I first tasted Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa around 20 years ago, in one of my first few trips to KL.
In recent weeks, I have noticed that the former Kampung Baru-based restaurant has opened franchises all over town. Including one in Bangsar.
Good for them! Whoever they are.
I listened to what people had to say, and surprisingly, they were quite negative.
"Oh, the food is bad. Bad, bad, bad."
"The service sucks, man."
So, as when Chawan opened, I made it a point to visit the eatery and find out what's up.
During my first visit, just a few days after it opened, the service was horrible. But the second time I went there, it was great.
The food? Well, it's Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa. It's pretty decent.
I mean, I am of the opinion that the best Nasi Lemak is my mother's, but I am biased.
If they continue with their great service and maintain their quality of food, I will be frequenting the Bangsar outlet as they have a power point near one table outside the premises. Perfect for my cheapo laptop. I mean, netbook.
I believe that such Malaysian franchises should be given a chance. I have been a supporter - supporting by eating at their place and paying bloody good money for it - of Malaysian franchises such as Ipoh Old Town and Papa Rich kopitiam-styled eateries, Madam Kwan's as well as Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa. I do not want what happened to SateRia - remember that one? - happen to these other franchises.
In Kuantan, there's even Hadhari Meat. Though I am no fan of Pak Lah's administration, and his concept of Islam Hadhari - I make it a point to buy meat from the establishment. The last time, I bought some breakfast strips. In a few weeks, I'll be doing a barbecue for my extended family with products exclusively from that shop.
Hey, they even sell burgers, man.
I just hope it has not been closed.
I mean, think about it. Mamak stalls have been a resounding success. So much of a success that a simple meal nowadays can set you back RM10. Or more.
A meal at US franchises such as McDonalds' or Burger King or Wendy's is around 50% more.
Not saying that we should boycott these places. Hell, I love the occasional speed of KFC and Subway - as well as Chilis, Delicious, Outback Steakhouse, etc. And making them go out of business would simply make some Malaysians jobless.
However, some of our food money, I believe, should go to decent Malaysian franchises. Who knows what's to happen if they were to venture to, oh, I don't know, Perth or even London, but let's give them a nice start. A bloody fighting chance. IF they're up to it.
So the next time you don't know where to eat, or can't decide because you're all morons, go to Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa or Papa Rich or even Madam Kwan's. And if you're in Kuantan, go to Hadhari Meat at East Coast Mall. Plus, parking is still free there, I think.
As a side note, I heard that East Coast Mall was founded in part by the Pahang royals. If that is indeed the case, then I have no shame in saying, for the first time here, DAULAT TUANKU!