I had this post figured out weeks ago. At least I thought I had. The subject was to be “Battle of the Malaysians: Kiasu WIN”, and I was going to wax laksaphorical about how amazing Kiasu is and how, given that I’m already marrying Koba, I’d still definitely have an affair with Kiasu… but my plans went a little awry.
Rasa Sayang happened.
I’d already been to C&R and Kopi Tiam a number of times, and… meh, nothing impressive. And although I’d heard very average reviews of Rasa Sayang, I thought I’d give them a go before blogging about Kiasu‘s awesomeness, not because I’m a hokkien prawn mee slut and I’d have it just about anywhere, but because I wanted to be 100% diplomatic, eat there and have my god given right to diss it.
But the unexpected unexpectedly happened (don’t you hate that?). Rasa Sayang was good.
I don’t even know where to begin with this post. I’ve scrapped my whole draft on “Kiasu WIN” to start all over again and I’m at square negative-one. I can’t think. I’m looking at these photos and all I want to do is eat.
Ok. Breathe. Let’s start with the basics. There are two dishes that I always order at a Malaysian restaurant, two staples that are life threateningly delicious, and easy to compare. One: roti canai (or roti pratha as some may call it).
Roti literally means bread in Malay, and roti in this sense is basically a puff pastry style flat bread, tossed and stretched to its airy contentment, served with a side of curry. You tear a piece of roti, dip it in the curry and aim for the gaping hole that is your mouth.. *yum*
My second staple is hokkien prawn mee soup, sometimes also known as har mee, or just hokkien mee. This is a spicy noodle soup, flavoured by a stock made from prawns and pork, an unmissably unique burst of flavours. It’s served with egg noodles, or mee hoon (thin rice noodles) or as I prefer, both.
Both restaurants do a very good hokkien prawn mee. The big win for Kiasu‘s is that they serve it with the actual pork ribs, and the meat… wow, it’s been boiled so long that it just glides off the bone straight into your mouth. The big lose for Rasa Sayang‘s? They serve it with chicken! Chicken?! Yikes. Ignoring that absurdly wrong ingredient, the flavour was still good. Actually no, I can’t ignore the chicken. That’s just wrong and in my decades of slutting around with hokkien prawn mee, I hath. never. had. chicken. in. my. soup.
Aside from my staples, I have a number of other favourites from Kiasu, including the chai tau kueh (fried radish cake), or luak (oyster omelette) and the chicken satay, which comes with rice cubes, just like back home. And my boyfriend, he swears by the char kuay teow, Penang style. He had the Singapore style last week, and thought it was a little too sweet. I wouldn’t know, he’s the expert on this dish, so we’ll take his word in good faith!
Wow you see how we can totally get fat together at Kiasu, right?
But wait, Rasa Sayang is still in the game. We also sampled the ayam goreng (fried chicken), which was tasty, and nasi lemak, coconut rice served with sides including chicken curry, ikan bilis (fried anchovies), sambal and a hard boiled egg. Both were flavoursome, the chicken was a tad oily but ok, it’s fried chicken, what else did I expect? I finger-lickin’-gooded anyway.
Now, onto dessert!
Kiasu serves my all time favourite pulut hitam (black sticky rice with coconut milk) so win! I also tried their chendol, but there was a serious lacking in stuff – pandan jelly, red beans, grass jelly, anything? Nope, just a lot of ice. Teeny tiny bit disappointing.
Rasa Sayang‘s desserts were pretty good ~ kueh dada, pandan rolls filled with coconut and palm sugar, and sago, with coconut milk and palm sugar. There really wouldn’t have been a problem except that all of their dessert items were based on coconut and palm sugar. Which I guess is fine in my world where there is no limit to the goodness of palm sugar, but if you want something else? I don’t know, maybe pop across the street to Golden Gate Bakery for an egg tart?
All in all, the two restaurants were almost on par. Maybe I had a lucky run at Rasa Sayang, who knows, but I’ll definitely go back to try my luck again. The main thing that sets the two apart is service. Kiasu‘s service is excellent, and well Rasa Sayang, they hovered a lot and took my bowl away before I had even finished, and when they brought our mains out before our starters, they actually said “What? You want your starters at the start?” ~ I shit you not.
So overall, I’m pleased to announce that Kiasu still wins, although only by a smidgin.
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0207 734 1382