My Thanksgiving shopping list has no Malaysian ingredients -- should it?

makan interior.jpg
Lori Midson
Makan Malaysian Cafe: the calm before the holiday storm.
In terms of holidays, Christmas is the king of lists. Every December, I make so many lists, I need a master list to keep track of them all. There's an address list for Christmas cards, a list of teachers to thank, a list of friends and neighbors to bake for, not to mention the all-important list of gift ideas for my hubby, kids and extended family. No other holiday comes close, right?


If you've ever hosted the family feast, you know that Thanksgiving ranks a close second in terms of planning.

See also:
- In a world full of cheese makers, why is Denver's selection so limited?
- New Cafe critic Gretchen Kurtz dishes up a few words on her philosophy

First you have a list of people to invite, and later, a list of folks who can come. Then there's a list of possible dishes, winnowed down (hopefully by now) to a menu based on the right mix of new recipes and family faves, final headcount, and what friends have offered to bring.

It's at this point that lists multiply like rabbits. Grocery lists with subsets for specialty stores. More grocery lists for forgotten items. Liquor-store lists. Lists of household items to pick up, like extra placemats or a wineglass to replace the one that broke last year.

With all these lists, you'd think nearly every item in the store had been tossed in my cart and checked off at some point or another. Not so. Pandan leaf, sambal belacan and kangkung, three staples of Malaysian cuisine, have never made it to any list related to my family's annual feast. But after recent visits to Makan Malaysian Café, I'm wondering if maybe they should.

Find out just how good these ingredients - and the dishes they're in -- can be when my review of Makan Malaysian Cafe is posted here tomorrow.

Location Info

Makan Malaysian Cafe

1859 S. Pearl St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
ScubaSteve topcommenter

Why have turkey?  Have seafood and game.

Mantonat topcommenter

Just say no to lists! Lists are a symptom of fear, and fear is the little death.


As far as adding Malaysian ingredients to your Thanksgiving celebration, I say go for it. Thanksgiving was originally a coming together of cultures to share food and traditions (maybe one of those cultures should have been a little more leery, but that's a different topic). The English settlers were introduced to many foods and dishes that were strange and exotic to them at the time (at least apocryphally). Since America has welcomed so many different cultures into the fold, it only makes sense to ditch the gloppy green beans and replace it with something a little more adventurous and representative of the diverse food culture of this country.

Now Trending

From the Vault