[Kajang, Malaysia] Best Sate in Malaysia

Anyone who’s been to a Malaysian restaurant anywhere in the world would have probably tasted the Malaysian “sate” (sometimes spelt “satay”, and pronounced “SAH-tay”) - skewers of marinated, barbecued chicken, beef or mutton, served with a spicy, peanutty dip.

In Malaysia itself, the best sates supposedly come from the small town of Kajang, about 15 miles from Kuala Lumpur. So how did the famous Kajang sate originate? According to local food chroniclers, sate (which is a Javanese dish) was first popularised in Kajang by a Javanese immigrant, Tasmin bin Sakiban, in 1917. He was assisted by his younger brother, Rono bin Sakiban.

But Kajang old-timers often talked about another Javanese immigrant, Wak Jono Darmon (who later took on the Malay name, Haji Mohamad Noor) whom they credited as being the earliest sate seller in Kajang. Haji Mohamad Noor was the father-in-law of Rono bin Sakiban. But it was the Sakiban brothers who were instrumental in making Kajang sate famous.

The Sakiban brothers sold their sates at a Chinese-owned coffeeshop, Kedai Kopi Ban Seng since the 1940s, usually in the evenings and into the late-night, barbecuing and serving their sates under gas-lamps.

Tasmin bin Sakiban passed his business down to his son, Haji Amir, whose business, upon the latter’s death many years later, was inherited by his son-in-law, Haji Samuri. It was under Haji Samuri’s watch that Kajang sate came unto its own - attracting sate connoisseurs from all over Malaysia to Kajang, for a taste of the legendary Kajang Sate.

I first tasted Haji Samuri’s sate in the late-70s. It was the best sate I’d ever had then. Even today, after having travelled all over Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia - I still thought that Haji Samuri’s Kajang sate remained up there amongst the best.

So, we were back in Kajang this morning and Haji Samuri was one of our definite stops. It’s a large 3-storey building these days, serving hundreds of customers every single day.

Haji Samuri offers rabbit meat and fish fillet sates these days, besides the usual chicken, beef and mutton ones. Their sate peanut dipping sauce was very much how I remembered it ever since my first time there in the 1970s.

We also ordered the ketupat nasi - compressed squares of boiled rice wrapped in woven palm leaves. These provide the carbs for the sate meal, besides the obligatory raw wedges of cucumber and raw onions.

Sate Kajang Haji Samuri
Lot 1, 2 & 3 Bangunan Dato Nazir
Jalan Kelab, 43000 Kajang
Tel: +60387371853


Do places selling sates, they usually sell those ketupat nasi? I remembered ordering delicious sates at hawker food court, but don’t recall seeing those neat rice parcels.

May I ask what were the pink drinks?

Yes, ketupat nasi is a ubiquitous accompaniment to sates. If you don’t see any, usually, it’ll have been sold out.

The pink drinks are “Sirap Bandung” - a rose syrup-flavoured, milky iced drink very popular among the Malays in Malaysia and Singapore.

1 Like

I checked my photo again. You are right, they were selling ketupat but without the leaves. I was attracted by the fish ball tau mu noodle soup…lol!



I know this may be a tricky question - but what makes this the "best " satay? Quality of meat? Cooking? Sauce flavour? Combo of all the above?

The right combination of texture (just enough bite, but not too toothsome) and marinade for the meat (turmeric, sugar, etc.). And the spicy peanut dip will also need to be well-balanced, and also has the right crunch (akin to a liquidy chunky peanut butter). I find good sates in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, but never outside these countries ever.


The crunch of the dip is interesting. My recollection is that examples I’ve eaten in the UK have all been smooth. I can see why crunch would improve it.

1 Like

For quite a while, Satay Nyok Lan at Restoran Malaysia was a crowd favourite, with many regarding it as “better” than Haji Samuri. However, Nyok Lan closed down suddenly last year, serving its last stick of satay on 31 Aug 2017 - Malaysia’s Independence Day. The reason was because the old proprietress, Nyok Lan, has decided to call it a day after 3 decades. She now earns RM12,000 per month from leasing out her old Restoran Malaysia premises.

But the whole kitchen crew has now moved onto Satay Putera Kajang on Lorong Mandeling, a mere 5 minutes’ walk from where Restoran Malaysia used to be.

The kitchen also offers Muar-style otak-otak - spicy fish mousse wrapped in palm leaves & barbecued - the only satay restaurant in Kajang to do so.


Kajang’s Old Town Centre has a specialised Medan Satay (or “Satay Square”) where a few satay stalls congregate. We were told by locals to only order from Stall No. 2. Very good advice, since every stall in there seemed to claim some form of lineage or familial relationship with the famous Sakiban brothers.