Wednesday, February 3, 2016

At the Hadramawt Yemeni Restaurant

For the inaugural post of Eat Your Heart Out, let's look at the food some of us had at the Hadramawt Yemeni Restaurant located at The Curve mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Hadramawt is a successful chain of restaurants featuring the cuisine of Yemen.  According to its website, they operate two stores in Kuala Lumpur, one of which is fairly close to our place.

Source: Wikipedia Commons
If you're wondering where Yemen is, check out this Wikipedia article.

At first glance, the menu items are similar to what you might get at a typical Lebanese restaurant in Dearborn, Michigan.   But our friend Prof. Mohd Anis of the University of Malaya (a colleague of Pat for the last, oh, 35 or so years), tells us that's not so!

Yemen's position facing the maritime trade routes to India and the Spice Islands in SE Asia makes their cuisine a lot spicier (and tastier) than what you might get in the  Levant. Check out this installment on Yemen from a spice blog,

The occasion was the birthday of Ana, Anis' wife who's also our attorney here in Kuala Lumpur. Anis and Ana introduced us to Hadramawt recently, and Pat and I loved the food there, so we jumped at the chance to go there again!

We ordered some Arab mint tea for me, Arab coffee for Pat and Anis, and Turkish coffee for Ana.  I had to get up early the next morning, so no strong coffee for me!  And we ordered some Greek salad to share.

We're at a Middle Eastern restaurant, so naturally we ordered two hummus dishes (one spicy, one spiced) to start off the major part of the meal with a humongous, and tasty bread with which to swab the hummus!  The spicy (as in burning hot) hummus is the orange one on the left, and the one on the right is the spiced (as in lots of unusual spices) dish.

And THIS is the Moulawa bread, which we all shared.  It's a delicious baked bread, both like and unlike the various baked or fried versions we get at Indian restaurants in Malaysia.  It's certainly a lot bigger!  We break off pieces and dip them into the hummus dishes (and later with the meat dishes).

I ordered one of the lamb-and-rice dishes at which this restaurant excels.  The chefs cook the lamb chunks (big ones!) in this Lamb Madghout dish with the rice and spices.  I barely finished half (what with the bread and hummus and other goodies already in me), and took the rest home.  It was great!

Pat and Anis ordered the Halabi Kebab dish. The kebab chunks are pretty much what you'd expect from a Middle Eastern restaurant, albeit spiced subtly and well.  The red sauce in which the kebabs sat were particularly interesting.  The sauce is one of the spicier concoctions that the Yemenis seem to make.  Ana thought that the sauce was reminiscent of a Mexican salsa of the fresh Pico de Gallo variety.

Ana ordered the Lamb Mendy dish.  I've had this dish before.  The chefs bake the lamb, together with the rice, until it's incredibly tender.  It is another great concoction.  I was never a big mutton eater, but this restaurant may change me!

Anis and Ana's three kids (two teenagers and one 21 years old) were sitting with their grandmother, a boyfriend, and a maid at the other end of the table, munching away at similarly excellent dishes.  I was too far away to get any good photos.  But here the kids are posing as Ana cuts the birthday cake after the meal.  They are Ayenah and Ayezat, standing, and Ayesyah, seated, next to Ana, who's cutting the cake. We've known the kids since they were toddlers.

The food shots are less than stellar (hey, it's a phone camera, whaddya expect?), so check out the menu on their website.  Be sure to click the "full screen" button (the arrows pointing diagonally up and down):  click here for menu

So there you are, Matt!  Reading this in blog format is a lot better than just getting photos on the phone, no?  Stay tuned for the next instalment!