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Apr 20, 2010 11:44 AM

Authentic and good Malaysian at Langkawi in San Mateo

Only rare mentions on Chow about the very good Langkawi Malysian in San Mateo. We were returning from Palo Alto last week and remembered that Langkawi is right at a 101 exit.

We had

Crispy Candied Squid -- a very interesting appetizer of small (1-2" size) squid fried crisp in a sweet soy sauce. It was too much for the 2 of us, but would be great for a larger group.

Rojak -- wow! brought back memories of an all too brief visit to KL for me. Wonderfully cold chunks of jicama, mango, pineapple, and cucumber in a sweet-soy and shrimp paste sauce sprinkled with peanuts. The real deal. I haven't seen this anywhere else in the area. Waitress (who turned out to be non-Malaysian Chinese) was surprised we liked this. It is a favorite with Malaysians, but shrimp paste can be off-putting to others. Be warned and please don't complain if you don't like it. This is the kind of authentic dish we need more of around here.

Roti murtabak with beef - well executed version of this stuffed pancake with a curry dip.

According to the waitress, "all" the Malaysian chefs from the other Bay Area restaurants come here for the most authentic Malaysian soul food. Good place.

Their website:

Only complaint (OT) is why do restaurants have to use Flash for their websites? This one is particularly egregious and hard to manipulate - you can't even copy and paste from the menu. Never mind that it won't work on iPhones, etc.

Langkawi Malaysia Cuisine
2946 S Norfolk St, San Mateo, CA 94403

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  1. They also have a pretty good nasi lemak.

    1. I like their Malaysian iced tea rendition which does not taste like other restaurants, but did turn out to be a very pleasant Hong Kong style milk tea flavor with a hint more earthiness, and outsmoking a lot of Hong Kong cafe renditions. Only Malay Satay Hut in Redmond WA (with another location in Seattle area) did a better Malaysian iced tea. The owner/manager and most of the waitstaff speak Cantonese too.

      1. Oh, nice - I've had some Malaysian in a restaurant near my home since I got back from 6 weeks in KL June of last year but it didn't quite do the trick. If I'm in the area, I'll have to give it a try

        1 Reply
        1. re: josquared

          Be interested to read your report on specific dishes at Langkawi when you go, since you have spent much more time in KL than I have. It is a great foodie city, one of the greatest.

        2. The menu looks great; good to know this place is there. I didn't see a coconut-based laksa on the menu -- anyone know where to find this in the Bay Area?

          3 Replies
          1. re: bgbc

            i had it at the malaysian place at ulferts center in dublin (with the koi garden). it was decent; about as good as the laksa at the lower-scale malls in singapore. i would get it again, if only because there doesn't seem to be any alternatives elsewhere. the chicken rice didn't taste right though.

            1. re: bgbc

              I had a coconut based Laksa (it was on their Special's board, not the regular menu) at LimeTree in the Inner Sunset last week...

              Lime Tree - Southeast Asian Kitchen
              450 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

              1. re: gnomatic

                I love Lime Tree, but laksa is not their strong suit.

            2. I had a pretty good meal here - their murtabak is just about perfect. The texture of the bread is tender/flaky/elastic, and the beef was perfectly seasoned. I liked the texture, too - chopped, not ground - and bound by the ever elusive fried egg (I think it's the only version I've had in the Bay Area that has the egg).

              Their breads in general are good – we enjoyed both the thin roti (paper thin, and slightly sweet) and the thick roti as well.

              The char kuey teow was excellent too - perfectly spicy and chewy, the rice noodles were narrower than I’d like, but the flavor was spot on.

              I also really enjoyed the vegetables - the string breans, okra, and eggplant are all offered multiple permutations (belachan, langkawi, and assam) – I sheepishly admit that I can’t remember what style we got of each, but I remember enjoying them all.

              Not everything was good. The beef rendang was just ok – it didn’t have much depth of flavor. The mango chicken was a request from a pregnant friend who was craving mango everything, and was an overly sweet stir-fry with some mango thrown in. The bass in banana leaf sounded appealing, but the fish was not very fresh.

              Still, on the strength of their roti, their vegetables, and their char kwey teow, I think Langkawi is definitely worth the trip.