Restaurant review: Tamarind Hill a favourite culinary adventure

This is a guest post by Asifa, a confessed foodie, writing about one of her favourite restaurants in New Westminster. You can find Asifa on Twitter @asifa604.

Hello fellow New Westminster residents. As my first contribution to this blog, which is a great source of activities and city secrets for the New Royal City, I will be posting about my favorite thing: food.

Food is a journey to other cultures, passions and stories. I love a good story. They say, every life is a best seller; you just have to know how to tell the story. And nothing lets the words flow better than a good meal with friends.

I moved to New Westminster from Burnaby a few years ago. It was obvious this small city packed a lot in its borders. It feels like the province’s diverse population is concentrated in this remarkable city. And of course, one reflection of that is the food.

I set out quickly to find some tasty bites that were delicious, unique and reflective of the community we live in. I quickly found a favorite culinary adventure in the Malaysian favorite Tamarind Hill.

Tamarind Hill Malaysian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Located at 6th Avenue and 7th Street, it is a short trip from most parts of New Westminster and approximately 40 minutes from Vancouver, well worth the drive.

The owner Louis Leung and well known chef Robert Phua (former chef of the popular Banana Leaf restaurant) are behind this amazing experience which captivates you when you enter.

The restaurant not only surpasses your expectations with the exotic flavours and fusion of spices and fresh ingredients, but with the decor. From the rich orange and brown hues to the soft candle lit woodwork and Indian/Asian handicrafts. Not quite on board with the music which seems to be an odd mix of whatever the CD player shuffles in… but you won’t notice once you take your first bite.

Appys start at $3 and include the popular roti canai (a soft, slightly sweet bread pan fried with a mild curry sauce for dipping) and the grilled satays with a mild peanut chilli sauce.

Main dishes range from curries, to the popular Hainanese chicken, veggie, meat and seafood choices, as well as a mix and match option with delicate to wildly spicy sauces. Prices average $15 a dish.

if you are at a loss where to begin, I would recommend your experience include the Nasi Goreng, the Papaya and Mango Salad (the jicama root will pop in your mouth), Eggplant with Chilli, Scallops in Coconut, Cumin and Ginger sauce as well as the Beef and Asparagus. You will be back for seconds!

This is a wonderful place to take friends, or have a lovely intimate meal.
Open for lunch and dinner (dinner starts at 5 pm). They also deliver.

Tamarind Hill restaurant is found at 6th Ave & 7th St.

The quest for great Chinese food

This is a guest post by New West Gal, who is desparately seeking better local take-out options!

I’m on a quest for great Chinese food take-out in New Westminster or even neighbouring Burnaby. We have lived in New West for nearly seven years and I have yet to eat good, much less great Chinese food here. What’s up with that? B.C.’s population is made up of many cultures but taking the lead are the Chinese and yet, I cannot find any great Chinese eats.

Hon's Wun Tun House (New West) on Urbanspoon

I’ve had Hon’s on Robson and they serve what my husband and I call fair Caucasian-fied Chinese food. Hon’s in New West serves an even more Caucasian version of Chinese food, that left a lot to be desired and yet, I hear people singing their praises. Lhy Thai on Edmond’s does great Thai food but you have to place your order by 5:30 p.m. on most days and you have to pick it up – they don’t do delivery and yes, they are that busy.

Royal Tandoori and Indian Star Indian Restaurants serve pretty good Indian fare – although I still hold that the Curry Express in Metrotown Mall food court has the best Tandoori chicken. Papa Dave’s on 20th Street, in our opinion, serves the best delivery pizza around and it doesn’t hurt that the staff treat you like family. We’ve got Ole Ole Mexican Restaurant on 12th, where you are treated to real and tasty Mexican food and a very warm welcome and Tamarind Hill serves up great Malaysian eats. But where, oh where is the Chinese food?

It seems that in order for some take-out restaurants to hash out a decent living, they rely on MSG and mountains of salt to give their food some flavour. When you ask for MSG-free you get tasteless food that even Fido would refuse.

Last night, we spent a bomb on Mr. Ho’s Wonton House. They’ve won Burnaby Record’s Best of Burnaby five years running. How they won once, much less five years in a row, is truly remarkable. It was horrible. What wasn’t overcooked was cooked poorly and the presentation was less attractive than what our five-year old can muster. I phoned the owner to complain and got the typical, “We will give you a discount on your next order” – yeah, that’s not gonna’ happen. What a waste of food and money that was.

Before moving to B.C. over 12 years ago, I lived in Ontario. We knew all the great Chinese restaurants and take-away eateries within a 10-mile radius. Anyone who was asked could give you anywhere from a fair to a great recommendation.

So, what gives New West? Do I have to go downtown to get great Chinese food?