PUCHONG: Although the foodie hangouts in busy Puchong are found mainly in the town’s commercial district, it can be worth your while to check out places on the outskirts.
Like Taman Putra Perdana, for instance. There, by a road shoulder, you will find a humbly constructed eatery which has become something of an attraction since it was set up about two months ago.
Sai Food Stall may look like just any roadside stall or warung that Malaysians are accustomed to. However, it’s set apart by the size of the crowd that gathers as soon as it opens at 7.30pm.
Perhaps it’s the aroma of warm spices that has drawn them there, but Malaysians young and old and of all races line up at this spot to enjoy a hearty evening meal of banana leaf rice in the open air.
The sheer number of customers makes it almost certain that you’ll have to wait a little before a table is available. It’s common practice at the stall for solo diners to share a table. And there’s nothing more Malaysian than a communal meal.
The special curry served with your rice is known as tiruvilla sappadhu, a delicacy commonly served during festivals. Diners can enjoy a healthy helping here, which comes with a choice of chicken or mutton.
The drinks served are the standard stuff you can find elsewhere; it’s the food that people go to Sai for.
Your order will be taken right after you’re seated. And why order anything other than the stall’s signature banana leaf rice?
A fresh banana leaf will be placed before you. Hot on its trail will be a helping of steaming rice, one vegetable dish and a hard-boiled egg.
Sai’s frontman and chef, Sri BV, will then cook up a storm with yet another serving of tiruvilla sappadhu.
It comes to the table served in a traditional clay pot. You can then gawk or snap photographs as the delicious curry is drizzled onto your rice.
As with most Indian eateries, you are more than welcome to enjoy your meal with your hands.
First order of business: Mix everything up into a tasty and really messy meal. This helps to get every morsel of rice soaked with curry.
Priced at RM10, the chicken banana leaf rice set is worth every penny. There’s plenty of meat in the thick curry.
A good word also has to be put in for the mutton option, which comes for RM13, a reasonable price given the large portion.
Endowed with strong and rich flavours, the curry has many pieces of tender meat chunks in it.
With or without the meat, the curry-soaked rice is good to eat on its own. You may even want to have your banana leaf flooded with bright red curry.
And, of course, there are side dishes to be had. You can never go wrong with a bit of fried chicken to add to your meal.
Well-seasoned, the fried chicken could also make for a good takeaway snack if you so wish; it’s cooked according to the family’s secret recipe.
If it is Friday or Saturday, when the stall is busiest, you can order the weekend special of prawn varuval. It’s a bestseller; so order quickly before it runs out.
Sri, 30, hails from a family of caterers and cooks. He told FMT Lifestyle that the meat for his tiruvilla sappadhu is sourced from halal suppliers so that everyone can enjoy it.
“I decided to open Sai because my passion is cooking,” he said. “I learnt it all from my mother.”
He also said Sai had opened a second outlet in Kepong so that more people could enjoy his family’s recipes.
Sai Food Stall (Puchong)
35, Taman Putra Perdana
Sai Food Stall 2.0 (Kepong)
6, Jalan Kuang Bulan
52100 Kuala Lumpur
Business hours: 7.30pm-12am
Contact: 013-288 8379