Local Dishes, Perfect for Any Day and Any Time!
Growing up in Malaysia, I consider myself really lucky. With all the culture and races we have, our melting pot of cuisine is one giant ocean of gastronomic lusciousness. We love to eat and we proudly show it all the time, or anytime in the day as a matter of fact!
When I was studying abroad, the first thing I missed was Malaysian food. Nothing beats the familiar and comforting flavors of our cuisine, easing away any hardship on those days of stress and unhappy days. And to add further to this, our list of Malaysian favorites is long enough to cater to all our gregarious appetites. Having said this, what are your top 5 Malaysian favorite dishes?
Leading us to The Local by Gastro Project located at Jaya One, Jalan University. TheGastro Project already did something right with their unique combination of combining food and movies. And so, they have boldly ventured out once more with The Local, a restaurant serving up Malaysian favorite dishes. The Local is a no frills restaurant, dressed with minimalist, serving up recipes of Malaysia dishes with affordable prices. It caters to everyone’s appetite whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner.
We recently gathered there with some foodies to grab a taste of what The Local has to offer. The menu is simple, a two side menu featuring TL specials, Noodles, Rice, Western, Sandwiches, Light Snacks and Desserts with Beverages. Its tight and sufficient as there are also specials of the day.
Pink Nectar is a new addition to the menu and is a play on our local Syrup Bandung jazzed up with cincau and mixed fruits. It’s simple and creamy and the fruits and jelly makes a nice touch to the drink. We finished this drink before our meal was half way through.
Tangerine Mandarin Fizz is fresh, fruity and frizzy while Apple Asam Boi is fresh apple juice localized with a sour and salty preserved plum of asam boi. Another foodie had the Banana Shake and like it with the addition of chocolate sauce.
Rojak Buah was a nice way to whet our appetites. Chunks of fruits and vegetables are soaked in the pungent prawn paste sauce with hints of chili and finely shredded kaffir lime leaves before being covered in crushed peanuts and served with pieces of emping, crispy crackers made from rice. I like the emping as it works well, providing a lovely texture to the rojak.
My all-time-favorite snack, I once took on the challenge to make this myself. And that’s when I realize it’s a lot of work to stand over the stove to make the pancake. Roti Jala with Chicken Curry has four lovely golden yellow pancake rolls served with a very creamy curry chicken. This one makes a great small snack to hold one over till meal time. There is also an option of mutton curry.
The Nasi Kerabu here is delicious! Pretty on a platter, the blue tinged rice had a nice balance of herbs and ingredients. Served with a nutty and creamy Ayam Percik, a wedge of salted egg and crispy crackers, simply squeeze the lime over the rice and savor it with the scrumptious percik sauce. It’s a plate of salty, spicy, sweet and slight tangy flavors with lots of textures. For only RM10, this one definitely makes an affordable meal anytime of the day!
Fried Rice with Chicken Chop is another local take as every one of us loves our fried rice. Here, it is cleverly jazzed up with crispy fried boneless chicken smothered with mushroom sauce, fried egg and steamed veggies. It’s simple and hearty, completing a full quota of carb, protein and greens in a meal.
It is expected that our nation’s most sought after Nasi Lemak to make its mark here. Nasi Lemak with Fried Chicken is beautifully executed here and gets a tick of approval with its fluffy coconut rice, aromatic spiced up fried chicken and rich spicy and sweet sambal with all the normal condiments. I especially enjoyed the fried chicken laced with so many aromatics and spices, rendering a very flavorful chook. The sambal is also pretty good with sufficient richness of pungent chili toned down with a balance of sweetness. A side of crispy Pappadum makes a nice addition. A cup of hot Teh Tarik completed this meal nicely…
When this pot arrived, everyone immediately complimented how wonderful the aroma in the air was. The Claypot Chicken Paratal is a sight to behold. Thick rich creamy, the chicken paratal looked and tasted divine. It has a really great balance of spices and flavors. The claypot kept the rice and curry hot so it was a great idea as one can really savor this slowly. A large piece of chicken was tender as can be while chunks of potatoes are definitely much appreciated in my books. A side of pickled vegetables is just perfect to lift up the richness of the paratal. Highly recommended!
In the noodling department, Curry Laksa and Asam Laksa reigns supreme at The Local. Enjoy piping hot bowls of creamy Curry Laksa filled with chicken, egg, bean curd puff, long beans and more for only RM9 a bowl. The version here is not overly creamy and is redolent of spices. I did wish for the beancurd puffs to be soaked and cooked in the curry, just my matter of preference. The dollop of chili is awesome and aromatic. The Asam Laksa here leans towards Malay version. I loved the laksa gravy so much, I literally polished off most of it. Tangy, spicy and bursting with bold moreish flavors, the gravy is so addictively and satisfying for me. I can taste the bunga kantan and the laksa leaves flavor and aroma distinctively. Shiok!
Sizzling Yee Mee is also available. It has all the usual ingredients but they serve roasted boneless chicken on this instead of the braised chicken on the day we were there.
By now, I was heavily maxed out of tummy space. However I did managed to taste a little Nasi Goreng Kampung TL and found it hearty in flavors. The dish makes a great one dish meal with crispy fish crackers. There are also lots of ingredients like anchovies, prawns and vegetables in the fried rice.
We ended on a high note with a beautifully fried Banana Fritter sprinkled with icing sugar and served with scoops of vanilla ice cream. Never was a banana fan but I do like the fritter as it was lightly coated with the crispy thin batter and the banana was ripe and sweet.
There is also a chunky ABC for dessert! Sweet, fruity and filled to the max with lots of condiments, a great ABC always makes a refreshing ending…
The Local showcases what they do best, Malaysian favorites prepared well and with care. For a restaurant like this, their prices are decent considering the air conditioned ambience. The Local also serves some Western dishes like Fish and Chips and Chicken Chop. I also spied the Bubur Pulut Hitam on their dessert menu which is one of my favorite local desserts.
THE LOCAL BY GASTRO PROJECT
Block D, Unit 7 Level G
72A, Jalan University
46200 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 603 7491 9141
Business hours: 8am to 9pm
More photos available at my Facebook: ChasingFood Dreams