Many visitors to Kuala Lumpur head straight for the ever popular Jalan Alor. In our opinion, any street that has hustlers pushing menus in your face to try and entice you in, isn’t worth it. So, we headed away from Jalan Alor to the neighbourhood of Kampung Baru.
This is an area that won’t win any prizes for presentation or, indeed, sanitation. Saying that though, there are numerous stalls and small restaurants all along the Jalan Raja Musa Muda. One of these stalls is Nasi Lemak Wanjo, a popular breakfast restaurant.
Nasi Lemak is of course the national dish of Malaysia. A selection of meat, curry, cucumber garnish and spicy sambal sauce, all surrounding a mound of coconut rice. At Wanjo, you can expect a ‘canteen’ style of service. This basically means that all the dishes are laid out and you choose what you like and pay at the end.
When we walked into Wanjo we found a fleet of vespa motorcycles and poorly parked cars around the front. Thankfully the line, which is usually out of the door, was only 5-6 people deep. The restaurant is air conditioned by fans which is a blessing in itself when you have to contend with the sticky climate of Kuala Lumpur.
There are two different food collection points. One to the right which is for eating in. The other to the left is for taking away. As we found in Kuala Lumpur, not everyone speaks English but there is usually someone around that does. A kind member of the staff guided us through the dishes to help with our choice.
I was really up for trying the beef rendang. Something that many people reference with a dreamy look in their eyes when speaking about time spent in Malaysia. A plate is handed over prepared with rice, sambal sauce and cucumber – the rest is up to you. The rendang’s here don’t just extend to beef, there is also chicken, squid and spleen to pick from.
Sticking with beef, I then went for a piece of fried chicken to complete my plate. The cashier rounded the total off at 24 RM (around £4.45). Not bad for two plates but surprisingly expensive for Kuala Lumpur according to some. Table space during rush hour can be at a premium so be prepared to share.
I mixed together the sambal, rendang and rice together and had my first taste of Nasi Lemak. Oh my goodness. The sauce was sweet and just the right side of spicy to avoid a frantic grab for the water. The rice was fragrant from the combination of pandan leaves and coconut milk. The rendang was sensational.
The beef required scissors to cut into when being served but the texture was surprisingly tender. The coconut milk based sauce was just brilliant. One slight let down was that the chicken was going slightly dry on the breast. The wing however was juicy. A lemongrass, garlic and ginger flavour made the skin borderline addictive.
As far as breakfasts go, this one will live long in the memory. Many people might see the dodgy-paved streets and petrol fumed roads of Kampung Baru and think twice about eating there. I can honestly vouch for the fantastic food found in this part of town.
Opening Times: Daily 0630-0100
Nearest Metro Station: Kampung Baru