PJ Taman Megah's Lao Mao Cafe serves up excellent Sarawak laksa, beef noodles and more... cooked from the heart

·4-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

PETALING JAYA, March 29 — Nowadays, the word "cafe" seems to be synonymous with the same old sandwiches, pastas and maybe cakes from a supplier.

Hence, Lao Mao Cafe is like a breath of fresh air for my jaded palate.

Located on the first floor of the newly-opened Megah Rise Mall, the cafe is run by two sisters who are from Sarawak.

The vibe emulates those cosy family-run eateries where everything is done by them from cooking, baking, taking orders and serving the food.

Maybe that's why I feel, dining here reminds me of having a meal at a friend's home as the food is all cooked by them, rather than any hired help.

It's also a pet friendly cafe so don't be surprised if you are greeted by a happy dog. I didn't spy any cats but you find plenty decorating the walls here.

The cafe located at the first floor of Megah Rise Mall is also pet friendly so say hi to friendly dogs
The cafe located at the first floor of Megah Rise Mall is also pet friendly so say hi to friendly dogs

The cafe located at the first floor of Megah Rise Mall is also pet friendly so say hi to friendly dogs

We may be overrun by the many Sarawak laksa options in Petaling Jaya, but their version here stands up to the other great bowls.

The fine tuning with additional secret spices for the store-bought laksa paste is the key to this delicious bowl. It's hard to stop drinking the broth.

What I also liked was that it's not overly rich with santan, making me feel less guilty for finishing the whole bowl. The noodles are also accompanied with fresh prawns and omelette strips. The Sarawak laksa is RM18 per bowl.

Even the beef noodles (RM18) is excellent. It's a Taiwan style noodle with a robust broth with herbs, tender stewed beef and soft white radish. And it's paired with smooth noodles, just like in Taiwan.

Beef noodles Taiwanese style is excellent too with a robust broth and tender slices of beef with radish
Beef noodles Taiwanese style is excellent too with a robust broth and tender slices of beef with radish

Beef noodles Taiwanese style is excellent too with a robust broth and tender slices of beef with radish

They also serve everyone's favourite — nasi lemak, where the star is the steamed rice fragrant with coconut milk. What I liked was how each grain is separate and absorbs the curry or sambal on the side.

You have a choice of fried chicken and curry chicken. I opted for the curry chicken. It's not your usual curry as it's mild with a much healthier taste as they use less coconut milk.

What I liked was they had potatoes so that made me happy. The sambal is the Nonya type which is thicker and fragrant. This went well with the whole plate.

'Nasi lemak' with curry chicken is hearty and wholesome with a fragrant steamed coconut milk rice
'Nasi lemak' with curry chicken is hearty and wholesome with a fragrant steamed coconut milk rice

'Nasi lemak' with curry chicken is hearty and wholesome with a fragrant steamed coconut milk rice

Even the peanuts were healthier and probably air fried rather than fried in oil as they had a pale look. You also have fried ikan bilis too, which seems to be disappearing on plates of nasi lemak nowadays with the price hikes. The portion for RM18 is generous as you also get a fried egg and a large piece of chicken.

I have yet to try the asam laksa but I read praises saying it's got the old time taste, similar to what their grandmothers would cook, so I am sure it's good. They offer two sizes for the asam laksa so you can just get a small bowl for RM10 to try.

Even their own baked sourdough bread comes highly recommended by many. Hence maybe more visits are definitely needed.

It's hard to find butter cake made the old fashioned way where the batter is hand beaten and this one is buttery and absolutely delicious
It's hard to find butter cake made the old fashioned way where the batter is hand beaten and this one is buttery and absolutely delicious

It's hard to find butter cake made the old fashioned way where the batter is hand beaten and this one is buttery and absolutely delicious

Just behind the counter, there's a chalkboard for their cakes. The availability is dependent on when the owner is free but if you do spy butter cake at the counter, just grab it.

You will be rewarded by a moist, slightly coarse crumb cake that is rich with the taste of French butter. Unlike the usual methods, this cake is mixed by hand hence the crumb is a bit tighter than the lighter versions, where air is beaten in with a machine.

The vibe here is cosy and the two sisters do everything themselves without any outside help so be patient during peak times
The vibe here is cosy and the two sisters do everything themselves without any outside help so be patient during peak times

The vibe here is cosy and the two sisters do everything themselves without any outside help so be patient during peak times

But what I enjoyed was its old fashioned taste, reminiscent of what we used to eat as kids before we even got an electric mixer at home.

If you do dine here during peak times, just be patient since there's just two of them handling everything. You will need to place your orders at the counter as they are busy doubling up at the small kitchen just behind the counter.

Lao Mao Cafe, L1-16, Level One, Megah Rise Mall, Jalan SS24/8, Taman Megah, Petaling Jaya. Open: 11am to 9pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 10pm (Saturday and Sunday). Tel:013-3808383.

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