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All You Can Eat

Trend-setting restaurants, Northwest cookbooks, local food news and the people who make them happen.

May 28, 2008 at 7:19 AM

What’s up with Malay Satay?

If you’ve been wondering what’s up with Seattle’s Malay Satay Hut — which has been shuttered for three months, you’re not alone. I recently stopped by at what would normally be a busy lunch hour to find the storefront looking pretty gloom-and-doomy:

A sign on the front door read, “Kitchen Remodeling, Please Contact Redmond Store” — though there didn’t appear to be anything going on in there at all:

And when I asked some neighboring shopkeepers what the story was at Malay — a Seattle Asian-food favorite since its 1997 debut — I heard everything from “Who knows?” to variations on the “Business had gone downhill, and they were too busy with their other restaurants” (in Redmond and Portland) to do anything about it.

But last evening I got ahold of Sam Yoo, who said we can expect his original Malay to reopen this week. Personnel issues caused him to close the restaurant, he said, chatting on his cellphone while cleaning up the place in advance of its re-opening. He also mentioned, not incidentally, that he’ll be returning to the restaurant himself to cook. As will his wife, Jessy. “I’m not going to lose my customers. I’ve got to be the chef here and bring back order,” he told me. Here’s Sam, doing the voodoo that he does so well:

Anyway, seeing Sam in the kitchen here in Little Saigon will go a long way toward quelling my fears that the Seattle Malay had gone downhill. The last time I ate my gotta-have-it dish, fiery sambal squid infused with the intense flavors of belachan (fermented shrimp paste) — ordered with a side of grilled roti canai, of course — it wasn’t fiery or intensely flavored at all, it was just “eh.”

So, anybody else have anything to say about Malay Satay?

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