Wicca needed a pick-me-up, and her favourite cuisine is Singaporean/Malaysian food, so I picked this small place called Makan Place (Facebook, Instagram) in Burnaby that’s been on my radar. Hope the bold, punchy flavours will cheer her up!
I love these kinds of neighbourhood nooks nestled within residential areas. You see a few of these streets in Burnaby and New West (eg. where D Roti Shak is). Wicca says “sleepy”, but you can find interesting off-the-beaten-path gems in areas like this. In this case, Makan Place is surrounded by cannabis-related businesses. Curry puffs and char kway teow sounds like great stoner food to me!
From older reviews that I’ve read (2014-2016), it seems like this place has expanded their menu…and possibly has new owners? The interior looks different (admittedly more drab), and the menu seems a lot larger than what other reviewers have described. They’re still CASH and DEBIT ONLY though.
Menu and…other menu. A close look at the menu reveals dishes you don’t see much at other Singaporean/Malaysian restaurants. The owners are Malay, so that’s reflected in the menu. It’s a refreshing change from the more Chinese-influenced menus at places like Banana Leaf and Tropika (not that we eat at those places or even like them).
Aaaand one more menu. What is this cake that the keep on pushing on this menu? We never found out.
Someone out there said they enjoyed the Chicken Biryani, so that’s as good as any place to start. Did I mention this place has a fairly large menu? THREE fried rices?
Actually, if you read the entire menu, you’ll see FIVE fried rices 😀 That last one, Fried Rice with Petai (Stink Bean/Bitter Bean) really jumped out at us because the only other place we’ve had stink bean is John 3:16 in North Van.
Calamansi ($3.95). They didn’t skimp on the calamansi flavour! Sweet, tart, and would come in handy later on with the spicier dishes.
They even put an actual calamansi in it!
Ice Kachang ($5.95). Basically a layered crushed ice dessert with red bean, corn (lots of corn), toddy palm, grass jelly, coconut milk, a green syrup, and a red syrup.
Wicca’s never loved Kachang, and this didn’t change her mind. They offer Cendol but they didn’t have it on this day.
Biryani Rice with Chicken ($9.95) comes with two pieces of boneless chicken.
Not bad. Separated grains of basmati rice (mostly…some clumpage was apparent). Strong flavours with a bit of heat. It’s like fairly well-done homey food.
Fried Rice with Petai ($11.95). Various vegetables (carrot, cabbage), Chinese BBQ pork (char siu), small dried anchovies, and a good amount of stink beans. The fried rice was a bit on the moist, saucy side, with an Indian spice thing happening. Overall flavour good!
The stink beans were slightly disappointing. We’ve had larger, fresher, tastier stink beans at John 3:16. These may also have been slightly undercooked. But as a dish it’s more good than not good.
Note: the stink beans we’ve tried here and at John 3:16 don’t actually stink, if you’re afraid. The beans actually taste mild, resembling a cooked broad bean, soybean (edamame), or pumpkin seed. The stink does come out when you pee though, similar to asparagus.
Pomfret in Special Sauce ($19.95). A whole pomfret deep fried and covered in their “special sauce”. We ordered this “medium spicy”. Turned out to be pretty damn spicy. Far spicier than what you’d get at say Banana Leaf or Tropika.
I wish the skin was a bit more fried and crispy, and that I could eat more of the bones and fins.
Flesh was still moist! I do still miss a more heavily fried skin and fin bones though.
The special sauce was spicy and slightly tangy, with the distinct umami of fish sauce. I also got a prominent fresh green chili flavour. There might be a hint of of tamarind in there too. The medium-level of spiciness had me dripping sweat from my scalp. Exhilarating!
The pomfret is served with a big plate of plain basmati rice, which had some clumpage going on, so stuff like that I think prevents this place from being truly great. But sometimes good is good enough.
This’ll make a plenty fine meal at home with rice.
Our first visit showed promise. Hopefully next time we come they’ll have murtabak. There’s also lots on the menu we’re interested in, like the Singapore mutton soup, curry puffs with sardines, or heck even order both of their two versions of char kway teow…
Good homey food, a bit rough around the edges, but still enjoyable.