We are blessed with a huge variety of southeast Asian restaurants in Greater Vancouver. There’s a phở joint seemingly around every corner. Excellent Thai food can be a had with a short drive. There are several good Malaysian, Singaporean and Indonesian choices as well. One cuisine we haven’t seen much of is Burmese. It doesn’t even appear on Urbanspoon’s cuisine list! Perhaps it just wasn’t offered as a choice. It’s time to put it on the list!
Wahh Tee is a tiny, four table, sixteen seat resto on Joyce St. in East Van. A few years back, just two doors down, Burmese restaurateur Bo Han staked his original claim to fame, Bo Laksa King. He then moved on to a bigger shop on Hastings. But that, unfortunately, is no more. *big sigh*
Today I got together with über-foodie Lotusrapper and Uncle Ben from Chowtimes to see what Wahh Tee has on offer.
One big letdown was that Burmese Fermented Tea Salad (Lahpet Thoke) wasn’t available. I was so hoping to try the highly-caffienated appetizer I’ve heard many rave about. Instead, we opted for Pennywort Salad (Min Kwa Yuet).
Apparently pennywort is an extremely healthy herb. Regardless of the “healthy” aspect, mixed with lime, garlic, shrimp and bean powder, this is quite a delicious way to get your vitamins. Our friendly server stated that you’ll feel healthy just thinking about it!
Uncle Ben’s first choice, Myanmar Biryani Rice, was available but the chicken curry was not. Fortunately, Ben knew that pork was a better version.
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.