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AUTHENTIC MALAY CUISINE IN THE HEART OF GEORGETOWN

Posted by crizlai On February - 19 - 2009|

Note: This restaurant has changed management in 2010. The original owner was said to have shifted to KL. Her where about is unclear.

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“Simply Irresistible! Aromatic! Colorful! Fresh! Delicious!” These were the words that shouted out from my mind when I first stepped into this barely 5 months’ old authentic Malay cuisine restaurant right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Georgetown, Penang. Kuali-kuali Café, as the restaurant was named, took over the former Craven Café premise located at the junction of Jalan Dato’ Kramat and Jalan Macalister and had since grown to be a favorite eating place for Malay cuisine lovers from all parts of the island as well as tourists. I even saw some factory workers in uniforms from the Bayan Lepas FTZ area patronizing them.

A brainchild of a former St. George’s High School girl, Cik Sharifah Haslina, together with her husband, Encik Mohd Sophian, catered to the needs of its customer from breakfast until supper. As for breakfast, they would prepare some simple dishes such as Nasi Lemak (Steam Coconut Milk Rice) served with fried anchovies, eggs, sliced vegetables and a few types of curries or you can also try out their ingredients filled noodles such as Bee Hoon (rice vermicelli), Mee (yellow noodles) and Koay Teow (rice cake strips).

BREAKFAST

The breakfast dishes may look simple but the taste was great. What impressed me more was their spreads for their lunch and dinner, served with plain hot rice or occasionally with tomato rice. Could you imagine having around 60 dishes served in cute looking mini woks and rattan trays under that rustic village style attap roof buffet line? This would surely be a great experience for many as you would only get this type of buffet spread at the hotels. Moreover, most of the dishes were not as spicy hot as their fiery looking colors and they do change a small percentage of their dishes daily.

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As there were just too many dishes to share you here, I would just brief you on some of the dishes such as their appetizing ulam (Malay salad), seafood, poultry and soup. Let’s start with the salad part. There were many varieties of fresh vegetables and wild herbs served with two types of dressing. One was the Sambal Belacan which has pounded red chillies, chilli paddy, lime juice and some toasted shrimp paste powder. The other was another diluted dressing that would go well with grilled fish. The dressing has some cut red chillies, chili paddy, big onions and tomatoes mixed with some lime juice. Both dressing complimented the vegetables as well as the dishes real well.

ULAM

Do you know that before I went into the restaurant, there was this man outside preparing some grilled fish? The scent coming from the smoke got me even more prepared to jump right into the many varieties of fresh fish dishes they have in there. From the look of the tender yet juicy grilled stingray pieces, you can be assured of its freshness. Even the stuffed hardtail mackerels (ikan cencaru) and chubb mackerels (ikan kembong) had those crystal clear eyes.

FRESH

I can say that they sure know how to prepare their seafood dishes well and with different combination of spices and ingredients. I was surprise to see many seafood dishes that I had not taken for a long time such as the Cockles Salad and Salted Fish Curry. On top of that, the taste of each individual fish curry had its own unique flavors. There were just too many to taste out at one visit. Maybe a slide of the seafood dishes would prove me right.

SEAFOOD

The poultry section was also impressing. They have so many options from a simple Beansprouts with Beef Stomach Salad, Indonesian Dry Beef Curry (Rendang Minang) to their house specialty such as the Red Curry Chicken (Ayam Masak Merah) and Village Style Fried Chicken. The delicious Village Fried Chicken was crispy, a bit like a spicier KFC Original Chicken.

POULTRY

If you feel that there would be too much of seafood and poultry dishes in your meal, you could always check out their little vegetarian corner. There would be around 10 dishes such as tofu, mixed vegetables, and many assorted vegetables cooked in different styles to meet your desire.

VEGETARIAN

Do also watch out for their popular demanded Beef Bone Soup (Sup Tulang Lembu). The aromatic smell of the piping hot soup and the tender meat on the bone is a sure must have dish if you love thick and flavorful soups. Each bowl would cost between RM4.50 to RM6, depending on the amount of meaty bones you have scooped.

SOUP

Well, it took me quite some time to study all the dishes in the restaurant but it’s worth the effort to know more of these wonderful authentic Malay cuisines. I ended up with a plate filled with the different types of gravy to try out their cooking style. Moreover, I had a piece of Chicken Thigh cooked with Sweet Dark Sauce, some Turmeric Fried Tofu cubes, Indonesian Dry Beef Curry and a piece of Onion Omelette – all for only RM5. It’s cheap right? You should try to make a visit there and I can assure that you would not regret the experience.

Note: If you are real adventurous to try out all the gravy – Do not put too much as my plate of rice ended up with too much oil. But then, I did finish to the last bit as the food was simply too delicious. Another thing to take note would be the visiting hours. The best time would be 7.30am for breakfast, 11.30am onwards for lunch as all the food would be out hot and fresh. They do not cook more dishes for dinner. The dishes would be whatever left during lunch but you can always order other items such as fried rice, noodles soup, etc.

MYMEAL

Although the restaurant was located at a heavy traffic area with quite limited parking areas, you could see it filled up with customers any period of the day. It would not be too hard to spot the place as the restaurant would be located just at the junction of Jalan Dato’ Kramat and Jalan Macalister. Prominent landmarks to watch out would be the GAMA Supermarket and KOMTAR.

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KUALIKUALICAFEMAP

Name: KUALI-KUALI CAFE
Address: 2 Jalan Dato’ Kramat, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 7.00am-12.00am (Mon-Fri), 7.00am-4.00pm (Sat)
Contact: 016-426 2184 (Cik Sharifah Haslina Mufazzal)
GPS: 5.413997, 100.328167

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 9/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 9/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 6/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

12 Responses to “AUTHENTIC MALAY CUISINE IN THE HEART OF GEORGETOWN”

  1. weiii.. so fast! i saw this during the Louis trip.and was askin myself – if cravan can “chap lup” this can survive or not..then saw the write up on Sun Star..was suitably impressed n now from u! ok ok..me wil go this 1st mar..

    You should go and try this. The last time I had this type of choices were 5-6 years ago in an Indonesian restaurant and it was buffet. This type of food are really hard to come by but not now… hehe 🙂

  2. PenangTuaPui says:

    never try it before.. may be worth for us to step in and try now…. heeheee

    Yea… no great food would ever stopped PTP from gobbling down right? Haha 😛

  3. Duckie says:

    ooo i didn’t realise there’s a malay food stall there!!!

    Well, now you do Jane 🙂

  4. Selba says:

    The food must be really good… look kinda the indonesian authentic food but I bet the seasonings are quite different, would love to try it.

    Btw, what is tomato rice? Is it fried rice that look red orange?

    It’s a waste you not in Malaysia… the food choices here are getting more and more. hehe 🙂
    As for tomato rice, a “milder” version would be just rice cooked with tomato puree and chopped tomatoes. A “richer” version would be the same except more spices enhanced with green cardamom (buah pelaga), cloves (bunga cengkih), star anise (bunga lawang) and cinnamon bark (kayu manis). Raisins, fried cashew nuts and boiled mixed vegetables would sometimes be stirred in when the rice is cooked. Best taken with any type of curry, especially those thick gravy ones. You should try cooking this next time.. hehe 😛

  5. Chin says:

    My complaint – why I can’t get restaurant like this in KL.

    Maybe no one would be able to cater to the crowd there I guessed.. haha. No wonder Steven’s Tea Garden has to set up the biggest mamak restaurant in Malaysia over there with hundreds of tables. 😛

  6. allie says:

    Wow! 60 dishes? We pampered by choices huh…

    Maybe not as long as there are some great dishes around. But with the options of so many great choices, it’s heaven to any foodies. 🙂

  7. Wow wow, they must have a lot of help preparing all those dishes! I am hankering for some good ol’ Malay cuisine now! The selection on your plate looks so good!

    Yea Min… my selection was good but I had problem finishing them. It’s not because of any bad reasons but due to me being over greedy to take so much to fit in my baby tummy.. LOL!!

  8. Wow!!!! I am attracted by the chili sauce for their salad!!! 🙂

    Ok.. I think I have just found another person who could not go without spicy food.. LOL!

  9. gill gill says:

    hey, Rebecca….can we join in? can share more dish at the same time mah. lol

    I’ll support but on who’s bill?? Haha

  10. hahah..of course Gill! make a date this Sun then!

    Reb dear… you did not check on the business hours… Sunday is close!!

  11. lingzie says:

    aiyo closed on sunday ah??? i thought we could go this sunday ler… havent had good authentic malay food in a while. i usually go the Minah but the food here looks like different style.

    That’s what most people are complaining as that’s the day they would bring their family out for meals. Maybe the proprietor would have to think about this in the future when she recovered from being sick. At least have half a day on Sunday would be great for many local Malay food lovers.

  12. kyh says:

    How thoughtful for a Malay restaurant to set up a vegetarian corner. It’s pretty pretty unusual in Malay culture. Will check it out when I happened to go there! Thanks for the rec. 🙂

    Thanks for dropping by KYH. Your architectural shots are amazing. Yea, I was also pondering on such a service too as this would only happen in Indian shops. Well, it’s good for them to evolve into something better. 🙂

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Howdy from the Isle of delicious Asian food and the UNESCO Heritage City of Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. Just call me Criz Lai and I am here to share with you on what’s the best food you can get in town as well as from many other parts of Malaysia.

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