I’ve eaten one of the most satisfying meals of my life floating on a restaurant boat under twinkling colored lights in the middle of a cloud forest. So I have a special spot for Malaysian food. In the middle of a rainstorm, trying to grab a Chinatown dinner near the Trocadero so that we could still make it The Balcony’s showing of Hot Tub Time Machine, I dashed into Banana Leaf. Often I avoid Banana Leaf because with a HUGE menu, they manage to offer only a few vegetarian options, and they aren’t that exciting. Luckily, they are willing to substitute tofu for shrimp, which give you a few more options. Above, one of the dishes I always enjoy, Mee Siam. Stir-fried vermicilli with tofu, fried eggs (instead of shrimp) and bean sprouts with chili sauce and a sliced boiled egg on top. Greasy, full of flavor, and a giant portion.
We also ordered Green Nasi Lemak, a coconut friend rice with vegetables, and again we subbed in tofu for the shrimp. While it was a pretty pale color, this dish paled in comparison to the Mee Siam. Just not that exciting. Some chili sauce helped. Which brings me, perhaps, to the crux of the issue. The menu it too large, they should ditch the entire Japanese section, and focus on the dishes they do really well. Of course, I’d love some more vegetarian dishes, too! Banana Leaf can be a little hit-or-miss, but its extremely affordable, in a convenient neighborhood, and you just might order a dish you love!
Special coconut rice fried with mixed vegetables, shrimp in ginger sauce.