Updated: 4th March 2012; This restaurant had closed according to Urbanspoon.com.
Ease, who recommended The Blackberry Bistro to us earlier, told us of another Malaysian restaurant that we should try out. The problem for us is that it is located in the far north eastern side of Vancouver while we live in the south side of Richmond. In short, it meant that it is a long 22 km drive to this restaurant. But we did take that long drive.
Seri Malaysia is a Malay owned restaurant which is a rarity in Vancouver. As far as we know, this is the only other Malay owned Malaysian restaurant other than The Kedah House. Most other Malaysian restaurants we know are operated by Chinese cooks.
The place is very typical Malay … very laid back. They are so laid back that even though we were the only customers in the restaurant and that there were two dirty tables with plates left uncollected, they remained left uncollected for the duration of our meal there.
Don’t expect too much from the decor … forget about having any ambiance at all. This is a plain practical place better known for the food, and only the food. The table is covered in clear plastic sheet over plastic lace coverings. Their menu was simple but have enough to satisfy any cravings you may have.
Oh, one thing I had always wanted to discuss with you all and that is the cutleries used in a Malaysian dining table. For Malaysian (and I believe it goes too for all of South East Asia and even East Asia), the main cutleries used is a fork and spoon. Western tables have fork and knife. I believe the basic difference is that Asian meals involve food that is cut into bite sizes while western meals leaves big pieces of meat and such on the plate (i.e. steak, chicken breasts, etc). Also, Asian meals always have rice and it’s easier to pick up rice with a spoon than a fork.
I don’t know the details, but I recall there was an incident a few years ago in Toronto (?) where a Filipino kid was chastised by her teacher for using fork and spoon. That became a huge issue among the Filipino community. Any of you remember that?
Given a choice and if I am not eating stuff like steak, I prefer the fork and spoon. He he he … old habit die hard!
One more thing … they serve lots of cold water. You will need that because Malay food is very spicy.
Let’s get back to food. We ordered the Roti Canai … two pieces for $5.50. In Malaysia, you can easily have this for 20-30 cents!! It was really good … crispy and flaky. I wished they would have given us more curry to dunk the roti in.
Their Beef Rendang was awesome. This is supposed to be a single serving but the serving is so large that it is enough for 2-3 people. I swear this is the best Rendang I had ever had in this part of the world.
Rendang is and is not curry. I know I am not making sense!! It is basically cooked in coconut milk and spices over a period of many, many hours until the meat almost breaks down and absorbs all the rich spices into it.
Because of the richness and intense flavour in Rendang, about the only way to eat this is with rice. If you had never tried Rendang and loves curry, you should try it. If you dare, ask them to make it spicy … yummy! The Beef Rendang is $10.50. There are so much that we had it to go.
Rendang keeps well refrigerated. So, next time we are around the neighborhood, we will buy a serving or two of this stuff to bring home.
We ordered two servings of steamed rice which costs $3. The serving is ridiculously large … I had never since so much rice before. I like that. Frankly, even one serving of rice is just enough for us two adults and two kids.
We also had Mee Goreng which is Fried Noodles Malay style ($7.75). It is made both sweet and spicy at the same time. Again, I swear this is about the best Mee Goreng in this part of the world. This is hawker food in Malaysia where one could have this for about $1 only.
One more thing about how laid back the people in Seri Malaysia are. Even though there were no other people in the restaurant, they forgot to bring us the Ikan Bakar until we asked for it when we were almost done with the other dishes.
Anyway, the Ikan Bakar was great … $8 is bit expensive seeing it is just one crummy fish. The fish is grilled and then topped with chili paste known as sambal. The Sambal was on the sweet side but really spicy.
We tried ordering their Curry Fish Head but we need to order this 2-3 days in advance. We’ll do the Fish Head the next time round.
I highly recommend Seri Malaysia for Malay food. Forget about the decor, or the service … you should only focus on the food. They are as authentic as you could get. Also, their prices are cheap provided you don’t compare them to Malaysia’s. Their address is 2327 East Hastings (near the intersection with Nanaimo).