[Kuala Lumpur] Local favourites at Makan Time, Kota Damansara

Makan Time is one of those neighbourhood eateries which serves really good, artisanal foods, but kept secret jealously by its loyal customers, wary, perhaps of a deluge of foodies if they ever found out about this place. Owner, Dan Kit, is Ipoh-born, a consummate chef with a passion for recreating and perfecting good Malaysian dishes not just from his hometown of Ipoh (a veritable culinary oasis) but also from other parts of Malaysia. So, one is just as likely to find a Kelantanese nasi dagang or Sarawakian laksa as an Ipoh hor fun there.
He has daily specials which Makan Time’s regulars always look out for, besides his amazing array of very good Malaysian kuehs.

Besides its extensive menu filled with local favourites, there is also a large table on the right side of the dining space which one can’t miss upon entry - this is loaded with fresh kuehs and daily special snacks, and is absolutely irresistible. :grin:

What we had for breakfast:
#1 Sarawak laksa The version here packed a spice-punch: rice noodles & beansprouts drenched in a coriander-scented spicy-sour soup, garnished with the requisite shrimps, poached chicken and shredded omelette, and topped with sprigs of fresh coriander leaves. Don’t miss this when you’re here.

#2 Teochew chwee kway. This is a very hard-to-find food item in KL, and the version here is marvellous: made larger like Hakka-style “woon chye koh”, whilst retaining the softness & subtlety of its Teochew counterpart - a delicate steamed rice cake topped with pickled radish, scallions and shallots. It’s a daily special which was available during our visit. If you ever do see it, do NOT miss ordering it!

We sampled from the daily array of kuehs available:

#3 Kueh bengka These are steamed tapioca pudding, akin to Trinidadian pone and is a favourite local dessert very likely introduced by the Portuguese during the 18th-century to this part of the world, just as the Spaniards did to the Caribbean. The baked pudding has a golden-brown crust on top that is to-die for.

#4 Onde-onde This is a South-east Asian dessert of glutinous rice balls filled with liquidised brown sugar/molasses in the centre, and covered with fresh, grated coconut. It goes by different names in the region: in Singapore and most parts of Malaysia, it’s known as onde-onde, but the Malaccans will call it buah Melaka. In Indonesia, where onde-onde actually refers to a deep-fried sweetmeat of Chinese origins, this dessert is known as klepon. In Cambodia, a similar dessert is called nom plai ai (though its glutinous rice exterior is not scented and tinted green using the juice from pandanus leaves as in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia).

#5 Onde-onde ubi kayu This is a variant of the glutinous rice pudding but made of tapioca and covered with grated coconut.

#6 Cokodok pisang Also known as kueh kodok among the Malays (in Malay, kodok means toad, and these sweetmeats are supposed to resemble toads), and kelodok / klodok among the Singaporean-Nyonyas. These are soft, moist banana fritters made from mashed bananas, flour, eggs and butter. The rendition here is as good as home-cooked ones.

#7 Pulut tai tai (Penang) or Pulut tekan (Malacca) These are compressed glutinous rice, served with kaya (coconut-egg jam). The glutinous rice is traditionally tinted blue using the juice from the local bunga telang.

#8 Pulut inti This is another glutinous rice dessert, but where the rice grains are more loosely-packed, and not compressed like the pulut tai tai, and accompanied by a dollop of grated coconut cooked with palm sugar, instead of kaya.

#9 Bihun goreng - packets of these Malay-style fried rice noodles are available for takeaway or eat-in from the “kueh” counter near the entrance.

#10 Roti “Heaven on Earth” One of my favourite finds here - thin crisp toast sandwiching cream cheese and generously studded with raisins. Totally addictive!

#11 Ipoh white coffee This must be the most authentic cup of thick, rich, foamy, aromatic, Ipoh-style coffee I’d had in KL. Kudos to Dan for managing to bring an authentic taste of his hometown to KL!

We were absolutely stuffed, but have not even scratched the surface of Makan Time’s extensive list of offerings yet. I’m already planning my next visit.

Makan Time
G-63A-G, Block G, Jalan Teknologi 3/9
Kota Damansara (283.56 km)
47810 Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Tel: +6011 1191 9218
Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 8am-4.30pm
Sat 8am-3pm
Closed on Sunday


I think I could gorge on that!

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