Chahaya Malaysia
Chahaya Malaysia
Chahaya Malaysia
Laksa at Chahaya Malaysia
Dessert at Chahaya Malaysia
Malaysian coffee and tea at Chahaya Malaysia
Shrimp chips at Chahaya Malaysia
Chahaya Malaysia
Foods from Chahaya Malaysia

2016 Jan 10
Intersting, going after a review from literally 5 and a half years ago.

2016 Jan 10
Bunny4bite you wouldn't know the difference between McDonalds and KFC and probably have a palate developed for Taco Bell I've been to this amazing place many times ... i've had to wait a bit to be sat down and served ... HOWEVER! ... my fault, I showed up with no reservation and it was extremely busy! The owner's wife is very helpful in suggesting a dinner plan of sorts to new diners. Food is awesome! and so are the staff.

2011 Aug 27
bunny4bite doesn't know what she/he is talking about. This is an incredibly good restaurant. The Bali beef is especially good. Lots of rich, aromatic spices. Let the majority of the reviews here (or on any other restaurant review site) be your guide; this is an amazing place to eat

2011 May 28
Along with a work associate, I'm a twice-per-month, lunch-time customer. Even as a repeater, i have problems providing a balanced perspective - mostly b/c of a near-monotonous tendency to bypass other menu options (and a tasty looking buffet) in favour of an extra-spicy version of "chef's veggie special" - aka "Tahu Istemewa", the one Cait also gives thumbs-up to below.

Don't know how i ended up in this ordering "rut", but i'm not complaining.

In our first visits, Margaret, the wife/owner, did her due diligence to ensure we understood the risks of an extra-spicy version of said dish. She's responsible that way.

Now, they know why i'm here and so a simple nod usually puts the order into play. Its a chili/sambal-infused saute with a healthy mix of fresh tofu and veggies. Good ingredients (la soyarie brand tofu, they tell me) and full of flavor, it packs heat reminiscent of the now defunct Caribbean Flavour's roti or a full-throttled jungle curry at Siam Bistro or Pookie's. The heat buzzes and settles behind your sternum for an hr or two before a slow descent through the ole digestive tract ('nuff said). Maybe not an everyday dish ... and when served at 5 stars, probably not one you'd bring to a generic office party and the like.

Ch rests squarely in my "were it in my neighborhood, i'd go once a week" category and were that the case, i'd be sure to expand my selections and give a more balanced "review."

FWIW, my associate always speaks highly of his food. Likewise, his wife who sometimes joins us gives strong endorsements to the fish dishes and gado-gado. I would hazard to guess they both have more informed palettes than mine (he a chef in a former career), but truth to tell, i'm not coming here to pander to their nuances. :)

2010 Aug 9
Take it from me, I have been to Malaysia and eaten enough Malaysian food to know what is home cook authentic or restaurant authentic. This owner even thought that I am a Malaysian, from what I ask to order.
Their menu is not at all named properly. Their food is either Malaysian nor eatable.
Their service is horrible. The owner's wife is rude and annoying. She keep asking us how the food is, and all we can offer her is dead silence. Thought she would get the hint after the first few times. With all of our complain they did not even offer us a discount.
The dish is full of MSG and SALT I am currently having a sour throat from that meal.

If you want good Malaysian food try the ones in Toronto. Even if it is own by Chinese they are closer to authentic Malaysian then this. At least they will not kill you with MSG and SALT and CANCEROUS BURNT FOOD.

2010 Aug 9
My personal must order in all Malaysian Restaurant, Assam (shrimp). $18
I do not know what I am eating. The dish is priced high enough to demand for some real shrimp. Unfortunately I cannot spot a single regular size shrimp, as if that is not bad enough those are frozen shrimp with shell sticking to every one of them.
It is extremely salty, to the point it start to taste very salty. Extremely Sourly as well.
They took it back and switch it up for us. The second plate was cooked by the owner himself, but it is just as bad salty and sourly not at all Assam.

2010 Aug 9
This is suppose to be beef, but as you can see it is very brunt with a lot of black wok ash. It is very cancerous and disgusting. Plus, as you can see it is overly greasy.

2010 Aug 1
I stumbled upon this site when searching for Chahaya's phone# to make a takeout order and feel compelled to post. I've been dining at Chahaya Malaysia for well over a decade, since when they were on Bank Street in the Glebe. As a vegetarian who prefers to eat vegan (I guess that's "aspiring vegan"), I love this place. As for the service, I'm with Fresh Foodie--no sympathy for asadikhan. In all these years of dining at this restaurant have never had a problem with the service. You want a table in a timely fashion, make reservations. I will say that lately one of the younger waitstaff seems a little on the sullen side, someone needs to tell her smiling won't crack her face open.
The "server woman" that people refer to is a co-owner, it's a husband and wife team.
All to say I would recommend this restaurant highly.
If you're vegetarian, be sure to ask for the Garlic Chips rather than Shrimp Chips as the appetizer.

2009 Oct 4
Yeah, the server woman is a little scary. Sometimes she is very friendly and sometimes.. not so much. But whatever, I go here for the food and not to make small talk with the server.
I had the red curry with hard boiled eggs in it a few weeks back, and it was okay. The curry itself was a little bland and the eggs tasted like they had been hard boiled a few days prior to serving, but it wasn't horrible.
The other day I had the chef's special tofu which was infinitely better. The sauce was delicious and the tofu was cooked perfectly. I would recommend this one 34344 times over.
I'm looking forward to trying more menu items from Chahaya Malaysia, they have an impressive selection of vegetarian menu items. Luckily I work next door so this will be an easy goal to reach :D

2009 Jul 2
I find your comment - "this is a service industry" in reference to rudeness to and from the restaurant employees extremely vexing.

I have opened a topic in the Forum section to discuss this if you and others are interested.



2006 Oct 18
Girlfriend used to live upstairs in the same building. Undoubtedly one of my favorite restaurants ever. We used to go at least 3 times per month and still go. Always great. Vegetarian and vegan MUST try the Soya Tofu dish.


2007 Dec 2
This dish is incredible but you will have to build a tolerance for the heat before you try this dish or it will burn you. But it's so good with lots of rice. And have that bean on ice dessert after.

The spicy red sauce must have shrimp paste in it. And maybe tomatoes. It's incredible! But I couldn't finish the sauce since it was so hot so I brought it home and fried up some chicken in it. Just as good and I like chicken better!


2009 Mar 28
These are the freshest and tastiest shrimp chips I've encountered in a restaurant. The only fresher ones are those I make (infrequently) at home. Serving these as complimentary starters is an excellent business move on the part of this restaurant.

2007 Dec 20
These are the shrimp chips they served (at no charge) before our apps and meal. They were soooooo good!! We ate every last one of them...light, airy, and crispy. When we were finished our meal and enjoying the rest of the wine, we simply asked for another basket...and yes, we gobbled all those up as well!


2009 Mar 28
The Malaysian Sweet Tea tastes a lot like Indian Chai Tea -- pre-sweetened, milky, and mildly aromatic with exotic spices. The spices are less bold than the Indian version, but that's quite welcome after a meal with so much oomph!

And the pour is even more impressive when seen live.

2007 Dec 20
These Malaysian style coffees and teas are sweetened with sweetened condensed milk and served in a glass with a napkin wrapped around it and poured as seen here (she knows I was posting her pic!). She commented that her partner was more daring with the pour as he moves the tray around as well while he pours. Very nice coffee and a perfect end to the meal to go along with the ice dessert.

One of my friends instinctively wanted to put sugar in hers since that's how she usually drinks coffee, but we warned her to taste it first because of the condensed milk and she did and yes, it was sweet enough for her. I'm usually just milk with my coffee kind of gal, NO sugar, but I really enjoyed this one.


2007 Dec 20
I feel bad since I can't remember the name of the ice dessert we had here but, it was almost like a sweet bubblegum flavor poured over ice with chunks of jelly candy in it and nuts (pistachios??). It's quite sweet but went well with our coffee.

The other dessert was the fried plantains which were the best I've had here in Ottawa so far. Nice and moist on the inside and not greasy or too crispily fried! Yum.


2009 Mar 28
They were pretty good but we found them to be a tad on the greasy side. Not a problem, since nobody's denying they are deep fried! The extra large length is very cool.

2007 Dec 20
I didn't get a picture of these wonderful ditties but they were really yummy....not greasy and nicely deep fried. What I noticed was that they were signigicantly longer than other springrolls I've had elsewhere.

2009 Apr 6
There are two versions of gado gado available at the restaurant -- one that is called "Malaysian" and the other "Indonesian" The Malaysian version has a traditional satay style peanut sauce over a salad of bean sprouts, long beans, cabbage, tofu, and boiled egg. The Indonesia version has a sweet soya sauce-based peanut sauce with chili and tamarind over bean sprouts, long beans, cabbage, and tofu. My preference, having tried both, is the Malaysian version.


2010 Aug 9
Penang Laksa
This is the most horrible dish ever. Nothing is authentic about this. It is suppose to be a variation of Assam Laksa. Assam means Fish and Laksa means sourly soup base noodle. That is why they usually put lemon and pineapple in it.
The dish they serve us is very Fishy, but you can tell it is can fish. The rice noodle is a very cheap noodle they use, and a proper Laksa noodle is suppose to be clear thick noodle or a mix of yellow thick noodle and a very thin rice noodle.
The also put some shrimp paste to make this dish more fishy which is a horrible mix. Way too Salty and Way too Sourly. Very distasteful!

2009 Jun 12
My first try for Penang Laksa, I loved it. As mentioned, very 'fishy', and very large serving as well. This alone would more than satisfy me for a lunch or lighter dinner.

I did not finish it merely to keep room for the rest of my order.

2009 Mar 28
The Penang Laksa served at Chahaya Malaysia is the famous (or infamous?) "assam" version of Laksa that features a potent mix of fishy mackerel and sour tamarind. Our server double-checked that I really wanted it, which makes me think they've served it to a few people who couldn't eat it.

I smelled this dish before I saw it. Wifey and I were talking happily as we awaited our appetizers, when I suddenly became aware of a savoury, pleasantly fishy aroma. A few seconds later, a server appeared with a tray and I realized that it contained my laksa. The flavour level of this dish is over the top. Not quite like sucking on a fish bouillon cube dusted with cayenne but that gives you an idea. ;-)

The fishiness is strong. You'd better enjoy eating sardines and mackerel straight from the can if you even want to get near this dish. The sourness is more subtle -- a hint of tamarind, a wedge of lemon on the side, and the odd chunk of pineapple push up the acidity factor. The noodles have no flavour of their own, but they offer a little buffer for the overwhelming taste of the sauce.

At $5.50 per bowl it's a bargain. The size was much larger than I expected, although it isn't big enough to be a meal on its own. If you order this for yourself, don't go crazy on the main dishes!

I was very happy to have tried it but the taste is a little strong for me. In the end, I had to leave a few spoonfuls of liquid in my bowl once the salt, spice, and sour limits of my tongue had been exceeded. Don't get me wrong -- the taste was excellent, but much like admiring the beauty of a rising sun it is sometimes necessary to avert one's eyes to avoid being blinded.

Highly recommended if you love fish and dishes that are just bursting with complex and potent flavours.