Restaurant Review: House Malaysian

This Cliffside Park eatery captures the exotic flavors of Southeast Asia.

Lucky for us, chefs-turned-TV personalities like Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern give us a glimpse of global dining in the comfort of our own home. But wouldn’t it be great to get out and try what they’re eating?

Foodies, put your passports away! House Malaysian opened earlier this summer in the heart of Cliffside Park, serving authentic cuisine from Malaysia as well as dishes fused with Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese and other Asian flavors. Inside, you can’t help but feel like you’re in an upscale karaoke bar: It’s a modern space with plenty of bright lights (pinks, blues, greens) reflecting off pristine white walls. The large dining room, however, reminds you that you’re there to eat.

My dining companion and I debated over the lengthy appetizer menu before ordering steamed Malaysian pork dumplings and a combination of chicken and beef satay. Satay is essentially meat on a stick, but it’s the undisputed king of Asian foods—nearly every country has its own version. House Malaysian’s charcoal grilled dish was one of the best I’ve ever tried (sorry, Mom!). And the accompanying peanut sauce complemented the zesty flavor of the perfectly marinated meat.

The dinner menu boasted a variety of dishes, from noodles and stews to seafood and pork chops, so we decided to share a trio of plates. An order of Malaysian lo mein comes with shrimp, chicken and veggies—they don’t upcharge for the type of meat. The same is true of the pineapple fried rice, which is prepared with shrimp, chicken, egg, pineapple, raisins and vegetables. Though rice is a staple at every Asian table, my friend noted that this dish, which is served overflowing from the inside of a halved pineapple, was better in taste and presentation than others she’s ordered from similar restaurants. But the addictive flavors of our third dish, nasi lemak, easily stole the show. The plate blends the tastes of tender curried chicken (mostly dark meat) with briny and crispy anchovies and sweet, coconut-flavored rice.

House Malaysian doesn’t have a separate dessert menu, but it isn’t short of sweet treats. My friend and I rejoiced over the drink menu’s seemingly endless number of filling bubble teas, sweet teas and Yakults (a popular skim milk-based probiotic beverage). I ended the night with an oversized, delicious almond bubble tea filled with tapioca, but my friend’s chocolate bubble tea more closely resembled a traditional dessert.

It’s safe to say that we’ve developed a taste for Malaysian cuisine, and we’re fortunate that House Malaysian brings the flavors of the country into our backyards. —Darius Amos

Categories: Bergen Health & Life