Tuesday, 5 January 2010

jom makan

o loves curries rich with coconut milk and spice, and so i am always on the lookout for good thai, malaysian or vietnamese eateries. a biting cold monday night found o and i at
jom makan. this malaysian eatery is the equivalent of wagamama – although it doesn’t feature the communal canteen dining style, the waiter/waitress does scribble your order on the paper mats that have little bits of information about malaysia on them. it takes o and i a while to figure what we want since there is so much to choose from. strangely he forgoes the quintessential malaysian satay with its velvety peanut sauce for ayan goring berempah that he himself described as kfc-ish as it was bite size pieces of chicken deep fried to a golden brown and served with a chili sauce. we polish the bed of salad quicker than the chicken.

i assuage my craving for lentils with an order of roti dalcha. there is nothing more comforting to me than a bowl of a lentils the consistency of thick moreish soup with the heat of a little chili and some spice. at jom makan the roti dalcha is a bowl of lentils with little bits of potato and carrot and some spring onions and cucumber to add a spritely garnish. it comes with malaysian flat griddled bread called roti canai which is akin to a pakistani paratha (albeit a much less oily version of it). i recall my paternal grandmother’s paratha’s which were rolled out after being coiled and would flake as they were torn to be eaten. she would put less oil than the ones you got at roadside kiosks on drives to lahore or the ones served with chili laden omelet’s at holiday resorts in murree and nathia gali. i enjoyed every last bit, wiping the bowl clean with the roti canai.

o had a roti ikan masak lemak which is a rather rich curry of coconut milk and chili sauce, julienned green and red chili in which salmon has been poached with some broccoli, okra and potatoes. once again it is served with roti canai. i know when o loves his food because he goes silent and his eyes sparkle almost like a two year old with a hoard of his favorite candy.

because o loves all things sweet and sugary the traditional malaysian tea, served cold with sweetened condensed milk and the hot nescafe once again sweetened with condensed milk was a real hit with him. and as if that was insufficient a sweet quota he went onto eat what i would determine a complete food faux pa: crème caramel with a malaysian twist. don’t get me wrong, i am all for fusion cuisine but experimental crème caramel, especially asian renditions of them are nearly always a disaster. this particular one was set so hard, not slightly unsteady like a caramel should be. the syrup itself looked like the kind that you get in readymade packets and the malaysian twist of pandan leaves was conspicuously absent. i tried a bite and to me it tasted like condensed milk boiled till it was really thick and then set with a little cornstarch to denseness. o said it tasted like cheese after having eaten the whole of it. in any case i didn’t have high expectations of a malaysian dessert menu that boasted cheese cake and pandan flavored crème caramel.

that said, we would definitely recommend the entrees. they are really good and judging from the fact that some of the diners were malaysian, it would say something of jom makan’s ability to recreate near authentic flavours.