Looking to expand your knowledge of Asian food beyond ramen, sushi, and takeout Chinese? Well, there’s so much to explore right here in Rochester. This week, I tried out Coco Garden Malaysian restaurant.

I enjoy reviewing menus online before heading over, because seeing the options gets me even more excited. With Coco Garden, my heart was set on the shrimp puff appetizer. It lived up to my fantasy. It was the classic bacon-wrapped shrimp you know and love, but then deep-fried, adding more texture and intensifying the flavors. The thick-cut, smoky bacon served this dish well. Lastly, the puffs were surprisingly not too oily, especially for something that is literal deep-fried bacon.

Our first entree was the Malaysian spare ribs, which were chewy, salty, crispy, meaty hunks of pure, unadulterated, deep-fried joy. Their texture was impressive; though the exteriors were crispy, the meat inside was moist and tender.

As addictive as those ribs were, our next entree managed to steal my attention. The sizzling Malaysian tofu was both aggressively sizzling and just dang good. The sauce ensconcing this dish was sweet, salty, a little acidic, and lovely. The tofu itself was phenomenal. The outside had a light fry while the inside was unbelievably creamy. Not to mention the tofu pieces soaked in all of that delectable sauce, creating perfect packets of warmth and flavor. The abundance of vegetables, chicken, and shrimp on the side added some more variety.

As recommended by the waitress, I decided to try mango sticky rice for the first time. It was sweet and warm with a gelatinous, gooey texture. The perfect bite consisted of rice and a piece of mango all swirled around in the fruity sauce. I only wish that there was a bit more sauce to share the love.

Typically, I don’t get in too deep with beverages here, but Coco Garden had so many cool drinks that I knew I had to explore. To start, the hot coconut milk bubble tea warmed my heart. It was sweet, creamy, toasty, and just as bubbly as a bubble tea ought to be.

A drink that still has me positively shook is the taro milkshake. This beautiful, bright lilac-colored shake has an initial punch of visual impact, but its glory does not end there. The flavor of the taro is so unique and wonderful; I was shocked at first but quickly came to love it. It’s a light flavor with both sweet and earthy notes. Not only can Coco Garden come up with exciting flavors, but they know how to mix up the perfect shake as well. Even without the incredible taro flavor, this milkshake would have been to-die-for regardless. It was thick, creamy, and silky smooth. Wendy’s Frosties are quaking in their boots.

Overall, I was impressed with Coco Garden. Not only was my food wonderful, but there are so many more awesome bubble teas, milkshakes, and smoothies on the menu waiting for me to try. To add a cherry on top, my waitress was kind, helping me navigate the menu and pointing me toward her recommendations. I can officially say that I am cuckoo for Coco Garden.

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