02 April, 2013

Kelantan Delights @ Sooka Sentral, KL

There may be many restaurants that dish out traditional Malay food in the city, but one that can be labelled as casual fine Kelantanese dining are few and far between. Nuffnang has recently discovered this classic-style eatery near KL Sentral, Brickfields, so we went for a culinary adventure with the fellow TasteBuddies.

Sooka Sentral is a commercial building in futuristic design, located just beside the biggest transportation hub, KL Sentral where the buses, LRT, monorail and ERL meet as one.

Approaching 11 years in existence, the restaurant has two branches, conveniently located in KL Sentral and Subang Jaya to cater for the working groups as well as family diners who crave for a taste of northern delight.

The interior is completed with dark wooden furnishings and traditional wood carving motifs to give a touch of nostalgia. The silk-woven drapes are nice additions to the warm ambience.

The wallpaper itself is an art of Wayang Kulit Kelantan, a renowned traditional performance during the olden days. Definitely a great place, a rustic charm reminiscent of Kelantan that's long gone. 

After a brief introduction about this eatery, our growling stomachs started attacking the food!


#1 Sirih Daun Kaduk

The early culture of Kelantan was influenced by Thailand (formerly know as Siam), so I was not surprised to learn that this flavoursome appetiser is also influenced by the Thai Mieang Kam, featuring a large piece of edible leaf wrapping the local spices. It is rolled into a cone shape and sitted elegantly on the crispy popiah skin.

The presentation itself was an art for admiration. Ginger, chilli, onion, roasted coconut, roasted peanuts and dried shrimp were concocted with a dollop of special sweet sauce to tickle your senses with mainly spicy, savory and lightly sweet tastes. 

#2 Tom Yam Kelapa Muda

For a whole serving, the tom yam soup is served in a coconut shell and crowned with fresh juicy prawns. However, during our food tasting session, it eased us by serving them in shots with prawn and coconut flesh, as there were more dishes coming our way. 

 The soup was slightly toned down as the chef may be overzealous on his application of coconut milk that day. It appeared creamier, but nevertheless it left diners a little hot under the collar.


#3 Nasi Tumpang

Savouring the original Kelantan's taste of Nasi Tumpang is a must here! It is a secret recipe beautifully prepared layer by layer of pressed rice cakes and wrapped into a banana leaf shaped cone. Accompanied with crispy fried spiced chicken, curry and pickled vegetables, the rice itself had a tale to tell. 

During the olden days, nenek will prepare this for datuk who works at the farm. Upon unwrapping, first (1) is the largest part consisting of Rice and Egg which is a great source of energy as breakfast. Moving to lunch time, datuk will feast on the second layer, (2) rice made of Gulai Ikan Tongkol and Sambal Udang. Save the last part for dinner: (3) Serunding Ayam (chicken floss).

The rice itself was moist and not too sticky for my liking. The combination of flavours exuded a strong aroma especially when I dipped into the gravy. It comes in a very generous portion, so sharing is recommended.

#4 Nasi Kerabu Ayam Percik

Next up was another favourite for locals and visitors alike. Nasi Kerabu, the natural blue coloured rice was made from bunga talang, served with traditional Ayam Percik, a barbecued chicken marinated with spicy coconut gravy. 

Nasi Kerabu is always my favourite choice of rice, because of its outstanding fragrance. 
The chicken was a tad dry but scrumptious nonetheless with a nice smoky tinge. 

#5 Nasi Dagang Gulai Ikan

Another popular variation of rice is Nasi Dagang, the steamed regular and glutinous rice in coconut cream over low heat in the ratio of 50:50. Lovely paired with tuna curry (Ikan Tongkol), pickled cucumber (Acar Timun) and carrots. 

Ikan Tongkol is normally stinky and bloodish but Kelantan Delights served them well in sweet fresh flavours. So true that simplicity is its essence, such simple combination of a hearty meal made up my day!

#6 Laksam Ikan

Comes in two varieties, Laksam Belut (Eel) and Laksam Ikan. It was my first experience with the whitish gravy made of fish and coconut milk. The hot bowl of milky gravy was very comforting as the rice noodles went down the throat smoothly along with crunchy vegetables. 

#7 Ketupat Sotong (Also known as Sotong Sumbat)

For the first time, I had squid as dessert! As the name suggests, the internal organs in the squid was removed, and then stuffed with glutinous rice, bathed in a sea of cooked thick coconut milk, sweetened with brown palm sugar. It was a pleasant surprise for me as the outer layer was crunchy and sweet while retaining soft sticky texture inside. 

#8 Lompat Tikam in Santan and Gula Melaka

Of course I left some stomach for the last dessert! I loved how well the blend of aromatic coconut milk and coconut palm syrup enhanced the inherent taste of delicate pandan rice cake and red glutinous rice ball.

#9 Thirst Quencher: Honey Lemongrass

1. It was a delightful culinary adventure as I explored many traditional dishes that I've not tried before and saved a trip to Kelantan!
2. Overall, the rustic interior wins a great dining experience. Tastewise, misses are few and far between. Here you can find value for money considering the generous portion and quality of raw ingredients used. 
3. Recommended: Nasi Tumpang and Nasi Dagang Gulai Ikan 

Kelantan Delights Sooka Sentral 
1-5, Level 1, 
Sooka Sentral, 
Jalan Stesen Sentral, 
50470 Kuala Lumpur. 
Contact: 603-2785 1945
Business Hour: 11am - 10pm on weekdays
Closed on Saturdays and Sundays

Kelantan Delights Subang
Ground Floor East Wing,
Wisma Consplant 1,
No. 2, Jalan SS16/4, 
47500 Subang Jaya, 
Contact: 603-5590 2753
Business Hour: 12noon - 11pm daily

Website: www.kelantandelights.com
Facebook: fb.com/kelantandelights
Twitter: twitter.com/kelantandelight


  1. This is definitely a delicious looking culinary adventure :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  2. The nasi tumpang looks yummy! Will drop by subang branch if got chance :D

  3. YOU HAVE AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS....the photos make me hungry ><

  4. Saw the one in Subang but never tried it before... haha

  5. the foods especially the rice as well as the place seems very interesting

  6. hi from tastebuddies. follow you :D

  7. awww so niceee! i wan to try that nasi laaa >.<

  8. how come the Nasi Kerabu colour looks so weird? (slightly blueish)

  9. That appetizer was Mian Kam, wasn't it? All I know about Kelantan food was Nasi Dagang xD


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