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Where are all the Malaysian restaurants?

wu12 Sep 24, 2012 03:16 PM

Haven't been out to eat nearly as often after having a kid, but I thought there used to be several Malaysian restaurants around Boston besides the Chinatown Penang. Are there still any? Hubby craving otak-otak (also spelled otah sometimes?).

  1. b
    BostonCookieMonster Dec 10, 2012 09:18 AM

    According to my boss, Royal East in Cambridge has been bought by Malaysians and instituted a secret Malaysian menu of some kind. I don't really have much basis for evaluating Malaysian food myself, but the takeout we ordered at the office seemed tasty.

    5 Replies
    1. re: BostonCookieMonster
      jgg13 Dec 10, 2012 09:29 AM

      The real tip would be knowing what the secret handshake is ;)

      1. re: BostonCookieMonster
        clamdining Dec 14, 2012 08:32 PM

        The former owners of Island Hopper now have an ownership stake in Royal East. They've brought over their chef, and the restaurant is about to launch a new menu with a number of Malaysian dishes (while still maintaining much of their Chinese-American menu, I believe).

        I tried two dishes from the new menu: beef rendang and char kway teow. The rendang tasted mostly of coconut milk; the noodles could have been from any generic Cantonese-American restaurant. This is a big disappointment. I may try them again after their full menu has launched, but things are not looking good.

        1. re: clamdining
          Luther Dec 15, 2012 07:29 AM

          Thanks for the info. I never got the impression that Island Hopper was offering much in the way of authentic preparations or high cooking skill. Maybe this new Royal East will at least be a notch above what they had been serving before.

          CKT is basically a "generic Cantonese" chow fun dish, really simple, only as good as the wok skill put into it. That, and the see hum (cockles). If they don't at least put some clams in there it's pretty much a lie to sell it as CKT.

          1. re: clamdining
            opinionatedchef Dec 22, 2012 01:18 AM

            well darn! you had me all excited but then you had to go and try it!

            1. re: opinionatedchef
              somervilleoldtimer Jan 6, 2013 02:23 PM

              I too loved Bubor Cha Cha. I tried Penang a few weeks ago, but was quite disappointed. The food was much heavier and didn't have the fragrance that I found at BCC. Does anyone have a recipe for two of the dishes that I loved at BCC? One may have been an appetizer, chicken with peppers in lettuce cups with some sauce. I'm sorry I can't do better than that. The other was rice with coconut in it. That was a main dish, not the also-delicious sticky rice with mango that we would have for dessert. I've poked around a bit looking for the lettuce cups recipe but haven't found anything that sounds right.

        2. lipoff Dec 6, 2012 09:33 PM

          No. 1 Noodle House in Newton has laksa and Nasi Goreng on the menu. But I do agree --- Singaporean/Malaysian food is delicious, and I wish we had more options around here. Penang is okay, but I didn't think Bubor Cha Cha's food was very good, except for some desserts which were excellent.

          3 Replies
          1. re: lipoff
            tatsu Dec 7, 2012 01:11 PM

            I wish we had Indonesian, sometimes I make it at home, but whoa it's a lot of work.

            1. re: tatsu
              lipoff Dec 11, 2012 08:07 PM

              There used to be an Indonesian place in the Super 88 Food Court (where the Smile Thai Cafe kiosk is now). I think it was originally called Jakarta Corner and was quite interesting, and then changed owners and changed names to Bali Kitchen and it wasn't very good.

            2. re: lipoff
              TimTamGirl Dec 11, 2012 02:55 PM

              I've had No. 1's laksa, and it tasted really thin - and I do mean *tasted*. The consistency was fine, but there was no curry depth to the flavour. Disappointing.

            3. d
              Dinsdale45 Sep 25, 2012 03:13 PM

              Etsogo in Lowell advertises some Malaysian dishes. I've had the Beef Rendang, which was pretty good.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Dinsdale45
                TimTamGirl Sep 26, 2012 09:30 AM

                Ah, I see 'curry noodle soup' on the menu, which I suspect might be my beloved laksa/curry mee! Has anyone tried it there?

              2. t
                TimTamGirl Sep 25, 2012 07:17 AM

                God, I wish. I would give a variety of limbs for a reliable source of good, spicy, curry-heavy laksa (a.k.a. curry mee - not Assam laksa). Penang and Newton's No. 1 Noodle House are both pretty weak, though No. 1 is the better of the two. It's such an amazing winter warmer food; I don't know why more places haven't given it a proper try.

                1 Reply
                1. re: TimTamGirl
                  opinionatedchef Dec 8, 2012 09:33 PM

                  IF you are ever heading out to San Fran, the laksa is among our fav dishes at Beetlenut.

                2. n
                  nasilemak Sep 25, 2012 06:58 AM

                  I have come across variations of Otak otak in other South East Asian restaurants, mostly Thai or Cambodian, like Amok royale entree at Elephant Walk. A couple of months ago i tried a similar version at Rod Dee at Porter Square but found it to be a pallid version.

                  1. MC Slim JB Sep 24, 2012 06:28 PM

                    I thought Bubor Cha Cha had some Malaysian dishes when it debuted, but somebody (maybe here?) told me they've since dropped those.


                    10 Replies
                    1. re: MC Slim JB
                      Prav Sep 24, 2012 06:49 PM

                      'Twas me. No more Malay food :(

                      1. re: Prav
                        wu12 Sep 24, 2012 07:07 PM


                        1. re: wu12
                          somervilleoldtimer Dec 6, 2012 07:40 PM

                          =(( !

                          1. re: somervilleoldtimer
                            Prav Dec 6, 2012 09:20 PM

                            I know. I still long for more Malaysian options.

                        2. re: Prav
                          MC Slim JB Sep 24, 2012 08:07 PM

                          Now I remember: it *was* you, Prav, but it was on Facebook, wasn't it?


                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                            Prav Sep 24, 2012 09:12 PM


                          2. re: Prav
                            Nab Sep 25, 2012 05:54 AM

                            Bubor did a bang-up job on a handful of dishes, better than Penang for some of these.

                            Island Hopper was also pretty good for a few tricks but their lease is up and they're on the hunt for space.

                            And then there was one.

                            1. re: Prav
                              bear Sep 25, 2012 06:45 AM

                              I just looked at the menu in the window last week. No Malayasian.

                              1. re: bear
                                KWagle Sep 30, 2012 01:44 AM

                                I thought the very reason for being of Bubor Cha Cha was to serve Malaysian food. Now their Web site claims it's Cantonese. Another change in ownership without a change in the English name? I have to admit, I'd like to have a good Cantonese option in Chinatown.

                                1. re: KWagle
                                  Luther Sep 30, 2012 05:09 PM

                                  Best Little Restaurant and Great Taste are good Cantonese options.

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