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With roots finding its way back to Malaysia, we are pretty particular about authenticity claims when it comes to restaurants and home bakers who prepare and promote Malay-inspired food. We’ve tried a few restaurants in Colombo and have had our qualms about presentation, taste and how certain ingredients are substituted for the authentic ones used in Malay or Malaysian cooking (yes, there is a difference between the two!).
So we were naturally excited when we discovered Rasa Melayu, a home-based operation with claims to the real deal Malay food. Being big fans of all varieties we ordered the just-have Laksa, a portion of Pandan Chicken, Nasi Lemak, Nasi Goreng and Nasi Bakar. We placed the orders via Instagram and the response was prompt. Our delivery also arrived intact and in a timely fashion.
The food is served in brown cardboard packaging and even the Laksa came in paper cups which gives Rasa Melayu first points for being sustainable. Additional points also for portion sizes which were quite generous. But let’s quite literally get down to the meat of it, the presentation and taste.
Our “starter” was the Pandan Chicken, which is boneless Chicken cubes marinated overnight, wrapped in Pandan leaves and deep-fried. The process helps the unique fragrance and taste of Pandan to absorb in to the meat and we thoroughly enjoyed unwrapping each piece and dipping it in homemade sweet Chilli sauce which was perfectly executed as well.
Our mains consisted of Rendang Chicken Nasi Lemak, Beef Satay Nasi Goreng and Prawns Nasi Bakar. The last time we had any of these were on the streets of Malaysia so the bar was set pretty high. Let’s start with the Nasi Goreng. A lot of establishments in Sri Lanka serve this favourite with their own twist to it but we tend to find an oilier version at most. The Rasa Melayu version with the Beef Satay also came with the Fried Egg and Prawn Crackers, while the rice itself is packed generously with bits of Chicken, Prawns and Cuttlefish. The flavours were perfectly balanced out with a lot of emphasis on making the rice the highlight of the meal. The Beef Satay was also on point with the meat literally falling off the skewer.
The Nasi Lemak also had all the traditional elements in place with the the Cucumber slices, Sambal, toasted Peanuts, fried Anchovies and the Rendang Chicken. The rice once again had the perfect balance of sweetness from the Coconut Milk while the Chicken added the heat. This staple Malaysian dish often eaten for breakfast was also well executed for us.
Nasi Bakar is not as common as the other two in Sri Lanka but our Prawn version was also very good. The Banana-leaf wrapped rice and prawns was char-grilled to perfection and once opened up wafted such an aroma that we were blown away from the first bite itself.
We love our Laksa and it is such a go-to comfort food. We felt the Rasa Malayu version could do with a little more balance with the flavours. While all the elements were included, the right balance of sweet and heat would make it just perfect.
Overall we are super glad for folks like Rasa Melayu who also make Malay food affordable and accessible to anyone. They should definitely try adding on some lesser known Malay dishes to their repertoire too and we would be more than happy to try them!
So here’s our review…
Delivery **** (Efficient and timely!)
Packaging ***** (Beautiful presentation!)
Service **** (On time and courteous!)
Food **** (Best Malay renditions we’ve had in ages!)
Overall **** ¼
Price Range: 350 upwards
Tel: 0771 247313
Reviewed by Nishu Gunawardana
Photo Credit: Sanura Gunawardana