My partner in crime prefers the chunky fish paste - so that he doesn't have to waste time nibbling on the fried fish or feel short changed on the wasted bones - so he says. Anyway, we all have our personal preferences and both taste equally good.
    No nibbling or extraction needed, just bite on it!
    The noodle is served with home made chili sauce and 'limau kasturi' (calamansi lime) for a blend of hot and sour taste. This certainly adds a kick to the overall serving. It must be consumed hot and spicy and while the sweat is pouring down. I would recommend a nice tall glass of Kopi-si-peng (iced coffee) to cool down the burning tongue. They make lovely Hainanese traditional coffee-shop type coffee here. A must have!

    This is the best fish head noodles south of Kuala Lumpur that I have tasted, on par (cause they are related) with the Taman Desa Fish Head Noodles, and less crowded (on weekdays that is). Ample parking is available around the shop.

    Thursday, 21 October 2010

    Kajangfood’s Top 10 Best Restaurants in South Klang Valley

    It's the First Anniversary of our Kajangfood blog. It's been a year of exploring (burp!) and documenting (burp!) some of the best food in South Klang Valley. From Cheras to Broga, from Puchong to Dengkil, we've scoured the countryside for the best eating places we have heard about. Thanks to our readers and friends for all the suggestions and feedback. In return, we'd like to share with you our updated Top 10 list of best restaurants in this part of the world. Our criteria for selection is pretty simple; consistent good food, reasonable prices and popular with the locals. With the exception of the satay and bak kut teh (pork rib soup) places, the rest are restaurants with a full a-la carte menu.
    1. Satay Kajang Haji Samuri
      Haji Samuri topped our Ultimate Best Kajang Satay Shoot-Out. With a pretty good chicken satay and a decent beef satay, it's easy to understand why they have been so successful not only in Kajang, but also expanding nationwide. Their peanut sauce sets them apart from the others – their well balanced (spicy and flavorful) is one of the best.
      2. Restoran Wan Fatt
        There's no change with Wan Fatt, they're still churning out good food at reasonable prices. Their signature steamed fish and lor mee are worth special mention. Well worthy of their mention in the Ho Chak TV show.

        3. Restoran Sing Kee (New Entry)

        If you've been following our blog, this new entry to the Top 10 would come as no surprise. We've been singing their praises since we found them in Bandar Teknologi (after they moved there from Semenyih). Their ginger steamed wan yee (fresh water fish) is about the best we have had, and their pork with yam is also outstanding.
        4. Fook Loy Restaurant
        One of our regular eating spots. We keep returning for their claypot braised dishes (chicken, duck and even terrapin occasionally). Also worthy of mention is their signature dish of tomyam style prawn served in a coconut. 

        5. Restoran 52

        Our favorite restaurant in Semenyih, their signature dish – Guinness pork ribs - is a sweet and sticky success. I particularly like their spinach soup with century egg and fish finger slices. 

        6. Seatown Seafood Restaurant (New Entry)

        A rather obscure and little known restaurant on Jalan Reko, we keep going back for their shark curry. The curry beats most Indian restaurants flat – which is the greatest compliment for a Chinese chef. They are also generous with their petai. Just try the stir fried petai with prawns. A new entry to the Top 10, we're still exploring their offerings.
        7. Ming Kee Restaurant

        Another of our regular eating spots. A must-have here is the best braised eight treasure duck which has to be pre-ordered. Not many restaurants still have this hard to prepare dish. Also good here is the butter fried tilapia fish – crunchy to the last bone !
        8. Balakong BKT & steam fish (New Entry)

        This is actually a bak kut teh restaurant and a limited a-la carte menu. However it serves what in our opinion is the best steamed fish head in the Klang Valley – even better than the famous Chan Sow Lin restaurants. The pork leg is another must have here. The bak kut teh is not particularly outstanding though. I just realised we have not

        9. Bukit Mewah Restaurant

        This is another Kajang restaurant that's been featured on the Ho Chak TV show. Their signature dish is the lotus leaf wrapped fried tilapia and fish head curry. We haven't tried the curry as it did not look too interesting but the lotus leaf wrapped fish is a must-have here. Prices are pretty reasonable too.
        10. Restoran Soong Kee

        A popular restaurant in Kg Baru Sri Kembangan, we haven't got down to doing a proper review of this place yet. Their signature boneless fish and steamed kampong chicken are the draws here. Look out for a review soon.

        So there you have it. Some places have dropped out of the Top 10 due to dwindling standards or rising prices. That's the nature of the food business, whats up this year may be down next year. So do keep visiting our blog for the latest updates. We'll try our best to keep you updated (Buuuurrrpppppp!!!).


        Monday, 18 October 2010

        Restoran One One Three, Dengkil

        Gd and myself have eaten at Restoran One One Three in Dengkil several times and it's become our regular joint if we need to go down to KLIA or LCCT to pick up or send anyone at these airports. Located just before Dengkil town as you come from Putrajaya, it's popular with students from Putrajaya and Cyberjaya and also local Dengkil folks too. Don't be put off by the signboard outside highlighting various expensive types of seafood (empurau, umur-umur, sultan and bamboo fish), they have dishes to suit all budgets. We've seen many tables with crabs here, so it must be popular here. We haven't tried the crabs though, but here's what we have tried:-

        Steamed tilapia fish in cheong-cheng (spicy chilli) style
        The sauce was suitably thick and pungent from the use of lots of chillies. Slightly sweet as well from the use of sugar to counter the heat, the gravy is great when eaten with rice. Fried pork lard pieces (chee yau char) lent a wonderful aroma to the gravy. The fish was fresh and firm and steamed to perfection. This was a well executed dish.

        Tung po meat with fried buns
        One of their signature dishes, the very fatty pieces of pork (fat content was more than 50%!) are slow braised in a sweet sauce until soft and tender. Split open the accompanying fried buns, insert the meat and it's a truly sinful and decadent sandwich treat. It's really nice but we'd think twice before ordering again in the near future due to the high fat content. 
        Baby French beans stir fried with garlic
        Crunchy baby French beans quickly stir fried with some garlic. Simple and nice. Very good.
        Special taufoo with minced meat
        Another of their signature dishes. A soft rectangular piece of fried taufoo topped with a tasty minced meat sauce. Very good.

        The expensive fishes look interesting – we may give it a try sometime soon. Look out for more reviews in future.

        Location : No 1, Taman Sri Dengkil, Jalan Air Hitam, 43800 Dengkil, Selangor
        Contact : 017-660 0113 or 012-626 8961

        Thursday, 14 October 2010

        Loi Fatt Restaurant, Cheras

        Last month we visited Loi Fatt Baru and promised to return and do a review of the other Loi Fatt, operated by the former's brother. Loi Fatt is actually the original restaurant and we were keen to learn if they were any better than the 'baru' place next door.
        Strangely, the owner and chef was also on hand during our visit to take our order and make recommendations (just like the other place earlier). It was supposed to be a celebration for Ros' birthday and we wanted to have some crabs. Unfortunately we were told that they did not get their supply of crabs, so we were left crab-less! He did however recommend the steamed tilapia fish in a Nyonya style.
        We were pleasantly surprised to find the dish loaded with vegetables like brinjals, ladies fingers, tomatoes, long beans and onions. It would have made an excellent one-dish meal. Considering that there were only 5 of us, they did give us a rather large fish and we found it difficult to finish the fish. The gravy was tasty but lacked the spiciness and sourness typical of a good Nyonya dish. RM35.00 for this dish.
        The chef advised that they had fresh water prawns and suggested their speciality – prawns prepared in 2 styles. But we were not in the mood for too much prawns again so we opted for sang har meen. A type of sang meen was used which absorbed the prawn gravy very well. Some of the medium sized prawns had roe, which added another taste dimension and a pinkish tinge to the gravy. It was a pretty good dish but not quite as good as the Jalan Silang or Jalan Imbi sang har meen. RM60.00 for this dish with 4 medium sized prawns.
        The chef suggested the Hakka char yoke for the meat dish. This was pre-cooked and reached or table pretty fast. It was a little starchy and was not really memorable. My mother in-law makes a better version.
        The special taufoo with fish was very good. Crispy on the outside and soft and moist inside. It came with a tangy chilli sauce but was good enough to eat on it's own.
        For our vegetable dish, we had sweet potato leaves with fermented bean-curd. There was not much fermented bean gravy in the dish. It was OK only.

        Overall, we felt that the Baru's cooking and execution was slightly better than this place. But don't take our word for it. Try it yourselves and let us know what you think.

        Location : 168, 9th Mile Kg Baru Cheras, Kajang
        Contact : 03-90758035

        Wednesday, 13 October 2010

        Yap Chuan Bah Kut Teh Restaurant, Kg Baru Puchong Bt 14

        Now Yap Chuan is a restaurant that I have wanted to try for a long time. I heard about their 14 year old chef prodigy who created the 'dry' bah kut teh which has won over many bah kut teh connoisseurs. Truth be told, our previous attempts to go here for dinner were thwarted by some crisis or another.

        Well, Ros and myself finally managed a visit for brunch recently. Located pretty close to Kg Baru Puchong, this is an area known for good food – the famous Puchong Yong Tau Foo is located nearby, as well as many good 'tai chow' places.
        The normal BKT
        This being our first visit, we had to try their bah kut teh. The BKT was certainly up to mark – thick and quite flavorful and very much the Hokkien-Klang variety. Ros however commented that the soup did not have a strong herbal aroma – maybe less use of the aromatic 'dong quai' ? All the same, I would rate this as one of the best in South Klang Valley. RM9.00 for a single serving.
        The 'dry' BKT

        The dry version of the BKT came with thin slices of pork (both lean and fatty), intestines, offal, ears etc together with some ladies finger slices. Everything was sliced thinner than the normal BKT to suit the quick cooking method in the claypot. The result is a slightly sweet but very flavorful sauce coating all the ingredients. Very appetizing when eaten with rice. Very worthy of it's status as the signature dish of this restaurant. RM10 for a single serving.
        The otak-otak

        We ordered the steamed otak-otak. It was quite fresh with sufficient pieces of fish inside. However we found it a tad bland, compared to the Muar otak-otak which packs a spicier and bolder taste. This was not quite worth the asking price of RM13.00 per serving.
        The crunchy vegetable

        The salad (po li sang) vegetable was served blanched and crispy with a topping of garlic oil. A perfect accompaniment for the BKT. RM4.00 only for a small serving.

        Overall we were very happy with our visit and vowed to return for more. I heard their steamed tilapia fish is pretty good too.

        Location : 53, Jalan BPU 2, Bandar Puchong Utama, Selangor
        Contact : 012-674 4440
        GPS Coordinates : 2.994486,101.621094

        Saturday, 25 September 2010

        Porridge @ Restoran New Lucky (Sri Petaling)

        An ex-colleague of mine introduced me to the porridge stall at this corner kopitiam in Sri Petaling more than 10 years ago. I've been hooked ever since and keep going back for my fix when I have the chance to be in the area in the morning. I was there recently and the stall is still very much the same. 

        Fresh seafood and frogs are chopped up and put on ice every morning, for patrons to choose. There's ikan bawal putih, red fish, prawns and frogs. 
        My favorite is to mix the fish with prawns. It's RM13 for 1 person and comes with a medium sized prawn and lots of fish slices. There's actually enough for 2 persons. 

        The porridge is just the right consistency, watery enough to cook the seafood but not thick or starchy. It's pretty plain with just the addition of sliced ginger but has a slighty sweet taste from the fresh seafood. If you are lucky enough to get prawns with roe, it will lend a pinkish tinge to the porridge.

        I must admit that I've never tried the frog porridge as I do not fancy the taste of frog without a strong accompanying sauce (kung po sauce would be ideal). The ikan bawal putih though is especially sweet with the plain porridge.

        Breakfast is a better bet than lunch time and weekdays are better than weekends. On busy weekends, be prepared for a waiting time of more than 1 hour! The good news is that there's lots of other food stalls in the kopitiam to satisfy your hunger whilst waiting for the porridge. One worth mentioning is the you tiao (yau char kwai) stall located at the front of the kpoitiam. What better accompaniment for a bowl of porridge than a freshly fried and crispy you tiao ? Bliss.

        Location : Jalan Radin Anum 1, 57000, Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur,

        Wednesday, 22 September 2010

        The best Bak Kut Teh in South Klang Valley ?

        We're on the prowl for the best BKT in the Southern part of Klang Valley. Whilst the West Klang Valley (Klang side) has hundreds of good BKT stalls, the choice in the south is very much less. Around Kajang, there are only a handful of BKT and not many worth mentioning.

        So we're on the lookout for good BKT - as far as Cheras, Sri Petaling, Puchong, Semenyih, Broga or even Nilai. If you've tried any good ones, do post your comment below. We'd really appreciate your feedback. It would give us an excuse to eat more BKT lah!

        Thursday, 16 September 2010

        The best satay in Kajang ?

        For those of you who have been following kajangfood.blogspot regularly would be waiting in anticipation for the results of our "Best Satay in Kajang shoot-out" held on 30th August. The article was posted earlier, but for some unknown reason, seems to have been deleted. So here we go again.

        Firstly, let's introduce the 4 shortlisted finalists who made it to the shoot-out:-

        Frontage - Restoran Malaysia
        The Satay Man
        The Service Team
        1. Malaysia Restaurant a.k.a. Nyok Lan Satay
          This is one of the most popular satay shops in Kajang and the only one that is Chinese owned. They've been around since we were kids and our parents actually knew Nyok Lan herself!

          The landmark Haji Samuri outlet at Bangunan Dato Nazir
        2. Haji Samuri
          Arguably the most popular in Kajang, they have outlets at the 2 Medan Satay in Kajang (one along Jalan Sulaiman opposite the KFC and the other behind the Town Hall). They also operate at the landmark Bangunan Dato Nazir building and have become almost synonymous with Kajang satay.

        3. Restoran Yus
          This is a relative newcomer and does not operate in Kajang town anymore. Their 2 outlets are located in Sungai Ramal Luar (just after Country Heights after coming off the PLUS highway) and at Bandar Baru Bangi. They have a good local following.

          The Medan Satay complex behind the Kajang Town Hall
        4. Sate Emas
          Now the last finalist was supposed to be Haji Tasmin, one of the pioneers of satay in Kajang (established in 1917), who used to have a stall at the Medan Satay. Unfortunately we found their stall No 7 had now been taken over by Haji Samuri. So we had to proceed with our next choice, which was Sate Emas, which has it's own local following. They also have another outlet at the Cheras Highway rest area.
        Serving from Satay A
        Serving from Satay B
        Serving from Satay C
        Serving from Satay D
        Next, the methodology of the shoot-out. We decided to restrict the comparison to only beef and chicken satay – arguably the most popular types of satay although mutton, rabbit, stomach (perut), fish and ostrich satay are found at many of the outlets. We packed the satay back home with just cucumber (and onion) and the kuah (sauce) packed and chilli sambal packed separately, if available. The 4 varieties of satay were then labeled A to D and the identities were known only to me and another helper (who did not participate in the judging). The kuah was served separately from the sambal so that the judges could add the sambal according to their personal preference. The satay was reheated on a grille (without fire) before serving. A form was also provided to the judges to jot down their observations on the appearance and taste of the satay and kuah. 
        Judge in deep thought....
        Judges in 'hot' discussion
        'Junior Judge' gives a thumbs up!
        A tickled judge.....
        The satay was served in 3 batches – 1st batch was just to satisfy everyone's hunger and get a basic idea about the 4 varieties. The 2nd and 3rd batches were the more critical and comparative rounds and the judges were seen trying the satay from one outlet with the sauce from other outlets too. Here's what the judges thought:-

        1. Malaysia Restaurant a.k.a. Nyok Lan Satay
          This restaurant easily won the Best Beef Satay award. Their beef satay was lean and chunky, well marinated and most importantly, was juicy and tender. Their chicken satay too was chunky and lean, perhaps the largest in terms of size. But chicken meat needs some fat content for taste, so theirs was not too popular with the judges who felt it was rather flat and uninteresting. The judges found the sauce to be too thick and sweet. Starch or some thickening agent had been used and it made the sauce too thick, especially when cold. The sambal kuah was added to individual taste, but did not help to counter the overly sweet sauce. The kuah was rather a let-down for them. They did however get extra points for providing onions with the cucumber. None of the other places provided onions – maybe a sign of the times with high onion prices ?

        2. Haji Samuri
          Haji Samuri had possibly the Best Chicken Satay in the shoot-out. The meat-fat-meat combination added more taste to the well marinated chicken satay. The fat also added some moisture whilst creating crispy charred bits, essential for a good stick of satay. Their beef satay was perhaps runner-up with well marinated meat, which remained quite juicy inside although not as tender as Malaysia Restaurant's. Their sauce was thick with sufficient ground peanuts, not overly sweet and with a fiery sambal to be added according to taste.

        3. Restoran Yus
          This was the only place that did not provide the chilli sambal separately from the peanut sauce. That did not stop them from having perhaps the Best Kuah in the shoot-out. The thick peanut sauce was well balanced with chillies to provide a thick, tasty and flavorful sauce. Their chicken satay was a close second to Haji Samuri, being well marinated and well grilled. The beef too was evenly grilled but that could not help it from being too tough. One of the judges commented that the meat could possibly be buffalo meat (kerbau) and not beef ?

        4. Sate Emas
          This last minute inclusion did not fare well against the competition. The meat was not evenly grilled causing one side to be charred and the other side not properly grilled. The meat was well marinated but had a strong lemongrass (serai) smell. Both the chicken and beef were rather dry with the beef being particularly tough. Gd commented that it was as tough as the sole of his shoe ?

        So after careful discussion and deliberation, our overall winner of the BEST SATAY IN KAJANG award would have to go to HAJI SAMURI ! They had the best chicken satay, a decent beef satay and a pretty good kuah. They pipped Malaysia Restaurant on the strength of their kuah and great chicken satay. The proliferation of Satay Kajang Haji Samuri restaurants not only in Kajang but to the all over the Klang Valley is testament to their popularity and consistent quality. They have also reportedly expanded operations to Seremban, Port Dickson, Ipoh and Kuching ? There's no doubt that they have carried the fame of Kajang satay all over Malaysia.

        Malaysia Restaurant on the other hand get our vote for Best Beef Satay. Aside from the shoot-out, we also packed some Mutton Satay from here as they are undisputedly the best place for mutton satay in Kajang. No need for a shoot-out for this category – take our word for it. Like the beef, their mutton is well marinated, juicy and tender. There is also no gamey smell to their mutton.

        Restoran Yus gets our recommendation as a good option on busy weekends when both Haji Samuri & Malaysia Restaurant tend to get very crowded. With their excellent kuah and well grilled satay, they are a serious contender for the crown in Kajang. If only they would upgrade from kerbau to lembu….

        Don't take our word for it – try them yourselves. Feedback is most welcome.

        1. Malaysia Restaurant – along Jalan Semenyih
        2. Haji Samuri – their flagship restaurant is at Bangunan Dato Nazir, across the road from the Kajang Police Station and beside the Kajang Stadium
        3. Restoran Yus – the Bandar Baru Bangi outlet is located along Persiaran Bangi connecting Jalan Reko with Banadar Baru Bangi
        4. Sate Emas – their outlet is located at the Medan Satay behind the Kajang Town Hall

        Odd Couple spotted on the garden swing!