It's Malaysian Mamak styled noodles, rice and parottas at Al Saj

Mamak is a style of cooking developed by Malaysia's Tamil Muslim population. Found in various nooks and corners in Malaysia, Mamak stalls and restaurants draws crowds for its good food at affordable prices. Bringing the denizens of the city a taste of Mamak cuisine is Al Saj Drive in Restaurant, Kazhakuttom.

It is 4.30 p.m. and Al Saj is already half full. The bearer leads us to a hut. While it is perfect for those who want to dine with just friends and family, the hut can be a little suffocating otherwise. Those who feel claustrophobic in small places should head to the air-conditioned restaurant.

Zesty flavours

We start our meal with Tom Yam seafood soup (Rs. 70), which had a right mix of spice and tanginess. One can taste the zesty flavour of lemon grass in the soup. Next, comes Mee goreng ayam (Rs. 80) and Nasi goreng seafood (Rs. 90). Instant noodles are boiled and then stir fried with sliced vegetables, chicken and a dash of spices and Chinese sauces in the Mee goreng, while the Nasi goreng (fried rice) has rice cooked with generous portions of seafood in a ‘curry paste-ish' marinade.

Various versions of the parotta, which is a favourite amongst most Malaysians, are also available at this festival. We order a Roti pisang (banana parotta) that has slices of ripe bananas folded into a square-shaped parotta. A smattering of sugar syrup is smeared on top, making this dish a dessert of sorts. Those not fond of bananas can try Roti Milo that has Milo (a popular Malaysian chocolate beverage) powder spread in between the parotta.

Other avatars of the parottas available include Roti Canai (Rs. 80), Roti Telur Bawang (Rs. 90) and Murtaba Ayam (Rs. 90). While Roti Canai is quite similar to our own Keralean parottas, Roti Telur Bawang has an onion omelette on top of a parotta and Murtaba Ayam has fine shreds of spiced chicken, onion and egg stuffed in a parotta.

For refreshments, the Lychee juice and Bubble shake are must tries. While the Lychee juice has pieces of lychee floating in the tall glass it is served in, the bubble shake has milk, an added flavouring and a scoop of ice cream mixed with black jelly-like tapioca balls. Bubble shake comes in different flavours such as green apple, champagne, strawberry, chocolate and butterscotch. The Al Saj Malaysian food festival is on till April 19 and is open in the evenings.

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