Monday, 24 November 2008

Malaysia Hall Canteen


Sambal Tumis Udang and Petai (prawns cooked in hot chilli sauce with petai)
£3.50 a portion.

The petai bean (the Hokkiens refer to it as chow tau or smelly bean) possesses the most anti-social consequences after consumption. It makes the ‘asparagus’ urine smells heavenly and that’s even before we talk about the farty aftermath…devastatingly deadly! I’ll be on my own this weekend.

Nasi Campur with mackerel curry, fried chicken and, chicken livers and gizzards.


This place has become increasingly diffi
cult for non-Malaysians to gain access, so good luck!

Home of the cheapest Nasi Campur in Britain.

Malaysians eat at strange times, this was after 3pm in the afternoon. When I left at five to four, there was already a snaking queue in evidence.

Nasi Campur (rice with combination of different dishes) of Ikan Goreng (deep fried horse mackerel), kari ayam (chicken curry) and sambal terong (spicy aubergine)- £4.00.

Nasi Campur of Chilli Ikan Goreng, tahu (fried tofu) and sotong (squid)- £4.00


Just try and imagine the British government doing something like this for their students and citizens in an altogether different country- like subsidised fish and chips in Nepal. This operation is unique only to Malaysians.

I’m totally sure that the entry procedure at this canteen is intentionally selective, well at least supported by the various cautionary A4 size notes posted on the window and front door of the refectory. It states that any visitors to the canteen must be accompanied by a citizen of Malaysia, it thankfully doesn’t follow on by ‘or else’. I believe the staff here are pretty relaxed and are not going to enforce the rules by insisting that you leave the premises at once due to a lack of a Malaysian buddy. Historically this canteen was established for the Malay students who study in London, and their homesickness was soon remedied by the availability of the near home-cooked fayre; as well as the added bonus of cheap prices that are subsidised by the Malaysian government.

The location in the basement is not huge enough in my humblest to be called a canteen (but then again to all the fans of canteen dining, you’ll be glad that there’s fluorescent lighting galore). I tend to avoid this place during the weekends; as it gets clogged up in no time and you may well experience people standing next to where you’re eating (a common thing in Malaysia! Not rude, just a Malaysian phenomenon.), egging you on to finish your lunch in record time.

I come here primarily for the Nasi campur or mixed rice. With your plain white rice and token boiled cabbage, you then proceed to choose up to three accompaniments to go with it. The staggering choices include beef rendang, fish or chicken curry, fried fish, tofu, cuttlefis, eggs, etc. £3.90 for rice and three dishes- no brainer. A word of advice for foodies not entirely in touch with Malay cooking; if you do opt for any of the deep fried stuff like chicken, fish, chicken liver and so on, be warned and don’t expect the finish article or morsel to be moist and tender. No, the results can be alarming as they’re dried out with very little or no moisture left. Inevitably you end up chewing a lot more than usual, but the wonderful spices that they’re cooked in makes it worthwhile. Other cook-to-order dishes include Nasi goreng, satay, mee rebus, roti canai and so on.

Gratis Rose Water

The cooking here is not earth shattering, but it’s certainly more than passable; it’s cheap, friendly and clean. Thankfully I’m Malaysian and I can come here anytime to dine alone.

Malaysia Hall
30-34 Queensborough Terrace
London W2 3ST


kerstin said...

Perhaps you will accompagny me to this place one day?

bellaphon said...

We shall indeed, we'll hold hands and daintily follow the yellow brick road to Bayswater! ;D

adrianne west said...

wish i lived in London cause i would be a frequent customer with my malaysian/english mixed family. The kids have grown to love malaysian food like their mummy. anything is better than nothing. Beggars cannot be choosers, aren't, the students studying in London ever so lucky.

Anonymous said...

I doubt that the "Malaysians Only" policy could be enforced without violating discrimination laws. I'm really tempted to try the food as it looks very authentic, but I hate supporting racism of any sort, so I'm torn.