Feb 2, 2012

Ayob A9

What is hauntingly good here is the nasi goreng belacan. Go for it. Simple rice fried with soya sauce, onions, shallots, kangkung and belacan. Served with chicken soup and green sambal. The simpler the dish, the harder it is to get perfect but in this case Ayob breezes through it. His fried rice has a semi-wok hei taste, a good hint of soy sauce and a little bit of belacan. The balance is just right and this is hard to describe in writing. One taste begets another. Just delicious.  
They also have chicken rice here but you can order the chicken on it's own to go nicely with belacan rice and soup. And if that's not enough, during lunchtime the economy rice stall to the right sells fat pergedil that is just perfect with the belacan fried rice.

And let me tell you even the Teh O Ais Limau here is something else man. This is from two shops to the left of Ayob. A nice Chinese Aunty concocts it and she has been doing this for decades. As soon as the glass lands on your table, you will notice that this one stands heads above the rest. I kid you not, it has a golden brown hue which glows in the light. The difference here is that she uses fresh lemons instead of limau kasturi. I suspect a dash of honey or sugarcane is added to it as well. One sip and you'll be hooked. It has an addictively sweet and smooth taste, with a slight caramelised flavour. The perfect mixture of tea, water, lemon and ice. It's served in a tall glass which gives you a nice sipping experience while keeping it cool. Hats off to the Aunty. A true ice lemon tea master mixologist. Do also try her Asam Boi and Mata Kuching drink.

Going back to Ayob, the nasi goreng ikan rebus is also the bomb. Such a simple dish, such great flavours. I suspect that for this dish, Ayob uses ikan rebus as the tumis base instead of anchovies so it gives the rice a more mellow taste. The shallots and chillies in the tumis gives it a flavourful kick and the final dish is topped with fried anchovies. 
Ayob uses ikan kembung which is ideal for this kind of fried rice and is a staple in Malay homes. I further suspect that the fish is boiled then pan grilled in a wok, giving it a nice smoky char. Most of Ayob's fried rice creations are a bit dry hence the soup to wet the rice up if you prefer it that way. 

According to Ayob, he got his cooking skills from following his dad who owns a catering business. So he grew up in the food business. He started working at Hotel Dayang when he was older, called it quits after 2 years and started Ayob. Twenty years later, he is still going strong. He admits that his speciality is the fried stuff and maybe some local 'western'. 
Dabbling slightly towards the west is Ayob's sizzling chicken chop. The batter base is nice but what's good is the chop sauce they use. This sauce is a mixture of of chili sauce, ketchup, soya sauce and some other spices. Most stall cooks have their own signature sauce. Ayob's combination has a slight chilli and soury taste. Served with french fries, toasted bread with a side of butter spread, the chicken chop is worth a try. 

So if you are in the Damansara area where the old Atria shopping mall used to be, head over to Ayob's place. The reason people call it Ayob A9 is because his stall number is A9. 


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