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San Francisco Bay Area

Spice Islands Cafe in Mountainview

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Spice Islands Cafe in Mountainview

elise h | May 6, 2002 04:32 PM

A new cure for hounds suffering from lack of Singaporean, Malaysian, and Indonesian cuisine in the bay area is the Spice Islands Cafe. Spice Islands Cafe opened 8 months ago and serves tasty, aesthetically presented food.

We ordered roti cani - crispy pancake with curry dipping sauce. This was thinner and more delicate than that at Borobudur or most Indian restaurants. I personally prefer the heftier version. Mango prawns was our main dish. Prawns with shredded mango, green and red peppers in a tangy mango sauce were plopped back into the mango shells. A little too loud, sweet and tangy, this dish would benefit from refinement. The Singapore (thin) rice noodles were a good accompaniment, with chinese sausage, bean sprouts, and eggs. Nothing too spectacular or detracting here.

The highlight dish was water convolvulus, kangkung belacan, with Malaysian shrimp sauce. A mystery vegetable to me, but what is life without discovery? This green, leafy vegetable's pleasing flavor captures the earth's vitality. It is also known as tropical spinach, water ipomea, water spinach, water sweet potato, swamp cabbage (poor branding image), swamp morning glory (hire another marketing firm). The shrimp sauce was subtle, neither too powerful nor shocking to non natives.

Spice Islands's menus includes a large vegetarian section, including roti prata. For those savvy hounds, what is the difference between roti prata and roti canai?

The service was very friendly and happy to explain the more unusual dishes.

Coordinates: 210 Hope Street (near Castro Street), Mountain view; 650 961 0628. Easy parking in back of restaurant.

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