IF YOU can locate a makan place where civil servants have their meals, chances are you will find decent and cheap treats.
Recently, my makan-kaki Billy Baharuddin took me to a food court in Jalan Duta.
Now, this place is surrounded by posh neighbourhoods like Mont Kiara, Solaris Dutamas and Desa Sri Hartamas.
Despite the glamourous surroundings, there are at least two places around the area that serve cheap and good food.
Our quest ended at Ala Nasi Kandar in the Jalan Duta Food Court.
The first thing I noticed was a large selection of dishes served nasi campur-style.
On the Nasi Kandar claim, well, I think this is purely mistaken identity.
Why? Because you don’t find ulam and sambal tempoyak on the rice dish predominantly served by the mamak clans of the north.
And right there in the centre of attention was the owner, Pak Zin.
When I asked him about his business, he told be that he had been selling Nasi Campur for more than 20 years.
I believe this man because the hawkers in this area have been around since the Finance Ministry and other Government departments were located in Jalan Duta back in the mid-1990s.
So, all that said, what is good here?
For starters, there is a variety of 30 dishes — covering meat, seafood and vegetables.
Highly-recommended by Billy, was the kari kambing (mutton curry) but this is a little too rich for me so I gave it a pass.
The sambal tempoyak is good here, and so is the ulam.
My personal pick was the kari daging lembu (beef curry) which is tasty and tender.
Another favourite here is the kerabu taugeh (beansprout salad) and gulai lemak kacang panjang.
And speaking of price, well, we weren’t disappointed with the bill that came up to RM14.70 for two people including drinks.
Gerai Ala no 18 is located at the Pusat Penjaja Jalan Duta in Kuala Lumpur and the GPS coordinates are: N 03 10 470, E 101 33 399.