There are two things in life that must never be messed with – nature and classic Malaysian dishes. If you desecrate either, the repercussions are possibly deadly. Okay, just kidding (we’re serious about nature though, don’t mess with it).
As much as we love our local treats in their traditional forms, we understand that like nature, it too evolves.
Sometimes the experiments tests our patience and taste buds (like nasi lemak cheesecake). On other occasions, these experiments create the best interpretations of ol’ skool meets modern, that deserve more than just one novelty lick.
Here are five places that have given classic dishes a twist, and gotten it quite right:
First up, “gorpis” is a portmanteau of goreng pisang, which is the colloquial term for pisang goreng or banana fritters. And besides, “pisgor” doesn’t really sound that appetising, so thank goodness they went the other way round. Anyway, banana fritters are the bomb on their own, so what happens when you add cheese and chocolate to the treat? It’s an explosion of taste and texture. At Kopi & XoXo in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, you can find four types of toppings for your regular ol’ pisang goreng – original, chocolate, white chocolate, and strawberry. Every flavour is topped with grated cheddar cheese. If you cannot decide which flavour to get, choose the platter at RM13. It comes with two pieces of fried bananas with each topping and a special pandan topping. This sweet and cheesy creation sure adds an “oomph” to the good ol’ teatime treat.
Nasi lemak pizza
Every morning, the fellas behind Brulee Brasserie in Casa Tropicana, Petaling Jaya get their nasi lemak from a makcik in the neighbourhood, and Lebanese bread from a Lebanese dude. They bring it over to their tiny cafe, and get ready for when an order of Nasi Lemak Pizza comes up. They toast the Lebanese bread, add cheese, sambal and rice, and top it with boiled egg, cucumber, peanuts and fried anchovies. And voila! Nasi Lemak Pizza (RM13) is done. How does it taste? Not weird, surprisingly. Because the Lebanese bread is crispy, it almost feels like you’re eating nasi lemak with emping.
Flowerpot-shaped appams are blooming flowers – naturally! Who doesn’t love sweet appams with coconut milk and brown sugar? But if that is too plain for your liking, try the inspired appams at Hoppers in Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur. Sisters Sugania and Nishalni Naidu continued their love for their mother’s sweet appams by opening Hoppers that specialises in these Indian “pancakes” but with a twist. Fancy a Milo ganache and Horlicks topping? Or mangoes with coconut milk ala Mango Sticky Rice? Or chicken rendang on top of your sweet appams? You can get them all here. They also have a very refreshing topping of crab meat dressed in lime, chilli and pea shoots served with beetroot yoghurt. The appams are priced from RM5 to RM15 each.
Income levels are rising, so too the luxe level of everyman’s nasi briyani. The lobster briyani was a fluke for Fierce Curry House in Bangsar, KL. Owner Herukh T. Jethwani was looking to make fish briyani but could only find lobsters at the shops. So he decided to make lobster briyani and why not? The lobster briyani is RM240 per pot and can serve up to four people. Each crustacean weighs between 800g and 1kg. It comes with a side of raita, papadam, curry and vegetable acar. Besides lobster briyani, Fierce also makes cod, veal, king prawns and a variety of briyanis at their outlet. Each order must be made at least a day in advance.
After Musang King waffles, the Ondeh-Ondeh Waffle has to be the next best creation of Madame Waffle’s at The Gardens Mall, KL. A single pandan-infused waffle is topped with slices of jackfruit, a single serving of gula Melaka gelato and a drizzle of gula Melaka sauce. Individually, these items taste good but together, they give the full onde-onde effect. Priced at RM14.50 these Merdeka special waffles are only available until the end of September.
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