For this past week’s Sunday brunch we decided to mix it up a bit and veer away from the usual dim sum. Jefe came up with JB Malaysian in Burnaby. He hails from Malaysia, has visited JB several times and gives it a solid thumbs up. On that recommendation, Matty and I joined him for a mini-Malaysian feast.
JB Malaysian’s location is rather unfortunate. It’s just on the east side of the Royal Oak/Kingsway intersection. Traffic tends to fly past it’s tiny storefront. The lack of street parking isn’t helping neither. This particular room was the location of Penny Farthing many moons ago. Sure miss their killer fish ‘n chips…the real deal, right down to the newspaper wrap. Asian 54 and Miki Ramen then came and went in rapid succession.
The room is quite small seating maybe 25. We arrived Sunday afternoon to nearly a full, bustling house. Great sign, that.
We started with a couple orders of Roti Prata. Right about average, these were. Nice and greasy, a good chew but not near enough of the stretchiness of Bo Laksa King’s heart-cloggingly amazing version.
The accompanying curry dip was also workmanlike. A good depth with a hint of heat. It reappeared in the Kari Ayam (Malaysian Curry Chicken).
A fairly solid bowl. A bit too mild for my liking. I was hoping for more flavor bursts i.e. fennel seed, ginger, lemongrass to jump out…coconut, maybe? The chicken itself was OK. A few more minutes braising time would’ve done this dish a world of good.
The only other time I’d had Gado Gado was at Kedah House. Because it was part of their buffet, all the items were separate. So, if you’re like me, and had no idea how it’s assembled, your first try would be a minor, albeit tasty, disaster. JB’s Gado Gado was truly delicious. Big hunks of chewy, fried tofu covered with bean sprouts and julienned cukes, smothered in a rich peanut sauce and sprinkled with powdered peanuts. Great fresh flavors and textures. It’s not the most authentic version but it’s got enough decent elements to make it work.
The Bak Kut Teh (Pork Bone Tea Soup) wasn’t quite what I’d expected. One sip was enough. The broth is very bitter with strong medicinal qualities. Apparently this is a great health booster and hangover cure.
One dish I’ve always wanted to check out is Rojak (Fruit and Vegetable Salad). Simply put, Rojak means “mixture”. In this case, the mixture is pineapple, cucumber, green beans and sprouts tossed in a combination of lime juice, shrimp paste, sugar and chili topped with peanut powder. Along with the Gado-Gado, my favorite on the day. A simply fantastic mix of flavors…the best kind of vegetarian fare. It’s not on the menu but was offered on the daily special page.
Penang Fried Kway Teow (Stir-Fried Ricecake Strips). I wanted to try this dish simply because I’d had it at JB’s previous incarnation in Crystal Mall. That was a bit of takeout I’d just as soon forget…mediocre would be a stretch. This plate was a good step up. Much more wok char and a good amount of ingredient. Not too authentic…missing prawn and cockles, some fishcake. Chinese sausage or squid would’ve been nice.
The food here at JB Malaysian ranges around middle of the road. There are some definite standouts but they take a few shortcuts here and there. All round, it’s good, honest fare at a decent price. Most definitely a place I’ll revisit.