Updated: 6th Jan 2011: This restaurant had closed according to Urbanspoon.com.
We met up with Angie and her kids for lunch over a weekend … oh … more than a month ago. You can see how behind I am in my dining out blog posts.
Angie is to us a really good cook. You should check out her food blog which mainly focuses on recipes with a bit of dining outs. Her site is called Sea Salt With Food.
We decided to meet in a Malaysian restaurant. We hem’d and haw’d between Chili Padi and Prima Taste and finally forced to decide on Prima Taste because Chili Padi was closed for the Muslim holiday. Prima Taste is located in downtown Vancouver (specifically 570 Robson Street). Locating this place is easy but, whew, parking is expensive in downtown isn’t it? We managed to get a spot on the street parking which is much cheaper.
Prima Taste is very much more a Singaporean restaurant than a Malaysian one. For all intents and purposes, Singaporean and Malaysian cuisines are not only similar, they are one and the same. Did you know that Singapore was a state in Malaysia in the 1960′s? Anyway, Prima Taste refects every bit of Singapore … from huge posters of the Singapore city to the modern and clean decor and lines. It is definitely a very comfortable restaurant for sure and certainly one of the best looking Malaysian/Singaporean restaurant in Metro Vancouver by far.
Prima Taste’s origin started off as manufacturer of Ready-to-cook mixes and is based in Singapore. The Prima Taste brand is popular around the world when it comes to these mixes. Suanne tried using their Singapore Chilli Crab mixes before and had blogged about it here. We like Prima Taste’s mixes.
But before I continue, can I ask permission from you readers that I be honest here? I get lambasted sometimes for expressing my personal opinions especially in areas which is deemed as negative. It is just my opinion and yours may differ … and I accept that. So here goes …
We ordered mainly from their single servings section of the menu — you know, noodles and rice dishes. All their dishes looked OK to good. On the taste department, I know I am measuring this to authentic Malaysian and Singapore food, I am sorry to say that they are pretty bland to just OK.
I think they might have tried too hard to tone down the flavor to cater for the downtown crowd. If so, I understand why.
The Laksa Fried Rice above looked yummy.
The Char Koay Teow is simply too wet. It was so wet that it was almost like a KL Hokkien Mee already. Maybe Singaporeans makes Char Koay Teow like this but Malaysian ones are certainly not like this. What is really missing is the fried pork lard bits and cockles … LOL! Tough luck finding these here in Vancouver. I am sorry to say it is just disappointing to me.
The above is the Seafood Mee Goreng (mee goreng means fried noodles in Malay). It looked pretty amd colorful especially with the reddish tomato and green peas. But … tomatoes and green peas in a Malaysian dish? If they had called this something else, like Seafood fried noodles with peas and tomatoes, it would have been OK. My puny brain just does not connect “Seafood Mee Goreng” with peas and tomatoes.
The Fried Hokkien Prawn Noodle (which we assumed is Hokkien Mee) was ordered by Suanne. When it came all of us looked at each other and collectively said … “What? Is this Hokkien Mee?” Where we came from Hokkien Mee is supposed to be black or brown but never white. LOL! And the noodles too, they where the thin types and all cut up.
I think they cut it up because it makes it easier for the people to eat this with a spoon. Sorry (again) to say this but I think cutting up noodles is a bad idea … just like cutting up a burger to spoon sizes to make it easier to eat with a spoon is a bad idea.
Angie and us debated this whole issue about the WHITE Fried Hokkien Mee for days. LOL! We just can’t understand this. We finally settled on “maybe Singaporean’s Fried Hokkien Mee are white”. Any Singaporeans out there who can give us guidance?
I say that the Prawn Noodle Soup looked bland because I expected it to be like a Penang Prawn Noodle Soup which is reddish and spicy. Technically, this is correctly termed as prawn noodle soup because it has prawns.
The Laksa Prawns looked creamy enough with a good amount of coconut milk. Again, this was not a dish I tried and does not know how it was. It sure looked respectable … raw cockles would have made it better, right?
The (Fried) Chicken Rice looked very good and tasted real good too. They could do with giving a few more pieces of chicken meat though.
The Fried Chicken Rice came with Yow Fan (translated as Oily Rice?). Again, this one is good and full of flavour … and good enough even eaten on its own.
Angie’s kids ordered Cendol as dessert. We miss cendol here.
So … we all were quite disappointed with the meal. It is because we might have unfairly measured this meal with the type of Malaysian food we are accustomed to. They are not bad food, far from it but we are just commenting from the standpoint of authenticity. We also fully understand that because of the location of Prima Taste right smack in the middle of downtown, perhaps they thought it wise to cater more to the tastes of their main customer.
Despite the comments above by me, I must say that we had a great time meeting up for lunch. Prima Taste is a good place and has the right kind of setting for chatting (they don’t rush you off even when you had finished your meal).
The bill came up to $95 in all. We find it on the high side and again understandable because Prima Taste is in downtown.
One thing for sure, we love Prima Taste mixes … as for the restaurant … well … YOU should go and try and let me know your thoughts.