DISCLAIMER: This article covers non-halal food.
“Eh abang, satu limau ais”
As I eavesdrop I go down memory lane, to a time where I would have to push through the crowds just to find a table, only to be seated under the scorching sun. Due to the new norm, the claustrophobia I used to bottle is all a distant memory. Despite current circumstances, it is safe to say that the vibrancy of the Rock Cafe is evergreen. I still found myself amidst an atmosphere filled with chatter and potent aromas, with an array of cuisines shown on the posters that are plastered all over the stalls.
If there is one thing that all Monashians have in common, it would probably be the fact that we have all eaten at the Rock at least once. The affordability of the food and generous portions never fail to fill up your growling stomach. The chaotic yet refreshing ambience is a breather from the ingrained university stress. Whether it is a spot for gossip or an impromptu sports bar, it is fair to assume that going to the Rock Cafe is an integral factor of our time at Monash.
The open-air food court filled with infinite stalls is a true ode to the diversity that is infused within Malaysian culture. The assortment of available dishes shows no bounds; ranging from the different regions of Asia to the Middle East, specialising in recipes that appreciate and highlight the art of fusion cuisine. Whatever you’re craving, be it at any time of day, the Rock Cafe has your back.
Before embarking on our culinary adventure, two small cups of limau ais were the perfect thirst-quencher duo to combat the radiant heat. We then went on to order Kimchi – RM 5 and Fried Dumplings – RM 7 as a starter. The kimchi never disappoints as the cabbage and radish tasted fresh, just like we have always remembered. From the first bite itself, the dripping fish sauce leaves a strong tinge on your tongue. We immediately recognised the blend of chilli powder, garlic, ginger and sugar. The crescent-shaped dumplings arrived piping hot, seamlessly pleated and crispy in texture (author’s note: the succulent yet tender pork filling oozed into my mouth, leaving me in complete awe).
It was then time to further explore our taste buds, as we ordered Mixed Beef and Chicken Teppanyaki – RM 13 from the Japanese corner. As promised by the appealing image that was present, we were anticipating the savoury and flavourful taste of the beef but were left with a disappointing and cold rubbery taste instead. The chicken, however, lived up to our expectations as it was nicely seasoned and lush, making up for the beef that accompanied it.
Next in line was the Ikan Bakar – RM 9 from the Indonesian vendor Ayam Bakar Jakarta, as we wanted to try something different other than their signature Nasi Bakar. Unfortunately, we found ourselves slightly unsatisfied. Although it passed the presentation test, the fish looked visually appealing with its charcoal-grilled texture. It was not as mouth-watering and seasoned as it looked on the poster. The sambal definitely saved the day as it added an element of moisture and flavour that the fish was lacking—making the meal more delightful.
Last but not least, we tried the Shish Kebab with Puri bread – RM 11.80 which was the last meal on our list. The blend of Middle Eastern and Indian flavours aided in ending our “global” food journey on a good note. The flatbread was soft enough to break yet crispy enough to feel the crunch and the chicken kebab was brittle and its flavour was also quite overpowering. Although the chutney was watery, it still had that subtle taste of mint that balanced out the strong flavour of the kebab.
We then washed down the collision of flavours in our mouths with another round of drinks. The freshly blended watermelon juice hit the spot just as expected, as it is the perfect beverage to end a feast on a humid day in Bandar Sunway.
Stumbling upon this particular hotspot for Monashians gave me another opportunity to explore the food, those of which I never even knew was offered. Honestly speaking, we believe it was a great experience. Not only did it bring back fond memories, but it also made us appreciate the simplicity of the place. The Rock cafe caters to everyone’s taste buds, be it picky or refined, and offers a variety of choices.
At the end of the day, there is no doubt that the Rock cafe will always be every student’s “go to” pit stop to have a meal in Bandar Sunway. Whether it is Plan B, C, D, or E— the Rock Cafe will forever be in our minds.
It is important to note that the Rock Cafe is not wheelchair friendly due to the rugged pavements. They also do not take into account people who have difficulty in hearing or affected by overstimulating environments. They also do not have many vegan/vegetarian options despite it being prevalent in all the cuisines mentioned above. There is also a slight issue with communication as some vendors don’t understand English that well, posing a small risk of misunderstanding their customer which is a problem when it comes to serving food that may contain allergens due to this slight oversight.
With that said, this is without a doubt, MONCH approved!
Written by Layan Alkaf
Photos by Prissie Ong