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Manja Malaysian

I was driving down Santa Monica Blvd. and saw this place opened , Has anybody been there? Must be pretty new. I LOVE Malaysian food, but most places have been pretty disappointing.

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Manja Malaysian Cuisine
8165 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046

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  1. Saw the menu. Looks good, but at $16 for a bowl of Laksa, I'll probably take a pass.

    If somebody wants to spend the $$ to give it a try, I'm all ears.

    Just can't justify spending $16 for what I spent $2 for on my last trip to Malaysia. I really want to find an amazing Malaysian restaurant in LA.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bsquared2

      16 bucks for a bowl of laksa? This would only further confirm with my Malaysian Father-in-law that whatever one pays a fortune for over here can easily be bought for a couple of ringgit over there - anything!

      Have you tried Belacan Grill in Redondo Beach/Torrance area? Haven't been in a while, but we found their food to be very respectable. The only thing missing was the rickety plastic furniture from the local food court. :)

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      Belacan Grill
      2701 190th St Ste 100, Redondo Beach, CA 90278

      1. re: bulavinaka

        Belacan Grill is OK. I did like some of the dishes at Tropika, but now they are the OC location for Belacan.

        You know, every place I ate at in Singapore and KL was good. Some were just really good and some where amazing. In the US, I avoid food courts like the plague. In those cities, I could eat lunch for $2 and be full. I would pay more for a good bowl of Laksa in LA, but $16? Reminds me of when I had a $16 bowl of Pho in Las Vegas and my wife wanted to hop on a plane and slap me.

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        Belacan Grill
        2701 190th St Ste 100, Redondo Beach, CA 90278

        Tropika Restaurant
        17460 E 17th St, Tustin, CA

        Las Vegas Bar
        2343 S Bristol St, Santa Ana, CA 92704

    2. There is no way in this life time I would pay $8 for Roti Canai and $20 for Nasi Lemak at Manja, regardless how good it could possibly be! Enough said.

      You can get the same thing twice as less at Yazmin (Alhambra), Little Malaysia( El Monte), Penang (West Covina), Belacan Grill (Redondo, Irvine).

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      Manja Malaysian Cuisine
      8165 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046

      1 Reply
      1. re: phase2phase

        OK. Of all those places, which one is the best?

      2. Try The Banana Leaf at the Farmers Market (Third and Fairfax). Quite good, and EXTREMELY REASONABLE prices (plus the staff are lovely and always willing to accommodate special requests).

        4 Replies
        1. re: lindaonkingsroad

          The Banana Leaf does not have very authentic food. The best thing there is the mee goreng, IMO. Everything else is a pale imitation of real Singaporean and Malaysian food.

          We go to Little Malaysia in El Monte. It can be a bit inconsistent, but good overall. We like thieir mee goreng, curry mee, and the roti canai. Skip the chicken rice.

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          Little Malaysia Restaurant
          3944 Peck Rd Ste 8, El Monte, CA 91732

          1. re: boogiebaby

            Ditto. BL is horrible.

            IMO, it's difficult to find decent Malaysian/Singaporean cuisines here. The lack of fresh ingredients is a huge disadvantage here. I'd be impressed if kaya jam is made fresh at some of these restaurants. Quite often, the dishes are prepared using ready-made mixes.

            1. re: Vince S

              Agreed. BL is BAD BAD BAD..i don't know why it get rave reviews. Its as bad as panda express.

              1. re: dreamcast18

                I think the problem lies in the fact that Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine is very uncommon here. You can imagine how Chinese cuisine is viewed in areas where little of it is found. BL is somewhat of a gateway to these cuisines just as Panda Express offers some resemblance to Chinese food to the masses. Until one has a chance to try something that is closer to what is considered the real deal, BL is the real deal to them. The types and combinations of ingredients can be unusual and fascinating to those new to these cuisines.

                Coming full-circle, I think this is where I admire Manja. They do make a far more serious attempt at Malaysian cuisine, but at a cost, and not everything is excellent. And that is why so many familiar with these cuisines are concerned about the quality/price ratio. When one is used to approaching a typical hawker center in SE Asia, the specialists with their tasty inexpensive offerings abound. Over here, a specialist would never survive - the demand just isn't there. A stand offering just laksa or just satay would fizzle out very quickly in most areas in SoCal. In order to survive here, one offering up these cuisines has to be a jack-of-all-dishes, so to say.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Okay this is a reply to all the griping about the pricing here. Those are ridiculous complaints. You can get a really good Indian meal in India for 5-10 rupees that's like 10 to 20 cents. Are you guys honestly saying that you should not eat Indian food in SoCal if it costs more than 20 cents for a meal's worth? Cost of living is different between nations. A reasonable criticism is if its worth the price locally.

            1 Reply
            1. re: apple7blue

              Nobody is saying a bowl of Laksa should be $1. But should it be 16X that price? I often travel to Vietnam and I can get an amazing bowl of noodles for $1. In Little Saigon, I can get a really good bowl of noodles for $6. That seems fair to me. At my favorite place, they charge about $8 and that seems fair since they use filet mignon. I once paid $16 for a bowl of Pho in Las Vegas. My wife wanted to slap me. And guess what? It wasn't worth $16.

              To me, Manja's food was OK and was not worth it because of the high price. I LOVE Malaysian food and wish there was a really good restaurant close to me. When I compare their prices to other restaurants I could go to in the neighborhood, they still don't match up. They had some people there after the LAT review ran. I drive by now and it is a ghost town. If there prices were more reasonable, they would probably do better business

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              Las Vegas Bar
              2343 S Bristol St, Santa Ana, CA 92704