If you have travelled this far with me on my Malaysian food spree that covered many interesting cuisines and cultures, then you will know that the time has come for the journey to end. While the whirlwind tour was hectic, it also left me a legacy of precious memories and also a few kilograms of extra weight but let us not focus on the latter for now 😀
The last day of our tour had us returning to Kuala Lumpur from Desaru and this normally 5 hour journey was to take a little longer with a 2 hour lunch break at Seremban en route.
In Kuala Lumpur, a fitting grand finale to our gastronomic expedition awaited us and what better location than the Restoran Rebung by Chef Ismail, Malaysia’s flamboyant Tourism Ambassador for Gastronomy. Yes such is the passion that the country has for its food, that it actually has an ambassador to showcase its cuisine !!!
‘Come Hungry, leave satisfied’ was the mantra of this tour. Well no doubt we had to leave for now but the hunger for this delightful cuisine will remain permanently and entice us to return again and again to this land of many pleasures.
Stay with me as the tale finally ends and enjoy the hospitality of Malaysia for one last day.
Our journey on the last day began at 8.30 am, after our breakfast at the Tunamaya Beach Resort & Spa, Desaru. Seremban is 4 hours away and we reached at 12.30 pm just in time for lunch. Of course our guides thought it fit to provide us snacks in the bus too (in case we die of starvation).
So we munched on Kuih Bahulu – light cakes made in moulds, crisp outside and fluffy inside and Rempenyek – a deep fried savory rice flour cracker studded with anchovies, bowing to Malaysia’s ceaseless attempts to fatten us 😀
A brief glimpse of Seremban –
Seremban is the capital of the state of Negeri Sembilan which is North of Johor and south of Selangor. Negeri Sembilan has an ethnic majority of the Minagkabau people who came in from Western Sumatra in the 15th century and who have made it their home. This is a matriarchal society where the woman is the head of the family and the property passes onto daughters rather than sons. Negeri Sembilan translates to 9 villages (sembilan – 9) where the early settlers were said to have lived.
Minangkabau translates to Victory buffalo and the legend goes that in the days of yore, there was a dispute between 2 villages and it was proposed that each village would send a buffalo to fight. The winning buffalo would mark the victorious village. While one village sent a huge specimen, the other sent a tiny one but with knives attached to its horns. It goes without saying that brains won over brawn and the tiny buffalo slit open his bigger counterpart 😀
Hence the hallmark of Minangkabau architecture is the roof of the house which is designed to resemble buffalo horns, with its curved top ending in upward pointing gables. Some of the buildings and houses still feature this style, though modern architecture has largely taken over nowadays.
Another feature of this state is that the ruler is not referred to as Sultan but as Yang di-Pertuan Besar.
Royale Chulan, Seremban –
After this lesson in buffalo smartness, we were ready to smartly attack our lunch Buffet and our venue was the Royale Chulan, Seremban hotel which is a part of the chain of Royale Chulan Hotels & Resorts.
This 345 room hotel 4 star property, caters to business and leisure travellers with their signature Negeri Sembilan hospitality.
We were here only for the duration of lunch though and our meal at the Asiatique restaurant was a multi cuisine buffet consisting of local as well as a few continental options.
For more information check out the website of the Royale Chulan Seremban
After the meal we set off on the last 1 hour of our journey to Kuala Lumpur.
Restoran Rebung Chef Ismail –
Well we had toured so many cities and been pampered with so many cuisines and now it was pay back time. We were to cook a 3 course meal for ourselves and show them that we were not just good at eating but at producing a gourmet meal too 😀
The last evening of our Malaysian extravaganza was planned with great care (just like all the other days :-D) and we were to gather at the Restoran Rebung by Chef Ismail for a cooking lesson and also a grand closing ceremony and dinner.
Dato’ Chef Ismail is Malaysia’s celebrity chef and gastronomy ambassador and he has founded this huge and utterly charming restaurant Rebung along with his friend, the first Malaysian cosmonaut, Datuk Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar, which also explains why the food is out of this world 😀
An award winning, halal restaurant that serves Malay cuisine in all its authentic glory, this place oozes with the love for food, which is most evident when the chef speaks, passionately explaining the nuances of his beloved cuisine to the eagerly listening guests.
The interiors are said to resemble that of a traditional Malay village and home and the eyes are greeted with a riot of colors with so many elements of decor that it is hard to actually classify the style. All I know is that it was very pretty and the props and show pieces were totally a food photographers delight !!!
The space can seat around 350 people with several seating options like regular tables and chairs, outdoor benches, private dining spaces etc.
Just like the several items of decor, the food choices seem to be infinite and one is faced with a mind boggling choice of every possible Malaysian dish. A row of street cart like live stations, satays right off live grills, a huge central island sporting counters that hold the main courses and many other food stations, are scattered around the space.
One would do well to perform thorough research before proceeding to eat, for fear of missing out on some hidden goodies or worse still, discovering them after one is too full to breathe 😀
Well the first thing that everyone wanted to do was pose for a picture with the chef and only after that we proceeded with the rest of the evening, which began with the chef giving us a talk about Malaysian cuisine and how it has developed over the ages with influences of the various races that have made this peaceful and welcoming land their home.
He then proceeded to demonstrate the recipes that we had to reproduce and as we listened keenly, he kept us enthralled with amusing anecdotes and valuable tidbits of culinary information.
We witnessed the making of the –
1) Kuih Ketayap – pandan green tinted crepes of sorts, stuffed with a coconut and palm sugar concoction and rolled up into delicate cylinders. This reminded me very much of the stuffed and rolled pancakes that we Mangaloreans make as a snack.
2) Kerabu Pucuk Paku – a salad that intrigued the taste buds with my favorite Fiddlehead fern tossed with exciting ingredients like dried prawns, torch ginger buds, sambal belacan and seasonings.
3) Chicken satay grilled to perfection with earthy peanut sauce, fortified with useful tips by the chef … slicing the chicken strips really thin and marinating them for several hours, being the trick to obtain ‘fall off the stick’ tender satay.
After the demonstration, we were split into teams of 4 and armed with our recipes, all the ingredients that were neatly chopped and kept ready and of course a lot of help from the sous chefs, we did manage to produce edible fare that was not just appreciated by the chef but also earned for each team a nice big hamper of goodies. Not a bad deal at all 😀
Well after all this hard work (read play), it was time to be pampered once more and this time it was at the final closing ceremony where the officials of Tourism Malaysia thanked us for our cooperation and support and the Director of Tourism, Datuk Musa bin Yusof, made a very elegant speech, talking about Malaysian Tourism’s ongoing quest to reach greater and greater heights and to generously share the wonderful culture of the country with the rest of the world.
Tourism Malaysia had also made an endearing video with glimpses of our days on the tour and then the highlight of the evening was the presenting of our participating certificates by the Director of Tourism himself, which was truly an honor for us.
Of course, the night was not going to end without dinner and we had the amazing experience of partaking of the famous Malaysian buffet with its staggering multitude of options at the Restauran Rebung Chef Ismail.
This is one place I would highly recommend to any visitor to Malaysia because it is a one stop shop for every possible Malaysian dish that one can fathom.
The spread was so large that I do not think we managed to sample even 25 percent of what was served. From the buffet counters showcasing traditional curries, to pickles, sambals, salads, vegetables and small eat sections, to the numerous live stalls magically conjuring up street food favorites like Roti jala, Pisang goreng, fruit rojak, steamed buns, satays etc to the bright colored beverages and to the delectable array of desserts, this was a truly fitting way to end our gastronomic journey across Marvellous Malaysia.
I was quite fascinated with the lady making Roti Jala which is a net like (jala = net) lacy crepe which is usually eaten with curry. This is a popular Malaysian snack.
More information about Restoran Rebung can be found here
After the event, it was time to get to our hotel but not without a touristy photo shoot at the Petronas Towers.
Berjaya Times Square Hotel –
The Berjaya Times Square hotel was our host on our last night in KL. Opened in 2003, this majestic 5 star hotel stands tall in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and is one of the popular choices of stay, both by domestic and international visitors to the city.
This 48 storey hotel offers an impressive 650 rooms distributed among its twin towers, which are divided into several categories that range from studio to premier to suites and to the ultimate in luxury, the penthouses.
Many of the rooms provide stunning views of the KL skyline and also of the roof top, open air swimming pool located on the 15th floor. The pool also offers an expansive view of many of the prominent buildings.
The hotel also features a gym, squash courts, steam room and sauna, a spa and a well equipped business center. The Manhattan Ball Room can accommodate 1200 people at business or private events.
The hotel has 4 dining options, the Samplings on the Fourteenth, which is a fine dine place, the Poolside Gazebo, the Broadway Lounge and the all day diner The Big Apple, on the 14th floor.
The gigantic complex also houses offices, shopping mall and cinema multiplexes. The mall has direct access from the 14th floor of the hotel. The hotel also has direct access to the nearby Imbi monorail station.
My room was on the 24th floor and unfortunately facing away from the Twin Towers but I was there only for one evening and night and hence the view did not matter. The room was very spacious and luxurious though and extremely comfortable too, which was welcome after 5 days of hectic travel across Malaysia 😀
Breakfast the next morning, was at the Big Apple restaurant (Times square, Big apple … get it ?) which is quite a large space but naturally, considering the number of hotel guests.
The spread was also quite extensive, with both multi cuisine and local traditional fare being served.
More information about the Berjaya Times Square hotel can be found here.
This was my last meal of this trip to Malaysia but hopefully I will be back again (and again) to create some more wonderful memories of this land of myriad marvels.
More information about Tourism Malaysia is available at –
Getting there –
Kuala Lumpur is well connected to several international destinations by air and is also a hub from where one can travel onward to the other parts of Malaysia.
For more pictures see My Facebook – Malaysia Food Trail-Part 6-Kuala Lumpur Also catch me on My Facebook, My Facebook page, My Twitter and My Instagram
Please Note – I visited Malaysia and embarked on the food trail, on the invitation of the Tourism Malaysia, which sponsored my flights, stay and related activities and I thank them for the same. The narrative is based on the inputs that I received from various sources as well as my own experiences.
Apr 15th-20th, 2019