Monday, September 01, 2008

Malaysia Day Celebration: Satay Garden Restaurant

Rating: Pending
I simply love it when my obsession with trying new Malay/Singaporean restaurants works to my advantage. Today, I had the sudden urge to pick up a take-out menu from this newly opened, family-run restaurant called "Satay Garden". It just opened in the small city-square just a couple blocks from my house. This excited me, because it's very difficult to get authentic Malaysian cuisine without having to make a trip downtown or to Richmond. So, with Satay Garden being within 15mins walking distance from my house I was stoked. The lovely-sunny Sunday weather also encouraged me to go out for a stroll. As I neared the restaurant, I couldn't wait to see what kinds of authentic Malaysian dishes they would offer to the community.

Once I reached the restaurant-front, I was greated by an array of balloons, a Malaysian flag and a crowd of people. Hmm... I thought to myself, "What's all the commotion? This place has been here for at least a month and not once have I seen it this busy!" Then it struck me... today is Malaysia Day! How could I forget? I guess the craziness of summer and all the work that I've been doing caused me to forget (shame on me... I know). But again, my obsession with food brought me back to earth and reminded me of Malaysia Day! As I stood amongst the crowd of people, wondering what I was in store for, the owner of the restaurant emerged... she greated everyone with a lovely smile and warmth and invited the crowd to help themselves to "samples" of her delicious home-made dishes. (I say "samples" only because we were practically all fed a full meal... ah, that's the Malaysian way... feed others until they're full!)

Luckily, I always bring my camera with me everywhere... so guess what!? You're in store for some grand ol' pictures of the free food I just chanced upon at this quaint little Malaysian diner.

I started with their Epok-Epok (curry puff). It was wonderfully flaky, and I wish they had more of it to serve. Sadly, everyone else loved it as well, so they quickly ran out :( Oh well, I can easily go back and buy some :) The inside was filled with curry beef, potatoes and veggies. Just the right amount of filling and a lovely appetizer.

Their Ketupat, topped with some sort of sambal sauce, was also very good. This compressed rice cake was served in bite-sized pieces... I would have loved to see the Ketupat in their coconut-leaf baskets.

The main dish was flat egg-noodle with mushrooms and oyster sauce. Or at least that's what it tasted like to me. It was nothing spectacular, but it was tasty. To the right of the noodles, I spooned on some of their Beef Rendang. I would have liked a bit more spiciness in the rendang sauce, and a little less oil; but the beef was cooked beautifully and was soft and flavorful.

Mmm... hard-boiled eggs with more sambal sauce. Layering the plate is the oil from the Rendang... the oil is being nicely absorbed by the soon-to-be-uncrispy prata. Mmm... oil soaked prata! I'm lovin' it

For dessert, they served up some bubur cha cha. I still prefer my dad's bubur cha cha better. This sweet soup had a lot of sweet potato and yam, but was needing a bit more coconut-milk to add some richness.

To end off the meal, we enjoyed some Tea Tarik! My mom's favorite tea... and it's darn good too. The tea was not too strong, and the milky drink was just what we needed to cap off a wonderful (and FREE) lunch.

So, the lesson here is that being a crazy foodie can pay off when you least expect it. My parents and I were actually thinking about driving out to Richmond today to try Kelong, but both of them were very exhausted from a long day of working. So, this free meal at a nearby Malay restaurant was just the thing they needed to brighten their day.

P.S. The rating at the top is only "Pending" because I'm sure that Satay Garden has a lot more goodies in store to offer, and I'm not about to rate the restaurant based upon a sampling-meal... that'd just be cruel. But don't worry, I'll definitely be back to try out their menu specials and maybe even some of their baked goods and kuehs!


friedwontons4u said...

Malaysian food is just awesome. I love how it takes influences from a variety of Asian cusines and makes it its own. Unfortunely there aren't a lot of Malaysian restaurants here in Philadelphia.

silverrock said...

Yeah, I know what you mean. It's hard to find authentic South-east Asian cuisine in some of the States. Once time I travelled with my family to the Oregon Coast and we just couldn't find a decent Chinese restaurant. Well, cooking is becoming more and more ethnic and diverse... so hopefully someone will open up a Malay shop in Philly. (Maybe it'll be you?!)

Christy said...

I just had ketupat last weekend!! There was an Indonesian festival held in Melbourne this past weekend, and I literally stuffed my face with food! They did not have roti prata or teh tarik though, unfortunately. But I'm going to singapore for a visit in less than a month so I'll be able to have them there!!