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Seeking Malaysian Sensation

Hounds, I am going to Malaysia in October and want to acquaint my palate with Malaysian food beforehand. Tonight is the night!!

I have already been to New Malaysia in Chinatown's Elizabeth St. arcade, and want to try more places. I have heard mostly *eh* reports about the various Penangs and Nonya. Has anyone been to any of the places in Brooklyn's Chinatown? Can anyone recommend anything other than New Malaysia? Any borough is fine.

Thank you!

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  1. Sentosa on Prince Street (Flushing) has dynamite roti canai, beef rendang, thai fried rice, etc.

    1. I dont think any of the Brooklyn chinatown entrants are worth a visit from outside the area.

      We were back at the little hole-in-the-wall at the bottom of Doyers Street (between the post office and Bowery) a couple weeks back and had some good food. half a Hainan chicken (not the rice), water spinach belachan, nasi lemak and a noodle dish (maybe mee siam). This place has been generally reliable (under different names) for years for its limited range of dishes, but dont expect Roti Canai, lombak, otok-otak, rendang or such if you go there - they dont make them.

      11 Replies
      1. re: jen kalb

        Thank you, John and Jen. I won't expect any of those things you mention, Jen, because sadly, I do not know what they are. This cuisine is pretty much all new to me. I will look them up now, though!

        1. re: jen kalb

          Hey Jen, just to let you know the variously-named ('Sanur' now?) Doyers street basement Malaysian restaurant DOES make (an amazing) Roti-Canai that I've had dozens of times. It's possible it's not on the regular menu, but on the special menu that's on the tables--not sure, because I order the same thing pretty much every time and haven't referred to the menu for a long time: Roti Canai, Gado Gado, and one thing I know that definitely is NOT on the menu--but definitely worth getting: a 'bowl of Vegetable Curry' (just ask for it like that). Comes piping hot in a huge bowl with potato cubes, noodles, sprouts, and tofu.

          1. re: JRogan

            Its good to get a recommendation of some good dishes there. Weve visited that place for many years through a whole series of incarnations,and it really seemed to have dipped when we were in there this fall. These cooks tend to be good a a few dishes but not all the dishes in the Malaysian street food repetoire (and its hard to know which). So I really appreciate hearing that they are indeed producing some meals worth ordering still.

            1. re: jen kalb

              I gave Sanur and the same restaurant with its previous name several tries, and in the last x-number of years, they always managed to disappoint me at least every other visit. With the caveat that my last time there was not very recent: Unless it's under totally different ownership or/and management now, I wouldn't think it would be a reliable place to go to.

            2. re: JRogan

              had that roti canai; thought it was alright; not a lot of chicken in the quite greasy curry bowl, I think both bowls (we got two orders) had a hunk of potato between the two of them. not spectacular tho, I thought.

              the steamed fish in banana leaves was good; most of the dried noodles are not super amazing; the stuffed vegetable curry noodle was pretty good as well.

              but ultimately, just haven't been satisfied whenever I try and go for malaysian, even though this place used to be my go-to.

              1. re: bigjeff

                Something was really wrong the last time we were there, a fried beancurd dish which was tough and dry and the oil tasted bad - and the watercress in belacan sauce was subpar - char kway teow was still ok.

                Which places do you like for malaysian these days?

                1. re: jen kalb

                  ya, skyway disappointed just because it has such a good rep, nyonya really disappointed, singapore cafe was kinda good but then, not super special; sanur I like just cuz its the underdog but ultimately disappointing, the elizabeth/bowery malaysian place (the place mentioned by the OP) was actually pretty good the last time I ate there and its pretty humble too.

                  haven't tried the elmhurst places or sentosa in flushing in a long time although I used to eat at the curry leaf on 40th ave. ya, its tough! I sort of think I got bored of the entire cuisine in general, although I used to eat it a lot. if there were some new places or some restaurant doing something really special, e.g. fatty crab but still keepin' it real somehow, then that would be best. and that is prob. what everyone is looking for!

                  1. re: bigjeff

                    im coming around to thinking that maybe New Malaysia might be the best in manhattan...i'm going there on sunday specifically to decide...i need to try there and skyway back to back

                    my last meal at Skyway was underwhelming (this was pretty recently)...maybe i ordered the wrong dishes...i never liked asam laksa as a dish and i know people really like it there, so that doesn't do it for me; their roti canai is whatever and the nasi lemak was so ok (that is one of my favorite dishes)

                    Does anyone ever go to Overseas Asian? I only went there once a long time ago

                    1. re: Lau

                      I haven't been to Oversea Asian for a long time. When I used to go there, I found their non-seafood items pretty good, but anything from the sea was likely to be of questionable freshness.

                      For the record, I also had an "off" meal at Skyway yesterday night. Very unusually for them, the shrimps and perhaps also the fishcakes in their Java Mee were a little old-tasting and the shrimps were also tough and overcooked. My previous meal there, of Curry Mee with Young Taufu and Achat, was better, though. I liked the Curry Mee; the Achat was more sour and salty than previously, and a bit salty for my taste.

                    2. re: bigjeff

                      yes - I think there was a surge of enthusiasm what 10 yrs ago when the first penangs opened and there was a good chef. The restaurants have proliferated but there just dont seem to be that many exciting chefs and it has become a diversification option for the chinese cooking community, like thai and mexican. I dont think its simply that the eaters have become jaded. New Malaysia hasnt impressed me. I still have hope there is something worth eating in Flushing.

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        well when i say "best" i should qualify since normally i only talk about things on an absolute basis, in this case i was talking about on a relative basis as most malay food ive had in the city is very underwhelming

                        i think singapore / malay food is generally pretty weak for the same reason the vietnamese in ny is terrible...there simply arent enough of the given ethnicity....although i love both cuisines so i eat them anyhow to get my fix

            3. I think the original Penang in Flushing is good. (On the side street where Joyce Leslie is on Main Street)

              1. Haven't been yet, but this place is on my list ... http://www.chowhound.com/topics/423228

                Banana Leaf
                13360 41st Ave, Queens, NY 11355

                4 Replies
                1. re: squid kun

                  In two visits to Banana Leaf, I've had decent meals. The Assam Laksa has just enough balance of pure heat and flavor. The roasted duck salad, though not cohesive as a whole, sports some of the most tender gobs of duck I've tasted in many a moon. Not bad at all.

                  Had an excellent meal, though, at Taste Good in Elmhurst recently. The Hainan Chicken Rice, served pretty much in appetizer size, is silky smooth with a subtle flavor. I also recommend the Tahu Emas, fried blocks of tofu with just a hint of shrimp scattered on top. The tofu remains extra soft, which plays off of the fried exterior. This place, shaped like a shoe box and decorated in xmas lights year round, gives off a good, friendly vibe as well. Hadn't been there in years prior to my recent visit - but I look forward to returning (Bear in mind: this place is closed on Thursdays).

                  Nearby Penang has been around a while too. In just one visit, I had the Capitan Noodles. Not bad, not great either. I'd like to give it another shot, though; Noodles, though an admitted weakness of mine, barely scrapes the surface at SE asian restaurants.

                  By far, though, the best Malaysian dish I've tried in NYC is the gargantuan spicy Fish Head Casserole at Skyway, in Manhattan's Chinatown. I can't remember the last time I had a dish that had such balance of spice, flavor, fresh-tasting ingredients and downright fullfilment as this. Highly recommended.

                  I'm envious. Enjoy your trip.

                  Taste Good
                  82-18 45th Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                  11 Allen St, New York, NY 10002

                  1. re: Polecat

                    second the rec for skyway (new malaysia is not bad), but skyway has some wonderful dishes (house special pork with pickled veg, the aforementioned casseroles, a lot of the vegetables are good, the noodle soups are good).

                    seeing as you're leaving in a few months, try to order one of the makansutra books, they have a malaysian edition, which should be awesome!


                    1. re: bigjeff

                      Holy crap Jeff, THANK YOU for introducing me to makansutra.com.

                      It is exactly what I need for this trip -- I'm going to Singapore, KL and Penang, and I want to eat the most awesome street food while there. This site is the greatest thing I've ever seen. You rock.

                      1. re: Puppimus

                        there are two places u must try in singapore (i lived there for 6 months):

                        1) Eng Seng Restaurant (on the corner of joo chiat place and still road), get there early (like 5-530) b/c they run out of crabs, get the chili crab and black pepper crab (dont forget to get white bread after to soak up the sauce) + they have this you tiao with a fish cake running through the middle and they put a dab of mayo on it, its awesome although i forgot what its called (you tiao is a fried chinese crueller fyi)...dont listen to other people who will tell u east coast village or no sign board are the best, but they're wrong as Eng Seng destroys those places (Eng Seng will be all locals, little to no tourists); also its not a requisite, but better if u have some who can speak chinese with u. Btw, i google'd it and its closed on weds, if you google ull find alot of blogs etc on it

                        2) Newton Circus - its a famous and touristy hawker center, however there is one lady called "crazy lady" (literally I used to call her crazy lady when i talked to her), you'll see her b/c she runs a seafood stall at night (i used to go there late nights) and she is this skinny lady with a crazy bee hive hair with like pens and stuff in it (you cant miss her if u walk around at night). They have the best stingray ive ever had, they also have great baby kai lon (a leafy green vegetable) and this spicy calamari dish...people will tell u newton circus is touristy and thats true, but this specific stall is one of the best (trust me I ate all over the place when i was there)

                        some other places:
                        - Imperial Herbal: upscale chinese restaurant specializing in using chinese herbs in their dishes, but a top notch restaurant (helps to have someone who speaks chinese)...one of the best chinese restaurants i ate at in singapore
                        - Tian Tian Hainan Chicken Rice: great hainanese chicken rice, its at Maxwell Centre

                2. Thank you all so much for your replies. I wound up in Nyonya in Sunset Park -- it was decided that was the neighborhood to go to (closest to us, and we were tired last night), and Nyonya seemed like a safe choice. Yes, kind of a wuss-out. I enjoyed the food, but had nothing I would consider wonderful. I have about 4 days worth of leftovers, though, so I can mull that over a bit further.

                  Here's what I got:
                  *Roti Canai -- tasty, but I told the server I do not eat chicken, and could I have a different dipping sauce than the curry chicken sauce that comes with this? He totally understood, and offered a potato sauce -- fine. Out comes the chicken sauce. I say "hey, is this chicken?" and he whisks it away. I see him by the kitchen removing the chunks of chicken, and he brings it back. All better!! This doesn't really bother me too much, as I know I cannot be so sensitive to this stuff when I travel. So lesson learned -- no substitutions!
                  *Indian Rojak -- Bean sprouts, cucumber, hard boiled egg, and fried tofu and shrimp pancake smothered in "Chef's special sauce," which is definitely sweetened ketchup. Not so tasty, but not inedible, either. Would not get this again.
                  *Nyonya Lobak -- like a little appetizer plate of tasty fried things, cucumber and a black egg (did not like the plastic-y texture of this, and not sure if that's normal or if this one had been sitting out). Tasty, harmless. Random pile of pickled ginger seemed, well, random.
                  *Kang Kung Belacan -- This is water spinach cooked with preserved shrimp paste. Very good. I love this stuff.
                  *Asam Laksa -- Pretty good. I thought the tamarind flavor was overpowering, but my SO loved it and ate the whole thing. This is the one dish I plan to try at every Malaysian place I visit.
                  *Mango Shrimp -- Very pretty presentation in the mango shell. Sweet, serviceable, but nothing special. Could have come from any Chinese takeout. I was too full to eat this, but I bet it will be good for lunch today over rice.
                  *Beef Rendang -- Very Indian-tasting dish, quite good. Very tender beef, but I liked the sauce/gravy the best; it would be delicious poured over rice or potatoes.

                  I am looking forward to trying Skyway and Sanur next time. As far as Queens, I might have to go Indonesian instead, as I have been informed that there are avocado shakes to be had at Indonesian restaurants!

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Puppimus

                    I've never been to the Brooklyn branch, but I've always liked the Manhattan Nyonya. Note that as far as I know, all the restaurants in NYC serve Perinakan food. So there are a lot of surprises awaiting you in Malaysia. You should check out this excellent blog by a frequent Chowhound poster:
                    Oh here's a paragraph I wrote on Malayan food:

                    1. re: Brian S


                      Those avocado drinks are pretty easy to make. Its just sugar, ripe avocado, and ice. I remember having my first one when I use to hangout with this Burmese family when I was a kid.

                      1. re: Brian S

                        Actually, *NO* Malaysian restaurants in NYC serve PERANAKAN food. The fusion that you see isn't classically Peranakan although there are bits and pieces of Peranakan in their offerings. There is a separate Peranakan cuisine that is distinctively different: Usually pork-based curries and other types of spicy dishes that the native Malays (being Muslim) are forbidden to eat but which the Buddhist Peranakans can. The term "Peranakan" is applied to the Chinese who emigrated to the Straits Settlements of British Malaya (predating modern-day Malaysia and Singapore) who had forgone their pure Chinese heritage and melded it with native Malay language, customs, cuisine and dress (some don't even speak a word of Chinese). As such, you would not refer to any Malaysian non-Chinese as "Peranakan" (and some Malaysian Chinese are not "Peranakan" either for they have not gone that route of complete melding that the Peranakans have). As for "Spanish influence" in the Straits Settlements that Brian S. claims, there is none. The Spanish only colonized the Philippines and the Dutch, Indonesia. The dominant early Western influences in the Straits Settlements were Portuguese (in Malacca) and, later, the British (which took over and dominated the whole Malaysian peninsula down to Singapore as well as the north-western tip of the island of Borneo which holds Brunei and Sarawak).

                        1. re: Gastronomicon

                          I've always understood the history to be that the Peranakan are mainly descendants of marriages between the Chinese men from Huang He's voyage to Malacca during the Malaccan Empire - that is, BEFORE European colonization of the Malay Peninsula from any quarter - and local Malay women. That's always the story I've read and been told. And the order of the European colonization of Malacca was Portuguese, Dutch, British. But I'd be truly astonished if a restaurant opened in any of the Five Boroughs specializing in Peranakan food, anyway.

                          Malaysian food that I've eaten in New York has essentially all been West Coast food, mostly from Penang and Ipoh (I'm not convinced that Kuala Lumpur has its own style as such, though it's a great eating city). I haven't ever found a restaurant in New York that serves distinctively East Coast (e.g., Kelantan) dishes, for example.

                          1. re: Pan

                            It's debatable if the Peranakans went that far back even though Admiral Zheng He (not "Huang He" which means "Yellow River") supposedly did leave diplomatic and trade representation from the Ming Dynasty during his visits. But the population of the Peranakans do indeed increase immensely when the British started importing Chinese labor in the 1800's when they took over. It was no different from Americans importing similar labor for the railroads in the 1800's.

                            Actually, there are some who would claim that there is some difference between northern Peranakan food coming ouf the likes of Penang and southern Peranakan food from KL and Ipoh but over the years, it's been so blended in that it takes someone very nitpicky to tell the differences. The general idea being that northern Peranakan cuisine is more influenced by the sweet and sour flavors of the Thai while southern Pernakan cuisine is more influenced by coconut milk a.k.a. "santan."

                            And scratch what I said about Peranakan food. Taste Good's chef actually can make it on special request. It's just that he doesn't offer it because, from his experience, nobody understands it and thinks it "too weird to order". So he doesn't do it. He made a couple of classical Peranakan dishes for me and I was in HEAVEN: Pork Belly and Hard Boiled Eggs in Thick Black Soy; Pigs Ears (the cartiliginious bits) and other bits in soy. Oh boy, I'm back home again!

                            1. re: Gastronomicon

                              Thanks, that was interesting, and I see where I misspelled Zheng He's name in a kind of funny way. I speak much more Malay than Chinese. :-)

                              1. re: Gastronomicon

                                thanks; any other good recs or ways to get Taste Good's chef to cook up some of this stuff?

                                1. re: bigjeff

                                  Ask him. Sometimes, if you've been there a couple of times so they recognize you and you'll commit to coming back on a certain day, he'll entertain special requests. It helps if you know what you're asking for (otherwise what he'll come up with, while a delicacy to those of us used to Peranakan food, will freak you out--Once he served me a delicious Pig Intestines and Ears Stewed in Soy Sauce which made the next table of Caucasians look distinctly queasy at us snarfing it all down. Then there was the Pig Trotters in Soy Vinegar another time. Yet another time, there was the Otak-Otak. Yummo.) He did a Singapore-style Chilli Crab for another diner whom I know and she loved it. I'm not a crab fan (especially not if it's still in the shell as my teeth can't handle it any more--I think I'm getting old not to mention lazy). He's nice like that.

                      2. I went to Taste Good on Tuesday February 17th. I was disappointed. I don't know why anyone likes it. I really don't understand. It was underwhelming. No. Not underwhelming. Just bad.

                        I had the assam kari laksa after the recommendation in the New York Times. I will admit the broth was rich and tasty, however it could have been hotter and spicier. The tofu was good. But my bowl was way too full of noodles. One shrimp. Egg. Sliced fish cake - (Ew. So sorry. But unidentifiable "fish" cake is just not my thing. How about more shrimp though?)

                        I also ordered the sauteed mixed vegetables. They were overly-coated in a white gelatinous sludge - a little heavy on the corn starch maybe? Hopefully it was just corn starch and not something grosser. Like grease. I'm trying not to think about it.

                        I thought the restaurant was dirty. The tables and floors could use a good washing down. The place, although tiny, is chock full of dusty bric a brac. Two of the employees were eating their lunch next to me. One of them, an older man, was spitting chicken bones on the table and when he was finished, used his bare hand to swipe the chicken bones along with spilled water into his soup bowl. And there the table sat, unwiped and unsanitized.

                        For a small place, there is an overwhelming amount of employees. However are they working? It seems like they might be there primarily to socialize amongst themselves. They are not overly concerned about connecting with the customers. Or even making eye contact.

                        The whole experience was unappetizing in every way. I really do not understand why people like this place so much.

                        20 Replies
                        1. re: milky_girl

                          It's these kinds of posts that make me doubt it would be worth my while to travel to Elmhurst from the East Village instead of just sticking with a known quantity (to me) in Skyway on Allen St. Anyone want to try to convince me that Taste Good is so much better than Skyway that it'll be worth it to me? Please do. Or, conversely, reinforce my doubts.

                          1. re: milky_girl

                            I tried to go to Taste Good tonight, and it was shut solid. Can anyone confirm that it's closed for good, or is someone on vacation or something? There was no sign on the shutters. We went to the Cantonese restaurant next door, which was perfectly fine (probably good for banquets) but didn't excite me as much as a very good Malaysian restaurant would have.

                            1. re: Pan

                              Taste Good is closed on Thursdays.

                                1. re: Pan

                                  Why odd? They've got to take a day off sometime, right? They're open all other days except Thursday. Even Sanur is closed on Mondays, their one day off a week.

                                  1. re: Gastronomicon

                                    Monday is the most common day for a restaurant to be closed. I don't know of any other restaurant that closes on Thursdays.

                                    1. re: Pan

                                      Well, I guess now you know where to go for an absolutely fabulous dinner on a Monday when all the other restaurants are closed. Quite a brilliant move on their part, don't you think? ;-)

                            2. re: milky_girl

                              @milky_girl: The "Assam Laksa" or "Penang Laksa" has no curry in it. The curry laksa has no assam (tamarind) in it. It's either the "Assam Laksa" or the "Singapore Curry Laksa". They are two distinctly different dishes. Just because you don't know squat about the cuisine doesn't mean the dish isn't authentic. Fish cake is what the curry laksa dish traditionally comes with. The number of shrimp is always few and far between, even in Singapore (after all, it's called "Singapore Kari Laksa" for a reason). The only thing that has both Curry and Assam in it is the Fish Head Curry which doesn't sound like what you had.

                              It's unfortunate that you didn't like the sauteed mixed vegetables. But there are some dishes which aren't particularly Malaysian or Singaporean there which I've avoided as a result. But you've got to know the cuisine to know what to avoid. Just as I wouldn't expect an Italian restaurant to produce a decent Greek Moussaka (after all, it's just ground beef, eggplants, tomato and Bechamel sauce and lasagna pasta, all of which are available in an Italian restaurant, right?)...

                              As for putting the bones on the table, that's very common in *ANY* Chinatown-type restaurant, be it Malaysian, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. Go take a close look at other restaurants of this type and open your eyes. I've seen it done at *ALL* of them, even low-end Chinese restaurants as far north as Harlem. Taste Good isn't somewhere you go to for haute cuisine. For that, you have other places where you pay through the nose for; double or triple what you would pay in Chinatown...like one restaurant I won't name on the Upper East Side whose food is good but I paid triple what I would pay in Chinatown for the same quality of food.

                              Lastly, the reason why we like it is because it makes food like that we can only find in our home countries. No bullshit; no fake cuisine trying to pass off as Malaysian or Singaporean cuisine where you pay double or triple to find out it's crap. It really irks me when people who have no clue what they're talking about trash a restaurant. If you know what you're talking about and they don't come up to par, fine. But when you don't know what you're talking about, STFU.

                              1. re: Gastronomicon

                                4 stars for the funky and fantastic asam laksa at Taste Good! Went for the first time a few days ago. Also utterly delicious was the fish in black pepper sauce (under the "sizzling platter" menu section). The Singapore kari[curry] laksa was tasty; the most coconutty I've ever had, and its leftovers were great the next day.

                                Anyone who has a problem with this place's appearance, hygiene or number of employees (wft??) must not go to very interesting restaurants. As someone who gets most excited eating street food straight out of the gutter on the other side of the world, I will definitely be back.

                                Taste Good
                                82-18 45th Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                                1. re: Puppimus

                                  Agreed. Taste Good feels like you just walked into a shop in KL. If it's too dirty for your delicate sensibilities you should stay away and leave room for people like me who love it.

                                  1. re: robertgoulet

                                    It couldn't be more dirty than DiFara's pizza!

                                  2. re: Puppimus

                                    I remember my ex said that people who eat at Taste Good must not have respect for themselves because he thought it was filthy. I confronted him about his idiotic comment and he reluctantly agreed to try it. It became his favorite Malaysian restaurant.

                                  3. re: Gastronomicon

                                    It looks like I posted my meal report on Taste Good in another thread. I've been there a couple of times and thoroughly enjoyed both meals. Best Malaysian food I've had in New York, probably. In Manhattan, I like Laut, though it isn't really cheap. I also still go to Skyway at times, and it's usually good. I think they have gotten over their rough patch of inferior-quality shrimp.

                                    1. re: Gastronomicon

                                      @GAstronomicon: Hi, you seem to know about real Malaysian food, and I'm dying to find some in the NYC area! When I lived in China for a year (Sichuan), I got stuck into KL when my girlfriend lost her passport and Chinese work Visa, and fell in love with the country, primarily because the food simply blew me away, secondarily because Malaysia's people and mix of cultures were great: I could eat my way around the continent (and sub-continent) and visit an mosque, a Guan Yin temple and a Tamil Hindu temple in one day and it was all beautiful. Such a change from homogenized urban China (although Chengdu's Sichuan food, Hui minority foods and Tibetan foods are also amazing). So, this is a foolish question, but is it possible to find actual malay food in the NYC area? Some of my favorite food was not just KL and Penang, but the Kota Bahru night market (and KL's Kampung Baru, of course). Or what is the most "sort of authentic" place for malaysian/nonya food. Its a shame that previous reviewer would not fare very well abroad! Everyone knows you spit your bones on the floor or the table! And god forbid the wait staff eat near you, the nerve. Are they supposed to dine in the back alley somewhere? No wonder why nobody wanted to make eye contact, having to deal with subtly prejudiced and ignorant Americans all of the time. Anyways, any input for a malaysiaphile? Suka really pedas!

                                      1. re: jrom250

                                        I'll await Gastronomicon's answer, but my answer to you is one word: No. Or, to elaborate, there is one place where you might get genuine, and robustly spicy Malay food: The U.N. Delegate's Dining Room during a brief period when a chef is flown in from Malaysia (the last time I knew about it, from Johor) and Malaysian food is featured. But I think the U.N. Delegate's Dining Room is now closed to ordinary people, and anyway, that's in Manhattan.

                                        1. re: Pan

                                          Oh well. I'd just assume start saving for another trip to Malaysia. Much rather be there than Manhattan this time of year (or, really, most times of year). I've tried making a few things at home with some decent success (and abysmal failures) thanks to rasamalaysia.com. I noticed there aren't a whole lot of Malay people leaving Malaysia, so I guess if I want my rice blue, Taste Good isn't the place to go. I did venture out there last weekend...it was alright. The assam laksa was pretty good but missing the dark syrupy shrimp paste they give you in Malaysia, not quite as stunning and bright as in Malaysia. The roti canai was good but the accompanying curry was...I'll be nice. It wasn't good. It was kind of light yellow and pasty and nothing like what you'd get in Malaysia or even Penang restaurant. It was kinda sad. The ipoh coffee was decent, not the best. I'm assuming corners are being cut all around here. I guess the street food/kopitiam fare of Malaysia just doesn't transition to restaurants well. I didn't have this problem with all of the other foods from abroad that I tried in NYC.

                                          Taste Good
                                          82-18 45th Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                                          1. re: jrom250

                                            Malaysian street food transitions just fine to restaurants in London, just not here in New York.

                                      2. re: Gastronomicon

                                        Gastronomicon, I've been to Malaysia several times. But I don't have to travel anywhere to know Taste Good tastes like crap.

                                        Taste Good
                                        82-18 45th Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                                        1. re: milky_girl

                                          So where would you recommend for good Malaysian food in NYC? And if you think there's no good Malaysian food in NYC, let us know what's the next best thing.

                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                            To be bluntly honest, as far as Malaysian food in NY, the only dish at the only restaurant I like is the curry mee with young tau foo at the Manhattan location of Nyonya. I get it every time. (It's okay at the Brooklyn location too, but has a different flavor and different vegetables in it. Not that into it.) I like the roti canai too. It's tasty, but I don't eat it too often because it's fattening. Plus the Manhattan location is clean. I've been to the new Manhattan location as well as the old one on the other side of Grand Street many times over the past 15 years and tried all their dishes, but I just don't like anything else. Everything on the menu is meat, meat, meat of some kind or carbs, carbs, carbs! If you want a veg dish they run $10 - 15. I think that's too expensive for what it is. I'm not vegetarian by any means, but I'd rather have a healthy helping of vegetables with a small portion of meat. Vegetables seem more abundant in Malaysian cooking in Malaysia.

                                            And for what it's worth, I'm actually not American. But the last time I was at Nyonya, the customer next to me eating a crab "horked" loudly at the table and it was disgusting and offensive. I don't believe your dining experience has to be gross in order to be authentic.

                                            I'd be into trying a Malaysian restaurant anywhere in NYC that's cheap, clean and tasty, but so far no one has named one. I'll go anywhere. I don't have any issues about the boroughs.

                                            2322 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11214

                                    2. On another thread about Malasian restaurants, I posted that my Malasian hairdresser recommended Restaurant Malasia in Flushing. You can search that thread, and read the responses.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: foodforu

                                        I used to go to Restaurant Malaysia regularly. At a certain point, their bean sprouts just got too old and semi-rotten for me to want to continue. I hope they've remedied that problem - this was a few years ago.

                                      2. anyone try sentosa in flushing? my friend loves that place, but ive yet to go

                                        12 Replies
                                        1. re: Lau

                                          When Sentosa was on Allen St. in Chinatown, it was my go-to Malaysian restaurant and the best one I had gone to in New York at that time. Since they moved to a higher-customer-traffic location on Prince St. in Flushing, I went once and ordered a specifically chili-centered dish (Ayam Masak Cili, I think - chili chicken), telling the waitress that I lived in Malaysia for two years and to tell the kitchen that I'm a Malaysian and for them to make it REALLY spicy. It was not spicy at all, and I had to add chili sauce to it, which is not at all the same taste as cooking the chicken in chili sauce. When the waitress came by again several minutes later, I complained to her about there being absolutely no chili in the chili chicken, despite what I has asked her to tell the kitchen, and she reacted as if she didn't understand anything I was saying and I was just picking on her. The hostess (and I believe manager) recognized me as a regular from their Manhattan location and was very friendly, so I had a friendly chat with her and also told her why I wasn't planning on coming back. When they were on Allen St., they always made everything for me in a real Malaysian style, without any specific instructions from me at all. Moving to Prince St. in Flushing was an excellent business decision but not good for someone (or, perhaps, a white person?) who wants everything real. Caveat: This happened several years ago; however, my guess is that, if anything, things probably have gotten worse in this respect. I can only compare the way Spicy & Tasty, on the same block, and Little Pepper around the corner serve real ma-la Sichuan-style food to all comers (or, at any rate, to me when I go there) and wonder why the Sichuan-style places don't feel they have to water everything down for the "foreigners," while the Malaysian places, with few exceptions, make it impossible for clientele profiled on looks, despite whatever they say to the waitstaff, to get anything reasonable.

                                          I think I should say something about why I didn't simply send the chicken back, because that's arguably what I should have done. The restaurant was crowded, my waitress didn't come by again for several minutes, I was hungry, and it wasn't all that easy to get another waitress's attention for some chili sauce. Anyway, by that time, I had already decided that if this was what happened when I ordered a _chili_ dish, I wouldn't be coming back.

                                          1. re: Pan

                                            I tried skyway recently and even after sent back food to make it spicy it was bland.
                                            They were nice enough but food was disappointing.

                                            1. re: dec111

                                              I'm sorry to hear that. I actually have stopped going there, recently, but not because of a lack of spiciness: They were having problems with inconsistency, including overly old-tasting shrimps the last couple of times I went.

                                              1. re: Pan

                                                I went to Taste Good the other day and had a really nice dinner..

                                                1. re: Daniel76

                                                  Yeah, it's very good. What did you have?

                                                  1. re: Pan

                                                    I am happy that you know about this spot Pan.. I know of your love of Malaysian food and actually was excited to tell you about this place.. I remmeber you were the first to tell me about Skyway..

                                                    We did not order a lot of things but here are my notes

                                                    Sizzling bean curd was awesome!

                                                    "A sizzling plate of house made bean curd comes in a cast iron pan.. The border of the pan is lined with squares of bean curd, in the center is ground pork in a brown starchy sauce.. The bean curd is just fantastic. "

                                                    Another sensational item, were the fish cakes:

                                                    " A fish loaf made in house. It was perfectly fried.. Crispy, served with a sweet hot sauce. With all the things i want to come back and try on the menu, i think these will have to be reordered. "

                                                    Curry shrimp.. For 7 bucks.. large head on shrimp.. Makes you remmeber why head on shrimp are so superior..

                                                    "We ordered curry shrimp over rice. 6 Large head on shrimp that were sitting in a wonderful curry sauce.. Onions cut to mimic noodles. Head on shrimp in curry sauce.. Awesome. I think this plate was 7 bucks.. Good deal"

                                                    And finally: It took me to go to this restaurant where I enjoyed everything so much that I finally decided I will never like Hainanese chicken..

                                                    The Hainanese Chicken, which is the poached chicken that seems to be a favorite of everyone.. I am not a huge fan of chicken and don't really find a cold chicken to be particularly appetizing.. To it's credit, it was cooked perfectly. It reminded me almost of a sous vide chicken.. Every table in the restaurant had one on their table. Everyone really liked it, i "appreciated" it.

                                                    I am surprised no one has dedicated an entire thread to Taste Good.

                                                    1. re: Daniel76

                                                      ill have to try taste good, been meaning to try it for a long time

                                                      btw hainan chicken, i doubt you'll find a good version in the US every place people tout as being great hainan chicken is mediocre at best. If you're ever in singapore or malaysia, you have to try it there (with the rice) as you'll notice its a totally different dish when done correctly

                                                      1. re: Lau

                                                        Speaking of which.. The sell chicken oil rice for 1.50 a bowl.. Very good.

                                                        1. re: Daniel76

                                                          the rice in hainan chicken rice is probably more popular than the chicken itself

                                                          1. re: Lau

                                                            Taste Good's Hainanese Chicken is pretty good. Doesn't compare to hawker carts in KL, but it's worth a shot. Considerably better than the versions at Skyway, Sanur or New Malaysia.

                                                        2. re: Lau

                                                          Taste Good does Hainanese Chicken Rice (both the chicken and the rice) well. 'nuff said. I'm off there tonight!

                                                        3. re: Daniel76

                                                          Check out the reviews on yelp.com. And the pictures I've uploaded with the dishes both labeled and succinctly described.

                                                          Taste Good
                                                          82-18 45th Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                                            2. saw this pr campaign for Malaysian Food worldwide, with events/promotions happening specifically in NY, coming up:


                                              there is a PDF listing of "participating" restaurants; many places discussed on this thread.

                                              1. The best Malaysian place for years was Number One Delicious on Doyers, the hole-in-the-wall near the Bowery. It has changed hands several times and is now called Bogus (an unfortunately apt name). The New Malaysia in the Bowery Arcade has good Okra with Blachan and good Curry noodle soup with stuffed tofu. Nonya on Grand is generally a little bland, but the Ikan bilis is good (but too sweet) and the Braised duck with lotus seeds is wonderful. The best places on the whole these days are the two places on 40th Ave. Flushing, Curry Leaf and New Malay (I'm not sure about the name). Not much English is spoken (I read and write Chinese) but the food at both was excellent, especially the stinking beans with blachan (Petai--it will be hard to convince the waitress to serve them to you, but they are great), the eggs with bitter melon, the Lamb chops with coffee flavor, the Rojak, even the rendang, etc.
                                                I was a little disappointed in Taste Good on 45th Ave. It is more Malay and less Sino-Malay than the others, and that could be a good thing. But everything was OK, nothing was great, and everything seemed a tad "gringo-ized" to me. It is so often the kiss of death to any of these places when too many Caucasians start going there.

                                                Taste Good
                                                82-18 45th Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: swannee

                                                  "It is so often the kiss of death to any of these places when too many Caucasians start going there."

                                                  As a caucasian who's been going to Taste Good for several years, I humbly apologize for having ruined the place for everyone else.

                                                  However, in the world, can I make it up to you?

                                                  Taste Good
                                                  82-18 45th Ave, Queens, NY 11373