Friday, July 26, 2013

HIGH ON GRANNY'S FAVOURITES


*Continuation of our Buka Puasa reviews highlighting top five dishes from five hotel buffets


For a city born and bred gal like me whose roots are firmly entrenched in KL, I can only imagine the convivial atmosphere of a Malay kampong especially during the breaking of fast and festive Hari Raya celebrations. 

That's why I never passed up the invitation to buka puasa at The JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur. Set-up to mimic the vibrant atmosphere of a typical Malay kampung, the hotel's chefs work hard to replicate 108 of nenek’s (granny's) traditional recipes and some 30-odd modern interpretations for its annual buka puasa buffet throughout the holy month of Ramadhan.

After scouring the colourful collection of gerai – rustic wooden stalls where a wide assortment of goodies are laid out, our top 5 picks comprise:

1. Ikan Panggang

Grilled fish fans will be reeled in by the freshly barbecued selection of local fishes such as cencaru and kembung marinated in piquant spice paste. Enjoy these delicious offerings with dips of sambal belacan, black soya sauce with chilli or tamarind juice with sliced shallots and chilli.

In addition, there's a whole lamb roasted on a charcoal spit plus tandoori meats and seafood to please both young and old alike.
2. Satay 
A definite hit with many guests as the pots serving these meaty skewers were perpetually empty. The tender, flavourful chunks of beef were so scrumptious they barely need dipping into the ubiquitous peanut sauce. Those who eschew beef will find the chicken version equally outstanding.
3. Daging Salai Masak Lemak dengan Bachang
A distinctive dish that you should look out for is Daging Salai Masak Lemak dengan Bachang, a rich beef curry cooked with bachang or horse mango, a tropical mango-like fruit that tempers the coconut milk richness with its inherent tartness.

4. Sambal Udang dengan Petai
This is one dish that makes its presence 'smelt' due to the inclusion of pungent petai (stink beans). Their strong scent and unique flavour add a unique dimension to the fiery red, spicy prawn sambal, making it thoroughly enjoyable for those who relish this rustic delicacy.
5. Tepung Pelita
Another evergreen kuih that will delight sweet-toothed fans with its delicate green and white layers encased in square pandan leaf vessels. The jade-green rice flour mixture is coloured and scented with fragrant pandan leaves whilst the creamy coconut milk topping is slightly salted for contrast.
Tempe Goreng Bercili
Of course, granny's comforting selection isn't limited to just five. Notable favourites that hark back to hearth and home include sup ekor (oxtail soup), tempe goreng bercili (compressed fermented soya bean cakes stir-fried with chilli), rendang kerang (dry cockles curry), tongkeng ayam goreng (fried bishop's nose), ikan keli kuah lemak (catfish in turmeric and coconut milk gravy) and ayam masak merah (red curried chicken).
Ayam Masak Merah

Sup Ekor
Sweet endings range from freshly sliced fruits and bubur (legume porridges) to ais kacang and customary treats such as kuih bahulu (dainty sponge egg cakes) and wajik (steamed glutinous rice cakes with palm sugar).

Sticky but yummy Wajik

The JW Marriott Ramadhan buffet is priced at RM75++ at the Poolside and RM65++ at the 4th floor Starhill Conference Centre. For reservations, please
call +603-2719 8666.

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