KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 — Lunch hour on a weekday is a busy time in Plaza Damas, with people streaming in and out of the many different options inside and outside the next door Hartamas Shopping Centre.

LAUK Ayam Kampung is one such place, located outside the mall, a few shops away from a FamilyMart.

The current location has existed for three years; before this, they spent six years in Shah Alam.

With a name like LAUK Ayam Kampung, it should come as no surprise that the menu’s highlights involve kampung chicken in one way or another — deep fried, or cooked in gulai, sambal balado or kerutuk.


It doesn’t quite reach Bubba’s exhaustive repertoire of shrimp cookery in Forrest Gump, but they all sound plenty compelling.

A 'single plate' with 'ayam kampung goreng'.
A 'single plate' with 'ayam kampung goreng'.

You can choose from a variety of "single plate” sets or get each item on its own.

On one visit, the ayam kampung goreng set (RM15) proved the most popular; white rice, a small cup of mixed kuah, bean sprouts, a selection of fresh ulam and two types of sambal accompanied the single piece of fried kampung chicken.


As those familiar with ayam kampung will know, it's a smaller breed of free-range chicken, known for its depth of flavour and leaner, firmer flesh.

In my experience, it can often be tough, dry and stringy when fried, especially once it gets cold.

Thankfully, it was fresh out of the oil — in fact, so fresh that it was almost too hot to eat — and far from tough or dry.

'Gulai ayam kampung' is rich and spicy.
'Gulai ayam kampung' is rich and spicy.

It’s never going to be as juicy and moist as a fattier breed of chicken, but when fresh, the flesh retains just enough moisture to be chewy, but in a good way, and it was fried till unbelievably crisp.

Eat it together with dabs of sambal belacan and sambal bilis kacang for savoury hits of heat, and wash it down with lots of white rice soaked in the rich kuah campur.

Gulai ayam kampung (RM17) comes with the same accompaniments but features chicken cooked in a rich and incredibly lemak gulai that carries a lot more spice than one might expect.

The lean, firm quality of the flesh translates to smooth slivers of meat that don’t completely fall apart, and the gulai is every bit as complex and nuanced as one can find in KL.

Looking at the individual items on the menu, we decided to check out the ayam kampung berlado (RM12) which ended up being my personal favourite.

My favourite thing to get here: 'ayam kampung berlado'.
My favourite thing to get here: 'ayam kampung berlado'.

It’s the best of both worlds: an impeccably crisp piece of fried ayam kampung is smothered in sambal balado that’s hot, spicy and a little sweet (from the use of tomato).

What’s not to like? Long after I finished the meat on the chicken — of which there isn’t much — I found myself meticulously scooping the plate clean, which drew a puzzled look from my father.

It should be noted that although this isn’t listed as part of a "single plate”, just ask and they can make it happen for you.

Other dishes worth checking out include the kerutuk ayam kampung (RM12), a rich coconut milk-based preparation more commonly associated with meat, with woody spices like cinnamon, clove and cardamom coming through; and terung berlado (RM5), fried eggplant that’s delightfully soft and creamy in the centre, topped with crispy ikan bilis and smothered in more of that irresistible sambal balado.

Look for the sign by the front.
Look for the sign by the front.

I strongly recommend getting some ikan masin (RM6) and sambal hijau (RM5) on the side: the saltiness of the former goes a long way in tempering the heat in some dishes, and the sweetness of the latter also works as a nice foil for the fried chicken in particular.

LAUK Ayam Kampung

Lot M05, Plaza Damas, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Taman Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur

Open daily, 12-7pm. Closed on Friday.

Tel: 017-948 8596



*This is an independent review where the writer paid for the meal.

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