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Double Happiness at Banana Leaf

A new location, right across from the old one, serves up new and old favorites. And yes, you might still have to wait.

Out of the entire menu so far, it's the vegetable achat that I've become most attached to. Dusted with peanuts and sesame seeds, the Malaysian-style pickled vegetables are crisp, cool and effortlessly bright with bursts of cider vinegar and turmeric, lemongrass and ginger. The carrots, cabbage and long beans in the mix still retain their own inherent vegetal sweetness, and never verge on too pickled, too tart, as I've seen in many high-end restaurants that are attempting to pickle their own vegetables these days. The beguilingly cool achat is a must with every order, the perfect accompaniment to a hot meal or simply a hot day in Houston.

When I reviewed the original Banana Leaf in the summer of 2009, I asked why there wasn't more Malaysian food in Houston. The food — like that achat — is ideally suited to both our warm climate and our pan-Asian palates. With the opening of this second location in Chinatown and the steady crowds packing into both, it looks as though Malaysian food might finally be on the rise here. In fact, just last week I spotted a brand-new banner in the Dun Huang shopping center for another new Malaysian restaurant — directly across the parking lot from Banana Leaf.

Pattaya-style soft crabs are garnished with mango, bell peppers, onions, cilantro and a barely sweet sauce tempered with a kick of red pepper.
Troy Fields
Pattaya-style soft crabs are garnished with mango, bell peppers, onions, cilantro and a barely sweet sauce tempered with a kick of red pepper.

Location Info

Map

Banana Leaf

9896 Bellaire Blvd.
Houston, TX 77036

Category: Restaurant > Malaysian

Region: Outer Loop - SW

Details

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Roti canai: $2.75
Roti murtabak: $5.50
Achat: $5.50
Singapore stir-fried rice noodle: $8.50
Chow fun: $8.50
Pattaya soft-shell crab: $15

READ MORE
SLIDESHOW: Double Happiness at Banana Leaf II
BLOG POST: Houston Has Another "End of the Universe" in Chinatown with Banana Leaf II

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More About

katharine.shilcutt@houstonpress.com

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4 comments
Neal
Neal

Read Rob Walsh's review - went over there, waited a long time, ordered and was profoundly unimpressed. Will not make the effort to visit # 2

Corey
Corey

This looks interesting, albeit a good drive from downtown. Love when they review Asian restaurants though as they're my favorite. Bored of Tex Mex/Mediterranean/American cuisines..

Andrew Tong
Andrew Tong

This should be the 3rd ending of the universe then since FuFu Cafe on Bellaire has a sister restaurant called FuFu Restaurant in the same Dun Huang Shopping Center. FuFu Cafe faces the parking garage and Fufu Restaurant faces the street.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Robb never reviewed Banana Leaf. Perhaps you're thinking of my review? Either way, I'm sorry to hear you were unimpressed. It's a large menu to navigate and that can make it difficult to find something that immediately strikes you. I've found it's best to go with a group and experiment by ordering lots of things at once. :)

 
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