Some folks have been complaining that Manja’s too expensive. It’s true that the dishes here run in the $15 to $25 range, say other hounds, whereas the dishes at a night market in Singapore run about $2 to $3. But that’s overseas, and this is here, in a high-rent neighborhood in Los Angeles, with fancy digs and, most important, first-rate ingredients, some of which are flown in from Malaysia. “The dishes are more Malay than Chinese/Malay,” says bulavinaka.
“There’s a brightness in the spicing of the foods that is noticeable, particularly in the curries.”
An appetizer of cucur udang is perfectly fried and toothsome. “My wife and I simultaneously had one of those ‘AHA!’ moments when we dipped the house-made roti into the curry sauce. Had this been outdoors, with 90 percent humidity and the funk and noise of a hawker center, we could have closed our eyes and assumed we were in [Kuala Lumpur],” says bulavinaka.
Nesi lemak is outstanding, and the sambal has nice big chunks of meaty squid and no cheap-squid funk. Bandung drinks are wonderful as well, says bulavinaka.
All in all, “pretty good food,” says the less satisfied bsquared2. “Was it worth the price of the bill? Not sure.”
Manja Malaysian Cuisine [Mid-City]
8165 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood