Eatery Reviews / Sambal Coconut Malaysian Szechuan
This is one of them eateries I try to hit when I am on off work near 3:30pm. Reason? They open at some strange hours - only 4:00pm - 9:30pm from Monday to Sunday, except Tuesdays where they are closed. Yes, you read that right. They are only open for a total of FIVE and 1/2 hours everyday except Tuesday. I've only been here twice, so this review is for my second time around, except for one dish' review which I will carry forward from 2 months back in April.
The front left is where the entrance is. The right is where the kitchen is.
As with all eateries, I try to be there when they just open for the day. It was no different with this one. I was there at 3:55pm, and parking was ample. Waited until 4:05pm, and they were still not opened, so I took a stroll around the side where the kitchen is, and inquired if they were about to open. I think they forgot to unlock the door. Anyway, the girl at the counter came around to unlock it and promptly welcomed me in.
One thing to note. They have menu brochures by the window next to the door, so you could always browse through it if you find yourself waiting. There are also photos of the many dishes on the wall. My orders have so far looked as good as the photos. This time around, I went with Laksa Lemak (1 chili hot), and my good ol' favourite in whatever Malaysian restaurants I've been to so far ---> Fried Kuey Teow, or Char Koay Teow (2 chilis hot). As for the chilis, the symbol 1 chili stands for Regular Hot, 2 chilis for Medium Hot, and 3 chilis for Fiery Hot. I went with FOUR chilis for both dishes, which is NOT on the menu (and which I made up to denote INSANE HOT :)). The girl thought I was joking. I wasn't. Seeing as how I was pretty serious with my request, she told me the cook will try his best to spice it up for me.
Yummy Laksa Lemak! There's was a lot more curry broth than what's shown.
So, how did the Laksa Lemak do? It was tasty and spicy (and spicy HOT)! Oh yeah, the cook sure did a hell of a great job making it spicy hot alright. There was bean sprouts, boneless chicken, fried tofu swimming in the broth, shrimp, fish cake and half a hard-boiled egg cut into four slices. Unfortunately, there was no fish ball. I remember that being one of the ingredients back in Malaysia at the hawker stalls... well, that and blood cockles (a type of clam)
, but I've never seen blood cockles here in any Malaysian dishes thus far anywhere in the Lower Mainland. And then there's the so-called Malaysian style rice vermicelli which is not a Malaysian thing. The type used in Laksa is usually either beehoon/meehoon/mai fun (thinner rice vermicelli), meen (thicker yellow noodle), or a mixture of both (mai fun meen). The mai fun is something like the Wai Wai brand kind of noodle which you can usually find at T&T Supermarket. But I guess you can't expect every Malaysian dish here in Canada to be exactly like back home in Malaysia (unless you cook it yourself and find your own ingredients!), so I tend to be rather forgiving when it comes to some details.
After the broth had been poured over the noodles.
Because I realize at the end of the day, the single most important thing in all these dishes is this - is it good and tasty enough for me to want to come back and order it again? In this case, YES for Laksa Lemak. I liked it... A LOT! :) Loved the rich broth, although I spilled some in the plastic bag while driving home back to Burnaby from Richmond trying to keep it in place on the seat (hence the dent on the container).
Fried Koay Teow EXTRA SPICY HOT!!!
And then there's my all-time favourite dish Fried Koay Teow, or Char Koay Teow. This dish had squid, fish cake, shrimp and egg. The noodle used is called koay teow (flat rice noodle), and wonderfully, they got this right. Like the Laksa previously, the noodle was originally fried with cockles, but I guess they substituted this with squid instead. Aside from the fish cake (depending on which hawker stall you go to), everything else seems spot on. The chef tried to spice this up, but it's nowhere near the same level of spicy hot as the Laksa. In fact, the first time around when I ordered this back in April, I thought it was so much more spicier then. This time around, me and Wifey thought it wasn't spicy enough. Still, it's forgivable since this dish at least tasted close to the real Char Koay Teow I ate back home in Malaysia. This is definitely a must-order everytime I come here! :)
Sigh .. the endless search for Malaysian food .. as with everything, there is nothing like the food back home but you take what you can get. The kway teow was fine, a bit sweetish and Laksa Lemak .. what Laksa Lemak?? I thought it was curry laksa but whatever, it wasn't too bad, I could see the rempah in it which is always a good thing rather than just liquidy soupy broth thingy. Yeah, not having any fish balls is kind of a damper but at least they had the other thing and no laksa leaf either .. oh well ...
Tagged as: sambal coconut malaysian szechuan cuisine, char koay teow, char kuey teow, chow koay teow, chow kuey teow, fried koay teow, fried kuey teow, laksa, malaysian laksa