My Rating: ★★★★★
Me and my family dined at Banana Leaf Restaurant last weekend at SM City North EDSA, The Block. The multi-awarded International Restaurant offers Southeast Asian cuisine – Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, and Indonesian. You get to eat and enjoy your food on banana leaves, hence the name “Banana Leaf”.
Our bread appetizer, Roti Canai (pronounced as chanai, not kanai), is a house specialty. “Roti” means bread in means bread in Hindi, Urdu, most other North Indian languages, and Malay. It’s a pancake-like pastry that is thinner, flatter, and looks like a crumpled disc. What makes it special is the curry dip. I can never imagine eating it plain. Maybe next time I’ll try the condensed milk dip!
Saving ourselves from the usual “plain rice” meal, we’ve ordered Nasi Goreng and Penang Fried Rice with Salted Fish & Chicken. The Penang Fried Rice very much looks like an ordinary Chinese fried rice, only that it tasted unique because of the fish and the additional salt. The Nasi Goreng is the more flavorful rice variety (and spicy!) you can eat it by itself. FYI, Nasi goreng literally means “fried rice” in Indonesian and Malay.
The classic Hainanese Chicken recipe originated from Hainan, China but is commonly associated with Malaysian or Singaporean cuisine. At first I thought it was raw and I was really freaked out to try it. Haha. The chicken is tender; steamed to perfection in garlic flavor. Underneath are layers of cucumber strips – maybe for a slight taste variation or, for the meal to look plenty.
There are 3 dips for the chicken: finely grated ginger in oil, mee goreng sauce (I call it “mee goreng” because my Dad used to send us “Mi Goreng” instant noodles from abroad before, and the taste, color, and consistency of the sauce are similar), and spicy salsa-like dip.
Curry in general is a popular spiced dish among Asians especially in India. We were served with a medium-sized bowl of Malayan Beef Curry with Potatoes. As expected, the dish is spicy and the beef and the potatoes are cooked well. The curry sauce is rich and creamy, for Malaysian curries typically use curry powders rich in turmeric and coconut milk.
We also ordered Mee Goreng (fried noodles). This noodle dish is famous in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Its uniquely flavored dark sauce makes it stand out from any other fried noodles.
For dessert, we had these mini Sago Pudding wrapped in banana leaves. The pudding tastes like maja, only that it melts in your mouth easily. The sago layer is underneath. I think it’s a bit pricey for their tiny size.
My sister liked this dessert so much. Well, they look cute no doubt about that.
The aftermath? We had a literally “spiced up” dinner. The curry, noodles, and nasi goreng rice were all overpowering in flavor, I should have replaced it with a more subtle-tasting dish like the Hainanese chicken. I also could have chosen the condensed milk sauce for the Roti Canai since we already had the curry dish. Too much spicy and flavorful food, but we enjoyed our dinner nevertheless. I sticked with Penang rice and Hainanese chicken ’cause eating too much “fire” is not advisable for pregnant women.