I’m on a streak for great new places in Richmond. Woot! Sambal Coconut is a tiny takeout counter near Ironwood, an area with few Asian dining choices. There’s pretty much just Danny’s, which does consistent Chinese BBQ meats, fried rice, and beef and broccoli type stuff.
That’s why I was super excited to spot Sambal Coconut’s sign from No. 5 Road. Sambal Coconut is off King Road in a small strip that includes Kingswood Pub, and a convenience store that sells giant samosas. It took over a spot formerly occupied by Kong’s Kitchen, which I never tried because it never looked open.
Sambal Coconut, which opened in November, serves a mix of Malaysian and Chinese dishes. The sign says Szechuan, but that part of the menu seems more Cantonese.
We were quite impressed with the takeout, from the reusable, plastic containers, to the organized way they were packed, to how much “heat” (temperature, not spice) the dishes held after we got home. That means they have good “wok hay,” or breath of the wok.
The satay skewers (four for $5.25), which only come as chicken, and the roti canal bread (two for $4.25) lost some of their appeal as takeout because frankly, they get kinda limp on the drive home. Perhaps the best test is to scarf them down in the parking lot. (Which I’m not adverse to, and now that I think about it, maybe I should try that next time.)
The spicy calamari ($6.50) fell flat. The squid is supposed to be marinated in curry spice but we couldn’t taste much flavour in the deep-fried rings.
Everything else was wonderful. Mee goreng ($8.25) was a hearty dish of fried egg noodles with beef, egg, shrimp, tomato, bean sprouts, choy sum and tofu. The pineapple seafood fried rice ($9.50) really stood out with raisins and sunflower seeds tossed with shrimp, scallops, pineapple and mixed vegetables. My dad, who doesn’t usually eat a lot of rice, got a third helping.
I ordered sweet and sour chicken ($8.95), mostly as a “safe” dish for H, but I had my fair share, for sure. The deep-fried, boneless chicken wasn’t too greasy nor was the sauce too cloying.
The sambal green beans ($8.95) were delicious, with bits of tomato, chili, garlic, dried shrimp paste. My mouth is watering just typing this.
All of that food fed four adults and one three-year-old, with plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day. Sambal Coconut gives you 10% off if you pay for pickup in cash. Our total order came to $48.30.
The wife runs the counter and mans the phones, while the husband toils over the hot wok in the kitchen. She told me it’s been hard to find help, so all the prep and cooking is done solely by her husband, and there’s no delivery service for now. Translation: please support this industrious couple, but be patient if there’s a bit of a wait.
Sambal Coconut, 9371 No. 5 Rd. (at King Road), Richmond, B.C., (604) 272-3743. Takeout only. Credit cards accepted. Closed Tuesday. Open Wednesday to Monday 4-9:30 p.m.