Cheap Eats 2008: Malaysia Kopitiam

Why go: Every meal at this DC eatery, with its far-reaching menu of exotic salads, curries, and stir-fries, has potential to yield a new favorite dish. While the Gilligan’s Island vibe has given way to a slightly more elegant look—lots of carved wooden artifacts from Malaysia—the food is as good as ever.

What to get: A spectacular lemongrass-scented salad of green mango and green apple tossed with crisp shredded squid and shallots; roti canai, flaky flatbread to dip in creamy coconut-based chicken curry; stir-fried watercress ramped up with fermented tofu; skate in a spicy-sour curry sauce.

Best for: A relaxing lunch or dinner with friends or coworkers who enjoy sharing.

Insider tip: For special occasions, chef Penny Phoon will put together an affordable multicourse feast for two or many, the latter in a private dining room.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

See all Cheap Eats 2008 restaurants 

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.