Northcote eatery Merah not only dishes up a tasty and vibrant take on Malaysian cuisine but also one of Melbourne's most colourful feeds.
Once your eyes (and camera) finish lapping up the visual #foodporn, it's time to immerse your taste buds in the contemporary meets traditional flavours of Malaysian street food. The sambal, a spicy shrimp paste that features prominently in Malaysian fare, is made in house and comes in three varieties that add a gradient of sweet, tangy and spicy accents to a dish. Keep an eye out for these (traditional, kelantan and kerabu) across the menu.
Malaysian staple dishes such as satay, roti, curries and laksa make an appearance, as do relatively novel concoctions such as the pearl dumplings comprising of a gelatinous tapioca skin filled with turnip, tender pork shoulder and peanuts served on a betel leaf. The pipis are fresh and doused in a soupy, saucy base derived from one of their sambals. Not to make waste of the sensationally fragrant and sweet flavours captured in the sauce, golden and light fried baos are provided. A few more baos would not have gone astray but I suppose an order of roti would also suit quite nicely with the sauce. And no Malaysian meal would be complete without a serving of Nasi lemak; a simple enough dish but the accompaniment of their traditional and kerabu sambals help make the dish pop.
Must order dish: kerabu pipis.
Kerabu pipis - with ginger, Kerabu sambal and fried baos.
Soft shell crab bao - with kelantan mayo, pickled daikon and coriander.
Pearl dumplings - with tapioca sago, turnip, pork shoulder, peanuts and betel leaf.
Nasi lemak - with coconut rice, crispy anchovies, peanuts, achar, free range egg, house made traditional sambal and kerabu sambal.
238 High St,
Northcote, Victoria, 3070.
(03) 9489 3121
Disclosure: I dined as a guest of Merah. All opinions expressed in this post are based entirely on my experience and observations made at the time of my visit.