Chelliah Toppu Banting
An hour’s drive from KL will take you to Banting, a town known for being the home of the Sidek siblings and Chelliah Toppu Banting. Located just after the Public Works Department building, the unmarked toddy shop lies behind a bungalow at the end of a dead-end road. But this is no speakeasy: owned and operated by Chelliah Navaretnasinggam and his wife, the shop has been around for close to 50 years, and is one of the state’s few licensed brewers of toddy: a traditional alcoholic drink made from the partly fermented sap of the coconut palm. The toddy (from RM11) comes in two sizes – in a chilled 1.5 litre bottle or a larger claypot jar – and can be drunk with Guinness or beer. We recommend having it on its own chilled and fresh: at this stage, the drink is sweet, refreshing and has a pleasant aftertaste of young coconut. Leave it for a couple of hours, however, and the drink starts to develop a tart flavour as the natural microbes convert more sugar to alcohol and acetic acid.
Aside from toddy, the place serves up several types of Indian meat curries (from RM7) including chicken and mutton, but the wild boar curry is its standout dish: unlike pork curry, the flavours in this curry are deeper and richer, and the kitchen doesn’t hold back on the fatty chunks of boar – just what you need to offset the alcoholic sweetness of the fresh toddy.
Off Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad, Banting (03 3181 5657/fb.com/ChelliahToppuBanting). Daily, 10am-6pm.