As I have already mentioned, “Tropika” is an Asian cuisine chain. They have several locations in Vancouver and Richmond, and I have been to the all. In terms of decor they don’t really vary. It is a slurry of wood, wicker, and widgets. The most memorable for me is their cutlery. “Tropika” is in possession of the heaviest set of knives, spoons, and forks that I have ever had to handle. Other than that its Thai figurines, Buddha statues, wooden art work, and light weight seats.
“Roti canai”. Malay style bread, eaten after being dipped into curry. It is oily, but worth every tasty bite. Another must have when you come to a Malaysian restaurant.
“Pad Thai”with shrimp, onions, bean sprouts, and tomatoes. Wok fried and given a crushed peanut dusting. A little bland, even with the aid of a dousing of chili sauce.
“Mee Goreng”. Fried thick noodles in a tomato based sauce with lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes. Topped with a sliced up hard boiled egg.
So without “Laksa” I was lost on what to order. You know when you have your heart set on something and nothing else comes close by comparison. This was tonight. And I eventually had to settle on just chicken.
“Hainanese Chicken”. Available in a quarter or half. This chicken is referred to as white chicken. The salt soaking process of the meat gives its complexion, an added white and pale colour. This style of chicken really highlights its natural flavours, brought forth with the salt. Traditionally this is eaten with a bowl of rice and soya sauce. For vegetables, raw tomato and cucumber slices are a common pairing.
For dessert, “bubar cha cha”. This is an acquired taste with its combination of coconut and condense milk. And an acquired texture with tapioca pearls and yam, sweet potato, and taro pieces. These soft boiled roots crumble into sand in your mouth. I liked this, but my guests less so. The tiny portion size was disappointing for its price. I wish I got more of the tapioca and milky soup and less of the purple, yellow, and orange vegetables.
Would I come back? – Yes. It’s an easy to get to Asian restaurant, with enough locations to give you options. They have enough room for reservations and larger parties. Chances are with their lengthy menu you are bound to please the fussiest of diners. “Tropika” can also function as the training wheels for a diner who is not familiar to these types dishes. I feel the food has been done in a North American style, to be able to accommodate a larger eating population.
It is always hard for me to describe the foods I have grown up eating. Because in my mind it isn’t Malaysian food, its just food. And it taste like how it should. But what I can conclude is that I have tasted better from everything. I would deemed this to be an average Malaysian restaurant. The food was normal and nothing special. You would take a bite and not really be anxious to get another. Dishes that you would grow tired of the flavours fast, and hot sauces would be used to remedy this. So as for if I would recommend it, probably not. Off the top of my head I can easily come up with a few better Malaysian style restaurant, that actually serve “laksa”.