photo credit: Nate Watters

Kedai Makan review image

Kedai Makan


1449 E Pine St, Seattle
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Kedai Makan was once one of the highest-rated restaurants on The Infatuation Seattle. The Malaysian food here was so jaw-dropping that we once equated its majesty to that of the Grand Canyon, and we even published a whole guide to bars to grab a drink nearby while waiting for your table. That wait was worth it every time. Sitting in the cramped teal space, getting teary-eyed from raw shallots wafting through the dining room was extra-special every time. Now, we’re still crying, but for a very different reason.

In October 2022, Kedai Makan closed the doors of its charming original Capitol Hill space, leaving their cozy, steam-filled legacy behind. Now, they’re in a new location under new ownership. And the new guard certainly packs its larger digs (also on Capitol Hill). But a crowd is inevitable when you buy the rights to the Kedai Makan name and menu. Maintaining the majesty is not. 

Sometimes relocating works just fine, say if you’re The Brady Bunch trying to make a movie in Hawaii. But in this case, it doesn’t. The new Kedai Makan falls flat.

While the dining room itself is spacious, tables are crammed together. And the moment you finally sorry-whoops-pardon your way into a seat, you might have to get up again—because even though Kedai Makan is a full-service restaurant, water is awkwardly self-serve at a dispenser station. Not only that, but dishes come flying out faster than insults at a comedy roast—and sometimes the small appetizer you wanted to have first is the last plate you'll get. It’s not the most comfortable setup, but if the food were great, we wouldn’t mind.

But the food isn’t great. Sure, you can expect a similar lineup of Malaysian street favorites, from vibrant chili pan mee noodles to eggy net bread with a side of curry. And while the dinnerware is identical to the Kedai Makan of yesteryear, the food on top of those plates has lost its spark. The roti jala is dry and flakes into smithereens, and that curry is chronically broken, with pools of oil separating from otherwise-tasty dhal. The chili pan mee noodles used to dazzle us, and now they’re just bland. 

Even though this place is still called “Kedai Makan,” this is a totally different restaurant, and we can’t recommend a full meal here. We can, however, endorse sitting at the bar for Campari-spiked jungle bird cocktails and a few snacks, like crackly chicken wings topped with a peanutty spice paste, roti baba stuffed with pork and mushrooms, or crunchy prawn crackers dunked in sweet chili mayo. But the hits stop there. 

Whether you’ve been a local fan since Kedai Makan’s start, or you’re trying it out for the first time ever, don't burst in anticipating dinner to live up to the expectations either yourself or your friends have set. All good things end, after all. 

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Food Rundown

Kedai Makan review image

photo credit: Nate Watters

Keropok Udang

No matter the iteration of Kedai Makan, these crunchy prawn crackers will always be a hit. They’re ideal for endless snacking alongside cocktails, especially thanks to the sweet chili mayo that comes on the side.

Kerabu Timun Nanas

This is a pineapple and cucumber salad with fish sauce, Thai basil, peanuts, and dried shrimp. While the little dehydrated prawn sprinkles add some nice salt and funk, we’re underwhelmed by the lack of acidity and tang that the lineup of ingredients needs.

Roti Jala

The eggy net bread is tasty, but ultimately too dry, sending crispy batter flakes flying everywhere as you handle it. Fortunately, it comes with a bowl of also-tasty dhal curry for dunking—if only it wasn’t totally broken, leaving you with dips that end up completely saturated in grease.

Roti Baba

We are into this seared bread stuffed with a mixture of pork and mushrooms—it comes with a worchestire-based dipping sauce that complements the whole thing nicely. You won't be disappointed, but it also probably won't rock your world.

Sayap Ayam Pedas

Kedai Makan’s wings consistently save the day. With crispy flour-dredged skin, juicy middle, and peanutty spice paste crumbled on top, it’s not just the best dish here. They’re some of the best wings in town. They’re highly worthy of housing at the bar by yourself with a jungle bird.

Chili Pan Mee

This is a primarily bland plate of wheat noodles with a soft egg and some scallions, but we’ll give credit where credit is due—the crumbled pork that comes on top has an uppercut of bright, meaty flavor that we wish was incorporated throughout the entire dish.

Rusuk Babi

We’re very much into the depth of flavor in these peppery, sweet pork ribs—and sometimes they're lovingly tender. But sometimes, the meat is so tough that you need a fork and knife to carve it off of the bone. Sounds like an easy fix, but the joke’s on you, because there are no table knives at Kedai Makan.

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