In case you haven’t heard it yet, Rail Canteen in Kota Damansara is operated by a family member of the original Kluang Station kopitiam founder in Kluang Railway Station (where else?). A coffeeshop business that’s founded by Lim Luan Hee who hailed from Hainan and started in 1938, there are currently 3 outlets in Kluang. Rail Canteen is its first outlet out of Kluang and it’s managed by a 4th generation member of the Lim family. The contemporary and simple modern decor is comfortable and laid-back, kinda reminiscent of the original canteen in Kluang.
Food recipes and ingredients are mostly from the central kitchen of the original kopitiam in Kluang. No compromise is allowed as far as letting us Klang Valley folks enjoy the delicious Kluang heritage. Imagine, the sock is still used to sieve the coffee beans in their traditional way of preparing coffee. Most of the dishes on the menu are familiar to Malaysians, food that I’ve eaten from childhood days.
I like most of the food and drinks in Rail Canteen but if I have to list the top 5 items, here they are:
1. NASI LEMAK WITH AYAM GORENG BEREMPAH (RM12.50)
Malaysia’s favourite all-day-dining meal and Rail Canteen’s version is top notch. I even daresay it tops that of Village Park’s, which quite often has been labelled the benchmark for good nasi lemak here in the Klang Valley. The fluffy rice is fragrant from the coconut milk and pandan leaves used and the ikan bilis & groundnuts are freshly fried, hence the crunchiness.
You can choose to have the nasi lemak with several types of chicken dishes – ayam goreng, ayam masak merah, ayam rendang or ayam goreng berempah. The best is the ayam goreng berempah with the golden crispy skin and splendid spice-marinated tender juicy meat beneath. Do ask for the spicy crumblings from this fried chicken – it’s really good.
Now, for the sambal, Rail Canteen offers not one but 5 different types to go with the nasi lemak. It’ll be hard to choose from these: sambal ikan bilis (anchovies), sambal udang (shrimps), sambal sotong (squids), sambal kerang (cockles) and sambal bawang (onions). Well, the best thing is that you can ask for all 5!
Plain Nasi Lemak is RM6.50.
2. MEEHOON SIAM (RM6.50)
It’s a simple Fried Meehoon Siam, topped with shredded lettuce, omelette, fried shallots and sides of boiled egg, sliced cucumber, sambal and lime. Do squeeze in that slice of lime – it definitely enhances the spice mix used in the fried rice noodles. It’s a comforting plate of fried noodles with flavours that are nicely balanced and downright appetising.
3. RENDANG KAMBING (RM9)
The recipe for this dish is a closely-guarded family heritage. In fact, I was told the spice composition is prepared in Kluang itself and brought here on a regular basis. The mutton pieces are a mixture of meaty and boney cuts which adds on the pleasure of eating this dish. Have the Rending Kambing with any of the mains like nasi lemak, mee kari, meehoon siam or just with a couple of toasts.
4. BUN SAMBAL SPECIAL (RM4.50)
Besides the toast or toasted bun with butter and kaya, Rail Canteen’s Bun Sambal Special is unique and scrumptious. Sambal ikan bilis, sliced boiled egg and shredded cucumber are sandwiched between the soft bun with a nice crisp toasted top. It has to be eaten while still warm and just wait for the burst of delightful flavours.
5. KOPI AIS
It’s a fact that the Kluang Railway Station kopitiam in Kluang built its business on its core item: kopi (as how the locals call “coffee”). Kopi is served in various ways here and prices range between RM2.90 to RM3.80. My favourite is the tall glass of Kopi Ais (Iced Coffee). The caramelly, slightly nutty and full-bodied profile of this coffee is enough to lift my mood any time.
Those are my 5 favourite items in Rail Canteen but that doesn’t limit me to their other items. Their Mee Kari and Hainanese Chicken Chop are pretty decent too. To widen their offerings and perhaps to cater to the younger generation, there are desserts like Kopi Chendol Ais, 3-layer Ice Cream, Kopi Mousse Cake, Kopi Cream Puffs and Kopi Cheesecake – all at reasonable prices.
Unit D-GF-02 Sunway Nexis
Jalan PJU 5/2
Open: 8.00am till 10.00pm