Restaurant: Seri Malaysia
Last visited: October 17, 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC (Commercial Drive, Grandview)
Address: 2327 East Hastings Street
Price Range: $10 or less, $10-20
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Overall: 5 (Great food outweighs everything)
- Locally owned and operated
- Authentic Malaysian food
- Popular to Malaysian locals
- Homemade/Home style
- Made upon order
- Very “family run” style
- Very casual
- Hole in the wall
- Budget friendly/Cheap eats
- Family friendly
- Cash only
- Lunch and dinner
**Recommendations: Everything I ordered was delicious, but my favourite was the beef rendang. There’s also a whole fried fish that a lot of Malaysian families were ordering to share… I want to try that.
Seri Malaysia Restaurant is a hole in the wall in Vancouver, BC serving the most authentic and delicious Malaysian food in the city. However my knowledge and familiarity with Malaysian cuisine is limited to a few places in Vancouver (there are only a few places though). On another note I did travel to Malaysia this year and I got a very tiny sample of what the food is like. Based on what I know this place is a foodie find with excellent food that’s also dirt cheap.
It’s actually known as one of the best Malaysian restaurants in Vancouver to the Malaysian community. I had my Malaysian friend take me here so I know it’s to some degree authentic. Almost everyone dining there was also Malaysian so I had high hopes that this was the real deal.
The owner and chef generally makes what he knows he can do really well, so the menu is a bit limited. This is good though because everything I tried ended up being awesome. He actually comes out of the kitchen to greet his customers after last call, so it has that family owned feel that I love. It reminded me of El Inka Deli in a lot of ways, minus the type of cuisine served.
Although it’s a total dive, it’s not one of those hole in the wall places where everything is greasy, served in massive portions and just a bang for your buck. Seri Malaysia actually serves homemade Malaysian food using home style recipes at more than affordable prices and decent sized portions. I honestly have no complaints.
On the table:
- Malaysian puff bread served hot with curry or dhal (2 pieces) $5.50
- It was served with curry sauce and I don’t remember dhal as an option.
- It was good, but it didn’t seem like traditional roti canai to me. I can’t have a Malaysian meal without starting off with roti canai as an appetizer though.
- This one was very oily and buttery and flatter and noticeably flakier than usual. It was almost a cross between tender soft pie crust and very tightly packed layers of buttery phyllo pastry sheets. It was just flatter than usual and almost crispy. I prefer my roti canai nice and fluffy and stretchy. I actually really enjoy it at Bo Laksa King.
- The curry sauce was thin, as it usually is for roti, but very flavourful with savoury, sweet and spicy notes.
- Cabbage cooked in a coconut curry gravy $8.50
- This is a sweeter dish if you like sweeter curries. It’s also vegetarian and it’s a great option because they also have slices of tofu puffs (deep fried tofu). Tofu puffs are soft and they have a spongy texture and they absorb and soak up the curry sauce extremely well.
- The curry sauce is a thinner texture so although it is creamy it’s not actually that rich, but rather light and not oily. I could drink it like soup. It’s made with Taiwanese cabbage so it’s even sweeter and almost like a sweet curry cabbage stew. The cabbage is incredibly soft (a bit overcooked, unless it was supposed to be) and it’s also mixed with red peppers and topped with fresh cilantro and green onions.
- It’s definitely a meal with rice or great eaten alone as well. I actually dipped my roti canai into this and it was awesome.
- Beef cooked in Rendang curry Small $6 Large $10.50
- This is one of my favourite Malaysian (some would argue Indonesian) dishes of all time. It’s delicious and it’s hard to find a place that can do it well since it’s so time consuming. It’s tres excellent here and I ordered the small and it’s more than enough for 2 people to share.
- It’s a hearty and super tender beef stew slow cooked in rich flavours like coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger, cardamom, lime leaves and other aromatics. It’s cooked until all the flavours and liquids are soaked up right back into the meat. Every shred is juicy and infused with flavour and it’s almost like the Malaysian version of pulled pork, or beef in this case. It’s amazing!
- The beef pieces are incredibly saucy and bursting with flavour and they just melt in your mouth, but some bigger pieces you have to chew of course. It’s almost like cubes of extremely tender beef brisket, and surprisingly all the meat is lean beef.
- It’s savoury and slightly spicy and I could taste mostly the lemongrass, ginger and sweetness from the coconut milk. It’s all very warm and aromatic flavours. The only thing is that it was a bit oily, but that’s quite typical of Beef Rendang.
- I dipped my roti canai into this as well and it was even awesome-er!
- I tried the Beef Rendang at Prata-Man Singaporean Cuisine in Richmond and it was either the Singaporean version or a butchered Chinese version and it tasted like Chiense beef brisket in curry.
- The first time I tried Beef Rendang was actually at Kedah House, another great Malaysian restaurant also in Vancouver and it was wonderful there as well.
- Salted fish fried rice $8.50
- The fried rice is not greasy, dry or too salty and each grain of rice is separate.
- I love salted fish, but the taste is a bit acquired. It’s quite pungent and it’s almost like Asian anchovies, but it has a dry texture and salted preserved taste. The flavour is strong but the pieces are diced up into the fried rice and they come across as small pieces of salty fish jerky. It just makes the dish more aromatic for me and its great when you get salty bites of it.
- It was savoury with a spicy kick from probably some chili and it was great eaten alone or along with the coconut cabbage curry or Beef Rendang. It’s definitely flavourful enough as is though.
- Traditional Malay fried noodles with curry flavour. Choice of chicken, beef, or seafood $7.75
- This is an Indian inspired Malaysian dish.
- I chose chicken since there was already Beef Rendang on the table. I question how fresh the seafood would be at places like this.
- Again it wasn’t too greasy, dry, salty or spicy. It tastes very home made and there’s nothing gourmet about it but the flavours are delicious.
- It tastes very nutty and almost tastes like it’s made with some peanut butter, but it’s not. The nuttiness comes from the Sambal chili paste which is spicy yet nutty. I think there might be some tomato paste and there’s a mild hint of curry to round up all the flavours.
- There’s also egg and bean sprouts in it for an extra crunch and the combination of nutty, savoury, smoky and spicy is perfect. It’s even better with a squeeze of lime to freshen up the flavours and it adds a slight tang.
Teh Tarik or Teh Terik – 3.5/6
- Sweetened pulled tea $2.50
- This traditional and popular Malaysian drink is very good, but because I’ve had it before I’m comparing it to other teh teriks.
- It’s a sweet, rich and creamy tea made with condensed milk. It’s almost like a hot dessert, but it is tea that does come in a mug. It’s usually enjoyed in the morning or afternoon because the tea is quite strong. In this case I was missing that tea flavour and it wasn’t that strong at all.
- It was incredibly hot, but also not frothy which it should be.
- Check out my post on the best Teh Tarik and why it’s called “pulled tea” – I had in Singapore at Nanyang Old Coffee.