No Breading Required for New Malaysia's Fried Chicken
You'll find New Malaysia down an alley of restaurants between Bowery and Elizabeth in Chinatown. It may be the nicest looking of the bunch, with Malaysian food that, if it doesn't transport you to the streets of Penang, at least ranks favorably with New York's better contenders.
The most memorable bite on a recent visit was a dish of Pataya Fried Chicken ($8), a heaping portion for the price with plenty of bone-in pieces of dark meat. As often happens in Malaysia and Singapore, dishes draw inspiration from nearby countries; in this case, the Thai city of Pattaya. (And as is often the case with said cultural osmosis, accuracy to the original cuisine wavers.)
But that's enough about origin stories—this is some good fried chicken. Moist, tender, and a pleasure to gnaw off the bone, with a crisp, greaseless crust made from nothing more than some spices, perhaps a touch of sugar, and the chicken's own skin. The coating is a little sweet, a tad spicy, enriched with flavors like coriander, but otherwise pretty austere.
Without a thick, breaded coating your focus stays right where it should: crisp skin, tender, tender meat, no distractions.