Here is a taste of Malaysia, hawker-stall style — redolent of curry and fermented shrimp, anchovy and jack fruit.
It’s not your fat-noodles-drowning-in ketchup-sour-sauce-kinda place. There will be bone-in meat and heat. Can you handle that?
Kedai Makan, the new takeout joint, is run by Kevin Burzell and Alysson Wilson, who want to bring the exotic spices and flavors of Southeast Asia to late-night bar hoppers on the Hill.
The couple have been preparing Malaysian and Southeast Asian street food at farmers markets and pop-ups around town since last year. In January, they opened shop in this tiny space on Olive Way East, on the cool block with all the cool kids — dive bar Montana and Crumble & Flake Patisserie — between East Howell Street and East Denny Way.
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The menu: The board menu changes daily, usually eight dishes including a noodle and fried rice dish ($8.25) with specials such as the char siu (roast pork) or pork belly in herbal broth ($9 to $10) over rice. You can also expect a few appetizers like Roti Canai, and a tofu salad dish and a dessert on the menu ($3.50 to $5.50).
What to write home about: The addicting Roti Canai, crispy, flaky flat bread, is a booze sponge for the 2 a.m. crowd; break off little pieces and mop up the lentil curry. The fried rice is one to remember, an intensely flavored variation, accented by a sweet but pungent shrimp paste, served with chopped up shrimp and also some prawns with the head still on. Poke that fried egg with the chop sticks and let the yolk soak the rice. Heaven.
What to skip: The Ngow Lam Fan beef noodle with stewed beef and meatballs is one of the more interesting dishes but doesn’t hold up well for takeout. It’s best eaten immediately.
The setting: The kitchen takes up every inch of this modest space. There’s just a walk-up window — or, rather, more of a half door — to order food from. Many customers walk over two doors down to the recently expanded Montana to eat and wash the grub down with a Rainier.
Summing up: An appetizer Roti Canai ($4.50); fried rice ($8.25); beef noodles ($8.25); Bak Kuh Ten ($9.50), a pork belly and spare rib rice dish; and, for dessert, rice pudding with jack fruit ($4), totaled $36.50, enough to serve three. It’s a nice alternative to your typical Thai takeout. Kedai Makan has become a cult favorite around the Hill, especially with the after-work crowd of line cooks and bartenders.
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle