The paternal side of K’s family hails from Seremban in Malaysia, in the state of Negeri Sembilan. It’s only an hour and a half south of Kuala Lumpur on the train, so we try to make an effort to go and visit relatives for at least one day every time that we go to Malaysia.
We have to prepare carefully before we go though – like most Malaysians, K’s family is obsessed with food and will plan out a whole day of eating for each of our visits. I don’t just mean breakfast, lunch and dinner – in the Choy family, a day of eating isn’t complete without breakfast, morning tea, elevensies, brunch, lunch, twosies, afternoon tea, pre-dinner snacks, dinner, dessert, supper…you get the picture!
On this visit, we managed to cut back the eating a little bit by only catching up with one branch of the family, rather than trying to meet up with everyone. We started the day with a trip to Pence Food Centre, where a number of different hawker-style stores are located. We got the Hainan Chicken Rice Balls – warm tender hainan chicken served with chicken rice shaped into balls like arancini. The clear chicken broth served with the chicken is incredibly more-ish and flavourful.
Also at Pence, we had a bowl each of Seremban’s famous Beef Noodles. There’s a number of different stalls around Seremban that sell this type of beef noodles, and there’s also non-stop arguments amongst locals about which actually serves the best version of these noodles. Members of K’s family prefer the noodle stall at the market near the train station, but I think this version from Pence is still pretty amazing – rich, savoury sauce, sloppy noodles, and incredibly flavourful beef.
Pence Food Centre is located at 422 Jalan Seng Meng Lee, 70200 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia.
Our next stop was just down the road at the Siew Pao Master for the famous Seremban Siew Pao – they’re so famous that you can now get them in Kuala Lumpur in places like the Lot 10 food court! There’s a long queue in front of this semi-industrial bakery of locals wanting to buy box after box of the siew pao, as well as the other baked sweets, pastries, buns and delicacies. The quality and quantity of buns that the bakery churns out is incredibly impressive, and all the ones that we tasted held up surprisingly well over a few days without showing any sign of staleness at all.
Siew Pao Master is located at 368 Jalan Seng Meng Lee, 70200 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia.
The next stop was at Restoran Asia for their famous Asia Laksa. This is K’s brother’s favourite laksa shop in the whole world, as evidenced by the fact that the elderly owner of the shop remembers the boys from their visits over the years as they’ve gone back to Malaysia. If you have the language skills and the know-how to make the request, you can customise the laksa noodles however you wish with a choice of size, noodles, spiciness, toppings, and so on. I got the mee hoon noodles, all the better for soaking up the intensely rich spiced laksa soup. The curry chicken addition on top was deliciously fragrant, though a bit too bony for my liking.
Restoran Asia is located at 364 Jalan Tok Ungku, 70100 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia.
Following the Asia Laksa, we went with K’s cousin Geraldine who took us to Haji Shariff’s for dessert…but first their Rojak! This was a really nice interlude between the heavier meals of the morning and dessert – the fresh tofu puffs and bean shoots were really refreshing, and the slightly spicy sweet sauce was very more-ish. The only downside is that Haji Shariff’s isn’t air-conditioned, and the large ceiling fans don’t do much to help cool down from the overwhelming Malaysian heat!
Luckily, Haji Shariff’s main business is in selling different varities of ice-cold refreshing Cendol. K got the plain cendol, but I opted for the one with red beans. Not too sweet, but sweet enough. Intensely creamy. Incredibly refreshing. Very more-ish. I was tempted to have a second bowl of the cendol just to cool down further, but I was already too full from all the eating we had already done that day!
Haji Shariff Cendol is located at 44 Jalan Yam Tuan, 70100 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia.
And there you have it – our day of eating in Seremban, Malaysia. We managed to squeeze six meals into six hours, and virtually had to pour ourselves onto the train back to Kuala Lumpur where we made the decision to skip having a ‘proper’ dinner. If we’d chosen to stay for dinner in Seremban, I would probably be sharing photos of roast sucking pig with you, as that’s what we had the last time we were in town!
I really enjoy visiting Seremban and K’s relatives whenever we’re in Malaysia…but boy oh boy, I always feel like I’m going to burst from overeating every time I visit!