One of the struggles of living in Montreal is definitely the lack of good Southeast Asian food. Growing up in Asia, I got to experience the authentic flavours of the region and thus, Thai Express just doesn’t quite hit the spot.
Ever since I arrived in Montreal, my roommate has been raving about Satay Brothers; however, the restaurant has always seemed to allude me. The first time I tried to go I couldn’t find the restaurant, and the second time it was closed. But finally, after almost two school years, I’ve scratched it off my to-eat-at list.
Originally, Satay Brothers began with two locations – a summer-time street food stand at Atwater market and a small restaurant at St. Jaques street during the winter. However due to booming popularity, Satay Brothers decided to move to a larger restaurant space on Notre-Dame street and opened its doors this past February.
When you step into the restaurant, it instantly feels as though you have travelled to Southeast Asia.
Just like the Hawker centres (food courts) in Singapore, you can sit at the counter right next to the open style kitchen to watch chefs prepare your food. It’s like being able to watch an episode of Iron Chef live as you gorge yourself on the yummy dishes they serve you.
Of course, no restaurant is complete without a bar to relax at. What better way to end the day then by kicking back with a cold beer, enjoying delicious bites of Southeast Asia, and chatting with friends.
When my friends and I went to Satay Brothers we decided to go Asian family style and sampled a bunch of dishes.
Papaya Salad – $6.99
Traditionally Thai, this refreshing salad consisted of shaved green papaya tossed in a citrus and fish sauce dressing, which was garnished with crushed peanuts and some chili. It was crunchy, refreshing, and was the perfect combination of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. The only downside was that it was a small portion and I wanted a giant bowl.
Buns – $4.99 (1)/ $8.99 (2)
The classic Taiwanese pork bun, also known as gua bao, is a lightly steamed bun glazed with hoisin sauce and stuffed with cucumbers, cilantro and braised pork belly. At Satay Brothers, the pork belly was cooked perfectly, melting as you bit into it; the steamed bun was soft and airy, and the cilantro and cucumbers added a bright and refreshing contrast.
Don’t worry vegetarians, there is a marinated tofu version as well.
Satay – $6.99 (3)
The Southeast Asians have truly mastered their barbecue and meat sticks. These chicken thigh satays were marinated, cooked over a charcoal grill, and served with cucumbers and a delicious peanut dipping sauce.
Just thinking about these juicy meat sticks makes me salivate… I also would like to smother that peanut sauce on everything.
Laksa – $9.99
Laksa is a classic Singaporean dish for all you spicy food lovers out there. Following the traditional route, Satay Brother’s laksa includes thick white rice noodles, puffed bean curds, fish balls, fish cakes, and bean sprouts submerged in a delicious and aromatic spicy coconut broth.
Char Kuay Teow – $13.99
Another Southeast Asian favourite, Char Kuay Teow is a stir fried noodle dish that utilizes flat rice noodles. The distinct colour of the dish comes from the use of dark soy sauce and belachan, a shrimp paste commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine.
Even with all the anticipation and build up, the food stands up to the reputation this restaurant has developed. Without a doubt, Satay Brothers is the place to go for authentic Southeast Asian food. Whether it be at the restaurant on Notre Dame or Atwater market, Satay Brothers is worth the travel.