Sunday, February 25, 2007

Seeking Malaysian and Asian Food Out West

Our Portland trip has also taken us to several area restaurants, one of which, the Salty’s, has already been featured here. In what follows I will delve more into our forays into the realm of bon appetite!, but the Asian variety, simply because these are harder to come by and my wife really needs to reacquaint her taste buds with the wide range of taste sensations that only Malaysian foods can offer, to put it mildly.

We did partake of other western foods offered by Stanford’s Restaurant and Romano’s Macaroni Grille, both located downtown and they are both as good as can be as far as western/continental cuisine goes.

On the night we landed at Portland, our D and Dan brought us to a Malaysian restaurant that has just opened for business several months back. It’s the Malay Satay Hut [at the time of this writing, this link is broken; but hopefully it will be back up when you see this. Otherwise, try again later] operated by a Malaysian from Ipoh. This is its only outlet in Portland, but the third after Seattle and Redmond.

Upon entering, patrons first walk through a wooden portal in the establishment and are then greeted by a bamboo hut built against the wall on the right that houses the drink and cashier section. The other walls are adorned with large wall murals featuring an outdoor market in Kelantan on the back wall and the Petronas twin tower and its immediate environs on the front wall. Smaller frames claim their spots on the walls on the remaining side but they are too far for me to make out.

The menu displays all the standard fare one would expect in a restaurant back in Malaysia, replete with yummy dishes that we have grown up with: roti canai (once this was my staple as far as the breakfast meal was concerned when I was in Form 4 in Keluang, Johor, about 24 miles from my hometown and where I was renting a room. It is an Indian circular thin bread made from flour and oil with some dough spinning action during its production, much like that associated with the making of pizza, I later learned. It is usually crumbled by hand before being served, and eaten with curry gravy (in bowl), shown below here on right); assam laksa (rice noodles served in sour fish soup flavored with tamarind), Hainan chicken rice (one of my favorite lunch meals); Penang Char Kueh Teow (fried flat noodles with soy sauce, chilli, shrimp, cockles, bean sprouts and Chinese chives, which used to be my favorite supper dish until over-ruled by health reasons); and Singapore Chilli Crab (my wife's special order, shown below on left).

We dug in, and devoured the tasty treats the best we could, but could not hold our ground as we kind of over-ordered in our zeal, the last time we saw so much Malaysian food being back in 2005 (or was it 2004?) in the Penang Restaurant at Atlanta. But there was an easy solution, we packed and left the savoring for another day.

Incidentally, we found that the two proprietors, the one here and the one in Atlanta referenced above, have actually worked together in the same restaurant business before they each went their separate way. Both are entrepreneurs, in the restaurant business, who have made good in US as we are all endowed with so many taste buds that crave for the same good food regardless of its ethnic origin. You make good food, people will come. It’s as simple as that.

On our return leg, the flight transited at the Midway Airport, Chicago. It was around noon when we exited the jetway and entered the huge concourse area (A, B and C). As we sauntered along the corridor, sometimes taking the conveyor belt, our eyes were sweeping for eateries, preferably one serving Asian food. And we were not disappointed as we found Kim Wah, an outlet of prepared food items running the gamut from vegetables, tofu, egg foo yong, to chicken and shrimp, all cooked in the unmistakably Asian style, mixed according to the patron’s choices and served in a plastic container and eaten with plastic cutlery. The one hand-picked by my wife for my consumption is shown below, lavishly topped with tofu, my favorite dish.

Our transit at Midway was for about two hours, long enough to walk along the whole length of the three contiguous concourses. And we came upon several display features that may well worth a separate blog. But we will see.


Chea-Yinn said...

I miss that crab!!!! It was soooo delicious! This was probably not the best time to be reading a food entry, since it's dinner time and we haven't eaten yet... D'oh!!! I do wish they had chee cheong fun and curry puffs on the menu, though. Oh!! And ban mein... YUMMMM. Oh!! We didn't get to take you to the cheap but good Chinese restaurant by our apartment... Next time, perhaps.

Say Lee said...

Yes, include that in your future list of things to do.

Kitty Girl said...

Speaking of Malaysian food, I actually found another restauant here!!! This one is even closer, but it is rather different from Malay Satay Hut in that the dishes are served with a decidedly healthier, vegetarian twist (although shrimp or chicken can be added to any dish). We went there last weekend; I had Mee Goreng Istimewa w/grilled chicken and Dan had some curry noodles. Much to my delight, they had kari puffs! Although not like the ones back home, they were still good, and satisfied my kari puf cravings... For now.

Also, speaking of Malaysia, we chatted with the owner, who is from Ipoh (and still had a slight Malaysian accent, heh heh!), and she talked about how she was in cohorts with Tourism Malaysia to promote Malaysia, and told us of a great deal with MAS, whereby you could get air tickets and hotel at $800 (with taxes, about $1100). She even gave us a new Tourism Malaysia book/brochure featuring pictures of lush beaches... Dan got very excited at the prospect of seeing penyu, the sea turtles.

Anyway! We must go soon!!!

Kitty Girl said...

Also, does anyone remember the name of the crab Mom orderd? It was really really good, but I can't remember which it was.