The Asia Diaries: Madam Kwan’s

Located at: Mid Valley Megamall, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Visited on: 30th September, 2022

Madam Kwan’s is a chain of Malaysian restaurants started by the now-89-year-old Kwan Swee Lian and currently run by her son and his family. The brand is popular for its authentic curries and Malaysian specialties such as nasi lemak.

Let’s start with the nasi lemak. We tried their Nasi Lemak with Curry Chicken (MYR 23.90) as well as their Nasi Lemak with Beef Rendang (MYR 25.90). Unlike most other places, Madam Kwan’s served their nasi lemak with a shrimp floss and a combined ikan bilis (fried anchovy) sambal – as opposed to having them separately, and minus the roasted peanuts. Personally, I feel that the added texture that the peanut brings to the plate is something that distinguishes nasi lemak from most other dishes. That and the crunch of the ikan bilis. When added into the sambal, the anchovies lose their crunch as they soak up the oil and moisture from the sambal. So, I’m not sure this combination worked for me – or for the rest of the family, for that matter. The shrimp floss was alright, while the acar (pickled vegetables) was an interesting addition on the side. The chicken curry and beef rendang were alright, too, but perhaps we expected something a little more enticing and exciting, given the reputation that Madam Kwan’s supposedly has for their nasi lemak and curries.

We had intended to start the afternoon off with a plate of Madam’s Starter for 2 – which included three each of chicken satay, otak-otak (fish cake), deep-fried dumplings and chicken wings (MYR 33.90). However, the starter arrived much later – a long time after the two nasi lemak dishes were served. In fact, we noticed a similar situation at the neighbouring table, where the nasi lemak was served almost as soon as it was ordered, but the second diner’s meal came after the first had already finished their nasi lemak. Anyway, coming back to the starter – the satay was good, albeit a bit oily. It already had some peanut sauce on it. My favourite of the lot was the fried dumplings, which went very well with the mayo dip that came with the dish. The fish cakes tasted good, too, although a bit oily again. The chicken wings were nicely seasoned, and the sweet chilli sauce provided went well with both of the latter.

Madam’s Starter for 2

The third dish we ordered, which arrived at the table much after all of the above, was their Char Kway Teow – stir-fried flat rice noodles with chicken, prawns, squid, egg and beansprouts (MYR 25.90). This dish tasted pretty good, and had a decent amount of all the condiments mentioned, thereby giving it a variety of textures. Yet again, a little less oil might have made the dish ideal.

Char Kway Teow

Madam Kwan’s fruit juices (MYR 12.90) were freshly squeezed and served with no added sugar. Both their Watermelon Juice and Apple Juice were refreshing.

Fresh Watermelon Juice and Apple Juice

Overall, we felt that Madam Kwan’s fell short of delivering the tantalising Malaysian flavours that they promise and that we were looking forward to enjoying.

Yummy Rating: 3.5 / 5.0

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