Malaysian/Singaporean restaurants are becoming as rare in Southern Cali as a cool day in Kuala Lumpur, notes bulavinaka, who enjoys Yazmin for home-style cooking almost as good as Mom’s. Unlike hawker stalls, home cooking tends to go lighter on the fat and salt. Be aware, though, authenticity here extends to the heavy use of MSG.
First-timers to Malaysian food might want to start with nasi lemak, a kind of all-in-one sampler of coconut rice topped with dried anchovies, peanuts, cucumbers, chile sauce, and a protein like curry chicken, grilled fish, or beef rendang. In Malaysia it’s usually wrapped in a banana leaf and eaten as breakfast, but it can be found—and devoured—anytime.
At Yazmin, one should also get rojak, a fruit salad with a tamarind base; a noodle dish (char kway teow, similar to the Thai pad see ew, has great wok hay, says suvro); a soup (just not laksa curry with chicken, which disappoints); a protein (beef rendang, succulent and flavorful; satays; or any grilled or fried chicken); and maybe water spinach with fermented shrimp paste (kangkong belacan) to round out the meal. If you’ve got room, shaved ice dishes chendal or ice kachang make a nice dessert.
In the South Bay, it’s also worth checking out Belacan Grill; the food’s quite good, although a little pricier than SGV (and a lot more than in Malaysia/Singapore!).
Yazmin [San Gabriel Valley]
27 E. Main Street, Alhambra
Belacan Grill [South Bay]
2701 190th Street, Redondo Beach
Board Link: Main and Garfield, Alhambra?