Eating out for under $11 in Malaysia: Awesome Canteen

Whenever someone mentions canteen food I am always reminded of the nasi lemak sold at my primary school canteen way back when.

The nasi lemak came with a few slices of sauteed green beans instead of cucumber; at the time, I thought that was how the dish was supposed to be. And like everything else that you could buy from the two friendly "aunties", the nasi lemak was sold in a plastic bag. No utensils necessary, just bite a small hole in the corner of the bag and eat.

Classy

When my friends and I dropped by Awesome Canteen in Petaling Jaya recently, I was a little sceptical about what the food would be like. A canteen that's awesome? Really?

The place seemed to be very popular that day. Granted, it was a public holiday and there was a flea market of sorts happening at the lot adjacent to the restaurant (it's actually a space that you can rent from them) so there were a lot of people just milling around the area.

The BBQ Beef Bacon Cheeseburger was just ‘OK’.

Photo: The Star/ANN

Just like a canteen, you would need to head to the counter to order. I wanted to try one of their specials but they were sold out by then - it was only about 1pm! -so I got the salmon fish head with rice (RM18.90, S$7) instead, with a cup of flat white (RM9).

The other orders were a BBQ beef "bacon" cheese burger (RM19.90) and a grilled saba set, which came with a few side orders and a small drink (RM23.90).

Now here's the thing: If you want to call your restaurant "awesome", you need to make sure it lives up to the name.

The coffee at the restaurant was good.

Photo: The Star/ANN

Our food was, at best, all right.

My salmon fish head was nicely grilled, but it was topped with a serving of sauteed mixed mushrooms that was just too salty. The small part of the fish head that did not get much sauce on it was tasty, though, so I guess that's a plus point. Also, I loved my coffee.

The burger was just "OK", said the friend who ate it. The bun itself looked nice as it had a sprinkling of… something on top. Poppyseed, maybe? The patty was juicy enough but it did not stand out enough to get a positive thumbs up.

Although the grilled salmon head itself was nice, the sauteed mushrooms was really salty.

Photo: The Star/ANN

Perhaps the best dish for us that day was the grilled saba. The condiments and side dishes that came with the set were what completed the dish flavour-wise, I think, so that's something to consider the next time we visit.

Yes, despite the lack of awesomeness on our table that day, I would still like to head to the place at least one more time to try its paleo-friendly menu and the desserts, which look pretty good from pictures posted by patrons and by the Awesome Canteen folks themselves.

Awesome Canteen

19 Jalan 20/13

Taman Paramount

Petaling Jaya

Selangor

Tel: 03-7865 8048

Open: Tuesday to Thursday, and Sunday: 11am to 10pm; Friday and Saturday: 11am to 11pm

Pork-free, alcohol-free

Parking: Challenging on weekdays

 

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