Momentum: Kaya Malay Food Review


Frankie Zeng

The exterior of Kaya Malay Bistro

“Kaya is our brain-child; you can call it the new trend of Malaysian cuisine. Kaya reflects the beautiful and always evolving west coast dining scene, a place where culinary authenticity meets fusion creation.” – Scott Kwan, General Manager of Kaya Malay

Vancouver is the vast, sprawling home for many different cultural groups and ethnicities. As a result of this culture clash, Vancouver has made culinary history as having one of the most diverse cuisines in the world. Wherever you go in this beautiful city, you can see food piled up upon food. Indian, French, British, Chinese, you can find all of these easily and so much more. However, with such a supple supply of food in the industry, comes the hard challenge of standing out and making a name for yourself in this culinary jungle. As more challengers approach to get to the very top of the food chain, it seems that there is a dominant force that is trying to claw its way to the top. That force is the restaurant called Kaya Malay.

Kaya Malay, a Malaysian restaurant that opened in 2012, was not one of my preferred choices for my dine-out experience. Before entering the restaurant, I had low expectations, but I was completely and utterly blown away.

Frankie Zeng
The interior of the restaurant

My view of the seemingly quiet grey afternoon in Vancouver was gone, it seemed as if I was in another universe. The vibrant environment was beautiful and enchanting, accompanied by the almost musical clinks of glass and the sharp sounds of forks stabbing plates, it was something that could only be described as exotic. The table we sat at was smooth and cold to the touch, and the splashing design on the rose colored walls added to the visual appeal. I was already satisfied, and that was before the food came.

I was surprised when the chef and general manager Scott Kwon came out to serve us. He greeted us with a warm grin. Throughout the course of the lunch Scott Kwon was very meticulous and patient with the group of rowdy schoolboys, even through some mix-ups. The staff was also efficient and organized, always serving us with a smile. It felt like I understood the restaurant more by interacting with the person who prepared us our meals.

Now moving onto the most important part, the food. The Roti Canai with curry sauce had a crunchy texture, while also having a somewhat sweet taste. The zesty and sour flavor of the sauce added some needed moisture to the bread and it also made the bread have a more complicated and layered taste. The roti left me with a strong desire for more. The Vegetarian Nasi Goreng was the highlight of the meal, the mix and mash of the varied textures and temperatures in the fried rice was exhilarating. It made me explore the fried rice like I was on an exciting journey. Mid-way through the meal they served us Lychee soda. It was pure fruity, sweet, and carbonated goodness. Finally, came the dessert. The Kuih Dadar was visually pleasing, as the crepe had a variety of bright appealing colors. It was banana flavored, and had coconut shavings stuffed inside the interior. My first bite was far too sudden, I was greeted by an explosion of flavor that quickly went away, and I needed more. I quickly devoured the whole thing. The mildly sweet banana flavored crepe was perfectly accompanied by the warm zesty coconut, and the tangy mango sauce on the side only helped further the rich taste it provided. The whip cream provided some change in the texture, and was enchantingly smooth. As I took my last bite, I was left speechless.

I think the reason why Kaya Malay was so refreshing to me was because of its work ethic. Many restaurants have the desire to do good, and of course they do. However, they go about trying to reach the top as fast as they can, and end up getting swallowed up by the voracious city of Vancouver because they didn’t have enough momentum. Momentum is needed to move forward, but you can’t rush what you don’t have. As far as I can see, Kaya Malay is happy just where it is, not rushed, nor too careless, and it continues to go at its own pace. Whether it be creating new cuisine or conversing with customers, it seems that Scott Kwon and the rest understand what they need to do. With great atmosphere, staff, and food, I can’t wait to see what Kaya Malay will accomplish, as it slowly gathers its momentum to reach the top.


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Name: Kaya Malay Bistro

Rating: 4.5/5

Address: 1063 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6H 1E2

Phone: (604) 730-9963



Price Range: $20-$30