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Mee goreng at Singapore's banana leaf

  • k

still pretty darn good.

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  1. It's alright, but (alright I got this Chowhounder thing down, you have to be hyper-critical, and the more negative you are the more hardcore Chowhounder you are, right? :)) I was slightly disappointed. I've been to Singapore twoce and *loved* the food there (You can literally have a complete meal for the equivalent of $4 USD). The noodles are good but I don't recall real Singaporean Mee Goreng with potatoes (?!). But other than this my only other Singaporean fix here in the US is Straits Cafe in SF, which is truly awesome (my favorite restaurant in Frisco) but as a fan of the Singaporean hawker stalls (the semi-outdoor food court-type establishments found all over Singapore), Straits Cafe is much too upscale to be considered authentic.
    One thing that SBL has going for it is that it's in the perfect location - Farmer's Market, which is pretty much the Los Angeles version of hawker centres.

    I wished they served Hokkien Mee or Char Kway Teow. I did have the roti paratha which did remind me of Singapore.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Normal Garciaparra

      haha -- no, I think it's just that this forum permits the expression of strong opinion. Isn't it nice not to hear that passive-agressive put down "Oh, tell us what you *really* think!"

      I haven't yet tried the Mee goreng, bc I always go for the excellent Beef Rendang or the Laksa. BUT does anyone else feel the noodles they use are not authentic? (Which seems odd, bc everthing else there is authentic.) I love noodles, but the ones in their laksa are not great...

    2. i agree with kevin. the mee goreng never dissapoints- especially if you eat it indo style with the fried egg on top and two sticks of chicken sate with fresh peanut sauce drizzled on top. i must go there for lunch today now.

      1. actually, singapore hawker indian style mee goreng has spaghetti type yellow noodles, eggs, potatoes and onions. but seldom does it come with chicken or tofu. i'm going there tonight for the first time and will give a current update.

        1 Reply
        1. re: doncha

          I've had Mee Goreng many times in the hawker stalls in Singapore. Never had potato in it. However I do like SBL because it doesn't try to pass for "upscale food" and is aptly located in Los Angeles' version of a hawker stall.

        2. OH my, I am going there ASAP for rendang and/or mee goring Indo/Malay style!!!!! My "tuckychico" is going to be thrilled that I saw this post. Thanks a ton. We've spent many months in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia, and have been anxious to find something "authentic."

          1. We found Banana Leaf to be ok compared to Yazmin. Yazmin is more like Malaysian style home cooking, which is what I prefer. Also, Belacan in Redondo Beach is good, but they are pricy compared to these two. We dropped $75 for two adults and two toddlers before tip - that's alot of money for Malaysian-Singaporean food. My in-laws from Malaysia were aghast when we told them we spent that much on satay, two noodle dishes, nasi goreng, and roti canai. "Hah - I could eat like a king for a week on $75 US!"

            And as for what should be in this or that dish, IMHO, there really are no cut-and-dry rules. You will be hard pressed to find a cuisine that is more integrated than food from these two countries. Ate enough food in Singapore and Malaysia to realize that every great hawker has his or her own spin on what the best mee goreng, Hokkien noodles, or wonton noodle soup should include and the steps involved in preparing them, which often times are closely held secrets. And where do Singaporeans go for the best food? Ask any Singaporean - Malaysia.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bulavinaka

              Where is Yazmin? And does the Banana Leaf have roti canai???? And I totally agree, Malaysia has some great food.

              1. re: tuckychica

                Sorry... forget to post the add... 27 E. Main St in Alhambra - I think the cross street is Garfield. Free and ample parking in back... Call first - they usually close up around Chinese New Year and head back home to Malaysia.

            2. Singapore Banana leaf has Roti Prata which I guess is a good sub. for Roti Canai or is essentially the same thing. curry sauce for the Prata @ SBL is thick and may be bean based. Prata in Singapore is more typically accompanied by a more soupy chicken or fish curry dip. Staff/Owner at SBL cannot be nicer. really great ppl. BUT..all I'm going to say is that the food is decidedly more Indonesian than Singaporean. not one of the dishes I tried can be readily found in Singapore (avail. at Indonesian specific restaurants I'm sure) They may share similar names, but the ingredients/cooking style are not Singaporean. I'm sure rent must be outrageous at that locale but price-quantity-authenticity is, shall we say, needing some work.

                1. I agree that Straits Cafe is the closest to authentic Singapore food. Raffles (Fremont?) is 2nd to it. But both are up in SF area. SBL and Yazmin are not authentic in my opinion, just ask anyone from SG or Malaysia. There's just no good ones in LA area, alot of pretends, but nothing real.

                  Hawker food is amazing in SG....

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dreamcast18

                    Yazmin is not authentic if you measure it against hawker food. It is authentic if you are lucky enough to enjoy home cooking in SG or MY. I've worked and lived in both countries, and my wife is from MY, and we met in SG. Hawker food tends to be very loud on flavors in general, where home cooking tends to be more subtle, and not nearly as salty, fatty, or laden with msg. The paradox about "anyone from SG or Malaysia," is that most don't know how to cook(cooking to them is preparing instant noodles), and most are very reliant on food at hawker stalls, cafes and restaurants there. So their opinions will be based on hawker food for the most part. And I can't blame them for eating out so so often... after watching my mother-in-law cook a full dinner for eight to ten people in her indoor/outdoor kitchen, using charcoal to cook some things, a giant propane stove for others, and an oven for curry puffs, in the sauna-like swelter of KL, it doesn't surprise me that most home kitchens in these two countries sit idle most of the time. Also, the prep time involved in alot of these dishes is quite extensive. For instance, for a great sambal, it is more proper to seed the chiles and remove the veins, as these can otherwise add bitterness. This could mean seeding and devaining hundreds of chiles. Otak otak is best when using fresh king fish that has been minced repeatedly using a cleaver. Making curries from scratch - combining the right seasonings: and roasting the right spices, pounding them, and even sauteeing some of them. Processes like these take patience, skill, and time.

                    So, IMHO, depending on what you consider to be authentic, one may agree or disagree with you.