Seri Malaysia Restaurant - Vancouver, Halal Malaysian, pictures
- fmed Apr 27, 2008 10:34 AM
Like most chowhounds, one of the things I look for in an ethnic restaurant is "authenticity". Many restaurants adapt and tone down their dishes in an attempt to cater to North American tastes. Think of all those "Thai" restaurants that don't use fish sauce, or "Sichuan" restaurants that don't use sichuan peppercorn, or "Japanese" restaurants that use Chinese ingredients and thus end up with food tasting un-Japanese.
Here in Vancouver, we are lucky in that we have a large and diverse number of adventurous diners seeking "the real thing"....and are willing to tell their waiters that they want their food done "properly." For the most part, Vancouver diners have set a pretty high bar for authenticity relative to other major cities....thus we are blessed with some excellent ethnic fare. And for the most part, this ethnic fare is served up by family run restaurants who are in a constant struggle for survival.
Seri Malaysia Restaurant has the requisite authenticity that I seek. Chef Jamal (former co-proprietor of the original Kedah House), is emphatic that his food taste "proper"...that means the right techniques, ingredients, saltiness and pungency (from dried and fermented seafood). The room and service are spartan and typical of a family-run business.
We ordered the roti canai, nasi goreng with dried anchovies, spicy garlic prawns, chicken satay, kuey teow noodles, and we finished off with ice bandung (rose milk), and cendol. The flavours were robust and definitely authentic. The roti canai was expertly made and flakey. The portions were huge.
Jamal commented that this Hastings St. location is a real challenge for him. He has been looking for more appropriate locations along more food friendly streets with more foot traffic - like Commercial Drive.
Support small ethnic restaurants...Check out Seri Malaysia.
Seri Malaysia Restaurant
2327E Hastings St E, Vancouver, BC V5L1V6, CA
I forgot to mention....
I took home some lamb curry and lamb briani. The briani, Chef Jamal tells me, is a popular take-out item for Malaysian ex-pats who often come out from the suburbs to order it in bulk to be re-distributed amongst friends and family. I can see why - it is very good. No pics - I ate it before I remembered to take some!
I tried Seri when it first opened and wasn't too impressed. We arrive just shortly after 7 and were told they were closing at 8. Okay fine, not even a 1 minute after we were given our menus, we were rushed to order. Okay, fine. Food, wasn't the greatest maybe it was due to the chef leaving and just a couple of kids running the show. Anyways, our food came, kinda luke warm, they gave us lamb instead of beef, fine, not going to complain since they seem to be in a rush to close. We were told it was last order, pretty much once the food arrived. We ate and were asked to leave at 7:45. They had already turned off the "open" sign and brought the sandwich board in.
Not sure if I would go again, perhaps if someone suggested it, I would try it a second time.
Just as a bit of an update/bump. If you are seeking really good Malaysian food that tastes homemade-authentic, this is the place for you. Very inexpensive. Try the Beef Rendang, Salted Fish Fried Rice, Sates, the Bryani and their popular French Beans with Dried Shrimp paste. Also try the Ice Bandung a rose/pandan iced milk.
I come to Seri a couple of times a month. Super deal. Much cheaper than the big, more well-known places like the Banana Leaf. Don't expect high-end service...this is definitely a hole-in-the-wall sort of place.