There’s something magical about banana leaf rice not only for its colourful range of Indian food, but also because the meal is steeped in tradition.
What began as a hearty Indian traditional meal has become a tradition shared with Malaysians across all races thanks to the various banana leaf rice restaurants popping up everywhere across the nation. Picking a good restaurant isn’t always easy, so here are 8 recommended places to try.
1. Sri Nirwana Maju
Out of all hotspots in Klang Valley, Bangsar is just plain popular with banana leaf rice, and you can bet your biryani that they serve some of the best in town. The queue at Sri Nirwana Maju is consistently long but loyal customers can vouch that it’s worth the wait. Be sure to fill up your bellies with their fried delicacies like chicken and fish as well as their curried meats like beef and mutton.
Note: There is also another outlet at 1, Jalan USJ 9/5m, Subang Business Centre, 47620 Subang Jaya
- Address: 43, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
- Opening Hours: 10am – 1.30am
- Tel: 03-2287 8445
2. Devi’s Corner
Just a stone’s throw away from Sri Nirwana Maju, Devi’s Corner is another popular mamak-style restaurant that serves banana leaf rice. Walk one floor up and feast to your heart’s content inside a fully air-conditioned room. At Devi’s, you’ll get between 4 to 6 vegetable side dishes together with their mango chutney. Do however ask for a mix of creamy Kerala fish curry and crab curry. You won’t regret it ;)
- Address: 14 Jalan Telawi 4, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
- Opening Hours: 24 hours
- Tel: 03-2282 7591
3. Prasad Chetty Naadu Mess
Located on the first floor of Kedai Emas Prasad (Prasad Jewellery), Prasad Chetty Naadu Mess’ Southern Indian cuisine is a must-try for KL-ites. From mutton masala to curried vegetables, to chicken peratal, the selection of dishes here are often varied. Regulars share that the eatery has toned down the level of spiciness to suit the local palate. You can even drink the chunky crab curry. If your tongue is still burning from all the spiciness, gulp a cup of rasam down for a soothing effect.
- Address: 14-44 Lebuh Ampang, 50100 Kuala Lumpur
- Opening Hours: 11am – 5pm
4. Vishal Food & Catering
Recommended for its friendly service and quality dishes, Vishal Food & Catering (don’t be confused with Vishalatchi, which is a few stores away) is a magnet for both locals and tourist friends. This Chettinad restaurant specialises in the aromatic spicy cuisine that originates from Tamil Nadu. Don’t miss out on their bone marrow curry, black pepper chicken, and dhal rasam.
- Address: No. 22, Jalan Scott, Off Jalan Tun Sambanthan,
Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur
- Opening Hours: 7am – 11pm
- Tel: 03-2274 0995
5. Raju Restaurant
“We have no quarrel with competitors who charge less, after all, they know what their food is worth,” reads the words proudly displayed at the restaurant’s cashier. Yes, the authentic South Indian cuisine here may be pricy, but all the foods served here are MSG free and people keep coming back for more banana leaf rice that goes well with fried squid, fried chicken, and fried ikan bulus.
- Address: 27 Jalan Chantek 5/13, Bukit Gasing, 46000 Petaling Jaya
- Opening Hours: 6:30am – 10pm
- Tel: 03-79561361
6. Puchong Chettinad Mess
Once you’ve eaten at Puchong Mess, you’ll understand what the fuss is all about. Owner Param J. Sivanathan shared that the eatery is well known for using spices imported from India on favourites like chicken varuval and mutton peratal. The vegetables are different everyday with the exception of another favourite, mango patchadi. There’s a special set meal on Fridays that includes 6 types of vegetables, vadai, payasam, and pappadum for RM7.
- Address: No. 11-1, Jalan Puteri 7/9, Bandar Puteri Puchong, Puchong
- Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm (Only open on weekdays)
7. Moorthy’s Mathai Restaurant
Famed for its fried tenggiri fish, the dark brown chunk of exterior may look unattractive but bite into it and you’ll discover its firm and sweet tasting fish flesh. Frequent diners at Moorthy’s Mathai Restaurant never fail to bathe the freshly-cooked rice in their aromatic prawn curry, tender mutton shanks with a thick curry, and crab curry. There are approximately 30 dishes on a daily basis but their peppery crab (nandu rasam) and biryani rice are also available on weekends.
Note: There is also another outlet at A26, Ground Floor, Jalan PJU 3/38A, Sunway Damansara, Petaling Jaya.
- Address: No. 24 & 26, Jalan USJ4/9G, Subang Jaya
- Opening Hours: 7am – 9:30pm
- Tel: 03-80818430
8. Sri Ganapathi Mess
Many would argue that the old bungalow corner lot Sri Ganapathi Mess serves the best banana leaf fix. The highlight here is the crab rasam, which is served in a metal mug. The tangy broth is very distinct even when mixed with other spices. Also tasty are their crunchy deep fried bittergourd and tender chunks of mutton varuval. If you can’t locate the restaurant, just remember that it’s just across the Sekolah Kebangsaan Petaling Jaya.
- Address: 47, Jalan 1/10, Seksyen 1, 46000 Petaling Jaya
- Opening Hours: 11am – 4pm
- Tel: 03-7782 0863