April 2019 - Enak! ChoCha Foodstore




“Spaces are about more than a facade - they are about the surroundings, interior, the feel - the whole journey.” he said. You cannot move forward without knowing your history.  You have to link that past and future together to move onwards.”


Mr. Shin Chang, one of the three owners of ChoCha Foodstore beautifully encapsulates the very essence of the April Enak! restaurant choice.  Housed in the former MahLian Hotel in Chinatown with a history spanning almost a century, ChoCha Foodstore offers a culinary experience far beyond what is served on the plate.  


For me it almost always starts with the place, with how the brick and mortar combined with intriguing elements of design and interesting interiors create an atmosphere of warmth and openness as well as a feeling of ease and comfort.  ChoCha in its understated elegance and its immaculate attention to detail offers a place that is rustic, rugged, shabby yet chic, casual but funky, charming and above all very welcoming.  


And then there is the historical aspect to the building which undoubtedly adds to the beauty and appeal of the place.  Did you realise that you were enjoying lunch in what was at one stage a former hotel, at another a brothel; and later a fortune teller shop!



The many photos that were taken of the place itself by our Enak! community is testimony to its design in keeping alive a space that has played (and continues to play) its role in the evolution and history of Petaling Street and Chinatown.

Twenty-eight of us gathered around three very long adjoining tables to share a variety of dishes - and this is the very idea of ChoCha and indeed of Enak! - to come together and share food whilst meeting new friends, catching up with old ones, enjoying each other’s company and learning a little bit more about the culinary and historical aspect of this country that we now call home.

The name ‘chocha’ is a Hakka word meaning ‘sit down and drink’ - and whilst we didn't sample the wide range of teas on offer, our lunch menu did provide an insight into the culinary prowess of their chefs.  The Asian-infused flavours blended together to turn ordinary fruits and vegetables into delicious works of art that tantalised the taste buds.  We sampled a variety of vegetarian dishes as well as a barramundi dish.  Our lunch was completed with a delicious chocolate mousse and pumpkin slice.


For those of you hoping to recreate the Asian-infused flavours I have included our menu:

Crumbled cauliflower, salted egg, shallots, curry leaves

Zucchini & Kyuri
Semi-dried tomato, toasted walnut and cumin vinaigrette

Kerabu Rojak
Young mango, pineapple, guava, long bean, peanut, local cherry, fish sauce and black
vinegar reduction

Mushroom Frittata
Shiitake & oyster mushroom, potatoes and leek

Pan-Seared Barramundi
Ginger chutney, cauliflower couscous

Bario Rice
The finest rice produced in the highlands of Sarawak

Chocolate Mousse
Pahang dark chocolate 72%, sea salt flakes, fermented soybean, banana compote and
cocoa husk cookies

Pumpkin Slice
Spiced pumpkin, sesame sunflower almond candy, ginger nut crust

The lunch however was not without its homework!  All Enakkers in order to be released back to reality from the old-world charm oozing from ChoCha were required to name their most favourite dish of the day - it sounded so simple - but it soon became apparent that we were all tasked with a very difficult decision.  The Cauliflower and the Rojak were crowned the winners.

ChoCha Foodstore
156 Petaling Street
City Centre
Kuala Lumpur


Review submitted by Enakker Jane Bircher