Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Al-Ulfah: Arabic Food, Rocking Malaysian Flavour!

Click on pictures to enlarge.
Awesome mint tea!

Al-Ulfa is this little restaurant by 7/11 Ampang. The tagline: Arabic Food, Malaysian Flavour! Mazlan had been going on about the place ages. He took me there approximately 5 months after he first mentioned it, so now I kindoff have a rough idea of how long it will take for him to do something once he's set his mind on it (i.e., approximately half a year). That means we'll hit Legoland sometime in April 2013. And I should be getting my ring sometime next month. :P

The pictures here are actually from our second excursion on the way back to Bangi after listening to Mufti Menk (<-- Mazlan, please click on link) in Taman Tun when he came to visit Malaysia recently. But the first trip to Al-Ulfah was more vivid, as I recall, because I was really adamant about not being hungry;

Rare conversation footage as follows, verbatim:
  • M: We go to the nasi arab place I've been telling you about.
  • S:  I am full already, I'll just have a few spoonfuls of yours lah.
  • M: You'll love it. Trust me.
  • S:   But I am full. I had a late breakfast and we're going to a  wedding later. (and I am afraid my baju kurung won't fit)
  • M:  We'll just order you a plate. I satu pinggan selalu tak cukup pun.
  • S:   Tapi I nak sikit je. I kenyang nie. I nak beberapa suap je. (language and pitch change occurs as protest increases).

Mazlan the wise ordered me a plate anyway. And, believe it or not, against my iron-clad will, I fell in love at the first spoonful. At the second spoonful, I forgot I wasn't hungry. At the third spoonful, Mazlan was definitely not touching my rice or chicken, and at around the 25th spoonful when I was nearly done, did I suddenly remember I came here with someone. It was so gorgeous. And how often does food taste awesome when you're already full. Never right?

Red and yogurt sauce that came with the rice. A++++

I don't remember what we were talking about that day. But I do remember thinking how come with food like this the restaurant is so small and hidden. Al-Ulfa can certainly hit it big in Cyberjaya. Or any other city in Malaysia for that matter. The recipe has been altered to suit Malaysian taste-buds. And that is why it is so so good. So unless you are holding an illegal Malaysian passport, or a genetically confusing mixture of so many races you don't know how you got here, you'll really appreciate the ingenious transformation of the nasi-arab to nasi-melayu-arab recipe. Until you burp.

My chicken underneath the rice

The menu was simple. Mandi chicken or mandi kambing (I hope that's how mandi is spelt). Pick one. We both had chicken because Mazlan's had too many whoppers lately. 

(I should plant one of those tiny sensory devices on him that will shock him senseless every time he passes by Burger King so that he'll keep away from that place.)

Mazlan and Along
The rice and meat comes with little bowls of white yogurt sauce and a red bolognese-like sauce. And together with a few stalks of cili padi as garnish cum hotness, awesomeness is achieved on a massive scale. Since Along (the owner) is one of Mazlan's thousands of friends, I got a private tour of the spotless kitchen. The meat is cooked in this ~8 foot underground clay oven that's very much like a (very deep, dark and scary) well. With an oven like that hidden in the kitchen, you seriously do not want to mess with Along. Cash only.

This place is definitely worth a trip from Cyber. Or Alor Star. I loved it. The mango lassi was awesome (it can put you to sleep so be careful),  and the mint tea in the teapot which we ordered on our second trip was even better and complemented the food nicely. It was served in little glass cups that looked really fragile but apparently can withstand a lot of heat. Like me. Okay, maybe not the fragile part.

This is a Shima recommended restaurant. Go!!!

So, are you feeling hungry, full, angry, or sad? It doesn't matter, the food is too awesome for your feelings to be relevant. In any case, this is feel good food at the very best. It will get you grinning and saying alhamdulillah in no time. 

This is not Ulfah. Ulfah is next door!

By 7/11 Ampang 
(there must be only one 7E because that's how Mazlan always refers to it).

Cleanliness: A (kitchen was *spotless* too)
Food: A+++
Price: ~RM40 for two including drinks. Thanks Mazlan!
Satisfaction Level: A! (we did not eat a lot at the wedding after -- so full!)
Atmosphere: Pasar-style

posted from Bloggeroid

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