Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kedah House: Cheap, Tasty, Gut-Busting Malaysian Buffet

I work in South Van and my soccer coach lives in South Van. He's also Malaysian. After doing a bit of research online, I came across Kedah House Restaurant on SE Marine Drive near Knight Street. I've definitely driven past this eatery's bright pink/purple awning many times and stopped at it's strip mall neighbour, Fabric Land, but I've never stopped in for a meal before. It was Friday night and Kedah House sets up a small buffet on Friday/Saturday/Sundays for $9.99. Coach said he's eaten there before and that his parent's eat here frequently (so I figured it must be tasty AND authentic).

At 7:45pm, the restaurant only had people seated at one other table. Decor is really basic and a bit cheesy/outdated, so I wouldn't recommend coming here if you are looking for any kind of atmosphere or if you are looking to impress someone. The place was very clean. I was greeted warmly and lead to a table, and the service pretty much ended there....and it wasn't really necessary. I was informed that there was no ordering off the regular menu, just buffet (serve yourself). Each table had two glasses and a giant water jug (serve yourself).
The buffet spread is placed along the wall on two sections of a long table. The selection isn't huge, and was  pretty underwhelming to look at.

I started my first plate with their "make-your-own" Gado Gado (essentially a Malay salad) section- Lettuce, cucumber, tomato wedges, sliced tofu, shredded turnip, sliced potato, bean sprouts and then either dip or cover with peanut sauce. The veggies were fresh, crisp and refreshing and man, o, man, that peanut sauce was damn good. 

Also, on round one, I tried a Sambal Hard Boiled Egg. Essentially a hard boiled egg in chili garlic sauce. 

I like hard boiled eggs and sambal, so without much suprise, I liked this a lot and even more so after adding a heaping dollop of side garlic chili sauce.

Clockwise from far left: Beef Rendang, Veg Mee Reebus Noodles,  bone-on Chicken Biryani, and steamed rice.
The next plate I put together had a helping of Beef Rendang: Chunks of stewing beef simmered in coconut milk and seasoned with a paste of ginger, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, tumeric, lemongrass, cinnamon, star anise, and chillies. This was extremely tender from being slow cooked and with a nice spice and rich flavour.
The bone-in Chicken Biryani was well-cooked with a slightly spicy kick, but didn't do too much for my tastebuds.
The Mee Reebus Vegetarian Noodles were thick, chewy and quite flavourful with shreds of green onion mixed in.
The steamed and seasoned basmati rice was cooked to light and fluffy perfection and was a welcome accompaniment to the saucy curry-based dishes.

There was a Vegetable Tom Yum Soup which was nice and light. It was a nice balance of sour and spicy and I could taste the lemongrass in it.

Vegetarian Dulcha (mixed vegetable and lentil curry) was a surprise favourite for me. I was expecting your typical "daal" flavour but this dish was super savoury and spicy- I had a small bowl to taste and ended up going back for seconds. 

The dessert station featured Jello cubes and  Black Glutinous Rice Sweet Soup. I was already gut-bustingly full but I had to at least try the BGRSS. It was goopy, not too sweet, with a tapioca texture. I liked it , but after I had almost finished my bowl, Coach let me know that most Malaysians serve this dish with coconut milk. I thought about getting another bowl to try with coconut milk because it sounded really good but I was just too stuffed. 

 I enjoyed my meeting/meal here and so did Coach. The place is really bare bones and won't win any awards for ambience, but they served really tasty, flavourful food for a really low price. This was definitely a case where you should not judge a book by its cover, especially when the "book" is such a good value.

Kedah House Restaurant and Cafe on Urbanspoon

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