Singaporean / Malaysian other than Hainan chicken rice

I’m particularly interested in asam laksa (haven’t seen that on a menu in years), roti canai, and curry mee.

Food from the straits is a relatively weak aspect of the LA dining scene.

i have yet to try the place but penang in w. covina is on my list of indo/malay places allegedly worth trying. but i would concur that that region is not well represented in LA.

Java Spice for Nasi Bungkus.

Singaporean/Malaysian is poorly represented in Greater L.A. PappaRich - The Denny’s of Malaysia - had asam laksa and roti canai, but they closed.

There are several Indonesian places, even down to specifically Bornean or Javan.

There are some really good Indonesian places at home, but Singapore / Malaysian places never seem to last. I’ve had three favorites close on me over the years.

Honestly, I think that because so few are familiar with the cuisine in this region, it would take a high concept, highly-rated restaurant for this cuisine to start to get much of a foothold here. And how many restaurant groups would be willing to take a chance on a cuisine with no tangible track record here to fund what would be necessary for both “high concept” and “high quality” without sacrificing authenticity?

I just don’t see it yet.

Honestly, once Wilshire Grand towers are being built with Kuala Lumpur money out in West Covina, maybe then we’ll see something like that. So far the Singaporeans seem largely interested in getting their educations here prior to returning across the Pacific.

Doesn’t Cassia count?

Affordable hawker-style immigrant cuisine is what most people love about authentic S’pore cuisine and the food of the Straits. The Violet Oon stuff is there for the 1% who wouldn’t deign stepping foot into a typical neighborhood food centre.

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Cassia’s pan-Southeast-Asian-French. I imagine the Singaporean-Malaysian dishes they have are great, but as Pete Wells put it in his rave review, it “doesn’t offer a direct connection to another country’s cuisine.”

Seasons Kitchen in Anaheim.

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Yes, but that’s for people who already know. Seriously, imagine your typical non-Asian Angeleno–do you think a truly authentic hawker centre (if one were to exist in Los Angeles) would attract enough of them to sustain the business? Most people west of downtown would have a hard time with the smells in a 99 Ranch, let alone a hawker centre and/or wet market.

IMO, in order for the cuisine to gain a foothold into the larger, non-foodie LA market, it’s going to have to be both good and gimmicky to attract a whole bunch of basic bitches who know next-to-nothing about food, but know that they can get a bunch of Instagram likes for taking a selfie there.

I wouldn’t know, as I don’t really dine west of Highland / La Brea, let alone the 405. From the yelp pics it looks a bit too precious. I was laughing when I saw the photo of their Kaya Toast with the crusts trimmed off and the egg in a ramekin.

Is it worth making the trek to SaMo, or is it just SE Asian-themed white people food?

EDIT: Just looked through their menu, and it seems like SE Asian-themed white people food. Not really of interest to me.

I actually think that we in L.A. are now evolved enough as a Pacific Rim city by this time to sustain such a venture. And even if non-Asian Angelenos don’t go, we sure as hell got enough Asians in this city who will.

But weren’t you hoping for a (in your words) … “high concept” and “high quality” restaurant… just a few posts upthread?

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If you don’t eat the pig’s tail or charcuterie plate at Cassia, your loss.

For fresh made Roti Canai, I like Penang Malaysian Cuisine in West Covina. It comes with a tiny bowl of chicken curry (includes a small pc. of chicken and boiled potato) to dip in.

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“High quality” in terms of flavors and authenticity. “High concept”…oh hell, I think I made it clear enough, but here’s a counterpoint of what I consider to be rather “high concept” but low-middling in terms of quality:

Little Damage
Cauldron Ice Cream
Rainforest Cafe

All of those are big on “concept” and rather low-to-mediocre on actual food. What I’m suggesting is something with a strong gimmick to act as a draw that somehow also manages to do the cuisine justice.

While you are right that LA has a large Asian population, quite frankly I see a lot fewer adventurous palates than I do people opening and patronizing restaurants that fit the cuisines they’re used to. I mean, for all of our Asian food options here, whatever is en vogue pretty closely matches the current wave of immigration, and the places that opened and served the Hong Kongers of the 1980s and the Taiwanese of the 1990s are gradually being replaced by more and more mainland cuisines. I’ve yet to see a massive wave of Malaysian or Indonesian immigration, and certainly not any appreciable Singaporean (and why would they? SG has quite a lot to offer most of its people, so long as they fit a traditional, hetero-normative family-focused lifestyle).

So barring a massive wave of immigration from those countries, there’s going to have to be something flashy and gimmicky enough to gain the attention of the masses, but also of good enough quality that J Gold and the other media tastemakers lavish enough praise. Otherwise, I think we’d just have a repeat of Grainivore–great food, but blink-and-you-miss-it.

The Indonesian spot Kasih opened recently in Little Tokyo. Haven’t tried it yet, but it looks good.


I like Singapore Banana Leaf in the Original Farmers Market. I nearly always get the tuna sambal, so I can’t comment on the other dishes.

I’m hoping to try this one soon.

I like alot. LIKE ALOT