Right on the road towards Teluk Kumbar from Balik Pulau town, right across from a large Petronas fuel station, you'll notice their blue sign advertising nasi selera kampung (Malay kampung food) on the right and you won't be able to resist turning in.
The place gets packed by around 11.30am with locals. They offer more than 40 Malay dishes and part of it is a wide range of ulam (herbs) dipped into sambal assam, numerous curries with either beef, chicken or fish, flower crabs in masak lemak cili padi and (almost) countless types of fried fish. A plate of rice, a meat and perhaps two sorts of vegetables can be from RM5. However, prices range according to what sort of protein you choose. Crabs and prawns can cost you to up around RM12 a person, but well worth the price, we say.
A wide range of ulam or herbs available
If you get dizzy from this array of vivid flavours, let us guide you. What you can do is take a scoop of the crab in spicy yellow curry into a separate small bowl, a plate with a selection of the ulam and sprinkle some of the sambal assam on top, finally on your plate of rice, choose a small fried fish - our favourite was the kembung fish. Take your time, the servers and diners here are generally gentle and patient.
Be warned that the food here is generally spicy and as vivid in flavour as they are in colour. So, to avoid the spicy bits, go for the fried food, stir-fried vegetables, salted eggs and the rule of thumb is, the darker shade of brown the curry is, the less chilli-spicy it truly is. The sambal assam for the ulam is sour and a touch of spicy, just avoid biting into the cili padi floating in the dipping sauce! Su Aziz