Makan Dulu, Malay Middle Eastern Feast

This Ramadan, the DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Baru presents a feast made up of traditional Malay fare with highlights of Middle Eastern specialties in the theme, Chup! Makan Dulu.

Highlights of Middle Eastern cuisine at the
Essence of Mediterranean buffet, Makan Kitchen

At the breaking of fast, all else can wait because there is such an irresistible array of delectable dishes in the Essence of Mediterranean Makan Kitchen buffet spread, Souk Delight takeaways to enjoy in the comfort of home as well as arrangements for Private Dining banquets with a minimum of 100 guests.

Makan Kitchen is laid out with sections to serve Indian, Malay and Chinese cuisine along with counters for salads and appetizers, soups, hot beverages, European dishes and of course, the all-important desserts.

For Ramadan, among the best of traditional Malay specialties and Middle Eastern dishes are served in the hot buffet as well as from live-cooking stations. With a daily rotation of dishes, diners can be assured of tasting something special every time they broke their fast here.

Local fresh greens or ulam-ulam
salads to savour with local sauces

Chef Ayub has curated a menu of Ramadan delicacies including a selection of appetizers and local salads or ulam-ulam to savour with a range of sambal sauces, pickles and crackers.

Meanwhile Chef Ariffin and Chef Faris take the credit for a range of Middle Eastern specialties like whole roasted Harissa marinated lamb, Ras el Hanout Roasted Beef Tenderloin, baked Chicken Moussaka, sous vide Lamb Ribs Kabsah Rice, grilled Cilantro shrimps, Lebanese Arnabeet (baked cauliflower), and Moroccan Vegetable Tagine.

Middle Eastern flavours continue in the kebab section for Shawarma filled with mixed lamb and chicken kebabs, grilled Kabob Persian-style, Chicken Shish Tawook, to enjoy with Pita Bread, Tortilla wraps or Lebanese bread.

Appetizers and salads or Mezze served in the Middle Eastern tradition include Fattet Battenjen (aubergine), Mutabbal Shamandar (beetroot), Muhammara (red peppers), Kumkuath Pancarli Salat (salad of orange, cherry tomatoes, beetroot, cous cous), Kuku Sabzi (Persian Herb Frittata), and Wajabbat Khafifa, a range of appetizers like Kibbeh, Falafel, Tomato Tabbouleh, Fattoush salad and Olive salad.

Chef Raj adding garnishing to a
platter of Mezze, Middle Eastern
appetizers and salads
To warm the stomach after a day of fasting, the Soup station dubbed Abang Kecik Sup Panas Malatops, serves soup berempah or a Malay traditional soup brewed with spices.

This rich soup is filled with ingredients like lamb, beef, chicken, oxtail, tripe and lung, to savour with bread rolls known locally as Roti Bengali.

At the grill, also known as Pak Jais Warung Bakar, they serve juicy sticks of beef and chicken satay drizzled with peanut sauce to savour with condiments like slices of raw cucumber, onion and ketupat, rice cakes.

I confess that this well-marinated, tender-tasting satay with well-balanced meat and fat, is among my all-time favourites each Ramadan, so good that I can just eat-it-on-its-own, without any sauce.

Fans of fish can pick from choices of grilled whole fish to savour with Portuguese sauce, sambal, air assam or chili kicap.

A range of gravies for the rice sets, typically
served for Malay weddings and kenduri

The noodles station, also known as Cik Dila Kedai Mee Kuah, is where noodles in gravy are served in local favourites like Laksa Johor, Mee Bandung, Mihun Sup Utara and Penang Assam Laksa.

Here, diners will also have the privilege to savour a selection of rice and dishes that are typically served for Malay weddings and kenduri or special celebrations.

A recommended local specialty includes Chef Ayub’s Venison Rendang.

Traditional steamed rice cakes and glutinous rice
cakes with a portion of Beef Serunding (floss)

Dubbed Wak Abek Nasi Kenduri, there is a choice of rice served with traditional condiments like Nasi Minyak to savour with Ayam Kurma Berkentang and Pajeri Nenas. This is rice cooked with ghee, to savour with chicken braised in korma spices with potatoes and braised pineapple curry.

The kenduri sets will rotate among choices like Nasi Bukhari with Daging Batang Pinang Bukhari (braised beef tenderloin in Bukhari spice gravy in Bukhari Rice), and Nasi Tomato with Ayam Masak Merah (chicken braised in tomato gravy with Tomato Rice), among other sets of rice with gravy and condiments.

Two types of Baklava; layered [Left] and roll
At the Raya Comes Early section, are a selection of traditional steamed rice cakes and glutinous rice cakes like Nasi Impit, Lemang, Ketupat Palas, Ketupat Nasi and Burasak, to savour with Chicken and Beef Rendang, Coconut and Beef Serunding (floss), spicy peanut sauce and creamy Lontong gravy.

The buffet is completed by a range of delightful desserts by Chef Sharif and his pastry team, also with drinks that feature Arab Mint Tea among other popular local flavours.

Cakes, local kuih, puddings and jellies are prepared along with a range of Middle Eastern desserts like Cheesy Kunafa, Baklava and Om Ali.

Deep-fried cubes of delightful Durian Goreng

A note for fans of the King of Fruits: DO NOT miss the deep-fried cubes of Durian Goreng - crispy on the outside and all gooey on the inside - and Serawa Durian, steamed glutinous rice topped with a dollop of durian cream.

The Essence of Mediterranean buffet dinner at Makan Kitchen is served daily from 6.30pm to 10.00pm, from April 13 to May 14.

Meal vouchers are priced at RM158 nett per person and RM79 nett per child aged between six and 12 years old.

A serving of Serawa Durian: steamed glutinous
rice topped with a dollop of creamy durian broth

For purchases from now to April 12, enjoy an Early Bird deal of getting two Free vouchers for the purchase of eight vouchers.

The Private Dining Ramadan Banquet is served from April 20 to 26 for groups of minimum 100 guests at RM118 net per person.

Souk Delight takeaway sets at RM190 nett that serves up to four diners are available from April 13 to May 12.

DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Baru is within Menara Landmark at No. 12 Jalan Ngee Heng, 80000 Johor Baru, Johor.

For reservations and enquiries, Tel: +607 268 6868 or email: or visit webpage:

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