Citarasa Warisan Malaysia: A Taste of Tradition at Best Western i-City Shah Alam
After putting my food review game on pause for about half a year (if you've been following my blog, you'd know why), I'm back! And on familiar territory, no less - Best Western i-City Shah Alam. I've always loved the hotel's cooking. The last time I dined there, the food was so good, it nearly blew my head off. So when they invited me over recently to preview their upcoming Ramadan buffet offering, I accepted their invitation without hesitation.
The evening of the preview, what has now become a common and expected sight greeted me as I arrived - visitor registration, temperature check and hand sanitation. The Ramadan buffet preview was held at The View Café located at the 5th floor of the hotel. Having taken the lift up and pressing buttons, I was happy to see a bottle of hand sanitiser placed at the entrance of the café to clean my hands with. Inside, tables could've been spaced out a bit more in my opinion, but everyone had their masks on while waiting for the preview to start. Overall, I saw adherence to the latest COVID-19 buffet protocols on the part of the hotel. But realistically speaking, a large group of people converging is not easy to manage, especially once they begin getting in line to fill their plates. There's bound to be some oddballs who'll flout the rules, so the onus, I guess, is really on you to decide whether you'd be comfortable dining in a potentially crowded setting during a pandemic. If you're reading this or any other buffet review, I'm assuming you would be. Comfortable, that is.
Anyway, now that I've attended the preview, I have a lot to share, so let's get started.
If a throwback to ethnic Malay cuisine sounds inviting to you, you're in for a succulent treat. Aptly named Citarasa Warisan Malaysia, Best Western i-City Shah Alam's Ramadan buffet is set to take you on an iftar journey to celebrate dishes that have transcended generations, with a few modern favourites thrown in for good measure. It'll feature classic mains like kari kepala ikan, ikan patin masak tempoyak, udang kari, udang sambal hijau, rendang daging, daging masak merah, ketam gulai nenas, ketam lemak cili api, ayam percik, ayam penyet, sotong sumbat, tempeh goreng berempah and sayur lodeh (just to name a few!)... plus live stations that serve up cooked-to-order soup gearbox, sotong panggang, mee kuah, satay and laksa (again, just to name a few). Obviously, with this much variety, the items would be rotated daily, but there should be about at least a dozen different courses on offer per day; possibly more.
If you're unfamiliar with some of these dishes, it might be nice to give them a try in the spirit of Ramadan. There's a long-standing legacy behind most of them, so why not treat yourself to some culinary culture? Cuisine like this provides more than just a dining experience; it's a journey through tradition. Perhaps start with some appetiser like ulam, acar, kerabu or jeruk buah dipped in cincalok, budu, sambal belacan or tempoyak? Plenty to choose from.
The big daddy of the buffet is the kambing bakar pictured below. It's a great conversation starter and a must for carnivores. Imbued with a special spice mix, it's luscious, pull-apart tender and oozing a certain je ne sais quoi. I'd make a beeline for it if I were you.
Below are a few more snapshots I took that evening. Feast your eyes!
The dessert section that night, as pictured below, was a mosaic of colourful delight. If going purely by the name of the buffet, Citarasa Warisan Malaysia, you'd probably expect to find just Malay kuih and nothing else, right? Well yeah, there's Malay kuih for sure... but to spice things up a bit (and add value, I guess), continental sweet treats are also fused into the mix. You'll find puds like swiss rolls, petit fours, bread and butter pudding, and a whole lot more, so be sure to save room in your tummy for two colliding but very delicious worlds of dessert.
The dishes I had that night included the kambing bakar, satay, sotong panggang, ikan pari panggang, kari kepala ikan, udang sambal hijau, sayur lodeh and a side of tempoyak, plus a greedy serving of kuih and petit four!
Besides the kambing bakar, I really enjoyed the sotong panggang and ikan pari panggang as well. They had a slight peppery kick to them, which I loved. The tempoyak, on the other hand, was not to my liking, but it seemed to go down well with some of the other reviewers, so who am I to yuck someone else's yum, right?
My verdict (with the exception of the tempoyak): 👍🏻👍🏻 ... meaning I had to double down on my workout the following day, but it was worth it!
I found the flavours of the dishes to be deliciously balanced - punchy, yet not overpowering. And I especially loved, and highly recommend, the cooked-to-order dishes as I like my food nice and hot. Yeah, I know I'm giving the hotel pretty high praise here, but I'm not trying to inflate their ego or anything. I just really enjoyed what I ate.
As for drinks, you can expect to find a selection of hot and cold beverages. That night, I had two helpings of ice-cold air kelapa bakar. Yum. So refreshing.
Although the buffet seemed slightly pared down this year, given the current situation, less is probably more as it'll allow for faster, and therefore, fresher turnover per dish.
Details of the buffet are as follows:
Citarasa Warisan Malaysia Ramadan Buffet
Date: 15th April 2021 to 11th May 2021
Time: 6.30 pm to 10.00 pm
Venue: The View Cafe, Level 5, Best Western i-City Shah Alam
Address: A-GF-01, No.6 Persiaran Multimedia, CityPark, i-City, 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
Price: RM119.00 nett per adult
Early bird price: RM89.00 nett per adult (bookings made from now until 12th April 2021)
Child and Senior Citizen price: RM55.00 nett per person
To book: Call +60 3 5521 9000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For group bookings: Email Sales Team at email@example.com
In terms of ambience, The View Café has a cosy, laid-back vibe. It's an unpretentious space that allows diners to relax, be comfortable and leave their ties or stilettos at home if they so choose. One of the things I love about the café is its terrace. With a commanding view of i-City, it's the perfect setting for dining under the night sky amid the surrounding lightscape. In view of the pandemic, I was thankful to have the option to dine out there that night and be wrapped in clean, fresh air. But really, on a cool evening with a light breeze, you shouldn't be sitting anywhere else at all.
Anyway, here's a bit of fun news. The hotel is giving away a 1-night stay in their i-Suite every week throughout the month of the buffet. For a chance to win the prize, just fill your details at the back of the buffet ticket and drop it in the designated lucky draw box. A winner will be announced live on the hotel's official Facebook page every Thursday evening, so check https://www.facebook.com/bwicity for results.
Here's something else you might be interested to know. As part of their philanthropy project, the hotel will be partnering with the Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB) this Ramadan whereby light entertainment would be provided by the blind community on weekends. In addition, they can also provide reflexology services as well as their handicrafts to those interested, so if you're feeling altruistic, you know what to do. All proceeds will go to MAB.
If I were to summarise this Citarasa Warisan Malaysia Ramadan buffet in three words, they would be value for money, so if you're looking to berbuka puasa in style without breaking the bank, this is an option worth considering. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Go with a curious palate! And, of course, don't forget to observe COVID-19 guidelines.
Speaking of which, I should mention this: If Malaysia re-enters another full-scale lockdown that disallows buffets and dining out, the hotel will swap the buffet for Takeaway Iftar Sets (please see pictures and prices below). "We're keeping close tabs on the situation," affirms Mr Anthony Kong, General Manager of Best Western i-City Shah Alam. "Should restrictions get re-tightened and the buffet cannot take place, we'll switch to Takeaway Iftar Sets. Any amount difference would be reconciled by way of a credit voucher." Sounds fair.
Anyway, I left the preview that night feeling full and happy. Best Western i-City Shah Alam, thank you. I couldn't have asked for a better evening!
As I slipped my mask back on and walked towards the lift, I wondered if that bottle of hand sanitiser I saw earlier would still be there at the entrance of the café. It was. Sometimes the smallest things can make all the difference.
Stay safe, everyone, and cheers for now. 🙂
- Prices, where mentioned, are correct at time of writing.
- This is a sponsored post insofar as the hotel fed me that evening. Views are my own and are not dictated by the hotel in any way.