Mee Rebus

A hot bowl of yellow noodles in thick sweet potatoes curry gravy, served with hard boiled egg, sliced fishcake, sliced fried firm tofu, bean sprouts, vegetable, and garnished with slices of green chillies and red chillies, topped with a sprinkle of fried onions and spring onions.
Pondok Cafe Mee Rebus

Sup Suzy

A generous bowl of oxtail broth with additional pieces of chunky beef, stewed until tender with Pondok's secret herbs & spices, served with a slice of toasted bread for dipping!
Pondok cafe specialty sup suzy oxtail soup


In every bite you take, you will not miss the chunky bits of chocolate chips and walnuts in this wonderfully rich and chocolaty brownie. Even more sinfully delicious when you top it up with an ice-cream!
Pondok cafe dessert Brownie ice-cream

Nasi Kerabu

Aromatic steamed rice served alongside with fried mackerel (ikan tenggiri), assorted raw vegetables (ulam) with torch ginger flower buds (bunga kantan), toasted grated coconut (kerisik), sambal and 'budu' as an extra flavouring. *only available on every Tuesday & Saturday*
Pondok cafe special nasi kerabu

Nasi Dagang

Aromatic steamed reddish brown rice + glutinous rice mixed with thin coconut milk (santan), served alongside with tuna fish (gulai ikan tongkol), vegetables pickles (acar), toasted grated coconut (kerisik), crispy fish crackers (keropok ikan) and sambal. *only available on every Wednesday & Saturday*
Pondok cafe special nasi dagang

Prata Sausage Wrap

Chicken sausage topped with shredded lettuce, mayonnaise and chilli sauce, wrapped in a crispy prata. This snack is so addictive, you would want a second serving!
Pondok cafe snacks Prata Sausage Wrap


Pondok Cafe Dataran Sunway Kota Damansara Pondok of goodness on The Star Newspaper 4 April 2009The Star Newspaper, Saturday 4 April 2009

Where in the Klang Valley can you find nasi kerabu, nasi dagang, mee rebus, and other delectable Malay fare at low prices? At Pondok, of course.

Frank and I are insatiable food hounds, which explains two things.

One, our swelling pot bellies, and two, why Dataran Sunway in Petaling Jaya has become our favourite hunting ground. Like Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur or Damansara Uptown in PJ in the 1990s, this enclave has experienced an explosion of cafes, restaurants and coffee shops.

One evening, we were waddling out of another new eatery, when something froze me in my tracks.

“Look!” I yelped, one hand tugging Frank’s sleeve urgently, and the other pointing to a shiny signboard shimmering softly in the sky.

It was yet another new eatery, simply named Pondok.

Curious, we advanced towards the menu standee. As we were skimming through the menu, a gentleman who had the regal bearing of John Forsythe came to our aid. “Would you like to come in and try?” he invited with a broad smile that revealed a neat row of teeth almost as shiny as his silvery-white hair.

Frank and I exchanged pained glances. It was tempting but we had just stuffed ourselves silly. We declined politely, but promised to return soon.

“Nasi kerabu,” I rolled the names nostalgically in my mouth. “Did I ever tell you I got hooked on Malay food when I was studying at Universiti Sains Malaysia?”

I developed an almost maniacal obsession for East Coast delicacies, in particular nasi dagang and nasi kerabu. Sadly, they were reserved for special occasions like convocation and hostel funfairs.

Fancy stumbling into a shop that sold authentic fare from the Malay heartland in Dataran Sunway, of all places. Whether it would meet the lofty standards of its provenance was another question.

“Shall we find out tomorrow?” I turned to Frank eagerly.

He agreed without hesitation. Pondok was considerably more crowded the next day. Still, there was a laid-back atmosphere that was infectious. As I slid into the mod white chairs, I could feel the last vestiges of my stress receding like an ocean wave.

Like its humble moniker, Pondok wasn’t lavishly decorated.

Fashionable plastic placemats took the place of tacky mahjong paper, a winsome miniature flowerpot sat in the middle of each table, and artsy photographs of food (the owner’s son’s handiwork) hung from the walls. There was enough detail to give the restaurant charm and personality, without making it seem over-the-top.

Pondok, opened in December, is run by a mom-and-pop team – Mukhtar and Pam, a former engineer and nurse respectively.

Sup Suzy, named after a friend who donated the recipe, was the first dish to arrive and I wasted no time in taking a sip. At the expression on my face, Frank grabbed a spoon and dug in without an invitation.

“Wow,” he croaked out.

The thick dark-brown broth recalled the heartiness and beefiness of the best oxtail soup, except this packed a surprising punch: tell-tale chilli flakes and, I suspect, heaps of local spices, with a few chunks of meaty beef bones added in for good measure.

By now, Frank’s plate of Nasi Dagang had arrived. My turn to nick a bite.

“Well?” he demanded.

“OMG, as you would say,” I said slowly.

Don’t tell the folks in Kelantan, but Pondok’s version would have them writhing in envy – the mound of rice with fried ikan kembung sprinkled with a pile of golden floss, pickled chillies, and a smear of bright orange-red sambal was easily one of the best I had ever tasted.

Predictably, Frank and I spent the rest of the evening stealing off each other’s plate.

When we returned the next day, Mukhtar broke into a mischievous grin at our now-familiar faces. At one point, when our heads were bent over our plates of mee rebus and nasi dagang, he ambled past casually and deadpanned, “You two are so quiet today, I wonder why?’’

Who had time to talk when you were eating food that’s good enough to stop conversation?

Pondok Cafe Dataran Sunway Kota Damansara mee rebus

I am not a fan of mee rebus but Pondok’s incarnation had me licking the hearty gravy off the bowl. As for the delicate nasi dagang which exuded an almost-floral fragrance, it could rival the one I had in Kota Baru last month.

Meal No. 2 at Pondok was almost perfect – save for a minor tiff between Frank and I. The culprit? A brownie. Frank and I got into a fight over who would finish the last morsel (I won).

Pondok Cafe Dataran Sunway Kota Damansara Brownies ice cream

Studded generously with chopped nuts, the chubby rectangle of intense chocolatey goodness was at once crumbly and buttery and melted effortlessly in our mouths. You can eat Pondok’s brownie without any embellishments, though the generous dollop of ice-cream would propel you straight to sugar nirvana.

“Should I go for the curry laksa or asam pedas gulai on my next visit?” I wondered aloud.

Frank cocked his eyebrow in amusement. He knew I’ve done some crazy things in the name of good food, but this would mark the first time I insisted on going back to the same place, three days in a row.

There was just so much to love about the place. It’s cosy, it serves great food at humane prices (our meal of decently-portioned nasi dagang, mee rebus, brownie and drinks barely tipped RM15), and the people make you feel right at home.

Then again, I should expect nothing less. Who else but parents would go to such lengths to deliver top-notch stuff, whether it’s for the benefit of their children, friends or customers?

I should know – I’ve got parents like that, too.

- written by ALEXANDRA WONG -

click here for The Star Online version

click here for The Star printed version

Ikan masak assam pedas pondok cafe

1. Ikan Masak Assam Pedas

customer's choice @ Pondok
as of 25 July 2009
ikan bakar pondok cafe

2. Ikan Bakar Pondok

customer's choice @ Pondok
as of 25 July 2009
Mee Rebus noodle Pondok cafe

3. Mee Rebus

customer's choice @ Pondok
as of 25 July 2009
nasi dagang pondok cafe

4. Nasi Dagang

customer's choice @ Pondok
as of 25 July 2009
nasi lemak sambal rendang ayam pondok cafe

5. Nasi Lemak Rendang Ayam

customer's choice @ Pondok
as of 25 July 2009
sup suzy oxtail soup pondok cafe

6. Sup Suzy

customer's choice @ Pondok
as of 25 July 2009
curry laksa noodle Pondok cafe

7. Curry Laksa

customer's choice @ Pondok
as of 25 July 2009
nasi goreng pondok cafe

8. Nasi Goreng Pondok

customer's choice @ Pondok
as of 25 July 2009
nasi paprik pondok cafe

9. Nasi Paprik Pondok

customer's choice @ Pondok
as of 25 July 2009
nasi tomato pondok cafe

10. Nasi Tomato

customer's choice @ Pondok
as of 25 July 2009