Ramadhan is just around the corner and it’s a major celebration in Muslim-majority Malaysia. But even non-Muslims join in the festivities – during the holidays, we visit our Muslim friends and neighbours, and get to enjoy delicious cuisine. The malls will be decorated with Hari Raya (Eid, in the local language) items and classic Malay hits are often played over the PA system.
Muslims fast from dawn to dusk for the month leading up to Raya. Breaking fast in the evening used to be a simple, home-cooked meal, but people are more affluent these days, so they go to expensive hotels instead.
For the third year running, I got to sample the Ramadhan buffet spread at Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur. Idk why but my editor seems to like sending me there lol. Not that I’m complaining, because Parkroyal has the most consistent food quality that I’ve tasted so far among the hotels (other than Eastin PJ).
This year’s Ramadhan Selera Kampung (Village Flavours) is slightly different, because they are offering a whopping 18 types of porridge on four rotating menus in the buffet. Now you’re probably like “it’s just porridge, how many ways can you make them?” Well, you’ll be surprised, because I was!
But let’s go in chronological order, shall we?
For appetisers, Malays like to have kerabu and ulam – basically a local version of salad with ingredients such as chillies, pucuk ubi (a type of fern), and even pickled veggies and fruits. The sourish tang whets the appetite for heavier dishes later on.
Porridge is one of the strengths of the chefs cooking in Parkroyal – which is why they decided to feature it this year, according to their PR spokesperson. There were regular types like fish, chicken and vegetables, but also unconventional ingredients like sweet potato (above), crab and lobster. The sweet potato porridge was beautifully presented with bright colours and a hint of sweetness.
Traditional Ramadhan porridge like Bubur Lambuk (cooked with a mix of herbs and spices) also made an appearance, as well as unique regional types like Bubur Asyura Johor, Bubur Menguh Bali and Bubur Asyura Utara.
I had assumed that the porridges would taste the same, but was pleasantly surprised to find that they were all cooked well with different textures and flavours! If you’re giving these a try, I suggest sampling just a few spoonfuls of each so that you’re not too full.
classic Malay food – tempe (fermented beancurd) with long beans.
This has always been one of my favourites from Parkroyal’s Ramadhan spread – Rendang paru & Hati (cow lung and liver). Rendang is basically a curry-like dish made from cooking chillies, serai (lemongrass) and a bunch of herbs and spices to form a dry-ish paste. The texture is creamy and it is packed with spicy, herby flavours.
Ikan Duri Berlada (thorn fish?)
Kari Telur Ikan Sentul – or curry fish eggs. The eggs are still in the sac. Might seem disgusting to some but I loved having these as a child.
One of their house specialties is roasted Ayam Percik – marinated for hours in a blend of spices for a savoury flavour that’s great to go with rice.
Roast cuts of lamb.
Fresh seafood grilled to order.
Nasi Beriani Tanam, another house specialty. Fragrant rice is cooked together with chicken or beef, so it soaks up all the meaty flavours.
And more porridge! The sweet ‘porridge’ dishes were more like desserts, like Pengat Pisang (banana) which had sizable chunks of banana in it and a natural sweetness.
Traditional Malay kueh (desserts), such as Pandan cake, and kuih pulut (glutinous rice cake, topped with a jelly-like layer on top). They also have a nice selection of Western-style cakes and puddings.
liked this dessert called ‘Puteri Mandi’ (bathing princess), which was made up of glutinous rice balls swimming in a sweet and thick gula melaka (palm sugar) soup.
Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur,
Jalan Sultan Ismail,
Tel: 03-2147 0088 ext 6350
Business hours: 6.30am to 12.00am daily