Labu Sayong: Affordable Malay Fine Dining in Ipoh, Perak

The largest ethnic group in Malaysia consists of the Malays, yet ironically, Malay fine dining is unusually hard to come by in this country. Perhaps, great importance has been given to preserving the food heritage and origin, so much so that many local chefs have shied away from the idea of contemporary and fusion cooking.

The choices may be limited when it comes to Malay fine dining in Malaysia, but here's one that is up for consideration if you'd like to venture into a new frontier of culinary innovation during your next visit to the country: Labu Sayong Signature located at Meru, Perak.

Read also: Malaysia's Most Unique Restaurants

    Labu Sayong: Affordable Malay Fine Dining in Ipoh, Perak

    Our visit to Labu Sayong has a very specific purpose: to sample its 4-course lunch which included an appetiser, soup, main course, dessert and drink. Upon our arrival, we were warmly greeted and ushered to a Rumah Kutai - a traditional wooden house of Perak built on sturdy stilts. At the top of the stairs, we removed our shoes and entered the restaurant that was fortunately and considerately air-conditioned so we could dine in blissful comfort (it must have been about at least 35°C outside!).

    Labu Sayong: Affordable Malay Fine Dining in Ipoh, Perak
    Labu Sayong: Affordable Malay Fine Dining in Ipoh, Perak
    best malay restaurant in malaysia
    Labu Sayong is recognised as the Best Malay Cuisine & Heritage-Theme Restaurant by the Malaysia Tourism Council
    reasonable malay fine dining restaurant in malaysia
    Labu Sayong is a name given to a gourd-shaped clay carafe that was traditionally used to keep the drinking water cool
    best malay restaurant in ipoh, perak
    Labu Sayong welcomes diner to an exceedingly authentic and immersive cultural dining experience set in a Rumah Kutai - the traditional house of Perak.
    best malay restaurant in perak, malaysia
    Expect nothing less than the warmest Perakian hospitality once you've stepped into the restaurant.

    Labu Sayong Fine Dining Menu & Price

    The exciting dining experience started with a refreshing lemongrass shot to cool the body and ready the palate for what's to come. The appetiser is a dish of baked mackerel mousse served alongside crispy prawn with seafood sauce. Next comes the aromatic lamb soup infused with onion, lemongrass and tongkat ali (or more commonly known as the Malaysian ginseng). The main course is a very traditional seabass-rice combo and the meal most definitely ended on a sweet note with a beautifully put together masterpiece of sweet dumplings and banana fritters. Beverage option of sweetened tea or local black coffee to wrap things up.

    Price: RM68 per person

    authentic malay cuisine in ipoh, perak
    A shot of rejuvenating lemongrass drink to start the meal off

    Appetiser: Tenggiri Kepai Pandan Udang Kertas

    Mackerel is one of the most important fish in Malay cooking. The oily, omega 3-rich fish can easily be found in wet markets and is a delight to consume as it is fleshy and less bony. Labu Sayong has recreated this very ordinary dish and turned it into a showpiece by grounding the flesh and molding it into a bite-sized morsel in a pandan envelope, served alongside a shelled prawn encased instead in a layer of shredded spring roll skin and fried until golden. These are to be coated in the luscious black seafood sauce laid out across the plate. Don't be fooled by what seems to be tobiko - the orange roe-like mass is really just faux couscous caviar.

    The idea of using a butterpea flower to localise the dish is commendable, though I do feel that it may have stolen the limelight from the star ingredients instead of just fulfilling its role of enhancing the presentation.

    malaysia Top Fine Dining Malay Restaurants
    Tenggiri Kepai Pandan Udang Kertas
    Traditional baked mackerel fish mousse with crispy prawn & seafood black sauce

    Soup: Rusuk Kambing “Tongkat Ali” Kelapa Muda

    This dish is a feast for the eyes. The lamb soup is cooked with onion, aromatic lemongrass and the highly appreciated tongkat ali (a booster of athletic performance, endurance and energy) in a hollowed out coconut and is saucily concealed under a layer of crisped spring roll. The heartily stewed ball of minced lamb has been removed from the soup and is skewered with a lemongrass stalk, placed artfully across the soup. To enjoy the dish, simply pierce through the spring roll casing with the skewer.

    When the spring roll soaks in the soup, it becomes thickened and noodle-like (think pappardelle).

    Labu Sayong ipoh
    Rusuk Kambing “Tongkat Ali” Kelapa Muda
    Aromatic soup of lamb with onion, lemongrass & Tongkat Ali root in coconut

    Main Course: Ikan Purba Kala Sayong & Nasi Lemuni

    The name of this dish literally means "the ancient fish of Sayong". The thoughtfully deboned seabass is marinated with 27 types of local ingredients and is deep fried and served deluged in a bird eye chili and ginger sauce. Just like many other Malay dishes, it comes with one part rice and one part dish. The seabass (topped, again, with crispy shredded spring roll skin) is accompanied with an equal portion of Nasi Lemuni - a unique type of rice originating from the northern states of Malaysia. It is cooked to the perfect softness and fluff together with lemuni leaves, coconut milk, garlic, onions, ginger, fenugreek seeds, salt and fragrant pandan leaves. The brownness from the cooked rice is from the juice of the lemuni leaves, which contains various essential nutrients.

    Labu Sayong ipoh
    Ikan Purba Kala Sayong & Nasi Lemuni
    Deep-fried 700gm seabass stuffed with 27 local ingredients accompanied with bird eye chili ginger sauce, vegetables & Lemuni Rice

    Dessert: Putri Gunung Ledang & Pisang Goreng Rangkai

    Another incredibly beautiful dish by Labu Sayong - this surpassingly stunning dessert is almost too beautiful to be eaten. It comes in two parts: rice flour dumpling stuffed with sweet dates and sesame in coconut gravy served in the most fascinating handcrafted bowl made using ice and flowers, and deep-fried banana topped with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and of course, more shredded spring roll skin.

    What I love: The creativity, colours & amazing composition. Also, both the dumplings and fritter are very traditional Malay desserts, so the selections are on point!

    What I dislike: The fact that a piece of napkin is included in the plating shows that although the idea of an ice-bowl is praiseworthy, it is however, not fully thought through. An incredible concept that requires just a dribble of fine-tuning!

    Labu Sayong ipoh
    Putri Gunung Ledang dan Pisang Goreng Rangkai
    Rice flour dumplings stuffed with date sesame served with coconut gravy, deep-fried crispy banana
    Labu Sayong ipoh
    Beautiful creations by Labu Sayong, Ipoh

    Labu Sayong Signature Review

    There are many things that I love about this restaurant, but there are also a few things that I'd like to point out:
    1. Fine dining at a knockdown price: Bandar Meru Raya is a newly established township in Ipoh (the capital of Perak state) which is approximately 2 hours away from Kuala Lumpur by car. Since the cost of living is relatively cheaper outside of the city, diners can enjoy a full 4-course meal at an absolute bargain at only RM68 per person, including an appetiser, soup, main course, dessert and drink.
    2. Overused of the spring roll skin: Every dish comes with at least a version of garnish made from spring roll skin.
    3. Amazing efforts, subpar ingredients: Caviar-lookalike, below par vanilla ice-cream. I can only imagine how amazing the dishes will turn out if every component is kept to a certain standard.

    All in all, the fine-dining experience at Labu Sayong Signature was an eye-opener and it's a quick and excellent way to familiarise oneself with the Malaysian Malay cuisine. From dining in a traditional Rumah Kutai to tasting highly unique dishes that are only specific to a certain region in the country, the experience is not only immersive and enveloping, but is also incredibly easy on the pocketbook.

    Address & Contact Information

    Address: 5, Jalan Meru Bestari A14, 31200 Ipoh, Perak
    Contact number: +605-2375237
    For reservation:
    Opening hours: 11.30am–10.00pm (Sunday to Thursday) & 11.30am–11.00pm (Friday, Saturday, eve of Public Holiday & Public Holiday)

    Don't forget to share your travel & dining moments with us on Instagram by tagging @rollinggrace or #RollingGrace. Happy travelling!


    1. Wahhh love your photos! So beautifully taken! I've been here before and I must say the foods were super nice and I really like the ambiance of a Malay traditional house like this. It felt homely. Hihi.

    2. Wow it looks good. Tho am born in Ipoh but never knew abt this restaurant.. do they have otger diahes apart from this or its the same menu everyday?

    3. wah..tempat makan die nampak menarik la. ala-ala kampung macam!..makanan yang disediakan pun nampak unk..jarang-jarang boleh cuba makan ni

    4. Woww tak sangka ada restoran dekat ipoh mcam ni..makanan semua nampak sedap..tempat macam kampung ni memnag syok layan makan ni..

    5. Nama dah unik Labu Sayong pulak tu tempat pun unik bentuk rumah Melayu lama makan pun lagi lah unik dan menarik cuma pekerja jer tak unik wakakakakaka best lah tempat ni nak cuba juga lah hehehehe..

    6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    7. Menariknya makanan dia. Restorannya dah dekat dah ngan Marina tapi tak pernah pergi lagi

    8. Rusuk kambing Tongkat Ali tu nampak sedap sangat! Good to know abaout this place so next time boleh la try

    9. Fuhhh.. All foods look delicious n yummmy..aduhhhh...selalu fine dining ni mahal2 kan

    10. Wow ! The presentation of the dishes look so exclusive. I feel like dining in 5star hotel. Very impressive ! I should pay a visit n try their food

    11. owh ala2 fine dining, patutla kelas gitu hidangan dia. best ni, boleh pegi nanti

    12. your photos looked lovely!!! very fine dining and nice for couples I think

    13. I should come across this entry few months ago. That time i have a trip in Ipoh. I guess i need to plan another trip to Ipoh. Too many nice place for dining over there.

    14. Wow! Looks awesome Malay Fine Dining! Mouse mommy is eager to eat it too! Labo Sayong design also authentic. Unique !

    15. Menarik betul tempat ni. teringin pulak nak ke sini. presentation makanan pun memang wow sangat. tempat pulak sangat instagrammable.


    Post a Comment

    Popular Posts