Food & Drink

MASALA WHEELS in PJ: Banana Leaf Rice under the trees

We were introduced to Masala Wheels by a dear friend recently.  Located in a corner lot in a quiet spot of Petaling Jaya Old Town, Masala Wheels’ al fresco dining area under huge old trees right across the restaurant fills up pretty fast. Having arrived there before noon, it was easy for us to score a good table under those shady leafy trees.  The weather was perfect that day – gentle little streaks of sunlight filtered through the leaves (so good for food photography!) and we had the benefit of a cool breeze as well.

As soon as we were seated, a serving crew hurried over to take our order.  We opted for their popular Banana Leaf Rice, of course.  A minute later, another serving crew came bearing a large tray filled with the day’s special dishes – we picked a plate of Mutton Varuval and a bowl of Curry Crab.  More a la carte items were available from their board menu – we ordered some Fried Tenggiri and Bittergourd Fritters.

Before long, our banana leaves appeared, rice was piled on it and several varieties of vegetables, lentils, sambar, chutneys and pickles were added.  Then came the curries – 3 types of vegetarian and 3 types of non-vegetarian gravies!  We proceeded to flood our rice with these – our favourites were the crab and mutton curries.

As we dug into our piles of parboiled rice drenched with all kinds of curries, we couldn’t help noticing that the tables were filling up fast around us.  When our fried fish and fried bittergourd came, we asked for a 2nd round of rice.  The curries, mostly done Southern Indian and Sri Lankan style were well-spiced, robustly-flavoured but not too fiery, making it so easy for us to ladle on repeatedly!  Flavours of dishes were wholesomely delicious – our fried tenggiri slices were fresh, well-marinated, juicy and very tasty.

Masala Wheels started off with a food truck 5 years ago by a group of young people.  It is a social enterprise  supporting the underprivileged.  During this pandemic period, they have been active at the forefront to provide sponsored meals to the poor, the marginalised as well as frontliners.  So far, Masala Wheels has done a good job empowering marginalised youths by training them in F&B entrepreneurial skills – as can be seen by the courteous and friendly crew in the restaurant.

Our meal here was by kind courtesy of our friend Karen so we don’t have the prices of the dishes but from what we gathered in their Facebook postings, it’s reasonable.

Besides the tasty affordable meals served here, we salute their noble efforts and these are the compelling reasons for us to support them.  Do visit their website and Facebook Page to see how you can support them too.

There are still so many other dishes we want to try so we’ll definitely be re-visiting them!  The pleasant environment with easy parking is also another plus point.

MASALA WHEELS |2 Jalan 1/3A, Section 1|Old Town|46000 Petaling Jaya|Tel: 014-336-2109

Banana Leaf Rice is served from 12.00pm-3.00pm Monday-Saturday and Biryani Meals on Sunday 12.00pm-3.00pm.

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