Wow, You’ve Got Something There! – Malaysian Food at Kaya Malay Bistro

Tender Beef Rendang,

Flaky Roti and good food
At Kaya Malay.
Before Speedy and her man jetted off to wintry Peru, we decided to have a bon voyage/catch up dinner at Kaya Malay Bistro.
We’ve both been to Kaya Malay before but I had a case of the picture bluritis, hence no blog post.  From past experiences, I liked the food, even in the mild form that I order, and it feels distinct enough that I don’t think of it as a more exotic Chinese food.

We started our meal with Roti Canai.  It appears the restaurant no longer serves whole wheat roti, which shatter my delusional thinking that I was eating healthy since I was getting a bit more fiber.

 

Other than not having the auburn speckles, the roti still had a nice flaky texture and light feel.  The light runny curry sauce was aromatic but kind of boring for me.
I had high hopes for our second appetizer.  Ever since having a phenomenal deep fried Chinese style salt & pepper soft shell crab in Vegas many years ago, I have kept an eye out for something similar in Vancouver. 
The Mini Soft Shell Crab, which can be upgraded to entree size, featured deep fried soft shell crab stir fried with onion, black peppercorns, and a reddish chili sauce. 

 

Unfortunately, I suspect the crab was left in the fryer for too long.  The crustacean was a very greasy on the outside, dry on the inside, and tasteless bite.   In addition, I didn’t feel the other elements of the dish were very impactful either.  A very underwhelming dish, and something I would pass on for future visits.
The plant components of the Sambal Chili Trio were great.  The beans and okra retained a bit of crunch while the eggplant and tomatoes where soft without being overly mushy.  We asked for the dish to be mild so as a result the sauce, which aptly coated the veggies, was aromatic and add an umami kick.

 

The only thing out of place was the shrimp, which were bland and did not add any flavour to the dish.  I think the dish would be better with out the shrimp.
The Beef Rendang was rich, complex and filled with tender chunks of beef.    It was simple and delicious.    

 

To go with our stew, we ordered a bowl of Nasi Kunvit.  The rice was definitely yellow from the turmeric but I didn’t detect any coconut that was in the menu description. 

 

I actually enjoyed mopping up the Rendang gravy with the roti more.  The rice was clumpy, and not soft and fluffy.
To complete our meal, I ordered the Kuih Dadar.  It essentially is a pandan flavoured crepe stuffed with sugar and coconut.  The texture of the crepe is similar to the homemade rice flour rolls my grandma use to make me; imagine the rice rolls at dim sum but thicker, coarser and a touch gummier. 

 

Pandan is easy to spot in a sweet as it usually stains whatever it is in a green colour but its taste is hard to describe.   In the case of Kaya Malay’s dessert, I didn’t detect it very strongly in the crepe.  However, I found the sweetness of palm sugar too overwhelming, so the pandan may have gotten lost.
I think due to my personal preference for custard-y based desserts, I found the Kuih Dadar a decent end to the meal but not amazing.  I don’t think I would order it again.
Despite the misses on the soft shell crab, rice and Malaysian crepe, the other dishes were good enough to make my meal very enjoyable.  The roti, Beef Rendang and Sambal Chili Trio were fantastic and much better than other versions I have tried in the city.  Kaya Malay Bistro has become my go to destination for Malaysian cuisine in Vancouver.
Kaya Malay Bistro
1063 W Broadway
Vancouver, BC
V6H 1E2
604-730-9963
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