This rockstar on the bike is Chris, a childhood friend of mine who, after not seeing me since I was about 12, recognized me in Victoria during my undergrad. This past May, after another 6 or 7 years, I bumped into him again, this time on a bus in Vancouver. I didn’t even know he still lived in BC! Crazy.
Ever the adventurer, Chris said he’d join me for a Richmond dinner and was game for anything. I chose Prata Man, a Singaporean restaurant at Garden City and Capstan, very close to Pho Han where I ate on Day 2. Chris hadn’t really eaten all day, so I took advantage of the situation and ordered a number of dishes. Our server kindly informed us it was “a LOT of food for two people,” but we stuck with our order. And it all came to only $36. Incredible!
We tried two each of the chicken, beef, and pork satay with sweet, chunky peanut sauce ($7.95); the Singaporean laksa($6.50); the curry beef and rice ($7.25), the tahu goreng; and the green onion prata bread (2 pieces for $3.75). Those of you who know Prata Man may have just recoiled in horror over the fact I didn’t order their Hainanese chicken rice, but I just wasn’t in the mood. I’m sorry!
Let’s start with my first great love: bread. In Indonesian, “prata” means “flat” or “flatbread,” similar to an Indian paratha or southeast Asian roti. Prata Man’s flatbread was far less flaky than the roti at Kari House, but still good.
This bread had a thicker texture and could have used a bit more salt, but whatever. I LOVE FLATBREAD. Here’s a video showing the art behind hand-flipping the dough – this one’s filled with cheese and egg - hello!
My favourite of the main dishes was the curry, with its chunks of braised beef in a thick, richly-spiced gravy.
The laksa was good – especially the tender shredded chicken on top – but the broth wasn’t quite spicy enough for me.
Or perhaps its more delicate flavour was just overwhelmed by the curry? Either way, I preferred the laksa at Kari House.
The satay were good, and I really liked the rustically thick peanut sauce they came with.
The same sauce covered the wedges of puffy, deep-fried tofu in the tahu goreng, a dish commonly found in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Even though the tofu was deep-fried, it was light-tasting and crunchy from the peanuts and bean sprouts.
There’s a good chance this is vegetarian, though you’d have to check with your server to see if there’s any shrimp paste in the peanut sauce.
We ate and ate (Chris ended up in a serious food coma) and our server was right – we couldn’t finish it all. But it was worth it! If I were going back and just getting two things, I’d make it the curry and prata bread, which would be especially wonderful in the middle of winter.
Prata Man is a popular, inexpensive and tasty place to find Singaporean and southeast Asian staples. I’d most certainly go back.
Here’s to breads fried flat, and long-lost friends.
Vegetarian options available