Malaysian


Rasa Sayang, it turns out, is a decade old Malaysian-Chinese-Thai eatery, once found west of 400 and Holcombe Bridge (i.e. Exit 7 on 400). It relocated about 3 years ago to just east of 400 and Holcombe Bridge – parking on the other side was horrendous. I can attest to that, as I tried twice to get to their old location back in the day and was defeated by the generally awful parking.

The eatery is now located in the same general area as the Publix just south and east of the intersection, though not connected to the Publix. You can get to it by heading right as soon as you can after exiting 400 to the east, or you can wait to the first traffic light, and head south at the light. The new location is really good looking, both inside and outside.

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The tables are a nice deep red-brown, perhaps rosewood or mahogany, and the waiters are gracefully dressed. There are tables and booths inside, and a small bar. There are also ironwork tables outside, if the day is good and you want a view of the city.

The restaurant offers Thai, Chinese, and Malaysian dishes.  The real draw, however, are the Malaysian dishes. The first one I had here was the Kuala Lumpur Kari Mee, a noodle soup.

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The okra was unexpected, a nice touch. There is a lot of flaver, a lot of taste in this soup, and it tends to remind me of dishes with similar themes.  It reminds me a little of udon. It reminds me a bit of cream of mushroom soup, and of course, chicken noodle. It seems to mix elements of several kinds of food and it does it quite well. I liked this dish a great deal.

I also had the tomyum chicken. This dish came with a soup starter and a serving of brown rice and an egg roll.

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The soup shown has a coconut milk base. They also can serve a hot and sour soup and an egg drop soup. The rice is a brown rice, different in texture from ordinary short grain rice. The egg roll was decent, though I’m not really an egg roll person. The tomyum chicken was good. The sauce on the chicken was thick,  and it wasn’t sweet the way some thick Asian sauces can be. You could, however, taste the bits of sweet pineapple scattered throughout the dish. There was a rich flavor to the food. I tossed the chicken over my rice and ate them as a mix. It was really good eating.

One last point, about peppers and heat. The two hottest cuisines I’ve experienced are Malaysian and Thai. Both can create dishes with such fire that I find them inedible. That said, most Malay places in Atlanta offer no heat to speak of or very little heat. This place has dishes marked hot, but on a four level scale of “mild”, “medium”, “hot”, “hot by our standards”, the hot dishes are really mild. You can ask for pepper sauce here, or you can ask them to add more spice when you order. I tend to order “medium”, because it’s spicy enough for me, and my wife can still eat it.

Staff is well dressed and efficient. The owner can be found in this restaurant at times. The second time I showed, he waved to me as if I were an old friend. Later he stopped by my booth, asked how I was doing, how was the food, and chatted.  This kind of personal contact, I think, says volumes about the interest a restaurant has in providing the best for their customers.

Verdict: Decade old Malay institution in Atlanta, well worth visiting. Highly recommended.

Rasa Sayang
1425 Market Boulevard #1309
Roswell, Georgia 30076
(770) 643-8812

Rasa Sayang on Urbanspoon

Notes: Rasa Sayang is, incidently, a folk song popular in Malaysia. Versions of the song can be seen and heard on Youtube. Northside Food has a nice review of the restaurant. And there are AJC reviews dating back ten years, theoretically, via Access Atlanta. Problem is, Access Atlanta is a horrible site,  hard to navigate and with a totally disfunctional search. Maybe the web admin can find their old content. I can’t find a thing on their site.

Penang is in a strip mall about a half block south of Chamblee Tucker Road on Buford and far enough into a corner to be impossible to see from the road. I wasn’t even looking for it, I was trying to find Lee’s Bakery,  but Amy on Food reviewed this restaurant recently, it was late and I was hungry.

This has been an award winning Malaysian-Thai restaurant since 2000. The Zagat rating of “Excellent” in 2007 is on the wall as you enter. In my case, it brought back memories of a Malaysian coworker, who would occasionally would share food with me. I couldn’t eat what she ate. It was simply too hot. She’d make a milder version that was more edible for an American.

Inside Penang is quite pretty. There is a lot of wood in the restaurant, murals on two walls, good looking tables, and a real attempt to evoke a Southeast Asian feel. Penang is roomy inside, with plenty of elbow room between tables. Service was, in my estimation, very good.

After a brief look at the menu (which is large, over 100 items), I ordered the beef Penang Satay and Kari Ayam, a curry with chicken and potatoes. The Keri Ayam arrived first; the satay took a while to cook. And while the Kari Ayam was good, the satay was beautiful and delicious, grilled meat flavors mixing with the beef marinade in ways that accented both.

Though both dishes were marked with a pepper on the menu, and they had flavor, I didn’t find either especially hot. The curry had a hint of it. I don’t recall any heat in the satay at all. I’m sure you can ask for more spice if necessary.

Verdict: Recommended. Good to excellent food, beautifully presented. Fine service. Heat may disappoint if you’re a spice lover.

Penang
4897 Buford Hwy # 113
Chamblee, GA 30341
(770) 220-0308

Penang on Urbanspoon

Fine reviews of Penang can also be found here, here, and here.