Saturday, June 26, 2010

Jaya Asian Grill @ Denver

After feeding the cash registers of various stores, it's time to feed our own stomach...

As you might know (or not), I was traveling with a fellow colleague, and this joker poor fella totally cannot embrace get used to American food, especially the riceless-ness of the diet...

I know there's quite a majority of poor ol' Malaysians who can sympathize with the poor colleague: imagine going 1 whole week without your rice and kangkung belacan and ayam masak merah...

Knowing that Asian food in Loveland is such a joke, I have been Google-ing for Asian food in Denver that gets lots of positive feedbacks, and I stumbled across one such Indonesian restaurant, so on our way back from Castle Rock, we specifically entered downtown Denver in search of this restaurant...

So, I shall now introduce to any of you poor ol' 饭桶s/fan tongs/rice bins who might be traveling to Denver or somewhere nearby in Colorado, this restaurant:


The internet categorize this restaurant as an Indonesian restaurant, but Jaya Asian Grill is actually more of a Southeast Asian restaurant and bar, and the waitress is a Vietnamese who upon knowing that we're from Malaysia, begin to speak in fluent Cantonese @@

The interior certainly does not look like an Asian eatery...


If you pay attention enough, there's a blurred image at the bar on the top left corner of the pic, that's the waitress... she keeps shying away when I wanted to take a picture of her so... le sighzzz...

Alright, the interior fail to convince, but once we opened the menu, we got mixed feelings...


For my colleague, upon the sight of item 1 & 3, he thought he was in heaven. For me, I wasn't particularly thrilled with seeing Malaysian food, I don't give a damn about them especially when I'm abroad for such a short period of time. But I was amused with item 5 & 6...

In America, tahu means tofu... hahahaha :D

We begin ordering away. However, we somehow forgot that we're in the States. That realization smacked us when our orders arrived. And it managed to bring a chuckle out of the waitress. While the names in the menu are Asian, the portions stay true to the local norm...

Here's what we ordered...


Oriental Fried Rice - Thumbs up for this, it tasted as good as any Chinese fried rice in Malaysia, and the shrimps are very agreeable in size and taste...


Nasi Goreng Ikan Asin - you can't bite into chunks of salted fish here, but you know it's in the rice because the smell and taste is unmistakable. Probably this smelly exotic item is so expensive here that they cut the salted fish into very very very very very tiny bits...


Tom Yum Goong - now this one brought amused tears out of both of us. The looks fail, the ingredients fail, the taste epic fail. Totally no hint of tom yam in this soup, it's just plain Americanized sweet and sour soup...


Ayam Goreng Kalasan - this is an Indonesian dish according to the menu, and I'm not an educated Indonesian food expert so I don't know if it's authentic. But it's quite good as a fried chicken, the skin is crispy enough and the meat is tender enough.

And when we put a spoonful of the belacan lookalike into our mouths, we almost broke out in tears. This thing does not taste like belacan at all, but it is pedas! No, we're not in tears because it is spicy, we're in tear because, this is the first time in the US that we manage to stuff some chili sauce that not sweet but stayed true to it's intended nature...


Kangkung Sambal Belacan - no hint of belacan, but it's still spicy, probably used the same sauce as above, but the kangkung is well fried, it's quite a good dish in it's own rights.


Fortune Cookies - complimentary desserts that all Asian restaurants in the US give out to customers...

We managed to finish the Oriental Fried Rice, the kangkung, and half the chicken...


The rest we tapao... by the way, the correct terms for tapao in the US is "in a box" or "take home". If you tell the waitress to "take away", she'll interpret that literally and just take your food away and the food will probably end up in the trash can...

And, this restaurant even have a website. Please don't feel shocked at the price, and please don't convert the currency. Over in the US, Asian food is to these people what Western food is to us, luxury items, that's why they are more expensive.

Oh ya, tips for those traveling to the US, this was told to me by my US counterpart:

"No, the portions served here are meant for you to take home some of them, in fact you are expected to do just that, nobody expects you to finish everything. The Americans having a bigger appetite and consume more food that Asians is a terrible misconception on your parts."

So, now you know...

The terribly fulfilling meal ends our shopping road trip. However, as we headed back to Loveland, we saw a big stadium beside the highway, so we stopped by for a couple of photos...


Invesco Field at Miles High, home ground for the Colorado Broncos, a professional rugby American football team in the NFL...

Me no fan of American football, so wasn't particularly interested, just took some photos and headed back to Loveland...

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