Dinner on Memory Lane

A few weeks ago, Stephanie Yuen invited me to a dinner at one of Vancouver’s newest culinary additions, Kaya Malay Bistro.  Kaya has been open for about four months, and despite how the name implies, Kaya serves more than just Malaysian food.

Coincidentally, my parents owned a restaurant on the same block.  I remember the countless times my dad would be assessing the number of patrons dining at the Thai restaurant which previously occupied the space that Kaya is currently established in.  Now that my parents have long sold the restaurant, it is no longer a criminal offence to dine at the used-to-be-competition (Thank gaaawd!).

I sat with a number of popular Vancouver food bloggers and it seemed that they were reasonably well acquainted with each other while I was the new kid on the blog.  After our brief introductions, I was amazed and flattered that some of them had heard about my small corner of the world-wide web.  Once everyone finished mingling, we were shown to the second floor dining area for dinner.

Our ten course meal consisted of the following:

Kaya Salad – A romaine lettuce salad topped with roasted potatoes, tofu, cranberries and a peanut mango dressing.

Roti Canai – Not the best I’ve had, but always a welcome appetizer.

Squash & Apple Curry Bisque – This combination of flavours worked together well, and not to mention very seasonal.

Chicken Satay – Very moist. No doubt they utilized thigh meat as opposed to chicken breast. One of the highlights of the dinner.

Crispy Spicy Calamari and Taro Root – An interesting take on the traditional calamari.

Wok-Fried Eggplant and Okra – Instant favourite. Pungent shrimp paste makes everything taste better. (hmm…. shrimp paste + bacon = ???)

Hainanese Chicken Two ways – Served alongside yellow/oil rice (not pictured)  I prefered the traditional blanched version to the roasted chicken, but nevertheless they were both very tender and flavourful.

Pan-fried Halibut – Unfortunately, my halibut was overcooked and cold by the time it arrived. However, the sauce was dazzling with sweet onion and ginger that complimented the mild halibut like bubbles to a hot bath.

Grilled Rack of Lamb with Mashed Yam – Reminded me of Rendang beef.

Unfortunately, I neglected to snap a photo of the desert trio on my camera, but you can view my instagram picture here.  The dessert trio consisted of a durian pancake, tapioca cup, and a deep fried banana.  My favourite was a the tapioca cup because of its mildly sweet flavour and stretchy texture.  Durian is a taste I have not yet learned to appreciate…

The chef at Kaya is a real master when it comes to seasoning his dishes and preparing sauces.  I think that Kaya has met the standard for the South Asian restaurants which currently occupy Vancouver.  However, I didn’t feel that I tried anything I haven’t before–which isn’t a bad thing.  All things aside, it was a marathon of a meal and by the end of it, I felt as if my dress was about to split at the seams.  But it didn’t!

Kaya Malay Bistro on Urbanspoon

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