KWAY TEOW was once cheap food for poor labourers, but these days the noodle dish is a national favourite across Malaysia and Singapore—and beyond.
After the first mouthful at Ria Malay Kitchen, in Leederville, I felt like I’d just come to a metaphysical home.
I’ve eaten many a kway teow over the years, always hoping to replicate the dish I fell in love with years ago.
And this dish did just that with wonderful spiciness, overlaid by the delicious flavours of the char-grilled ingredients, in our case vegetables ($18.90).
Ria loosely translates as happy, jolly or bright, and the service was that, not to mention prompt and efficient—and generous in topping our glasses with free, yes free, sparkling water.
If you’re into judging a book by its cover you’d probably give the spartan exterior a glance and drive off: it’d be your loss.
We kicked off with an edible adventure into unknown territory with lotus chips ($8) and spiced soy bean pods ($7).
The thin slices of lotus root were pretty to look at, a bit like a potatoey clock clog, a lacey cross between a chip and a radish, and very moreish.
Dipped into a home-made chilli sambal they didn’t last long at all, while sucking the salty, spices off the bean pods as we teased out the beans with our teeth was delicious fun.
Along with the noodles we polished off a Nyona achard fish ($25).
Encased in a delicate spicy, crunchiness and topped with mint and coriander, with a squeeze of lime, the firm fish fillets were fantastic.
And the roti ($3) was easily the best I’ve eaten in a very long time, crisp and flaky on the outside and soft and moist inside.
Hard to believe but we managed a couple of sweets, for me a pandan brulee ($13) and for my mate a sago melaka ($12).
Ria takes the English boarding school sago pudding to new heights, and the glistening, pearl-like mound, rising out of a coconutty lake looked, and tasted, magnificent.
As did the brulee, its lovely thin crispy caramel top cracking pleasantly to reveal its delicate creaminess below.
Ria Malay Kitchen
106 Oxford Street, Leederville
open 7 days 12–10pm