Malay Satay Hut
15230 N.E. 24th St Suite K
Redmond WA 98052
Hard to Pronounce Dishes Meets Happy Stomachs
By: Steve G
The exterior of the Redmond location of Malay Satay Hut is so nondescript and unexceptional that it could be any other strip-mall joint. However, once we entered we thought we had been whisked away to some weird alternate Tiki room reality. The ceiling was covered with gigantic airbrushed murals depicting quasi-psychedelic, comet-like astral bodies which seemed like an odd pairing to the bamboo veneer furnishings. Despite the momentary disorientation, the decor was refreshingly unique and amusing.
On the inside, we were impressed by the menu which offered a wide variety of food and impressively boasted over a hundred different items. Malay Satay Hut cuisine appears to be a happy family where Chinese meets Indian meets Thai. With such a dynamic range of flavors, you might worry that the dishes turn out to be a fusion faux pas. The truth is far from it. For example, the Roti Telor is an Indian-style flatbread served with curry that reminded us of a Chinese-style green onion pancake. Crispy on the outside with a fluffy egg texture on the inside, it's a fun starter dish. The peanut-y tasting Penang Chow Kueh Teow is made with bean sprouts, green onions, and thick pan-fried noodles that gives the dish a chow fun(Chinese Thick Noodle) look. We came to think of it as Phad Thai meets Chow Fun and it made for a yummy combo that any noodle fan would enjoy.
With a thick spice mixture that includes chili oil, paprika, and lemon grass, the Curry Beef is a odd variation from curries we have had in the past. The powerful and almost overwhelming flavors that permeated the beef worked well with its tender tastes and consistency. Those who are fans of Chinese curry might shy away from this dish because of its dominating and slightly overbearing seasonings, but those who favor Indian food will probably love it.
The Ginger Duck consisted of a duck breast with ginger, carrots, and scallions. When Bryan took his first bite, he noticed that the duck meat was surprisingly tender and had a smooth and savory flavor. The flavoring was mild compared to the European take on duck and lacked that oily, game-y taste that often accompanies this fowl dish. Given the mild flavor, this would be a good dish for people who have never tried duck before but are interested in trying it out for the first time.
The only major disappointment in our meal was the Nyonya Fish Fillet. Flavorful and sweet, it had a fine texture, but the fried batter was distractingly hard and crunchy. The sauce drizzled on top featured some overpoweringly spicy chili, but that didn't agree with our increasingly full stomachs.
Those looking for a refreshing drink with an exotic flavor should order the Durian Shake. With strong banana and custard-like flavor elements, the drink is remarkably aromatic and creamy. A little bit of sugar is added to help temper the shake, but with its creamy texture and frothiness, it surprisingly didn't need much help. Best of all, you get all of the great flavors of durian without any of its funky, infamous, malodorous smell -- those who have eaten fresh durian or watched Bizarre Food with Andrew Zimmern will know what I'm talking about.
The service was decent considering that the place was packed. The hostess worked speedily but seemed a little surly as she seated us. The food came quickly and in an orderly fashion, though several people have a hand in delivering food so you don't see much of your waiter/waitress after placing your order.
Overall, Malay Satay Hut provides its patrons an intriguing experience. With its crazy mix of eastern cuisines, absorbing murals, and fun tiki decor, it's pretty much guaranteed that you will walk away impressed.
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