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Malaysian?

s
Scruncheons Aug 18, 2006 02:34 PM

Years ago there was a fanatstic place at Baldwin and McCaul called Sri Malaysia. Incredible chili chicken, sublime chili sauce for the spring rolls, and amazing savory fried bananas. I went there so often the owner would hug me if she hadn't seen me in a while.

Anyone know if this family has another place? Failing that, anyone know of good Malaysian chow that's TTC-accessible?

  1. c
    chilibeanpaste Dec 2, 2010 04:20 PM

    Was there also not one in that neighborhood called Ole Molacca?

    1. j
      julesrules Dec 18, 2009 02:43 PM

      Last weekend I drove past a place I think is new, called Lime Leaf Thai and Malaysian, on Vic Park south of Eglinton. Has anyone tried it?

      1. TOchowgal Sep 29, 2009 05:49 AM

        Saw a Malaysian food booth at the Word on The Street festival this Sunday. They were making fresh roti! I asked if they had a restaurant but they don't. Their food looked really good but I didn't try it as I am currently doing a detox. They didn't have a business card but I believe they were at a lot of the summer festivals.

        If I run into them again, I will definitely get more info.

        5 Replies
        1. re: TOchowgal
          chocabot Sep 29, 2009 06:50 AM

          It's called murtabak and they appear at the polish festival annually too. When I see them I have to get one. There's veg, beef or chicken and even after confirming my order with the cook, the filling seems identical every time. If you try one you must have it with both the mild coconut and spicy chili sauces.

          1. re: chocabot
            TOchowgal Sep 29, 2009 06:52 AM

            Thanks. I wonder if they will be appearing at any other festivals this year.

            1. re: TOchowgal
              aser Sep 29, 2009 09:58 PM

              They were at the Asian Night Market too, along w/ several other street festivals. They pop up quite often.

              The murtabak itself is so so, it gets too soggy in the middle.

              1. re: aser
                Teep Nov 22, 2009 05:03 PM

                There are many kinds of murtabak, which is analogous to a "wrap". At the Indonesian Food Bazaar last month, they vary form 1"x3" to 3"x4". Some were deep fried, some pan fried, some not fried at all. There were even dessert versions.

            2. re: chocabot
              l
              Little T Oct 3, 2010 12:55 PM

              Does anyone know where we can get murtabak in the city? Saw that booth again at Nuit Blanche last night.

          2. a
            alison87 Sep 27, 2009 06:46 PM

            Does anyone know somewhere to get a ramly burger in Toronto, preferably downtown?

            5 Replies
            1. re: alison87
              w
              Wandering Foodie Sep 29, 2009 05:46 AM

              You mean the artery clogging Ramly burgers in SS2? Drool... I want some too.

              1. re: Wandering Foodie
                a
                alison87 Sep 30, 2009 10:48 AM

                Yep, though i only ever ate it in Australia. Awesome approach to a burger. I'd love to see more south-east Asian junk food like mamak, satay etc here.

                1. re: alison87
                  Jamie Eats Burgers Sep 30, 2009 11:48 AM

                  unfortunately, you gotta make your own these days.

                  Toronto's failed attempt at expanding the street carts was our only hope of getting them.

                  check out:
                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbF5Nf...

                  I agree with this guy, sauces are for bums.

              2. re: alison87
                w
                wokster Oct 9, 2010 07:49 PM

                there is NO Malaysian food to be found downtown! ... I thought there was Rasa Sayang on College bec Chowhound and Google maps said so - but when i went there there was nothing! .. and I cycled all over Chinatown and NOTHING ... so disappointed!

                -----
                Rasa Sayang
                2579 Victoria Park Ave, Toronto, ON M1T1A4, CA

                1. re: wokster
                  Teep Oct 9, 2010 09:14 PM

                  Matahari, noted above, is downtown on Baldwin Street, near the Aat Gallery and Chinatown. I personally found neither the food nor the service approached the level of prices they are charging.

                  -----
                  Matahari
                  39 Baldwin Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1L1, CA

              3. c
                charxchar Aug 6, 2009 05:47 PM

                I have been going to Gourmet Garden for years, and am a 1st-generation Canadian-born Singaporean (who has been lucky to eat the home specialties in Singapore, and some other things that my mother and aunt make...chicken rice and beef rendang and others)...things we normally order are the laksa, the char kway teow and the roti canai (personally, I love how the roti are crispy and also just greasy enough...!. We usually order the chicken curry).

                Recently went to Restoran Malaysia as well to try it out. We had the satay (it was ok, I think one could make it better at home....beef was not too dry, decently seasoned; chicken was a tad on the dry side....and it was served only with cut-up cucumbers. I was hoping to get it with cucumbers, cubed rice, and onions, but alas, no dice).

                Ordered the Penang CKT, and was disappointed - noodles were gummy (pan not hot enough?), noodles broke apart and did not look attractive on the plate. Also, noodles were a lighter tan colour and not seasoned enough (not seared in a hot-ass wok) for me to enjoy a little bit of 'burnt' flavour...prefer the Gourmet Garden CKT. But my mother tells me Penang CKT is different than other kinds...I can't verify that though.

                Nasi Lemak - coconut rice with various sides (pickles - cucumber/cauliflower/carrot; slightly curried [dry curry] pork(?) chunks; slices of boiled egg; peanuts). Enjoyable to eat. No ikan bilis (anchovies) though.

                Penang Laksa - only available that day (not always available on the menu - you have to ask), perfumed with a strong fish flavour, nicely pungent, but my only complaint about that dish is that the noodles were mushy (not al dente with a little bit of toothiness/spring to them), and the soup itself was served a tad more lukewarm than I would have liked, which is piping hot...This dish is what we came here to try. I am not generally a fan of the heavy fish flavour which is typical of some dishes, but I did enjoy this nonetheless.

                7 Replies
                1. re: charxchar
                  unturtlesoup Aug 11, 2009 01:44 PM

                  Sad to hear that your experience didn't cut it; from your descriptions, it definitely sounds like some of the original elements of Restoran that I came to know and love are missing...
                  As a child, the first Ikan Bilis that I had ever ecountered were these toasty, fishy (surprise) things adorning Nasi Lemak....prepared by the current owner and head chef of Restoran Malaysia...
                  Seems like the resto's expansion and reno has seen the chef doing more of the front of house supervision, and less time in the kitchen, sadly. Although some of the new menu items remain old favorites, such as the house-made shrimp chips, peanut sauce, and roti...
                  Last time we were there, we heard that the Chef is also is busy with plans to open a new, higher end resto in Richmond Hill sometime soon...will report back with details when I have the chance to try it out!

                  1. re: unturtlesoup
                    c
                    caitlink Sep 20, 2009 01:54 PM

                    Went to Gourmet Garden this weekend. If it was not mentioned here, I never would have found it.

                    But very happy with the find. Definitely the most authentic I've had in TO. The prawn noodle, Haikanese Chicken rice, roti and curry chicken. Everything was delicious. Can't wait to go back and try the other items on the menu.

                    The laksa and the 'pork' soup. Now I will never have to trek up to Restoran Malaysia again.

                    1. re: caitlink
                      a
                      affableeater Sep 27, 2009 12:39 PM

                      I just found out about Gourmet Garden 3 weeks ago, and have been back twice. I had the Asam Laksa today, and it was very good (short of excellent, as the noodles were only so so as they were a bit soft and broken into shorter pieces). I also had the roti canai and found it a bit too greasy, but pretty decent when eaten piping hot.

                      I had the Singaporean/Curry Laksa last time and thought it was great as well. On a side note though, it was the first time I had with only one kind of noodle, it normally seems to have 2 kinds of noodles (but maybe this is a Singapore specific thing?).

                      Also had the Hainanese Chicken rice the time before and thought it was great except that I found the chicken a bit tough, as I normally like a younger more tender chicken. That being said, I think an older chicken is considered more authentic.

                      Great place, and I'm already planning another trip back!

                      1. re: affableeater
                        mrsleny Sep 27, 2009 03:18 PM

                        How veg friendly is Gourmet Garden? I like Restoran Malaysia because they make veg versions of some of my fav dishes, mee goreng, penang fried noodles, malay veg curry.

                        Also my better half loves RM's chili chicken. How is Gourmet Garden's version?

                        Cheers!

                        1. re: affableeater
                          vincechan Nov 22, 2009 02:04 PM

                          I think it's Singaporean specific. I also miss the 2 noodle versions I had when I was a kid. Try the mee goreng and the prawn mee next time! Plus, they recently expanded into the next stall and now serve malaysian / nonya desserts and food!

                          I see some veg dishes on the menu plastered on the wall, so our veg friends can perhaps test drive for us meat lovers?

                        2. re: caitlink
                          e
                          eatdrinklovelife Oct 3, 2010 04:33 PM

                          I have had take-out from GG and it was delicious. That was my first experience with Laksa, so cannot tell how authentic it is at GG, but most of the dishes were great.

                          1. re: eatdrinklovelife
                            c
                            caitlink Oct 3, 2010 05:40 PM

                            We go on weekends for the shrimp noodle soup since they only sell it on sat and sun. We have decided to stick with the set dinners. the food is so spicy and flavorful. Goes great with rice.

                    2. s
                      szw Apr 14, 2009 07:11 AM

                      I was saw a sign for a new Malaysian or South East Asian cuisine restaurant...it was on midland, north of finch in a new plaza being built. Not sure if that restaurant was open yet as I didn't get a good look, just saw it as I was heading to our weekly dimsum at Szechuan Legend!

                      1. n
                        neighborguy Jun 6, 2008 08:46 AM

                        I'm planning on returning to Gardenview this weekend. It's far for me but it falls into the category of a place one goes out of the way for.
                        I'll repeat the OP's inital query about any places that are ttc-able -- meaning closer to downtown? I remember Angkor on north side of Gerrard @ Broadview does Thai allright but have not been there for some time.

                        1. jennjen18 Apr 30, 2008 06:07 PM

                          Hey, has anyone tried Mum's on McCowan and 16 Ave., beside Phoenix Restaurant? They're called Mum's something.... Thai and Malaysian cuisine. I'm such a loser, I went there and had something equivalent to a pho ... I didnt even venture out of my realm. But I wasnt even hungry, so I tried something that I knew I would like ... I think I'd go again. Someone once told me to go there to try the Hainan chicken, ... and I was thinking to myself, shouldnt I be going to Phoenix instead of Mum's, and she said Mum's. Hmm, interesting.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jennjen18
                            Charles Yu May 4, 2008 05:23 PM

                            Hello jennjen18,
                            My son and I tried out Mumz yesterday. It was packed. We ordered beef satay, Thai red curry roast duck with lychees, sauteed bean sprouts with shrimp paste and salted fish and a Thai fried rice with fresh crab meat and prawns.
                            The beef satay was OK, the satay peanut sauce not as good as Restoran Malaysia.
                            At first I was apprehensive towards my son ordering the 'funky' sounding red curry. However, I was surprised to find how delicious it tasted.
                            The sauteed bean sprouts was different, but tasty. However, the kitchen missed a beat by over cooking them thus retaining to much watery sauce on the plate.
                            The Thai seafood fried rice was the high light of the evening and was simply amazing! One of the best fried rice I have eaten.
                            On the way out we noticed a lot of tables ordering the shrimp spring rolls that is rolled up in the shape of a big size 'drinking straw' used in bubble-tea, stacked up vertically in a glass! Interesting presentation and must be good? Will definitely give it a try the next time.
                            Service was pleasant and decor was modern and comfy.
                            Have to give it another try before being able to deduce its true colour!

                            1. re: jennjen18
                              vincechan May 5, 2008 08:48 AM

                              I also did go to Mumz... wrote a lil' review here on the Chow boards too.. to summarize.. a bit of a hit-and-miss.. Hope more ppl will go and add their reviews too!

                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/504683

                            2. happycamper Apr 28, 2008 03:59 PM

                              We too, have been unimpressed with Matahari lately. The service is indifferent and the food is either greasy or flavourless.

                              Does anybody know if the renovated Kei (Queen/Ossington) will be open soon?

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: happycamper
                                k
                                kie Apr 29, 2008 07:25 AM

                                That is my experience eating at many of the Malaysian/Singapore restaurants in the city. Food quality and service vary from one day to the next. Many are family-owned, lack proper training and short-staffed so you never know what you get - eat at your own risk.
                                Most of the time, I make my dining experience more enjoyable by going to Gourmet Garden. Nothing fancy, good menu, good prices consistent quality and just like back home - eating at a hawer center. They have been around a long time so their formula works.

                                1. re: kie
                                  c
                                  charxchar May 1, 2008 12:32 PM

                                  Yes...Gourmet Garden is great. I've been going there for years, and I can always rely on their laksa and char kway teow. They make a good roti canai too - saucy curry, oily/soft yet crispy roti. My aunt from Singapore approved of the char kway teow.

                                  1. re: charxchar
                                    k
                                    kwong May 1, 2008 08:14 PM

                                    I'll have to try their laksa and kuay teow next time I'm there, but their roti canai is nothing like the stuff I got in Malaysia. You're definitely right about it being oily though.

                                  2. re: kie
                                    n
                                    neighborguy May 10, 2008 11:12 AM

                                    Gourmet Garden is out of our way but we went last night after reading about it here. Ordered laksa, and (tried for the first time for me) nasi goreng and gado gado. I liked the laksa, and I've had several bad versions since the one perfect bowl at Mata Hari.

                                    Basically can't wait to go back

                                2. c
                                  cybergod Apr 28, 2008 03:29 PM

                                  We ordered takeout from Matahari Grill last week and it was disappointing. Some of the dishes were quite bland (a mixed curry veg), others poorly executed or heavy-handed: the mango chili chicken tasted predominantly of burnt chilies; the Nasi Goreng was oddly both bland and over-salted. The Rendang Beef, which is normally one of my favourite dishes at Matahari, was also not on form: the meat was very tender, but it lacked the usual depth of flavour.

                                  Was this just an off-night, or has there been a change in the kitchen recently (an in-restaurant meal several months ago was a much better experience)?

                                  1. Wiley Apr 27, 2008 06:45 PM

                                    Since people are mentioning RestoMalaysia in Richmond Hill (TTC access?) there's a place in the Chinese mall at Leslie and 16th called Lemon Grass that serves a roti chanai, Hainanese chicken, and other Malaysian dishes as well as regular Asian standards.

                                    1. s
                                      swirling sara Mar 31, 2008 11:33 AM

                                      I'll have to agree with the comments on Gourmet Garden. My husband is from Malaysia and he thinks the food at Gourmet Garden is authentic. It may not be the place to take a date but the food is very good.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: swirling sara
                                        b
                                        bluedog Apr 3, 2008 01:13 PM

                                        Anyone know if Gourmet Garden has a liquor license?

                                        1. re: bluedog
                                          g
                                          gtafoodie Apr 3, 2008 02:05 PM

                                          I don't believe they do. The place is more of a food stall, not a restaurant.

                                          1. re: gtafoodie
                                            d
                                            DDD Apr 16, 2008 07:31 PM

                                            Do they have a decent Roti Chanai?

                                            1. re: DDD
                                              b
                                              bluedog Apr 17, 2008 06:44 AM

                                              Just a note on Roti Chanai: I'v been getting frozen "Roti" from some of the Asian supermarkets lately (e.g. T&T): if you look around some of the brands are made in Malaysia and Singapore. I swear it's Roti Chanai. You just heat a non-stick fry pan and put the frozen patty directly onto it when hot. Flip once and presto, homemade Roti Chanai!

                                      2. zed1984 Jan 12, 2008 09:33 AM

                                        satay rio @ first markham is malay/nonya cuisine. haven't been in a long time so i don't know how the quality is. but my singa pops likes it. mata hari is btw the BEST malay in dwntn. kei is aiight. more of a resto aligned to the "hipster" location than really downhome (lol) malay food. but it's good.

                                        11 Replies
                                        1. re: zed1984
                                          g
                                          gtafoodie Jan 18, 2008 04:50 PM

                                          Do you mean Satay Rio at Market Village?...sadly they have closed down and it's now a clothing store, JCY House. They did have great Nasi Lemak, Shrimp Sambal and Roti though. Gourmet Garden in Scarborough, Brimley and Sheppard is pretty good, although it's not a really a restaurant but rather a food stall in a food court. If you're not picky about atmosphere and just out for some great food, I would recommend this place. The food is comparable to Restoran Malaysian in quality and flavor, but definitely cheaper! If you like authentic Malaysian, I recommend their Shrimp Sambal, Mee Goreng, Singapore Laksa, Curry Beef Brisket and Nasi Lemak.

                                          1. re: gtafoodie
                                            jennjen18 Jan 19, 2008 07:56 AM

                                            in which mall is gourmet garden? oriental centre/mall, on the north east corner of the intersection?

                                            1. re: jennjen18
                                              g
                                              gtafoodie Jan 19, 2008 04:36 PM

                                              Gourmet Garden
                                              Centerview Square
                                              4465 Sheppard Ave E., Unit 46
                                              (416)332-8765

                                              11:00am-9:00pm (Sun.-Thurs.)
                                              11:00am-10:00pm (Fri. and Sat.)
                                              Closed Tuesday

                                              1. re: gtafoodie
                                                l
                                                Lightweaver Mar 3, 2008 10:07 AM

                                                I am a Malaysian and i find the food at Gourmet Garden to be the most authentic so far. Must trys are their Specialty dish - Penang Prawn Noodles (only on Sat/Sun), Nasi Lemak, Sambal Petai, Sambal Shrimps and the Curry Laksa Noodles.

                                                1. re: Lightweaver
                                                  k
                                                  kie Mar 30, 2008 09:52 AM

                                                  Agree with Gourment Garden.
                                                  I went to Restorant Malaysia for a second time with guests and the food is absolutely the crap. I just don't understand why this place is busy at all. Is it because the standard of customers are so low or in-experience about Malaysian that they will pay and eat anything? Rendang was pieces of broken up meat with no spices or curry flavour - just hot flavour only. The rice was too soft. The Hainanese Chicken was rubbery (probably microwave). My last time there. Gourmet Garden is still the best.

                                                  1. re: kie
                                                    m
                                                    mme_chowhere Apr 3, 2008 11:36 AM

                                                    Wow, I have to say I'm really surprised to hear of your experience at Restoran Malaysia. I have been there several times and have always had an extremely wonderful experience. I have only tried their Rendang once - my friend from Singapore says it's quite good and authentic. Loved it. However, my hands down faves there are the Laksa noodle which is incredibly rich and smooth broth. Pure heaven. They have wonderful curries too. The ones with a hint of lemongrass flavour are especially light tasting and refreshing for a curry dish. If you get rice, you gotta go with coconut rice. To die for.

                                                    1. re: kie
                                                      c
                                                      climacus Apr 16, 2008 05:08 PM

                                                      I went to Restoran Malaysia last week and sadly the quality is not there anymore. I much prefer Matahari at this point.

                                                      1. re: kie
                                                        k
                                                        kwong Apr 28, 2008 01:46 PM

                                                        I went a couple days ago to Gourmet Garden to try their Roti Canai. It was very greasy, which is definitely not like the ones I had in Malaysia. Next time, I'll try something different, but I definitely won't be having the Roti again.

                                                        1. re: kie
                                                          aser Apr 12, 2009 10:55 AM

                                                          Reason being, a lot of the early praise was for the original incarnation of Restoran Malaysia. Pre-renovation, it was truly great. The flavours have been dumbed down since it's been "spring roll'ed" as I like to call it.

                                                          1. re: aser
                                                            vincechan Apr 13, 2009 10:07 PM

                                                            "spring roll'ed" eh? I like it! Will be using that term more often to aptly describe the situation you just did.. easy to understand metaphor.. lol!

                                                        2. re: Lightweaver
                                                          d
                                                          dory Jun 6, 2008 12:35 PM

                                                          Based on Chowhound recs. we stopped by at Gourmet Garden this wknd. Not an area we're normally in and it was a bit tricky to find but we're glad we did. We had the Singapore Laksa Noodles (I liked it better than this dish at Restoran Malaysia although their food used to be better than it is now IMHO and better than the food court at First Markham Place), shrimp cakes, satay and chicken curry. Not adventuresome I admit. Next time we'll try some of your suggestions.

                                                2. a
                                                  Apple Feb 8, 2007 01:16 PM

                                                  I like both Kei & Mata Hari -

                                                  I am sorry one of the posters didn't like their Kei experience - having eaten there several times... really like the mee goreng and the curry puffs. very cool atmosphere.

                                                  Mata hari has a wider selection of food - very delicious & very busy - low on atmosphere. Still nice but not as cool. Make sure you save room for sago sago

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Apple
                                                    f
                                                    FlavoursGal Feb 8, 2007 01:32 PM

                                                    "Make sure you save room for sago sago..."

                                                    ...and pandan crepe. This dessert creation at Matahari Grill is incredible.

                                                    Just a note regarding NorthPoint's comment about great value for money: Matahari is an excellent restaurant, but it is by no means cheap. Do not expect Chinatown pricing, but do expect great food.

                                                    1. re: Apple
                                                      a
                                                      ascendance Mar 24, 2007 06:57 PM

                                                      The mee goreng is good at Kei's.

                                                      However, the curry puffs are not. I mean, I don't expect their curry puff to be as good as the ones my aunt makes, but come on, I've had tastier fillings in a $0.80 samosa. The pastry also isn't quite right... it's too soft.

                                                    2. s
                                                      Sinfulia Feb 8, 2007 01:04 PM

                                                      There's an excellent multi-asian restaurant in Markham - not quite on the subway line - called Golden Elephant . It's got everything from Vietnamese to Thai to Malaysian. And it's very cheap!

                                                      21 Replies
                                                      1. re: Sinfulia
                                                        Royaljelly Mar 22, 2007 07:47 PM

                                                        I've tried Golden Elephant and it's brutal. That's the problem with those multi-asian places, is that they do a bit of everything, but nothing is really that good.

                                                        If you're up in Scarborough, there's a much better place called South Asia Malaysian Cuisine - 416-291-3892 on 3380 Midland (just north of Finch), Scarborough, ON M1V 5B5. The place actually had a good review on Toronto Life at one time (can't find the review online now). Less choices than Restoran and not quite as refined, but cheaper and larger portions.

                                                        1. re: Royaljelly
                                                          a
                                                          ascendance Mar 24, 2007 06:56 PM

                                                          Is that place still open? I'm pretty sure it's gone.

                                                          1. re: ascendance
                                                            jennjen18 Jan 19, 2008 07:54 AM

                                                            yeah, i live around the area, and cant think of where this place could be ... there's no malaysian stuff near this area ..

                                                            1. re: ascendance
                                                              vincechan Mar 1, 2008 10:06 AM

                                                              South Asia Malaysian Cuisine is still there... I've at there a couple of times... nothing note-worthy though. The laksa flavor is not authentic.. just curry noodles.

                                                              1. re: vincechan
                                                                w
                                                                wetnose Apr 11, 2009 03:00 PM

                                                                IMO, the "malaysian" part of the restaurant's name is a total misnomer. I went there last night and was thoroughly disgusted by the total lack of authenticity. The rojak resembled nothing like rojak, the char kway teow was bland, the satay was the *worst* I ever had, the chicken rice....ughhhh. It's like the owner just breezed through a Malaysian tourist brochure and decided to make up something that would look like the pictures using the ingredients from a Mountain Equipment Coop. Utter FRAUDs. If you want authentic Malaysian food, then do yourself a FAVOR and avoid South Asia Malaysian restaurant at all costs!!!!

                                                                1. re: wetnose
                                                                  Charles Yu Apr 11, 2009 04:07 PM

                                                                  Interesting comment! So negative towards one of our board's favourite!

                                                                  FYI, I just came back from a holiday in Singapore and the Orient a few weeks ago. During my stay in S'pore, with a couple of local chowhounders leading the way, I had the good fortune to try out some authentic S'pore/Malaysian food in Hawker food stalls etc. Frankly, some of the food I had are not much better in taste than the likes of out Gourmet Garden or South Asia Restaurant.! In fact the Hokkien Mien, Char Kway Teow and Chicken rice ( from Tien Tien and supposed to be one of S'pore's best ) that I had were all bland and disappointing as well. Far from delicious but I won't use the word 'FRAUD' to describe them!!

                                                                  I noticed this is your first posting and that you have left your profile blank. In order to make your claim more credible. may be you should elaborate more! Like, are you from Malaysia or S'pore?!

                                                                  1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                    vincechan Apr 12, 2009 09:08 AM

                                                                    Charles, did you happen to detail your Singapore trip.. (which hawker/restaurant you went). I want to cross reference with my prep list for my next trip back.

                                                                    1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                      w
                                                                      wetnose Apr 12, 2009 02:04 PM

                                                                      I'm sorry if you thought that the food that you tried in Singapore wasn't different from South Asian Malaysian (SAM) - just relocated to 3700 Midland. Perhaps the management recently changed at SAM and the authenticity went with the old management. I can tell you as of my visit last Friday, SAM is a complete and utter fraud. Gourmet Garden comes pretty close overall though.

                                                                      As for my background, I was born in the region (sorry no details beyond that, this is the Internet) and for us, food is one of the principal pleasures of life. I have so many memories of my parents bringing me out on Sundays, always for the best. SAM is an insult to those wonderful memories.

                                                                      First: the rojak. What I was served was cold pickles in a spicy vinegarette with sesame seeds. WHAT???? Look up rojak in wikipedia and that comes pretty close to it. SAM's rojak is NOTHING like the real deal. The real rojak is a wonderful contrast of textures, flavors and aromas. Smoky tau pok, bean sprouts, fresh cucumber, juicy pineapple, sweet shrimp sauce, topped with ground peanuts. Not many places in Singapore can get it right - the good ones are so popular that they only need to open for 4 hours a day. SAM's version: utter FAILURE. 0/10. I wouldn't even serve it to my DOG. I've never been so totally disappointed in my life.

                                                                      Second: Char Kway Teow. SAM's version is like taking a real Raphael painting and running it through a 70's era fax machine (thrice) and claiming the final result as identical. It lacks the 3 key ingredients that makes all char kway teows so delicious. Any else is just fried noodles at the Mr Ho's in REGINA. If you don't know what they are, then I suggest you visit Singapore again...with another group of friends, preferably native born. SAM: 1/10.

                                                                      Third: Satay. HORRENDOUS. I've NEVER had worst satay in my life. Can you say in all seriousness that SAM's satay is the equivalent as Singapore's? You probably had the freeze dried stuff from 7-11. The size is wrong, it was obviously cooked on an electric IRON, there is NO taste to the meat and the peanut sauce merely PC szechwan sauce with chili flakes. INEDIBLE. Taste the real thing and it's simply a revelation in comparison. We used to have 200 in 1 go. SAM's version: FRAUD. -15/10. Their version is like texan barbeque sauce without molasses or spices. I'd rather eat rusty NAILS.

                                                                      Fourth: Chicken Rice. The chicken was dry, overdone and tasteless. The rice was too soft and not seasoned in the right proportions. I guess garlic, ginger and green onions must cost a fortune these days. The soup: nice touch but not the right one to be served. Again, missing a key ingredient - if you don't know what that is, you wasted your time in Singapore. The chili sauce was just a salty version of some generic made-in-china crap you'd buy at the TNT. SAM's version: 1/10.

                                                                      I really had high hopes for SAM...really wanted to give them a chance but my hopes were sorely dashed. In fact, I can't believe I actually paid for the whole thing, I should have just walked out. I really wouldn't recommend any chow member bring any native Singaporean/Malaysian to SAM because their comments would be a lot less kinder than mine. And yes, it's my first posting because I've never encountered any restaurant in my whole life that has enraged me so much. Singaporeans/Malaysians take their food very seriously.

                                                                      1. re: wetnose
                                                                        skylineR33 Apr 12, 2009 06:26 PM

                                                                        wetnose, what is the best chicken rice in Toronto area in your opinion ? Have you tried Lion City in Mississauga ? I like the one in there.

                                                                        1. re: wetnose
                                                                          Charles Yu Apr 12, 2009 06:29 PM

                                                                          Welcome to Chowhound and thank you for your detailed clarification. This is my second response to you since for some unknown reason my original response was deleted by the moderator!! Do check out the Greater Asia board for answers to questions you posted above pertaining to S'pore CHers Fourseason and klyeoh and our Maxwell hawker center chowmeet.

                                                                          1. re: wetnose
                                                                            t
                                                                            theel Apr 17, 2009 05:33 PM

                                                                            Went to SAM today just because there was so much talk about it. I tried there chicken rice and it definitely isn't what I was used to growing up in S'pore. I am willing to let them by on the texture and taste of the chicken because I am pretty sure the quality of the chicken readily available to everyone in S'pore is much better than it is pretty much anywhere in N. America. The genetically modified, corporate raised chickens sold here is pretty bleh so that's not their fault. The rice was a little too salty and lacked a subtlety and yes the chili isn't quite the same. I think the recipe used at SAM is geared towards the N. American Chinese palate. Whack you over the head with seasoning, garlic and onion. I do believe that someone in the kitchen has at least eaten in S'pore. The cucumbers lightly marinated in a soy based seasoning is something I've only seen there and it is usually served with the chicken rice. Too bad that's about the only truly authentic flavour on the plate. However, given that hawker stalls in S'pore all specialize, I am hoping that there is something that SAM will get me hooked on. I had a look around and the CKT didn't look right. There isn't a place in town that does it right as far as I have found. I believe this is because there isn't a drop of kecap manis to be found in TO. This a real key flavour both in S'pore food and as a condiment (especially for the chicken rice). I will make an effort to go back and try something else. Like I said, the hawker stalls all specialize so maybe SAM has a specialty too.

                                                                            1. re: theel
                                                                              skylineR33 Apr 17, 2009 07:12 PM

                                                                              Lion City in Mississauga serves kecap manis as a condiment for their Chicken rice, together with the other 2 condiment, ginger sauce and chili&vinegar sauce.

                                                                              1. re: skylineR33
                                                                                t
                                                                                tjr Apr 17, 2009 07:29 PM

                                                                                And you can also buy kecap manis at places like T&T. I'm sure some of the restaurants must be using it where required.

                                                                                1. re: tjr
                                                                                  w
                                                                                  Wandering Foodie Apr 18, 2009 01:20 PM

                                                                                  Majority of the Kecap Manis you find in Toronto are from Indonesia and those are much sweeter than the Malaysian version (and unsuitable for authentic Malaysian dishes).

                                                                                  1. re: Wandering Foodie
                                                                                    t
                                                                                    tjr Apr 18, 2009 01:47 PM

                                                                                    I wasn't aware; it's impossible to find Malaysian kecap manis then?

                                                                                    1. re: tjr
                                                                                      w
                                                                                      Wandering Foodie Apr 20, 2009 10:40 AM

                                                                                      I'm still looking for one in Toronto. If you find, please post! :D

                                                                                      But you can find it in Vancouver.

                                                                                    2. re: Wandering Foodie
                                                                                      Full tummy Apr 18, 2009 03:13 PM

                                                                                      Where do you purchase the Malaysian version?

                                                                                  2. re: skylineR33
                                                                                    t
                                                                                    theel Apr 18, 2009 08:20 PM

                                                                                    I tried to go there once but wasn't smart enough to actually bring the internet driving instructions. I got to the intersection and drove around a little and ended up settling for a congee place (which by the way was surprisingly good and good value too). I am going to have to try that trek again sometime.

                                                                                  3. re: theel
                                                                                    w
                                                                                    Wandering Foodie Apr 20, 2009 10:47 AM

                                                                                    Don't bother. I've visited there 5 times now and tried both lunch and dinner dishes (yeah, I was trying too hard to like it). They're about as authentic as chicken balls are to "Chinese" cuisine.

                                                                                    Two places in the area that offer more authentic fair are Gourmet Garden and Coconut Island.

                                                                                    1. re: Wandering Foodie
                                                                                      skylineR33 Apr 20, 2009 10:55 AM

                                                                                      Hi Wandering Foodie, do you mean Lion City or SAM that is as authentic as chicken balls to "Chinese" cuisine ?

                                                                                      Gourmet Garden, Coconut Island and SAM are in Scarborough
                                                                                      Lion City is in Mississauga.

                                                                                      1. re: skylineR33
                                                                                        w
                                                                                        Wandering Foodie Sep 21, 2009 06:46 AM

                                                                                        I mean SAM. I've not been to Lion City yet. Thread display on chow needs some work.

                                                                    2. n
                                                                      NorthPoint Feb 8, 2007 12:02 PM

                                                                      I have visited both Mata Hari and Restoran Malaysia. Mata Hari is outstanding with a high end atmosphere. I find the service is rather poor when the owner is not working but otherwise it is great. Rostoran Malaysia is quite a hike from downtown but my fiancee and I really like it so we will be making the trip once in a while. The place is nice and the food is great. Both places offer great value for the money.

                                                                      1. n
                                                                        n10sity Aug 21, 2006 04:15 PM

                                                                        I've heard nothing but good things about Kei on the corner of Queen and Shaw - more upscale and pricier Malaysian cuisine, but the ambience is great...

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: n10sity
                                                                          c
                                                                          chinglish Feb 8, 2007 12:28 PM

                                                                          Ate at Kei once and never again. They have good drinks but food was unspectacular. The laksa noodles (traditional Malaysian cuisine) were served lukewarm -almost cold- and unsavoury. We sent it back and the cook made it again but it still wasn't great. Its unfortunate because its a great cozy location.

                                                                          1. re: chinglish
                                                                            a
                                                                            ascendance Mar 24, 2007 06:55 PM

                                                                            I ate at Kei's for my birthday. I wouldn't call it authentic Malaysian.

                                                                            The laksa noodles was crap. The soup was very watery, and the coconut flavor was a little too pronounced. Coconut Island, or even the Malaysian place at the food court at First Markham Place will give you a much more decent curry laksa.

                                                                            However, it's probably the best mee goreng I've ever had (also the most expensive, but you get what you pay for, right?). Their "secret" ingredient is these sweet, Chinese pickles, chopped up fine. For those who fry mee goreng at home, I definitely can recommend throwing in some choy po.

                                                                            Service was way too slow for a party of 12. They only have two chefs cooking. Use it for intimate outings, not big parties.

                                                                          2. re: n10sity
                                                                            Rabbit Feb 8, 2007 01:16 PM

                                                                            I've only been once to Kei, but found it fantastic. I had some sort of fish steamed in some sort of leaf with rice. Fish was wonderful - and memorable considering this some time back (although I am obviously foggy on specifics). Atmosphere was warm and cozy. I've always intended to go back - but so much chowing to be done...

                                                                            1. re: Rabbit
                                                                              l
                                                                              LK1975 Mar 21, 2007 07:53 PM

                                                                              Any idea if we should be making rez at Restoran Malaysia for a Friday night?

                                                                              1. re: LK1975
                                                                                Full tummy Mar 21, 2007 11:45 PM

                                                                                They don't take reservations, but you might want to call them to find out what time you should arrive by in order to avoid a long wait. My sister arrived shortly after 7 p.m. on a Saturday night a few weeks ago and had to wait for an hour and 15 minutes for a table for four. I went this past Sunday; four of us arrived at about 6:30 and had to wait for 15 minutes. A group of five arriving just minutes later was told it would be an hour wait. The food was good, but the service was slow as molasses.

                                                                                1. re: Full tummy
                                                                                  j
                                                                                  Jar Apr 30, 2008 02:35 PM

                                                                                  Finally got to the Rest.` and every bit of luck was on our side for a first visit. Can't recall if a Fri. or Sat., about 5.00 p.m???,, but three of us! One couple ahead of us, maybe waiting for others, etc,.,we were seated basically immediately, ahead of the mentioned couple. Only problem in that our orgqanized ordering, had us order a very bit to much of one item and having to order more rice. Service superb, food superb, and the very most scary and frightening thing was in my failure to devour all the wonderful chillies in the Chili Chicken ( I won't explain ), next time we go, I got them!! As for lineups, etc., I will say that they were continual behind us, so we got there just at a perfect time!! The food and service is worth the wait, maybe even if you wait standing on your whead!!!

                                                                          3. j
                                                                            josamania Aug 21, 2006 03:05 PM

                                                                            The Friendly Thai on Yonge (between Bloor and Wellesley) posts themselves as Thai and Malaysian restaurant. Not sure how authentic they are, but their Thai curry is certainly delish!

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: josamania
                                                                              MyCrazyDawg Jan 19, 2008 08:23 AM

                                                                              I had the worst meal I have had in a long time at this Friendly Thai. Deep-fried meat before inserting in cornstarch-thickened curry. And, there is nothing Malaysian about it. Don't bother checking it out.

                                                                            2. h
                                                                              hungryabbey Aug 21, 2006 01:07 AM

                                                                              Sounding like a broken record, I know, but Mata Hari is excellent. Great menu, something for everyone, not bad prices either.

                                                                              1. d
                                                                                DDD Aug 20, 2006 09:15 PM

                                                                                I also like Mata Hari. There is also a place on Kennedy & hwy 7 (just north of 407) called Coconut Island that make a decent Roti Chanai and some other malaysian food decently, I would say similar quality to Restauran Malaysia. Unfortunately Coconut Village closed on Roncessvalles (they had a very good Roti Chanai). Anyone know of any others esp around the west end?

                                                                                1. a
                                                                                  Apple Aug 18, 2006 03:01 PM

                                                                                  Mata Hari on Baldwin is fantastic. It is pretty authentic and always delicious. I highly recommend it.

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Apple
                                                                                    Cereal Killer Aug 18, 2006 09:02 PM

                                                                                    I second Mata Hari.

                                                                                    CK

                                                                                    1. re: Cereal Killer
                                                                                      JonasBrand Mar 1, 2008 12:42 PM

                                                                                      I third Mata Hari. Excellent food and service.

                                                                                      1. re: JonasBrand
                                                                                        estufarian Mar 1, 2008 04:57 PM

                                                                                        Let's not go overboard here!
                                                                                        Matahari is pleasant, presentable and IMO a good place for, say, a first date, as the food isn't too challenging.
                                                                                        However service is erratic (at best) - seems to be ONLY one server (the owner) who is cheerful, but easily overwhelmed.
                                                                                        And the menu certainly includes some pleasant Malaysian food - but wanders all over the SE Asian map - Thai, Vietnamese, Szechuan etc. This is 'white bread' ethnic food - competently prepared in a better-than-average environment (tablecloths, bright lighting, pleasant atmosphere). And you pay more at Matahari than at other places in the same area.
                                                                                        I am happy to eat here - it's always a safe bet - but for me, not really a destination.

                                                                                        1. re: estufarian
                                                                                          vorpal Mar 2, 2008 02:58 AM

                                                                                          I'm not discrediting your claim, but I've never had an experience like that at Matahari. I've seen always at least two people working tables and the service has always been impeccable. I drink a lot of water, thus making it a huge challenge for the wait staff to keep my glass filled. I can say that in all of my visits to Matahari, I can't remember a single time where this was an issue.

                                                                                          What on their menu is Thai, Vietnamese, or Szechaun? I can't think of a single dish. My experience with Malaysian food is minimal, but I was under the impression that it was fairly authentically prepared Nyonya style Malaysian fare according to a Malaysian acquaintance and a Singaporean good friend who has a huge penchant for Nyonya.

                                                                                          Agreed that the price is a bit steeper than I would like, but the quality is very high, I find, and the portion sizes are much more satisfying than most restaurants at that price point.

                                                                                          I've found it very difficult to locate restaurants in this city that I really like, and Matahari Grill is one of the few that makes that list and has always been consistently excellent.

                                                                                  2. l
                                                                                    LikeTheWolf Aug 18, 2006 02:51 PM

                                                                                    Lots of good reports about Restoran Malaysia. However, it's in Richmond Hill so you'll have to transfer at Steeles I suppose.

                                                                                    http://www.toronto.com/restaurants/li...

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: LikeTheWolf
                                                                                      b
                                                                                      Bones 10 Mar 3, 2008 09:48 AM

                                                                                      I would rate this restaurant 9 out of 10
                                                                                      Food is great, tasty and plentiful and so is the service
                                                                                      No alchahol served

                                                                                      1. re: LikeTheWolf
                                                                                        Food Tourist Apr 26, 2008 07:36 AM

                                                                                        http://www.restoranmalaysia.com/menu.php

                                                                                        Going there for dinner tonight...what are the best of the best items to order? Thanks. I know there are mixed reviews and it may be going downhill, but even if it's just the roti chennai that is still good, let me know please.

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