I've been craving a lot of eggplant lately and when I mean crave.. I mean eating eggplant almost every single day! I'm seriously not joking! I'm the type of person who can eat the same thing every single day until I get tired of it. What's funny too is that I'll take a break from eating it and then if I start craving it again.. It's the same cycle all over. So when my friend asked me where I wanted to go for lunch, I had exactly the right place in mind! This place not only serves great Malaysian/Thai food but also makes one of my favorite tofu appetizers and eggplant dishes in Vancouver. Located in Aberdeen Center, Tropika has already won numerous awards such as "Most Memorable Restaurant" and "Golden Plate Award". I'm sure this place has also won the hearts of many Vancouverites and tourists and has been one of the staple restaurants for authentic Malaysian/Thai cuisine ever since they first opened their doors to the public in 1990.
This Tropika location is really convenient because unlike other restaurants in Richmond, there are tons of parking spots to choose from in Aberdeen's parking lot (hundreds actually). But if your planning to go there for lunch/dinner on a weekend or on a holiday, I would suggest going earlier or later because for sure there will be tons of people in the mall during peak eating hours. Even with hundreds of parking spaces, you would be surprised at how many people go to Aberdeen! Sometimes it could literally take you from 5 minutes to as long as an hour just to find a parking spot! I'm seriously not joking! (one good example I can give you is Chinese New Year).
The restaurant itself is very spacious and open so they can easily accommodate a huge number of people. What I really like about this location too is that one whole side of the restaurant is designed with floor to ceiling windows so the restaurant looks even bigger and brighter when your eating. Also, since it is located along one of the many entrances of Aberdeen Center, you could easily see people and cars passing by.. so another bonus here is the view. When it came down to the service, I would have to say it wasn't the best that we've experienced but it wasn't the worst either. I'm not really sure if our server was just forgetful or lazy because when it came to our extra requests for refills, napkins and for a new set of utensils, he seemed to keep walking by without bringing anything in hand. And to think the restaurant wasn't even busy or full at the time we were there! The food on the other hand was so much better compared to the service (Thank God!). We actually ended up ordering 7 of their dishes to share, and for only three people eating.. 7 dishes was already a lot! Usually when we come here we would order their Tahu Goreng Nyonya (Fried Tofu), Satays, Roti Canai, Spicy Jumbo prawns, Pad Thai, Pineapple Fried Rice, Hainanese Chicken, Chicken Curry, Terung Udang Kering (Eggplant), Sambal Bunchies, KangKong, Bubur Cha Cha (Warm Soup Dessert), and Goreng Pisang (I think there's more but I just can't remember them exactly at the top of my head right now). What I really like about Tropika too is that they make amazing vegetarian dishes so if you hate eating vegetables, maybe they can help change your mind!
Tropika is actually not a bad place to go to for celebrations as well. I myself have celebrated a couple of occasions there (including my birthday) with tons of people in our party and we were still able to enjoy ourselves over and over. The service just depends on which server you get, sometimes it's good.. sometimes it's bad.. but I think what keeps us going back to the restaurant is because of their food (I mean come on, what's not to love about Malaysian/Thai food?)
Tahu Goreng Nyony: One of the best tofu dishes that I've had! When dipped into their sweet soy sauce, it just tastes even better! The skin is lightly fried and not super oily so when you bite into it it's just soft and melt in your mouth smooth.
Pineapple Fried Rice: They were very generous with their pineapple chunks so I was pretty happy about that. It's really cool too how they serve it inside a pineapple so it's really a full on pineapple dish.
Hainanese Chicken: The chicken was cooked very well and the sauce was great especially when you finally put it on the chicken. Their pickled vegetables however needs improvement.
Pad Thai: One word and one word only.. Fantastic!
Terung Udang Kering: One of my favorite dishes! It's cooked very well and I think they probably make one of the best eggplant dishes here in BC. It's not as oily too compared to how Chinese restaurants make them so you won't feel as bad/oily after eating it.
Bubur Cha Cha (Warm): I personally love Ginataan so I really loved this dish! If you guys don't know what Ginataan is.. it's a warm soup like dessert made with coconut milk, tapioca, Saba, rice balls and etc. that's really popular in the Philippines. It's sweet, yummy and good for my tummy!