KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 — I learned about Dapur Rakyat from a friend's recommendation. Once I got my act together, I ordered items from their daily menu and was incredibly surprised at how good the food tasted. It's now on my list to reorder whenever I am craving for authentic Malay food.
Launched in September last year, Dapur Rakyat is a collaboration between non-government organisations Yayasan Wanita Malaysia and Hope Kitchen Malaysia.
In an interview with Astro Awani, Hope Kitchen Malaysia's Suhara Omar explained that the idea behind the project is to help single mothers during these tough times. Since March last year, the women have been trained on standard operating procedures; everything from cleaning the ingredients to packing the food for delivery. This is because they place the utmost importance on the freshness and quality of the food.
An emphasis is also placed in empowering the women by training them to market their products through a digital platform, as explained by Yayasan Wanita Malaysia Executive Chairman Datuk Normala A.Kahar.
They also encourage housewives from the B40 group, OKU and even graduates who are unable to find employment to join.
They will post the daily menu for lunch on their social media platforms. If you wish to order for dinner, this is by request. They also do catering but there is a minimum order of 20 items.
Just place an order via WhatsApp a day before. You can either self collect the food or they can arrange for delivery to wherever you are located, with additional charges. They also offer discounts for orders.
There is also a cake and cupcakes menu that requires at least three days' advance order. Expect goodies such as devil food chocolate cake topped with berries, pineapple walnut cake or a classic marble cake.
The savoury menu is only available for the weekdays. There's many choices like nasi padang, nasi biryani, Kelantan favourites such as nasi kerabu and nasi dagang. If you prefer noodles, they also offer items like mee rebus tulang, mee udang Hokkien and mee kari Nyonya. Prices range from RM10 to RM17.
I had ordered their nasi tomato (RM15) which was served with tomato flavoured rice. This was accompanied with the classic ayam masak merah with a not too sweet sauce. I also enjoyed their dalca sayur where they were generous with the vegetables and it also included some fork tender beef pieces. The crunchy acar served on the side with cucumber, onions and pineapples gave the dish a refreshing touch.
It was my first time trying out this Northern specialty, nasi daging (RM14) and I was blown away. It's a combination of rice cooked in beef broth and spices served with tender boiled beef cut into slices. You also have a clear beef soup.
What makes it delicious is the appetising air asam where sliced onions, tomatoes and ground chillies are mixed with asam jawa. The piquant taste from the air asam makes you want to ask for seconds.
Whenever I see laksam on any menu, it's a must-order for me. Dapur Rakyat's version is unusual and ingenious. Who knew beef serunding would give the dish an incredible boost of flavour.
The laksam uses handmade noodles which is made by slicing rolled up steamed sheets of rice flour batter. The creamy white gravy may not be generous with flaked fish but they make it up with the other toppings like serunding and another unique addition of quail eggs. Mix the whole ensemble with their super spicy chilli sambal and enjoy.
I'll definitely want to try more things on the menu as it includes some dishes I have not tried before like nasi air singgang ikan or nasi rawon, both of which are special dishes available on occasion.