HJH Maimunah Restaurant at Kampong Glam doesn’t have a long history; it is founded in 1992 by Madam Mahiran Abdul Rahman. The restaurant is named after her mother who bought the shophouse where the restaurant resides. In the beginning, the mother-daughter duo came up with the recipes, and now there are more than 40 dishes available.
Although it doesn’t have a long history, it is one of the more famous Malay restaurants and has appeared on celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s television show. Recently, the Michelin Guide has awarded it a Bib Gourmand.
Although the restaurant is highly decorated, you can’t find much information on the restaurant website. It emphasizes its catering arm, and it seems like they could provide space for events. They have 2 storeys, and the 2nd storey has a stage set for weddings.
Here is how you order: You queue up at the stall on the first floor to order the food. You pay at the counter and carry your food to your table.
Something funny happened when we were there. At first, when the lady boss wasn’t around, no one was helping to carry the food from the counter to tables. But later, when the lady boss showed up, servers were enthusiastically helping customers carry their food.
So if you need help to carry the food to your table, and the lady boss isn’t around, ask for help. They do provide the service.
In an interview, the founder Mdm Mahiran recommends sambal goreng pengantin (simmered beef lungs and liver in rempah); ikan bakar (locally-farmed, grilled seabass, which is delivered daily); and ayam bakar (grilled chicken). The restaurant website also recommends lemak siput (snails in coconut milk), tahu telur (a gigantic cube of tofu with omelette); beef rendang; and oxtail soup.
Unfortunately, we didn’t read up on the restaurant before we visited it, and we didn’t order the recommendations. HAHAHA. That’s why you should research and read my blog before you visit a place.
Fortunately, almost everything we ordered was super duper delicious. The bbq chicken is indeed a winner: covered in a kecap manis sauce, it is sweet and citrusy, with a slight twange of spice. It’s charred and smokey with the fragrance of charcoal.
The sayur lodeh (vegetables in a light and spicy coconut milk) is one of the best sayur lodeh we had. Usually it’s too light and doesn’t really have any flavor. But this is richly lemak (coconuty), very robust.
Even the tempeh is delicious, almost earthly. The bergedil is specially made from Brastagi potatoes, a variety from Indonesia, to give that lemak flavor.
We didn’t like the deep-fried vegetables, no longer crispy, and the sotong, which was terrible. It was so smelly I wanted to puke.
On the whole, the food is really fantastic. Even the Malaysian Mr Fitness admitted that this is better than most of what Malaysia can offer.
At first, I was worried that it would be expensive because of the lack of the information, and because Bib Gourmand restaurants can be costly. But we paid $20 for 2 persons. That’s extremely good value for 5 dishes.
11-17 Jalan Pisang, Singapore 199078
T: +65 6297 4294
7am-8pm, closed Sun
Other outlet at 20 Joo Chiat Road.
Service: NA (pay at counter)
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.