Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Gerai Makan Neelawathi (Neelawathi Unavagam) @ Hulu Bernam, Selangor

A very old stall that has been in business for more than 40 years now in Tanjung Malim. Those days, they were located very close to the present Bus Station but unfortunately the town council had demolished the structures that were there and built a bazaar at the very same location. As a result, many of them had to find alternative spots and Neelawathi Unavagam had moved to this present location along Jalan Changkat Asa, on the Selangor side of town. This is one of my most frequented restaurants in town as I truly love the food here. I would boldly say that their Mutton Perattal and Chicken Perattal are the best in Tanjung Malim. Whenever I'm the mood for those, without a second thought, this would be my destination. From the time that I remember, the food has been consistently good. I've been dining here for more than 30 years now and have always returned a very happy man. We are now like family friends with them and I am not saying that the food is good simply because of this. Definitely not. The food here is indeed very good and many locals would vouch the same. 

The Restaurant At The Turn In To Jalan Changkat Asa

Simple But Functional Set Up
They are presently located at the very entrance heading into Jalan Changkat Asa. Assuming that you are coming from Tanjung Malim town, cross the Bernam Bridge and keep going straight until you come to the very first traffic lights. At this lights, turn right and you would immediately see this stall on your left. Just park anywhere by the side of the road, as long as you are not blocking anyone's entrance, it's very much acceptable. The place is generally open from 6 am till 6 pm. Someday's, they might close up earlier if the food is sold out. Generally start with breakfast, then lunch from around 11.30 am and from 3.30 pm onward, it's tea time snacks. Do note that they are closed on Sunday's. I was here slightly late this afternoon and the usual lunch crowd had dispersed and the Tea Time crowd were seen coming in. That is why you notice some elderly Chinese gentlemen sitting here and having their drinks while munching some snacks. Food tends to get sold out quite fast but as a matter of luck, my favourites were still available when I reached. 

My Lunch @ RM 6.00
They have both the usual White Rice as well as Par Boil Rice here. Being a fan of the latter, I always go for that. No Banana Leaf Meals here. All only on plates. So, get your rice, collect your own curries and head over to any of the available tables. That's how simple it is. One of them would then come over and hand you some Appalams, Pickles, Rasam and your drink. Coming back to my lunch for the day. I had Rice, Sambar, Bean Sprout Perattal, Mutton Perattal, Chicken Perattal and a glass of Rasam and this was very reasonably priced at RM 6.00 . How more reasonable can it get and that too for very delicious food. This is another reason why I simply love this place.

Sambar

Sambar
Their Sambar is indeed one of the best preparations in town. It's very much cooked like homemade style and it is thick and tasty. I am sure that you could notice how thick it is from the above photograph. They are also not stingy with the spices and vegetables. They add Brinjals, Carrots, Potatoes and many other vegetables into their Sambar. One that is rare these days. Another one of my favourites here and I would rate this at 9.3/10 . 

Bean Sprouts Perattal
Their other vegetables had all been sold out and this was the only one that was available. That too, at this very exact quantity and I scooped it all out. Just look at the number of items that they had included in this dish. Not like those premium Banana Leaf restaurants that serve crap food these days.  Very tasty indeed and I would rate this at 9/10 .

Chicken Perattal

Chicken Perattal
Looking at the photographs, I am drooling as I write this entry. The Chicken Perattal, as mentioned earlier, is THE BEST in Tanjung Malim. None of the other stalls / restaurants are able to come anywhere close to these guys. Bite size chunks cooked with perfect spices to just the right level and they were just heavenly. I would not mind having just this and Rasam to go with my rice. That's how good it was and the chunks are so tender and tasty. These are clearly not yesterday's Fried Chicken which have been converted to Masala Chicken today. Amazing preparation and I would rate these at 9.8/10 .

Mutton Perattal

Mutton Perattal
My all time favourite here is this Mutton Perattal. It is so delicious that even the famous one from Krishna Curry House in Petaling Jaya would not be able to come anywhere close to this. Made with lots of ground ginger, it tastes very much like a home cooked dish. Comes with a mixture of marrow, bones and meat. You choose what you want as you dish it out from the tray. If you like bones, just go for that or if you like meat, then go for that. I always go for a mixture of both. No one stands in your way and says this is how much of each that you could have. You'd end up enjoying your meal even more with the flexibility that's given to customers. And they only use lean meat. Not a single bit of fat would be found in their preparation. I would not do any justice if I do not rate this at a perfect 10/10 . Marvelous is the word and I would highly recommend this.

Rasam

Rasam
Their Rasam however isn't all that great. I am not saying that it is bad. It's nice but don't expect it to be like their other dishes which I have just described above. I've had much better Rasam in other eateries in Tanjung Malim. This is just average stuff.  I would rate this at 6/10 .

Firstly, most of their food is very good with a special mention going to their Chicken and Mutton Perattal. They do not do Varuval's here. That's sad as I love Mutton Varuval too. Secondly, there is no other place in town where you would end up being charged RM 6.00  for all the items that I took. Chicken alone is at least RM 5.00 and Mutton, that's another RM 5.00 or RM 6.00 . No way to get them both for RM 6.00 . That's just an amazing deal and it is just not by chance that I was charged that this afternoon. Every time, it's just about that and if you're a vegetarian, then it's much lesser. If you're passing this way or happen to be in town, then I would very much urge you to give this place a try. You would definitely be impressed with the food too.

Address: Lot 1050, Jalan Changkat Asa, 
                35900 Hulu Bernam, Selangor, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 0600 - 1800 Daily (Closed on Sunday's)

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