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Bamboo Biryani

What sets one Biryani apart from another? For someone like me who lives to eat, it’s all governed by my taste buds, having been honed from young to detect nuances in food, often lost on untrained palates. So when a superlative Biryani comes my way, the taste memory lingers, nudging, in fact prodding, me to relive the experience.

Which was what happened when I tasted my first Bamboo Biriyani at Kannaa’s, a new Banana Leaf Restaurant very close to Medan Kidd bus station, barely six months old. The experience and the taste of this Biryani was so special that I had to gather some friends to share this gastronomic adventure with me within the space of a week. That’s how good it is.

Kannaa’s Banana Leaf Restaurant, bamboo biryani

So what am I raving about? “The original idea came from India as did the chef,” said Shan the proprietor who admits to this being his first foray into the F&B business. “He mixes the spices and cooks the biryani to about 80% done-ness, after which they are packed into big bamboo segments and steamed till the rice is fully cooked.” he added.

Kannaa’s Banana Leaf Restaurant, bamboo biryani

The presentation is where the fun begins. Each bamboo segment is brought to your table and the rice is gently tapped onto the waiting banana leaf. As my friends and I waited in the air-conditioned section (it is a huge place), a cacophony of this tap, tap, tap sound was all around us, the aromas wafting from surrounding tables intensifying our hunger and wondering when our turn was next.

Kannaa’s Banana Leaf Restaurant, bamboo biryani

Finally it came, both Mutton and Chicken Biryani which we shared. Like all banana leaf restaurants, the vegetables come free and you can help yourself to as much as you can eat.

The biryani rice was beautifully spiced, peppery, redolent with cardamom, cinnamon and other spices. There was the faintest hint of pandan fragrance which they add as a cover while steaming. Usually I eat my biryani soaked with gravy but this was so tasty and fragrant, it seemed a shame to even add the fish or chicken gravy, which you can ask for.

Kannaa’s Banana Leaf Restaurant, bamboo biryani

Available only on Wednesdays (mutton, RM15, chicken RM12, and vegetarian RM10 biriyani only) Saturdays and Sundays, (with additional prawn RM15 and fish biriyani RM15) From noon till 5pm only on these days.

During Biryani days as well as other days, they have chicken, mutton and fish dishes and curries as well as the usual accoutrements popular in banana leaf restaurants. All tasty and worth sampling. But I come back for the Bamboo Biriyani anytime.

Kannaa’s Banana Leaf Restaurant
17 Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, 30100 Ipoh.
012 222 4445
Business hours: 6.30am-9.30pm daily.
Closed two days a month (call to check).
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See Foon

SeeFoon Chan-Koppen has been writing a food column called Musings on Food in the Ipoh Echo since 2009. It is widely read both in print as well as online which receives more than 1 million hits a month. Her forte is in communications, having honed her skills after graduating from the University of Singapore where she worked for the Straits Times Group and was a food critic for the New Nation. Her knowledge of food and cooking come from more than 30 years in the hotel industry based in Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and subsequently Kuala Lumpur. During this time, she has travelled all over the world and eaten at the best and worst restaurants. She is totally intimate with the subtleties and nuances of most cuisines of the world having been involved in opening over 50 hotels throughout the Asia/Pacific region and China where she helped to conceptualize Food and Beverage themes and critiqued on food quality. SeeFoon calls herself a global citizen and now chooses the serenity and friendliness of Ipoh to the bright lights of the many cities she has lived in. She also loves the food in Ipoh and is passionate about telling the world about it.

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