Yesterday night, Mamallama and Baby-Paca came to UBC to hear me perform songs from around the world at UBC’s choir concert. We were hungry after the performance, so I pulled up Zomato and searched up restaurants that were relatively close by. After scrolling through a few pages, I came across Kaya Malay Bistro which had a pretty high rating, so we decided to give them a try.
The bistro was quaint and a little dark. There were only another party besides us when we arrived at 8:30 on a Wednesday night (they close at 10). After we perused the menu for awhile, we decided on the softshell crab, roti canai, satay skewers, calamari and Singapore laksa. Shortly after our waitress put order in, I remembered that Mamallama doesn’t eat rice vermicelli, so instead of having 4 appetizers and 1 entree, I decided to swap out the calamari for pad Thai. Our waitress informed us that the kitchen was already making it, but she kindly told me that it wouldn’t be a problem.
The crispy softshell crab ($11) was sauteed with fresh onions, garlic and shallot, chili and Indian black peppercorn. It was absolutely delicious. It had such a fragrant salty peppery taste, yet the crab flavour was not lost, it was actually quite bold even. It was only mildly spicy so Mamallama was able to enjoy it without a problem.
The roti canai ($7) was alright. It had a crispy exterior and it wasn’t greasy, but it could’ve been a little more flaky. The curry sauce it was served with didn’t compliment the roti canai very well, it was watered down and a little too sweet for our preference. Baby-Paca and I thought the roti canai tasted better with the peanut dip that came with the satay skewers.
The satay skewers were $1.75 per skewer with a minimum order of 6. We decided to get 2 each of the beef, chicken and lamb. They were all tender and had a wonderful charred flavour. If I had to rank them, lamb would come first, then chicken, and beef. I highly recommend the lamb. It was perfectly seasoned and the flavours went impeccably with that of the peanut sauce. And while the menu advertised that the peanut dip was spicy, the heat was missing, but we didn’t mind at all.
The Singapore laksa ($12) came topped with shrimp, fish cake, chicken, half an egg and bean sprouts. The coconut broth could’ve been creamier and it tasted overwhelmingly of dried shrimp, which made the entire bowl of rice vermicelli a little too fishy for me and Baby-Paca’s taste. It wasn’t awful, but I don’t like the flavour of dried shrimp, so it was literally all I could taste. I finished my small bowl, but I wouldn’t order it again.
The pad Thai ($12) was great. The rice noodles were stir fried with an ample amount of shrimp, firm tofu, bell peppers, bean sprouts and egg. A lime wedge and crushed peanuts were served on the side of the plate. It was neither too wet, nor too dry, it was stir fried with the perfect amount of sauce, which had a good balance of tamarind, fish sauce, and tomato-y goodness.
What we ordered was enough to pack for lunch the next day, granted that we just had noodles left. The soft shell crab and lamb skewers were just exquisite. It’s nice to have found a nice Malaysian bistro as my family rarely ever goes for Malaysian food.
KAYA MALAY BISTRO
+1 604 730 9963
1063 West Broadway, Vancouver