SGV: Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine
For years I’ve wondered about the fish and chips place on the corner of Garfield and Main Streets in Alhambra. And then I heard they had a secret Indonesian menu. And just when I was about to check out the secret menu, Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine debuted and it’s now a full on Indonesian restaurant.
The restaurant is quite narrow. Tables dot what is essentially a long hallway. We found a table in the back and I was amused by the facial tissue in place of napkins. It felt so incredibly Asian. At many of the lower-end restaurants in Asia, napkins are not provided. I remember my mom telling me only American fast food places in Hong Kong would have such luxuries as napkins. We had to carry little packets of facial tissue everywhere. I had a theory Borneo Kalimantan provided facial tissue as napkins to feel more authentic.
I knew I definitely wanted laksa, a curry soup but I was open to everything else. My first experience with laksa may not have been great but I’ve been on a hunt for the best ever since. Indonesians love their noodles and we discussed with our server what we should get. He felt as non-Indonesians, we’d like the flat noodles that would be similar to Thai noodles (think pad see ew). I actually would have liked to have gotten the wavy noodles but there’s always next time. We decided to get seafood laksa and seafood noodles. I wanted a veg knowing full well Indos don’t really have veggies– well, at least not according to my Noodles Partner who is from Indonesia. She claims they only occasionally eat the hollow-stem veggies (Chinese ong choy). Still, we looked. And they didn’t have it.
The laksa was really good. The bubbling fiery red broth cautioned me to be careful so I took tentative sips at first and found it to be at a comfortable spice level. We found abundant shrimp and vermicelli beneath the fearsome looking soup.
While I liked the flat rice noodles, it did lack spice so the hot sauces came in handy. I just mixed both together, finding them a perfect match for the noodles. I really have to come back with my noodles partner. She was there a couple of days before me and said she liked the change in direction for the menu. Apparently it’s a bit more focused on regional Indonesian cuisines.
At first I was thinking of the gado gado (steamed veggies with peanut sauce) to compare to Simpang Asia’s but we ended up getting the rujak which was cucumber, jicama, pineapple and sweet potato topped with a shrimp paste peanut sauce. It’s not as weird as you think though I think our server thought we’d hate it. I actually liked the sauce best with the pineapple! The shrimp chips showed up with this dish and I approved of this because shrimp chips and hard-boiled eggs seem to be hallmarks of Indo cuisine– that and noodles.
After our meal, we needed a digestive. Time to hit up Rabbit Hole bar around the corner.
Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine19 South Garfield Ave., Unit A, Alhambra, CA 91801 — (626) 282-4477
© The Minty 2013