Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Adaikalam Mess @ Rawang, Selangor

Adaikalam Mess is a famous mess that is located along Jalan Welman in Rawang. Locals as well as some KL'ites are familiar with this place but I guess that is as far as it goes. There are still many Banana Leaf fans in Kuala Lumpur that have not heard of this place. This mess started off many years ago as a charitable project. Adaikalam in Tamil means shelter and that is exactly what the owners of this place had in mind when they started some years ago. Here, food is served to all at very minimal prices. When I say minimal, it is mind blowing cheap. I have been here numerous times before and I have witnessed this before my very eyes many times. Poor and underprivileged people do come here and when they are not able to pay, the owners do not collect any money from them. Today, not only the underprivileged come here but also well to do crowd. I guess it is their way of pledging support to this great initiative. As mentioned earlier, my previous visits have always been in the late evenings when I come to buy Idiyappam's (Spring Hoppers). This is still one of the few places that make great Idiyappam's.  They start early in the morning for breakfast, I am not sure what is served then and come lunch hour, it goes on to Banana Leaf Meals. Then from tea onwards, it is strictly Idiyappam's. You would not get the other items here. Having not tasted their Banana Leaf Meals, I decided to drop by this afternoon.

Just A Simple Place

Located Right Beside The Sun Cinema In Rawang

Always Packed For Lunch
I arrived at around 12.30 this afternoon and the place was packed with customers. This place is located right at the intersection between Jalan Welman and Lorong Taiping which leads to the Sun Cinema. The place is simple, just three rows of benches and some wooden and plastic stools. Not much of a ventilation too but it was rudimentarily comfortable. I had to wait about 15 minutes before squeezing between some other customers. Comfort is something that one should not expect here. This place is all about provide decent meals at very reasonable prices for the sole purpose of helping the underprivileged. 

People Taking Away

The Curries Station

Available Dishes
Choices are limited too. Don't expect to get Crab or Squid curries here, that's simply not practical. What is generally available are items like Sambar, Fish Curry, Chicken Curry, Rasam, Thairu (Curd), Moor (Buttermilk), Fried Fish, Fried Chicken, Chicken Perattal, Chicken Sambal and some vegetables. These vegetables too are usually limited to just two or three items. Pickles are available but not Papadam's. Cooking happens at the back of this mess and you must see how the cooking goes on, it is as if they are preparing food for Thaipusam crowd. That is the volume that we are talking about. Service is very fast and if you want something, best to mention what you want right away when you sit as they have just three people manning the crowd and this includes one person who manages the cleaning of the tables. Drinks are limited to water, be it iced or warm, and Iced Buttermilk.

My Meal @ RM 3.00
I had a heavy breakfast and so I went with the idea of having a limited meal. My meal included some White Rice, Fish Curry, two vegetables, some Mango Pickles and Fried Fish. This was priced at RM 3.00 . Do note that they are very lavish with the food and curries. I had to stop them from adding more rice and the volume of vegetables as I wanted to go reasonably light this afternoon. As for the Fried Fish, they kept adding more and more pieces and I had to stop them saying that that was more than sufficient for me. That is the level of kindness that we are talking about. On the other hand, what is not accepted here is wastage. Wastage is a big no and I did see the owner getting very furious about people leaving food behind and he tends to be very blunt about it. So, it is best that you take what you can consume. If insufficient, you could always add on later at absolutely no additional costs. Even for this, the price of RM 3.00 is ridiculously cheap. I would bravely say that I can never get this kind of volume and pricing anywhere else in Malaysia. If there is, please do let me know as I would be very keen on trying the place out. Now, time for me to have my lunch.

Fish Curry
The Fish Curry was very good. This is one of those places that you get home cooked taste. No commercial additives are used here. Even the spices are procured from an old school mill that is located in the next block. I am sure that you realise this even from the colour of the curries. Absolutely tasty and I would rate this at 8.8/10 .

This vegetable was simple yet nice. Just like how we would prepare it at home. A very basic vegetable but it tasted good. I would rate this at 8.5/10 .

This again was very delicious. Loved it very much and it was so good that I asked for another helping. Taste was perfect and I would rate this at 9.3/10 . 

Mango Pickles
Their Mango Pickles is purchased from a pickle manufacturer in Tanjung Malim who still prepares his pickles using those large jars and not the modern commercial way. Very good and the pickles were fresh and I would rate this at 9.3/10 .

Fried Fish
This is just a simple and cheap fish, in fact one of the cheapest in the market but the way they had prepared it was perfect. It was so crunchy that I did not have to be bothered by those small bones. They were all crunchy and the marination was so good. I would highly recommend this! For me, this would earn a rating of 10/10. Excellent!

Rasam is provided separately in a glass and the volume is anytime more than what is provided in other Banana Leaf Restaurants. This is perhaps double of what you would get elsewhere and this Rasam is a complimentary item. Of course, for those who prefer to have it with rice, that option is available as well. As for me, I prefer to drink it at the end of my meal like this. Their Rasam was good, but I have definitely tried better ones. Nevertheless, it was still nice and I would rate this at 7.5/10 .

Ice'd Moor (Buttermilk) @ RM 0.50
Ice'd Moor and Thayir (Curd) are chargeable items as fresh milk is very costly these days. Nevertheless, for a large glass, they only charge 50 cents which is cheap if not reasonable. Their Ice'd Moor was very refreshing and it had a good amount of spices in it. I would rate this at 7.5/10 .

Kitchen Area
My entire meal this afternoon cost me merely RM 3.50 which is a fantastic deal. The food was good, service was excellent and the place was reasonably comfortable. Would I return? Oh yes....I surely will come for more. Firstly, it is because I like the food here and secondly, I too want to support this noble cause and play a part, at least a small one, in the man's dream. Absolutely loved this place and this would be one that I shall highly recommend. If you are coming from Kuala Lumpur, you need not even drive here. Take the Komuter to Rawang and from the station, it is a mere three minutes walk to get to this place. Very strategically located.

Address: Adaikalam Mess, Beside Sun Cinema, Jalan Welman,
                Pusat Bandar Rawang, 48000 Rawang, Selangor, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 0600 - 2030 Daily

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