Sambal Hijau, Kampung Sungai Penchala: Green, Green (Nasi) Padang

Taman Tun Dr. Ismail may be the default haven for Malay food and restaurants around Petaling Jaya. But let me tell you this, in a case of the grass is greener on the other side, cross under the Penchala Link underpass and you’ll discover many Malay eateries there that would make TTDI residents green with envy. Even Muhibbah, one of city’s most loved no-frills Halal Chinese restaurants has given their stamp of approval by moving on to the greener pastures of Kampung Sungai Penchala recently (read Masak-Masak’s blog on their relocation).

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Sambal Hijau is one of the few gems I’ve come across here. I have the cooking guru, Rohani Jelani, to thank for highlighting this Nasi Padang-styled place to us. I’ve no idea why it has taken me this long to actually step inside for a meal, but I’m glad to finally put my procrastination aside and paid them a visit.

Lord knows how much I would have missed their tasty beef rendang that melts in your mouth, swathed in rich rempah (spices) and sitting on a bed of rice that has been doused with a concoction of kuah (gravies) from all the various Padang dishes.  Green herbs and vegetables in form of ulam, a perfect foil to the richness of the curry dishes, eaten with the restaurant’s namesake sambal hijau (green chili paste) –   a tangy and mildly spicy cilantro, garlic, green chilies pesto with a bitter aftertaste from the pea eggplants – will have you double dipping your cucumber sticks like there’s no tomorrow.

It was hard to keep count on how many delectable dishes they have exactly on their long spread. The only thing that could rival its length was the impatient queue behind me as I took my turn in scooping up (and photographing) the dishes from silver square trays. I acted like a kid in a candy store when faced with their equally colourful array of crab curry, chicken curry, beef rendang, masak lemak sotong (calamari curry), sambal kerang (chili cockles), gulai urat lembu (beef tendon curry), prawn sambal, fried chicken and fried fish in sambal, kerabu pucuk paku (fern and herb salad), and many more.

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Ikan Bakar (grilled fish) lovers will be pleased to find choices of grilled ikan terubuk, ikan kembung (mackerel) or ikan keli (catfish) are made-to-order. While many swear by the sweet and bony terubuk, I’ve always preferred the velvety catfish whenever I have Malay food. They are great eaten with the accompanying dips of kicap manis with shallots and cili padi, sambal with the shallots and cili padi. Though the three types of dips are to be eaten with different types of fishes, I just put all three into my plate and sweat it out.

One other appetizing favourite that you musn’t miss is the nenas masak lemak ikan masin – a light turmeric, galangal and chili curry flavoured with fried salted fish bones and contrasted with sweet pineapple slices in a milky suntan gravy which you MUST flood your rice with. The secret is to take loads of the pineapple and not touch the salted fish one bit. Don’t forget the crispy ayam goreng rempah (spiced fried chicken), sambal bitter gourd and brinjal and the kerabu pucuk paku too!

I have to stop myself from describing more about the food here because I can still go on forever. So to cut the story short, just bring an army of friends with empty stomachs and give any dish that catches your eyes a try. Chances are you will not be disappointed and it is kind to your wallet.

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Sambal Hijau
#2990 Kg. Sungai Penchala, Jalan Damansara
Tel: +603-7725 3259
Business Hours: 6:00am – 2:00am (almost 24-hours)
Directions: If you’re coming from LDP or Bandar Utama or 1Utama, take the Penchala Link Exit 1101A and keep left, then take Exit 2317 and turn left into Kg Sg Penchala at the traffic lights. Make another left as you approach the second set of traffic light and the yellow-coloured Masjid Jamek Taas. Sambal Hijau is located next to the mosque. You may park at the open lot next to the restaurant.

11 Responses to Sambal Hijau, Kampung Sungai Penchala: Green, Green (Nasi) Padang
  1. Lyrical Lemongrass
    January 13, 2011 | 4:43 am

    Oh you finally made it there! I don't think I'll ever be able to go there coz of my one hour lunch hour. My only option is to probably take leave and go there! Yummm. Now that's a good idea.

  2. Lyrical Lemongrass
    January 13, 2011 | 4:59 am

    …and beats plaster oats anytime.

  3. Sean
    January 13, 2011 | 5:29 am

    wah, i assume they're open for dinner too? i've driven past the mosque before, and it seems like a festive atmosphere in this area in the evenings. kinda like a cross between kampung baru and a pasar malam. but i never knew which place here served the best food.
    the sambal kerang is enough to lure me, since i lurrrrrve kerang. and i like ikan terubuk too, since i'm quite skillful in just swallowing the tiny bones (heh, famous last words, i know!) :D

  4. qwazymonkey
    January 13, 2011 | 6:02 am

    LL: oh my dear BFF, if there's anything I've learned when it comes to good food…screw work hours and the plaster diet. Just go and enjoy. If u have to listen to your boss scream at you, least u get to burp sambal petai in his/her face

    Sean: oops I forgotten to put in their business hours. Yes they are open for dinner. In fact they are open from 6am-2am! Amazing huh?

    Wonder what else you're good at swallowing. Haha

  5. thule a.k.a leo
    January 13, 2011 | 7:21 am

    Now this is one of those places that I absolutely love to go and try! but then Jenn is not really a fan of Malay food and therefore, I hardly taste any Malay food lately.. sigh!!

  6. minchow
    January 14, 2011 | 1:42 am

    Thanks for the directions!! I keep reading all these almost-mystical accounts of hidden eats in this Penchala place and now I can actually drive myself there!

  7. boo_licious
    January 14, 2011 | 2:17 am

    Love the food here and the selections are mind boggling!!

  8. Small Kucing
    January 14, 2011 | 10:24 am

    sound like great place to eat…wokay will go makan there…

  9. Life for Beginners
    January 14, 2011 | 3:11 pm

    @qwazymonkey: Ooh, the nenas masak lemak ikan masin sounds fab! And I'm all for banjiring my nasi with its kari! :D

    @LL: Bring me, bring me! :D

  10. CUMI & CIKI
    January 17, 2011 | 1:49 am

    wah! looks damn good.. did Marian love it?! :D

  11. PureGlutton
    January 18, 2011 | 8:30 am

    This place is just a skip and a hop away from me, hehe! Love coming here for lunch – their Ikan Bakar rocks!