My apologies for the photos to follow, I tried saving them with a bit of a film-look kind of filter, but for some reason, I find Asian food so hard to photograph! I suppose it’s because I’m so used to seeing noodles/ stir fries etc, that it’s just not something new or exotic in my eyes.
I’m working on it…. One day, I’ll photograph the best damn bowl of rice you’ve ever seen.
After my encounter with Mamak Malaysian Restaurant in Chancery, Auckland CBD earlier this year (reviewed on zomato here), I could not get the delicious, spicy and fragrant flavours out of my head. A good catch up session with S called for a place with serving sizes for those with big appetites, so Selera was a win-win situation.
The restaurant is not large, and was already full when we arrived. Luckily, we managed to snag a table after a couple of minutes and quickly ordered a few dishes before heading to the counter to pay. It feels odd to sit down and then pay before receiving your dishes, but I get that logic.
Acar Awak ($7.00)
Acar Awak is Malaysian Nyonya-style pickled spicy vegetables. These were unlike anything I had ever had. I love pickled vegetables, and this one tops my list. It’s hard to describe- I kept getting surprised every time I took a bite because it was just… unexpected? The slightly spicy (laksa/ sambal-flavoured sort of spicy) vegetables retained their slightly crunchy texture which was just sublime with the sprinkling of peanuts on top. Currently wondering how weird I’d look if I went back just to get two or three servings of Acar Awak to take away…
I felt this dish was odd. I’m no expert on Malaysian cuisine (this is only my second time so best to trust those more experienced), but this tasted more Japanese because of the sesame oil. Maybe that’s how it’s normally done? I don’t know.
Actually that is a bit of a lie. (Feel free to skip this mini babble paragraph- it’s going slightly off topic). When I was young, my sister and I lived with a nanny who was Malaysian so we grew up learning Mandarin from her despite being Vietnamese. Every so often, we still visit her, and she’d make us our childhood favourites such as mee goreng, and roti which we’d sprinkle with sugar- but I never knew they were called roti! So all this time, I had been complaining about wanting to try roti but in fact, I’d been eating it since young.I had a very confusing childhood.
The serving sizes were very generous- even S who is notorious for her voracious appetite was extremely stuffed (and we didn’t manage to finish it all). Clearly, we had over-ordered, but it’s so hard to choose just one dish. I’d recommend you visit with a small group so you can share a few dishes among yourselves.
Selera487 Khyber Pass Road Newmarket, Auckland