Kelantanese cuisine in PJ – Hayaki @ Damansara Uptown, PJ

At Hayaki, the owners aim to bring the best out of Kelantan cuisine to Malaysians. Originating from said state located in the north-eastern corner of Peninsular Malaysia, Hayaki currently operates 3 outlets in Kota Bahru, state capital of Kelantan and 4 outlets in Kuala Lumpur.

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Before this Best of Halal project, I wasn’t the sort to go around seeking halal alternatives to my meals.
I lived pretty near Uptown, and I’m in the area often enough for meetings and food, but never really thought of walking into Hayaki for a meal.
To be honest, the outlet portrays itself so much like a mamak outlet that I had initially thought it was another of the commercial mamak, hangout venues. The 24 hours signboard didn’t help with the image.

I didn’t know Hayaki specialise in Kelantanese cuisine. Well, now I know. And you too! 🙂

Hayaki outlets in Kuala Lumpur are 24 hours fast service restaurants with free WIFI.
The Damansara Uptown outlet is spacious, clean and the furniture are comfortably spaced out with option of round tables with matching chairs or side tables with sofa benches.

Best of Halal - Hayaki Damansara Uptown

The brightly lit space has an open concept so the outlet is nice and airy. Due to its relaxed ambiance, Hayaki is popular with families, friends and even for business lunches or meetings.

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Many people from other parts of Malaysia flock over to Kelantan just to indulge themselves in Kelantanese cuisine which could be difficult to locate anywhere else in the country. Visiting the East Coast is something that I do annually as well; for both holidays and food trails.
As Kelantan sits closely to Thailand, some of its cuisines bear strong Thai influence. In general, Kelantanese cooking is richer, creamier and sweet; and it does take some getting use to, since most of us on the west side tend to prefer our food to be spicier.

However the menu at Hayaki however offers more than just Kelantanese delights, much to our delight. It’s always good to have more options!
There are Western dishes such as Chicken Chop and local Malaysian favourites like fried rice and curry mee.
Lighter options include sandwiches, eggs and toast and easy snacks like Rojak Buah, a Malaysian fruit salad.

But of course, we were there for the Kelantanese stuff so we started our meal with Kelantanese signature dishes like the Nasi Dagang, Nasi Kerabu and Nasi Ulam.

For the Nasi Dagang, a choice of either chicken or the usual local tuna curry was offered. We chose chicken since we had already opted for the mackerel in our Nasi Ulam.

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Our Nasi Dagang (RM8.90) was served with the original ‘beras nasi dagang’ from Kelantan with a half boiled egg, pickled cucumber, chilli and carrots and a bowl of chicken curry.
Do you know that for Nasi Dagang the rice is the key component of the dish?
The combination of fenugreek seeds, onions and coconut milk gives Nasi Dagang its unique flavour and fragrance. Enjoy the rice rained with curry together with the side of sourish pickled vegetables.

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Nasi Kerabu (RM10.90) on the other hand, is a one dish meal consisting of steamed rice dyed blue and is eaten with fish or chicken, daging bakar (roasted sliced beef) crackers, salted egg, Kerisik Sambal Ikan (Coconut Flaked Fish) and raw vegetables. The medley of raw vegetables usually are bean sprouts, long beans, four angled beans and finely sliced torch ginger buds (bunga kantan).
The final element would be the coconut gravy which would be poured over the rice prior to serving.
The many components of Nasi Kerabu made this dish rather tedious to prepare, but it is also the exact reason why it is so enjoyable with its many textures and flavours.

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Nasi Ulam (RM7.90) is almost similar to Nasi Kerabu but served with the rice and vegetables mixed together. However the simplified version here at Hayaki was a selection of raw vegetables (also known as ulam vegetables) on a plate served with rice.
This was accompanied with a fried mackerel, half a salted egg and fermented anchovies sauce (budu).

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Frankly I would rate the Nasi Dagang, Nasi Kerabu and Nasi Ulam here “decent” at best. If you are in dire need of Kelantanese food, you can be assured of Hayaki’s permanent menu being offered 24 hours at a few locations in Klang Valley. But if you are seeking a truly delicious version, perhaps the Ramadan month is a good bet; as there are stalls at the Ramadan bazaars that sells much better Nasi Kerabu and Nasi Dagang.
The issue here again is the timing and location. I have tasted better ones in night markets as well as from independent roadside stalls too.

In a nutshell Hayaki isn’t a place that I would recommend freely to my friends, but I’ll still let them know that they will get a decent version of Nasi Dagang, Nasi Kerabu and Nasi Ulam 24 hours a day if they are absolutely dying for it.

After the dissatisfaction with the first 3 rice dishes, we added an order of a non-rice dish; the Curry Mee (RM6.50). Surprisingly, this turned out to be pretty tasty; thanks to its thick and aromatic curry. The generous portion and ingredients of long beans, bean curd puffs, fishballs, bean sprouts, bean curd skin and potatoes certainly justified the price.

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To satisfy our sweet tooth, we shared a glutinous rice with mango as well as a Mango Ice Rock.
The glutinous rice was fine but the mangoes used would have been better if it was fully ripen and sweeter.
Iced water is chargable at RM0.50 per glass.

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Now, other than Hayaki and Nasi Dagang Capital (also in Damansara Uptown) and Kelantan Delights, Subang can anyone recommend to me other outlets for good Kelantanese food? I certainly would like to keep a list of such outlets for future explorations! 🙂

Hayaki Damansara
Location: No.1, Jalan SS21/37, Uptown Damansara Utama, 4700 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Tel: +603 77329912
Opening Hours: 24 hours

Halal Checklist:
Muslim Owned: N
Halal Certified: N
100% Halal Ingredients: Y
Cleanliness Grade – A
Serves Alcohol: N
Extra Comments/Notes: 5 % service charge. No Government tax.