Gourmet Malaysia is the place considered by many purists, including yours truly, to be THE epicentre of Malaysian food in the GTA. Run by a lovely Malaysian and Indonesian couple, this impressively large restaurant offers a diverse menu containing Malaysian, Singaporean, and Indonesian dishes.
While the other two cuisines offered here are perfectly respectable, those in the know are fully aware that it's the Malaysian dishes, with their (coconut) milk, that brings all the boys to the yard.
The restaurant, while spacious on the inside, looks deceptively small from the outside. Shoehorned at the corner of a bland commercial plaza buildings commonly found among the Scarborough landscape, the drab exterior belies the colourful and flavourful dishes hidden within. I love this: It's like a hidden treasure cave for my tastebuds.
While waiting for the food, I saunter over to the snacks counter, which stocks a revolving array of authentic Malaysian and Indonesian snacks., many of which aren't available outside, even after endless hours perusing T&T Supermarket shelves.
I order the Poh Pia ($5.99) and the Rojak ($8.80) to start. The former can best be described as a peanut and bean sprout-filled spring roll, while the latter is a fruit/vegetable salad combo doused in a spicy-sweet sauce. Both are great palate-openers, though the Rojak may be a bit of an acquired taste due to its strong shrimp paste element.
The most impressive item on the appetizer menu is undoubtedly the Special Gourmet Malaysia Platter ($23.99), which comes with everything but the kitchen sink: fried fish cakes, savoury satays, and mango salad, just to name a few. This is definitely a must-order if you're dining in a larger group (or just feeling gluttonous)
The Singapore Laksa ($9.50) is a must-order. Fine rice noodles, tofu pieces, chicken, and fried onion are bathed in a coconut milk curry resplendent with spices and shrimp paste. Definitely a dish for those who love strong, bold flavours on their tastebuds.
Carb-lovers should not miss out on the Mee Goreng ($9.50). Vibrantly yellow and coated in a delicious spicy-savoury sambal sauce, it is without a doubt the most delicious fried noodles I've sampled in the GTA.
One of the most interesting concoctions of the evening was the Banana Leaf Grilled Stingray ($16.99). A delicacy in Malaysian cuisine, it is equal parts meaty and buttery-smooth, much like good crab meat. The slightly citrusy tang of the sauce provides a nice complement to this unique dish.
Those of a less adventurous disposition should go for the Malaysian Kung Poh Beef ($10.99). The cuts of beef are ridiculously tender, and the chili-soy seasoning is flavourful without being overwhelming.
Not to be forgotten is the Ayam Bilis ($10.99). Tender pieces of chicken are fried and coated in a generous helping of coconut spices and crispy fried anchovies. It all pairs beautifully with the restaurant's sambal sauce, which you should definitely request for your table.
Beverage-wise, the Teh Tarik ($2) is a must-try. This delicately sweet milk tea, a richer version of the more popular HK milk tea, is a very popular drink in Malaysia and mine certainly hits all the right notes. I could pretty much bathe in this stuff.
Having been born and raised up in Southeast Asia, I can confidently say that the food served here are both authentic and delicious. And in my books, that's all I can ask for.