“Village Park” is well known for their nasi lamak, one of the most iconic dishes in the Malaysian cookbook. They are apparently one of the places that does it the best.
“Nasi Lemak” is a fragrant Malay dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf, so popular that it is often referred to as their national dish. So when in Malaysia for the first time, you bee line it to the place that does it the best. And according to the newspaper articles, the sea of people dining and waiting, and my host, this was the one to visit for the best Kuala Lumpur had to offer.
Apparently on this Sunday it was considered a slow day, whereas it is far busier on a weekday when the employees of neighbouring businesses join the crowd.
The heavy rain this morning wasn’t a deterrent for those eating out on their sidewalk patio or lingering around for a table of their own. The former just looked happy to be seated and able to eat, and the latter knew the wait in wet would be worth it. Although inside, the queue for a seat snaked around and in between the tables of those already served was long, and those in it impatient. We were lucky enough to grab a table for two just as it cleared. Though it is more often the case that you end up sharing a larger table meant for a larger group with your two. No one minds. This is the type of place where you eat and go. Service isn’t anything more than a taking your order, delivering your plate, then bussing it when you leave to pay at the counter.
You push through the entry way, past their hot food bar. They are in such high demand that everything is premade, but picked up so quickly that everything in their heated troughs see a limited wait time and a much quicker turn around. For those not willing or wanting to wait for a table, you can just as easy take out.
The chef at the fried chicken station was working with a constant chop, cutting down the blackened pieces of Malaysian style chicken to finish off each plate of Nasi Lemak with. He was doing this assembly style, bringing multiple plates to pass, without orders, knowing they would be requested for soon enough.
Naturally, we were one of the many that ordered this dish, and not surprising it was quick to come to our table. We added on some salted squid to have more to share between two. It was delicious. Despite its hue the chicken didn’t taste burnt. It was flavourful with Chinese spices and included an extremely crispy crunch. The various salty sides and the steamed white rice rounded out each bite of chicken nicely. Although I could have used some freshness on this all brown plate. Maybe some pickled vegetables, cucumber or carrots for balance?
Although we did get some vegetables in our curry dish. Potatoes, onions, green beans, and carrots with cubes of rice; all topped in a spicy peanut sauce. I liked the flavour of the sweeter curry, finding it enjoyable to sip from spoon as is. Although I wanted more from the dish textural. Everything on the plate was steamed or boiled soft, the peanut mix added some chew, but I wanted something more firm to sink my teeth into. The tender pieces of squid above would have been nice here, or even some slices of chicken, and maybe noodles instead of the cubes of rice? Although I acknowledge that the cubes were a clever way to remix rice into easy to eat bites.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
If the pushing and shoving of the crowd is any indication, this is definitely the one the locals recommend. So if visiting KL this is one place definitely worth trying. Just be sure to plan your day around a wait. Don’t deny your cravings.