Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Simpang Asia - Los Angeles

Simpang Asia is one of the recommended place to have Indonesian food when you're in LA area. A few years ago we managed to sample some of their dishes at the West Covina location before they closed down later on.

The LA location one is side by side with a small convenience store that provides Indonesian snacks, drinks, some ready made food and sandwiches. The restaurant portion seemed like it was just renovated. Minimalist, cement floor, no decor whatsover on the wall. On one side was a counter with a cash register and a bunch of snacks on the counter. There was a sign that says "All snacks $1". Kue lapis - layered coconut cake and bolu kukus - steamed cup cakes were among the snacks. We got to try some fried banana (2 for $1).

When we got there, there were about three tables occupied. It took about a couple of minutes before anybody acknowledged us. We were then seated and given a menu. First page of menu was special of the day. None of those seemed to be interesting enough. So I settled with Bakwan Malang - noodle soup with fried wonton. For hubby I chose Nasi Rames Padang - rice with Padang style spicy dishes. And for dessert, we'd share es teler - shaved ice with avocado, coconut and jackfruit.

Our orders came out pretty promptly. I was quite surprise with the size of my Bakwan Malang. The bowl was tiny and the amount of rice and yellow noodle was ridiculously small. Okay, there are not too many Indonesian in the whole LA area and you need to survive but seriously, noodles don't cost that much. The chilli paste that came with it was a killer though. It was spicy enough that I didn't have to use the whole serving. Hubby even had to use part of my chilli paste because his wasn't spicy enough to his liking. All in all I enjoyed my order even though I think they should have put more noodles.

Hubby's Nasi Rames Padang looked delicious. The combo came with rendang - beef in coconut milk and spice, balado style egg and prawn, green chillies and jackfruit cooked in coconut milk. I tasted the rendang and it was good. The green chillies though was disappointing. It was too finely grounded to more like a paste consistency. The real one should be just roughly pounded and still show big pieces of green chillies. Anyhow it was a good combo though of course it was pretty milk to our taste. But it's a good value compare to my Bakwan Malang.

By the time we were done with our food, the es teler still hasn't showed up yet. Upon asking, I was told that they're preparing it. I think they forgot. But anyhow we got our order. It was fresh and refreshing for a hot day. A bit too much ice which we didn't finish at the end. We just fished out the avocado, jackfruit and coconut shavings.

From next door convenient store, we bought otak-otak. Literally means brain but it's actually snacks made of fish paste, coconut milk, salt and pepper wrapped in banana leaf and grilled. The fresh ones are good. But the ones we got were a bit disappointing. Dry and a bit too tough. The peanut dipping sauce was wonderful though.

Simpang Asia
10433 National Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90034-4681   (310) 815-9075