This is the fourth post of my eating adventures in Malaysia (2015). Previous posts can be found here.
Madam Kwan is like the Violet Oon of Singapore. A very accomplished cook, a person who has dedicated many years to achieving the perfect recipe and has been recognized nationally for her efforts. Similar to Violet Oon, Madam Kwan serves her food in comfortable air conditioned restaurants and such comforts are reflected in the prices. Interestingly, Madam Kwan’s nasi lemak has been recommended as one of Malaysia’s best nasi lemak and she has recently opened a branch in Singapore’s Vivocity.
Admittedly, I only learnt of all these after I had eaten at one of Madam Kwan’s KL outlets, at Bangsar Shopping Centre, to be exact. I’m glad that I ate at the Malaysian outlet first, which gives me a good gauge as to whether I would even bother going to the Singaporean outlet.
Fruit rojak – this dish is uniquely Malaysian. In Singapore, we also have rojak, but it’s more of the savoury kind with chinese you tiao (油条）, turnip, cucumbers, peanuts and pineapple. The Malaysian version is served with more fruits – mango, jumbu, pineapple, cucumbers, turnip and their sauce is slightly sweeter as well. Madam Kwan also serves papadam with their fruit rojak – that was a bit odd for me. I ended up eating the papadam on its own. This is a very simple dish which is hard to execute badly. As long as you like the sauce, you would like this dish.
Nasi Bojari (RM$24.90) – I like to call this an elevated version of the Nasi Lemak, with fried chicken, beef rendang and assam prawns. Even the rice is different. Between this and the Nasi Lemak, I would go for this dish instead. especially if you like variety.
So here’s the thing. When you know that what you’re eating is something you could easily get at a hawker centre at 1/4 of the price (Eg. Selera), you would question whether it is worth paying 4 times the amount so that you can eat in a place with air con, comfy seats and with service. Some may say yes, others may say “forget about it”. Madam Kwan does serve you decent, well executed food. I would even be so bold as to say that in terms of taste and quality, she seems to be doing a better job than Violet Oon (whose restaurant I did visit when it first opened and went away rather disappointed), but the ultimate question is, is this worth it? In my humble opinion, I think that there must be something more, something more than the comfort that would make me make the trip down to the Vivocity outlet for a repeat outing…
Add: 1st Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre, 285, Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur