Loving Layang Layang

I passed by Layang Layang one time a couple of months back, and it caught my attention because it was a Malaysian restaurant. You don’t see too many Malaysian or Singaporean restaurants, so after reading some really positive reviews on Yelp, I have been wanting to check it out. That time finally came, and I was ready with a hungry tummy and my trusty camera.

It’s a decent sized restaurant, bigger than it looks from the outside and packed with lots of people, Asians and non-Asians alike, inside. We sat down and perused the menu for a good long time. The menu is chock-full of a variety dishes and included a fair number of pictures to help bring life to the names of the dishes. Since I’m not as familiar with Malaysian cuisine, I really didn’t know where to start so the pictures were really helpful.

We started with the Layang Layang Tom Yam Soup which is a somewhat common soup you find on Thai menus. This version was a little big tangier and more sour with less coconut milk used to make the soup. However, like the Thai version, it still has the lemongrass root that I find myself always spitting out. Bleh! I thought this soup was okay.

The Roti Canai is a homemade Indian style pancake. It’s a thinner, flakier version of Naan bread, a little less doughy but still pretty good when eaten with the curry dipping sauce. Although I think I like Naan bread better, I definitely preferred this curry sauce more. It was rich and the flavor of the curry tasted more complex somehow. I don’t know if it was the use of many more herbs or spices, but it definitely had more interesting flavors than your typical curry.

Awhile back, I was on the hunt for Hainan Chicken. I can’t remember why exactly (it must have been an odd craving), but ever since I’ve taken the opportunity to order it whenever I found it. I was pleasantly surprised by this dish, because although the chicken was steamed, it managed not to be dry and the soy-based sauce in which the chicken sat gave it some good salty flavor. The chili-ginger sauce was a little too spicy for me though. What I really liked about the chicken was not only were there very few bones, but the chicken meat itself was soft and tender. It’s almost like they had taken a tenderizer to the meat. I’m not sure how they did it, but it was well done.

The Sarang Seafood seems to be a Malaysian twist on the Chinese Bird’s Nest dish, however in this case, the nest is made of deep-fried taro similar to the kind of dish you can order for dim sum. Inside the nest is a stir-fried mix of shrimp, squid, bell peppers, snow peas, mushrooms, and cashews. I have to admit that I really liked the deep-fried taro nest although it really was very oily and after a few helpings, I started to feel a little bit sick. Unfortunately, I thought the mix was a little bit light on the seafood. I think I counted a total of 4-5 measly shrimps and the amount of squid wasn’t much better. However, despite the disappointing vegetable to seafood ratio, the flavor itself was good and it went well the with taro nest.

Although I was pretty full and we did end up bringing home leftovers, we decided on trying the Fried Ice Cream with Fried Banana. This dessert turned out to be fantastic. It is a lot like Tempura Fried Ice Cream. I think the ice cream inside might have been vanilla, but I really liked the outside batter. It was a thinner layer of batter covering the ice cream, but it was freshly fried so it tasted crisp. It wasn’t just plain dough either, but it had a certain balance of salt and sweet that went well with the ice cream and strawberry jelly. The fried banana was also pretty good as well, but I don’t think I liked it as much because the bananas tasted a little too soft and mushy… kind of like baby food. Nevertheless, the dessert overall was very good.

Not only does Layang Layang serve good-tasting food, but it also does so at a very affordable price. Something that we don’t easily find as often as we like. I think the bill totaled just over $40 for all that food which seems like a great deal to me. It definitely was some good food, and I look forward to going back and checking out some of their other dishes, particularly the noodles.

Layang Layang
1480 S De Anza Blvd
San Jose, CA 95129

PAFO Ratings for Layang Layang:
Price 2 ½ stars
Ambiance 3 stars
Food 4 stars
Overall rating 4 stars

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