A friend and I were in Seattle for a lecture last week and wanted something interesting and affordable to eat ahead of time, so I did a little research and came up with a newish place called Satay in Wallingford. I adore Malaysian food, and have had very little of it since Mandalay Cafe unfortunately closed and was replaced by Tilth, just down the block on 45th. Satay isn’t nearly as fancy as Mandalay, but I appreciate that they’re keeping it simple: a few kinds of satay, two noodle dishes, curry, roti, and curry puffs. I’ve been twice so far, and I’ve already tried over half of the menu.
On my first visit, my friend and I split an order of the chicken satay and a bowl of laksa, plus one roti with curry sauce. The chicken was fantastic, with great grill taste and plenty of lemongrass. The accompanying slaw was flavored with herbs and coconut, and there was a large pile of rice to help sop up any leftovers. Despite all that, the real star was the roasted peanut sauce, which was the best and most interesting peanut sauce I have ever eaten in my life. I wanted to spoon it on everything.
The laksa was very good as well: a deep bowl of egg noodles in rich broth, it was nicely decorated with fried tofu (a favorite of mine) and large prawns, with some bean sprouts and cilantro for garnish. I would have liked more vegetables, but the flavors were excellent. The roti was like a flat croissant, dripping with fat and incredibly flaky – I loved it but I’m going to make sure I’m good and starving before I order another one. The dipping sauce it came with was, oddly, a ladleful of vegetable curry, complete with potato chunks. Strange but tasty.
Yesterday my husband and I went again, as we wanted a quick lunch before a medical appointment, and we tried both the beef and tofu satays, plus a curry puff, all of which lived up to my hype from the first visit. The beef was flavorful with tamarind, but sadly did not come with peanut sauce. Fortunately the tofu did. I thought the tofu was really interesting, it was deeply marinated with hard-to-identify seasonings and was nicely crispy around the edges. The curry puff was good, too – basically a deep-fried samosa stuffed with vegetable curry, dangerously thermal.
The place is run by extremely nice young men, and the general ambience is comfortable and casual. It’s quick and cheap, and they have Tiger Beer in the fridge, for which I have a strange fondness. I look forward to trying the rest of the menu very soon.