Chilli Padi: Oakland’s One and Only Malaysian Restaurant

I still recall my first experience eating Malaysian food.  It was back in the year 1999 when I lived in New York City.  I made friends who introduced me to Nyonya.  My last visit to New York was less than two years ago, but I still made a point to get take out from Nyonya for the plane ride home.

There aren’t a lot of Malaysian restaurants in the Bay Area.  I have even seen a few come and go.  I am happy that one finally opened in Oakland that I can go to when I have a craving.  Chilli Padi Malaysian Cuisine is located in Oakland Chinatown replacing Szechuan Restaurant, a brunch spot I used to frequent.  I’ve eaten at Chilli Padi (CP) twice thus far and here is a summary:

One of my favorite Malaysian foods is roti canai, a kind of bread that is made up of a lot of thin layers and comes with a curry dipping sauce.  It’s a great starter.   

The samosas at CP were also delicious minus having to remove the excess oil with a napkin.  They are a cross between an egg roll and an Indian samosa.  The inside is filled with potatoes and vegetables and wrapped with the similar wrapping for egg rolls.  They are deep fried and comes with a sweet Thai chili sauce.   

On one of my visits, I tried the fried chicken wings.  If I made a list of the best fried chicken wings, these probably wouldn’t make the cut.  However, they had good flavor, no coating, and they were all wing, my favorite part.  There were no drumettes and no wing tips!     

A popular noodle soup at CP is the laksa mee.  It has a curry base that thickens the broth and comes with noodles, chicken, tofu, eggplant, green beans, and okra.  I love the flavor and all the ingredients.     “Kangkung” is a vegetable that was prepared in belacan or shrimp paste. I know it as “ong choy” in Chinese cuisine.  It’s probably not for everyone because of the unique texture and unusual flavor, but I love it. 

The coffee short ribs were finger licking good.  They had a delicious sweet glaze with a hint of coffee flavor.  I am a happy camper if all I had were the coffee short ribs and a bowl of steamed white rice.

The sautéed eggplant was also yummy.  It was cooked perfectly so it had a small crispness at first bite and was tender on the inside.    

After my dinner at CP, my party was given a free dessert and it was huge.  It was a bowl full of shaved ice, beans, and condensed milk.  Not being a big Asian dessert fan, it was pretty good. 

If you are looking for a Malaysian restaurant, look no further, Chilli Padi is here.

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