News Paper Review

Fruits of convert’s craving
by : The Star Online
Friday November 3, 2006
Photos by BRIAN MOH
Restoran Zenith
Block B 3-LG-1
Megan Corporate Park
Taman Desa Petaling
57100 Kuala Lumpur
Business Hours: 10.30am-11pm (Mon-Fri, closed on Sunday)
Tel: 03-90563668
When Haslinda Sim Abdullah became a Muslim 20 years ago, one of the difficulties she faced was to find halal Chinese food.
She found that there were not many restaurants offering such cuisine in town and this prompted her to open her first restaurant - Restoran Zenith - in Desa Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, in 2002.
“As a Muslim convert myself, I feel for other Chinese Muslims and that's why I opened this restaurant to serve them as they can no longer patronise Chinese restaurants because the food served is not halal,” she said during a recent food review.
Sim said she later learned from her customers who were also Muslim converts that they missed Chinese food as much as she did.
“They couldn't find halal Chinese restaurants to have their favourite food. We share the same sentiments. Yes, we can still get such food at hotels but we have to pay a higher price,” she said.
Sim's restaurant serves Chinese food ranging from conventional fried noodles and fire-hot dishes to creative cuisine.
StarMetro was served with Steamed Fish with Black Bean Sauce, Claypot Salted Fish and Chicken, Kam Heong-Style Bamboo Clam, Marmite Prawn and Butter Prawn Combo, Oat Chicken, Jiao Yan (Black Pepper and Salted) Squid, Seafood with Japanese Taufu, Seafood Fried Rice and Jiang Nan Seafood Noodles.
“We are using strong flame to cook our food. When the stove is switched on, the fire will shoot up and we only cook our food for a few minutes. That's why there is a difference in our dishes,” said Sim.
She added that the Chinese chefs would prepare a large amount of the sauce for the dishes and kept for the week. This enables the restaurant to ensure the taste of every dish is maintained.
“This is my first and only restaurant. My focus is to explore the Malay market and to serve Chinese food to our Malay guests. We have worked hard to intro- duce these Chinese dishes to our Malay customers.
“Throughout these four years in business, we changed our business concept twice. At the beginning, we served Malay food but we did not get the desired results - sometimes our dishes were good but at times they weren't,” she said.

“After that, we went into a transition period in which we served tandoori chicken, roti naan and others during a fasting month before we changed all our kitchen equipments that are specially used for Chinese cooking.”
Subsequently, Sim's restaurant was fea-tured in an article in a Malay daily and ever since, the restaurant has been enjoying brisk business and a steady flow of Malay customers.
Besides Chinese food, the restaurant also serves a few Malay dishes like nasi goreng kampung, nasi goreng Pattaya, nasi daging merah and nasi paprik and Western food such as Black Pepper Chicken Chop, Mushroom Sauce Chicken Chop, Fried Chicken Chop, Lamb Chop, Fish & Chip and Honey Peanut Butter Toast.


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