Might as well post my meal from this weekend...
There was supposed to be a group of us here for lunch on Sunday, but instead only two of us came, but we still ordered enough food for the group and somehow finished most of it.
We ordered: roti canai ($2.95), beef satay ($6.95), achat ($4.50), satay bean curd ($5.50), chow kueh teow ($7.95), and okra belachan ($10.45). (A quick note: these amounts are what they show on their takeout menu, but I know many are off by a little. The only one I remember for sure is the belachan which they list at $9.95 but was actually $10.45. Our total for the meal was just over $40, about 5-10% higher than their takeout menu shows.) Very few items on the menu top $10. The exceptions are their house specials, many of which are seafood heavy. Average dish is probably around $8.
The roti has the texture of a freshly made flour tortilla, slightly stretchy and flaky. They don't seem to fry them in a lot of oil, if any at all. They have charred spots, but aren't really crisp or crunchy. They fold the roti and chop the flatbread into chunks. It's served with a somewhat bland curry on the side that contains potatoes. The roti itself is tasty, though, and it's nice to see it in a Portland restaurant.
I really like their namesake dish, the satay. (Pictured below.) The chunks of meat are permeated with the flavor of curry, slightly sweet and fragrant. The best thing about their satay is they have nicely charred spots as you find on the actual streets where they're served, but too little in restaurants. The meat could be more tender and in past experiences it was more tender. But it's not tough either. The skewers are served with a peanut sauce that's complex -- not just Jiff with a hint of curry.
The achat is like Malaysian kimchi, pickled spicy veggies, in this case a mixture of cabbage, carrots, pineapple, etc. The slight sweetness from the pineapple adds an agreeable balance to the dish. I could eat this stuff all day.
Another favorite are the satay bean curd, wedges of deep-fried tofu, light and crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside. The wedges are partially dug out and filled with fresh slices of cucumber and piles of bean sprouts. They're served with the same peanut sauce as the beef satay.
I'm not a big fan of noodle stir fries, but I thought the kueh teow was pretty good. It was executed decently enough. The noodles weren't clumpy, over or undercooked. The sauce was a bit too sweet, I think, until a bit of tangy-spicy sauce they provide on the side was added (very much like Sriracha). It was served with squid, shrimp, egg, and even chicken, I think.
The okra belachan was a little short on shrimp paste flavor, but was cooked quite competently. The okra had a nice crunch to them, seemed very fresh, and weren't overly slimy.
I would have liked everything to be a bit spicier. My dining companion and I were discussing the relative lack of chile (relative to most Thai restaurants, eg) and we wondered if maybe they tone it down for us caucasians. So she asked. Come to find out it's not for us whiteys that they tone it down, but for the Chinese. She said that the average white person acutally adds chile to their dishes, but that the Chinese, like her, find even the toned down dishes often too spicy. That was enlightening. I asked who was in the kitchen and she said that it was split between Malay and Chinese. The staff seemed mostly Chinese, but there were a couple Malay and SE Asians on the floor as well.
I really like the room. It's all wood inside. They have large vinyl posters on several walls that portray full-color scenes from Malaysia, such as photos of high rises, the blue waters next to a white sand beach, or the rainbows of the marketplace.
A good addition to Portland's Asian restaurants that, combined with Banh Cuon Tanh Dinh, makes Fubonn even more of a destination.
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