Thanks to the MRT, now food hunting in TTDI is made much easier.
Once a secluded and exclusive neighbourhood, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail (TTDI) has been an attention-grabber for quite some times now due to the rapid development and gentrification of the area. These major changes has opened up opportunities for various businesses to boom in the area — including restaurants and cafes.
Recently, my friend, Shamrina and I were in the area looking for something to fill up our empty stomach. With so many options to choose from, it took us almost forever to decide which eatery to head to for our lunch. Instead of randomly picked any restaurants in the neighbourhood, we agreed on trying something for the first time.
Since Shamrina claimed that she hasn’t had nasi kerabu in her entire lifetime (can you believe her?), we went to Dua by Skohns along Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad in my little effort to enlighten her with this must-try Malay cuisine.
Nasi kerabu is one of the most popular traditional Kelantanese dishes which has been gaining popularity in the recent years. The dish is easily distinguished from its vivid blue colour rice and a mouthful of other components including herb salad, a coconut and fish relish, a spicy sambal sauce, salted egg, and keropok ikan (fish cracker). Some variations may come with other condiments such as solok lada (stuffed green chilli) and fried fish or chicken.
As we were looking through the menu, we noticed that Dua by Skohns offered a variety of choices for their nasi kerabu. Among the options were ayam percik, salted egg chicken, salted egg prawns, kambing bakar, ayam goreng rempah, and sotong celup tepung. We were torn between ayam percik and salted egg chicken but Shamrina decided to eat her nasi kerabu with salted egg chicken.
Taking her first bite of nasi kerabu, she almost in tears over the salted egg chicken goodness. The aromatic herbs and the freshness of the vegetables combined with the flavoursome sambal sauce – a bite of divinely delicious in every mouthful. The salted egg complimented the traditional dish with its oozy, sticky, rich and creamy, and slightly sweet, resulting in exquisite experience of a perfect culinary finesse.
Moving on to our second stop, it was my turn to please my palate — and tummy, of course. Trying to figure out what to eat, Shamrina asked whether or not I have tried Kerala cuisine. Guessing from the frown face I made, she immediately knew the answer. Hence, we headed to the nearby restaurant known for its authentic Kerala cuisine — Kayra.
Kerala is a state in Southern India which borders the states of Tamil Nadu to the east and Karnataka to the north. To simply put, Kerala cuisine is more diverse and distinct compared to the rest of India. Apart from the usual chilies and spices, Kerala cuisine is also known for their generous use of coconut. Among the popular dishes are the Arab-influenced Mappila briyani, Kozhikodan halwa, sadya, appam, and many more. I’ve decided to order Vegetarian Thali set and puttu for my lunch.
Their Vegetarian Thali set came with the usual 5 side dishes — avial, sambar, thoran, pachadi, and erissery. Of course, you can choose add-on dish to go with the thali set and for me, I picked Kerala fish curry. The utterly fresh tender fish was divinely tasty and the curry was thick — simply mouthwatering. The puttu made of rice, wheat and multigrain was a fun snack and it went well with the fish curry too.
For dessert, we’ve decided to give Foo Foo Fine Desserts (Foo Foo for short) along Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi. While my personal favourite is still Naj & Belle, but for a more affordable option, Foo Foo is probably the best place to head to. Plus, it is located away from the hustle and bustle of TTDI which makes it a perfect spot to chill out with your friends, bring your date over or simply enjoy your own company.
Apple Strudel with Black Pepper Mango Ice Cream was delightful comforting. Foo Foo’s modern twist of the apple strudel is served with black pepper mango ice cream. The spherical shape of the apple strudel is also Foo Foo’s innovative creation as opposed to the traditional flattened rectangular shape. The combination of these two would give you a perfect yet surprising bite — thanks to the black pepper.
Shamrina, on the other hand, grew fondness over the Tahini Chocolate Mousse with Honeycomb & Peanut Tuiles — a tasty treat boasting layers of Belgian chocolate infused with Tahini sesame seeds mousse, topped with honeycomb and crunchy peanut shards. The texture of the mousse is light — enough to make you forget how sinfully rich this dessert actually is!
We ended our TTDI food hunting with happy and full tummies.