Apr 29 2011

Where’s Kuala Lumpur’s best banana leaf curry?

Published by at 12:43 pm under Food

Banana leaf curry is an Indian thali, done with a distinctive Malaysian twist, and it’s something visitors really should try at some stage during a trip to Kuala Lumpur. I decided to check out a few places in order to find the best spot to indulge in the delicious meal.

Popularity may not be everything when it comes to choosing somewhere to eat, but when a restaurant is bursting at the seams with customers, day and night, it must be doing something right. One such place is Sri Nirwana Maju, an Indian eatery in the Bangsar village area. Sri Nirwana Maju offers a large selection of north and south Indian dishes, but it’s fair to say, most people eat there for one reason, and one reason alone: one of the best banana leaf curries in Kuala Lumpur.

Follow the crowd! The wait is worth it.

Although no fixed rules exist, a banana leaf curry generally consists of at least three vegetable dishes, as well as pickles, chutneys, and other assorted goodies, served with a big mound of rice, on top of a banana leaf. A choice of curry sauce (fish, meat or vegetarian dahl), which is poured over the rice, and a sour soup called rasam, round off the basic offering. All that food normally costs about 5-6 ringgit.

It’s the quality of this basic offering at Sri Nirwana Maju that explains much of its popularity. But if you choose to eat like a Malaysian, and add extra dishes to what is already an impressive amount of food, then you won’t be disappointed either.

The perfect drink to wash it all down is one of their excellent lassis (yoghurt drinks).

Although generally a lunchtime thing, Sri Nirwana Maju serves up banana leaf from just before midday until the early hours of the morning.

A banana leaf set in all its glory.

Nagasari Curry House serves up a mean offering in the heart of Bukit Bintang, so it’s at a more convenient location for most travellers to KL. An added bonus is that unlike everywhere else I’ve eaten banana leaf, Nagasari sells beer. The bad news is that banana leaf is only served from noon until 15:00, when the place can get seriously mobbed by office workers.

The logical first port of call in KL for banana leaf should really be Brickfields, given the number of Indian eateries in the area, as well as its convenient location right next to KL Sentral. But quality can be a bit hit and miss. Good banana leaf should be cheap, tasty and filling; several of the places I tried in Brickfields did well on the cheap and filling stakes, but not so well on the taste front.

The newly-crowned banana leaf king.

Just when I was giving up on finding a serious rival to Sri Nirwana Maju, I enjoyed the best banana leaf I’ve ever had in KL, at Devi’s Corner in Bangsar village. The service was a bit disorganised, but the food was well worth the occasional mix-up. The pickles and chutneys were particularly impressive, as was the choice of eight different curry sauces (four vegetarian, four non-vegetarian).

It took just one meal, but Devi’s has shot to the top of my KL banana leaf rankings.

Restoran Sri Nirwana Maju
43 Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur
T: (03) 2287 8445

Restoran Nagasari Curry House
Jalan Nagasari, Kuala Lumpur

Devi’s Corner
Upstairs, 14 Jalan Telawi 4, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur.
T: (03) 2282 7591

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14 Responses to “Where’s Kuala Lumpur’s best banana leaf curry?” ...

  1. Adam @ SitDownDiscoon 29 Apr 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Nice! Will have to try these out. I had a good one around brickfields at the paradise apartment complex (or something like that!). Good stuff.

  2. Adam @ SitDownDiscoon 29 Apr 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I mean palm court! Should have checked my facts first. Not sure if it is still there, but it was a good one.

  3. Paton 29 Apr 2011 at 11:24 pm

    It doesn’t ring a bell with me, but I will have a sniff around… I’m always happy to receive any tips for tasty food in KL.

  4. Jameson 01 May 2011 at 2:36 am

    Raju’s, just off Jalan Gasing.

  5. Duncanon 01 May 2011 at 3:30 am

    Yet another reason to head back to KL! Great post Pat…

  6. Jeremyon 01 May 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Great blog, at last someone gives banana leaf the attention it deserves. But I will disagree with you on Brickfields – Vishal is seriously good, up there with Devi’s.

  7. Paton 01 May 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Thanks Jeremy. I’ve been hearing good things about Vishal’s, and will make that the next stop in my quest for the best banana leaf in KL. The diet begins after Vishal’s…

  8. momochiion 04 May 2011 at 1:18 am

    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I enjoy seeing websites that understand the value of providing a prime resource for free. I truly loved reading your post. Thanks!

  9. Annuon 16 May 2011 at 9:25 am

    Hi Guys,
    This is by far the Banana Leaf haven for me and my colleagues. It’s a place called Sam’s Kitchen at Taman Maluri. I go there at least once a week to get my dosage of Kire Curry (Spinach), Mutton Varuval etc… The staffs; I would say well-trained, friendly, Food; Excellent, Cleanliness; The owners has done a great job at keeping the place spick and span. Check it out! 234, Jalan Mahkota, Taman Maluri, Cheras

  10. […] leaf: See here for more about this wonderful culinary treat in KL. Yessir, we have tasty […]

  11. charlieon 10 Jan 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Took your recommendation and headed to Devi’s Corner for a banana leaf curry tonight.

    Was super tasty and the crab curry really hit the spot. We added the Chicken Marsala curry and a mutton dish – which really was more than necessary given the huge portion sizes.

    Only downside was the rats running along the empty tables on the first floor. The staff saw them and were smiling… Perhaps just the rare occasion I’ve seen them in Malaysia and its more common.

    But certainly made me think twice about returning despite such tasty food.

  12. indranon 20 Mar 2013 at 3:54 am

    guys, plz try the Ganapathi Mess in PJ Old Town. For me, this place serve best ever banana leaf rice. their famous dish is nandu rasam (crab soup). also, i agree with jeremy, vishal is good too…

  13. […] avons suivi la recommandation du site Travelfish et nous sommes délecté d’un thali au Restoran Sri Nirwana Maju au 43 Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar […]

  14. googleeon 02 Aug 2013 at 3:46 am

    Hi Guys,
    I had a terrible experience at Ganapathi mess. The place is soo dirty and service is bad. Food is nothing to shout about.

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