Say it isn’t so…

I, for one, would say it definitely isn’t so. Personally, I do feel that it is not all that expensive though often, I have heard some people having a bone to pick over the prices here…but allow me, if I may, to get back to that a little bit later.

In the meantime, let me tell you about my friend, Dr Ong, who was in town all the way from Tanjung Malim where he, originally from Taiping, Perak, is currently lecturing at the university there…so my missus and I met him and his daughter (who came with him) upon arrival at the airport and took them out for dinner there at that very cafe, it being one of my favourites in town…

Payung Cafe peacock tail

…especially considering that what they serve here is very nice and not quite like anything found anywhere else. This is the tail of a peacock, part of the very enchanting artwork done on one of the walls at the cafe by one of the guys there using colour chalk – you know the kind that teachers used in school a long time ago during those days before the time of the whiteboard and whiteboard markers. The head would not come out nicely in the photograph owing to the bright spotlight on top so I had no choice but to leave it out.

It has been five years since the last time Dr Ong was in town and we did go out for dinner then as well, with some of my young friends and ex-students…and no, we did not come to this place on that previous occasion so this was his first time here. I got him to try the Kuching original – the comfort food for convalescing mums during  their confinement, the kacang ma chicken (RM16.00, with rice)…

Payung Cafe kacang ma chicken

…with rice and he thought it was pretty o.k. I have to admit that for many, this unique culinary delight isn’t really a love-at-first-bite kind of thing. Personally, I did not like it the first time – hmmm….haven’t I heard it said that the first time is, more often than not, the worse…but after I have acquired the taste for it eventually, there has been no looking back!

Unfortunately, most of the snapshots that I took did not turn out very well owing to the dim surroundings of the place at night including the ones of their very nice green curry (RM16.00 with rice) that my missus likes a lot! Usually, for their chicken dishes here, they will only give three (huge) chunks of chicken but since there were four of us, I asked for an extra piece in both so that there would be enough to go round and the very kind and generous boss happily (I think! LOL!!!) obliged. As a matter of fact, he also prepared his century egg salad…

Payung Cafe century egg salad

…which is not on the menu actually, specially for us…on the house! You can click the above link to see the very much nicer and clearer photographs of these two dishes that previous time when I was there in broad daylight for lunch.

We also had the Payung rojak (RM10.00) and their best seller, the mushroom roll (RM8.00)…

Payung Cafe mushroom roll

…and of course, their otak-otak (RM13.00, with rice)…

Payung Cafe otak-otak

…which is different and very much nicer than all the other versions elsewhere.

All in all, we had five orders, not including the complimentary salad – six altogether for the four of us…and the total came up to RM65.00 (including one extra plate of rice and the nice boss, upon request, kindly waived the charges for the five big glasses of iced cold water, RM1.00 each, that we all had). Compared to our lunch here, including the rice and drinks for four persons, the meal also came up to over RM60.00…and I do think that what we had there would pale in comparison.

When I took my neurosurgeon friend from Kuching out for dinner, we only had four orders, excluding the complimentary treat accorded to us, and the bill came up to almost the same for half the number of people. The following night, we went to one of my regular (Chinese) restaurants in town – I forgot to bring along my camera and the photos taken with my handphone camera did not turn out nice so I did not bother to blog about it. We only had one chicken and one prawn dish plus a vegetable dish, three altogether – small servings just enough for two, and two chunks of pandan chicken and the total, inclusive of rice and drinks was almost RM60.00…and we only ordered two things for lunch here that day and with the rice and the drinks, it was over RM35.00 for two persons…and this place wasn’t a classier upscale cafe or restaurant, not much nicer than most of the coffee shops in town.

I can go on comparing – the buck does not stop here – but I think I have said enough to prove my point. So going back to my statement right at the start of this blogpost, I would state, in no uncertain terms, that dining here is not all that expensive as some people seem to make it out to be…and that is just a  comparison of the food and the charges – I don’t even have to touch on the very nice environment with its lovely ambiance, the friendly boss and staff and the great service which all contribute towards making dining here such a pleasant experience.

It sure was nice seeing you again, Dr. Ong and a real pleasure getting to meet your sweet and pretty daughter and thank you so much for the goodies…

From Dr Ong

…that you took the trouble to bring all the way. The made-in-Penang heang peah was all right and I enjoyed the made-in-Tanjung Malim crispy biscuit a lot more but it was the Tanjung Malim be teh so that stole the show. It was so very good – the best I have had for a long long time now with the fragrant flaky pastry on the outside and the moist and soft filling inside. All the rest in the shops here, there and everywhere in all those impressive packaging, not in a plastic bag like this one, can come nowhere near! If anyone is interested, this is manufactured by The Smalltown Enterprise, No. 37, Jalan U1, Taman Universiti, Tanjung Malim, Perak (Tel. No.: 05-458 2168). I am not sure if it is  available elsewhere but should anyone be passing through the little place,  don’t miss the chance of grabbing a few packs to bring home!

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

21 thoughts on “Say it isn’t so…”

  1. mushroom roll looks really deliciously. best seller! what’s the taste like? something like popiah?

    No, it’s all thinly-sliced mushroom and a lot of cheese plus thinly-sliced Bombay onions inside, wrapped with popiah skin and baked in the oven till the skin is nice and crusty. Looks simple and very easy but my missus, probably thinking that it is a piece of cake, did try once and failed – so don’t expect her to do it again. 😦

  2. payung rojak is actually rojak? i really 1st time heard this dish, very special 🙂
    is salad? vege?? fruit? or what??

    Sigh!!! Hard to explain lah!!! You have to come over and try for yourself. Rojak in Malay means campur2 so it is a mix of (raw) vegetables, leaves, herbs, flower petals…everything, with their own very nice rojak sauce plus it’s cooked – not really like the sauce in the usual fruit rojak anywhere else. Very very nice!

  3. Nice goodies from Perak there. I love those 3. Super yums.

    I liked 2 and one a whole lot more than the rest. Not really fond of the one from Penang. See my reply to zmun2 below…

  4. Oh, Payung!!!…as always all the food looks great. Yes, I remember the rojak with generous amount of crushed peanuts. Nice lovely goodies from your friend. Bet you & your friend have a great time.

    Yes, they did seem to enjoy everything but they’re not very big eaters, especially the daughter – young girls these days, yunno lah! 😀

  5. “It ain’t so!” LOL Anyway, I wanna try that Otak Otak.. looks interesting. how is it different ar? Ingredients..? Taste?

    You’ll have to come and try it yourself, hard to explain. Tastewise, personally, I like them all but this one, you will find real chunks of fish, all of it wrapped in banana leaf…unlike the Muar ones which are like fish cake/fish ball in texture…and the steamed Penang ones, where you may find bits of fish buried in the egg custard (which puts off a number of people that I know but I like it!).

  6. I’ve never tried kacang ma, I would love to try it.. What is the main ingredient in the sauce? Oh yes, I can always always remember that mushroom roll.. Believe it or not, I can finish the whole pack of heong peah there !! 😛

    The kacang ma? The dried kacang ma leaves, dry-fried and pounded or ground to dust, lots of ginger and lots of Chinese white wine.

    Of course you can – I had two, I think and my missus too…but I saved the rest, 5 of them, for my girl to bring to her school to enjoy. Parents like that lah! All good things, keep for the kids!

  7. They sure know how to keep you coming back!!

    With the nice stuff they serve…and the nice ambiance and all, I sure would keep going back even without the special treatment and freebies. Not popular with many young people for other reason, I know – no free wifi!

  8. Looks like quite a selection.

    I ordered for the 4 of us…but it was quite a struggle to finish everything as my friend’s daughter is a very light eater and my missus usually does not eat as much either. Ladies! 😀

  9. What’s that dish wrapped in banana leaves? Did you miss to add in the hyperlink?

    The otak otak? Didn’t I mention the name? Why would you need a hyperlink for that? I’ve had it in so many of my posts so many times already. They spell it differently in Singapore, it seems but the same in Penang.

    Come to think of it, have you tried the ones there? They’re different, steamed. I love the taste and I do not mind the egg custard though many do not like it because of that. Never seen you blog about it – your very own uniquely Penang delicacy. But of course, the one here is my favourite!

  10. I love the foods especially the otah…

    Very much nicer than the Singapore ones…which is like Muar’s.

  11. i figure as long as you feel the experience is worth it, then that’s the most meaningful thing … for me, paying the bill at a restaurant isn’t about just paying for the food, but for everything experienced in the one or two hours spent at the place 🙂

    Indeed! It’s a whole package. I can name a few in town – great food, prices reasonable but always so crowded and so noisy – no better than a coffee shop. Whatever enjoyment one may derive from the dining experience is absolutely ruined!!!

    I would choose either not to go to such places…or go when there are not so many people, say at lunchtime but there is one that is packed to the brim at lunch hour too so I would avoid it completely.

  12. A special meal for moms during their confinement? What makes it so special is what I’m wondering. Perhaps what is especially
    beneficial for mom and baby? It looks like you all had a great time and that makes all the difference.

    It’s motherwort leaves – lots of health benefits including improving blood flow and what not and for anti-depression as well, good for post-natal blues…and lots of ginger too. The Chinese believe that after childbirth, the mother’s body system must stay “warm” and not be “cold”, bad for them especially come old age…and then there’s the traditional wine as well. Lots of taboos here for the convalescing mum.

    Yes, dinner was great and we sure had a wonderful time catching up with one another’s lives.

  13. dim surroundings, not so well shots, but it still made me hungry looking and reading what you wrote about the food. Yummm.

    Wish I had your sophisticated equipment – all shots look like those in recipe books or those female of cooking magazines, so professional. 😉

  14. That artwork is rather pretty. Very talented, the person who drew it. Ah, the food at Payung! The price is very reasonable, I wouldn’t complain.

    Yes, very pretty indeed. I hope he does not stop there, will draw more. Another one he did, a torch ginger flower or bunga kantan, was spoilt by the rain. 😦

    Yes, I go think it is not expensive. Dunno why some people think so…and they say the servings are very small and all that. If they don’t like – not their kind of cuisine or whatever reason, just say don’t like. Everyone is free to choose, no need to say all kinds of things.

  15. Snap shots tak cantik tak apa. Asalkan food sedap

    True, true! Ok nowadays, not like before – people always complained about the photos, made such a fuss all the time. 😦

  16. I feel I know Payung cafe’s menu very well by now. Will have to put it on my bucket list of places to visit!

    A must-visit place for anyone coming to town – you will find what they serve there very unique, different from any place elsewhere and the best thing, of course, would be how they’re all/mostly very nice.

  17. Durian!!!! All the craze now! I still have yet to try FRESH Durian. I have had freeze dried AND I have tried dehydrated.

    You may be able to get it there – especially the Thai ones. If I am not mistaken, they export them to Australia, dunno where else.

  18. I miss kacang ma. Had lovely ones in Kuching but yet to see any nice ones in KL. All seem very diluted.

    You have in KL? Lucky you! We cannot get it here…just here, nowhere else that I know of. Much easier to find in Kuching. 😦

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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