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Discovering Malaysia in Pennsylvania

Published on Tuesday 04 October 2011
 
 

Have you ever visited Lancaster, in Pennsylvania? The small city, at the centre of Amish Country, is not among the most popular tourist destinations. But this doesn’t mean it is irrelevant. Specially for fans of Asian cuisine.

OLIVE & JASMINE ASIAN BISTRO

There might be many restaurants available, but a Friday night in downtown Lancaster, there is also a long wait to get a table. So a small Asian bistro, named “Olive & Jasmine”, a little further from the road, and also, the only restaurant without a 45-minute wait, had our vote.

The small bistro, opened 5 years ago, is named that way because it serves jasmine rice and olive oil is used in the preparation of meals. East Asian and Southeast Asian food is served, including many malaysian specialties, among the least known of Asian cuisine.

Malaysia is the country of origin of Swee H. Yap, the bistro’s marketing director, a man with a rather impressive story.

THAILAND AND MALAYSIA

Swee H. Yap, with a characteristic Asian modesty, told us about his life as a prolific businessman in Thailand, and showed us some photographs with some of the country’s leaders.

In fact, when the tsunami hit in 2004, he was on a boat and was therefore able to avoid the worst: the ocean being the safest place to be in situations like these. But he should have been on the ground when the wave hit… He should have been on the 8:30AM boat towards Phuket, but missed the boat and could only leave by 9:30AM. A delay that possibly saved his life.

And following a meeting with the woman who would become his business partner, he left Thailand for… Lancaster, in Pennsylvania.

Swee H. Yap’s entire family was at the restaurant when we visited. They maintain links with Asia and frequently visit Malaysia and the city of Malacca, where they are from. His wife had just returned from a visit and offered us some traditional candy,  with flavours of coconut and other local fruits.

ON THE MENU

The Olive & Jasmine menu offers meals from different Asian countries, but those who want to discover less known flavours will appreciate malaysian cuisine, influenced by the period during which Portugal, the Netherlands and Great Britain were battling for control of the Malacca Strait. Others will find the Indian and Chinese influences more obvious. It is clearly a mix of traditions that give a unique taste.

Everyone’s favourite dish was the Roti Canai, crispy Indian style pancake served with curry chicken as dipping sauce. This meal is traditionally served as breakfast as well as dinner.

Other malaysian meals to discover? Malaysian Satay, Roti Telur (pancake stuffed with eggs and onions, served with curry chicken sauce), seafood curry noodle soup (traditionally served for breakfast!) are only some of the traditional meals.

To discover the Olive & Jasmine Asian Bistro:
2323 Licoln Highway East
(Route 30 Restaurant Park)
Lancaster, PA 17602

If you don't have the opportunity to go in Pennsylvania, Cash and Curry on Duluth street in Montreal seems to have good malaysian specialities... To discover !

Photo of the meal: Olive & Jasmine Asian Bistro

Blogger : Béatrice B.Poulin

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Blog: Discovering Malaysia in Pennsylvania

Have you ever visited Lancaster, in Pennsylvania? The small city, at the centre of Amish Country, is not among the most popular tourist destinations. But this doesn’t mean it is irrelevant. Especially for fans of Asian cuisine...