I had eaten Malaysian food in Northern California and in Oregon, but hadn't tried it in Southern California. So when Belacan Grill in Redondo Beach was recommended to me as the best in SoCal, I figured I might as well start there. I hesitate when people say anything is the "best" because it builds in a set of expectations.
I convinced UnHip LA to try the restaurant with me and we drove all the way out to the west side. The late afternoon sun set a nice glow and the restaurant was quite nice on the inside.
It was also very, very empty. We were the only customers. On a Sunday afternoon.
I ordered a Malaysian teh ice, basically a milk tea, for $2.50.
We started off with roti canai for $2.95. Flaky bread, yummy curry sauce.
Mamak Mee Goreng $5.95. Thick egg noodles stir-fried with chicken, shrimp, bean sprouts, tofu, eggs, tomatoes in a spicy tamarind sauce. Good flavor but way too salty and overly saucy for the amount of noodles.
Kangkong Belacan (Malaysian Stir-Fried Water Spinach with Shrimp Paste), $7.95. It's hard to tell, but the portion was very small. The water spinach was only filled up one side of the plate.
Nasi Lemak $6.95. Coconut milk steamed rice with anchovies, boiled egg, cucumber, vegetables, and roasted peanuts. OK, this dish, you can tell how sparse it was. Seriously? Just tiny amounts of what I consider garnishes.
So in the end, not worth the drive from the San Gabriel Valley, but might be worth a visit if you live in the area. The food was fine, just the portions were small. The dinner menu is more extensive but the prices are also higher too.
Afterward, UnHip LA suggested going to Little India and erasing the lackluster lunch with the heavenly tastes of Saffron Spot. Oh boy did Saffron Spot redeem the day.
I wondered why was I driving so far when I have a perfectly good Malaysian restaurant much closer to home? It was time to explore what was in my neighborhood.
Who else ate at Belacan Grill?
Chubbypanda had a horrible experience where two of the orders weren't prepared and the owner yelled at his party. :(
Other Malaysian restaurants:
Little Malaysia Restaurant - El Monte
Yazmin Malaysian Restaurant - Alhambra
2701 190th St., #100
Redondo Beach, CA 90278-5445
Tuesday to Friday 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.