SugarBun, Sarawak’s enduringly successful fast food franchise, with scores of offshoots across Borneo, has resurfaced in peninsular Malaysia, now launching in Menara Hap Seng. Expect many of SugarBun’s best-known ‘Borneo Asian’ staples, plus new recipes for KL, where the theme tilts toward a food court-style premises, with each stall promising specific signatures.
Begin with the broasted chicken, prepared through a combination of pressure cooking & deep-frying – it looks & tastes like fried chicken, notably less greasy than the fast-food norm, but still totally tender & tasty. RM4 per piece, RM11.50 for three pieces, RM19.50 for five pieces, or RM12 for a platter of two pieces with SugarBun’s savoury rice (laced with raisins & morsels of chicken sausage) & house-made pickles. You can also have the chicken in a ‘kano’ sauce – flavoured with lemongrass, garlic, onions & spices – that partners pretty much perfectly with the meat (RM15 for a two-piece kano chicken platter with rice).
Fish plays a starring role too, with tilapia & mackerel brought from Sarawak & giant grouper from Sabah. Tilapia is served as an ‘Eco Fish Meal’ (RM20), with the flesh tasting less ‘muddy’ than expected, reputedly as a result of having been bred in clear running water – the fish has a terrific texture, crisp-skinned & moist-fleshed. The Borneo mackerel (RM18 for four pieces) is also good, its guts removed before it was blast-frozen, to keep it fresh-tasting. Our favourite: Giant grouper mee hoon soup (RM33 for a bowl that two can share), with lots of smooth chunks of grouper (king of the Borneo seas) in a lovely, sweet broth.
Cattle call: Sabah premium beef ball mee hoon soup with Lahad Datu chilli sauce (RM23; the fairly gamy meatballs are hand-kneaded using female buffalo meat, while the thin noodles boast a nice bite) & nasi lemak with oxtail (RM19; respectable, but not the star of SugarBun’s show.) Plenty of other possible orders, from Sarawak laksa to claypot assam fish to a satisfying ais kacang (RM6) made with gula apong (nipah palm sugar) & crunchy Sabah seaweed. Many thanks to SugarBun for having us.
SugarBun Restaurant KL
Level 1, Menara Hap Seng, Jalan P Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur. Mon-Fri, 730am-8pm (lunch menu starts 11am), Sat, 10am-2pm
*Reproduced with kind permission from food reviewer Sean Yoong and Eat, Drink KL