KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 —Taman Desa is the foodies’ paradise du jour but the neighbourhood is more known for its cafés and restaurants. You’d notice crowds at eateries during lunch, tea and dinner (and at some places, at an even later hour); breakfast seems to be a quiet time of day, however.
So, where are all the good spots for brekkie? What better way to uncover these morning delights than by breakfast hopping in Taman Desa?
Roti canai beneath the trees opposite Sri Kota
Let’s start at the Sri Kota Supermarket, a long-standing landmark here. You’ll spot the roti canai stall beneath the trees opposite the supermarket easily; it’s always full of customers, especially first thing in the morning.
This no name roti canai stall draws many of the workers from the offices around and even the Myanmarese staff from the supermarket for their morning meal. There are other places in Taman Desa to get roti canai but this is the only one where you can enjoy dining beneath the canopy of mature trees.
Of course, this means there’s always the danger of dead leaves falling into your teh tarik or saucer of curry but that’s part of the charm. All the types of roti are pretty good here (the roti pisang, in particular, is crispy and not overly sweet, when they have ripe bananas) but you can’t go wrong with the classic: roti kosong with some dhal and sambal. Simple but so satisfying.
Off Jalan 3/109f, Taman Danau Desa, Kuala Lumpur (facing Sri Kota Supermarket). Open daily 7am till late.
Buttery croissants at Les Deux Garçons
Next, head over to the recently-renovated Faber Towers, past the food court and open-air car wash. Located on the ground floor is Les Deux Garçons Brasserie, the latest venture by patissier Pascal Yeung. While he is famous for his colourful macarons and creative fine pastries, Yeung also makes some of the best croissants.
Les Deux Garçons offers a variety of viennoiseries such as pain au chocolat, brioche à tête and pithivier (a type of pastry pie filled with sweet almond frangipane). However, it is Yeung’s buttery croissants that have captured the taste buds of diners.
Exceptionally flaky on the outside — shattering to crispy shards when torn apart — and mouth-wateringly soft and salty-buttery inside, these croissants are the stuff gourmands’ dreams are made of. Come when the shop opens at 10am to devour these fresh out of the oven, when they’re at their absolute best.
Les Deux Garçons Brasserie, G02, Ground Floor, Faber Towers, Jalan Desa Bahagia, Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur. Open daily 10am–10pm.
Nyonya nasi lemak with wild boar curry at Restoran Sepetang
From Faber Towers, follow the row of shophouses along Jalan Desa Bakti till you reach Restoran Sepetang. It’s not hard to find; it’s the one with a long queue of customers winding around the stall in front. The popular run by multilingual owner Karen, offers Nyonya style nasi lemak.
This means, in addition to fluffy grains of coconut milk rice, spicy-savoury sambal, crispy ikan bilis (larger in size than the usual variety), you will also be offered some of her signature pickled pineapple and cucumber relish, which is utterly addictive — so good you can eat it on its own.
But what sets Karen’s nasi lemak apart from the rest is the option to add a side of dry curried wild boar. Hardly the most common in town, much less paired with nasi lemak, the wild boar is succulent without being overly gamey, thanks to the right mix of rempah rendang (Malay curry spices). Don’t forget to tapao (take away) some Nyonya kuih for tea later in the day.
Restoran Sepetang, 64A, Jalan Desa Bakti, Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur. Open Tue-Sun 7am–11am (Mon closed).
Char kway teow stall at Restoran Tuck Tuck Tei
Continue along the row of shophouses along Jalan Desa Bakti and you’ll stumble upon Restoran Tuck Tuck Tei at the extreme corner. One of the oldest eateries in the neighbourhood (it was started by the Kuan family in 1982), the kopitiam benefits from the shade of large trees planted by the original proprietor over 30 years ago.
There are many stalls here from which to order: from Hakka mee to pork noodles, chee cheong fun to steamed buns (bao). But there’s no dish fierier than the char kway teow — how many other breakfast food can boast of arriving at your table with a healthy dose of wok hei?
The husband and wife team that mans the char kway teow stall has been at it for over a decade now and the experience shows in the noodles, full of wok-fried flavours. The noodles (whether you want kway teow, yellow noodles or vermicelli) are never too “wet” but coated with just enough garlic, egg and savoury sauces.
Your belly might protest but your lips will be smacking in pleasure. Another plate?
Restoran Tuck Tuck Tei: 64A, Jalan Desa Bakti, Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur. Open daily 7am-2:30pm (except alternate Thu closed).