Friday, July 6, 2007


Tropika is a fairly new restaurant in Tustin that is hailed as a Malaysian restaurant, but is more of an eclectic mix of Malaysian, Indonesian, Thai and Indian. Inside, you feel like you have been whisked away to a tropical island getaway as teak lined walls surround a comfortable space. Open and airy with a minimalist Asian d├ęcor, Tropika makes you feel like a welcomed guest.

We started out the evening with the Roti Prata, a dish commonly found in Indian restaurants. A large piece of flat bread, a mix somewhere between a naan bread and flour tortilla comes folded like a linen napkin in a fine dining restaurant. The bread is crispy on the outside and tender and a bit flaky on the inside. It is accompanied by a bowl of a chicken curry sauce that is infused with coconut milk. After tearing small pieces of the bread, we take pleasure in sopping up as much curry sauce as we can. The curry sauce is full of flavor with just a hint of chicken and coconut milk playing back up rolls. The nicely spiced curry comes to the forefront but is not at all overpowering. The chicken curry sauce is a little thinner than other places but this is definitely a winner.

The chicken satay are nicely grilled and charred chunks of white meat served with a thick, rich peanut sauce. The outside has a slightly crunchy texture, while the inside is still juicy. The peanut sauc is nice and thick, which makes it easy to adhere to the chicken.

The Pad Thai is unlike many Pad Thai's that I have had. It has an odd orange color like and Oompa Loompa has been added to the cooking water of the noodles. Big, fat juicy shrimp are cooked to perfection and are a nice added bonus. The Pad Thai has a slightly sweet taste, unlike the semi-spicy to spicy versions that are normally served. The pungency of the fish sauce could be easily discerned and the hint of tamarind gave some brightness to the dish.

The Beef Rendang is the Malaysian version opposed to the Indonesian version, which is the only kind that I have ever had up to this point. The Malaysian version of rending is a little spicier, and the curry sauce almost tastes like a combination of chili and beef stew. There is less coconut milk in the rending, and it has a sort of spicy, gritty after taste like chili powder. The beef is slowed cooked and falls apart very easily. Almost no chewing is necessary.

The Clay Pot Curry Lamb comes in a large bowl overflowing with both lamb and a nice curry broth. Big leaves of cabbage are also in the mix. With the first spoonful, a big blast of curry hits you right in the mouth. It is full of spice but hardly has any heat at all. The lamb is super tender and almost melts in your mouth. The lamb has a little bit of bite to it, but is not gamey at all. Served over rice this dish is perfect for the lamb lover.

If you’re looking for Malaysian food in Orange County, which is hard to find Tropika is a winner.

17460 E. 17th St
Tustin, CA 92780
(714) 505-9908


Chubbypanda said...

I really want to try this restaurant. I just need to get a large enough crowd together so that we can sample lots of different dishes.

Vegasbuff said...


I think that's a great strategy for any restaurant in which you want to sample a lot of different dishes.