There aren’t too many things that are worth leaving your bed on a Saturday morning for, but one of them is certainly a cookery workshop at Bijan, home to some of the tastiest versions of classic Malaysian dishes to be found in the capital.
This is cooking the civilised way, beginning with a refreshing glass of juice and a relaxed chat before attendees are aproned and welcomed, and guided through the complicated dishes – the focus for my workshop was on East Coast Favourites – much like huge ships miraculously fnd their way through narrow channels.
It is thanks to Chef Zulkifli and his ever-smiling team that the morning is such a breeze, and I longed to take them all home and have them in my kitchen as they presented me with all the pre-chopped ingredients and whisked away dirty pans before I had time to ask.
My four-hour session guided me through three classic dishes from the East Coast of Malaysia, from a nibble-friendly Solok Lada (chilli stuffed with fsh paste) to a deceptively simple-looking Ikan Percik (grilled fish daubed in a delicious creamy sauce), while the pudding proved to be intriguing, with four different layers that needed to be cooked separately and then combined in a coconut cream and sugar laden Malay trifle. My Lompat Tikam did not look all that pretty, but it tasted sinful, improved by the glowing pride that I had made it myself.
After three hours over the cooker, I was glad to rest the feet and enjoy a three-course meal that showcased some of the best Bijan bites. As I munched happily on crispy vegetable fritters Cucur Bijan and delighted in the creamy, spiced gravy of the Kerutup Daging, I felt a slight twinge of guilt knowing just how long these decadent dishes take to prepare.
It was an educational Saturday, and I left the restaurant in that rare state of balance – mind and stomach satisfied, and cheeks aching from all the smiling and laughing. For anyone who views Malay cuisine as a delicious mystery, take a trip to Bijan one Saturday morning and uncover some secrets – it is well worth leaving your bed for!
Fact File :
Bijan Bar and Restaurant
3 Jalan Ceylon
Business Hours: Daily 4.30pm-11pm
Saturday 22 June – Street Food Galore
RM180nett per person inclusive of lunch
Contact [email protected] or call 03.2031 6568
For more restaurant reviews visit: www.DineMalaysia.com
Source: The Expat June 2013
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