As a flight attendant for many years and appreciating different cultures from all over the world, I am ecstatic when I find authentic cuisine that reminds me of countries I’ve visited. At 3144 Broadway in Kitsilano a little gem reminds me of my travels!
Mamalee Malaysian Delight offers traditional dishes from their home in Kuala Lumpur. This quaint 30 seat restaurant caters to people that are truly there for the food! The selective menu consists of the 20 most popular Malaysian dishes and therefore gives a “family style” feeling that many larger restaurants do not offer.
Mamalee has been a part of Broadway since 1991 when the family emigrated from Malaysia. Betty Chin (aka Mamalee) opened her first business Cafe D’lite, which was originally a breakfast, soup and sandwich locale. This was an existing business which she kept going for 2 years until she decided that she wanted to bring her homeland into the kitchen. Her business became hugely popular with her new Malaysian menu which has been going strong for the last 22 years!
The entire family works at the restaurant! In the kitchen; Avid Grouse-Grinder David Chin (Husband), Ah Men (non family) and Mamalee. In the Front: Son Edwin is the GM and Sister Kristine looks after HR/Customer care. Kristine Chin is also a very passionate photographer and provides the restaurant with online and onsite examples of her work.
Edwin is behind the name change from Cafe D’lite to Mamalee which took place 2 years ago. The whole family decided on the new name and it couldn’t be more perfect! She is everybody’s Mama & she is the Star! (Read her extensive Bio on the Mamalee website.)
I arrived for my interview with Edwin Chin at 2:30pm because that was considered the “slow” time of the day. Well it wasn’t slow and every seat in the house was filled. There are lineups on a daily basis but guests of this popular “word of mouth” restaurant, don’t mind the short wait! Many local & international celebrities are regular clients!
The two most popular dishes are Hainanese Chicken & Hainanese Chicken Latsa Noodle soup. All the curry spices are imported from Malaysia and the flavors are out of this world! My soup came with egg noodles but you can substitute them for rice noodles which I did for my takeout order. Yes, I ate two of them! (OK, I let my husband try a little bit.)
Mamalee has no plans to retire anytime soon but son Edwin is in the midst of looking for a second location to carry on his mother’s legacy. One of the great things about Vancouver (especially Kitsilano) is the diverse available culture. This restaurant is one of those special places that offers a unique view into “the next best thing to being there.” Try a taste of Malaysian culture on West Broadway in Kitsilano & see how delightful life can be.
3144 West Broadway