I couldn't have timed my trip to Malaysia any better. When I arrived in Kuala Lumpur, it was just the first week of the Ramadhan month, when Muslims fast and refrain from eating, drinking, and most other "pleasures" including sexual intimacy with their partners during daylight hours - instead focusing that time to offer up more prayer than usual. Basically it is their time for reflection, purity and worship.
How does this relate to a non-Muslim foodie like myself aka why is this so exciting? Well, to sum it up in two Malay words - BUKA PUASA aka breaking of the fast. In case you weren't aware, the Muslims fast during the day but they have so much to look forward to once the sun goes down, especially when it comes to the FEAST waiting for them. Every year during Ramadhan months, the Ramadhan markets open up on the streets and stalls selling traditional Malay food and cakes just pop up everywhere! It is literally a food festival every single afternoon for a month - and we non-Muslims get to enjoy it as much as the Muslims (only we didn't have to fast during the day). But imagine how excited we get and we didn't even have to fast.. the Muslims after a whole day of not eating and drinking, rejoice at the time of the breaking of their fast as their hungry tummies finally get filled with lots of glorious food.
So I suppose it's not surprising that by the time I arrived at the Checkers Restaurant @ Dorsett Regency KL Hotel Kuala Lumpur for the Ramadhan Buffet... most of the food were already swept up by all those hungry people, lol. Only a few sticks of satay were left, and the chefs look frantically busy trying to keep up (the satays were freshly grilled on the spot).
The "make your own" noodle station was reasonably quiet because *gasp* we actually have to wait for our meals to be cooked? Nahh... next!
|"Ayam Goreng" aka Fried Chicken|
|A variety of deep fried food|
Of course no Ramadhan Buffet was going to be complete without a healthy dose of deep fried goodness. Unfortunately, the Fried Chicken has been left there for way too long so it was cold and the chicken was dry. The variety of deep fried food didn't really tickle my fancy either as the only thing I was looking forward to was "Sotong Goreng" aka Deep Fried Squid / Calamari and they didn't have any!
They had "Lemang" aka sticky glutinous rice cooked and wrapped in banana leaves which was great and a curry to go with it. But the curry didn't look very appetizing so I went for the peanut sauce instead. The peanut sauce is as always delicious, thankfully!
|Ikan Bakar aka Grilled Fish|
There were some basic "condiments" aka "ulam ulam" which are basic foods to go with rice - very traditional I thought. These condiments were basically food that families on a budget would normally have at home on a daily basis. In a way, it was good that a lot of the dishes at the buffet were fairly traditional. But I was really quite disappointed that they didn't have a "Nasi Lemak" station or even a good Beef Rendang! They had some other types of rendang aka some traditional chilli squids and some other traditional type of curries... but where was the more "commercial" dishes eg Ayam Masak Merah? I wanted Ayam Masak Merah!! Sigghhh...
The buffet had a decent selection of fresh seafood but being pregnant I couldn't have any. My parents enjoyed themselves though, especially the prawns and oysters :)
There was also a "Rojak" station where you make your own rojak - but at this point who wants to eat rojak when you can fill up on other cooked food?
A decent selection of pasta salads, and salads in general - but again, being pregnant and very wary of how long the salad has been sitting there on the table and whether or not the green leaves have been thoroughly washed - I practiced a bit of caution and skipped most of the cold dishes.
Unfortunately the Roast Lamb Leg did not appeal to me at all. As they cut into the meat, I could clearly see that it was too dry. What a shame...
Thankfully all was redeemed by the Steamed Chicken and the Roasted Duck. I had the steamed chicken and went back for more. I think I am a little bit addicted to steamed chicken, especially when it is cooked perfectly and the meat is so soft it melts in your mouth. I was very happy with at least one meat section of the buffet!
|Note the "Green Ang Ku Kueh" bottom right - it was DELICIOUS!!|
|Choose your own ice-cream and toppings|
|"Kuih Muih" aka Malay-styled Traditional Cakes|
|The chocolate fountain was nice to have.. but where was the scoop?? The fresh strawberries to dip them in with? The lollies or marshmallows? A bit of a failed attempt...|
There was also some entertainment for the night by not just anyone, but pretty well known Malaysian celebrities. They sang popular Malay songs and even had some giveaways - which created a fairly "noisy" atmosphere at the buffet but that seems to be part of the fun. In fact, the whole buffet dinner just seemed very busy with people rushing to get food and the noise and the singing and the loud microphones and everything... most people seem to enjoy it, but I was really not in the right frame of mind or mood to be surrounded by all of that. Still a bit jetlagged and tired from shopping all day, I think my parents enjoyed the singing but I didn't know any of the songs so I couldn't really sit there and enjoy the songs. We also couldn't really talk to each other because the music was really loud!
So unfortunately despite my initial excitement for the Ramadhan Buffet aka Buka Puasa experience, it was a bit of a let down because I didn't get to have freshly cooked Fried Chicken, I didn't have enough satay, there was no all-you-can-eat Nasi Lemak, not even Coconut Rice! No beef rendang, no Ayam Masak Merah, and the atmosphere was a bit too noisy and messy and busy for my liking.
I think walking down the Ramadhan markets and buying street food would've been much more enjoyable. Oh well, the good thing about a buffet is that at least I can identify a few dishes that were really good and just eat lots of it aka the steamed chicken, lemang, peanut sauce, duck.
Oh, and I guess I'd go for more of that Green Ang Ku Kueh :)
Oh, and I guess I'd go for more of that Green Ang Ku Kueh :)