Located inside Pub 340, on Cambie Street in Gastown, we found Mamak Malaysian Cafe. Word on the street was that Chef Charles of the former Jonker Street cafe in Yaletown (now Fresh Bowl) created Mamak Cafe as the main kitchen of Pub 340. Always on the look out for great South East Asian fare – especially Malaysian – in Vancouver, we gave Mamak Malaysian Cafe a try and ordered a few items to-go off their very small menu. Standard Malaysian hawker food was offered at Mamak including roti canai, beef rendang, and mee (noodle) dishes.
Satay Chicken ($4.00) – Flame grilled chicken satay sticks served with spicy handcrafted peanut dipping sauce on the side. Nicely marinated and retaining the chicken’s juiciness, some may comment that these skewers look quite small, but serving the meat on the top third of each stick is the traditional way of serving satay that you’ll find at all hawker centres in Malaysia.
Sambal Udang (Prawn Sambal) ($7.90) – Served with coconut rice and papadum, these stir-fried prawns were sauteed with homemade sambal sauce. If you’re not aware, sambal is a chili based sauce normally used as a condiment in South East Asia. Made from a variety of hot chili peppers, the sauce can be extremely spicy for the uninitiated – and this deliciously flavourful dish was no exception!
Nasi Goreng ($7.90) – Malaysian style fried rice with eggs, prawns and topped with green onions. A medley of frozen vegetables were also mixed with the nasi (rice), including carrots, green beans, and peas. Pretty tasty, but it could have used a bit more spiciness and a tad more kecap manis (thick sweet soy sauce).
Malaysia Laksa ($7.50) – One of my all-time favourite dishes, this one included rice noodles in curry coconut milk broth with boiled chicken pieces, steamed shrimp, half of a boiled egg and fish-cakes. Tofu puffs, beansprouts, and sliced jalapeno peppers topped off this popular Malaysian/Singaporean soup dish. I would have loved if its soup base contained more pronounced flavours of tamarind and turmeric to really bring the dish over the edge – but hey, Vancouver’s pretty far from Malaysia, so overall I’d say Mamak Malaysian Cafe served very reasonably priced Malaysian hawker fare in a convenient Gastown location. It didn’t blow our minds, but it did fend off cravings before we had a chance to hop on a plane back to either Borneo or the Malay
*Update: Mamak Malaysian Cafe is now closed. Thanks to Greedy Guts for the heads up!