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Authentic Southeast Asian

Any recommendations for authentic Vietnamese (beyond pho), Thai (beyond pad), and/or Malay/Indonesian cuisine in Manhattan?

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  1. I am a fan of Cafe Asean (which stands for Assoc of Southeast Asian Nations). Their food seems to be a hybrid of Malaysian, Thai & Vietnamese. It's a cute little place on West 10th St between 6th Ave & Greenwich Ave.

    1. Skyway is the real stuff - Malaysian food and some Cantonese dishes (which are also authentic to Malaysia, because the Cantonese community is so big and well-established there).

      5 Replies
      1. re: Pan

        Pan, hi...i've recently been thinking of returning to Skyway...i went there once ages ago, and, despite a fairly good experience, hadn't thought about it much since...but after a recent yummy meal at New Malaysia, i'm thinking about doing some comparisons of Malaysian places in Manhattan...

        so, what are your fav things to eat at Skyway?...(my apology if i asked this a couple years ago when i first tried Skyway! -- i think i may have)...despite extensive time in Thailand and eleswhere in the region, i've never been to Malaysia and could use a Malaysian food primer...

        1. re: Simon

          Happy to give you one. To summarize, I recommend most anything made with fish or seafood, the belacan dishes, the nasi lemak, and the roti telur and roti canai. The satay is also quite creditable. If you want a noodle soup, the Java mee is my favorite lately, but I also like their curry mee with yong tau foo, and (probably around 9/10 of the time) their asam laksa.

          And now for a listing of some recommended items off their menupages menu:

          Appetizers:

          1. Roti Canai
          2. Roti Telur
          3. Pasembur
          5. Satay Chicken, Beef (both good; the beef is more juicy)
          10. Skyway Young Tofu (note: This is actually a soup that could be a whole meal, and different from the curry mee with yong tau foo only in not having noodles)
          13. Achat (I spell that "acar," but that means "pickle," and it really isn't very pickled, more a sweet/spicy/sesame pasty dish)
          14. Skyway Chicken Wings
          15. Spicy Crispy Squids (very crispy, a good "snack food" for a big banquet, but not highly recommended otherwise)

          Noodles In Soup:

          2. Asam Laksa
          8. Java Mee
          12. Curry Mee with young tau foo

          Rice Dishes:

          1. Nasi Lemak

          Poultry:

          1. Hainanese Chicken - good and iconic, but a bit undercooked for my taste, and I prefer:

          2. Spicy Thai Chicken

          and

          3. Ipoh Roast Chicken (bizarrely listed as "Iron Roast Chicken" on menupages)

          Vegetable:

          5. Kang Kung Belacan
          6. Shrimps With Ladies Fingers (=okra) Malaysian Style
          7. Shrimp with eggplant Malaysian style
          11. Petai In Malaysian Style (warning: petai is a very strong-tasting bean and affects your urine much more drastically than but in a similar way to asparagus)

          Seafood:

          14. Hot And Spicy Jumbo Prawns
          15. Jumbo Prawns In Thai Sauce
          16. Dried Curry Jumbo Prawns
          19. Crabs In Special Aromatic Flavor (the menupages menu says "its mouth watering," and it is!)
          22. Hot And Spicy Crabs

          House Special:

          12. Kari Assam Ikan Kepala Casserole (ungrammatical, but they mean "Sour [Malaysian tamarind-based] Curry Fish Head Casserole, and it's one of the best dishes on the menu)

          There are several other good specials, but I think that's the best. The Rendang is good if you aren't expecting Indonesian style. Any of the curries should be satisfying. The sambal dishes would all pack a wallop (or should).

          Don't get the rojak. It tastes strange, and not in a way I like.

          1. re: Pan

            awesome...thanks for the detailed recs...i'll go there very soon...i just returned home from Elektra at the NY Phil, and a tangy Malaysian feast would be the perfect followup to all the salacious violence of the opera, but alas, it'll prob have to wait til daylight...

            any idea how late Skyway is open?...the one time i went there ages ago, one of the things that put us off a bit was that they *blasted* techno at crazy volume, even though it was around noon and we were the only ones in the restaurant...it was odd...but it was also made me wonder whether they have a late-night scene or something there...

            1. re: Simon

              menupages says 11:30 AM - 11:30 PM. They don't usually blast anything.

              1. re: Pan

                A strong second on the Kari Assam Ikan Kepala (Fish Head) Casserole. It's been well over a year since I first had that dish, and I'm still savoring it. Another strong second on the "not blasting music" front; that strikes me as an aberration.

                Enjoy,
                P.

      2. there is no authentic Thai in Manhattan...period...

        though for Isaan (NE Thai), you might try Zaab City, but only for the Isaan dishes...

        2 Replies
        1. re: Simon

          The Laab at Toon;s is authentic as it gets. and the moo yang also is very good. Aroy mak. PS The owner Toon is a thai woman with good recipes, she tones things down for farang but ask for the real deal you'll get it. I also heard about a place on 52nd and 9th that Thai friends said was excellent .

          1. re: foodwhisperer

            Where's Toon's? Anything else you like there? (By the way, what are moo yang and aroy mak? I don't speak Thai or Lao.)

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