Having just returned from Malaysia, I am eager to know if anyone knows of anywhere I can get Malaysian-style laksa? For that matter - any authentic Malaysian restaurants? Or anywhere that has Nonya food (a blend of Chinese and Malay cuisines)? We had some amazing fish -head curries there and would love to try to find anything similar in Los Angeles. Thanks.
I don't claim to be an expert on Malaysian food, but, to the best of my limited knowledge, the Los Angeles area is not particularly awash with Malaysian restaurants--good or bad. I have not been impressed with Kuala Lumpur in Pasadena, now located on Green Street, where I last ate a couple of weeks ago. The clientle there is predominantly non-Asian, and the food there, though not awful, seems lackluster. Another place that I believe is in the process of moving to Main Street in Alhambra is Yazmin. I have heard some good things in the past about Yazmin, but can't vouch for it from personal experience. Other Malaysian restaurants--like Rasa Sayang in Alhambra and Chicha's Cafe in Anaheim--have apparently closed.
Perhaps other Los Angeles Chowhounds can supplement my puny, and not all that favorable, list.
re: Tom Armitage
You will find a link - under Abroad - in this singapore website that will take you to a list of restaurants for homesick Singaporeans in the LA area - if the New York notes are indicative, the info may be out of date and not so reliable but it is better than nothing...
I really like Kuala Lumpur for Malaysian. It's on Greene Street in Pasadena and they serve delicious, authentic food. I haven't had a bad dish there yet, and the laksa is great.
I have a date to try a northern Malaysian restaurant in El Monte soon. I'll let you know how it was if you're interested.
Thanks for this, and the other, great posts, Jenji. Since my post on Kuala Lumpur, I have learned that many others share your favorable view of the food there--including Jonathan Gold. I had not been to Kuala Lumpur for quite awhile prior to my meal there a couple of weeks ago, but your post, along with the others who dissented from my lukewarm assessment, will result in another visit soon for a reassessment.
Keep the great posts coming!
re: Tom Armitage
I've got to say, one of my favorite dishes at Kuala Lumpur, although it sounds mundane, is their garlic chicken salad. Glass noodles and field greens and chicken breast with tons are garlic and lime. The dressing is so delicious I snarf down the salad then add the coconut rice to the remaining liquid so none goes to waste. Give it a try.
re: Gary Cheong
KL serves two kinds of laksa, the tart Penang style and the awesome curry laksa: very lemak. Also very nice nasi lemak (even better since fresh pandan became available), kangkong belecan and curry puffs, creditable char kuay teow and a rojak better than any I've encountered in Singapore or KL itself. The chef, Mr. Ng, slips a little on the fusiony stuff, but who cares: he'll even whip up a tasty bowl of off-menu Hokkien mee or an awe-inspiring Malay-style lobster feast if you give him a little notice.
I went to KL in Pasadena only once,
but it was so bad I would never go
back, even though I have since heard
the food has improved.
Little Malaysia, the place on Peck Rd.
in El Monte you mention, is quite good.
Your best bet, however, is to go to Penang
in Flushing, NY. Don't go to any of the
Manhattan locations; take the trouble
to go to Flushing (after all, you've
just flown to NY, why stop there? And
you're in Queens anyway when you land).
It's on Prince St. a block and a half
from Main, sort of kitty-corner from
the Flushing Sheraton. Roti canai is
delicious, so is everything else.
Go, go now.