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May 12, 2007 05:32 PM

Tourist Trap - Worn Out Malaysia Kopitiam in DC

With numerous reviews about its good food and bargain prices, I was very much looking forward to trying Malaysia Kopitiam, 1827 M St, in DC. A major disappointment in food quality and taste and price! There are still reviews/summaries on the Web that claim it is a Best Bargain and Top 100 restaurant. All I can figure is that maybe it was, years ago. With the billboard review in front being from the year 2000 or so, I should have been more cautious.
Prices were no bargain. My wife and I shared 2 entrees, Chicken Rendang ($13) and the Spicy Tamarind Beef ($16). But worse, the meals were, bluntly, terrible. Each tasted as if it had been made last week and reheated a dozen times since. The beef was particularly tough and dry. The chicken very dry as well. With fresher ingredients, both entrees still would have been mediocre at best.
Since there are still some favorable recent reviews on the boards, maybe we hit a particularly bad time. We were unfashionably early (5 PM) on a Saturday evening. But surely any good restaurant knows what it is serving, and the meals we had convinced me this was a restaurant living on old laurels, with no cares of repeat customers.
Too many other restaurants in the area to consider any return tries to this one.

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  1. A lunch with twelve Chowhounds a year ago found muddy flavors throughout, with the laksa being a highlight. Unfortunately, at a return visit three months later, I found the laksa also very tired and tasting reheated.

    1. I'm going to say it again, and I've said it before, I really really prefer Penang next door for my Malaysian food to Malaysia Kopitiam- I think the atmosphere, food, and service all tend to be better.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jpschust

        Though I often agree with your opinions I have to disagree here. At Penang in DC, the decor is nice and its a happening destination, but I think the food is really subpar and least authentic as compared to what I've had at various local and higher-end eateries around peninsular Malaysia, mostly in/around KL. Malaysia Kopitam is a lot less consistent but better when its on in my opinion. My advice is to skip both and go to Straits of Malaya, especially while we've got this good roof-eating weather going on.

        1. re: Lowbar

          We all get to have one opinion like this :) just one :P

      2. It sure seemed 'tired' last time I was in there and it smells like my grandmother's basement. However, I do love their chicken curry soup for lunch and haven't found a substitute. Would never bother with it for dinner though.

        1. When I went there last year the place (it is a basement) was flooded and it had that nasty musty smell and fans running throughout. That may have colored my opinions, but I didn't care for the food at all.