44, Jalan Raja Alang,
50300 Kuala Lumpur.
THE streets of Kampung Baru are always bustling with people, especially in the evenings, when hungry folk go looking for food.
As you make your way along Jalan Raja Abdullah and turn into Jalan Raja Muda Musa (the large wooden arch is the landmark), the street is flanked by big and small restaurants selling all kinds of food – from nasi lemak and ikan bakar to Padang dishes.
Nestled along the busy confines of Jalan Raja Alang is Suraya Nasi Kukus, which is always packed with customers seeking the restaurant’s signature Ayam Bakar Madu (top pic) and a side of the essential steamed rice.
According to manager Rasni Mohd Noor, Suraya Nasi Kukus or Suraya 2 is a spin-off from Suraya Seafood, which is located on an adjacent street.
We made a few trips to Suraya Seafood and noticed that the place was closed for a number of consecutive days. The proprietor was on leave, we were told.
But fear not, Suraya fans, because the Nasi Kukus branch is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, for Ramadan, it is in business for buka puasa until the next morning for sahur.
The usual a la carte menu comprises tom yam, kerabu, soup, rice as well as poultry, meat and seafood dishes. It is really a fusion of Malay-Thai-Kelantanese cuisine.
Bear in mind that parking is horrendous in Kampung Baru but we were lucky to find a spot just outside the restaurant. It was 10pm and the place was packed with the supper crowd, all savouring the sought-after grilled chicken, rice and special sauce.
One thing to note is that you do not order the chicken from the menu. Instead, you walk up to the food counter and place your order. The aroma of the smokey grilled chicken permeates the restaurant.
The chicken was tasty and while grilled meat prepared in big amounts can run the risk of being too dry, this was not too bad. It comes with a side of deceptively spicy looking gravy and chilli sauce. Both were a tad too sweet.
On this night, we had the steamed white rice but in all honesty, I could not tell the difference between regular cooked rice and steamed rice.
When we returned to Suraya’s the week after (about 9pm as we wanted to avoid the buka puasa crowd), we had the same grilled chicken but this time we tried theirnasi minyak. We also ordered the som tam (papaya salad) and pulut mangga (mango with sticky pandan rice).
During Ramadan, only the grilled chicken and rice, mango sticky rice, laksa Siam and snacks such as grilled sausages and fry-ups are available.
People throng Suraya’s because the food is tasty and cheap. For our meal of grilled chicken and rice, mango sticky rice and som tam with two drinks, the bill was RM20.
The place was still empty but after 10pm, loyal customers who had finished theirterawih prayers returned for their late-night fix.
One customer, Rosli Said, said he found the food affordable.
“We like it because the flavours are familiar and they serve simple food.”