Sometimes, it is very difficult to elucidate why I like food from a certain place. Perhaps, it is the taste. Perhaps it is the presentation. Perhaps it is the ambience. I have eaten a lot of banana leaf rice in the Klang Valley but none come close in deliciousness to what I have eaten at Passions of Kerala at Gelugor in Penang. The simplicity of rice served with chutney, a variety of vegetables, beancurd, papadam, and generous ladles of dhall curry, chicken curry and fish curry on banana leaf kept me going back to this restaurant. Perhaps my first taste of banana leaf rice was here and that was how my preference has been influenced since.
Wuan, Reallybites and I went to the restaurant’s other outlet at New World Park at Swatow Lane for lunch one afternoon. As usual, I ordered my vegetarian meal and an extra dish of deep-fried bittergourd that Wuan and I shared. Reallybites had Mcnair fried chicken to go with her rice. The meal still tasted as good as the last time I had it many months back at Gelugor. I also like how the bitter gourd was fried till crispy and could be eaten just like that. I did not try the fried chicken as I was already too full when I finished everything that was on my banana leaf.
At RM5.50 per serving of vegetarian banana leaf rice, it is a bargain as one can have as much rice and its accompaniment piled up on the banana leaf as one can eat. Now I have learnt to stop the food server from giving me too much rice but at the same time asking for a little more chutney. I like their chutney very much. I also like the plain lassi they serve which is thick and flavourful. However, I have cut down on the lassi due to my dietary restrictions. Most of all, do not be surprised when or if you ever find out who cooked all those delicious food. Will I go back for more? Definitely. Passions of Kerala – the best banana leaf rice in Penang, and maybe Malaysia too!