The Tastes You Grew Up With.
*This review took place before MCO and show pre-social distancing.
To Malaysians, food is the very soul of our being. You’re probably well acquainted with the gentle, accommodating side of many Malaysians who are mostly reluctant to confront snide remarks in person. However, when it comes to local food, we rarely let snarky remarks go unreprimanded (think crispy rendang). How did we get this way?
The answer can be found in Malaysian comfort food, the very meals we grew up with. After a long day, your typical Malaysian will want a steaming bowl of laksa or the familiar smells of Nasi Goreng Kampung rather than anything fancy.
One chain of eateries that has captured this Malaysian spirit perfectly is Ali, Muthu and Ah Hock. We were excited to try out their outlet near Petaling Street, one of the first outlets from this brand to open in KL. This eclectic Malaysian restaurant serves all the signature traditional dishes from all the main ethnic groups in West Malaysia, starting with the nasi lemak.
Here, you’ll be able to choose whether you want your nasi lemak with just its accompanying condiments, a.k.a. nasi lemak biasa (RM5) or have it with a piece of fried chicken (RM13.90). Alternatively, there’s also nasi lemak with squid sambal (RM5.80), rendang chicken or curry chicken ( RM8.70 each).
The affordability of the food is also another aspect that makes Ali, Muthu and Ah Hock quintessentially Malaysian. That and the fact that they’ve taken the pains to recreate their outlet to look like an old ‘Kopitiam’, the classic Malaysian coffee shop. Wooden benches are paired with steel topped tables, as well as bare concrete walls that have purposely been left in their rundown state.
It really feels like home, especially if you grew up in smaller towns and rural areas around Malaysia. The menu feels all too familiar and growing up in Melaka, I couldn’t ignore the fact that they had Lontong (RM13) on the menu. This dish features blocks of compressed rice in a coconut milk-based vegetable gravy, with glass noodles included too. Back in my hometown, we used to have this almost everywhere, especially for breakfast and lunch. The squid sambal and tempeh on the top was a sure sign that they knew exactly what they were doing.
We also sampled the Hainanese Chicken Rice ( RM 12) and I must say that they got the chilli sauce right. You can’t have a good plate of chicken rice if your chilli sauce is off. Finally, we had the butter kaya toast set ( RM6.40) for dessert. The set is only available before 12 pm and after 2.30 pm daily so unfortunately, you won’t be able to order it if you’re here for lunch.
Whether you’re a local wanting some good old fashioned comfort food without any fluff, or a visitor wanting to sample authentic Malaysian dishes, Ali, Muthu and Ah Hock is one place that will provide that experience for you in a true and sincere way.
Address: 13, Jalan Balai Polis, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Also located at Oasis Square PJ and Bangsar South.
Opening hours: Daily, 8 am-4.30 pm