Eating in Kuala Lumpur - Baba Nonya at Nilai Old Town

Nilai is one of those outer suburbs which crop up everywhere to ease the overcrowded KL City Centre. Being close to the KL International Airport, it has become an "Inland Port", a logistics hub for the trans-shipment of air-cargo. It is here that you will find one of the hidden treasures for spicy food. 

I wouldn't have known this place if I was not taken there by a friend. The restaurant itself is very simple - a typical Chinaman outlet, though the place is Halal. The food is another story !

We started off with a chicken and spinach soup. This traditional Chinese soup is always a great way to start a meal, it's light and tasty.

Though the name of the restaurant is Baba Nonya, the food is not exactly authentic Nonya cuisine. It is more like spicy Malaysian cooking, with a mix of different cooking styles. The most popular dish here is the Assam Fish. It is really good - the sauce with just the right balance of tanginess and heat, not overwhelming the sweet and delicate taste of the fish which is very fresh.

Another highlight is the Deep-Fried Squid. This is always a test of the chef's skill. In lesser hands the squid tend to be overcooked and chewy. Here it crunchy outside and still tender inside.

Most of the dishes here are cooked with a spicy sambal sauce, but not all the sauces are the same. Each dish has a slightly different flavour profile which suits the main ingredient, whether it's prawns, clams, etc.

These clams are called "lala" locally. There is not much meat, but has a natural sweetness which is very nice in sambal.

Sambal prawns. 

These are "petai", a kind of jungle bean cooked with onions and sambal, served with deep-fried "ikan bilis" or anchovies. Petai has a unique, slightly bitter taste. It is said to be addictive.

The meal was finished off with a nice cold drink - grass jelly with longan.

Baba Nonya is definitely one of the best "sambal" restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. Worth the drive from KL if you want to try it's tasty take on the popular Malaysian sambal cooking style.


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