Rasa Sayang (London, June 2018)

I have been mocked cruelly on at least one food forum for posting meal reviews eight months after the fact. Well, not only does this review come eight months after the meal was eaten, I have seen fit to post it despite the fact that it only involved three dishes. I am not ashamed. We first ate at Rasa Sayang—one of the two Malaysian restaurants in London’s Chinatown (C&R is the other)—on our extended stay in London in the spring of 2017 (here is my first review). We’d planned to go back again before we left but when we did we found that it was closed for renovations. On that occasion we went to the nearby Baiwei instead and had a very good Sichuan lunch, but we still came back to Minnesota with a laksa-shaped hole in our hearts that the version at Peninsula in Minneapolis couldn’t quite plug. Accordingly, on our trip this past June we stopped in for a quick meal before park, museum and theatre action. I am glad to report that the changes in the restaurant’s look have not affected the quality of the food and nor have the prices gone up. Continue reading

Laksamania (London, June 2018)

There are many things that make living in London superior to living in Minnesota—better theatre, museums full of colonial loot, amazing parks, great cheese, proper public transportation, the lack of polar vortexes (and 18 months of winter more generally) etc. etc.. It should be said though that while the food scene is generally far superior it is not consistently so: the Twin Cities metro has better Mexican and Thai food and our Sichuan is not far behind either. However, when it comes to Malaysian food, London is in a different league; to be fair it’s far ahead of any city in the US in that regard.

In one of my reviews from 2017 I noted why this should be so: the Malaysian diasporic population in the UK is far larger than that of the US and is concentrated in a much smaller area. As with South Asian cuisines and populations, these disparities—of demographics and food quality—have to do with colonialism. You can basically tell which first world countries (neo)-colonized which third world countries by looking to see which immigrant cuisines are the best there. As unfortunate as the historical reasons are, it does mean that London has very good Malaysian food compared to anywhere in the US, and as we love Malaysian food and get very few opportunities to enjoy it here we eat it in London every chance we get.  Continue reading

Satay 2 Go (Apple Valley, Minnesota)

Satay 2 Go: Roti Canai

In my review of Peninsula a couple of months ago I noted that I didn’t know if there were any other Malaysian restaurants in the Twin Cities. This review does not answer that question for Satay 2 Go is in Apple Valley, 20 minutes or so south of the Cities. And a more unlikely location for a Malaysian restaurant you’d be hard-pressed to find. Not only are they in Apple Valley, a soulless suburb served mostly by an endless parade of chain restaurants, but they’re located at the far end of the parking lot of a Home Depot, next to a T-Mobile store. Eat Street this is not, and nor should you expect any of the relative glitz of Peninsula should you venture to eat here.

And should you venture to eat here? That’s a tricky question to answer. But I’ll give it a shot. Continue reading

Peninsula (Minneapolis)

Peninsula is the premier Malaysian restaurant in the Twin Cities. I’m not sure, actually, if there even is another worth the name—if so, no one’s ever mentioned it to me. Unsurprisingly, its menu serves a sort of South East Asian greatest hits, much of which is not terribly inspiring (lots of very sweet takes on Thai dishes, for example). Some of their Malay dishes, however, can be quite good, and it’s possible to eat quite well there if you pick your way carefully around the menu. Over the last seven years we’ve done just that and through our extended trial and error I offer you the following recommendations of most of the dishes that we like best there. What follows is a report on two meals eaten a month or so apart (first in late August, and then last weekend). Continue reading