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Skyway Malaysian (On Allen and Canal)

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  • Lila Jul 22, 2005 08:31 PM

After reading Robert Sietsema's glowing review of Skyway in the Village Voice this week, I decided to check it out for myself last night and already I can't wait to go back! Had the fried pearl noodles which were savory and delicous -- chewy rice noodles with pork and shrimp in a sauce made with soy. The mango chicken was a bit cloying, though I suppose it always is, but it was satisfying and used nice pieces of chicken. We also had some sort of steamed spring roll appetizer which was filled with lettuce and peanuts and was pretty tasty.

All in all, their food is really well-prepared, and not greasy or heavy at all. The one thing I did notice is that the food was not as spicy as Sietsema claimed in his review, but maybe that was just what we ordered. And the menu is huge, so there's lots of room for experimentation.

If anyone else goes, report back on your visits. I am no Malaysian food connisseur so it would be great to get recommendations for both traditional and unusual dishes they do well.

Link: http://www.villagevoice.com/nyclife/0...

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  1. No doubt. The prices are wildly cheap too, especially for manhattan. I liked the "lady fingers", okra in a chili and shrimp paste-based belacan paste. Visited about six weeks ago.

    1. if you look at the malaysian food thread currently active on this board, you'll find a lot of discussion (favorable) of skyway.
      re: spiciness, the dishes that you ordered aren't supposed to be hot as far as i know.

      1. "We also had some sort of steamed spring roll appetizer which was filled with lettuce and peanuts and was pretty tasty."

        Poh Piah.

        1. This place is great, definitely the best Malaysian food I have had. Will be back.
          But: Don't get that horrible Chinese beer (not TsingTao--the one from the mainland). Next time I will ask and if that is the only beer they have, I will stick with watermelon juice (excellent).
          Also our server seemed to want to sell us a fish I was guessing because it is pricey--might be good, but we wanted to try other stuff which we did.
          All excellent (confirming sietsma et al): baby oyster omelette, squid with special sauce, crispy squid (the crunchy appetizer), satay, nasi lemak, kang kung belacan, hand-rolled noodles. Mango chicken was sweet with nice fresh mango but best for kids or as a mild dish. They didn't spice our stuff much at all (caucasians with kids) so I would recommend asking for extra spicy.

          1. every time i've gone, they've been out of the crispy squid tentacle appetizer. last time the waitress suggested the crispy squid entree as a substitute (which was excellent), but i'm VERY curious as to what the app is like.

            4 Replies
            1. re: wleatherette

              They do this dish at Penang in Philly's Chinatown (not related to the mediocre Penangs in NYC), and this was just as good--the squid is fried somehow to make it hard and crunchy, with a sweet/sour/spicy glaze. Perfect bar snack. We got it off the app menu, was the entree like that?

              1. re: kenito799

                kenito--have you tried the eel at new green bo? this sounds similar in its crunchiness and sweetness. am i totally off base?

                1. re: rose water

                  I haven't had it at new green bo but similarly crunchy eel at the shanghai place on Bayard, not Joe's, the one that is less crowded. Yes, similar preparation. Squid is better :)

                2. re: kenito799

                  dang! the entree isn't anything like that - basically their take on salt-baked squid. it's delicious, mind you, but still. i want to try the tentacles!

              2. I just got back from lunch at Skyway and I have to agree that it is really good. I ate the stir-fried pearl noodles that Sietsema mentioned in his review and they were fantastic--chewy, perfectly cooked with onions, scallions, pieces of what looked like cuttlefish, fried egg, pork, and bits of fried garlic.
                I also had the crunchy squid appetizer, which I couldn't eat that much of because I was full and it was a bit sweet, coated in a sticky red sauce and has sesame seeds on it, too- definitely would go well with beer and I'd order it again.
                For a beverage, I drank an ice coffee which seems to have been made from instant powder and evaporated milk or cream, served in a tall milkshake glass with snow-cone style ice. Loved it!
                Overall, the atmosphere is pretty pleasant at Skyway. They have an over-rice lunch special for $3.75 that lists a few typical chinese food favorites that actually might be worth trying if they're prepared as competently as the rest of the menu.

                After lunch I walked around chinatown/LES and I found a chinese sausage factory on Orchard where I bought a few sausages from a really friendly lady. Also saw a new 5/$1 dumpling place on Eldridge called Prosperity Dumpling. I bought an order of dumplings but was not really hungry enough to enjoy them. The dough was better than the inside, which was a bit slimy I thought. Definitely not as good as Tasty Dumpling on Mulberry. I should try them again when I am more hungry, they seemed like nice people there.

                6 Replies
                1. re: bolletje

                  just ate there last night and wanted to echo the comments of others. this place is really, really, really good.

                  i don't have much of a reference for what good, authentic malaysian tastes like, but this was miles beyond anything i've had in new york and even the once-good penang in boston.

                  g/f and i had:

                  -- roti canai, vibrant and rich curry sauce with a large bony chunk of chicken (presumably for flavor, not so much to eat), and a slightly thicker, crispier roti... totally superior to any other renditions i've had

                  -- beef sate, just outstanding. well grilled and marinated, great peanut sauce

                  -- singapore rice noodles -- these were very thin and pan-fried with onions, chinese sausage and shrimp and were incredible. very complex spicing with sweetness from the sausage...

                  -- kangkung belachan, water spinach stir fried with shrimp paste . normally i'm a little leary of overly fishy dishes (i'm not an anchovy fan and try though i might, can't get into the really fish sauce intensive thai dishes), but this was subtle, savory and just incredible.

                  total with a bowl of coconut rice and 2 beers came to $28

                  overall i was suprised at the subtle spiciness of the dishes, probably expecting something more like thai food. chilies were present didn't really stand out over all the other flavors. everything was very complex and vibrant and the ingredients seemed very high quality.

                  is it OK to think of this place as the sripraphai of NYC malaysian restaurants???

                  1. re: the brooklyn pilsner

                    I'm not willing to call it the Sripraphai of NYC- at least yet. I ate there for the first time Saturday night and it was OK. The squid with special sauce was interesting. But the squid wasn't so fresh and the sauce smelled so much like ketchup, my wife commented out loud what I was already thinking. It was a decent dish though and I'm not claiming they took shortcuts on the sauce at all... The okra lady fingers dish, with shrimp and belachan was basically flavorless, but the okra was good. The crabs in special sauce or something of that name were tiny and tough to eat. The sauce was more paste than wet sauce and similar to black bean sauce in taste, but I enjoyed it reasonbly and being a native Marylander, could negotiate the crab, despite the size. But it's not for everyone. We had some seafood-tofu soup which was alright. And the chicken satay was tasty, though I've had better peanut sauce before...I thought the pricing and portion size were reasonable and I'd like to give a couple more tries based on some of the stellar reviews here. But I'm not quite ready to annoint it the best of anything yet.

                    1. re: Silverjay

                      "I'm not willing to call it the Sripraphai of NYC- at least yet."

                      Well, I'd put it this way:

                      Any of a few hundred restaurants in the Kuala Lumpur area would be better. However, despite their using oldish bean sprouts (and squid, I don't doubt - which is not good), they are putting out the best Malaysian food I've had in New York. The food tastes good to me, except for the rojak, and ketchup is an honorable ingredient in a sauce. Skyway will have to do for me until I get a chance to go back to Malaysia.

                    2. re: the brooklyn pilsner

                      I eat the chicken that comes with the roti canai or roti telur.

                      1. re: Pan

                        so do i. it's delicious!

                        skyway continues to impress me. on the last visit, my friend and i tried the mixed seafood casserole, as she had been to the dentist earlier in the day and didn't want anything crispy or spicy. i was a bit wary of ordering a pretty standard chinese dish, but it was excellent - lots of shrimp, scallops, and squid with very fresh vegetables, quite subtle and clean-tasting.

                        1. re: Pan

                          Yeah I like to eat that chicken too.