If you know me well (or have read my blog long enough), you'll know that Malaysian food is one of my absolute favourites. There's not much choice for Malaysian restaurants in Edmonton, since there's really only three: Island Cafe & Bistro, East, and Tropika, which actually has two locations: west and south.
The south location is the original, and has been around since 1996. I've been going to Tropika since I was a kid so it definitely holds a lot of memories. If you're in the same boat, do you remember how they used to have one huge straw chair at every table? Guess who always got that seat? Me! I was a princess and it was obviously my throne.
I'm actually not sure when they changed their exterior sign because I hadn't been to the south location in a while. It's easier to read now in plain font, but I prefer the old one, just sayin'.
The restaurant space is quite large, and it's split into two dining areas, with a private room in the back. The main dining room (to the right) was fully booked up for a private party, so we were sat on the left side where the bar is. Service was pretty typical, could be better but could be worse.
Fair warning, the dishes we ordered are pretty similar to the ones in my first post about their west location, save for one or two items. Descriptions will be brief, so please refer to the other post if you want to read more in depth.
We started with two orders of their roti canai, or malay bread ($4.50). Arriving in a mountainous pile, the roti was soft and chewy, with slightly crispy edges. The accompanying curry sauce is pretty mild, but I find that the heat does slowly creep up on you.
Here's something that wasn't in my previous review, but was featured in my list of recommended dishes: the stir fried radish cake ($6.00). You commonly see radish cake, or lo bak go, at dim sum restaurants, but here at Tropika, it's cut into cubes and then stir-fried with dark soy and XO sauce. The radish cakes are soft and tender with bits of Chinese sausage throughout. It's a bit spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. I'm a self-proclaimed wimp when it comes to spicy foods, and admittedly, my lips do get a little tingly but it's a tolerable heat. They also throw a couple of shrimps on top to complete the dish.
The satays ($2.30 each, minimum of 6 sticks) are a must at Tropika. They're even better if you go on a day between Monday and Thursday since they're half-priced! Available in chicken, beef, or lamb, we usually stick with the chicken and lamb. The satays are grilled to a nice char, with the meats remaining juicy and tender. On the side is a plate of chunky peanut sauce, bits of pineapple, and cucumber.
Another must-have of mine is the mee goreng ($14.00), a sweet and spicy stir-fried yellow noodle dish with beef, shrimp, tofu, cucumber, bean sprouts, and tomato. Lettuce and hard boiled egg are used to garnish. On this visit, the noodles were slightly wetter than normal, like there wasn't enough wok hei (breath of the wok). Still one of my favourite dishes though.
My aunt wanted the hainanese chicken ($18.00) which is a traditional poached chicken dish served with a side of ginger sauce and chili sauce. The skin turns a bit gelatinous so it's not a dish for me, but my other family members happily gobbled it up.
I'd say my experiences at the west and south locations were pretty similar. In general however, I do find the food quality slightly better and more consistent in the south. It's the OG, and they know what they're doing.