There is an alarmingly low number of Malay restaurants in the country.
This is a horrible discovery I found one evening as I scoured Food Panda and Zomato for Indonesian restaurants that offer delivery. I was craving for Mie Goreng that time and while there is the ever reliable, instant version through Indomie, I wanted something authentic and real for once. But in my search, only one restaurant appeared to be within my vicinity.
I sincerely think that Malay cuisine is underrated and people need to stop sleeping on it. That is why I was so happy when I first learned that Megamall is opening Makansutra, the famed Singaporean hawker food court.
It took me a long time to visit this place but when I finally did, oh my god..teh. It felt like walking into food paradise. I got so giddy looking at food stalls and seeing the names of dishes I recognize, partly because I already tried them before and partly because they were the dishes that my Indonesian and Malaysian friends have told me about. In fact, I made it a point to check out each and every one of the 11 stalls in the place. I did not want to miss anything.
I did not take enough photos of the interior because I got too caught up in eating, but the place is adorned in an industrial/urban street design! There is even this corner in the wall that teaches you random Indonesian/Malaysian (?) words. Amazing.
Now onto the food. There were also Hong Kong food stalls in the place, but I solely wanted to focus on Malay food that day, so those are everything I ordered. Here is the first star of my Makasuntra lunch: Mie Goreng.
The Mie Goreng (Php 200) is a little different from what I’m used to. It’s redder, less spicy, but still savory. The color reminded me a bit of our very own Pancit Palabok even though the taste is far from it. If you want a light snack to kickstart your appetite, I highly recommend this.
My favorite: Chicken Satay from Alhambra Padang Satay and Muslim Food. This meal comes with six skewers and a soto soup for Php 250. The rice portion is a tad too small for my liking, but everything else is fine. The chicken meat is barbecued to perfection that it disintegrates well in your mouth on the first bite. The flavor reminds me of a fragrant chicken kebab, but with light notes of sweetness in between. It also comes with a chunky peanut sauce (not included in the picture) that makes the taste even better.
Another favorite: Roti Cheese (Php 150) from Curry Flurry. I’ve had plain Roti Prata before that comes with Chicken Curry but this variation is just something else. This is great for snack and dessert because sandwiched in between the thin layers of roti are bits of melted cheese. Combine that with the sweetness of condensed milk when you dip it and it’s just snack nirvana. I think out of everything I ordered, this is the dish that got finished the fastest.
For dessert, we had Chendol (Php 200) from Sips, Sweets, and Snacks, the snack and dessert stall situated in the center of the food court. Like Mie Goreng, this Chendol is different from the one I had at Melaka circa 2013, but it’s just as delicious. It’s shaved ice topped with rice jelly, red beans, coconut milk, and palm sugar syrup. After mixing all the ingredients together, the taste started to remind me of something — ginataang halo-halo. It literally tasted like the iced version of this local dish, but I loved it all the same and I can only imagine how rewarding a bowl of Chendol is during a hot summer day.
All in all, dining in Makasuntra made me soooo happy. I love Malay cuisine for all its amazing spices and colors — it’s more pungent, yes, but incorporated in one dish are so many flavors that can thrill your taste buds. If you want to try something different for once, dine at Makasuntra, sample Malay food, and discover the art of eating.