We love The Original Farmers Market. Yes, it’s touristy and often overcrowded, but it’s also vibrant and fun, and if you can get there before 11am, downright magical. That said, there aren't many vendors here we'd go out of our way for, vs. just stopping by on our way to do some shopping at The Grove. Singapore’s Banana Leaf, however, is an exception to that rule.
Located in the quieter back half of the market, this Singaporean/Indonesian spot isn’t just our favorite stall here, it’s a place you need to be eating at whether you have errands to run afterward or not. With its tiny wooden sign swinging from the ceiling and a small menu behind the cash register with light-up pictures of the dishes, it’s a stark departure from the flashier vendors nearby, which only adds to its charm. You’ll order at the register, hang out for about 15 minutes (SBL makes everything to order), and stare longingly at the nearby tables that are already enjoying their food.
No matter if it’s 100 degrees out or 60 degrees out, every meal at Singapore’s Banana Leaf needs to start with an order of fried roti paratha. It’s flaky and crispy, yet still gooey enough to tear apart into tiny pieces and dunk into the rich curry sauce that accompanies it. If you’re on a solo lunch mission, go for the beef rendang. The buttery and savory notes balance each other out perfectly, and it comes filled with plentiful heaps of tender beef that could be cut with a spoon if you wanted.
If you’re with coworkers or friends, however, go all-out. Load up your table with sweet and creamy laksa soup, moist chicken satay, and a big plate of mee goreng noodles that have a long history of vanishing without anyone realizing it. There isn’t a bad dish on the menu, and that’s reason enough to keep coming back - regardless if you have to stop at Zara on the way out or not.
If there’s a better roti paratha in LA, we don’t know it. Theirs is perfectly-fried, but still retains a flaky translucent quality that allows you to tear it into tiny, gooey pieces and dip into the cinnamony curry sauce that comes on the side. This is a must-order.
Buttery and nutty with just the right amount of sweetness, this is our order if we’re at SBL alone or simply need a plate of food to cry into for a little bit.
This isn’t our favorite bowl of laksa in town - we wish the broth had a bit more of a punch to it - but it’s still good, and the only version you’ll find within miles of West Hollywood. That last part should hold significance for locals on cold, rainy winter days.
No meal is complete at Singapore’s Banana Leaf without a plate of their mee goreng hanging out in the middle of the table for everyone to grab at. It’s salty, garlicky, and filled with pan-fried noodles that slowly soak up the sticky, sweet sauce that surrounds it.