- $15 for $30 worth of Malaysian food
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Peninsula Malaysian Cuisine
Some of the spices and condiments in a Malaysian kitchen—ginger, shallots, chilies—are familiar to American diners. Others aren't as widely known, and it's these that give the seafood, meats, veggies, and curries at Peninsula Malaysian Cuisine their palate-expanding complexity. Belacan, for example, is a dried shrimp paste that provides a salty tang; pandan leaf is an aromatic plant used in desserts as a dumpling wrapper; and galangal is a type of Southeast Asian rhizome that goes well with lemongrass.
At Peninsula Malaysian Cuisine, Chef Tong mixes these ingredients with practiced precision to make nearly 200 dishes, from pineapple seafood fried rice to the Buddhist yam pot—a bowl formed from crispy fried taro and filled with shrimp, chicken, cashews, and vegetables. The restaurant's open kitchen lets guests watch him and the other cooks as they flip the crispy pancakes known as roti canai and toss fresh egg noodles with duck and barbecued pork. The food impressed Jeremy Iggers of the StarTribune along with his Malaysia-born dining companions, who "gave the Peninsula a strong endorsement: they said the food was as good as at the restaurants back home."
The kitchen also displays Peninsula's love for coconut. Jumbo shrimp and beef take on sweetness as they simmer in coconut milk, and a coconut-butter breading turns bites of chicken into crispy treats. To increase the chances that their dreams will take them to a tropical island, diners can finish with another celebration of the fruit of the palm: coconut pudding served inside a real coconut shell.