Or at least, I thought so.
“What if they don’t like me?” I told CS.
“Why will they be?” he answered.
I rolled my eyes. “Haven’t you noticed, your wife is socially-challenged? I look arrogant when I don’t smile and when I smiled I looked sly. And the ability to start a conversation with strangers is certainly not my strongest point.”
“EVERYTHING is going to be alright, dear,” he assured me.
And with that assurance, he’s happy to drop me at the front of Sooka Sentral. It turned out, I was one of the lucky one to be dropped right in front of the entrance nearest to Kelantan Delight. With so many buildings, including KL Sentral, Le Meridien and Hilton Hotel surrounding it, getting lost in this maze is not impossible. Being early has its clause – I had more time to pile up on my nervousness. I chose to walk around, fiddling with my camera and taking way too many pictures.
Being named Kelantan Delights, it’s no surprise to find the restaurant emanating a Malay kampung feel, with the wooden interior, whitish simple curtains, some traditional ornaments and black and white pictures on the wall. I remember spotting an old sewing machine at its corner.
Soon, we are going to be seated on this long table for our very first Tastebuddies gathering, gulp….
It wasn’t long before all ‘buddies’ arrived, and soon we were presented with drinks and menu of the day.
I thought I have ample knowledge of Kelantan specialities but apparently, I still has a lot to learn. A glance at the menu, Nasi Tumpang, Lompat Tikam and Ketupat Sotong were foreign to me.
While being worried at the extensive menu (there’s four main plats), it was thoughtful of them to serve Honey Lemongrass, the perfect drink for such a warm weather with detox benefit. Just the right sweetness for me.
Before the ‘massacre’ begins, we were introduced to the
warriors main characters of Kelantan Delights and given brief introduction to Kelantanese food.
Appetizer : Tomyam Kelapa Muda. They arrived in pretty tequila glass, almost celebrity-like, followed by all the flash lights and cameras frenzy. I was actually disappointed it wasn’t served in its original look – inside a coconut shell, but come to think of it, will I be able to finish a whole shell of tomyam? No.
The tomyam is very rich in flavour with distinctive aroma from the coconut flesh.
Sirih Daun Kaduk. Kelantanese food were very much influenced by Thailand, so it’s no surprise that Sirih Daun Kaduk is very much like Miang Kham. I decided to eat it in one gulp and leave out the popiah boat. At first bite, there’s a gush of spiciness, followed by the taste from ginger, cili padi, onion, roasted coconut, roasted peanuts and dried shrimp.
On second thought, the special sauce (or sambal?) was a little strong that it covered the taste of other ingredients.
Nasi Kerabu Ayam Percik. Mine was served with chicken breast, which by nature it will be bland and dry in texture. Somehow, they managed to make it quite flavourful and I specially like the strong taste of lemongrass in it. However, I can’t help but wondering where’s the budu sauce and the chili, which (in my opinion) making the Nasi Kerabu somehow incomplete.
Nasi Dagang. The rice was a mixture of glutinous rice and brown rice in a certain ratio which Kelantan Delights bought directly from Thailand, served with gulai ikan tongkol and acar-acar.
Laksam was my favourite of the day. They were generous with the Bunga Kantan (yay!), making the dish very aromatic and something crackling to bite on. The gravy were made from coconut milk and fish puree, a weird combination but the coconut milk actually make the gravy smooth and creamy.
The flat noodles were made from rice flour and rolled up before being cut into small pieces. This makes eating them become easier and less messy.
Nasi Tumpang. Traditionally, nasi tumpang was actually 3 meals (no wonder we keep on putting weight), packed by housewives for their husband when they’re going for work in paddy field. The top layer was the shredded eggs and rice, to be eaten as breakfast. Second layer – sambal udang and gulai ikan tongkol as lunch and finally, 3rd layer with serunding ayam as tea time.
Opening the nasi tumpang doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do it but a little patience.
Ketupat Sotong was actually squid stuffed with glutinous rice and boiled in gula melaka sauce. I wasn’t too enthusiastic to hear that. I quickly ran a few simulation in my brain and still couldn’t find a way how this dish could be a happy ending for me until it was served in front of me. It had minimal fishy taste that we can almost ignore the existence of the squid. All that’s left was the nice glutinous rice dipped with gula melaka sauce.
Lompat Tikam, basically translate as jump and stab. It comes in twins – one being the red glutinous rice and another is the pandan rice cakes. The glutinous rice were probably prepared too early that the surface were dried out. Still, I have soft spots for rice flour and glutinous rice, so in the end, I enjoyed this desserts very much.
Finally we came to the end of the lunch and hey! I survived, although not without fidgeting my hands, biting my lips from time to time, and flashing a few awkward smiles to fellow tastebuddies! It will get better next time!
1-5, Level 1,
Jalan Stesen Sentral
Phone : 03-2785 1945
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 11am – 10pm
Closed on Saturdays and Sundays