Once Upon a Time, three ladies had cravings for satay and went in pursuit of some fine Malaysian food. On their journey they ended up in Steveston, where a beautifully-constructed disaster scene had formed overnight.
They parked by an upturned car and meandered over to the main street, where fake chaos ensued. Telephone poles had crashed to the ground, giant craters had raised the earth, glass and debris littered the road, and people kept shouting “SOUND,” ACTION!” and “CUT!”.
The three ladies had to be careful where they walked, lest they create unwanted shadows in the scene, and/or be yelled at by intense people with walkie-talkies. They joined the other onlookers in taking photos, musing over the amount of money this extraordinary scene must have cost, and made mental notes to watch the next season of ABC’s Once Upon a Time in order to catch this episode on TV. Welcome to the film set-persona of Steveston.
This excitement aside, our raison d’être was not yet fulfilled! Myself and two colleagues were the grand adventurers in this story, and after tearing ourselves away from the film set, we pursued Malaysian food at Kari House. I had quite the hankering for more southeast Asian cuisine after eating at Green Lemongrass the day before, and a number of readers had suggested Kari House as the next place to try for satay. I hadn’t expected it to be in Steveston, let alone directly on the water.
It’s tucked away in a corner of the boardwalk I’d never before explored, and their location is prime. Half the seating is outside, and we had the good fortune of snagging seats on the sunny patio. We ordered 2 orders of the Roti ($2.95), the Chicken Satay (a half order, but the full costs $7.95), the Lettuce Wrap ($8.95), the Singaporean Laksa ($9.45), and the Nasi Lemak ($10.95).
A warning: If you ever ask me about pan-fried flatbreads, I will not stop talking for at least half an hour. I LOVE FLATBREADS SO MUCH. One time I ate roti at a Trinidadian restaurant that was so good, I think even my mailman heard about it. How are the roti at Kari House? Worth a trip to the restaurant alone. Seriously, so good. Warm, flaky, crunchy, and soft, with a spicy curry sauce to dip them in. You must go, and you must get them.
The satay were good – they had a stronger curry flavour than the ones at Green Lemongrass, and I liked them a bit more. The peanut sauce was smooth, nutty, and spicy, and I took to dipping my roti in it, too.
The lettuce wrap filling (we opted for all veggie) was sweet and sour, with a crunch from the dry crispy noodles underneath.
Something we noted about this dish was the fact that they used green lettuce, not iceberg, and that the leaves were all uniform and perfectly laid out for us. That was appreciated. The dish was good, but definitely not the best lettuce wraps I’ve had.
The Singaporean Laksa had a delicate, spicy coconut milk broth, vermicelli, noodles, bean sprouts, chicken, prawns, green beans, tofu puffs, fish balls, and egg. Our favourite of these were the tofu puffs – light little sponges that soaked up the warm broth. It was a gorgeous bowl of soup.
Finally, we had the Nasi Lemak, considered the national dish of Malaysia and beloved by many.
The plate was made up of various components: curried chicken and fish, potatoes, a deep-fried hard-boiled egg covered in salty preserved fish sauce, rice, and chopped tomato with raw cashews (not peanuts, as I was expecting). It was a wonderful blend of flavours and textures; the crunch of the nuts, the saltiness from the sauce, the velvety texture of the egg yolk, and the curry’s heat.
Though the menu said it was meant to be coconut rice, it tasted plain to us, but I really enjoyed the dish overall.
Altogether, this huge meal only cost us $16.84 each. The food came quickly, the service was decent, and the seaside view is pretty hard to argue with. I would definitely recommend a trip to Kari House – AND DON’T FORGET TO ORDER THE ROTI.
Because it was sunny and we were in Steveston, we simply had to get ice cream for dessert. We opted for one of Bell’s Bakeshop’s new flavours (they pre-scoop and package the cones and cups), and have flavours like Okanagan Cherry, Brown Bread, Danish Date, Blueberry Earl Grey, Red Velvet and Horchata, all churned in-house. I opted for the Brown Bread, because I love any and all uses for old bread; thrifty measures have given us bread pudding, panzanella, and dolce di pane, after all.
It tasted like prairie women’s innovation. The stale brown bread was crushed into crumbs, mixed with sugar and spices, and churned into vanilla ice cream. It had a nutty flavour and crumby texture, and while I don’t think it’s for everyone, it was definitely for me. We also tried the oh-so-famous blended frozen yogurt from Timothy’s, opting for the raspberries. It was pink, pucker-y, and creamy.
Despite the scene laid out before us when we arrived in Steveston, this day was far from disastrous. I think our story ended quite well, frankly. Thank you Kari House, thank you roti, and thank you ice cream.
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