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Food in Malaysia: Banana leaf meal exceeds all expectations

My banana leaf meal--mutton curry, other curries, a lot of rice, and chapati
My banana leaf meal--mutton curry, other curries, a lot of rice, and chapati
Photo by Melissa Dailey

Sri Paandi


KUALA LUMPUR—In Little India, even the most voracious eaters may find themselves outdone by the sheer portions served at Sri Paandi. This restaurant will give you an unforgettable authentic Indian food experience. Of my recent three-month Asia journey, this meal stands out as my absolute favorite.

If an adventurous eater who loves variety or someone who never seems to get full, I suggest ordering banana leaf. What does this mean? Well, first a large banana leaf (obviously) will be set at your place.

In the meantime, head to the buffet table and pick your curry, such as mutton curry. I didn't take my friend's advice to fill the tiny bowl only halfway. I thought I'd need to eat the entire bowl to fill up.

What happened next changed my mind. Back at the table, our server came around with rice and wouldn't stop piling on the banana leaf until I told him to stop. By that point I was already overwhelmed by the mountain of rice in front of me.

But then the server came around with more curries and dishes and piled them on. By the time he was finished, I couldn't believe my eyes. All this food, just for me!

I honestly don't even know what I was eating exactly—but everything was absolutely delicious! I can't wait to go back to Sri Paandi and gorge myself on authentic Indian food again.

For an all-around authentic experience, wash your hands in the back and then dig in without silverware--true Indian style! But take care not to use your left hand unless absolutely necessary. Culturally-speaking, using your left hand could be offensive to your fellow customers.

For the tourists

Strictly speaking, Sri Paandi is not the cleanest, nor cheapest, restaurant and the service is less than stellar. (Our server got my drink order wrong.) They don't take reservation or accept credit cards. However, it still earns 5 stars in my book. If you love Indian food and you visit Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, why wouldn't you give Sri Paandi a try?