Yee sangis a large-format salad of raw fish, shredded vegetables, and crunchy bits eaten exclusively during Lunar New Year. It originated in mainland China, but these days it's most commonly found in Chinese communities in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. And in Flushing at Malay Restaurant, which serves my favorite version of the dish—Malaysia included.
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Sometimes you gotta have your coconut chicken soups or char kway teow or crackly oyster omelet, and when the craving strikes, Curry Leaves is there for you. But the real star of a meal there is the vegetables.
The texture of Coco's shaved ice is brutally coarse—much more like an American snow cone—but it nails the proper flavor, which is more than you can say for plenty other Malaysian shaved ice in the city.
Although Malaysian food is gaining a growing foothold in New York, Mamak, which launched back in April, is one of the first to bring rendang to the city's street food scene.
The most memorable bite on a recent visit to New Malaysia was a dish of Pataya Fried Chicken ($8): 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.
Manhattan can call Larry Reutens one of Singapore's culinary ambassadors to the city. Masak is one of very restaurants in New York that serves Reutens' native food, but it's not Singaporean the way his grandmother made it. "When I cook, I try to marry those traditional flavors with what I can find here at the farmers market or whatever is in season, rather than trying to replicate them entirely." Reutens shared his favorite shopping spots with us, along with some restaurants that offer a taste of home.
We were crestfallen when we saw that Bluebird Sky, our friendly neighborhood coffee shop, lunch spot, and meeting space, had closed. But a new nice-ish spot has opened in its place, and it's serving homestyle Malaysian food we'd be happy to eat again. A couple dishes after the jump.
Sanur isn't the best Malaysian restaurant in New York, or even in Chinatown, but it's an exceptionally cheap one with a funky basement dining room that encourages lingering. This crispy tofu salad is a regular on my ordering rotation.
I was not expecting Nyonya, a decent if not outstanding Malayasian restaurant we visit now and again, to make one of my favorite plates of chicken wings in New York. But they do.
We all agreed that the restaurant being in a basement was not off-putting. This could not be said of the steep and grimy stairs which lead to 18B Doyers, the restaurant portion of Sanur. Still, I would happily take those stairs again for another serving of the ineptly named "fried-cubes," certainly the most cubically shaped noodles I have ever eaten.
With the arrival of fall and the occasional chilly, gloomy day, we've been looking for 1. warming, soothing lunch options that 2. don't make us stray far from our office. So the soups at Nyonya, right downstairs, start sounding pretty appealing.
If the picnic months of summer have turned you into a barbecue freak, a taste of the Malaysian Pork Chops ($11) at Sentosa in Flushing are a must.
After a few visits to Laut in Union Square, and after plenty of less impressive meals around Chinatown, I'm convinced it's my favorite Malaysian restaurant in Manhattan.
[Photos: Maggie Hoffman] 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"...
As befits an ingredient so texturally challenging and confounding in taste, tripe is generally regarded with particular revulsion from its dissenters. But once you get past the idea of it, tripe becomes quite delicious. Almost always braised, its fortifying qualities also make it perfect late-night food for the winter months.
It's pretty telling of Malaysian cuisine that "Shrimp With Lady Fingers" ($10.50) at Nyonya is listed under the "vegetable" section of the menu; shrimp is pretty much a guaranteed ingredient in most Malaysian vegetable dishes. But it is indeed a vegetable dish.
As an unabashed Malaysian evangelist, I showed up early for yesterday's one-day Malaysian Noodle Festival. Seven Malaysian or otherwise Southeast Asian restaurants from New York (and one from New Haven) each served a noodle dish or two from their colorful tents. (Oppressively muggy heat, the threat of rain, and crowds squeezing around outdoor tables helped it feel about as close to Kuala Lumpur as the Meatpacking District could get. All we needed was a Tiger.)
I've been eating my way through the Malaysian restaurants of Manhattan's Chinatown, and while I don't quite think Jaya Malaysian Restaurant is the best, it does have more than a few things going for it.
I found the lunch specials at Malaysian restaurant Nyonya a little hit-or-miss a few months ago. But since then, I've realized that it might be best to forgo that section of the menu altogether; sure, the lunch deal is $6.50, but a number of tastier (and plenty filling) dishes cost just about the same.
I'm just back from eight days eating my way through Malaysia—Penang, Melaka, and Kuala Lumpur—and on the plane home, I sat next to a New York-living, Malaysia-born woman who told me I had to try "this Malaysian restaurant on the Bowery. Well, not really on the Bowery. Down an alley or something? Anyway, it's legit."