[Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia] Madam’s Kwan Nasi Lamak is recommended as the best nasi lemak by the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia. This is really big deal, as the fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk is considered the national dish of the country.
I finally made my way to KLCC to try this coveted dish, with this variation created by Madam Kwan Swee Lian who is now 80 years old. While she handed the business operations over to her son, she is still going strong and oversees the central kitchen.
Madam Kwan’s offers many Malaysian-style street food in a restaurant setting, with prices about 3-4 times what you would pay at a hawker stall. You may think twice about the price, but other customers reflect otherwise – the restaurant is always packed.
Other than the nasi lemak, other popular dishes are the Nasi Bojari – a self-created tri-coloured rice dish with assam prawns, Assam Fish Head, Chicken Curry, Beef Rendang and otak otak.
Okay. I did contemplate that the Nasi Lemak at RM$16.90 ($6.80) is slightly pricey considering this is Malaysia.
The rice seems deceivingly simple, just fairly aromatic. Wishing it was warmer and more fragrant. However, its fluffy light grain with every rice distinct and not clumpy probably won it many fans. I can imagine there are better versions out there, but this is good enough for me.
While the side accompaniments are not the usual ingredients I am used to (such as deep fried chicken and fried egg) its balanced combination is a result that is not too heavy and a joy to finish. I always feel kind of bloated after having nasi lemak, but Madam Kwan’s version is rather delightful.
I especially liked the chicken curry gravy, sambal ikan bills and acar, and swiftly made a clean finish even though the tummy was already quite full to begin with.
The other food such as the 6 pieces skewered barbequed Malaysian Satay (RM$13.90) and Cendol dessert (RM$7.90) are splendid. The taste and presentation styles do remind me of PappaRich and Grandma’s (where the chef is originally from Madam Kwan’s), only a notch better in terms of first impressions.
The main thing I did not like was the service, or lack of, and the cleanliness of the restaurant. There were like shoe prints and stains all over the floor, and you wonder if they even cleaned the restaurant that day.
Though Madam Kwan’s opened their first overseas outlet at Singapore’s Vivocity, some criticisms went for the high price tag, and that it was just not as good as the Malaysian branches.
Madam Kwan’s Restaurant (KLCC)
Suria Klcc Jalan Ampang, Parkson Suria KLCC, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tel: +60 3-2026 2297
Other Branches: Bangsar Shopping Centre, Mid Valley, Empire Subang, Pavilion, Alamanda Putrajay, One Utama
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 10:30pm Daily