Sunday, 22 December 2013

Vancouver Eats: Mamalee

Hainanese chicken rice is the signature dish at Mamalee in Vancouver
I'm now in Vancouver where I was greeted with several centimetres of snow. While it's slowly melting, the white stuff is still around the city. It's not making driving difficult, but it has put off some drivers from venturing out.

This afternoon my family and I headed to a popular restaurant called Mamalee on Broadway. It was previously called Cafe D'Lite and I tried to go there last time I was in Vancouver but it was closed for some reason and we feared it had closed down.

Roti canai is a comfort food for some, the sauce a bit tame
But it was still here, just with a different name. It's a well-known Malaysian/Singaporean restaurant that started in 1990 by Betty Lee. The menu describes her as a "hardworking Malaysian mother of three" who came to Canada with the cliche of finding a better life.

It started off at Cafe D'Lite and quickly became known for its Hainanese chicken rice and Laksa noodle. Then in February this year the name was changed to Mamalee "a unique and humble name more closely associated with the founder's spirit and heritage" according to the menu.

We waited several minutes and even considered getting take-out when a table of two was free and the three of us squeezed around the corner table.

Our first must-have was the Hainanese chicken without rice ($13.50 for half). The boneless chicken was absolutely delicious and definitely the highlight of the meal. The meat was tender and the marinade was a combination of light flavours including sesame oil and enhanced with chicken stock.

A kind of Malaysian spaghetti in the spicy pan mee
We also ordered the seafood noodle soup ($8.99), a large steaming bowl of vermicelli and thick egg noodle with fresh prawns, fake crab meat and bean sprouts topped with fried garlic flakes. Everything was standard, though the fake crab meat wasn't very appealing.

Another straight-forward dish was the oysters sauce gai-lan vegetable ($8.95), while the roti canai featured broke up pieces of slightly crispy, but fluffy Indian-influenced flat bread with a watered down curry sauce ($5.95). We liked the lightness of the bread, not too oily and the spicy sauce was tempered.

Our final dish was spicy pan mee ($9.95), a kind of Malaysian spaghetti with thick flat noodles stir-fried with bits of minced pork, a bit of chilli sauce, small deep-fried fish and a poached egg on top. We broke the egg yolk and mixed it up in the bowl before eating it. We quite liked the thick noodle texture that soaked up the sauce that included bean sprouts.

By the time we finished the dishes, we were quite full -- until dinner about four hours later...

3144 West Broadway
604 733 8882


  1. Aren't you going to eat Western food while you're in Canada???