Ya’Salam Restaurant, 2/14 Lavinia Drive, Tarneit. Phone: 9748 6860
We enjoyed our visit to Ya’Salam when the premises was being used to operate a Somalian eatery – though truth be told it was a bit too much of a drive to become a regular haunt.
Now there’s new management in the place.
They’ve retained the name – and even a page of Somalian food at the back of their new menu.
But the rest is all about terrific Malaysian food.
In fact, based on two visits we reckon this is some of the best, cheapest and most authentic Malaysian food you’ll find in all of Melbourne.
And word appears to have gotten out – we note with assured pleasure the happy, hungry tables on our visits.
Chicken laksa ($10, top photograph) is unlike any I’ve eaten – and as good as any, too.
The chicken is so finely shredded that it’s pretty much subsumed into the gravy, but that’s fine when the soup base is so funky, house-made and delicious.
Protein oomph is provided by two hardboiled egg halves and there’s plenty of cucumber and other veg bits to provide texture and crunch to go with the fat, short udon-style noodles.
Roti canai ($5) is a wonder.
Accompanying a just-right bowl of runny chicken curry (with a dob of sambal paste) are the two lightest, flakiest and best flatbreads of the Malaysian style we’ve ever eaten.
Char kuey teow ($10) is a bit like our laksa – unlike any we’ve before tried.
This one comes in a bowl and – appropriately – is more like a hearty, thick soup than the drier dish we’ve been expecting.
No problems, though – because while the wok hei factor is predictably muted, there’s no doubting the flavours and all-round yumminess.
Given the obvious real-deal vibe of everything served us thus far, we are keen to try the Ya’Salam satays.
They’re unavailable, though, so we happily settle for these two fine curry puffs ($1 each).
Again, these are a far cry from your usual curry puffs.
The rich short pastry is stuffed with an extremely toothsome jumble of chicken mince and vegetables.
They could’ve been a tad hotter, however.
The Ya’Salam food we’ve tried has been really fine.
We’re usually not much concerned about notions of authenticity – but they have heaps of it here.
Next time we’ll be sure to try one of the many nasi goreng variations.
Check out the Ya’Salam menu here.