We’re always on the lookout for new Malaysian options because it’s Wicca’s favourite cuisine. The big, rich, deep flavours of the curries, the decadent roti canais, the subtle beauty of Hainanese chicken rice, and the interplay of cultures make it a really enjoyable cuisine.
We heard from a few friends that this newish place in Richmond was good. It’s got a (to me) hilarious name: John 3:16.
I…think…this must…ahh my eyes…be…the right place? Just look for the weird non-standalone Dairy Queen next door.
They’re closed on Sundays (of course) and also closed between 3:00pm to 5:00pm. The friendly sign set in Cooper Black says don’t bother breaking in!
Another sign reiterating their business hours, adding times for last orders. Cough.
Their full menu is available on their Urbanspoon page.
Having had Curry Laksa the other week from Amay’s House (where apparently Bo — of Bo Laksa King fame — is now working), I went for a Penang Asam Laksa. Ready to be hit in the face with sour and spicy flavours!
We haven’t had a Cendol in ages. Why not?
They have this verse printed right on the wall. I don’t remember seeing faith presented so prominently in a restaurant before. Except for maybe Storm Crow Tavern and how they worship Cthulhu… 😛
The restaurant itself is SMALL. It only fits ~24 people, uncomfortably.
Roti Canai with Curry Sauce. Look at that sauce! You can tell by the appearance that it’s got spices, depth and flavour. And it did!
This was one of the least-oily roti canais that we’ve had. Very buttery, flaky and croissant-like. Wicca liked how it wasn’t oily. I sort of missed the oiliness. I likened it to making grilled cheese with or without butter in the pan.
But when eaten with the curry sauce, it may just be a moot point! Good stuff.
Satay Beef. The meat was ultra-marinated and was stained yellow from the turmeric etc. Not dried out, it was one of the better beef satays we’ve had in the Lower Mainland.
Chunky peanut sauce and cucumbers cut in that way.
Penang Asam Laksa. Comes with lettuce (!) on top?! Thankfully just a little bit of lettuce 😛 Also comes with half an egg.
After shoving the lettuce aside, I could see cucumbers, onions and chunks of pineapple. There were a few pieces of tamarind in there, providing the big sour flavours. This dish really hits you in the face with sour and a bit of spiciness. I’ve had Penang Asam Laksas in the past that were too sour, but this was still at an enjoyable level. The noodles are similar to the ones found in Vietnamese bun bo hue but cooked a tiny bit too soft for my taste. I also missed having some meat element in this dish. Maybe some more actual fish meat from the fish broth, or whole prawns. They also put whole laksa leaf including the stalks in there, and the stalks are basically inedible, so a minor niggly point. I probably wouldn’t order this again but good to try once to see if it’s your kind of dish.
Beef Rendang. A wetter style of rendang, with a few chunks of potato. Flavour is really good, less of the cloying sweet coconut element that I hate, and more of the savoury, meaty, rich rendanginess! I could see lots of aromatics in there as I ate, which is always a good sign. I think those leaves are lime leaves or laksa leaves or at least something awesome.
Cendol. It’s an Asian shaved ice dessert containing palm sugar syrup, coconut milk, red beans, creamed corn (!) and those green wormy things (also found in the Vietnamese dessert Che Banh Lot). If creamed corn in a dessert sounds weird, I suggest you let someone else order it and try a spoonful. This bowl could serve two to four people easily.
Red beans at the bottom. We liked this dessert a lot but Wicca wanted less ice and more coconut milk and palm sugar syrup. I found it just right.
So after this first visit, our feelings are positive. We’ll have to come back and try many more other dishes before we damn this place or praise it to high heavens.
I chatted with the owner’s niece as I was paying. Her uncle actually used to own the Yummy Malaysian Delights in the Richmond Public Market until selling it off and moving to Kamloops about 5-6 years ago. Now they’re back with their first full restaurant in the Lower Mainland. Their hope is to move to a bigger space sometime in 2015. They’ll need it.
Extra aside: our first (and probably best, although it might be just nostalgia talking) experience with Malaysian/Singaporean cuisine was at Rasa Singapura at Richmond Public Market. The best roti canai and murtabak we’ve ever had in the Lower Mainland. That must’ve been ~12 years ago at least. They used to be featured on the Spicy Steve cable tv show back in the 90s. The place was run by this Singaporean woman but her nephew (?) took over the place. His name was “Radz” and we totally miss him! I remember him cooking up and SCRUNCHING up our roti (the proper way!) and cooking up great food in general. He ended up selling the place to Daniel, who renamed it “Yummy Malaysian Delights” and ran it until 2009ish(?). It’s this Daniel person who opened up John 3:16.