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Otak otak in SF?

grayelf Jun 10, 2011 01:26 PM

I recently tried this steamed minced leaf wrapped lemon grassy tasty fish in a food court in Vancouver. Though my DC (Malay) felt it wasn't a stellar rendition, it made me happy enough to seek it out in the Bay Area. I did a search and found one place in Vallejo mentioned. Anywhere else I might try otak otak on our next trip?

  1. c
    charliemyboy Jul 2, 2011 03:15 PM

    Having just tried the Pepes Ikan at both Bay Leaf in Sunnyvale ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/792355 ) and Jayakarta in Berkeley ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3251... ) I really encourage you to give pepes a try. If Borobodur’s Otak-Otak had been anywhere near Bay Leaf’s Pepes Ikan I would have praised it to the skies in my report. Perhaps Borobodur’s otak was not the best—I have a vague memory that maybe pilinut was not that impressed with their rendition compared with others she has had. Only solution—order both, just in case! Borobodur doesn’t have pepes so you may have to hit the East Bay or South Bay.

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    Jayakarta Restaurant
    2026 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

    Bay Leaf Restaurant
    122 S Sunnyvale Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

    1 Reply
    1. re: charliemyboy
      grayelf Jul 3, 2011 08:26 AM

      Thanks all for your input. Since I've only had it twice (and from the same stand), I really have no frame of reference. Totally understand about inconsistencies too :-). I will check in again before our fall trip. It would make sense to try a place where there are other dishes of note -- the ayam penyet sounds most intriguing.

    2. daveena Jun 12, 2011 01:27 PM

      It's similar to Cambodian amok or Lao moke pa (the versions I've had range from a fine mousse to fairly chunky with bits of vegetable) - do you definitely want the Indonesian version, or are you interested in other SE Asian riffs on it as well?

      4 Replies
      1. re: daveena
        grayelf Jun 12, 2011 10:44 PM

        Thanks, all, duly noted.

        Daveena, good point -- not married to the Indonesian version (though I do love the name) and have been thinking we should try to fit in some Cambodian and/or Lao next time, so please suggest away. I think I would prefer the less chunky option but the picture Melanie posted recently of an amok with big pieces of fish in it did look rather intriguing...

        1. re: daveena
          c
          charliemyboy Jul 2, 2011 03:21 PM

          Daveena, can you recommend a place for moke pa or amok? The moke pa at Green Papaya Deli on International gets some endorsements from yelpers-- have you tried their version?

          1. re: charliemyboy
            daveena Jul 2, 2011 05:54 PM

            greyelf and charliemyboy, I only hesitate to make a specific rec b/c I've never tasted an amok/moke I didn't like - I think I'm just not that discerning with this preparation. Fish+coconut milk+ spices+ lemongrass+ leaf wrapper = automatic win, for me. I've enjoyed the amok at Chez Sovan in Campbell, Battambang and Phnom Penh in Oakland, and Angkor Grill in Alameda. I did like the moke pa at Green Papaya Deli - had it a long time ago, though - and I remember a friend of rworange tried it and found it revolting, in part because it was served cold to them (mine was freshly steamed and hot)

            greyelf, one of the things that worries me about giving a rec to a visitor on the Cambodian and/or Lao places is that they're so inconsistent. Lately, Black and Silver has been my favorite, but it's really out of the way, and I find that stretch of International a little intimidating - we should touch base before your next visit to see if it's holding up well enough to merit a trip.

            -----
            Battambang
            850 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607

            Green Papaya Deli
            207 International Blvd (at 2nd ave, Oakland, CA

            Chez Sovan
            2425 S Bascom Ave, Campbell, CA 95008

            Phnom Penh Restaurant
            3912 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619

            Angkor Grill
            1319 Park Street, Alameda, Alameda, CA

            1. re: daveena
              Melanie Wong Jul 7, 2011 09:27 PM

              Until last week, I would have been right there beside you. Never met a hamok, amok, mok pa that I didn't like. But here's the one I had in Sacramento at South Area Market that gives me pause. Never run across anything like it.
              http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        2. c
          charliemyboy Jun 10, 2011 09:12 PM

          A group of us had Otak Otak at Borobudur a year ago but none of us commented on it in our posts and all I remember is that it wasn't a standout item for me--
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/705881

          I haven't had it at Jayakarta but everything I have had there has been very good, so I expect their Otak Otak is a good rendition.

          Borobudur is quite attractive inside (though located in the Tenderloin) with very attentive staff, while Jayakarta is a hole-in-the-wall with just OK service.

          -----
          Jayakarta Restaurant
          2026 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

          Borobudur Restaurant
          700 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94109

          1 Reply
          1. re: charliemyboy
            isewinsf Jun 12, 2011 06:28 PM

            Actually, the Tenderloin is South of Geary. Post is considered the Tendernob. Rent starts to soar north of Geary.

          2. Robert Lauriston Jun 10, 2011 01:37 PM

            Jayakarta in Berkeley.

            -----
            Jayakarta Restaurant
            2026 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

            5 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              c
              chocomel Jun 13, 2011 11:35 PM

              Jayakarta's otak-otak is actually pretty decent. Though it has lemongrass, I would not describe otak-otak to be primarily lemon grassy - was it served with peanut sauce?

              Also, if you like the food from the region, Jayakarta serves really good Indonesian food that I often crave...

              1. re: chocomel
                grayelf Jun 14, 2011 12:57 PM

                No peanut sauce, and the lemon grass was quite distinctive.

                1. re: grayelf
                  c
                  chocomel Jun 23, 2011 06:07 PM

                  Probably not otak-otak then. Maybe "pepes". Bay Leaf restaurant in Sunnyvale does a great version (may not worth the drive since you're from out of town). If you're thinking about getting otak-otak/pepes from anywhere (esp Jayakarta), make sure you call to make sure they not only have the ingredients on hand but also the banana leaf wrapping.

                  -----
                  Jayakarta Restaurant
                  2026 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

                  Bay Leaf Restaurant
                  122 S Sunnyvale Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

                  1. re: chocomel
                    m
                    Mul Jun 24, 2011 12:34 AM

                    I prefer Bay Leaf vs Jayakarta.
                    If you're visiting Bay Leaf, try their "Ayam Penyet".

                    -----
                    Jayakarta Restaurant
                    2026 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

                    Bay Leaf Restaurant
                    122 S Sunnyvale Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

                    1. re: Mul
                      r
                      rotiprata Jul 2, 2011 07:59 PM

                      I would not recommend the otak-otak at Bay Leaf (rubbery when i tried it). Their Ayam Penyet (esp the super spicy sauce) was fabulous otoh.

            2. baron45 Jun 10, 2011 01:34 PM

              I've had it here in SF:

              http://www.borobudursf.com/

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