SGV: Lunch at Banana Leaf Indonesian
When people hear “Banana Leaf,” they may think of the Malaysian restaurant at the Grove/ Farmers Market but there’s an Indonesian restaurant in Temple City called Banana Leaf. And one Saturday afternoon, I headed over there with my noodles partner for yes, noodles and a little catch up.
She got the avocado and chocolate milkshake while I got an iced tea. Yes, boring but free refills! No, but seriously, if you want your avocado shake to be less sweet, ask them to make it without condensed milk. The chocolate gives it enough sweetness.
I had read that the fried chicken was the thing to get at Banana Leaf. I figured we might as well try as much as possible while we were there. That’s why I love combination platters. This one included the smashed fried chicken which in all honesty, I rather have unsmashed. It was extremely crispy though. There were also nicely fried tofu, egg, beef and soybeans which my friend called tempeh.
It’s served with sliced cumbers and a shrimp chili paste. The chili paste which started off as slightly sweet and rapidly became too spicy for me and I eyed my friend’s avocado shake with longing.
I’m loved getting nasi bungkus and seeing it wrapped up. My friend told me that since we were eating at the restaurant, we got the fancy unwrapped version. I prefer to call it deconstructed. We ordered nasi padang which included an excellent portion of chicken thigh, beef rendang, egg, veggies and green chili. Quickly I discovered every last bit of it was spicy. And we had ordered the “not so spicy one” or so the server said.
Still, it was manageable as the curry itself wasn’t too spicy. The best part of this dish was the tender chicken.
Of course my noodles partner and I got noodles. If you like Chinese or Thai flat rice noodles, then this is the dish for you. Get the kwetiau goreng which reminded me of pad thai in flavor but with pad see ew noodles. Or char kway teow noodles. The stir-fried riced noodles are tossed with shrimp, chicken, crushed nuts, bean sprouts and tender pieces of Chinese broccoli. It can made spicier with hot sauce but I preferred it as is to combat the inferno that was raging in my tummy. Oh to love spicy food but up to a point.
Banana Leaf is in a sweet spot on Temple City Boulevard with plenty of parking. It does get busy so take-out might be advisable during peak hours. Next time, the noodles partner and I will seek more Indonesian food in Pasadena. We’re on the hunt!
Banana Leaf Indonesian5835 Temple City Blvd., Temple City, CA 91780 — (626) 309-0209 © The Minty 2014