February 28, 2024

Banana leaf in an old bungalow, Ganapathi does it lowkey and tasty…

This hidden gem of a banana leaf place is deep in PJ and much loved by the people in the area. Great curries and rassam, with an old school taste, we urge you to get there at a reasonable time else all the popular lauk with be gone!

Right balance of spice and heat! ”

Asking a Malaysian which is the best banana leaf joint and the list of contentions are probably as long as a balik kampung jam on the first day of Raya. Best curry? Bittergourd? Fried chicken or squid? Most tender mutton varuval?

With that in mind, we head to Sri Ganapathi Mess, nestled deep in the heart of PJ Old Town. Located nondescriptly in a residential bungalow, first-timers usually will wonder if they’re actually at the right place, if not for the tell-tall sign of the frying station located just right by the entrance. Head on inside and you’ll be directed to one of the many dining rooms within, the experience is akin to dining at a communal food hall or someone’s house.

Once seated, the waiters will quickly lay out the usual banana leaf, 3 choices of vegetables (usually cucumber raita, spinach and chutney) and the usual assortment of fish, chicken, dhal curries, don’t forget to try their crab curry, which is a specialty.

We tried all 4 combinations and they’re well-balanced with the white or parboiled rice (also known as Indian rice). Unfortunately they did not have their signature mutton varuval on the menu on the day of the visit so we ordered the local mutton curry instead. In addition we also ordered fish cutlets and fried squid with onions and curry leaves.

The mutton curry was right on the money, just the right balance of spice and heat in the curry to whet your appetite and cooked with tender pieces of local mutton. We’re especially pleased that we didn’t get a lot of bony pieces that’s the usual at other banana leaf restaurants. The fried squid was also very good, the squid was cut to small pieces and covered in a light coat of batter. Combined with the crunch of the onions, we all agreed this was the best dish of the day. And the papadam was fantastic, fresh, crunchy and thin it’s a wonder how many places can’t even get this essential side right. Another specialty dish that we wanted to try but ran out was the crab rasam. Unfortunately the fish cutlets we ordered were not seasoned or cooked well, when it arrived they were dry and hard.

We were slightly taken aback by the bill when it came as we didn’t order a lot of dishes, so while there were some big hits (those squid), the high price and insipid fish cutlets kinda put a damper on the meal. So you heard it here go for all the good curries but stick to fried squid or fish. And don’t come too late for lunchtime else all the favourites will be out. We will be back for the mutton varuval and crab rasam, next time!

Sri Ganapathi Mess

Right balance of spice and heat!


Address47, Jalan 1/10, Seksyen 1, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 016- 279 1384
Open 11.30am to 4pm, daily
Pro Some great dishes here – the mutton curry and fried squid with onions and curry leaves are the winners here. And crispy papadam.
ConsPrices are on the high side, our bill for 3 person came up to RM81.50 and we only had 3 main dishes to share
Price Range RM15- RM30 per person
Certification Pork Free

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