Saturday, June 28, 2008

Jonker Street Restaurant

Just one visit so far to the little Jonker Street Restaurant (1128 Pacific Blvd, at Cambie St. 604-688-8565), and I was thoroughly impressed with the Malaysian food there. It seemed very authentic, tasty, with fresh bright flavours and not too greasy. The room is bright, casual and clean, and the service is very personable. It seemed like the man serving us was the owner, and he was a great host. It has a very relaxed atmosphere.

I must have roti canai ($2.80), a flaky somewhat sweet bread served with a curry sauce, anytime I see it on a menu. So Bac'n girl and I started with sharing an order of that (next time I'll get my own order) and an order of gado-gado ($7.50), a mixed salad of tofu, bean sprouts, green beans, potato and boiled egg, and covered with a tasty peanut sauce. The Roti Canai was one of the nicest ones I've had, and the Gado-Gado was a perfectly crunchy and filling salad. Bac'n Girl had been advised by a Malaysian friend that would serve their KL Hokkien Me noodles ($9.50) with the traditional bits of deep fried pork fat that you might find if you ordered the dish in Malaysia (but omit it if you don't ask for it...I'm thinking they probably found that the typical Yaletowner would not be attracted to "deep-fried pieces of fat" on a menu). The bits of fat were delicious of course, and the thick yellow noodles with mixed seafood and vegetables braised in a special dark sauce were great. I ordered their Nasi Jambori ($13.90) with was a sampler of chicken curry, beef rendang and prawn sambal. It was served with boiled egg, side salad, pappadum and jasmine rice. Everything was very tasty, and I loved having such a variety of dishes. I was impressed with the quality and freshness of the little salad too, and it was all very filling. I remember enjoying their big plump prawns in the spicy sambal sauce. In fact, we both noticed that someone sitting beside us ate everything on their plate, except for two big prawns, and it seemed such a waste that we were tempted to say that we'll eat them. They have some Malaysian drinks too, and Bac'n Girl and I ordered a couple of those too, though I can only remember that mine was cold and sweet, and hers was a hot tea. And for dessert, the Sago Gula Melaka ($3.80), chilled sago (a root starch, like tapioca) pudding served with coconut milk and fragrant palm sugar was perfect.

I'll definitely go back, and it's a great addition to this area; geographically just outside of the hub of snobby trendoids that makes up much of Yaletown, but worlds away in terms of atmosphere and value. If you park in the Urban Fare underground parking lot, Jonker St. will reimburse you for the first hour.

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