Paandi’s Banana Leaf Rice

Posted by supaa_dry. Categories Makan

You know it when it hits you – the craving for Indian food that is! It hit me bad last week, but I usually tend to avoid indian food on weekdays because I always end up 640-554  overeating and going into food coma. Good news was that last Monday was Wesak (public hoilday yay~) so Kenchill, Ah_mei (who unfortunately still had to work) and I went to Paandi’s for banana leaf rice. For the uninformed, Paandi’s is one of the most famous (or rather infamous) banana leaf places in PJ. It’s located right by SMK Sultan Abdul Samad and Hospital University – I believe the name of the road it’s on is Jalan Bukit.

I’m not gonna lie to you, Paandi’s isn’t the best tasting 640-721  banana leaf place in town. That title will probably go to Kanna Curry House or Nirwana Maju, but we love Paandi’s anyway because of the ambiance. That’s right, the ambiance! That and that there’s a story behind Paandi’s fame (or infamy depending on how you view it)

What’s interesting about Paandi’s is the lunch time hustle and bustle. For a banana leaf place, it’s pretty small and always packed, so the workers are always moving around, weaving around customers. There’ll be the guy carrying the banana leaf (which is essentially the plate), the guy serving rice, the guy waltzing his way around tables and chairs with the curry and the vegetables, the guy holding the big tray of fried things – fish, chicken, fish cutlet etc – over his head, the guy juggling 4 big containers of various papadams and so many more! It’s amazing because each of them will visit always your table in the following order: First the banana leaf guy comes, then the rice guy, then the vegetables and curry, then papadams, then the meat guy, then the drinks guy then the guy carrying the utensils (psssh, you should be using your fingers!) then lastly the guy with the rassam.

I’ve set up a little sequence to help explain the process of banana leaf-ing:

Step 1: The placement of the all important banana leaf! (If there were no leaf it wouldn’t be called banana leaf rice!)

Banana leaf

Step 2: Behold the vegetables. Good for your health and for *ahem* movement :)

Step 3: Enter Rice-man. By the way, that is ah mei behind there and yes, she does have a beautiful smile :D

Step 4: Then you wind up with more food than you can ever finish.. Actually Step 4 should be the curry and Step 5 would be getting the meat but I was too hungry to snap pictures – so they all got lumped into step 4. Sorry…. Oh and ignore the utensils, I don’t know what they’re doing there…

Anyway, back to the story of Paandi’s fame (or infamy). Paandi’s used to occupy the corner lot of a row of shop lots and for a while it was doing really well. Then legend has it that there was a big feud in the family that ran Paandi’s and one of the brother’s decided to open his own Paandi’s. Except that he wasn’t very creative – he opened it next to the original Paandi’s. And he even had his workers dressed in the same uniforms…

And to make matters worse, the original Paandi’s wanted to expand, but because they’re at the end of the lot, and because they had Paandi 2 next to them, the only way for them to expand was to PURCHASE THE LOT NEXT TO PAANDI 2. Yes, you heard me right. That means that Paandi 2 is sandwiched between two Paandi 1s.

The pictures explain it better (actually I don’t think it does, but here goes)

The original Paandi’s

Paandi’s: the next generation

And finally the new Paandi 1 which sandwiches Paandi 2

I realize that I should’ve taken better pictures, but I was in a food coma after all that rice. So in short, if you’re ever craving for banana leaf rice with ambiance, and to be sought after by waiters from different restaurants dressed in the same clothes and telling you that the other restaurant is an impostor, go to Paandi’s. You won’t be disappointed.

Note: I forgot to mention that the Paandi’s we went to was the Paandi 1 at the corner. does not pick sides and the only reason we go to Paandi 1 is because historically we’ve always been going there. is and will always remain an independent, unbiased entity. :D


2 Responses to “Paandi’s Banana Leaf Rice”

  1. ah_mei - May 25, 2008 / 11:54 pm

    hahaha u made me look so cute with that pink eyes! :D

  2. az - May 27, 2008 / 1:09 pm

    hurrah!!! the most mouth-watering piece i’ve read in a while. taste-wise, i personally prefer Grand City’s BLR, but to each his own. one thing you left out… anyone who dares to venture into Paandi’s for BLR will exit with hair smelling like roti canai, and fingers smelling like fish curry (or chicken or mutton curry depending on one’s fancy) the rest of the day!! so nubes out there, you have been warned!!!!!


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