And fret not, Devi’s Corner and Sri Nirwana Maju are not included.
Originated from South India, banana leaf rice is one of popular dishes in Malaysia. As the name says, the rice is served on banana leaves instead of plates following the traditional method which has been brought over to Malaysia during the migration of South Indians. While Devi’s Corner and Sri Nirwana Maju being the talk of the town for years, here are 5 other banana leaf restaurants (some you might have never heard of) in Klang Valley that we think you should try.
1. Chat Masala Restaurant, Brickfields
Located in the midst of the vibrant street of Little India, Chat Masala Restaurant is a pure vegetarian restaurant that has been around for a decade. The restaurant is known for its South and North Indian cuisine specialty, especially the banana leaf rice. We ordered the usual combo of banana leaf rice but the highlight, however, was definitely the Vegetarian Prawn Masala. The vegetarian prawns were made out of tofu and had a similar firm texture to a real prawn.
Even if you’re not a regular at this restaurant, you might have noticed the alarmingly colourful sweets display at the entrance of the restaurant.
2. Aunty Manju’s Home of Banana Leaf, TTDI
Ask around and many would suggest Aunty Manju’s Home of Banana Leaf (or simply Aunty Manju’s) if you’re looking for a fairly decent, healthier option of banana leaf restaurant. Located on the same row as Kayra’s, Aunty Manju’s is known for its mutton marrow curry but we decided to go with its chicken masala instead.
The banana leaf set used to come with 5 different vegetarian dishes but it was cut down to 4, which was a bit disappointing, to be honest. Nonetheless, taste-wise, the vegetable was fresh and the chicken masala curry was flavourful and robust. If you are not a fan of chicken, you should opt for their crab curry or fried fish.
3. Sri Paandi Restaurant, Brickfields
Located along the busy street of Jalan Tun Sambathan, Sri Paandi is a humble restaurant but definitely proud of their banana leaf rice offering. The restaurant is comfortable with an air-conditioned space towards the back. The staff were all friendly and well-versed – ready to help the first-timer like myself.
The basic banana leaf set came with 3 vegetarian side dishes along with tairu – a fresh yoghurt that helps tone down the spiciness. The mutton masala was spicier compared to other places in the list, we liked it regardless.
4. Moorthy’s Mathai Indian Rice, Brickfields
Apparently, it was quite a journey in search of Moorthy’s banana leaf but in the name of good banana leaf, we struggled ourselves to find the place. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a full-fledged restaurant (Google Images wasn’t helpful either), rather it was a stall located inside a food court called Money’s Corner.
The stall uses the self-service concept where patrons have the choice to choose their dishes, just like nasi kandar. The rice is still served on banana leaves but put together on top of aluminium plates. Not that it matters but fair warning, if you are looking for full, authentic experience of eating banana leaf rice, this stall may not be the best option to do so. Nonetheless, taste-wise, the curries were fairly decent. We’d suggest you give their fried fish and mutton curry a try.
5. Bala’s Banana Leaf, Bangsar
If you are in the neighbourhood , I am sure you are well aware of the famous Devi’s and Nirwana Maju – but not always one would have time to line-up for their meal, especially at peak hours right? That is where we discovered Bala’s Banana Leaf, right around the corner at Lucky Garden, which looked fairly busy but enticing with their cleanliness and interesting specials such as home made kulfis and fresh cow milk teh tarik.
However, we went for the usual of set banana leaf with a freshly fried, steaming hot fried chicken for a non-vegetarian munch. Compared to the other places in this list, this banana leaf meal was relatively light, which in turn could make you go for seconds or even another additional dish. The vegetable portions were somehow mediocre, and the chicken was fresh and succulent despite being under-seasoned.
We were still peckish, so we went for their signature Cheese Naan and it was good choice. Perfectly fluffed up, with good marbling of charred spots and the cheese filling was not too overwhelming. They served the naan with generous portion of green pea dhal and this dish ended up as sharing platter for us.