Located in the busy streets of USJ21 is a gem called Restoran Hana Ikan Bakar. Wondering why the name seems so familiar? It’s because of Aleena Halim who’s tweet went viral as she ask netizens to support her moms business that has been badly affected due to the recent pandemic.
Leading to the official opening of this restaurant, the family faced many challenges and hurdles along the way. They sold their previous business, ventured into different fields, started a new restaurant in 2015 at Shah Alam which was going good for 4 solid years until one day Aleena’s mom was hit with a stroke and they had to focus on their moms health while the business was being very badly affected. They did not want to give up the business just yet until early this year where they had to temporarily close the restaurant due to the MCO that was happening at the time. No operation was allowed. The restaurant was closed for 3 months with no income at all.
By the time MCO was lifted, sales were affected badly. Most of our customers were people working at offices nearby. No one would come to eat anymore as most of them were required to work from home,” Aleena continues to explain.
My parents tried to come up with different strategies to increase sales but none of it worked. They once again had to sell the restaurant and chose to open a new one at USJ 21 instead called Restoran Hana Ikan Bakar.
Officially opened on 5th October 2020, business started off well but unfortunately two weeks after opening the new business a Movement Control Order (MCO) was once again announced and this time majority of people were already working from home and restaurants were limited to only allowing 2 people per table. It became a hassle for families to dine in and from there the business started going down hill. They had to reduce staff, make changes and again was thrown with so many challenges.
Fearing that they would have to close their new restaurant again, Aleena used her social media to create awareness and urge people to come by the restaurant if they can. She also mentioned in her tweet to share her post as it is the least one can do to spread the word on her family’s restaurant.
Since the tweet went viral with almost 20K retweets and so many media, they have started seeing the positive changes and the business is slowly starting to pick up once again. We were honored to have the chance to sit down and dine in at the restaurant.
Trying to look for a parking spot around the area may be a bit challenging but trust me it’s worth it. The moment you step foot into the restaurant you’ll see the ikan bakar being cooked outside the shop. The aroma of the sambal and fish being cooked together is irresistable.
There are a variety of fishes for you to choose from such as Ikan Pari, Ikan Kembung, Siakap, Ikan Bawal and many more. And we know the first thought when you hear “ikan bakar” is how much does it cost? At this restaurant you do not have to worry that it’ll leave a hole in your wallet as the ikan bakar are priced at only RM8-RM12. We tried the ikan pari and siakap. The flesh of the fish was so soft and it just felt of the bone with the pinched into it. The sambal complemented the fish really well and there wasn’t any fishy taste to it.
Next we tried the Ayam Penyet (RM10) and also the Ayam Kam Heong (RM9). These two dishes were very flavorful. The kam heong chicken had a little spicy kick and also rich in turmeric flavor. On the other had the ayam penyet goes really well with the cili ijo that came along with it.
Another thing that’s special about this place is that their Thai food is cooked by an actual Thai chef. So trust us when we say their Thai food is 10/10. We got a taste of their seafood tom yum (RM8) and it is legit one of the best bowls of tom yum soup we’ve ever tried. It is rich in flavor and very delicious.
Restoran Hana Ikan Bakar also serves nasi campur with about 15 dishes for you to choose from. Their best seller is the chicken rendang which we obviously had to try and no doubt it was very delicious and the chicken was juicy and cooked to perfection.
We got to try their western menu as well. The Chicken Chop (RM11.90) is a must try. Served with rice and a side of coleslaw this dish is perfect for people of every age. No matter young or old you’d surely love this.