By Chef Braden Wages and Restaurateur Yasmin Wages
Yasmin and Branden Wages have a taste for travel, going to the far corners of the world to find culinary inspiration for their Dallas restaurant, Malai Kitchen. To bring the flavors of Southeast Asia to Texas, this husband and wife team never cut corners, making everything from scratch and even brewing their own beer. They also like to discover what’s happening in their own backyard and want to make sure you’ll enjoy their city too, so here is their guide for eating, drinking and shopping in Dallas.
What do you love most about having a restaurant in Dallas?
Our close proximity to the agricultural diversity in California and Mexico and the growing Southeast Asian population allows us to source some incredibly fresh, unique produce. Being able to get those hard-to-find ingredients is only reason we're able to serve some of our more intricate dishes (like wraps and salads). We're very fortunate to have found a local source for fresh Kaffir lime leaves and Galangal – two items that are typically very difficult to find.
Our restaurant, Malai Kitchen, is a modern approach to classically inspired Southeast Asian cuisine, offering Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Because of our travels, we have learned more and become more adventurous in what we offer at our restaurant. We love serving dishes that aren't normally found in Dallas, such as Mieng Kam (Thai street wraps with betel leaves and dried shrimp) or Banana Trunk Salad (a Vietnamese salad made from the trunk of a banana tree).
Our inspiration comes from our travels throughout the region and we love to share our experiences with our guests through our menu. We prepare everything from scratch, from Sriracha sauce to coconut milk and use only the freshest ingredients. We definitely recommend you try our curries -- we make our paste from scratch, resulting in a depth of flavor that is unparalleled.
BRADEN & YASMIN'S DALLAS GUIDE
Morning Eats & Drinks
We have some great coffee shops here in Dallas and one of our favorites is Mudsmith on Lower Greenville. Stay long enough and you will likely switch from coffee to beer.
2114 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX 75206
This is worth a stop -- they have a crazy selection of donuts. Be warned: your eyes will definitely be bigger than your stomach.
9007 Garland Road
Dallas, TX 75218
MUST-TRY DELICACY | Pecan Lodge
Visiting the Pecan Lodge is a must and the best thing to get there is the Hot Mess. It's a sweet potato stuffed with south Texas barbacoa (shredded brisket), chipotle cream, cheese, and green onions.
2702 Main Street
Dallas, TX 75226
SPANISH | Casa Rubia
This is another great restaurant in Trinity Groves that shows off Dallas' dynamic dining scene. It's an incredibly well done Spanish restaurant. The cheese and charcuterie platter is a must.
3011 Gulden Lane, Dallas, TX 75212
OFF-THE-BEATEN TRACK | Off Site Kitchen
This is a fun spot to visit. It's a burger joint that is greasy as all get up, but serves amazing burgers and sandwiches. It's in a tiny shack of a building, but the staff is always friendly and the patio is dog friendly.
331 Singleton Boulevard
Dallas, TX 75212
SOBA | Tei-An Soba House
Chef Teichii Sakurai's soba noodle house is a must when visiting Dallas. Start with the white seaweed salad, followed by some sashimi, and finish with bowl of fresh soba -- our favorite is the duck dipping soba.
One Arts Plaza, 1722 Routh Street
Dallas, TX 75201
INDIAN | Al'Markaz
This is an another place we like and is an Indian grocery store and restaurant in Carrollton. Order the fresh naan and seik kebabs. Warning: they have a kick!
1205 W Trinity Mills Road
Carrollton, TX 75006
QUINTESSENTIAL DALLAS | Mr. Mesero
This is classically Dallas. Plus, you can’t leave this city without some good Mexican (or Tex-Mex) food. Mico Rodriguez executes exceptionally well with great service, food quality, and margaritas that pack a punch.
4444 McKinney Avenue
Dallas, TX 75205
ITALIAN DELI | Jimmy's Food Store
This is another great stop. It's an old Italian market with a deli in the back. The sandwiches are killer and the Italian Stallion is one of our favorites.
4901 Bryan Street, Dallas, TX 75206
OUTDOOR DINING | The Truck Yard
This is a spot off of Lower Greenville is an interesting piece of outdoor dining. It's a park essentially with a couple of food trucks and a Philly cheesesteak stand. The drink selection includes mostly local beers and craft cocktails on draft. The space is well-executed and creatively decorated (think tree house bar, truck bed tables, and repurposed keg stools).
5624 Sears Street
Dallas, TX 75206
BEER | Meddlesome Moth
If you are into beer, you have to visit Meddlesome Moth in the Design District. They have the best selection of the ever-evolving global beer scene, and a gastro menu to complement.
1621 Oak Lawn Avenue
Dallas, TX 75207
GOURMET FOOD MARKET | Eatzi's
This is a great shop. It's a gourmet food market with a great selection of high-quality items. It leans Italian with made-to-order sandwiches and salads, a phenomenal cheese and wine selection, and a bakery with enticing treats.
OAK LAWN | 3403 Oak Lawn Avenue, Dallas, TX 75219 | T: 214.526.1515
LOVERS LANE | 5600 W. Lovers Lane, Dallas, TX 75209 | T: 214.358.3100
BAKERY | Village Baking Co.
This is an awesome local bakery. Their selection of French pastries will transport you to the streets of Paris.
5531 E. University Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75206 | T: 214.951.9077
1921 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, TX 75206 | T: 214.821.3477
Growlers of Beer
A growler of our house brewed beer -- we have Malai-branded growlers that guests can fill up with any of our three Asian-style brews: Bia Hoi (a Vietnamese rice lager), Thai-P-A (a medium-bodied IPA infused with Thai herbs), or a seasonal rotating beer.
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