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RASHMI UDAY SINGH

If you visit Kuala Lumpur, don't forget to taste authentic Malay food at the popular Madame Kwan's

How come I missed out on this one? How come it took me so long to get to our hop-skip-and-jump-away neighbour Malaysia to give my taste buds a treat? And wow, what a treat! I instantly fall in love with the vibrant and luscious cuisine. It's an aromatic mix of Chinese, Peranakan and Indian food. Its key ingredients include shallots, ginger, garlic, chillies and turmeric that are usually blended using mortar and pestle. The technique is to first combine the wet ingredients and then fry them in oil before adding the dry ones (ground coriander, cumin, aniseed, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon). Rice (nasi) is a staple. And let me tell you the best part, not only will your taste buds sing in delight, your wallet will also do so. Should you be heading to Kuala Lumpur, then head to Madame Kwan's for authentic, well-priced Malay meal. I try hard to meet the 80-year-old Madame Kwans, but can't get an appointment. Maureen, her charming daughter-in-law and her son run two hugely successful restaurants named Madame Kwan's, one in Bangsar and the other in K.L.C.C. (the swankiest mall of the city). I get to eat at both. You can choose from a huge menu. There's the lip smacking Nasi Lemak, aromatic steamed coconut rice with chicken curry sambal, dried shrimp floss, cucumber and hardboiled egg and Beef Rendang, chunks of tender beef cooked in exotic herbs. But it's the fabulous Nasi Bojari - rice with Assam prawns, beef rending and chicken drumstick - that is truly heavenly. Malaysia is known for its street food and at Madame Kwan's you can sample "hawker favourites" too - from Otak Otak (fish paste grilled in banana leaf) to Curry laksa (noodles in curry soup with chicken, fresh prawns, beansprouts et al). Skip the Continental and Chinese and go for the interesting desserts...vanilla ice cream with shaved ice on a bed of corn and served with gula melaka. Don't forget to end with sweet potato, yam and sago cooked in a thick coconut milk, I love its name too, Bubur cha cha. Madame Kwan's, 65 Jin Telawi Tiger, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur or Level 4, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, call 6032284 or mail mdmkwans@tm.net.myDial 32511133 or mail us at Good Food Line, Metro Plus, The Hindu, Kasturi
Buildings, 859/860, Anna Salai,
Chennai - 600002 or e-mail to allmypets@sify.com

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