THE northern-style gulai panas is not easily found here in the Klang Valley but it is now possible to satiate cravings for this dish when heading out for a meal in the city.
Founded by two friends in their early 20s, both from Kedah, Malay recipes from the northern state are being featured at Pak Jen Gulai Panas Langkawi in Quill City Mall, Kuala Lumpur.
The eatery, which opened its doors in December, offers guests traditional, time-honoured dishes that are abundant with spices and rich in flavour in the most satisfying sense.
Here at Pak Jen, diners can look to comfort food many long for but find difficult to locate in Kuala Lumpur.
“It is difficult to find the kind of gulai panas, better known as curry, which we are used to eating back in Kedah.
“We decided to introduce our style of Malay food as we were certain this would spark a sense of nostalgia among diners from the north,” co-founder Safwan Bahari said.
The pièce de résistance is Gulai Panas Ikan Bawal featuring black pomfret submerged in smooth curry that was not overly spicy but does a lot to arouse one’s appetite.
“To provide the authentic flavour, the curry is not made with curry powder but the spices and ingredients are carefully selected and blended,” said the other business partner Tan Jen.
One of the signature dishes here is the dendeng daging.
This main ingredient other than the meat in this slow-cooked beef dish is onions that flavourises the sauce rather nicely.
It takes more than four hours to cook the dendeng daging. The long cooking time leaves a mild sweetness in the sauce complementing the tender beef.
Itik golek, is a duck dish prepared in a traditional northern Malay fashion.
“The itik golek is a family recipe which is often prepared during special family occasions.
“Diners hardly find it in restaurants here.
“Now, even on normal days, one can still enjoy itik golek,” said Safwan.
Spaghetti Pak Jen presents an interesting twist to spaghetti as this is soaked in curry sauce.
Tan Jen, who was eager to experiment with different flavour combinations, invented this new recipe.
The Arnab Masak Lemak comes highly recommended.
This is another interesting aspect of dining here as diners can savour uncommon meats like rabbit cooked in spiced coconut milk gravy.
Then there is Wagyu Masak Merah.
Safwan said the Wagyu was sourced from his sister’s farm in Margaret River, Australia.
“We emphasise on freshness of ingredients.
“Our suppliers can vouch that we are not easy clients and we want to express our gratitude to them for always providing us with the best ingredients,” Tan said.
There are also refreshing drinks to delight in after a good meal such as Cenang Ice and Lychee Mojito as well as teh ice which is different from what you get at mamak stalls.
During weekdays at lunch time, there are many dishes served up nasi campur style.
“In valuing the spirit of neighbourliness among Malaysians, we offer discounts to employees of Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur, Exim Bank, SME Bank, Quill group as well as the students and staff from Universiti Kuala Lumpur, who show their staff or student cards” Tan said.
PAK JEN GULAI PANAS LANGKAWI, Quill City Mall, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2202 8822). Business hours: 10am to 10pm. Pork-free.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.