Walk into Sanur on Doyers Street and you'll probably think, as I did: "That's it?" A steam table, a cash register. Advertising "economical breakfasts" such as nasi lemak for $2.50 ($2.50!) and "3 items over rice" for $4. One table to eat at. That's all.
Except that's not all. "You can sit downstairs," said the woman behind the counter, handing us a menu with hundreds of dishes listed. And there, down a steep and unadorned staircase, is a sit-down restaurant quite spacious for Chinatown.
The Malaysian Keow Teow ($5.95), or char kuey teow, sports Chinese sausage and baby shrimp in among the egg bits and bean sprouts. While the noodles were a little bit tougher than we'd like, and could've done with more aggressive wok flavor, we loved the funky-sweet sausage and amply portioned shrimp, bound together with the noodles in a way that made for a satisfying bite.
Something I love about Malaysian food, particularly that of northern Malaysia, is its embrace of sour flavors, which really came through in the pungent asam squid ($5.95). While the squid bits were a little chewy, the curry was a beautiful balance of pungently tart and creamy from coconut milk, good enough to scoop up with a spoon. Long, soft batons of eggplant soaked it all in nicely, though we could have done without the rather lost-looking tomato wedges. Still, a shared plate of noodles and a bowl of sour squid—that's my kind of lunch for two.
18 Doyers Street, New York NY 10013 (map)