Sherman's Food Adventures: Banana Leaf (Broadway)

Banana Leaf (Broadway)

My bro-in-law (Guy Smiley) wanted to meet up with us for dinner and wondered where we'd like to go. Honestly, that's like asking a child what they want for Christmas. With my kid's culinary needs in consideration, I suggested we head to Burgoo on Main Street. After all, they have their 2 favourite dishes - grilled cheese and mac 'n cheese. Well, that plan epically failed since there was a 1 hour wait for a table at 5:30pm on a Sunday. Undeterred, I pulled out my back up plan and suggested we head to Temaki Sushi. Arghhhhh!!! It's closed on Sunday! At that point, out of pure desperation, I asked Viv to check out the prices at BC Sushi a couple of stores down. $25.00 for AYCE... Meh... We decided to skip that idea, especially since it would cost us $17.00 for my son. Yah, whatever, I'm not paying $17.00 for a bowl of udon (which is all he'd have anyways). Alright, last ditch effort, Banana Leaf on Broadway. I know there are some noodles they'd eat there. Besides, Banana Leaf used to be one our 'ol standbys when we used to live in Downtown. I guess it was about time we visited them again.

With parking spots secured right in front, we got a table right away, tucked into a corner. I was a bit hungry by then and started munching on the complimentary nuts. They are addictive. Sweet and a bit salty, these crunchy peanuts would be a great snack while watching hockey. We started with the Roti Canai, which to me, is a must order when at any Malaysian restaurant (assuming it doesn't suck). With the right combination of pan fried crispiness and sweet, soft fluffiness, these flaky gems were delicious. Even more tasty with the curry dipping sauce. We got 2 orders and it was massive, we hardly could finish it.

Next up were the Steamed Clams in Soy Bean Sauce with Chili & Ginger. The sauce was definitely flavourful with strong hints of the aforementioned ingredients. However, I couldn't stop thinking of how little food was actually on the plate. If you discarded all the shells, you'd probably be left with a pile of clam meat that wouldn't even fill a small ramekin. I guess that is the cost of eating clams, mussels and the sort. One peculiar dish that we ordered was the Singapore-Style Sweet and Sour Pork Chops. To me at least, they are very similar to Chinese Peking-Style Pork Chops. The only difference that I could see was the absence of Worcestershire sauce which gives Peking Pork Chops their unique depth of flavour. These pork chops were fried up just perfectly being juicy while crispy on the outside.

My choice of dish was the Rendeng Beef. Unlike the version I had at Taste of Singapore, this one had a good amount of grease on the top. Not necessarily a bad thing since oil does contain a lot of the flavour. For me at least, I could've done with a little less; although I've had much worse at Tropika. The meat was both tender and plentiful. The coconut and chili based sauce was quite spicy. Not mind-blowing spicy; but there was indeed a kick. Went well with the coconut rice though. On that note, the Sambal Beans were also a good accompaniment as well. These were spicy and flavourful as well. The beans were ever-so-slightly over fried when they oil blanched it. However, that wasn't a big deal.

Not exactly a dish I would normally order at a Malay restaurant was the Ipoh Char Hor Fun. Mainly for the kiddies, this dish is not spicy at all and quite saucy, especially for a noodle dish. I'm not a big fan of this since it's essentially swimming in an oyster & egg sauce. I'm sure someone likes it, but I find it both bland and soggy. I've also had this dish at Tamarind Hill and it's the same. Chalk this up to personal preference. Well, another solid meal at Banana Leaf. I've heard some rumblings about how the food has been watered down to meet the tastes of Vancouverites. Well, I can somewhat see this; but honestly, if the food tastes good, it really shouldn't matter.

The Good:
- Reasonably priced
- Most dishes are well-seasoned
- Good service

The Bad:
- Portion sizes vary, with some dishes being large and some small

Banana Leaf (Broadway) on Urbanspoon


Karl said...

Great shot of the pork chops, Sherman. I've made it my Desktop Background!

Couldn't agree more on the "watered-down" comment. Seems the more popular the restaurant gets, the more they appease the "Caucasian" palate. I've literally begged servers to tell the kitchen to make the food the way they would want it.

trisha said...

sadly i have to third the watered down comment. this used to be one of my favourite places to eat, years ago. i went back last year and it was not so great. i guess that is what happens when they bend to the demand of their clientelle as their popularity grows

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