I happen to love a good lalapan. I believe it is Indonesian in origin. It is also called Ayam Penyet at certain places, such as in Kuching and KL.
I am not sure what the word lalapan means in Bahasa Indonesia. But many people think penyet means smashed or beaten. I don’t know why as the meat or fish did not look smashed up at all.
Lalapan consists of a meat or fish, served on a quaint clay platter, with veges and sambal. The variation of veges depends on the restaurants. I have had cucumbers, blanched long beans, blanched cabbage, sweet potato leaves, boiled spinach, lettuce, and some kind of ulam on my platter before. Of all the veges, my favourite is the sweet potato leaves. Oh yes, I must not forget that the platter also comes with a slice of deep-fried tempe and beancurd.
The sambal itself is concocted mainly out of chillies, tomatoes, and belacan, and is served on the centre of the platter. I have caught a glimpse of the kitchen helpers preparing the sambal, and they grind the sambal on the clay plate itself. Before you start eating, squeeze the lime over the sambal for that extra zing.
A plate of rice and a small bowl of sup kosong comes separately with the clay platter.
In Miri, there are many eateries with lalapan on its menu. I happen to know a few like Surabaya, Damai Setia, Awang Mahayan, Nur Eezyan and Muara, with Muara perhaps being the most popular of them all. I frequent Muara quite regularly. I like the Lalapan Ayam, Lalapan Empal, and Lalapan Ikan Keli there. The empal, which is beef slices, is slightly sweet in taste. Whilst, the deep-fried chicken and fish are well-seasoned, and are very crispy, and the sambal simply divine. I often cannot get enough of the sambal.
Recently, a friend recommended a restaurant at Senadin, purportedly to be serving very good lalapan. I drove all the way there to check out the Lalapan Ayam, and I must say that I was very impressed. The lalapan was RM1.00 cheaper than Muara. Not only that, the quantity was generous. There was more sambal, and more veges, and the piece of chicken thigh was larger and meatier. Taste wise, the lalapan was every bit on par with Muara.
Lalapan Ayam at Cahaya Taufik Restaurant, Senadin
You can see for yourself that Muara pales in comparison with Cahaya Taufik, in terms of quantity. My friend and I was at Cahaya Taufik today for lunch. 2 plates of Lalapan Ayam, 2 drinks, and a plate of extra sambal comes to RM20.20. I only paid RM20.00 as the boss generously waived the RM0.20.
In my humble opinion, Cahaya Taufik does serve one of the best lalapans in Miri, and is worth trying the next time you find yourselves in Senadin.
My plate of rice and Lalapan Ayam at Cahaya Taufik Restaurant, Senadin