Banana Leaf, Philly

Anthony Bourdain is the inspiration to so many of my travel hopes and dreams.  I want to travel the world like him, meeting interesting people, eating what seems like 7 meals a day, all while getting to experience some seriously awesome cultures.  GRR.

My last wanna-be-bourdain moment happened after seeing his Malaysia episode.  Dave and I ended up watching this one late-night on DVR and were practically drooling after learning about Malaysian food.  We watched Tony eat Laksa which sounded like the best food ever.

Here’s a recipe I found for the spicy noodley soup, to give you an idea of what it is:

Laksa Recipe from Rasa Malaysia.

The broth gets some powerful flavors from yummy stuff like curry paste, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, and coconut milk.  The soup is jam packed with Noodles, Bean Sprouts, Shrimp and other Seafood, Hard-Boiled Eggs, and spicy Chlies.  YUM.

Dave and I took our first stab at Malaysian food at Philly’s Banana Leaf (apparently a pretty popular name for Malaysian restaurants… there’s a totally different one in Vancouver too!).  First of all- the menu is huge.  Rut-Roh!  While obviously this is super exciting… I take FOREVER to order!  There are so many things on the menu that I have no clue what they are.  What to get, what to get?!

We started off with their Homemade Roti Canai, a classic Malaysian app which is a crispy, flaky pancake served with a small bowl of curry chicken.  I don’t even know what they put in there, but the dipping curry chicken was PHENOMENAL!!  We’re off to a great start 🙂

When it came time to order our entrees, I was really happy with our server who actually swayed us away from our decision to try Laksa- the whole reason we wanted to try Banana Leaf!  Since we had so many questions about the menu, we told her it was our first time trying Malaysian food.  She said that their version of Laksa is VERY fishy and that we should try another one of their noodle broth bowls first.

The Fish Head Soup with Rice Noodles was a little too intimidating for us at this point, so we decided to try a safer dish:  Seafood Tomyam with Rice Noodles.  This “soup” came to us in a huge bowl and was chock full of noodles, seafood, and veggies.  The broth is spicy, like a thin hot-and-sour soup with lemon grass.  The soup is soooo good.  I don’t think I could go back here and not get one!  Dave and I also decided to try a chicken dish- it was soooo yummy.  The sauce was similar to a curry, with that spicy but sweet coconut flavor.

Our Chicken Dish

Our Soup

What was left of my bowl 🙂


We did end up taking home some leftovers, but they didn’t last long… I’m pretty sure we ate it later that night 🙂

Have you ever tried Malaysian?  If you haven’t Banana Leaf is a really good place to start!

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