Banana Leaf Rice
Traditional South Indian cuisine
While I was still working in PJ, Raju’s at Jalan Gasing had always been the top choice for Banana Leaf among my colleagues. There are a couple of reasons they like this place but the main ones are: fried chicken and a large outdoor seating that could accomodate big groups.
Strategically located near the green lung of PJ – Raju’s is quite cooling even in a hot afternoon much thanks to the many big trees around that act as nature’s umbrellas. So, when compared to the other Banana Leaf restaurants that are usually cramped, Raju’s dining environment is more open and inviting.
Raju’s mascot would be the first thing to greet you upon reaching the restaurant. I am still struggling to decide whether it is a smiling tosai or cigarette.
I am aware there are many complaints about Raju’s service. But I had been here quite a number of times and we never had problems with the service. You see, friendly service with a smile! That, or because of my camera.
Although they are also famous for their roti canai (how good I don’t know since I never tried), Banana Leaf with fried fish are what I always order here. Yeah, I am not exactly a big fan of their fried chicken – a bit too tough for my liking. If you are wondering, that vague looking piece of dark thing is actually a fish roll, ok?
Kashmir Cafes is a neighborhood restaurant in SS3 that is making a comeback after they closed down many years ago. The current location of Kashmir Cafes is only a few shops away from their previous one, hence the apt slogan of “old taste, new place”. But first, I just want to cut to the chase by saying Kashmir Cafes serves really good banana leaf rice, even better than the big boys in PJ like Raju, Sri Paandi and Kanna Curry House.
The main reason I feel the banana leaf rice (RM5.50 for vegetarian set) at Kashmir Cafes is better because the side dishes are not mass produced like others, which aims to cater to the large customer base. So what you get here is more quality tasting food.
To be honest, I never really fancied the assortment of vegetables so I usually have to order extras like curries or fried stuff to complete the meal. But so far, Kashmir Cafes is the only exception for me. Their vegetarian sides not only look decent, but are also tasty enough (this coming from a meat lover) that I could actually finish a banana leaf rice without any meat.
There are quite many Banana Leaf restaurants in PJ and the famous are Sri Paandi, Raju and Kanna Curry House. Recently, Sri Paandi has become my favorite one for being reasonably priced unlike the other two, which could get quite cut throat just for a simple meal. Even though Raju is the most expensive of all I like still like their airy environment and efficient table service. Sri Paandi on the other hand, is lacking on these two.
Here, it cost RM4.50 for a traditional banana leaf rice set (vegetarian) with free refills of rice, vegetable curries, papadum and chutney. This should be the chepest banana leaf rice in the vicinty. Others would cost at least RM5 to RM5.50 for the same and free sweets are also given if you ask for it.
Kanna Curry House at PJ Section 17 is one of the famous Indian restaurants to go for Banana Leaf Rice. I was introduced to Kanna by a close friend of mine who rates it as one of his favorite places to go for Banana Leaf Rice. And I trusted him because we share a similar opinion when it comes to food.
The restaurant is huge, occupying two shop lots and you can also opt to sit at the outdoor area that is nicely shaded with mature trees. Trays of marinated seafood is the first thing that greet customers who enter Kanna Curry House.
The marinated seafood is freshly prepared upon order by deep frying them. The fragrance emitted when the seafood was deep fried was really alluring and we couldn’t resist ordering a portion of squid.