Satu-Satu, St George Road, Glasgow

I make the desserts,” the lady says, midway through our friendly chit-chat and at this our eyes are suddenly magnetically drawn to the dinner debris littering our table which includes, awkwardly, an untouched bowl of a treacle-dark liquid with coloured shapes like children’s blocks bobbing about in it. 

“Take it you didn’t like them then?” she quips. A giant speech bubble with the word “ah” in it floats awkwardly above my head. 

Chewy taro, sweet potato, and purple potato balls, grass jelly, tapioca bubbles, coconut gel and all in a brown sugar soup, I say, reading out loud the menu. 

It was a bit new for me. “Is it, er, Malaysian?” I add by way of avoiding admitting that Joe and I had a single spoonful each of this cold dessert before backing off with hands raised. 

“Taiwanese,” comes the reply, and with that the conversation moves safely on to other topics including the sourcing of those fabulous, flakey, doughy (from being just-baked) roti that we had with curry sauce to start. 

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So good, I ordered a second serving only to discover that when it arrived Joe and I were already up to our oxsters in Belachan stir-fried udon, except I had swapped out the udon (don’t like them) for thin noodles. 

And we’d also both just been knocked on our heels by the spicing in it, not just that intense umami-ish (pretentious speak for delicious) shrimp paste tang, nor the soothing fried fish balls, or even the coiled thin-shelled prawns eaten shell on, but the actual, holy-semole, intense, incredible fiery heat of the whole damn thing. 

Joe, an Ayrshire man through and through, not only coughs and splutters, but sits bolt upright too, screeching his chair back in the process. And at the very first mouthful. 

At this the young waiter shoots over to us, no doubt on thrombo alert – we’ll later ask the waitress, to much hilarity in the kitchen behind, if he’s her brother – and offers to have it immediately taken away and if not actually shot, at the very least mixed with more noodles to have the fires doused. 

“No, no,” we say, having experienced by now the rich and more-ish follow-up 
waves that come lapping in when the flames die down. 

We’ll end up eating the whole platter of this wonderful pain-pleasure stuff, and also consume a jug of iced water while leaning over and taking forkfuls of the oily rice that I ordered separately. 

This dish – rice much better than it sounds, chicken simply poached and sliced – is the antithesis of the Belachan stir fry thang, being calm and cool and entirely collected with dishes of minced ginger and chilli on the side to spoon out and mix in as we go. 

Now, I can exclusively reveal we have a Penang prawn mee to tackle too. 

More prawns (an order fail on my part), halved boiled eggs, noodles in a tangy and rich soup. Good. But Satu Satu?  Imagine one of those New York lofts with the pipes and the vents and the ceilings and that’s the vibe in here, except nobody has done it deliberately. 

Giant extractors flow from roaring wok burners in the kitchen partition. The rest is tables, chairs, lots of wood, some maybe-slightly-tired paint that all adds to a spacious and relaxed, if not in the least bit designer, cafe. 


Malaysian and Chinese we’re told. 

A family-run operation. Did they say an uncle is doing the cooking? Of course we had satay chicken skewers to start; they come in threes – light, crisp and OK. 

And I ordered up a seaweed and tofu soup as well which, on account of the great stock, turns out to be the stealth hit of the meal, those light tofu squares, long spaghetti-esque strands of salty seaweed: boom.

This too I could eat again. 

Frankly? There’s just a nice light feel to this place tonight: a pleasant mixed crowd in for tea, fireworks all on the plate. 

I would return. 


97 St George Road


Tel 0141-237-4515

Opening: check website for current times 

Menu:  Malaysian mainly, plus Belachan stir fries, roti with curry Penang Prawn Mee, Hainanese Chicken Rice, interesting. 4/5

Prices: main courses are sharing size and come in from £12.50 to around £15, rotis, satay, and seaweed soup all around a fiver. 4/5

Atmosphere: Not a designer restaurant yet it still has a spacious comfortable and atmospheric cafe-with-meals feel. 4/5

Service: Very pleasant and helpful, family-run vibe. 5/5

Food: Belachan stir fry will knock your socks off with the heat, but the afterburn comes with deep flavouring; stealth hit was the seaweed and tofu soup. 7/10

Total: 24/30