The man is weak, the woman powerful… Once again we headed for Asian food. Talking with some colleagues I was told that a Malaysian restaurant was quite famous in town.
After 4 years living in Singapore, 10 years for my wife, you do not need to tell her twice such information to be enrolled in a new mission: finding food from the Strait.
Banana Leaf is indeed famous. They had to open a new Branch across the street to deal with demand. Do not presume this is necessarily going to be easier for you. You do not have to wait as long as a banana tree to grow – that would have explained the restaurant’s name – but expect a minimum waiting time of about 45 mn when you come at peak hour.
Banana Leaf menu is quite extensive. They have the good idea to display it huge on the window, which helps to kill time while waiting.
We decided to play by the classics: prata, satay and rendang. These are few basics of South East Asian cuisine that you may find in Singapore, Malaysia or Indonesia. Little to say that we have been used to eat such meals quite often.
The rendang was the first to come with its mini “bath tub” looking pot of rice. Rendang is basically a beef and coconut stew with a specific mixture of ground spices, which include ginger, galangal, turmeric leaves, lemon grass, garlic, shallot, chillies and other spices. The meal was nice but to tell you the truth at the first bite we got the same reaction: this is not rendang.
It was time to move with the Chicken Satay. Again the meal looked like Chicken Satay, tasted good, but was not Chicken Satay. You do not feel the marinade and most of all, you do not deep fry the chicken. You must grill the meat for Satay.
We ended our meal with the Prata Murtabak. Again we did not expect to have something that tasted good but closer to beef fajitas than the original recipe.
To conclude, we have a lot of mix feelings about this place. Though the meals are quite far from the original recipes, all of them tasted nice. This is just that when you expect to find the food you have been eating for several years and expect that finally it will feel like home, the charm is broken. We might come back to try other South East Asian specialities (noodle soups looked gorgeous) but next time we want Indonesian recipes, we will stop by the food stores around and cook ourselves.
To go there:
9889 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77036
Phone: (713) 771-8118
Banana Leaf 2:
9896 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77036
Phone: (713) 271-2338