I’ve been eating my way through a ton of ethnic restaurants for a story we’re doing. One of the highlights of my Houston trip was the Banana Leaf, a roughly six- or eight-month-old Malaysian cafe way out west on Bellaire Boulevard. It has split-bamboo-lined walls, giving it a bit of an Asian feel in a new-shopping-center kind of way. The very helpful server suggested shrimp with Japanese eggplant in a savory, kicky sauce based on shrimp paste–which was fantastic! You can get it with string beans or okra, too. The menu goes on and on and on–if you can’t find something you like, you just aren’t trying. 9889 Bellaire Blvd, # 331, way at back, to left; 713-771-8118.