Kaya Malay Bistro

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

KAYA MALAY BISTRO
+1 604 730 9963
Fairview
1063 West Broadway, Vancouver

Cheesecake, Etc.

No dinner is complete without dessert, and no birthday is complete without cake, so naturally, after the girls and I finished up dinner at Suika, we set foot into the pouring rain and marched forth to Cheesecake, Etc.

Cheesecake, Etc. has a very romantic and antique-y atmosphere. It’s dimly lit and accented with red candle light. Occasionally, the owner can be found serenading the guests on the piano. On the other hand, service here is quite atrocious, it’s difficult to get anyone’s attention. Sometimes the staff take forever to even come by your table to take your order and forever to get the cake to you considering everything is premade. Their menu selection is small, but I usually always order the original with strawberry sauce anyway. I’ve tried other flavours, but none of them compared to the original.

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A plain slice of cake is $5 plus but can range to $7 depending on the sauce. Their cheesecakes here do not have a crust, so don’t be expecting that graham goodness that most cheesecakes are constituted of. My original was light, soft, creamy, smooth and full of cheesecake flavour. Think more mousse and less New York cheesecake. If you like your cheesecakes dense, Cheesecake, Etc. is not for you. Both the whip and the strawberry sauce is homemade. It’s fresh and not too sweet. I love the chunks of strawberries in the sauce. Though it’s good, I must say that it’s undeniably overpriced.

We were all stuffed to the brim and were in a state of food coma after clearing our plates. KitKat, being the kind soul that she is, offered to drive us home. Needless to say, it was a heavy load and it probably took a lot more gas than usual to get us all to our destinations.

Cheesecake, etc. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CHEESECAKE, ETC.
+1 604 734 7704
Fairview
Granville Street, Vancouver

Suika

It was Maweiner’s birthday, and I was invited to dinner with the girls at Suika. Maweiner had made reservations at 7. It was a Wednesday that day, so I had the entire day to spare before dinner. I went to see my optometrist as I’ve been dealing with deteriorating vision due to some scratches on the surface of my eyeballs. Things appear blurry to me at times and I’m not to be wearing contacts. This has had an impact on my self esteem as I don’t especially like the way I look in glasses. As a result, I have mostly been going makeup free and dressing scrubbed for almost as long as since the beginning of the semester, because hey, if I can’t look nice anyway, I’m gonna go all out in comfort. Lol. Luckily, this should only be temporary. I’ve been prescribed steroid eye drops to speed the healing process. My bae KitKat had offered to drive me to the restaurant so I made my way to her after my appointment. KitKat and I were the first to arrive, we were greeted and seated immediately. It was just a few days before Halloween so they had creepy decor up. I couldn’t stop staring at the massive spider and web on the otherwise beautiful ceiling decor lights made of alcohol(?) bottles.

Maweiner and the girls decided to give the honor of ordering up to KitKat and I since we’re notorious for being huge piggies, *ahem, I mean foodies. They trust our judgement. KitKat pulled out her iphone 6s and typed out a list of items as we went through the menu. Our huge list included tuna tataki, yellowtail carpaccio, mapo rice cakes, negitoro tartar, 2 aburi toro battera, 2 beef tatakis, tako karaage, chicken karaage, oxtail ramen, 2 asari yaki udons, uni sashimi and kakuni bibimbap (which I will not talk about because I couldn’t get a photo of it before KitKat gave our server the go ahead to mix it, but I assure you it was delicious). But first things first, we ordered drinks. Most of us got the suika mojito. It was refreshingly minty and tasted of real watermelon. Jan tried a sip of Maweiner’s mojito and said it tasted kind of like toothpaste. Then I began to taste the toothpaste. Must be the fresh mint. Nevertheless, it was still good. Our dinner items arrived shortly after our drinks.

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Lightly smoked tuna tataki ($6.80): There were 5 pieces of tuna tataki which all had a nice and even sear. Unfortunately, there were 6 of us, so 2 generous souls had to share their already small yet delicious morsel of tataki. It was served with a homemade chili oil and topped with some scallions, onions and sprouts. While it looks like a lot of chili oil, I didn’t think it was spicy at all.

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Aburi yellowtail carpaccio ($9.20): This is the dish that I dream about when I think of Suika. It was also my favourite plate of the night. This thinly sliced flame torched yellowtail has hints of parmesan cheese. Sounds like a weird combo, but it’s scrumptious. it was served with a sesame soy dressing, lightly drizzled with mayonnaise, and topped with onions and sprouts. It was fresh, flavourful and rich tasting. I don’t know if it’s just me, but the combined flavours creates this smoky taste that’s just tantalizing. I thought this plate tasted smokier than the lightly smoked tuna tataki. I also love how their onions didn’t have that potent overbearing raw onion taste. They probably soaked them in water to make them less overwhelming, I didn’t even taste it on my breath afterwards, definitely a plus. Sadly enough, this only had 5 pieces as well, but obviously, I wasn’t the one who shared her piece. Hahahh

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Negitoro tartar ($6.20): The marinated tuna and green onion was mixed in a light tasting kimchi sauce and was served with 4 little slices of garlic butter toast. The tartar wasn’t spicy, it was slightly tangy, but mostly savoury. The baguette toasties provided a nice crunch in contrast to the tuna and the buttery garlic flavours blended harmoniously with that of the tartar.

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Uni sashimi: Pieces of seaweed was served on the side for us to wrap the uni in. I don’t like uni so we intentionally ordered 5 pieces. Judging by the faces of my friends, I think it was pretty good. KitKat said it was fresh and sweet without any hints of fishiness.

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Aburi toro battera ($12.80): Finally a dish that came in 6 pieces. Funny thing is, Maweiner thought the last piece was a leftover because it’s been sitting at the table for some time. I took my time taking pictures and I’m a naturally slow eater, so I don’t blame her. It was an honest mistake. I noticed literally a second after she had finished chewing. We laughed and ordered another plate for our second round since the girls liked the sushi and wanted more anyway. I just made sure I took my piece first the second time around. This lightly flame seared fatty tuna sushi was pressed with avocado and shiso and was topped with homemade soy dressing and seaweed sauce. There was a nice fish to rice ratio. Texture-wise, I thought it was a tad too mushy. I thought the sushi tasted predominately of the seaweed sauce, which I wasn’t a fan of. Or maybe I just paid extra attention to it because it didn’t float my boat. I probably would’ve liked this more if it had a charred flavour from the sear.

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Mapo rice cake ($4.80): The fried rice cakes had a light and crispy exterior and a soft and chewy interior. The mapo sauce had little bits of ground meat and a fragrant chili oil scent without any spiciness.

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Asari yaki udon ($9.80): This was the dish that Jan said she was craving and that we must order when she sat down. The udon was pan fried with manila clams and citron pepper and topped with shredded nori. The noodles were bouncy and pleasantly chewy and were thinly coated with just enough savoury, buttery sauce.

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Tako karaage ($8.80): This was probably my least favourite dish of the night. The menu description says that the octopus was marinated in plum and perilla, fried with a coating of egg white then topped with scallions and sesame oil, however, I didn’t really taste any of that. It was fried well and the tako wasn’t chewy, but I felt like it was a little bland and dry.

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Beef tataki: The thin slices of lightly seared beef were tender and the tang of the ponzu sauce was appetizing. While it was good, it didn’t leave a very lasting impression as we had forgotten what it tasted like and ended up ordering a second dish to remind ourselves.

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Chicken karaage ($8.80): These deep fried pieces of chicken were big, plump and juicy with a crispy exterior. It was served with a plate of Japanese salt and pepper on the side. The palate was simple and well executed.

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Tokyo oxtail ramen ($9.80): The noodles were served in a soy based broth and topped with dried fish powder and scallions. There was only like one piece of their slowly braised oxtail and no one bothered to break it apart, granted that it was a big piece, so KitKat had it to herself. I had salvaged a tiny sliver of free floating meat, it was so small that I couldn’t really taste it, but it was tender nevertheless. The ramen had a nice QQ texture and the broth was neither underwhelming nor too salty.

Overall, Suika is on the pricier side for such small portions, but I think the quality and taste is worth it. On the bright side though, small dishes mean we get to sample a variety. Our bill came down to around $33 per person before tips, which actually isn’t all that bad. Suika also offered us frozen grapes at the end of the meal to cleanse the palate before we happlly skipped off to dessert with our full bellies.

Suika Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

SUIKA
+1 604 730 1678
Fairview
1626 West Broadway, Vancouver