Met a few friends from the “old days” over at the Malay Satay Hut off of 24th in Redmond the other day. This was my first journey to the place, and I was more than a little impressed. The restaurant is very open and inviting, with plenty of tables and room to move around. The decor is a little “touristy”, with a funky Tiki Hut kind of vibe going, but really not all that over done. It would fit quite well in the International district, just felt a little out of place in a strip mall. We were seated at a round table with plenty of elbow room. As I scanned the menu, one thing stood out. There must have been 57 thousand different items. Impressive, but almost too impressive. For those unfamiliar with the Malaysian style of bringing in all foods from around area, Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian, etc., it can almost be overpowering. A simple new comers menu would be well received I think.
I zoned in on what I was looking for, a seafood noodle soup. As I was looking for something to drink I saw something I have not seen in quite a while. My eyes teared up with joy, while my throat went a little dry. For there, on that menu in all of it’s advertised glory, was for me the mother lode. A reason alone for me to return. The holy grail of beverages. There sitting next to the mango shake was a durian shake. Durian! Never mind what that wimp Zimmern says, durian is the king of fruit in my book. Quick note on durian for those that may not be familiar with it. Durian is a fruit found in Southeast Asia; Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. It’s about the size of a honeydew, with spines all around it. Inside are chambers that have the actual fruit which has the consistency of a custard. Some people say it smells like rotten food, dirty feet, you name it. Other, like myself, love the stuff. I LOVE IT! So, the waitress came over to take our orders and I placed my soup order followed by a shaky request for the durian shake, fearful it was all some sort of cruel joke.
“Durian?” she stammered. “Are you sure you want that??”
I smiled and explained that yes, I was more than sure. The gang looked at me with new found awe and muttered how I had just gone up a few notches in the waitresses’ book.
The food and my glorious shake came. First the soup. The seafood noodle soup had a very mild seafood stock broth. Very tasty, and not spicy at all. In the soup were thick round noodles, almost like a udon noodle. Also included were bits of octopus, squid, fish balls and cakes, bok choy and green onions. The soup was very balanced, with the only slightest complaint on the squid being over done. It’s very hard in a high pressure lunch set up to do squid right, but it also puts off first-timers when the squid is as tough as rubber. The overall soup though was tasty, filling and very enjoyable. 4 spoons out of 5.
Now the shake. One sip and I was in heaven. Ice cold and creamy, it was just like eating fresh durian. Little bits of the durian fruit clung to the sides of the glass, just waiting to be devoured. Bill took a taste and decided it was not all that bad. The other declined outright. Durian is like that. There must be some genetic bit somewhere that makes that call because it’s like a light switch. Either you love it, or you wonder how anyone can eat rotten sweat socks. For me, 5 out of 5, and I will go back just for the durian.
My buddies had the chicken curry noodles, curry pork and a vegetarian rice dish. All were proclaimed to be quite tasty, with the slight problem of white rice being served with the veggie dish instead of the asked for brown rice. No problem the waitress explained, and took away the dish. She returned seconds later with the brown rice and bits of the white rice that she didn’t get off the plate. Now, not all that big a deal, but if a customer asks for a dish a certain way and it is not presented that way, the dish needs to be redone from scratch. Just scraping off the offending bits is not enough, and Malay Satay Hut should know better.
Overall a great lunch experience, and a place I will go back to. Again and again I’m sure.