Kuala Lumpur - Satay & Hainanese Fried Noodles at Capital Cafe
This old-school cafe, which remained unchanged for the past half-century, was impossible to miss as you go down KL's ethnic Malay-Muslim commercial quarter, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman near Chow Kit Road.
Capital Cafe's owners were the 3rd-generation of the same Hainanese-Chinese family which started it - which probably explained its incredibly retro ambience, and the incongruence of its fare being totally halal/pork-free, to cater to the largely Malay-Muslim clientele in that area. And, boy, was it popular!! Turnover was fast and service was efficient. The middle-aged Chinese owner who manned the counter spoke excellent English and was affable.
The cafe has 3 stalls; a Hainanese noodle stall manned by a 60-something-year-old Hainanese-Chinese chef who churned out delicious halal-Chinese fried noodles; I tried the Hainanese-style stir-fried mixture of yellow wheat noodles and white rice noodles with slivers of beef, fresh shrimps and Chinese choy-sum vegetables. It was good: the textures and flavours were perfectly balanced - I finished the whole plate without intending to (so much for my low-carb diet).
The satay stall churned out some of the best satays in KL - no mean feat in perhaps the "Satay Capital" of the world (sorry Jakarta & Surabaya). The satay-man actually prepared his satays Javanese-style, i.e. each skewer consisted of a fat, big piece of fat sandwiched between two pieces of lean meat. You can choose either chicken satays or beef satays here. Both varieties were very good. Their peanut-spice dip were a bit more liquid than those you'd get elsewhere, but very tasty nonetheless. Another accompaniment, the "nasi himpit" or compressed rice cakes were, disappointingly, store-bought and came in plastic-wrap, unlike the traditional ones with woven palm-leaf wrapping. You also get sliced raw cucumbers as a side, but no raw onions.
All in all, a must-not-miss dish if you come here.
The third stall sells "Nasi Padang", where you can select from a huge variety of curries (beef rendang, chicken curry, fish curry) plus other cooked dishes to accompany a plate of steamed white rice. Capital Cafe's "Nasi Padang" is supposedly prettty famous in KL, but I'll need to come back another time for that.
Drink-wise, a whole host of Malaysia "kopitiam" (traditional coffeeshop) options to choose from: "teh tarik", milk tea, coffee, Milo, etc., plus local beers like Anchor, Carlsberg, Guinness at only about RM8.90 for a large bottle.
Capital Cafe (opposite Sogo)
213 Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman
50100 Kuala Lumpur