There are days when I get cravings for things spicy and hot and this is usually after a spell of travelling overseas or after a long absence of indulging in curries. I’ve been having a spell of rich creamy stuff the past few weeks and the invitation to check out some Nasi Kandar specials in Cinnamon Coffee House at One World Hotel came very timely last week.
Now we all know that Penang is the mecca of Nasi Kandar as that’s where it all started. Back in the old days, peddlars of Nasi Kandar would go around with a pole (called “kandar”) balanced on their shoulders and from this hung 2 big containers, one on each end, of rice and curries. My early childhood memories in Ipoh include visions of this lean and sturdy Indian-Muslim vendor who went round the neighbourhood, on foot, with his nasi kandar, calling out “nasi kandar, mari mari!” Whenever we could afford it, I’d run up eagerly to him with my enamel plate and get a whopping plate of rice flooded with the hottest spiciest curry… I’d eat it with tears springing from my eyes but it would always be a meal that I relished very much, for days after.
The spices that go into the curries
For this whole month of April, Cinnamon Coffee House is offering some really delicious Nasi Kandar specialities in their Buffet Dinner. More than any other curries, I love their Curry Fish Head - it has all the spices and flavors balanced out perfectly. The curry is thick without being cloying as the tamarind in it adds a nice tangy touch to it.
Curry Fish Head
Sup Ayam Berempah
Although Nasi Minyak wis available, I preferred to have plain white rice which I flooded with ladles of the appetizing Fish Head Curry. In between, I took sips of the Sup Ayam Berempah which had been boiled with lots of spices. I found the soup a bit too thick – it’s good if taken on its own but when taken with the full range of Nasi Kandar specials, well, I found it a bit overwhelming.
The Sambal Udang and Telur Ikan Goreng were superb. Looking fiery with its thick red gravy, the prawns in the sambal were very fresh and the sambal gave a lot of heat… which can be agonizing on the tongue for some, but it’s a nice kind of agony. The fried fish roe is a must-have in a nasi kandar meal and the chefs have done a good job with this – the outsides were crunchy while the insides remain bouncy with its natural grainy texture.
Telur Ikan Goreng
I had some of the Rendang Kambing which had been cooked for several hours as the meat was tender and bursting with aromas of the spices it had been simmered in.
The dishes we previewed were just several samples which Chef Nasron and Chef Amar prepared. The full buffet will feature many more Nasi Kandar favourites like Chicken Briyani, Daging Masak Hitam, Vegetables Kurma, Telur Dadar, Mutton Curry, Sotong Masak Merah and Dalcha Satur, among others. Appetizers in the spread include Acar Rampai, Ikan Masin Gelama, Acar Merah as well as ulam ulaman.
Sayur Campur Kunyit
Pappadam for that crunchy bite!
Mouth-watering local desserts are also served at the dessert counter which include Kuih Talam Pandan, Kuih Lapis Merah Putih, Pulut Panggang, Kuih Cara Manis, Pulut Tai Tai, Talam Jagung, Kuih Talam Keladi, Bingka Ubi, Kuih Lapis Jagung, Pulut Inti, Kuih Seri Ayu, Bingka Roti, Kuih Lapis Hijau Putih, Kuih Seri Muka and freshly cut fruits.
Pulut Tai Tai
Kuih Lapis Merah Putih
The Nasi Kandar Specials are available for buffet dinner only, from 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm.
RM93 per adult; RM47 per child aged 4–12 years.
Left: Chef Nasron Kasiman; right: Chef Amar Abdul Rahim
For reservations, please call Cinnamon Coffee House at 03-7681 1157.
Cinnamon Coffee House
Lower Lobby, One World Hotel
Bandar Utama City Centre
47800 Petaling Jaya