Updated: 4th March 2012; This restaurant had closed according to Urbanspoon.com.
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: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701833?tag=main_body;topic-701833 (updated: 10th Nov 2014; this report no longer exist).