Malay Satay Hut
Posted 30 March 2006 - 11:38 AM
Dishes ordered were Mango Tofu Salad ($8.95), A fish dish that had an exotic name but must be what is described in the take-out menu I'm looking at as Fish Fillet with Tamarind Sauce ($13.something), and a pork dish I'm not finding on the take-out menu Black Pepper Pork Chop (or something close--$13.something).
The Mango Tofu salad was the stand-out item. The 'fu was hot fried and crisp on the outside but creamy on the inside, perfect texture! There were strips of not-hot pepper (raw, crisp, green and maybe red too) along with the mango, some red onion and cilantro. I believe that mangos should be in season now, at least they were at the beginning of March when I was eating at Lotus of Siam in LV. The mangos in this salad were ripe in flavor, but a little crisp in texture. I actually liked it that way and have no idea it's intentional.
The fish dish (it's on the menu under Chef's Specialties) was most interesting for its combination of ingredients--chunks of lightly stir fried tomato and whole (crisp!) okra along with green beans and, I think, onions. Fish fillet was crisp fried. The sauce was good but not quite as bright as I would have expected. It was an orangy sauce that I would guess was based on tamarind paste and the sambal sauce that was also on the condiment tray--one with tomatos and not a lot of hot chili.
The pork was my least favorite. It was just meat, and lots of it, with a slightly sweet and peppery glaze. The menu said "with black pepper and Thai chilis" and when I poked around I did find a few tiny rounds of fresh Thai chili. In my opinion, the dish could have used more to balance the flavors and make it more interesting. On that note, I just noticed that the take-out menu features the ubiquitous red asterisk denoting the hot dishes, and indicates that dishes can be altered to taste. I didn't notice this on the in-house menu (which doesn't mean it isn't there). The servers did not ask about heat level, so I just assumed that the food is not intended to be spicy. Keep this in mind if you like more spice. I was very pleased not to see any sign of dried red chili as the spicing element--my personal peeve!
Overall, I found the unusual and interesting flavor and ingredient combinations to be the highlight of this restaurant's offerings--based on my meager 3-item test case. Flavors were interesting but perhaps a bit muted and with a slant toward the sweet. I'm not looking for blasting heat, but somehow the brightness that I associate with the spicing and freshness of SE Asian food was somewhat lacking here. My unfamiliarity with Malaysian food may well be at play here.
The bill was $34+change for two people before tip, no drinks, no dessert. You certainly get a lot of food but I thought the prices might be a little on the high side. The prices on this take out menu do not correspond, in some cases, to the prices in the house menu (in-house prices higher). Anyway, there's lots to choose from, and lots for someone like me who likes more unusual menu items. Nothing else (that I've had) in Portland like it. I'll go back to try more.
Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:27 AM
are the entrees they show here (the ones without the prices):
available at this location? do you know if they serve beer?
Posted 31 March 2006 - 12:52 PM
Why don't you join us for Malay Satay on Sunday? Some of us are going to meet up and chow down at 11:00, I believe.
Posted 31 March 2006 - 06:37 PM
P.S. I can go guilt free....I got a lot done today!
Posted 01 April 2006 - 09:43 PM
We started off with the Roti Canai, which came with a nicely spiced dipping sauce. The bread was absolutely perfect. We also had the curry beef, which was a very nicely made dish with just the right amount of kick. My one complaint is that the actual beef seemed a bit chewy in texture, but the balance of flavors was outstanding. If they used a higher quality beef, this would really have been a standout. We also tried the Penang Chow Kueh Teow (noodles with seafood), which was my favorite of the night. This is a dish that I acquired a taste for in Singapore about 6 years ago, and have yet to find anyplace in Portland that serves it. The version I had in Singapore definately contained more seafood, but the flavor was right on at MSH (despite the fact that it only contained 6 or 7 shrimp and 2 pieces of squid). All in all, though, we were very happy with the experience. We had to wait for about 5 minutes to get a table at 7:30 on a Saturday, however I bet the wait will get worse once the word spreads about this place.
Like other reports, the prices did seem a tad high, but it was a very enjoyable meal. The service didn't give us anything to complain about, and it seems like they had many of the new restaraunt kinks worked out (probably helps that they already have 2 locations in Seattle.)
Posted 01 April 2006 - 11:13 PM
I couldn't get that menu link to load tonight, though I've looked at it before, so sorry I can't comment at present. It looked like MSH has a full bar so I assume they at least have some bottled beers. Didn't have any so can't be sure just what.
Posted 01 April 2006 - 11:19 PM
Posted 01 April 2006 - 11:24 PM
Posted 02 April 2006 - 08:43 AM
Posted 04 April 2006 - 02:02 PM
There was supposed to be a group of us here for lunch on Sunday, but instead only two of us came, but we still ordered enough food for the group and somehow finished most of it.
We ordered: roti canai ($2.95), beef satay ($6.95), achat ($4.50), satay bean curd ($5.50), chow kueh teow ($7.95), and okra belachan ($10.45). (A quick note: these amounts are what they show on their takeout menu, but I know many are off by a little. The only one I remember for sure is the belachan which they list at $9.95 but was actually $10.45. Our total for the meal was just over $40, about 5-10% higher than their takeout menu shows.) Very few items on the menu top $10. The exceptions are their house specials, many of which are seafood heavy. Average dish is probably around $8.
The roti has the texture of a freshly made flour tortilla, slightly stretchy and flaky. They don't seem to fry them in a lot of oil, if any at all. They have charred spots, but aren't really crisp or crunchy. They fold the roti and chop the flatbread into chunks. It's served with a somewhat bland curry on the side that contains potatoes. The roti itself is tasty, though, and it's nice to see it in a Portland restaurant.
I really like their namesake dish, the satay. (Pictured below.) The chunks of meat are permeated with the flavor of curry, slightly sweet and fragrant. The best thing about their satay is they have nicely charred spots as you find on the actual streets where they're served, but too little in restaurants. The meat could be more tender and in past experiences it was more tender. But it's not tough either. The skewers are served with a peanut sauce that's complex -- not just Jiff with a hint of curry.
The achat is like Malaysian kimchi, pickled spicy veggies, in this case a mixture of cabbage, carrots, pineapple, etc. The slight sweetness from the pineapple adds an agreeable balance to the dish. I could eat this stuff all day.
Another favorite are the satay bean curd, wedges of deep-fried tofu, light and crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside. The wedges are partially dug out and filled with fresh slices of cucumber and piles of bean sprouts. They're served with the same peanut sauce as the beef satay.
I'm not a big fan of noodle stir fries, but I thought the kueh teow was pretty good. It was executed decently enough. The noodles weren't clumpy, over or undercooked. The sauce was a bit too sweet, I think, until a bit of tangy-spicy sauce they provide on the side was added (very much like Sriracha). It was served with squid, shrimp, egg, and even chicken, I think.
The okra belachan was a little short on shrimp paste flavor, but was cooked quite competently. The okra had a nice crunch to them, seemed very fresh, and weren't overly slimy.
I would have liked everything to be a bit spicier. My dining companion and I were discussing the relative lack of chile (relative to most Thai restaurants, eg) and we wondered if maybe they tone it down for us caucasians. So she asked. Come to find out it's not for us whiteys that they tone it down, but for the Chinese. She said that the average white person acutally adds chile to their dishes, but that the Chinese, like her, find even the toned down dishes often too spicy. That was enlightening. I asked who was in the kitchen and she said that it was split between Malay and Chinese. The staff seemed mostly Chinese, but there were a couple Malay and SE Asians on the floor as well.
I really like the room. It's all wood inside. They have large vinyl posters on several walls that portray full-color scenes from Malaysia, such as photos of high rises, the blue waters next to a white sand beach, or the rainbows of the marketplace.
A good addition to Portland's Asian restaurants that, combined with Banh Cuon Tanh Dinh, makes Fubonn even more of a destination.
Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's
Posted 06 April 2006 - 01:49 PM
Posted 06 April 2006 - 01:52 PM
Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's
Posted 06 April 2006 - 02:10 PM
This has become my favorite strip mall in all of Portland.
Posted 06 April 2006 - 03:58 PM
Posted 08 April 2006 - 11:14 PM
Gracie and I both loved the roti canai.
Curry beef was tender; sauce was complex; heat about a 6 or 7, but fleeting.
Chicken satay--like nothing I've ever had at a Thai place. Different spicing for sure.
Malaysian fried rice--party in a bowl.
Topper: durian milkshake. The sulphurous fumes couldn't keep me from sipping away. Too weird. Sweet, creamy with the aroma of swamp gas.
Later belches reprised the durian odor. Crossing the dreaded stink fruit off my list of things to try. Thankfully, got to try it in a diluted form. The straight stuff must be just as bad as I've heard. Apologies to durian aficionados everywhere.
Service at Malay was excellent, btw. I'll be back.
Posted 09 April 2006 - 12:58 AM
Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's
Posted 09 April 2006 - 06:04 AM
Delicious taste, potently off-
putting smell. I'm curious about it, and I'll just bet someday I'll try it. How can something that supposedly tastes so good smell so bad? So much of what makes food good is its effect and attractiveness to the olfactory before it goes in the mouth. Intriguing.