With its blend of Chinese, Malay and Indian influences, Malaysian cuisine is one of the most unusual and fascinating in the world. It's also in short supply around Los Angeles. Enter PappaRich, a Malaysian chain with more than 100 outlets in 11 countries. At its flagship U.S. location in Monterey Park, PappaRich serves Malaysian favorites in a casual, coffee shop setting. Find satays, noodles, rice dishes and roti, an Indian-influenced wheat flatbread served with curries on a thali, one of which features kaya, a coconut-egg jam. Among the rice dishes, you'll find biryanis and nasi lemak. Considered the country's national dish, nasi lemak is steamed rice in coconut milk, served with either chicken or beef and a variety of sides to mix in. Noodles include laksa, coconut milk curry and asam laksa, a regional variation using tamarind. For dessert, there's the Malaysian favorite abbreviated as “ABC” — shaved ice topped with red beans, sweet corn and grass jelly (which isn't grass at all). The chain's signature Pappa Buns are lightly sweetened with a crunchy, mildly mocha-flavored crust and a buttery interior.
Credit: Jim Thurman