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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Restaurant: Banana Leaf

I had dinner tonight with some of the local Chowhounds (with a tip of the hat to Chris for doing the bulk of the organizing), including famous food explorer Jay Francis at a somewhat new Malaysian restaurant Banana Leaf. I didn't take any pictures, because there was plenty of snappage going on anyway :) - I am sure those photographs will get on the web soon enough. The place isn't that large, but the menu is incredibly expansive. It took quite a while just to get through the list to decide what was worth trying. So, with six of us at the table, we ordered:

  • while waiting, Peggy ordered some atchat - pickled vegetables
  • some satay beef was ordered, but I personally think they're the least interesting of Malaysian cuisine
  • three different kinds of roti (bread) - roti canai, roti telur (egg stuffed), and roti with meat stuffing
  • oyster omelet
  • hainan chicken rice
  • curry fish head stew
  • beef rendang
  • penang laksa
  • flounder grilled in banana leaf
  • kangkung with belacan
Our attempts to cap the meal with an order of ais kacang was futile, but they provided complimentary dessert in the form of a warm coconut and purple rice porridge. Jay passed around cans of a Korean persimmon and cinnamon beverage. Quite nice. Malaysian cuisine is very diverse, and we couldn't sample it all. I would have wanted to try the bah kut teh, but I think it would have been too much. Heck, what we ordered was already too much. Plus, the menu is a bit of a culinary minefield for me. But of what I could have, I enjoyed. I liked the beef rendang, the beef itself was well cooked, if a bit milder than I expected.

I'd like to go back and try a few other things on this menu. I'm impressed that given the size of the menu how well executed the dishes were.

Oh, the picture? Those are dried persimmons. It's a reminder of a conversation over dinner.

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