Fatimah Selera Kampung
They say Malaysia’s best Malay food is found in private kitchens. Consider Fatimah Selera Kampung your entrée to ‘mom-style’ Malay cuisine. Every dish on offer comes out of a home kitchen; the very casual, open-air restaurant is, after all, built onto the side of a private Kampung Baru home. Pakcik Nordin, Fatimah’s amiable proprietor, is happy to explain what’s on offer, but a point-and-shoot approach at the buffet-like display works well too.
It’s all good, but the fish dishes are Fatimah Selera’s brightest stars. Ikan kembung, a smallish fish with oily flesh that takes wonderfully to the grill, might on one day be served plain and crispy-skinned, with a dipping sauce of kecap Nikkomanis and chopped chilies on the side, or stuffed with a fragrant combination of grated coconut, turmeric, chilies, and lemongrass the next. For assam fish meaty chunks of a firm, white-fleshed variety stew in a sweet-and-sour, not too spicy chili gravy. Ikan bilis show up in a wonderful house ‘relish’ that changes daily; on our last visit it consisted of a mixture of fresh mild chilies, caramelised onions, and chopped fresh and pickled mustard greens.
The restaurant’s homey chicken curry sells out quickly for a reason, and the classic beef rendang is extravagantly spiced and wonderfully savoury, if a bit tough. Pecel jawa (blanched leafy greens, long beans, bean sprouts, cabbage, and nubs of deep-fried tofu topped with a peanut sauce made spicy or not, to order) makes for an excellent light lunch or a fine addition to a gluttonous repast, and mashed spuds fans won’t want to miss out on the pergedel, fat potato cakes dipped in egg and deep-fried.
Sweets lovers will want to save room for Fatimah Selera’s air jagung, a tower of shaved ice topped with corn and doused with condensed milk that forever changed my perception of that lowly vegetable as a never-for-dessert food. Robyn Eckhardt
Food 40 is our monthly, definitive guide for where to eat in the Klang Valley. No entry into the Food 40 has provided any Time Out team member with a free meal or other incentive. If you have eaten somewhere that you think should rank amongst KL's top 40, email us and we'll check it out: email@example.com.
5 Jalan Haji Yahya Sheikh Ahmad, Kampung Baru, KL.
Tel: 03 2692 1073
Opening times: Mon-Sat, 12noon-9pm
Child friendly: Yes
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