Rating: 9 / 10
You could wax lyrical all week about the obscenely tasty food at Tajuddin Hussain. The lively Nasi Kandar place located just a whimper from the main parade of Indian restaurants on Penang Road, yet holding it's own level of intrigue with perpetually crammed tables. From the moment the steel shutters are removed, the crowds pile in almost like they're fleeing the streets behind them, clawing at tables and battering the waiters with a fluid line of orders.
Like a rainbow of culinary debauchery, the plates shower down on the stark silver tables, in a plethora of disguises and shades. Bright yellow, orange, green and red. All the curries of the Tamil trade nestled behind glass counters, and spooned out by a man with an enviable job. His tongue flickering from side to side with every heaping spoonfull.
My go-to over the years has been the mutton curry, not the kurma, but the normal curry, despite the waiter saying each time I go there (even if I go twice in two days) "Sir, but that one spicy". Yes, I know it's spicy, that's why i'm ordering it. The nod of the head, the delivering of the dish, and the slight pause to wait and see whether I go running for the cold water tap after the first mouthful is chewed. A solemn AHA realising that I can handle my spice, and a return to swat the flies from pots and pans in this ample curry house of paradise awoken.
The great thing about this place, is no matter what you order, it's delicious. My friend Yves, Vlogger of Moonshine and Lemongrass fame, opts religiously for the fish curry and veggies, and has been frequenting the place for over a decade. He even made an entire video extolling the wonders of the place, here! Speaking of fellow vloggers, Mark Wiens also lost his mind attacking the squid, chicken and mutton curry.
Orange plates full of luxurious curry.
This is not the meal plan for a diet-vacation. You don't come here on some keto program or expect gluten free options. The food here is honest home-cooking done for a large audience. The food is oily, heavy, and rough around the edges, but one things for sure: It's PACKED with flavour.
I've had curries in places where you pay 10 times more for a meal served in an ornate bowl with a candle underneath to keep it warm, and looked around at the Mughal paintings on the wall and the over-eager waiter fussing about so much you can't even enjoy your meal, and I'll tell you ten out of ten times I'd sit on those plastic chairs eating food off plastic crockery in a derelict, sweatbox any day of the week. This is honest, authentic cooking without any of the bullshit.
All these recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"