Back to Malaysia's Satay Capital: Kajang for lunch yesterday. Kajang has always set the benchmark for satays in Malaysia, having done so ever since the Javanese Sakiman brothers perfected their technique at Ban Seng Coffeeshop in Kajang back in 1917.
Tasmin Sakiman, the older of the two brothers, passed the satay business down to his son, Haji Amir who, in turn, passed the mantle to his son-in-law, Haji Samuri - the man identified as making Kajang satay a national icon in Malaysia.
Today, the most-established satay outlet in Kajang is Haji Samuri's, with a massive 3-storey main outlet dominating one of Kajang's main throughfares. It's still owned and run by the same family, albeit the 5th-generation down from the Sakiman brothers.
However, many local satay afocionados these days make a beeline for Kajang Satay Nyok Lan at Restoran Malaysia, barely 3 minutes' drive away from haji Samuri's. Nyok Lan was no babe out of the woods - having been established back in 1971, and has perfected their satay to a standard which many claim surpasses Haji Samuri's. It's Chinese-owned but proffers a halal spread which proved very popular with its mainly Malay-Muslim clientele. Amongst its popular offerings are halal versions of Chinese-style Hailam mee (Hainanese fried noodles) and Cantonese "wat tan hor" (braised wide rice noodles with seafood).
But these do not detract away from Nyok Lan's excellent satays: the chicken satays only utilizes tender chicken breast-meat and do *not* incorporate chicken skin, unlike other traditional satay places, their beef satay also dispensed away with beef fat which are usually skewered in-between lean pieces of meat. Nonetheless, their satays were juicy and tender - and more likely "healthier".
But we really enjoyed the mutton satay (superb flavours) and the fish satay (using catfish fillets) - unmissable.
Nyok Lan also served flavoursome "ketupat nasi" instead of "nasi himpit" on the side.
Incredibly tasty - you can't tell it's fish from the appearance, but the textures were incredibly light.
Come early to beat the lunch and dinner peak hour crowds, when the place can be very busy.
Nyok Lan is Chinese-owned, but the satay-grillers and kitchen cooks are all Javanese.
Kajang-style peanut dip differed from the versions one finds elsewhere in Malaysia, even in nearby Kuala Lumpur, a mere 45 minutes' drive away.
Kajang-style satay dip consists of a pale-coloured peanut sauce, topped with a dollop of spicy ground chillies fried in oil. Absolutely delish.
Hainanese-style fried noodles use yellow wheat noodles, stir-fried with dark soysauce with shrimps, squid and bits of vegetables available (Chinese cabbage, "choy sum" greens, scallions) and water/stock is added to braise briefly at the end.
Cantonese-style "wat tan hor" (wide rice noodles topped with braised meats/seafood/eggs) is called Cantonese fried "koay teow" - using the Hokkien term.
Kajang's Chinese are actually almost wholly Hakka.
Nyok Lan Kajang Satay
31 Jalan Semenyih
Tel: +603 8733 1160
Opening hours: 10am - 11pm