The Canteen @ Da:Men & Malaya Hainan @ Chinatown

February 8, 2016

The Canteen is essentially the Da:Men mall's modern food court, with a few distinctive flourishes like a fourth-floor view of Subang's suburban surroundings. The stalls run the gamut from Malaysian satay to Italian pasta - two stand-outs that seem slightly less mundane might be the Malaccan-inspired chicken rice balls (RM9 for a set with poached chicken & bean sprouts) & Portuguese spicy grilled fish (RM15.90 for a rice set with stingray, squid, shrimp & clams). Reasonable flavours, fair prices.

Malaya Hainan traces its roots to the grandfather of this kopitiam's founders - Phang Kai Chee migrated from China's Hainan island to Malaya before World War II, first earning his keep as a kitchen helper in George Town before eventually running his own bakery & local food shop in Alor Setar. His grandchildren opened Malaya Hainan as a tribute to his life's work, occupying historically significant territory near Chinatown. The menu hits the expected notes of Hainanese kopitiam mainstays - chicken chop & oxtail soup, plus cherished Straits Settlement staples like inche kabin, kari kapitan & assam prawns. We tried the chicken rice, with extra helpings of poached chicken, roast chicken & roast duck, each of which proved generally acceptable.

Malaya Hainan, Jalan Panggong, Kuala Lumpur.

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