Before I met the Conroy family, I confess I was a bit nervous about taking them to the Malaysian focused Malacca Legend Signature at The Place because of the dominance of seafood and spiciness when I previewed the menu. Those fears melted when I met Liam (age 7) and Annabelle (5), who have lived in Beijing with their parents for the past three years. Dad, Justin, soon prompted Liam to tell me all about the food adventures he had been on in Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, Singapore, the Philippines, Baltimore (Greek food!), and Malaysia. Later I learned Malaysian food has a mixture of cuisine cultures within the nation, making it a truly mixed heritage chow.
They all settled into a big, comfy booth and began to flip through the pictures of exotic drinks, coffees, teas, starters, and crab dishes on the restaurant’s iPad menu. Liam and Justin had a tough time agreeing what to get since the menu offered curry, noodles, and calamari, all things Liam and Annabelle particularly enjoy. With a bit of nudging, the kids agreed with dad to make their own vegetable spring rolls (RMB 40). Annabelle happily discovered that the iPad menu could be exited and Angry Birds could be pulled up instead.
“What are these?” Liam asked as he tapped out a small amount of a crispy mystery onto his wrap. After an encouragement to try he stated, “They’re onions.”
“Liam likes duck sauce,” Annabelle told me with beaming eyes as her brother spooned out a generous glob.
When the deep fried sotong rings (RMB 38) arrived, Annabelle and Liam popped these into their mouths like popcorn. “These are a bit salty, but they’re really good,” Annabelle said nodding her head enthusiastically.
I noticed that mom, Callie, barely got to take a taste of these, but Justin explained Liam’s deep love of seafood has proven to foster a ravenous appetite under the right circumstances.
I assumed Liam’s critique of the lack of spice was nullified when, once only tiny crumbs were left, he asked, “Dad, can we get another dish of these?” (He did say he didn’t want spicy ones before he ordered the first batch.)
The Penang fried flat rice noodles (RMB 48) were a hit with everyone except for their egg addition.
“I don’t like the egg,” Liam remarked, “I don’t like things that are squishy.”
“So it’s a texture issue, then. But the taste is OK?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said, taking another pinch of the noodles. Justin and Callie agreed the noodles tasted exactly like the fusion dishes they enjoyed in the Malaysian district in Singapore.
They finished the meal with mango and yogurt (RMB 30) and a black bear coke float (RMB 28). The children had never experienced what many would consider to be a popular American dessert, and Liam admitted he preferred the mango dish. “The yogurt is creamy and smooth. I liked the float when it was plain, but I didn’t like it when [the Coke]started mixing with the chocolate.” He explained later, “Mango is my third favorite fruit.” I suppose floats also require a taste acquisition.
When the manager came to wish the family well and invited them to eat there again, Justin responded enthusiastically that they would definitely be coming back since he prefers this location to the Shunyi one, and food was great.
Family-friendly Notes: Other kids and toddlers walked around or sat in a baby chair. One boy was even playing with one of the classy plush monkeys used to decorate the restaurant. Nearby bathrooms are clean, elevators available for strollers, and a nearby wall fish tank offers some beautiful views for those toddlers who need to wander. Prices were reasonable for this meal, but this is also a great place for fancier occasions or a splurge as crab is available.
Malacca Legend Signature
Open Every Day. 11am-8pm. The Place, Level 2/F, Shop L203, 9 Guanghua Road, Chaoyang District (6587 1393) 光华路9号世贸天阶北街2楼L203
Open Every Day. Noon-10pm. 1/F Bldg B, Ocean International Center, 58 Dongsihuan Lu Chaoyang District
This article originally appeared on page 19-20 of the September 2016 Issue of beijingkids magazine. Click here for your free online copy. To find out how you can obtain a hard copy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: Uni You