In last month's favorable review of Capitol Hill Malaysian favorite Kedai Makan, The Stranger critic Angela Garbes lamented that there aren't more places offering takes on such a diverse cuisine. In fact, Garbes said, after the closure of International District's Malay Satay Hut in 2013 (though a sister spot lives on in Redmond), Kedai Makan is the only restaurant in Seattle serving a version of Malaysian food. Its "interpretation of the country's food is a good one, but I'm hungry for more," she wrote.
The good news for Garbes and anyone who feels similarly is that Ballard Mini-Pod, which regularly hosts such food trucks as Garden Sushi and Tripod Coffee, recently added a new member to its lineup: Seattle Mamak, serving Malaysian specialties.
On the side of the truck there's an brief, intriguing cultural introduction to Malaysia, stating, among other things, "Due to the structure of the government, coupled with the social contract theory, there has been minimal cultural assimilation of ethnic minorities." There's also a prominent graphic noting that the truck uses no MSG, an assertion that many Asian restaurants feel is necessary to make given the persistence of the thoroughly-debunked, more-or-less racist "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome."
Generally Seattle Mamak is stationed at the mini-pod, located at 54th and 17th, weekdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The menu includes items like roti, a sort of Indian pancake with potato curry and dipping sauce; nasi lemak, fragrant coconut rice with chicken curry and roasted peanuts; and mango or pineapple chicken. Naturally, the list of items is concise, but for anyone hoping to explore more of Malaysia's unique fare, it's a start.