Banana Leaf Rice is a famous rice dish of Indian origin and has been one of Malaysians’ favourite. There are couple of famous banana leaf rice restaurants in Klang Valley, however, the Sri Nirvana Maju in Bangsar is definitely one of the more well known ones out there. Finding a parking space in Bangsar though is an issue so if you would like to try this place out and if you’re driving, try avoiding peak hours and allow ample time and patience. May I stress, you will definitely. need. patience. :). If you’re not driving then all the better, just grab a taxi to Bangsar! Of course, this is not the only place to have banana leaf rice, so if you want to experiment other places, by all means!
So, what IS banana leaf rice? As the name suggests, it’s rice served on a piece of banana leaf. While serving your rice, the waiter will also have two sets of containers filled with different types of vegetables and curries as well as sambal (chilli jam?). These are all part of the whole banana leaf rice package so you can have all or pick a few that you like and it’ll still cost the same amount of money. If you can take the heat, I’ll suggest you to have a mix of all curries and sambal available. One of my favourite sides and must have is the spicy deep fried bitter guard (that awesome red thing on the picture above). Once fried, it doesn’t actually taste bitter but sweet and the spiciness compliments it very well.
Aside from the original package, you can also opt to add in more things. Some of the options includes a small serving of chicken curry, beef rendang, ayam masak merah (chicken in sweet red spicy sauce), vadai (indian doughnuts), begedil (potato patties), fried chicken.. etc etc to name a few. They also have these at the back of the restaurant so if you don’t know what to pick, just head over there and point at whatever you want to add. Traditionally, rice are eaten with the right hand (never use the left) and you might still see some doing that. However, most ppl have now opt to use fork and spoon and is readily available in the restaurant.
To quench your thirst and spiciness, you can never go wrong with a cup of Teh Tarik Ais (Iced pulled milk tea), which, is probably a must have in any indian and mamak restaurants. But, if drinking milked tea seemed a little too heavy with the rice dish, you can try a glass of limau ais, which is basically iced lime juice that is very very refreshing especially in hot and humid Malaysia.
To finish up your awesome meal, fold the banana leaf towards you to show your satisfaction with the meal. Folding the opposite way is actually considered rude as it’s done only in funerals as a sign of condolence, or, some say to show dissatisfaction with the meal. However, if you don’t remember which way to fold, just leave it open!
Hope you’ve learnt something new from this post. Give banana leaf rice a try if you’re planning a visit to KL, Malaysia. It’s definitely one of the many must try food in Malaysia. I wished I had taken more pictures of the whole thing and could therefore give a more pictorial guide on how to eat banana leaf rice. However, it just didn’t occur to me to take more pics because it’s something that I’ve done growing up in Malaysia. I will keep in mind to take more pics and document more things in the future on my next trip back to KL.
You can find Sri Nirwana Maju Bangsar with the address below:
43 Jalan Telawi 3
Open daily from 10AM – 1:30AM (yes you read that correctly, 1:30AM)
Till the next post, keep experimenting!