Grilled meat on a stick: sounds simple, right? Sure, satay might look easy, but there are all sorts of secrets to the perfect skewer, from the meat marinade to the sweetness of the peanut sauce it’s served with, not to mention getting the grill to that perfect temperature for the perfect texture. There are thousands of satay stalls throughout KL and beyond; to get you started, here are our favourite five, the grills that thrill: the best satay in the Klang Valley.
SATAY SRI MELAKA
Satay Sri Melaka, a stall in Lembah Kermat, offers four choices of grilled meat: beef, chicken, heart and tripe, serving succulent satay marinated in their special spices, at generous sizes for generous prices. Avoid the evening rush hour; their sweet and spicy kuah kacang (peanut sauce) keeps customers coming from miles around. The beef is the best of the lot; tender enough to easily tear off with your teeth.
-74, 64, Jalan AU 4/6, 54200 Kuala Lumpur, Selangor
Hours: Daily, 05:00PM—01:00AM
KAMARUDDIN SATAY (AKA Satay Capitol 1951 – Warisan)
These guys have been grilling satay for over 50 years and know a thing or two about skewering meat. This colonial-era café serves satay based on a Javanese recipe, with a marinade of lemongrass, garlic, onion and ginger, and they’re not stingy on the sauce, which is sweeter than most. You can only choose chicken or beef, but when they’re this good, you’re still spoilt for choice.
No, 1, Jalan Haji Hashim, Kampung Baru, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur
Hours: 5pm-8pm, daily.
SATE ZAINAH ISMAIL
Supplying some of the sweetest satay in town, Sate Zainah Ismail is a little pricier than some other satay stalls but it’s worth every sen for the difference in size; these skewers are substantial. Their 4th-generation recipe has some unique touches (you might taste the black pepper sauce on the beef) and a special grilling method; moving the skewers along five grills until they are cooked to perfection.
1077, Lorong Kiri 20, Kampung Datuk Keramat, 54000 Kuala Lumpur
Hours: 6.30pm-11.30pm, daily.
PAK DIN SATAY
For good satay, go to Gombak; the crowds around the Pak Din Satay stall, as much as a seal of approval as a Michelin star, will tell you it’s worth the drive. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire; and the aroma coming off the charcoal grill is a sure sign of a smoky, succulent satay stick. Chicken, beef and lamb are available, with a first crispy bite revealing a tender inside. Don’t be afraid to soak it in their popular peanut sauce.
Address: 121, Jalan Gombak, Gombak Setia, 53000 Kuala Lumpur
Hours: 6pm to 11.30pm, closed on alternate Sundays
Zaini serves satay with a touch of stardust – this humble hawker stall has had its fair share of celebrity patrons in the past few years. There are hallmarks of their 35-year history in every bite, from the beautifully textured tenderloin beef to the creamy kuah kacang. Parking can be a problem as this is a popular place for roadside restaurants, but after several satays and a couple of cubes of nasi impit (compressed rice cubes) you’ll be glad for the chance to walk it off.
Address: No 5, Jalan Kolam Air Lama, Ampang Jaya, 68000 Kuala Lumpur.
Hours: 6pm to 12pm, daily.