Monday, August 9, 2010

Little Malaysia Restaurant- El Monte

Little Malaysia Exterior

Malaysian cuisine is not as prevalent as other cuisines here in California, but the few places that do serve Malaysian cuisine usually do it quite decently. Little Malaysia is one that does it well, and is a place that I have gone to for a long time, although not frequently due to its distance. Although it the location isn't that great, with a closed down supermarket and several stores nearby in the strip mall all for rent, Little Malaysia is still here, with a good amount of returning customers.

Little Malaysia Interior

Our visit here was actually quite late for lunch, about 1:30. Being so, we thought we possibly could be the only customers eating at the restaurant, but not so! At least three more groups of customers came in even at this hour. Good business for sure.

Posters at Little Malaysia

It was nice being in the yellow green interior of Little Malaysia with wood fold away chairs and posters with pictures of spices and ingredients. Totally out of place compared to the plaza, but that's what the affect needs to be. It feels like a tropical paradise compared to the blank starkness of the strip mall.

Iced Barley with Lime

Our meal started out by having Iced Barley (with Lime) (2.75 USD). Without ice, it would be an additional 75 cents, and that is mainly because your drink will be more concentrated in flavor. These were nicely chilled with plenty of barley which were chewy and lightly sweet- just like a different type of boba, for those who like boba. And the rest of the drink was lightly sweet and slightly sour with the addition of lime, which we took out to squeeze on. Refreshing and lightly sweet, it was perfect during the week where temperatures in So Cal were getting higher than what they are now. Tasty, but definitely not a bargain drink!

Nonya Style Fried Rice

The items you could say arrived quite out of order. We first got the Nonya Style Fried Rice (7.25 USD) at the table, which had quite a number of ingredients. For meat, there was pan fried Chinese sausage rounds as well as sauteed shrimp, and vegetables included diced carrots, peas, and scallions. With some coconut milk added (the chinese description reads "coconut fragrant") as well as pepper, it was a very interesting and delicious take on fried rice. Definitely not your usual Chinese fried rice, but we are not in a Chinese restaurant, are we? :)

Kankung Belacan

Next item that arrived was the Kankung Belacan, or basically sauteed morning glory/ong choy with fermented shrimp paste. The Chinese description didn't mention anything about shrimp paste so my dining companion ordered it, and we ended up being all surprised at the table. Nevertheless, the ong choy was quite tasty, crisp and fresh; the same went for the red peppers. However, that stench of shrimp paste was quite strong! I've never had fermented shrimp paste before, so this was something new. But if you are used to having fermented shrimp paste, you will probably like this dish.

Roti Canai

Next came a dish of Roti Canai (5.95 USD), which also came with sides of white sugar and vegetable curry. Being one of the favorites at the table it was finished quite quickly. Dipped in sugar, it made for a nice dessert with the multiple layers of tender roti that was crisp on the outside, and dipped in the mild vegetable curry it was a good bread. It worked both ways: sweet and salty.

Curry Capitan

A different form of curry then arrived as Curry Capitan (7.95 USD). This had similar flavors to the vegetable curry, but the spiciness factor was bumped up, and more spices took center stage. As for the chicken, it was tender and flavorful, but definitely not a boiled chicken like Golden Deli.

Ying and Yang Noodles

Next came Ying and Yang Noodles (8.25 USD). What's the ying and yang? Rice vermicelli (thin) versus ho fun or rice noodle sheets (thick). Beside that, there were some choy sum stalks, fish, fishcake, pork shreds, and shrimp cooked in a light brown sauce which brought in all the flavor to the dish. We always order this when we come here and it is always scrumptious.

Seafood Vermicelli Soup

Another noodle dish came in the form of Seafood Vermicelli Soup (6.95 USD), basically fishball rice vermicelli in soup. The broth was light and accented with the fried shallots, while all the fishcakes/fishballs were bouncy, flavorful, and tender. Some shrimp and choy sum stalks along with a garnish of cilantro and green onion completed the dish. Simple, light, and good.

Sauteed Choy Sum with Fishcakes

Since we wanted some more to eat, we ordered a plate of Sauteed Choy Sum with Fishcakes (8.95 USD). This was a very simple preparation with the choy sum sauteed in garlic and the tender fishcakes used in some of the other dishes added on top. No MSG needed or added; just simple vegetables done well. I like!

I'm always getting a good meal here, and you might as well try this place out. For those who are visiting the car dealerships in El Monte like Longo Lexus/Toyota, this is very convenient. Come here for lunch while your car gets serviced or before/after you look at the car dealerships! It's something out of the ordinary in the area and you will most certainly enjoy it.

Little Malaysia
3944 North Peck Road #8
El Monte, CA 91732
Tel: (626) 401-3188
*Closed Mondays

Little Malaysia Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Little Malaysia Restaurant in Los Angeles on Fooddigger

8 comments:

Ben and Suanne said...

This looks pretty good but it seems like it is more of a Chinese-Malaysian food than it is Malay-Malaysian food. But I'll take it anytime! Ben

tigerfish said...

The coconut milk added into the fried rice must be a secret surprise element!

Kirbie said...

I don't think I've ever had Malaysian food before. All this looks really yummy.

EatTravelEat said...

Ben and Suanne,
Agree, at least for the stuff we ordered at least! Some other places do offer more Malay-Malaysian food but most places just do Chinese-Malaysian food. :)

Tigerfish,
Definitely. And it makes it more creamy and fragrant.

Kirbie,
You should try it sometime! I'm sure there's some places where you can get it in San Diego so you don't need to make a big drive. :)

Protocol Snow said...

I've never had Malaysian food either. Are they famous for chicken and rice or is that Singapore?

EatTravelEat said...

Protocol Snow,
That originates from Hainan but lots of restaurants do it. Wikipedia says Hainan a province of China. :)

Wandering Chopsticks said...

I've been here once several years ago and wasn't too impressed. Haven't revisited yet so saving that the post for when I eventually do, if I do. Your meal looks a lot better than mine, but that's probably the nice photos being all deceptive like that. :P

EatTravelEat said...

Wandering Chopsticks,
Haha...childhood restaurant, I'm going to like it anyway. And I mostly ordered stuff I know I like like the roti and the ying and yang noodles. :)

Actually the food was quite good, and yes I took out the spoon to make the photo look nicer. Other than that the food was just as good as Weezermonkey said. Which I see as tasty. Maybe not very impressive since you're driving quite a distance. :P