I’ve heard a lot of good things about this place that serves “dishes that taste like mother’s cooking” called Lao Ma Zi, and prices are said to be reasonable. The original branch is in Jalan Ipoh but they recently opened a second outlet at de Foliage in Tropicana Selatan.
Reservations are required if you want to secure a table at their Tropicana outlet – I’ve visited the restaurant twice and ordered many of their specialty dishes to see if Lao Ma Zi lives up to the hype. Their smokey signature series is popular among patrons; many of them would go for the Smokey Platter (RM56) which comprise smoked pork belly and lychee duck.
I found this quite good though I would have liked the belly to be more thoroughly infused with the smoky-sweet notes. The lychee duck had a good balance of sweet, savoury and smoky flavour; I liked how even the skin was seasoned nicely so there’s little gamey smell left.
Clam in Pepper Broth (RM30) was adequately tasty but Jien and I wished they added more ginger and rice wine to liven up the flavours. That said, the broth was light and sweet with a peppery kick from the ginger slivers.
“Pa Wong” Chicken Chop (RM15) is one of my favourites at Lao Ma Zi where you get a whole chicken leg (deboned), stuffed with a layer of salted egg yolk and deep-fried till crispy perfection. The chicken is then coated with sticky-sweet sauce for a richer flavour.
The salted spice brinjal (RM15 – small, RM25 large) looked promising but the batter was a tad too thick and hard, so there was no wispy texture when you bite into this. Lotus with cashew nut (RM15 – small, RM25 – large) was better but still nothing to shout about.
My father in-law enjoyed the salted egg tofu (RM18) where the homemade beancurd is coated in a batter mixture of salted egg yolk, then deep-fried till crispy. The highlight at Lao Ma Zi is the braised grouper fish head, which requires a pre-order.
The fish head pieces are braised in a gravy of black bean and ginger for plenty of flavour and aroma. I like how there’s a good kick from the old ginger slices and a rich umami flavour from the bean sauce. Really good with rice, this one.
Carrot egg (RM15 – small, RM25 – large) is a house specialty which is becoming rarer to find these days. You get slivers of carrots fried with egg for texture. I liked this better than the four angled beans with dried shrimp (RM15 – small, RM25 – large) as the latter tasted rather ordinary.
Lao Ma Zi also serves braised lamb with beancurd but it wasn’t to my liking. I found the meat a tad gamey and the meat texture could be more tender.
Pricing isn’t expensive at Lao Ma Zi – expect to pay between RM25-30 per head depending on the amount you order.
Food: 6.5/10 (non-halal)
Verdict: Try the braised fish head and smoky signature series.
Lao Ma Zi 老妈子家乡小菜 @ de Foliage
Lot 11, Kawasan Landskap Nursery,
Jalan Tropicana Selatan,
47301 Petaling Jaya.
Tel: 010-242 1132
Business hours: 11am till 3pm, 6pm till 10pm