Give me Nasi Kerabu any day of the week

‘Rice to Wednesday’ … so the joke goes as to what Nasi Kerabu means in English.

For the uninitiated, Nasi Kerabu is a type of rice which gets its blue colour from the petals of the butterfly pea flower (Bunga Telang).

It is usually eaten with fried fish or chicken, or my favourite – ayam percik – and served with crackers, pickles, sambal nyior and ulam. Sambal belacan is usually a must – except I don’t eat the stuff.

In the past week, I have eaten it twice – once at Gertak Merah in Sungai Penchala and the other at Bok’s Kito in Taman Tun Dr Ismail.

The two outlets are about 15 minutes from each other but in terms of ambience, they are miles apart.

While Bok’s Kito is a full-fledged restaurant, Gertak Merah is a stall under the Kampung Sungai Penchala bridge where you can see the traffic going by at street level and hear the vehicles above.

Please note, it is UNDER the bridge. If you use Waze or Google Maps, you might end up on the bridge!

For the more adventurous, you could always take the train and get off at the TTDI MRT station and take the feeder bus. The buses stop directly under the bridge where you can get an assortment of delicious food from a host of stalls.

I found out about the place from a friend, Damien Ong-Yeoh, who took me there last week.

A basic plate of nasi kerabu at Gertak Merah.

It was supposed to be a ‘tea’ session as it was close to 5pm but the moment I saw the ayam percik, I decided to have the Nasi Kerabu.

What I liked most about the ayam percik was the gravy which I poured generously on my plate.

The rice and other condiments were perfectly cooked and I quickly wolfed down the whole thing.

The best part? My Nasi Kerabu and ayam percik with a Teh O only cost RM7! Unheard of in Klang Valley.

On Thursday, my colleague Amar Qastellani and I decided to go for an early lunch.

Amar, being married to a Kelantanese, is fond of the state’s dishes and so we opted for Bok’s Kito.

We had been there before and enjoyed the food.

For the purpose of this article, I opted for Nasi Kerabu and ayam percik just to compare the experience and prices.

The first thing which was obvious was the size of the chicken. The thigh was huge. I had taken a small chicken breast at Gertak Merah but looking at its menu, a bigger one would have probably only cost a ringgit or two more.

At Bok’s Kito the Nasi Kerabu ayam percik set was RM15. I added a fried egg as well. I had to ask for some of the gravy from the gulai as the ayam percik gravy was quite thick – no complaints about the taste!

Bok’s Kito’s meal was visually more pleasing with more colours on the plate – we do eat with our eyes too.

Topped up with a Teh O ais limau, the meal came up to just under RM19.

There is a big difference in price but I can’t stress enough that the chicken was huge so once again, no complaints from me.

The Nasi Kerabu Ayam Bakar at Boks Kito is a must-try too.

So, given the choice, which would be my go-to place?

If I’m entertaining foreign friends (whenever we are allowed to travel once again), I would say Bok’s Kito wins it as not many of them would like sitting under a bridge.

If I’m taking local friends, then I would opt for Gertak Merah as it is a typical Malaysian stall which one can find in any town in the country.

For the record, Bok’s Kito and Gertak Merak serve many other types of east coast dishes, including Nasi Dagang and traditional kuih-muih.

But for me, Rice to Wednesday is my pick any day of the week.

Gertak Merah
Address: Jalan Sungai Penchala, Kampung Sungai Penchala, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Telephone: 013-334 9950
Operating hours: Weekdays 1pm-8pm (Closed weekends)

Bok’s Kito
Address: 38-G, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 2,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail, KL 60000
Tel: 03-7732 6339
Operating hours: 7am-7pm (Closed Tuesdays)