I wrote a second post on this restaurant. To read it, click here.
My dad suggested we go to Mok Teh in Wangsa Maju as we convened our daily ‘where should we eat breakfast today?’ meeting. According to him, the place always looks crowded, so something is working right.
First impression, the place looks clean. Despite the crowd, it didn’t feel stuffy or closed in thanks to the huge entrance at the front and the side of the restaurant. There were also a lot of ceiling fans, so it was pretty comfortable. We went at about 10:30am when the sun was already shining in full force.
There are also seats on the sidewalk if you don’t want to sit inside the restaurant. But those are usually occupied by smokers. Not that day though, I was lucky 😀
Mok Teh is a self-service restaurant that claims to specialise in Terengganu food. Terengganu is one of the 13 states of Malaysia. It is located in Peninsular Malaysia on the east coast. Some of their more famous foods include nasi dagang, pulut lepa and solok lada.
The way it works is all the food is prepacked and arranged on a counter on the right side of the restaurant. You take what you want and pay at the cashier. Don’t worry if you see the food depleting because they will keep restocking.
As for drinks, you can order it at the cashier, or if you are kiasu about getting a table first, a waiter will make their rounds to ask you for your drinks. The one who served us drinks was very polite and attentive, but I forgot to ask for his name.
You can also just take whatever you want and eat first and pay later. No one will go around to check what you’ve taken, so you have to remember what you took. As you can see, the system is based on trust, which is very typical in Malaysia. If you’re afraid you can’t remember, just take a picture of all your food like I did.
The cashier chuckled when he saw this picture. Usually customers would list down the items by memory, but you simply can’t go wrong with photographic evidence!
Self service: Take what you want from the counters, queue and pay. Or eat first and pay later.
Choice of food seems sparse, but they have the essentials.
Nasi dagang (direct translation: Trader’s rice) is on the signboard of the restaurant, which means it’s their specialty. We haven’t tried it yet, though.
What’s on the menu?
- Nasi dagang (RM3.50)
- Nasi minyak + daging merah (RM5.50)
- Nasi minyak + ayam kuzi (RM5.50)
- Nasi lemak ikan (RM3.50)
- Laksam (RM3.50)
First, I would like to apologise because I was so hungry, I forgot to take pictures of the food (I’m a terrible food blogger, I keep telling my friends. I’m more concerned with eating than taking pictures). I will update with pictures when I go there again, so no worries!
I will only review what my family and I ate.
1. Nasi minyak + ayam merah
Nasi minyak (directly translated to ‘oil rice’) is made by cooking white rice with ghee, butter, onions, ginger and a bunch of spices and is typically served at Malay weddings. The ayam merah dish (direct translation: red chicken) is a varying combination of sweet, sour and spicy, depending on the recipe and is the usual accompaniment for nasi minyak. Mok Teh also serves this dish with acar, which is pickled carrots and cucumber and some sort of savoury gravy which I cannot identify.
As you can guess from the ingredients and the name, it’s not something you should eat on a diet.
Verdict: I think the taste is OK. Wedding caterers across the nation usually offer the nasi minyak + ayam merah combo and I think it tastes like that. It’s not bad but it’s not amazing either. I would give it a ‘decent’.
2. Nasi minyak + daging kuzi
Yes, lame picture I know. But here’s the tip: See that ‘D‘ written in red on the package? D refers to daging which literally means ‘meat’, but Malays usually use it to refer to beef. The ones without a ‘D’ marking contains chicken.
Everything is the same as the first dish, except that instead of ayam merah, it comes with daging kuzi. Kuzi is a special type of dish that not a lot of Malaysians have tried. I struggle to describe the taste, because the recipe has a thousand and one ingredients and spices in it. A good kuzi in my personal opinion should have a perfect blend of sweetness and saltiness. It isn’t spicy because it is tomato based, and therefore perfectly safe for chilli-averse people to try.
Verdict for Mok Teh’s kuzi: I didn’t like it. It looked and tasted a bit like a variation of some thickened soy sauce gravy.
Now I have to mention here that I am extremely biased when it comes to kuzi because my mom makes a kickass kuzi dish, so it’s almost impossible to please me when it comes to this.
It didn’t taste bad. It’s just that if you ask me, “Is it a good kuzi dish?” I will say, “Nope, not a good kuzi.”
But if you ask me, “Does it taste nice?” I will say, “As a generic dish, yeah it’s nice enough.”
Kuih is a catch all Malay term for bite-sized sweet and savoury foods that Malaysians love to eat as snacks or desserts. Some might argue that the term originated from Hokkien or Indonesian, but I really don’t care.
The images above are the kuihs they sell near the counter. I will get to describing all the traditional Malay kuihs in due time, but for now I’ll just mention the ones I tried.
3.1. Kuih Serabe
The white kuih is made from rice flour and coconut milk. By itself, it is rich in texture but quite tasteless, which is where the caramel-coloured sauce comes in.
The sauce is made from Gula Melaka (sugar from coconut tree – it’s a heavenly delight) and coconut milk as well, I think. It’s supposed to be sweet to make up for the tasteless kuih.
Verdict: I gotta tell you, this one is a real miss. And I had such high hopes. Despite being on a diet, I am a huge believer of making every calorie worth it. If I’m going to be scarfing down calorie-rich food, it should be decadent, sweet and worth it.
Unfortunately, the sauce is almost as tasteless as the kuih. It’s like someone forgot to put in the sweet gula melaka. They should label it ‘Kuih Serabe Diet’ like ‘Diet Pepsi’.
3.2. Kuih Akok
Kuih akok’s main ingredients are eggs, gula melaka and coconut milk (most Malay kuihs have these ingredients). I am a big fan of akok which means I’ve tasted a lot of good (and bad ones).
Verdict: To the undiscerning, Mok Teh’s akok is actually quite decent, but I felt like the sweetness tasted a bit artificial. Like normal processed white sugar was used instead of gula melaka. I might be wrong, but it just didn’t taste like good ‘ol-fashined akok. And I feel as if the coconut milk component was not quite there as well. So to me, it’s not good akok.
3.3 Pulut lepa / pulut bakar / pulut panggang
(Pulut means glutinous rice. Bakar means to burn. Panggang means to grill or cook over fire.)
Pulut lepa is glutinous rice steamed with coconut milk, stuffed with savoury fillings and wrapped in banana leaf for the aroma before it is grilled over charcoal flame.
If you want a relatively more filling kuih and something not sweet, pulut lepa / pulut panggang is a good option.
Verdict: Now the usual ones I find in Kuala Lumpur are stuffed with chilli and desiccated coconut flesh. But this one has actual fish in it (mackerel probably) and my dad enjoyed it tremendously. It’s not spicy and personally I like it with chilli, but my dad doesn’t, and pulut lepa is one of his favourite foods. He said he would definitely buy this kuih again.
As a whole, I rate Mok Teh within the ‘OK’ range.
What that means is the food is not something I would rave about, but it is perfectly decent if you want to eat something that tastes nice.
My recommendations: Go for the nasi minyak with ayam merah. Not the kuzi daging. I’m not impressed by the kuih but my dad loves the pulut lepa.
Would I go again? Yes I would. And I would like to try the nasi lemak and laksam (my favourite!) and nasi dagang. When I do, I will update this blog.
No. 50, Jalan Wangsa Delima 6, Wangsa Maju
53300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tuesday – Sunday (8am – 3pm)