Satisfying a laksa Johor craving

Eu Hooi-Khaw

Cafe Chef Wan TTDI is an attractive green corner, requires no reservations at the weekend and is open all day. – The Malaysian Insight pic, February 11, 2023.

ON our first visit to Cafe Chef Wan TDDI, our eyes were drawn to the cucur udang, all golden and crispy, studded with whole peeled tiger prawns, on its way to the next table.

The cucur udang is golden, crispy and irresistible. – The Malaysian Insight pic, February 11, 2023.

We had to have this dramatic, gigantic prawn cracker, topped with cili padi and fresh Thai basil, served with a peanut satay dip and chilli sauce.

We happily crunched away on this cucur udang, touching its soft thin base of sweet corn and beansprouts. The peanut satay sauce was so good with it.

You may argue that cucur udang should be made with small shrimps, but still it made a great starter for the three of us.

The gravy in the laksa Johor is chockful of ikan parang. – The Malaysian Insight pic, February 11, 2023.

I am obsessed with laksa Johor, always trying to find the best one. I am satiated by the laksa Johor at Chef Wan.

First, the gravy is aromatic and flavourful, and thick with ikan parang. Flakes of the fish top the laksa too, together with finely chopped long beans and preserved radish, bean sprouts, cucumber, daun kesum, bunga kantan and calamansi.

Not to be missed is the wonderful sambal for this laksa. It is truly awesome, with fish coating every spaghetti, and the portion is large enough for two people.

Cik Aini's mee rebus is the chef’s favourite. – The Malaysian Insight pic, February 11, 2023.

Cik Aini’s mee rebus is naturally Chef Wan’s favourite dish, named after his late mum. Yellow noodles are in a thick sweet potato gravy that is fragrant and nutty.

Pieces of fried bean curd and bean sprouts are in the gravy and the toppings of Australian beef tenderloin slices, hard-boiled egg, fried shallots and calamansi complete this delicious mee rebus.

Nasi kerabu with ayam percik, ulam, ikan kering, budu and sambal. – The Malaysian Insight pic, February 11, 2023.

I have had the nasi kerabu here, with ayam percik here. It is long-grain basmati rice coloured blue with bunga telang, touched with a little santan that I enjoyed with the coconut serunding, sambal, ikan kering, ulam, salted egg, fish crackers, budu and sambal, and of course the mildly sweet ayam percik. I would have preferred beef rendang with it.

Wild jenahak bakar bersambal, snapper fillets marinated with nyonya sambal, served with nasi bukhari and other condiments. – The Malaysian Insight pic, February 11, 2023.

Wild jenahak bakar bersambal is wild John snapper fillets doused with a nyonya sambal, wrapped in turmeric and banana leaves and baked.

It is served with nasi bukhari, ulam and pineapple acar. The sambal coating of the fish was so flavourful; I just wished the fish didn’t have such a hard bite, and that there was a more generous serving of pineapple acar.

The spiced rice was fragrant and nice.

Satay aneka is luscious beef and chicken satay with superb peanut dip. – The Malaysian Insight pic, February 11, 2023.

The satay aneka of beef and chicken was excellent, the meat was well marinated and lightly sweet. The peanut dip was so good that we asked for another helping.

I hve been mostly focused on the Malay dishes in the menu, as it’s food that I like and cooked well, with good ingredients here.

Yet it also has a Western cafe menu with sandwiches, burgers, pasta and pizzas. I have tasted and liked its Jamaican fish ‘n’ chips with red snapper fillets marinated with Jamaican spices, dipped in batter and fried.

It was served with pomegranate coleslaw and tartar sauce.

For dessert, you can take your pick of pastries and cakes at the pastry corner just outside the restaurant.

Cafe Chef Wan TTDI is at 4-2 & 5-2, Level 2, TT Gardens, Bangunan AHP, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 3, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.

You can book a table on the website. No reservation is needed at the weekend. It is a lovely restaurant to chill out and it’s open throughout the day. – February 11, 2023.

* Eu Hooi-Khaw has been writing about food for the longest time, covering all aspects, from restaurant reviews to cooking and recipes, as well as the healthy side of it. She has written for major newspapers and magazines, published the cookbook Fresh Ingredients, and also writes for her website

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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