Seri Malaysia Restaurant on East Hastings, Vancouver

Updated: 4th March 2012; This restaurant had closed according to

Malaysian cuisine means a lot of different things. This is because Malaysia is a multi-racial country. While the Malays makes up about two third of the population, a large percentage of the population is made up of Chinese and Indians.

So when you mention Malaysian cuisine, it could mean either Malay cuisine, Chinese-Malaysian or Indian-Malaysian cuisine. They are distinctly different. Malay cooking is influenced a lot by Indian cuisine and is characterized by the use of spices.


There are many Malaysian restaurants in Metro Vancouver. Most of them are actually Chinese owned. As far as I know, there are only two pure Malay-Malaysian restaurants. Do you know why there are so few Malay owned restaurants? This is because most of the emigration from Malaysia are the Chinese and not Malays. I have a lot to say about the reasons and such but I guess this blog is just not the forum for it.

One of the Malay restaurants is Kedah House. We like their weekend buffet which is only $10. It is not a big spread but it is pretty good.

The other Malay owned Malaysian restaurant is called Seri Malaysia. We had been eating at Seri Malaysia many times already. If it had not been so far from home, we would have eaten there more. The food is authentic and good but the service is something else. Jamal, the man behind the restaurant often runs everything in the restaurant! But we expect that and have a lot of patience eating here simply because his food is good … well, most of the time.


You may click on the menu above to see a larger image. The menu is a 1-pager which includes a very good selection of Malay food.

When fmed organized a chowdown to Seri Malaysia, it was not hard to say “yes” even though the timing sucks for me. Actually, I ate there just two weeks prior.

I got to Seri Malaysia on the dot but everyone was already all settled down and ready to eat. I felt like I was late. Then I found out that all the food were already pre-ordered!

I was thinking … “Oh no, I hope they ordered my favourite dish”.



They did order the Briyani Kambing (lamb). Nine out of ten time, I would order this dish. Seri Malaysia makes this very well and is simply the best Lamb Briyani in town. While the serving is still big, I thought it used to be bigger. It was like ridiculously big that will be enough for two people. Of late the serving appears big, just no longer ridiculously huge.

Just underneath the rice is lots of … lamb meat. The lamb meat is a tad too bony but then that is what gives it the flavour too.


The Satay was just so-so. From my end of the table, I can see it is the beef. I never did like beef satay because they are generally dry and tough. My favourite is chicken satay.

You know, the best satay is chicken. To me, it must NOT be made with chicken breast. The best is the dark meat … and with skin on!!

It is kind of sad eating satay in Vancouver. Firstly, it is so expensive you typically get only 2-3 sticks. In Malaysia, they serve you by the bunch and stop only when you ask them to stop serving you. So it is common to each have 10-15 sticks. One of the best satays in Malaysia is Haji Samuri in a small town called Kajang (see my write-up here).

Oh yeah. I was telling the people at the chowdown that if there is one thing that Malaysia and Indonesia one day go to war, it will be because of satay. He he he … both Malaysia and Indonesia claims they invented the satay first.


Everyone seems to enjoy the Nasi Goreng Kampung a lot. You know, I had never heard of Nasi Goreng Kampung before. I mean I know what the word means (Village-style fried rice) but never knew there is a definition for Nasi Goreng Kampung. Now I know.

Anyway, the fried anchovies is what makes this dish different from all other types of fried rice. I like the fact that it is dry-ish. Talking about anchovies, Malaysian anchovies are very different from those you buy from the local ethnic stores. We have them shipped directly from Malaysia by the bags. I wanted to bring some to share with everyone but we just ran out … just!


The Prawns dish above does not particularly look like a traditional Malay dish. The bell peppers … that is foreign to Malay cooking. If only Jamal uses red chili peppers it would have been awesomer.

Regardless, the deep fried prawns were very good.


Hmmmm … the Ikan Sambal tasted OK. There are two deep fried fishes and topped with sambal. But I felt the sambal was kind of dry. Yeah, for a Malaysian, they would even pooh-pooh this. But we are in Canada and so by Canadian standards it is better than nothing.


The kacang panjang wasn’t too great either. Suanne noticed straightaway from the pictures that this is too skinny and too dried up. The better ones have plumber stalks.


The roti canai. From the looks of it, it is not hand made.

Many Malaysians will feel a pain in the chest to learn that it is $5.50 for 2 pieces. In Malaysia, this is perhaps the cheapest street food you can find. Yeah, if you are a poor student and don’t have much money to spend, you subsist on instant noodles and roti canai. You can get 3 pieces of it for just $1 Canadian from a road side stall complete with a TV.

The Kari Ikan is thick and smooth. I only eat roti canai with kari ikan … I hate dhal and other types of curries. You can get a lot of varieties of roti canai. Suanne’s favourite is the roti canai pisang (banana) while I like it filled with an egg and white onions.




In Malaysia, it is an art to master the making of roti canai. It is also an entertainment in some places — like the roti canai terbangs above. What a show for a 35 cents piece of bread, right?


The beef rendang is executed very well. This is some of the best rendang I had in Vancouver. The gravy is rich and has that correct consistency. It is not something you eat by its own but instead eat it with rice. The perfect way for me is to eat this with nasi kunyit (yellow turmeric rice).


The Mee Goreng is a bit too wet. I wish it is a bit more drier. It would have been wonderful is there is a couple of eggs in it, which will dry this dish a bit up.


Jamal brought out a bottle of Sirap Ros. You can probably figure out that Sirap Ros means Rose Syrup. The Malay language borrows a lot of words from the English language, changed the spelling and flip the words around.

Sirap Ros is popularly served as the traditional drink in weddings and banquets. I never did quite like drinks made from sirap ros, favoring other types of Malaysian sweet drinks. But this is very a traditional Malay syrup.

So there was a lot of food. Some of the food wasn’t that great that night but overall I enjoyed it. When the dish was good, it was really good. I recommend you try Seri Malaysia’s Briyani Kambing.

Here is fmed’s report on chowhound:;topic-701833 (updated: 10th Nov 2014; this report no longer exist).

Seri Malaysia on Urbanspoon

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  1. Gloria

    Had the beef rendang two weeks ago @ Seri Malaysia and loved it! I must try the Briyani Kambing, hopefully this weekend.
    Great review Ben!

  2. fmed

    Haha Ben…I knew the Briyani Kambing was non-negotiable.

    The Briyani was good…though it has been better executed there in the past. It wasn’t as “baked” as usual (where the rice was looser, a bit drier, and the yellow turmeric colouring is more random and uneven). It was still the best Briyani in town, though.

    I thought that a number of the dishes did fall a bit flat, but it was an excellent meal overall. I love the Nasi Goreng Kampung, Rendang Daging, and his Lamb Curry (which we didn’t order that night).

    The Malaysian Cendol was fantastic. I took my kids there a few days later and they just slurped the stuff down.

  3. grayelf

    Thanks for the links to the roti canai makers — reminds me of making pizza dough.

    Eating at Seri Malaysia made me feel I was in someone’s house — the food was obviously made with love and respect, so I’m willing to overlook the odd inconsistency. And, like virtually every other resto I’ve ever eaten at, it’s clear Jamal has some dishes that are more successful than others.

    We had a ton of fun eating and yakking.

    1. fmed

      We need these guys here in Vancouver making pizza! (I have seen this in person while in Asia…just amazing).

      Eating at Seri Malaysia is definitely truly “home-style” – like eating in Jamal’s dining room. So if you are looking for a more traditional “restaurant” service – then this place will not be for you.

  4. Sedap Makan

    We have eaten at Seri Malaysia a few times. As you have already noted that this is a true Malay style restaurant so no pork satay for sure. The food was good but we do prefer the Chinese Malaysian style.

    As with many of the small Malaysian restaurants there is a very warm homey feel to them. When Carol tells them she is from PJ we usually have a long conversation with the owner.

  5. Winnie

    My friend recommend Seri Malaysia to be but since it’s far from home for me as well, I haven’t find the time to try it out yet. May be I should plan to go this weekend! Do they open for lunch?

    1. Ben

      Hi Winnie: Seri Malaysia is opened for lunch. As a matter of fact, until this chowdown we always had lunch in Seri Malaysia. Ben

      1. Winnie

        Thank you! I think I will like it. I prefer food from Kedah House over other Chinese Malaysian style restaurant. ^_^

        1. Ben

          Hi Winnie: Just be very patient with Jamal. Their service could at times be painfully slow as they are understaffed. Wanted you know this before you go. Ben

          1. fmed

            One thing though…the man just runs his butt off when it is busy…so to me, it never feels like “slow” service. It’s not like the truly slow service that you get at many other restaurants where the servers are yakking to their friends and moving in slow motion…or just disappearing entirely for your entire meal.

            Go on a quiet weekday evening or post-lunch rush and Jamal is quite relaxed and will chat.

          2. Winnie

            Hi guys!
            I went there a month ago and I forgot to update it here! Had an early dinner there with my friend and we totally ordered too much food. Love the Briyani, the roti and the Quay Teow Goreng there. And I love the rosewater with milk drink. I think this is the only way to make me happily drink milk. (I hate milk)
            Jamal was nice and he was busy with customer from another table but he came over to chat at the end of our meal. He is very nice and funny.
            btw Do you know know where I can get rosewater in Metro Vancouver?

          3. HM

            Hi Winnie, I bought my rose water from the S.E. Marine Dr/Main Superstore at its Asian/Middle Eastern aisle.

          4. Winnie

            Thank you! Didn’t know that can be as easy as Superstore!

          5. Ben

            So Winnie, did Jamal say he is leaving again? I heard from fmed that this is final because he had let his restaurant location go to another person already. Ben

          6. Winnie

            He didn’t talk about leaving back a month ago. But he wasn’t happy with the location for sure. Do you know the actual day if he is really leaving? My boyfriend hasn’t try food from Sari yet! Oh no!

  6. HM

    Hi Ben, I nearly always order the kambing briyani, beef rendang, banchis sambal & nasi goreng kampong when I go there. So, which do you prefer….Seri Malaysia (the husband) or Kedah House (the wife)? Does anyone know where I can find “murtabak” in Metro Vancouver??

  7. timetochow

    great post Ben. accurate to the dot. what was the cost of this meal?

    Good meal overall. Esp liked the chendol.
    the menu is pretty large a one man show.
    Kedah house is similar.
    both can be a hit or miss …

    cannot be understated how poorly Malaysian and Singaporean food in represented in Vancouver.

    nice video of the roti canai makers. though i doubt the ‘show’ imparts any flavor or enhancement to final product.

    HM, why bother, just have it on your next trip to Malaysia.
    Since u know it wont taste the same and you’d prob be disappointed 😀 . i did fine a similar flavor to the pickled onions/shallots that they serve the murtabak with at the taco taqueira on hastings.

  8. HM

    Hey Timetochow, you are right….time to plan a trip to SE Asia esp Malaysia…haven’t been for 8 yrs now. Missing all the good M’sian food! Perhaps add on side trip to Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia as well!

  9. timetochow


    yes, i agree! my bags are packed. i am always ready to leave for good food and travel..

    I will have a list of things I wanna eat when I land in Malaysia and SE Asia. In Malaysia includes Nasi Kandar, Nasi Dagang, Nasi Kerabu, Nasi Lemak, Assam Laksa, Ampang Yong Tau Foo, Curry Puff, Kajang Satay, Rojak(all of them) Ayam Percik, malaysian Durian, Bak Kut Teh, Hokkien Mee, Hor Chien, Fresh Popiah(not deep fried), Sup Kambing, have some budu and cincaluk and Of course murtabak just to name a few of the top of my head..

    oh in Thailand there are even more things to mention ……..

    Have you been to Vietnam and Cambodia?

    I enjoyed Vietnam, food etc… .

    Cambodia can be hit or miss. They are not as well known for their cuisine. And the restaurants are mostly hole in the wall. which is not a bad thing except that not as much is known and you would have to depend on the locals or good foodie guide.

    Imho, there are great Chinese food in Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia..

    1. fmed

      Hey when are you flying out?

  10. HM

    Timetochow, you are 100% on track of all the food to be consumed (drooling already!), but alas! usually too little time to eat everything on short vacation. No, have not been to Cambodia before but will do so someday soon with my Cambodian friend from Vancouver. Right now, I have Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Jiangsi & Nanjing all lined up for Sep plus HK/Macau. Next year will be Greece/Turkey or Eastern Europe.

  11. timetochow

    fmed, nothing confirmed yet. 😀 thinking of a foodie trip to asia… maybe japan, hkg and se asia possibly china after the summer most likely.

    HM, i am drooling too…! ur rite never enough time to do everything. best to visit cambo with a local esp ones that love to eat. sounds like a really great trip coming up … have a great trip!

  12. Lissa

    I’m just catching up with your blog. After reading about Seri Malaysia, I took my kids there this past summer. Lots of construction work along Hastings as well as the busy intersection near Playland. I didn’t like circling around the already very busy Hastings trying to find parking. No parking at the rear.

    Owner is from Johor. I ordered: chicken satay, roti canai, mee rebus, ayam briyani and “tah-pau” lamb rendang (based on reviews that it’s very good).
    Verdict: satay was good. Peanut sauce is too diluted. Roti Canai was good. Curry that goes with it, ok. Ayam briyani: rice was very dry. Some fried chicken drumstick with the same kind of curry from roti canai. That was a let down. Mee rebus: I haven’t had mee rebus from a long time and I don’t remember it tasting like curry laksa! 0 out of 5 for this. I came home and tasted the lamb rendang. Rendang is supposed to be dry but the curry tasted again like the one from the roti canai. I guess it was just one huge pot of curry gravy. Really disappointed with this restaurant after reading all the good reviews and even from a friend who went. The pakcik was kinda arrogant that his food is the best but he’s closing the restaurant due to no business. We were the only ones there right besides some flies. I told him location wasn’t good (very busy thoroughfare) and finding parking was difficult but he argued that most customers expect to park right in front of the restaurant instead of searching around the block. What kind of business attitude is that? Of course, customers want the convenience to park near the restaurant and not drive in circles looking for a spot admist the very busy street. All food: 1/5.

    1. Ben

      Hi Lissa: I know. I had the same experience too at times with Jamal. He is moody. Ben

  13. Jovi

    I’m a born and bred singaporean who recently moved to Richmond, and I’ve been hunting for places to eat home-style food.(prata-man made me want to cry in disgust and tropika not being that far from that standard either) all in all, its been such a disappointment.

    I’ve been to Kajang since my dad’s family owns streets there and ate at the street stalls where you sit on wooden stools. I managed to chow down 30 sticks of satay, but that is nothing compared to my uncle who won the competition with 53 sticks. Roti prata, the more common name for roti canai used to be such a common sight. dipped in egg, filled with cheese. it also is served with orange sugar on the side (:

    I definitely need a place to eat singapore/ Malaysia food to my heart’s content. I’ve been let down everytime. Is Seri Malaysia the best so far? I read about Blackberry Bistro but not sure!

    Please reccommend! Thank youu (:

    1. Ben

      OMG, 30 sticks?!? I thought it was already crazy when I had 20 sticks of satay also in Kajang in this post. 53 sticks is simply impossible for me.

      About Seri Malaysia, Jamal is very iffy. On certain days when his heart is in the right place, he will make really good Malaysia food. On one of his moody days, one could feel sorry you ate there (service and food wise). I had tried the best and the worst of Seri Malaysia and I know. It is sad that he had so much potential and yet his heart is not there to make full advantage of it. His restaurant is just surviving with his flashes of brilliance. So, go and check him out but realize that it might or might not be what you expect.

      Blackberry Bistro is kind of expensive. They are more East Malaysia (Borneo) Malaysian food. They are OK but a tad expensive. And they are located in a very unlikely place. Search for BlackBerry Bistro on chowtimes. We had a review there before.

      None of the Malaysian restaurants in Vancouver will measure up to the best in Malaysia and Singapore. You know what I would love to see some day? A Bah Kut Teh restaurant complete with boiling pots of water. LOL! Ben

  14. Lissa

    Wah, Ben. You want to see hawker style coffee shop and you want BKT somemore? LOL!

    Jovi, like Ben said there’s no restaurants here that measure up to authentic Malaysian/Singaporean food – even if the restaurants are opened by Malaysian/Singaporean. If there’s certain food you are after, post here and Ben or other foodie might know.

  15. TimeToChow

    Hey Winnie,
    rose water evaporated milk drink is called Air(water in bahasa) Bandung.
    Rose water is available in many larger and specialty grocer. Gourmet warehouse, whole foods etc etc… Though it is diff than the one Jamal uses. Jamal’s is rose coloured the other ones are clear.
    To make air bandung you’ll also need to make a pandanus syrup too.

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