3 Vancouver locations (see website for more details)
Brief Description: Authentic Malaysian cuisine served in a casual setting. Great value for money.
As much as this Greedy Guts enjoys eating out (and, oh, how I do!!) sometimes I just want to go somewhere where I know that I am going to get a good meal at a good price, every time. That place is Banana Leaf. Malaysian food is amongst some of my favourite food and Banana Leaf does it well.
Because of Malaysia’s geographical location, its food is a unique blend of cuisines from a variety of different cultures, all with their own flavours and appeal. I believe Banana Leaf summarizes it perfectly when they say “Malaysian food, with its diverse influences, makes it the perfect match for Vancouver’s own multicultural atmosphere.” I couldn’t agree more!
Banana Leaf has quite a following so at times it can be difficult to get a table. If you can, try and visit at an off-peak time. From my own personal experience, the food standards at the Denman Street location have really dropped, especially when I compare it to the other locations. Recently I have started to visit their location on West Broadway (at Willow) and the quality of food is noticeably better.
For the most part, service is satisfactory and the meals are delivered promptly. Dishes will usually come out at different times, generally not together, as sharing is encouraged. And you will want to share. The standard of food is high and the dishes are so diverse that it seems almost silly to limit yourself to one selection. And at the price, you can afford to order more than one dish. A major part of Banana Leaf’s appeal is that I can go in there for lunch and eat like a gluttonous pig and walk out having spent less than $20.
If you’ve been following my culinary adventures, you will realise by now that I have a shameless fetish for risotto and créme brulee. Now, I feel it is time to introduce you to another of my highly desired foods…laksa! I can’t help but relish in the soft egg noodles that swim in the spicy coconut milk. At times I have been so captivated, so caught up in the moment of enjoying my laksa, that I have actually splashed the spicy soup in my eye…twice. On seperate occasions. It’s a hazard of being a laksa aficionado. I was worried that I wouldn’t find a good laksa in Vancouver but alas, I found Banana Leaf fairly soon after my arrival. I’ve definitely had better laksa’s in Australia but until I find something better in Vancouver, Banana Leaf’s laksa hits the spot.
Another dish that Banana Leaf do extremely well is the Beef Rendang. Covered in a spice-infused rich sauce, the beef is tender and crumbles into delicious flakes when you bite into it. Use the must-have roti to mop up the sauce-covered rice and you’ll quickly learn the appeal of Rendang. I could sit here and write a review of every dish that I’ve eaten from the menu, but that isn’t necessary. You could order almost anything on the menu and I doubt that you’d be disappointed.
Final Thoughts: Basically, Banana Leaf represents it’s Malaysian roots very well in Vancouver. The food is authentic and very well-priced. Although some of the noodle dishes are a little heavy-handed in the sauce department, overall, the food is delicious. That is, after all, why I keep going back.