Banana Leaf, Temple City - first visit of many!
We had an errand there yesterday, and Mrs. O asked me to research the food available in the area. CH search came up with not much; Google Maps was not much better. Well, silly us: Temple City seems to have at least three food joints on any given block. For us, we spotted a little hole-in-the-wall right across the street, with a sign that said Banana Leaf - Indonesian Food. So that was that.
It's small and minimally furnished, but was very clean and smelled good, and there were several families having some very appealing dinners. We quickly had menus, presenting a huge array of dishes including enough veggie options to give Mrs. O plenty of choices. She got a salad with fried tofu, tempeh, and cucumber slices, with a big pile of red pepper paste, plus a big mound of rice and a bowl of a vinegary-sweet soup with some vegetables, including a cross-section of corn on the cob, and a rose-petal syrup drink, very pretty and refreshing. I had a good combo (#21) of beef rendang, smashed chicken, fried potato cubes, fried peanuts with dried anchovy, and a boiled egg on a pile of that red-pepper paste, anchored by a mound of rice wrapped in a ribbon of banana leaf. I love to eat stuff that lets me experiment with combinations, and this kept me very happy for about half an hour. The rice was blazing hot when I got it and stayed that way, probably thanks to the leaf wrap, and it's wonderful how that is so much more interesting than the usual tepid stuff. I had also asked for hot green tea, and was surprised to get just a mug of a rather weak brew, but as I ate from rich to fiery to sweet and back, the tea was exactly what I wanted.
The tab, with tax but before our tip, came to just under $20, a genuine bargain in our opinion. The menu is huge and inexpensive, the people very friendly and welcoming, and there's a large free municipal parking lot on each side of the street. We need to come back a lot, I think, and drag some friends along as well!
5835 Temple City Blvd, Temple City, CA 91780