Dinner At Tropika

Tonight was the first night Sarah got to eat outside the house. She was prevented from eating out by some ancient Chinese custom that says a new mom can’t go out until after the new born baby is one month old. Today, Sally is one month and one day old so I decided to take the family to Tropika for dinner.


Since 1990, Tropika has remained the most popular Malaysian/Thai restaurant in Vancouver, receiving many distinguished awards such as Best Other Asian Restaurant, Golden Plate Award and Most Memorable Restaurant. Tropika has three locations in the lower mainland. We went to the one at the Aberdeen Centre mall, which happens to be just 10 minutes from our house.


The first thing you will discover when dining at a Malaysian restaurant is they do not use knives. Instead, you get a very strong spoon and fork set that can double as a knife. It won’t cut a steak but it will go through any Malay dishes you’re likely to order.

This is not the first time we have dined to Tropika. We have ate there many times for lunch but this will be the first time we would be having dinner. As it turns out, dinner at Tropika is the same as lunch – the menu doesn’t change. That is fine by me because lunch at Tropika is damn good. Here’s what we had.

Chicken, Beef & Pork Satays and Roti Canai


The beef, chicken and pork satays are served with a custom made peanut sauce that is a lot crunchier than any other peanut sauce I’ve tried. There is also a sprinkling of cucumber and pineapple for decoration.

The Roti Canai is Malay bread. It looks a lot like East Indian Naan but it tastes a lot better. To give the bread a little kick, a spice mixture made of red stuff (I don’t know what’s in it) is included. If you ever go to a Malaysian restaurant, you simply must try some Roti Canai.

K.L. Crab


The K.L. Crab is Tropika’s signature dish. This is one of the best crab dishes I have ever tried. The crab is coated with a spicy yet aromatic, crushed and dried shrimp sauce. The crab is fried at such a high temperature that the shell becomes brittle and can be cracked without the use of a craw breaker. The meat inside remains tender and moist and will bring a smile to your face when you eat it.

In case you’re wondering, K.L. stands for Kuala Lumpur.

Coconut Seafood Fried Rice


The last time we were at Tropika, we ordered pineapple fried rice with ham and chicken, and it came in a pineapple shell. Therefore, it was not surprising that coconut seafood fried rice came in a coconut shell. I can definitely taste the coconut but the coconut sauce on top of the rice overpowered the seafood. The rice was nice and tender however.

Sambal Sotong Kang-Kong ( Tung Choi )


Tung Choi is popular vegetable used in Chinese cooking. This is the first time I had the Malay version of this dish. The seasoning is different and they cooked it with squids. It was good but I prefer the Chinese version more.

Hainanese Chicken


Hainanese Chicken is another Tropika signature dish and I can understand why it would be. The chicken was fantastic! The Chinese version of Hainanese Chicken has nothing on the Malaysian version. This is a must order dish at Tropika.

K.L. Pork Chop


The K.L. Pork Chop was another great dish. The pork was extremely tender on the inside, yet the outside had a very nice crunch thanks to the deep-frying. The liberal use of roasted garlic, which tasted damn good all by themselves, helped to bring out the flavor of the pork.



Before anyone says anything, this is not a girly drink! It’s not even a drink, it’s a dessert. The Cendol is very sweet, tropical and refreshing. Just don’t ask the waiter what’s in it.

Goreng Pisang


Goreng Pisang is a deep fried banana dessert. The hot bananas are balanced with cold ice cream and whip cream. It’s kind a like the Malay version of the banana split. I’m not crazy about it but Sarah loves it.

Dinner at Tropika is extremely reasonable. The bill for the six of us came to just $145.00 with tips. A downside to Tropika is they don’t take Visa or Interact. You have to use either cash, MasterCard or Amex. I found all this out after we got the bill. Good thing I had enough cash on me.

Tropika (Richmond) on Urbanspoon

21 thoughts on “Dinner At Tropika”

  1. Yummy!, i’ve eaten every single thing you’ve mentioned, but that’s only becuase i’m Malaysian ;D

  2. Dilby says:

    I’ve had some of the same entrees at a place called Tea Cafe and a Vietnamese place called Fu, (pronounced almost like the bad word), although I’m not sure if my spelling is correctly. Great food you had. Glad to hear ya got out. On your media perks, if you ever want to give away some of those perks, to spend time with the family, for someone who can blog for you about technology drop me an email and I’ll of course accept.

  3. Carl says:

    I miss having lunch at Tropika with you guys!

    I haven’t really found a good malaysian restaurant in Hong Kong yet… I’m sure they’re out there though, I just have to look next time I have a craving.

    Or I could just fly there! It’s only an hour or so away, and about $200 for a round trip πŸ˜‰

  4. Aibek says:

    Looks good

  5. Those dinners look amazing! And all of that for $145 w/ tips. That’s a deal if I ever saw one. A meal for 6 people at a local takeout restaurant where I live will run you like $75.

  6. Jake says:

    Damn that makes me hungry.

  7. Matt says:

    I think I’ve just destroyed my laptop’s keyboard with drool………………

  8. ralphieb says:

    Yuum… I should eat there sometimes. John you said there’s three locations, where’s the other two location is it close somewhere in Vancouver?

  9. John Chow says:

    Tropika at Robson
    1128 Robson Street
    Vancouver, BC, Canada V6E 1B2

    Tropika at Cambie
    2975 Cambie Street
    Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 2V7

    Tropika at Aberdeen
    Unit 1830, Aberdeen Centre
    4151 Hazelbridge Way
    Richmond, BC, Canada V6X 4J7

  10. auyongtc says:

    Damn, makes me miss home now πŸ™

    You know, the “goreng pisang” (which means fried banana) is supposed to be written as “pisang goreng” in the correct Malay language grammar. “Goreng pisang” actually means the act of frying banana. However, most Malaysians are ignorant about this, and nobody cares about getting it correct. Ok, I admit, I’m quite a PITA :p

  11. Vince Chan says:

    Ooooooo…. I’m so visiting this place the next time I’m in Vancouver! Thanks for the pics

  12. Bob Buskirk says:

    I have to try some of that stuff!

  13. Andrea says:

    When you mentioned Tropika, it made me think of Banana Leaf on Broadway… YUM! The Malaysian fried bananas remind me of the Shanghainese banana toffee or candied banana fritters (hard to find restaurants that make good ones, sometimes they’re too soggy).



  14. Sharon says:

    Happy one month birthday to Sally! Where are the new pix??

    I thought Tropika closed in Richmond?

  15. Ronsen says:

    “Let’s drink some cendol”, that’s what we say in Indonesia. πŸ˜€

  16. John Chow says:

    Sharon – Tropika never closed. Don’t know where you heard that.

    Ronsen – I was told that Cendol can be a drink or a dessert. πŸ™‚

  17. Gdog says:

    I miss Tropika…thanks for the pics!

  18. Claude says:

    Man..You made me miss all the food..I am a Malaysia but I am in the US now.. πŸ™

  19. Ditto says:

    Strange Dish indeed, the Goreng Pisang ( frying the banana )?? I’ll try look for the one in Richmond soon. Nearer my home in Surrey. Would like to try the KL Crab dish. Any chance Tropika would be “goreng-ing the pisang” in Surrey soon? Will surely be their regular customer.

  20. Paul Lambert says:

    Man I’m jealous. I have to try this stuff before I die.

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