It’s been on our mind for a long time whether to include Bunga Raya in Cheap Eats. Many, even most of the mains are over the threshold but they are really generous portions so you usually need one dish less than you have people, especially in a big group. Most visits it comes to around $20/head or just over, not including alcohol of course.
We’ve decided to put it in because we’ve been twice recently and it came to $23/head one time and $19.50 the next. And also, because any of you who are Masterchef fans will surely like to know it’s a favourite of Mr Gault himself. The food is incredible and it would be awful for anyone not to know about it.
This particular visit (second in two weeks) we ordered our three favourite dishes between four people to test the Cheap Eats criteria. We had the Nyonya Assam Prawns ($30) the Stir Fried Squid with XO sauce ($24) and the Nyonya Four Treasure ($24). It was an early dinner but the restaurant was packed out by 6pm.
We ordered these without even looking at the menu. This is the problem. Bunga Raya has a wide array of amazing dishes but I feel cheated if I miss out on any of these three favourites. I have to go in a bigger group if I want anything outside of my trio of preference.
Where to start on descriptions? The prawns are in a tamarind-based sauce which is mainly tangy but just sweet enough to avoid a sour flavour. There are pieces of eggplant and fresh pineapple in the sauce too but don’t start imagining sweet and sour Chinese takeout fare. This is far superior and has that unique tamarind flavour and hint of spice to finish it off perfectly.
And the XO squid, ahhh the XO squid (pictured). The marinade is a kind of sambal (one of the many variations in Malaysia) but the Lim family have worked their magic with some unique modifications so it’s quite unlike anything I have tasted nor can adequately describe. I can say the squid is fried and perfectly crispy on the outer and tender on the inside, that the marinade is spicy but not uncomfortably so, and that the XO stands for ‘Xtra Ordinary’ and that I totally agree.
The Nyonya Four Treasure is my nod to the veggie department but don’t beans just taste so much better with a light sambal, some peanuts and crispy fried anchovies? I feel like I’m sitting at a hawker stall in Penang when I eat it.
The homemade tofu is outstanding, the KL Style Char Kway Teow divine and the roti heavenly but instead of listening to me bang on about the whole menu item by item, I’ll leave you alone so you can make your booking.