Add flavour to your buka puasa meal with exotic Iranian specialities or typical kampung dishes. During Ramadan, most Iranians would break fast with dates and bamiyeh (puffy fried pastry fingers dipped in clear, rose water-scented syrup) or halim, a milled wheat stew,” says Ali Amini, owner of Iranian restaurant Taktaz in Serdang Perdana, Seri Kembangan, Selangor.
According to Ali, halim is usually enjoyed sweet with a sprinkling of sugar on top but some people prefer the savoury version which has salt or even meat added to it.
Formerly a chef with the Iranian embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Ali established Taktaz six years ago. His restaurant draws a regular crowd of Middle-Eastern students and Malaysian families who pop in for its delectable Iranian-style pizzas, juicy kebab and aromatic meat-based dishes with rice.
“For Ramadan, we’re offering Family Set Menus that are priced between RM50 and RM99.90. Individual sets are available from RM20 onwards,” says Ali. “Diners will also be accorded complimentary dates, bamiyeh and salad.”
One of the perennial favourites here is Lamb Shank with Vegetable Rice (RM42). Juicy and tender to the bite, the mildly gamey meat titillates the palate with the aromatic mélange of heady spices that go into it. It’s an apt accompaniment for the fluffy grains of dried dill and thyme-flavoured rice with fresh broad beans.
Personally, I found the Akbar Jooje (RM18.90), roast chicken with pomegranate sauce and rice, slightly on the dry side, but the Tahchin Morgh (RM11.90), saffron-infused rice with barberry and shredded chicken, is delicious and flavourful. Ali tells us that the tiny, tart red berries from the thorny Berberis Vulgaris shrub are rich in Vitamin C and is, in fact, an Iranian folk remedy for heartburn and gall bladder diseases.
The outlet’s newer dishes such as Negini Kebab (RM20), tender minced lamb stuffed with sliced chicken accompanied by rice, and Lamb Koobide Kebab (RM11.90 medium, RM14.90 large), ground lean lamb with Persian saffron rice, also come highly recommended.
Meanwhile, drawing inspirations from every nook and cranny of the peninsula, Hotel Equatorial Kuala Lumpur’s Malay chef, Azhar Alias, and his team are offering more than 150 kampung-style dishes for Nipah CoffeeShop’s buka puasa buffet every night.
“Every dish on our menu is cooked according to time-honoured recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation,” says Chef Azhar proudly.
The hearty Nasi Briyani Gam from Johor, which comprises spiced-infused basmati rice and scrumptious chicken, and the Nasi Dagang from the East Coast with Gulai Ikan Tongkol, a rich and spicy tuna curry, are two dishes that come highly recommended.
Meat lovers are in for a treat. Make a beeline for scrumptious offerings like Kambing Panggang Berempah (whole roast lamb with spices), Chicken or Beef Satay, Mutton Keema (thick Indian mutton curry), Ayam Golek with Percik Sauce (grilled whole chicken with creamy coconut milk-based spicy sauce) and Grilled Stingray.
The Penang Prawn Noodle gets the thumbs-up from our Penangite friend but the Otak-otak is forgettable. Luckily, my serving of Murtabak with Onion Pickles is up to mark as is the Sweet and Sour Razor Clams, which is prepared upon request at the show kitchen.
Notable sweet treats to round off your meal include Soya Bean Curd, Fried Ice Cream, Ais Krim Potong, Ice Kacang, assorted Raya goodies like batang buruk and dodol, Apam Balik and traditional Malay kuih.
The Aneka Sajian Tradisional Buffet Dinner is priced at RM99.00++ per adult and RM49.00++ per child.