Armed with an even more intense love for food since returning from the foodie haven of California, I dragged my family out to dinner at Sedap. Recommended, as always, by the trusty locals at Chowhound, London edition, Sedap is the brainchild of Mary Yeoh, supposedly the “most talented and famous Penang-Nyonya chef in Singapore.”
This, together with our taste for authenticity resulting from annual trips to Malaysia, made for high expectations. The menu looked promising – Penang char kway teow has always been a personal favourite, while roti prata with curry, and teh tarik (or builders’ tea as it is known locally!) get a firm nod from my dad every time.
Char kway teow
Had good ‘wok hey’ as the Chinese call it – the intensity of the heat and flame that comes through the ingredients. But lacked the robustness found in the enormous woks used in Malaysia. The balance of flavours was quite delicate, and the dish was not oily the way it can be (and usually is) in the southern hemisphere.
Delightfully crisp, and again, not oily. The curry which accompanied it was slightly too spicy, and too much like the curry one would expect with rice. Roti prata curry, in my experience is generally more watery, with a strong kick of spices, while not being spicy.
Hainanese chicken rice
One of our favourite items of the evening, though as Malaysian Chinese goes, the rice lacked the expected chicken and green onions flavour; I found it to be fragrant nonetheless. The chicken itself was also enjoyable, cooked just right, retaining succulence and juice.
Malaysian blachan chicken
Not something I have a point of reference for (that I recall anyway; I was fed a great deal as a child however, and generally don’t recall much from these years of spoil). It was ordered on a whim, and from what I’m told, not particularly authentic. In its original form, it should be spicy to an extent unlikely to be enjoyed by Western tastes. In this instance, it resembled Japanese karage for me – succulent pieces of chicken meat, deep fried well. Good, but not how Malaysians would have it.
Malaysian chicken satay
Delicious. Well cooked meat, with a satay sauce. Again however, the meat lacked the definitive charcoal flavour of its original, and the sauce itself held very little peanut flavour.
Little puddings made of various combinations of tapioca and rice. We’ve always enjoyed these sweets cold, and were pleasantly surprised to find it served warmed. Savoury and sweet, with a slight gelatinous texture. So good, we had to order another.
All in all, worthy of all the positive reviews found online, as every dish was delicious. However, as with any native cuisine which moves abroad, the flavours have undoubtedly been given the Western treatment, to make dishes more acceptable for local palettes. A shame, as Malaysian Chinese food is delectable in its own right. Go for great food, but not if intimately acquainted with this region’s style of cooking.
102 Old St
020 7490 0200