KUALA KANGSAR: Nestled in the heart of a serene countryside, surrounded by the natural beauty of padi fields and golden sunset sky, stands a traditional-style attap restaurant known as Rumah Atap Kuning.

It is not just an ordinary restaurant; it is a journey back in time, curated by a former secretary turned passionate restaurateur, Zaida Mohamed Abdul Aziz.

At 51, Zaida has transformed her dream into reality, creating a place that resonates with the warmth of balik kampung, the feeling of returning to one’s hometown.

Rumah Atap Kuning is not just a culinary experience; it is a nostalgic journey with traditional kampung cuisine, served in the embrace of a charming Perak-style house.

The mother of four, who also has a food business in Kuala Lumpur, said the traditional home was built on a nearly one-hectare piece of land which was initially purchased to be her second home, a place for weekend retreats.

However, she and her husband Zainal A. Wahab, 52, together with their daughter, Aida Batrisya Zainal, 22, decided to take advantage of the land space and traditional-styled house to turn it into restaurant premises.

Now, the business, which has been running for over two months, exclusively offers lunchtime slots. The dining space can accommodate up to 30 individuals or six to seven groups simultaneously, allowing patrons to enjoy their meals in the cozy ambiance of the restaurant or in the outdoor gazebo area.

The dishes offered are served on classic mould pans called talams. There are two menu plans namely Talam A and Talam B, priced at RM140 per group (four people) or RM35 per head.

On the menu are dishes cooked by Zaida. These include gulai lemak ikan patin bersama tempoyak, gulai ayam kicap, ayam rendang daun puding, gulai itik, rendang pucuk paku taik minyak, asam pedas telur itik, gulai lemak telur itik dengan belimbing buluh, puyuh salai, ikan pekasam, sambal gesek and a variety of ulam (salad).

The dishes are served with a cordial drink as well as desserts such as sweet potato and red jelly.

“After lunch, our guests are welcome to spend some time taking photographs and even engaging in the simple joy of feeding our ducks and chickens,” she said.

“We also provide batik wear and sarongs for the comfort of our guests who want to dress traditionally during this experience. However, some guests already come garbed in traditional Malay costumes,” she said, adding that there has been an encouraging number of patrons at the restaurant.

Zaida also recommends guests to make reservations at least a week or two in advance along with a deposit of 50%.

“Some will be disappointed if they walk in without making reservations. (Without pre-bookings) some will have to wait to get a table because the restaurant may be full,” said Zaida, who is from Bagan Ajam, Penang.

To give all guests a chance to soak in the atmosphere at the restaurant, Zaida offers a “sunset hi-tea”experience with kuah durian and water for RM10 per head.

Meanwhile, teacher Siti Zawiyah Mohamad Basari, 40, is willing to travel more than 120km from Kulim, Kedah just to experience the charm of dining at the traditional house.

“I discovered Rumah Atap Kuning through Facebook and have visited the restaurant twice with my colleagues. Today, I am here with my husband and mother.

“The prices, considering the quality of the food and service, are worth it. I will undoubtedly return,” she said. - Bernama

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