HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >

Discussion

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.

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

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  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. :)

      -----
      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.

        -----
        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).

      -----
      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.

          -----
          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. 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

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

          2. I see bulavinaka and bsquared2 have modified their views on Manja since their postings in early June. I have wanted to go since June but did not make it till I passed it unexpectedly last night. I would drive (almost) anywhere and pay anything (well, not quite anything) for exceptional food. I would even compromise on "exceptional" when it comes to Malaysian, Indian, or Greek (all of which I love and all of which are nonexistent or in very short supply in LA). At Manja, the food is exceptionally expensive for what it is, the quality is ehh, and it feels out of place in its surroundings--uncomfortable on all 3 counts! Plus aside from me placing my takeout order, the place was absolutely empty. Two redeeming factors: Cute cushions mounted on the wall in place of seat backs--enjoyed the visual, but I doubt they're comfortable--and I got Manja out of my system! I guarantee it's not long for this world.
            PS I don't understand the fuss about Street. Nice idea but it seems flawed from the get-go: The whole point of street food is one splendid item made to perfection. Can you really do 50 different items from Phuket to Tel Aviv to Buenos Aires? Love Susan Feniger but discussed it with her and she hasn't even been to most of the places she has designed dishes from. That has me really stumped! That toast points and egg jam kaya dish that everyone raves about: There must be 7,685 places in Malaysia and 1701 places in Singapore that have better versions. Is it arrogance or naivete to think that the same chef can do dosas, socca from Nice, empanadas, falafel, kibbeh, and Shanghai dumplings with equal aplomb? But Sue's a great talent and I wish her well. Just don't make me eat there!

            1 Reply
            1. re: toddchow

              I drive by this place every day. I can't imagine it can stay open too much longer since it always seems empty.

            2. Wow. That was foul.

              Perhaps I should have been warned off by the nearly empty dinning room, but I was genuinely excited by the prospect of Malaysian food. My bad. The mushy sweetened chow kuay teow should have warned me off, but I plowed on into roti chani featuring frozen prata that I use at home and a tasteless curry gravy. From there it was on to sugary sweet beef rendang that was so obviously from a packet that I almost laughed through my grimace. There was some tasteless chicken curry as well, but by then I was beginning to feel sick to my stomach from all the sweetener and the sodium.

              We left enough food on the table to feed several hungry people and the staff didn't ask why or offer to box it. Perhaps they understand how atrocious their product is.

              This place is offensively bad.

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: jawper

                OP says the OP is a lover of malaysian food. bsquared2 - there was a list of malaysian places and you asked which was best. Since you actually know and love malaysian food, I'd like to askyou, Which is best? I trust your judgment.