Once again, Banana Leaf won Best Malaysian food in this year's Golden Plates Awards, as selected by Georgia Straight readers.
Its five Vancouver outlets have survived the pandemic of 2020-21. Sadly, this can't be said of all of its peers in the Malaysian category.
As someone who's been eating there for years, I can attest to Banana Leaf's tasty cuisine and reliable, friendly service.
Today, I'm going to write about one of the main courses: sweetened vinegar pork side ribs ($22).
Most Vancouverites are used to North American beef ribs or Chinese spare ribs. The Malaysian variety served at Banana Leaf is not cooked on a grill.
Rather, these ribs are fork-tender after being marinated to create a rich and saucy texture, with a sweet rather than smoky aftertaste. A little bit of spinach is thrown in the sauce.
These sweetened vinegar pork side ribs are flavoured with sour plum sauce, black vinegar, soy sauce, star anise, cinnamon, and palm sugar.
They can be eaten plain or paired with steamed rice. And the portion is large enough for two or three people if dishes are being shared.
Pair it with decent hot and sour soup at a price of $10 and you'll leave the restaurant feeling satisfied.