Islands Malaysian Cuisine
This is a revamped review of Islands Malaysian Cuisine Restaurant. I visited it about a year ago when a friend was in town and I decided to revisit this eatery with the launch of my new website. Location Islands Malaysian Cuisine is located in Chinatown which is on Spring Mountain Rd. It is on the second floor of a strip mall which has a surprising array of restaurants for such a compact location. There is plenty of parking in a covered garage or the outside lot. The decor is simple and unpretentious, hallmarks of some of the best mom and pop restaurants in my book. It can be crowded on weekends but you are almost always assured of a seat without a wait. Appetizer Roti Canai: Indian inspired flatbread commonly found in Malaysia and Singapore. It is THE dish to eat in Malaysia and really any Malaysian restaurant. Universally loved and inexpensive; a complete meal in and of itself, I have yet to meet anyone Malaysian or otherwise who has not loved this. It comes with a side of chicken curry and Islands Malaysian’s homemade roti does not disappoint. It is slightly sweet, flaky and buttery-think of it as a flatbread croissant. Satay: Basically Malaysian barbecue chicken or beef on a stick. If you haven’t heard about satay, then I would suggest you venture out more! What makes Malaysian barbecue unique is the surprise seasoning that is used in the marinade-curry! It makes for a zesty dish and the accompanying peanut sauce is crunchy and delicious. Rojak: Fresh fruit salad with pineapple, mango, jicama and taopok which is puffy, deep fried tofu. The dressing is a dark tamarind and black bean concoction which is salty and sweet. Entree Fish Head Curry: Say what? Yes, fish head as in whole fish heads. This is a much enjoyed dish in Malaysia and there are restaurants which specialize in just this one dish. Islands Malaysian does a lot of dishes well but they hit it out of the ball park with this one. I come from and Indian family so I know curry and this one is so reminiscent of my mother’s-the flavor, taste and fragrance is spot on! They can prepare this dish with fish fillets if the fish heads bother you but then I would venture to say that you are merely getting a watered down version of the original! Prawn Sambal: Sambal in its most basic form is a chili based sauce. It is red and you can find it commercially here in the US, usually in plastic bottles labelled as sambal oelek. Most people will recognize it from dining at Thai or Vietnamese restaurants where diners can add sambal to vary the spiciness of their dishes. The sambal in our prawn dish is made with a pungent and salty shrimp paste called blachan. I first tasted blachan as a teenager. We never cooked with it at home because my mom couldn’t stand the smell. Imagine my delight when I tried this salty and tangy albeit pungent dish at a friend’s house! No secrets were told and I still get excited when I eat it now only because it was forbidden for so long. Indian Mee Goreng: Another street food which originated in Indian restaurants. Pan fried noodles seasoned with blachan and tomato sauce and served with shrimp, fried tofu and bean sprouts. Nasi Lemak: Must Try-Malaysia in a dish This is Malaysian multiculturalism in a dish. You get rice, chicken rendang (the most traditional Malay chicken curry), fried anchovies sambal, boiled eggs with cucumber and peanuts. Everything yummy about Malaysian cuisine served on a plate. So if you’re still unsure of what to order then please try nasi lemak. It is the national dish after all! Dessert Ais Kacang: Shaved ice served with red beans, agar agar(jelly), sweet corn and topped with condensed milk. Cendol: Shaved ice with sweet rice flour jelly and coconut milk. Islands Malaysian makes their cendol (jelly) from scratch which is no small feat! Overall Review: Islands Malaysian Cuisine is owned by the Stephen and Tess Lim. They are originally from the state of Penang-a food mecca in Malaysia. Islands Malaysian has only been around for 3 years but Stephen has been cooking for well over 20 years. The Lims started Islands Malaysian Cuisine because they wanted to share their love of Malaysian food and culture here in Las Vegas. Tess especially enjoys meeting customers and introducing them to her native cuisine. Most entrees are under $10. I highly recommend Islands Malaysian Cuisine. The wait staff is friendly and helpful, the portions are generous, the prices reasonable and the cooking is pretty darn close to what you would get at any good and local cafe in Malaysia. BONUS: The Lims are opening another location in central Chinatown this fall so be on the lookout for double the deliciousness! Related articles sambal udang petai… prawn sambal with stinky beans…euww..smellybutyummy (viekitchen.wordpress.com) Recipe of Sambal Belacan (sukasukisuma.wordpress.com) 12. “Yummy” in Malaysian: Sedap (justfoodnowords.wordpress.com) This is a revamped review of Islands Malaysian Cuisine Restaurant. I visited it about a year ago when a friend was in town and I decided to revisit this eatery with the launch of my new website. Location Islands Malaysian Cuisine is located in Chinatown which is on Spring Mountain… Islands Malaysian Cuisine Islands Malaysian Cuisine 2013-09-23 Lila Asnani Lila's Review Service Flavor Price Cleanliness 73 Definitely worth a visit. User Rating: No Ratings Yet ! 73
Lee’s Sandwiches Las Vegas
Lee’s Sandwiches Las Vegas Lee’s Sandwiches is a Vietnamese deli and bakery which is located in the heart of Chinatown in Las Vegas. It is located in a long strip mall which is anchored by two giant pagodas. It is on the extremely busy stretch of Spring Mountain Rd so bring lots of patience when you venture to this part of town. There is plenty of parking but it can be difficult to find a spot during lunchtime which was when I visited this restaurant last week. Location: Appetizer: Pork and Egg Steamed Bun: Banh Bao This bun had a good amount of ground pork and half a boiled egg. The pork was well seasoned and moist with just a light hint of ginger. The steamed bread outer shell though was overly soft, wet and practically disintegrated into multiple pieces upon my first bite. The bun had probably been left in the food warmer for too long. Main Entrees #1: Lee’s Special Combination Banh Mi: jambon, headcheese, pork roll and pate One of the strongest remnants of French colonization in Vietnam is their influence on the local cuisine. Vietnamese sandwiches or banh mis are made on baguettes because of this history. Banh mis today are a wonderful fusion of French and Vietnamese cooking. The first sandwich I tried was the house special sandwich on a 10 inch baguette. The meats were topped with cilantro, jalapenos, sweet onions, carrots and a sweet sauce which was most likely composed of rice vinegar and fish sauce. The combination of meats might sound a little strange but the end result was simply fantastic. The homemade headcheese and pate were outstanding. The flavors were mild and not too salty. The meats did not taste overwhelmingly of liver or you know those other “special” ingredients that make for a good headcheese! The baguette was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The baguette was just the right size so that you could actually take a bite without getting TMJ, This might sound silly but I have a tiny mouth and I hate eating foods that are overly big and prepared for cavemen mouth spans! (sorry in advance to all cavemen) #14: Pork Roll and Pate This sandwich ended up being very similar to the house special sandwich i.e. fabulous. I just switched contact lens prescriptions and between the new prescription and my shortsightedness, reading small words even on wall size menus can be a challenge. I only realized the similarity in the 2 sandwiches after I read the takeaway menu and by then the sandwich was already prepared! And… the pate was just as good on this sandwich. I am excited to try some of the other more exotic combos like sardine or shredded pork when I go back. Overall Review I loved the decor in this restaurant. It was cutely swanky. Cartoon animal figurine containers filled with different types of candy line this sleek looking eatery. Gleaming food display cases inside featured immaculately arranged boxes which contained delightful goodies like almond butter cookies. Lee’s Sandwiches bake their own baguettes and they are magnifique! Soft crust breads that try to pass off as baguettes are a pet peeve of mine. Those baguette pretenders-usurpers, faux pain! (see what I did?) I lived in Europe for 3 years and I learned a thing or two about European breads and I know what constitutes a good baguette. You should be able to lightly tap the crust of a baguette and cause it to crack under a little pressure. The baguette crust should be golden bronzed and crispy without being overly hard or jagged. The inside should be holey and the end result should be a soft and chewy bread. As the French would say, a good baguette should look, feel, sound, smell and taste the part. You know you’re eating a good baguette when the front of your shirt and the table is littered with fine bread crumbs. Anything else is not a baguette especially if it’s Italian bread! Lee’s sandwiches or the self proclaimed “world’s largest banh mi chain” has locations in several states in the US, but don’t let the franchise stigma dissuade you from trying this very good and inexpensive find. They have a fairly extensive menu and also serve more traditional or European sandwiches. They also serve a large variety of sweet and savory Vietnamese pastries and bubble or boba tea. All the sandwiches are made according to order. The sandwiches are $3.95 each and it would be difficult to find a similarly delicious, light and affordable lunch in town. They are open 24 hours so you can pop in for a meal really at anytime. Next time you have a craving for a sandwich or sub, why not give your taste buds a surprise and introduce them and your friends to a delicious banh mi. You’re very welcome! Lee's Sandwiches Las Vegas Lee's Sandwiches is a Vietnamese deli and bakery which is located in the heart of Chinatown in Las Vegas. It is located in a long strip mall which is anchored by two giant pagodas. It is on the extremely busy stretch of Spring Mountain Rd so… Lee’s Sandwiches Las Vegas Lee’s Sandwiches Las Vegas 2014-12-10 Lila Asnani Lila's Review Service Flavor Price Cleanliness 69 A wonderful and very affordable find User Rating: No Ratings Yet ! 69
Easy Vietnamese Beef Pho Recipe
I am a late initiate to the wonders of Vietnamese pho. I first tasted pho when I lived in San Diego about 9 years ago. My good friend, Li Murty; who is an uber foodie and who always has her pulse on culinary trends did me a favor and took me out to lunch to her favorite Vietnamese restaurant and the rest as they say is history. Where had I been? How could I have not had a chance to taste this fantastic Vietnamese rice noodle soup? To eat pho is to taste the essence of Vietnamese cuisine; fresh, healthy, straightforward, unpretentious and simply sublime. I have tasted my fair share of pho since San Diego and was fortunate to taste it last January in Hanoi. It was the perfect lunch after a cold and rainy day of sightseeing among other things; Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, which was a highlight for me! You can read more about my visit to Hanoi and the night food market here. I had never made pho at home before this, only because I always assumed that it would be too time consuming. The secret to a good pho you see is the broth and a good beef broth needs time. Most people don’t have 6-8 hours to cook a beef broth or more realistically, most people don’t want to be in the kitchen for 6-8 hours so they end up going to the restaurant to eat pho. So what are the alternatives? Could home cooks like me make good pho in 40 min or less? The answer is a resounding yes! I am not claiming that this pho is going to be as authentic as the one your ba noi or local Vietnamese restaurant makes but have a look at the recipe and I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how easy and quick it can be to create a good bowl of pho. Easy Vietnamese Beef Pho Recipe Time: 40 min Serves: 4 Ingredients for soup 16 oz thin rice noodles 1/2 lb thinly sliced beef eye round roast 5 oz package of cooked beef meatballs beef bouillon base or cubes 2 inch ginger-peeled and halved 1 onion-peeled and halved 3 star anise pods 3 whole cloves 1 cinnamon stick 1-2 tsp fish sauce 1 tsp sugar 1 #4 coffee filter water Garnish Chinese fried Bread-optional Cilantro Thai Basil or regular mint Bean sprouts Lime Thai chilies or Serrano chili Scallions Ground pepper Sriracha Chili sauce Hoisin sauce Directions. 1. Make a spice sachet for your broth. Fill the coffee filter with the star anise, cloves and cinnamon stick. Fold and staple shut. 2. Fill a large stockpot with 8 cups of water and bring the water to a boil. Add 4-6 tsp of bouillon base, onion, ginger and the spice sachet. 3. Reduce heat, cover and let soup simmer for ~ 25 min. 4. Prepare rice noodles as directed on package. 5. Rinse and prepare the garnishes. Tear the cilantro, slice the chilies and scallions into thin rings. Cut the lime into wedges. Arrange the garnishes onto a platter. 6. Add the beef meatballs, sugar and fish sauce to the simmering soup and boil for an additional 5 minutes. Switch off heat and discard the spice sachet. 7. Divide the noodles into 4 bowls and top with a few slices of beef. Top with scallions, cilantro and ladle meatball soup so that the soup completely covers the beef slices and cooks it. 8. Serve immediately and invite guests to garnish their pho bowls with basil, lime, bean sprouts, chilies and ground pepper. Premix the sriracha and hoisin sauce in equal proportions for dipping if desired. Lila’s Tips and Tricks L-R: Thai basil, beef eye round , beef meatballs and fried bread Beef broth-This recipe went through many, many revisions. I tried making beef broth in a variety of ways in my attempt to find a suitable shortcut. I made an authentic pho beef broth with beef bones and seasonings and this took a minimum of 4 hours before I was satisfied with the taste. But 4 hours is still a long time to sacrifice and impossible to do if you’re trying to make dinner on a weeknight. I tried different brands of beef broth before deciding on beef bouillon. Not all beef broths are the same and I didn’t like the ones in the cartons. Call me crazy but I think they tasted a little like cardboard (not that I regularly eat cardboard!). I liked Superior Touch’s “Better than Bouillon Beef Base”. I used bouillon paste because it gave me greater control over the final dish. I could add the paste gradually as the soup was simmering if I felt it needed more flavor. I regularly substitute beef or chicken bouillon for salt in a lot of my cooking. You can also substitute low sodium broth for your base. Meats-I bought the thinly sliced beef eye round roast and meatballs at the Asian supermarket. Alternatively, you can buy beef sirloin, freeze it and then slice it thinly. You can use almost any kind of beef. I had leftover prime rib roast from Thanksgiving and used it for my pho this weekend. The precooked meatballs come in different varieties. I used beef meatballs for this recipe but I have also used chicken meatballs and it tasted just as good. Spices and garnish-try to buy these items at the Asian grocery store. They will typically cost 1/2 the price at the Asian supermarket. Do not substitute regular basil for the Thai basil because regular basil has too strong a flavor. Mint is a better substitute. I served my pho with fried bread because that was how they served it in Hanoi. I also live close to a huge Chinatown so it is a viable option for me. In Hanoi and most parts of Vietnam, pho is served simply with fried bread, lime and chilies. The beauty of this recipe is it’s flexibility. You can make a chicken pho just by switching to chicken broth and adding cooked chicken. Be sure to omit the spices(star anise, cloves and cinnamon) if you’re making chicken pho. You can also make a vegetarian pho by using vegetable stock and fried tofu. Experiment and give this recipe a try. I bet that you will be making pho more frequently at home once you discover how easy, fast and cheaply you can make this. Plus, just think of the driving time, restaurant waiting time and gas money that you would save if you learned to master this recipe! Please don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients, it is your pho so make it with what is easily accessible and what you have at home. It will still turn out fabulous! What do you think of the recipe? Think you’ll give it a try? Write and let me know how it goes. I love hearing about other people’s concoctions!