Malaysian Restaurants Top 5
Where the laksa will bring you to your knees....
Over the past decade the number of Malaysian restaurants in Wellington has almost doubled. The Cuba Street stalwarts have been joined by a bunch of trendy up-and-comers, where the food is pricier and the menus aren't laminated. So, do you go classic or modern, upmarket or down and dirty? The debate continues to rage. With this plethora of options, it seemed responsible to whittle the options down to a definitive top five. We've made it the bottom of many laksa bowls and are glad to say that there is very good stuff here. Chopsticks at the ready.
Alright, let's get it out of the way. KK Malaysian has been around almost as long as I have and still does basic, cheap Malaysian food better than anywhere else in the city. Don't expect many frills at KK Malaysian. It's a tiny wee place and the walls are a dangerously bright shade of orange. But my god, the food. There are few better ways to make it through the winter than by filling your body with one of KK's famous laksas. You will struggle to finish it but it will be the struggle of your life. They also do an excellent nasi lemak and a seriously fiery kung pao chicken. Turn up for for lunch and chances are you'll have to wait it out; KK has a seriously devoted clientele. The wait is worth it. It's always worth it.
55 Ghuznee Street
Little Penang does it differently. You can get your nasi lemak at the counter, along with roti and one of their delicious curries (unfortunately, there is no taste testing here. I have asked, possibly more than once). You can pick noodles off the blackboard — the char mee is particularly good. There are also daily lunch and dinner specials that are pricy but also pretty great. Monday has an incredible nasi nenas and on Thursdays you can get an assam laksa that will bring you to your knees. Everything at Little Penang is fresh and delicious if a little hard to coordinate. Sometimes its better to point to something and order confidently, even if you don't know what it is. Chances are it will rock your world.
40 Dixon Street
Rasa straddles the line between Malaysian and South Indian but it still definitely counts. With a prime location up upper Cuba Street, Rasa is a great place to sit and watch the world go by. The staff are super nice and the place is effortlessly peaceful in a way that most places are not. Then there's the food. Rasa has some of the best curries in Wellington; the goat curry is deservedly renowned and their beef rendang will have you scraping the bowl with whatever utensil you can find (in this instance, a finger counts as a utensil). All the curries come with rice and the rice is shaped into a cute little cone that always makes me smile. It's the little things right?
200 Cuba Street
Say you're on a date and you want to go Malaysian but like, fancy Malaysian. Monsoon Poon is here for you. Technically less Malaysian and more 'fusion', Monsoon Poon serves up really delicious stuff from all over the Asian continent. Highlights include their sticky pork belly (obviously), Firecracker chicken (featuring a chilli crumb that might make you bang your fist on the table a couple of times) and an excellent beef rendang (you had me at 'star anise'). You'll be paying a bit more but you'll have a great time and sometimes its nice to mix Malaysian food up with its neighbours and see how they all get along.
12 Blair Street
Roti Chenai Cafe is one of those quietly unassuming places that packs a serious punch. It's covered in wonderfully daggy paintings and has a menu that is more extensive than most. It is perhaps more famous for the South Indian portion of its menu (which is sensational) but I would be remiss if I did not mention the excellent laksa they have here. It may not be as enormous as the one at KK or as pungent as Little Penang's Thursday delight but it's easily one of the best laksas in Wellington. Easily. And I have slurped my way through more than my share. Give it a go. I highly doubt you'll look back.
120 Victoria Street
Originally published here.
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