For me, no process of exploring a new city and country would be complete without sampling the local fare. Since arriving in the US and Michigan 2 months ago, we have been out trying many cafes and restaurants, particularly on weekends. There have been memorable meals, and there have been some we’d like to forget more quickly than our brains would let us. Yet there is one place that we have returned to time and again in the short time that we have been here.
It seemed both ironic and fitting that my first review should be about a Malaysian cafe – ironic because I am in the US; in some ways I am almost as far from my parents as I could be. Fitting because I am, after all, Malaysian, and if there is one cuisine that I feel passionate about, it is Malaysian food. And while I get my head around what constitutes great ‘American’ food, I thought this would be a good place to write about. Because I think Satay House deserves the attention.
This place was recommended to us by my husband’s colleague. We looked it up online, read the handful of reviews it had already received, and decided to try it out. We were not disappointed. The menu prices are extremely reasonable, the food pretty authentic, and the service was no-frills but genuine. This review is of one of our recent visits, but I have tried all these dishes on different occasions (greedy? who, me? well, I never!).
For appetizers, we had the vegetarian spring rolls – hot, crispy skin with lots of shredded vegetables in them. Beautiful. Make sure you eat them while they are hot. We also had the roti canai – my husband orders this every time we go to Satay House. As you can see in the photo, he couldn’t wait for me to take the photo before he dug in 🙂 Roti canai does not typically come in a cone shape in Malaysia (there is a sweeter variation to roti canai in Malaysia that is served in this way) but this is nonetheless good. It comes with a small bowl of potato curry that could be slightly thicker. Tip: Use your hands to eat the roti. Makes for a much more authentic experience 😉
I hadn’t had Salted Fish Fried Rice for quite a while and when I saw it on the menu, the thought of the salted fish shredded and spread throughout fried rice made me salivate instantly. Satay House’s version had a healthy dose of salted fish in it – and at $8.50, was a serving large enough for 2-3 people.
We also ordered Achat (alternatively spelt acar or achar), a pickled vegetable dish. This version was not as strong or vinegary as the ones back home, but that suited me just fine. It added a lovely crunch to my dinner.
The Nasi Lemak: lovely coconut-y rice, spicy sambal, and chicken curry. The only thing missing from this dish is the fried anchovies.
The Indian Mee Goreng is a slightly wet noodle dish flavoured with some spices, a generous lashing of vegetables, bean sprouts, potato, tofu and egg. On this ocassion, our dining companion had requested a vegetarian version. The non-vegetarian version has shrimp through it. Make sure you add a good squeeze of the slice of lime that comes with it. Tangy goodness, I tells ya.
Curry Mee Yong Tauhu is probably a lesser-known dish in comparison to most of the above. Yong Tauhu refers to a type of dish where vegetables such as eggplant, okra/lady’s finger, chillies (not peppers) and firm tofu or tofu puffs are stuffed with fish paste or meat paste. It is usually then served in a broth with fishballs and/or beefballs. Alternatively, it can be served with egg noodles in a curry broth such as this. The curry broth is typically thicker than Satay House’s but I’m not a big fan of the thick sort of broth so I was quite happy with this slightly lighter version. So purists of Malaysian food, be warned! Satay House’s version also came with bean curd skins. I’m sure that doesn’t sound very appealing to most of you, but once it soaks up the curry broth, you get curry broth goodness in every mouthful. Makes me hungry just thinking about it!
For all the times that I’ve been to Satay House, I haven’t been able to try the dessert menu. Why? Because I have just been too full from the appetizers and main dishes. The portions here are very generous, and I usually have leftovers for lunch the next day. Even if you have a bigger appettite than I do, you won’t leave Satay House hungry!
They don’t deliver, but you can order online for pickup or even ‘Express Dine In’. How awesome is that!
Satay House | 31101 Dequindre Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071 | Phone: (248) 588-1738 | Open 10am to 10pm 7 days a week | http://www.satayhousemadisonheights.com/