Friday, May 3, 2019

CITTA Mall: Ring In Ramadan With Hometown Heartiness

With Ramadan right around the corner, cravings for the cooking of our childhood might start to surface - if you're searching for the spicy rice recipes of Kedah, tangy noodles from Penang, savoury seafood inspired by Malacca and much more, CITTA Mall can make your buka puasa feast feel like a comforting hug from home.

Here are five recommendations for where to break fast in CITTA Mall:

NASI LEMAK ONG
Nasi Lemak Ong is a familiar name for food lovers in Alor Setar, where its original outlet has thrived since 1997, serving up Kedah's version of nasi lemak, which is nasi kandar for most of us. The Ong patriarch mastered this fare while working in Langkawi, and his sons have now extended the family's culinary legacy to the Klang Valley, in a clean, comfortable and contemporary setting for nasi kandar.

Following a full day of fasting, a princely portion of Nasi Lemak Ong will instantly banish hunger pangs. Pile your plate with everything your heart desires, starting with a base of turmeric-tinged yellow rice, heaped with honey chicken perhaps, plus more protein-powered fried catfish, crispy anchovies, chilli fish, curry prawns, beef in black sauce and mutton kurma - every offering tastes freshly prepared and well-executed; the mutton, for example, is convincingly tender, saturated in kurma that's punchy but not overpowering.

There's so much to choose from, easily something for everyone, with regular specials like curry duck leg on Fridays and Saturdays; in the end, you can flood your plate with six sumptuous curries, from the mild curry potato and ayam merah sauces to the zesty fish curry and a fiery cuttlefish curry (good gravies, indeed); toss in some house-made belacan for the final, powerful kick to a memorable meal. Prices are reasonable; for example, a choice of honey chicken or fried chicken costs RM6.20.

If you prefer rice cooked to order, Nasi Lemak Ong's extensive menu includes fried rice packed with chunks of mutton (RM16.90) and fried rice bolstered by fried chicken and a fried egg, plus a generous amount of salted egg yolk morsels strikingly showered over the rice (RM16.90) - perfect for fans of flavoursome fried rice who want to try a couple of distinctive interpretations.

Other irresistible temptations for carb devotees include crowd-rousers like slickly lip-smacking mee mamak as well as Indomie with seafood in umami-rich chicken broth spiked with dried chillies.

Another intriguing dish to devour is the black roti (RM3.50), a charcoal-hued rendition of roti canai that's crisp and flaky, ideally complemented with dal and other condiments.

With such spicy sustenance, you'll need refreshing beverages to cool down, especially if this is your first meal after about 12 hours. Choose from the chilled rejuvenation of Iced Lemon Tea (RM5) and Calamansi Juice (RM7.50) or lovably luscious Ice Blended Calamansi (RM8.90) and Ice Blended Corn (RM8.90).

JOM LAKSA
The first Klang Valley outpost of Malaysian brand Jom Laksa is making a mighty splash in CITTA Mall, offering a recipe that's been fine-tuned since the 1980s at a George Town asam laksa stall run by a family member of Jom Laksa's co-founder.

The secret rests in Jom Laksa's rich, robust broth, boiled overnight with all the ingredients intact, blended with bunga kantan, daun kesum and galangal; crushed mackerel is added before the broth is boiled for two further hours before serving. The result of this painstaking preparation: Sips to be savoured slowly, yielding a genuine depth of flavour that balances briny and herbaceous notes.

Awaken your palate with the perky pleasures of asam laksa (RM7.50 for the basic original or RM11 with a choice of squid or prawns), served steaming-hot to nourish both the spirit and stomach.

Set meals are available for the original asam laksa, clocking in at RM13.90 for a serving complemented by a choice of fruit rojak or fish balls and a beverage. Throughout Ramadan, the beverage is sirap selasih, alongside a couple of dates for a traditional breaking of fast.

Jom Laksa promises to be a name to watch, with future offerings that imaginatively spin off from pure asam laksa. For now, asam laksa aficionados can also dig into asam fish balls (RM5 for five pieces) and asam cheese seafood tofu (RM6 for five pieces) for a piquant punch to their taste buds.

ONDE ONDE
True to its tagline, Onde Onde has secured success purely by "sharing Malaysian flavours," becoming a cherished institution in CITTA Mall for years now. The menu is extensive (making Onde Onde an excellent choice for large groups of families and friends seeking to break fast together), so let's dive right in with a couple of highlights with Malaccan inspirations: Seafood curry laksa that's light and nuanced, brimming with a bevy of market-fresh ingredients (RM18; one of Onde Onde's co-founders is from Malacca, so rest assured of authenticity here), as well as nasi ayam masak merah with a Nyonya take on the tomato chicken, a touch more mellow than the classic Malay recipe, hitting harmonious notes with a thoughtfully curated ensemble of accompaniments (RM27).

Another original creation is the sambal ikan pari bakar, made extra-special with the chef's own blend of sambal, bringing together regular sambal with sambal belacan, delectably complementing the tender, fleshy fish, laid out on a banana leaf with julienned cucumber and carrots and sliced lime for a vibrant breaking-of-fast meal (RM19).

Noodle enthusiasts can choose from both East and West - fried asam laksa is not often seen in Petaling Jaya, so this is a chance for you to sample this if you haven't yet (RM15), while pasta is prepared in a light butter cream sauce that relies on evaporated milk and unsalted butter, rounded out with a complete chicken leg that's pan-seared for lunch and charcoal-grilled for dinner (RM21).

For savoury and sweet sensations to share with your loved ones, try the Tea Time Tiffin (RM23.50; a medley of, yes, onde onde with time-honoured local staples like sayur cucur, pulut panggang, keropok lekor, golden-hued pisang goreng with gula Melaka, and more). If the weather's a bit too sultry for your liking, the frosty ABC Gula Melaka will be a sure-fire hit, conveying old-school flavours with hints of Sarsi syrup amid a gem-filled bowl of everything from attap chee, corn and jelly to cendol, basil seeds and peanuts (RM7.80).

Count on Onde Onde to also offer other Ramadan attractions, including thali-style platters suitable for four persons, boasting the best of Malay cuisine. The restaurant will also soon launch an alfresco BBQ gerai that looks set to become a mainstay in CITTA Mall even past the fasting month.


WAROENG PENYET
Waroeng Penyet has proven to be one of CITTA Mall's most popular restaurants, with a lunchtime queue that starts shortly after noon. It's a worthwhile choice for buka puasa too, with a true-blue take on Javanese delicacies; one of the brand's co-founders is Indonesian, its central kitchen's top chef is Javanese, and the restaurant relies on Indonesian ingredients such as less-salty belacan for its sambal, as well as ABC kecap manis and teh botol.

Waroeng Penyet is the one to pick if you're after a fuss-free buka puasa at a modest price, with a reasonably wide range of rice and noodle platters like the nasi ayam bakar peha, featuring thigh meat laced with honey soy (RM11.90), nasi lele penyet, showcasing a whole catfish with tempe and tofu (RM9), and even an Indomie ayam goreng peha, a can't-fail combo of tasty noodles with crispy chicken (RM13.90). Avocado juice (RM10.90) and Soda Gembira (RM4.50) make for cheerful thirst-quenchers that every generation can enjoy.

A SLICE OF HEAVEN

If cakes are your portrait of paradise, A Slice Of Heaven might make you rapturous with ravishingly crafted Raya cakes that'll spread festive bliss to everyone who receives them. True to the season's spirit of giving, these are some of the loveliest Aidilfitri treats to consider for your close family and friends, with decorative elements that include intricate illustrations of village scenes.

These cakes, available in three designs, promise love at first sight, but beyond their visual allure, there's meaningful significance in their flavours, a tribute to the family heritage of A Slice Of Heaven's founders, Alan and Nigel. 

The moist chocolate cake, for example, has long been a specialitiy of Alan's grandmother, while the marble spice cake originates from Nigel's mom, a twist on the Indonesian layer cakes but without the layers, buttery and eggy, aromatic with cocoa, cloves and cinnamon. The sugee cake dates back even further to Nigel's great-grandmother, who came to Malaysia from Sri Lanka - it's a cake with Nyonya notes, catering for all special occasions, made nuanced with crystallised ginger, winter melon and mixed citrus peels.

The cakes are available in the three designs of Balik Kampung (RM428 for 11-inch), Songket Raya (RM298; 9") and Sambutan Aidilfitri (RM428; 11"). A Slice Of Heaven even allows relatively last-minute orders, as you can receive your cake within one or two days.

Cute cupcakes will brighten up the celebrations too, in flavours of cappuccino, raspberry chocolate, raspberry vanilla, heavenly chocolate, chocolate peanut butter and vanilla (RM58 with decorative box, RM9 per piece). And for the young at heart, nibble on Raya cookies made with passion and prowess, including Double Dutch cookies (RM28 for 220g) and cornflake cookies (RM28 for 180g).

CITTA Mall
1, Jalan PJU 1a/48, Pusat Perdagangan Dana 1, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

2 comments:

  1. It's that time of year again and I sure am looking forward to hitting the stalls!!!

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    1. Suituapui: hope you get some great goodies, smoking-hot from the stalls! :D

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