Originally known as Cafe D’lite, this little Malaysian spot re-branded earlier this year as Mamalee. The staff are the same, and it’s a small family-style restaurant. Service is brisk and efficient. They always have lineups out the door and there are lots of take-out orders, too.
One of my favourite things in Malaysian cuisine is their Roti Canai. This was very light and flaky, with layers upon layers of thin, fluffy dough. The outer layers are crispy but could be browned just a touch more. The taste is on the sweet side, not dessert-like sweet, but more like a sweet butter bun. The curry dipping sauce is very mild, and I found myself not really using it at all.
Another classic dish from Malaysian cuisine is their Hainanese Chicken Rice. The chicken is slow poached in broth and this makes it super tender. They also debone the chicken, so it’s all meaty goodness. The colour is a bit pale, but the soy sauce glaze helps a bit. The rice is made with chicken stock and very fragrant, albeit a bit oily. I also liked the presentation, it’s like they made an effort to pretty up the rice. Cucumber is a classic accompaniment for this dish. The sauce on the side is a spicy and sweet chili sauce, with a bit of green onion and ginger puree. The sauces really finish the dish and if you want more, you’ll have to pay extra, but it’s worth it.
The two dishes were probably enough but we wanted to try one more thing, so we got the Choo Cheung Fun. It’s a steamed dish of rice noodle rolls, with some fish cake and fish tofu as well. The overall texture is very soft and it makes for a great comfort dish. The rolls are cooked to perfection, neither tough nor overly soft. Sometimes, restaurants err and overcook the noodles, making the rolls mushy, thankfully, that’s not the case here. The fish balls are bouncy, with a good bite to them. This was a bit more robust dish that we expected, since I thought it was going to be just a plateful of rice noodle rolls.
Although some reviewers have said that this restaurant has gotten worse since the rebranding, because I haven’t been prior, I can’t say either way. I enjoyed the dishes I had and I’d like to return to try other dishes. They have loads of noodle soups too, laksa and more. Have you tried any you’d like to recommend? That would be a perfect fall comfort food!
Mamalee Malaysian Delight
Address: 3144 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC
Phone: (604) 733-8882
Hours: Mon-Thu 11 am – 8 pm, 11 am – 9 pm