Even though I know Malaysian food was invented on the equatorial heat-belt, I feel like its creators had Melbourne's winter in mind. After all, why would you intentionally create steaming hot meals for a people that live in one of the most humid places on earth?
But perhaps there was a method to their madness. Perhaps the Malaysian cooks consulted an oracle and were told that in a hundred years their descendants would make a killing selling their cuisine to the masses of Melbourne. If they did, I want that fortune-teller's number.
It's inevitable that whenever I go to a Malaysian/Singaporean restaurant, I am going to compare their Kueh Teow to my parent's local variety in Singapore. To heat up the competition even more, I had brought one of my close Malaysian friends with me.
Surprisingly, considering how tough both of us can be as judges, we were impressed. Malaymas' Kueh Toew was sizeable and packed with prawns and vegetables. The rice noodles also had a slightly caramelised, crisp texture that added a great crunchy dimension to the dish. All that was missing, really, was a stronger chilli kick and some extra garlic.
The Curry Laksa was also a lovely dish: a hearty coconut soup packed full with vegetables and noodles. The vegetables were well cooked and crunchy, and the coconut curry sauce had a great chilli and lemon grass punch to it. Given that it was only 10.90, the Laksa was also great value for money.
While the Special Beef Rendang stood up equally as well as the other two dishes, you should be warned that the difference between the Special Rendang and the Normal Rendang are the extra condiments. Personally, I'm not too keen on white bait and would have been happier just ordering the normal one.
Furthermore, compared to how generously the other two dishes had been presented, the Rendang was prepared with only a modest amount of beef. I would have loved for a few more beef chunks to make this dish complement – what was otherwise – a charming winter feast.