As frequent travellers to Asia, we went out of our way to find Banana Leaf. The menu looked great and we were salivating in anticipation. We ordered a fried rice dish and laska (soup). While the ingredients were fresh and freshly made, both lacked a major component found in these dishes in their home countries - belecan (fermented shrimp paste). While overpoweringly funky on it's own, a small amount adds a magic fragrant umami effect. Also missing was sambal (also using roasted belecan) or cut hot chilis in fish sauce.
While we did not leave hungry, we certainly did not feel like we had enjoyed a dish made in Indonesia, Malaysia, or Singapore. Someone looking for a taste of these places should look elsewhere.
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