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Ramadan fine dining

Guest blogger Jehan Mohd had her first taste of Malay fine dining at a berbuka puasa (breaking of the fast at sunset) event hosted by Commercial Radio Malaysia. Ibunda, the venue for the evening, offers a delicious mix of traditional Malay cooking dressed up in the trappings of the gastronomic equivalent of haute couture. Here are her thoughts on her experience.

Our starter served in four bowls -- there was (from the left) lemang (glutinous rice soaked in coconut milk and cooked in bamboo over a slow fire) and rendang (stewed beef in coconut milk), rojak mamak (Indian Muslim style salad with peanut sauce), some really nice fish in unidentified yummy sauce and bubur lambuk (savoury rice porridge).The rendang had a strange aftertaste but the fish and bubur were lovely! Also in the picture are my first air sirap bandung (a concoction of rose syrup water and evaporated milk) for the year, a vintage glass bottle of ice-cream soda (!) and dates dished up in a boat-like porcelein plate.

Our main course -- this dish is enough for three (hence three of everything) -- fried fish on the left, fried chicken at the bottom, keropok (fish crackers) and prawn curry. All round, these taste good, the prawn was so big, I ended up having to peel the shell off with a knife rather than the usual spoon.

The rice portion of the main course comprises nasi kerabu (a traditional rice dish from the northern states of the peninsula), keropok (fish cracker), curried mussel and a scoop of lentil and okra. I avoid mussels so mine ended up going to someone else but the rest of the fare is what you might expect from a high-brow restaurant, not the type you would eat at mum's.

Traditional Malay kuih (sweet cakes) dressed up like pastries from a high-end bakery in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. Taste-wise, it's what you would expect from these desserts normally. I still prefer to get my sweets from the roadside vendors (not sure if they are legit) in any Malay area such as Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.

The interior of Ibunda is homey, reminiscent of a traditional Malay house -- only high-end with air-con.

The quintessential berbuka puasa (breaking of the fast) drink much loved by all Malaysians -- air sirup bandung (a concoction of rose syrup water and evaporated milk) and a vintage bottle of ice-cream soda (another local favourite). I love this combination of sweet stuff when breaking fast!

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