Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Banana Island

416 Westlake Center, Daly City, CA
(650) 756-6868

Banana Island was one of my favorite family-style restaurants of all time since the very first time I went in high school. It serves Malaysian, Singaporean and Thai cuisines; and because of the types of cuisines it offers, the menu had many varieties. After dinning there so many times though, I must say most of its food resembles more of Malaysian and Singaporean than Thai. Also, every meals I had there never disappointed me.
I decided to take my family there for Father’s Day this year as a last minute decision. Upon entering, it was packed with families. I know, bad day to dine out. The hostess told me that the wait would be about 45 minutes, so my family and I wondered around the mall plaza while waiting. Regardless of a busy night, the service was great. Our waitress attend to our table very often, and I was amazed at her great memories on what we ordered—she did not take out a notepad to take our orders…just memorize. Everything came out in an orderly and timely manner.

For appetizers, we ordered the Roti Canal, Chicken Satay and Baby Oyster Omelet.

Roti Canal is a Indian-inspired Malaysian crispy thin pancake that serves with a curry dipping sauce. The bread is very thin and crispy, so pretty light at the same time. The curry sauce compliments it very, very well. I always order this when I go to Banana Island and it is a must try if you haven’t!

I had both the chicken and the beef satay skewers before, but I would recommend the Chicken Skewers over the beef. The chicken skewers are very tasty and tender, whereas the beef was pretty rough. I had a hard time chewing it apart. The peanut dipping sauce was good because it didn’t really just taste like peanuts, it tasted more like a satay sauce made with peanuts. Yummy!
Coming from a person who usually doesn’t like oysters, the Baby Oyster Omelet was really good also! The oysters seemed a little too big to be baby oysters, but still tasted good and not overly fishy. I really like this dish because it reminded me of the oyster omelet I had as a child in Hong Kong.

For entrée, we ordered Sizzling Beef, Sarang Chicken, Kang Kung Belacan, Hokkien Mee and a side of white rice.

Sizzling Beef - Stir Fried Sliced Beef with Green Pepper, Black Pepper, Onion & Bean Paste

My younger sister is a fan of meat. So I never forget order an entree of meat. This was my first time ordering the sizzling beef, and boy, I was disappointed because it wasn't sizzling when it got to the table. Also, the beef were sliced but very choppy--some big pieces and some small. It was pretty salty and even though I saw black pepper on it, it wasn't very peppery at all. Kudos for the colorful onions and peppers but I'm definitely not ordering this next time.

Sarang Chicken - Shaped fried taro stuffed with baby corn, snow peas and mushrooms, topped with cashew nuts

I wanted to order a chicken dish because I love chicken. While waiting to be seated, I saw a couple of this dish, the Sarang Chicken, going back and forth...it had to be good if that many tables order it right? So I ordered the Sarang Chicken. This dish was delicious! It was super unique because the chef made a basket with deep fried taro and then filled it with stir fry chicken and vegetable. The taro was very crispy and light. The cashews added a crunch to the chicken and vegetables. I would order this again next time!

Kang Kung Belacan - Sauteed convolus (ong choi) with spicy Malaysian shrimp paste sauce

Convolus or ong choi is one of my favorite vegetables while I was growing up in Hong Kong. My mom likes to cook it with fermented soy or shrimp paste. At Banana Island, they used Malaysian shrimp paste and it is very tasty. It's very garlicky and a little spicy. The ong choi was still crispy at the stem and perfect texture on the leave...delicious!

This restaurant is something that I can go back to any time and be sure to get a satisfying meal. It is best to go in a group so that you can try out all the different dishes since majority of them are meant to be share.

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