Update Nov 14, 2013: This restaurant has moved from the location indicated in this post.
Malaysian food has always served me well. I like the seasoning and the spiciness that comes with most of its dishes. The Tom Yum Gong soup has an unbelievably great flavor that keeps me coming back to it. We decided to pay a visit to Tropika inside Aberdeen Centre in Richmond. It’s a nicely decorated venue and would be considered as a ‘above-average’ class for Malaysian/Thai/Singaporean food. Armed with our Entertainment coupon, Wendy and I set course for Tropika.
A couple of good shots of the place shows the decor to be spacious, well-lit by natural light, tidy and great place to enjoy your meal. It was on a Friday night. The place was packed with people with a couple of families waiting for a seat. The mall was still open until 9PM. So it’s a good place to eat and shop. Qoola is also next door, so dessert is only a few steps away.
We ALWAYS order this. The Roti with curry sauce has been a staple in many Malaysian restaurant for as far back as I can remember. It’s the perfect appetizer. Why? The warm, soft, fluffy, slightly chewy Roti drenched in curry sauce is a perfect setup for the other curry-based items to come. The sauce for this dish was purposely sweeter than other dish sauces to come.
The Tom Ka Gai Chicken Soup ($12.95)! We get this every time also. It’s a good alternative to the usual Tom Yum Gong soup. It’s a coconut cream and lemograss based non-spicy soup. It’s very creamy and the flavors, especially the lemongrass, really stands out. The flavor was a bit weaker this time than usual though, but still darn good. There were more than enough large pieces of chicken which were not dry or rough at all. The big bowl here served about 7 smaller bowls.
Wendy and I try to have a balanced diet so we ordered a vegetarian dish. This was the eggplant with spicy mini-shrimp seasoning which was called Terung w/ Dry Shrimp ($11.95). This was a truly excellent dish. It was not that spicy at all, the eggplants were not mushy and the aroma the seasoning gives off was just amazing. It was a little but on the oily side though.
In my humble opinion, a curry-based dish is also a must for any Malaysian meal. At the front of the restaurant, there was a chalkboard sign with today’s recommendations. This was the Red Curry Pumpkin Duck Bowl ($13.95). The duck meat was a bit of struggle to chew. I know that duck meat is usually like that but I was hoping for better, but there were lots of pieces of duck though. Red curry isn’t the spiciest of curries and I don’t think this one was even spicy at all, which suited Wendy just fine. Also perhaps due to the pumpkin, there was a tinge of sweetness in it too. The curry sauce and the ample amount of pumpkin was a thumbs up!
We shared a bowl of coconut-flavored rice to chase down the two dishes. They had a choice of plain rice and ‘oiled’ rice as well. Since coconut-flavored isn’t always around at other restaurants, I had no hesitation with this. You can see the coconut cream here. That’s what flavored the rice. It was actually pretty good. This was $1.50.
This saved us on one of our dishes!! It brought the total down to about $40.
The service was good. The dishes came quite quickly but they did forget a drink that we ordered. We decided to scrap the drink because we did not really have a ‘yearning’ (or the stomach space) for it. All the dishes were enjoyable despite minor flaws. The biggest recommendation here is the eggplant with dried-shrimp seasoning. It was simply a superb dish. Next time you go to Tropika try that out and don’t forget your coupon!