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Where do you go for Malaysian cuisine?

I'm looking for a good Malaysian place, any neighborhood and price range. Thanks!

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  1. Jaya
    90 Baxter
    Fatty Crab
    643 Hudson St, New York 10014
    (Btwn Horatio & Gansevoort St)
    ( I think there's one on the UWS as well)
    Cafe Asean
    117 W 10th St

    90 Baxter St, New York, NY 10013

    Cafe Asean
    117 W 10th St, New York, NY 10011

    Fatty Crab
    643 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

    Fatty Crab
    2170 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

    1 Reply
    1. re: italianagambino

      Surprising that in this thread, which even extends out to places in Brooklyn, that nobody has mentioned Taste Good out in Elmhurst, Queens. It's only a block away from the Elmhurst Ave station on the G, R and V lines and their Malaysian cuisine is spot on.

    2. For downscale, Skyway and New Malaysia are popular on this board. I prefer Skyway's atmosphere and seafood dishes.

      11 Allen St, New York, NY 10002

      1. I discovered that the owner of one of the local cheap Chinese places, Plump Dumpling (originally opened as a tastier knock off of Dumpling Man) is Malaysian. Although the other places mentioned are better and more exclusively Malaysian, the owner of Plump Dumpling is happy to make you anything "Malaysian style", including soup (laksa). It's a bargain and fits the bill if I get a hankering for Malaysian food and don't want to leave the neighborhood (East Village, at 11th st. and 2nd Ave.) I don't recommend everything on his regular Chinese menu, but the place has become a convenient, cheap, occasional guilty pleasure.

        Yummy Dumpling
        174 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

        4 Replies
        1. re: hungrycomposer

          That's really good to know. What other Malaysian dishes have you had there off-menu?

          1. re: D...DF

            It's normally just a stir fry with whatever ingredients I ask for. (The owner says "sure, Malaysian style - what do you want?") I haven't gone in and asked for nasi lemak, for example, but maybe if there's a demand for it.... And be warned: if you get regular noodle soup, you may wind up with a lot of noodles and a little soup. I always ask for chow fun (sometimes I ask twice to make sure).

            1. re: hungrycomposer

              Cool, I'll give it a shot. Thanks for the tip!

          2. re: hungrycomposer

            A whole lot of people who own or work in non-Malaysian Chinese restaurants are actually from Malaysia, especially Ipoh.

          3. Nyonya is the best I've had. Really popular place, but not in a bad way. Great place for just a couple people to a large group. Check out Menupages to see their menu, it's pretty extensive.

            199 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

            1. I second Nyonya. One of my favorite unique dishes is Braised Duck With Lotus Seed. Like the others listed (Skyway, New Malaysia), it's very reasonably priced.

              1. Skyway is the best Malaysian restaurant I've experienced in New York. Like D...DF said, their seafood dishes are delicious. I also like their noodle soups, beef satay, achat (which I'd call acar), kangkung belacan, nasi lemak, Ipoh chicken, and Skyway chicken wings.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Pan

                  can you describe the wings? battered? wet? comparable to any others?

                  1. re: bigjeff

                    They're wrapped with pandan leaves. They have no batter on them but are marinated in a tasty sauce and I would think flash-fried.

                2. How does Skyway compare to TasteGood in Queens? Worth making the trip?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: erica

                    Nyonya in Manhattan and Taste Good in Queens.

                    1. re: salvati

                      I decided a long time ago that Skyway was superior to Nyonya. But since I stopped going to Nyonya several years ago, I can't exclude that they improved substantially since then.

                      I have not been to Taste Good.

                  2. Nyonya!! Yummy. I'm drooling just thinking about it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: iloveguacamole

                      NYONYA, definitely. Liked it better than Skyway, although both are good.

                    2. I also like Sanur on Doyer street.

                      18 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

                      1. Nyonya has been the go to place for all my friends who were missing a taste from home. I've never been blown away, but the cold chicken over sticky rice was always good.

                        1. went to New Malaysia over the weekend; absolutely jam-packed on a saturday but, the meal was pretty good!

                          nasi lemak was a plate with somewhat dryish coconut rice, generous serving of curried chicken, a nice pile of the dried fish/onion slurry, some cukes, peanuts, hard boiled egg, a splash of sambal . . . pretty good, simple, basic.

                          ordered achat which was the pickled veg splashed with their peanut sauce (not a smooth ground sauce like satay, but a chopped peanut "dressing", pretty good. the carrot pickle was real nice.

                          this was a "nightcap" to some really bad vietnamese that we ate earlier (Pho So 1, bad), hence, the small order. but we did see plenty of people chowing down on plates of chili crab, whole fish, lots of roti canai (they do the small scallion pancake-like version). the place really really smells tho so be prepared for a fine suspension of asian grease in the air.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: bigjeff

                            Thanks for the review. I've been having Chinese and Korean cuisines more lately, but I guess I really need to give New Malaysia another shot after having some disappointing experiences of inconsistency at Skyway lately.

                            1. re: bigjeff

                              New Malaysia has always been my favorite since they first opened, about half the size of their current space until they took over next door and knocked down the walls to expand. I do miss the takeout window for their shaved ice. They have the best belachan hot sauce.

                              1. re: bigjeff

                                I am not Malaysian so I have no way of judging what's authentic and what's not... but I have always liked New Malaysia too... (Although I know a Malaysian friend who thinks their food is not authentic.. but I still keep going back.... ha!)

                                Does anyone like Penang on Elizabeth street? I go there sometimes because it's less crowded and they serve Dungeness Crabs. I think overall New Malaysia is a little better though..

                                41 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

                                1. re: bigjeff

                                  damn . . . . New Malaysia totally sucks! just had a meal there and it really disappointed; I hate to use the word downhill alert because . . . I think it's a little corny but let's just say, the food was way worse than all previous meals I've had there.

                                  + roti canai (2)
                                  + asam laksa
                                  + combo plate (beef stew, hainan chicken, fried egg)

                                  first of all, prices were up at least $0.75 or $1.00 from before while plates (and portions) shrunk; what a magical feat! Granted, our meal was still about $20 but that is too much. roti canai was $3.25! which is a crime; for a flat disc very scallion-pancake-like; what happened to the big thin crispy architectural roti of yore???!! the combo plate was really paltry; 4 pathetic pieces of hainan chicken (dry, wimpy) and the beef brisket stew, which is in the same curry as their roti canai curry (that was good); 4 pieces on the plate, two big potatoes, and two fatty pieces of meat. I mean, I liked it, but there really was no substance on the plate and previously, I've had much better food.

                                  the asam laksa was the laugher; so bad compared to Laut's, which I still hold as the best. this asam laksa tasted like it came from a glass jar, a la Ragu pre-made; the minced fish in this case was liked tinned mackerel; one dimensional heat, one dimensional sourness; poor balance of textures (overcooked rice noodle strands, vegetables cut too thick to be put in raw) and overall, just bad.

                                  I'm so disappointed! I can no longer depend on this place and what's even more of a shame, isn't this still Malaysian Food Month or something like that? Overall, at least for Chinatown, Malaysian food is really poorly represented. How do I know that? We left our meal and walked around, ending up at Skyway and ordered the roti canai and roti telur there, just to, I dunno, try to salvage the experience. Same style of pancake except the roti telur was . . . . alright. soggy, since it was laden with vegetables. not that good; but the roti canai was stil $1.95. the problem came with the weak weak chicken curry at skyway, which was thin (if you can believe that) and basically tasted like soy sauce. the chicken was tough, which is really hard to accomplish in a curry. I was even afraid to order any desserts from these places because I had a feeling that . . . they wouldn't be good.

                                  someone please direct me to a good, cheap place for Malaysian in Chinatown!! We passed Jaya; in light of this night of bad meals, maybe we should have just gone there instead. Or, went to Yummy Noodle next door to New Malaysia to taste-test the bo-zai-fan (against A-Wah's). next time, next time.

                                  Yummy Noodles
                                  48 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

                                  New Malaysia
                                  48 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

                                  15 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

                                  5 Catherine St, New York, NY 10038

                                2. Malaysia Grill on 104th btw Broadway and Amsterdam is really good quality and quite cheap

                                  Malaysia Grill
                                  224 W 104th St, New York, NY 10025

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: qwertyu

                                    How spicy is it, and what do you like there? Due to experience, I'm inherently very skeptical of Malaysian restaurants in primarily non-Asian neighborhoods.

                                  2. Nyonya is my favorite, as well. Try the whole red snapper with Thai sauce, pearl noodles, hainanese chicken over rice, the curried chicken with rice, and DEFINITELY order the chendol with your dinner: it's the best part of eating Malaysian food.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: Travels4Food

                                      I'm sorry, but Nyonya is not real Malaysian food. I almost posted that it sucks, which would be excessive. But if a customer can't get anything vaguely like real Malaysian food after telling the waitress he wants the Kangkung Belacan to be VERY SPICY and have PLENTY of belacan in it, and to tell the kitchen that his table is Malaysian, it's a lost cause. I'd highly recommend for anyone who wants to get food with real Malaysian taste to AVOID Nyonya!

                                      1. re: Pan

                                        You've aired this specific gripe before. As a counterbalance, I find that most everyone I have been there with (including a Malaysian couple) really like the food at Nyonya a lot. So, if you're not fixated on having Kangkung Belacan with lots of belacan in it, Nyonya is worth a visit.

                                        1. re: drmoze

                                          That wasn't my only complaint about my meal, and even while providing counterbalance, as you see it, you'd probably agree that not every opinion needs balance, and some places simply aren't good, etc. But for the record, I never said that no-one could like the food at Nyonya or that it's impossible to get a good meal there. I only said that it's not really Malaysian:

                                          "Yes, you can undoubtedly have a good meal there, if you get the right waitress or whatever, or if you don't know how the dishes are really supposed to taste or don't care. But Malaysian? Not really."


                                          I went to Laut last night and had a better experience, so I'd suggest that it is worth checking them out for a more real Malaysian taste - for now. I'm by no means sure what their food will be like in the future, though, and it surprises me to find a rather genuine Malaysian restaurant (even if with an only partly Malaysian menu) in a majority non-Asian area, in the first place. Restaurants are businesses and have no choice but to cater to their clientele or go out of business. And that's the basic problem of Malaysian food in New York today, it seems to me, though things are better than they were 15, 20 years ago.

                                        2. re: Pan

                                          I'm Malaysian too, but I didn't think Nyonya wasn't "real" Malaysian food. I did think it was more Nyonya-style than, say, KL style, but that wasn't a surprise to me, given its name. I was impressed when I asked for green mango to be included in the rojak appetizer, and it arrived totally fishy and smelly, just as I'd been craving.

                                          I'd been to Laut a few times but found the prices and menu better at Nyonya than at Laut. The ambiance and service is probably better at Laut, though, if you're looking for something a little less greasy-spoon-like.

                                          Stay away from the cendol at Nyonya, though. That was a real disappointment: too much ice, no gula melaka (some kind of insipid brown syrup instead). It tasted more like an imitation of ABC instead of cendol. Highly recommend the (very sweet, very strong) iced coffee, especially as the summer progresses.

                                          1. re: cdnexpat

                                            cdnexpat, where the good cendol at?

                                            1. re: bigjeff

                                              I don't know, yet -- but am very excited about a place I just tried today called Redang Island: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/530291. It's all the way in Brooklyn, near Sunset Park, but my first meal was exactly the authentic experience I'd been craving. I'll try the cendol and get back to you!

                                            2. re: cdnexpat

                                              I'm not Malaysian, just an American who lived in Malaysia for 2 years of childhood in the 70s and returned for a 4 1/2 week trip in 2003. It may or may not be part of the "problem" that I am American and therefore may get typecast for looks, regardless of what I say to the waitstaff.

                                              1. re: Pan

                                                That's entirely possible (and regrettable). FWIW, I don't look Malaysian, although I was born there and lived there until I was 16. Heck, I get that treatment you're talking about from Chinese waitstaff ALL the time, who think I both am not Chinese and can't speak Chinese. Funny what happens when I reveal that they're wrong on both counts... I blame it on the curly hair.

                                        3. went to singapore cafe only to have dessert, the ABC was good, but the cendol with ice was before. any recs for particularly good malaysian (or other SE asian) ice desserts? went to jobee to find shave ice but it was closed for a private event.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: bigjeff

                                            I like the Halo Halo at Elvie's Turo Turo. Not sure if Filipino qualifies.

                                            1. re: D...DF

                                              It doesn't, exactly, but I will say that some of the things I've had at Elvie's (such as the simple dishes with lots of vegetables) are more similar to what I used to eat in Terengganu (things like "Sayur" as a dish and not simply a generic word for "vegetables"), on the East Coast of Malaysia (and therefore closer to the Philippines than the West Coast is) than the West-Coast food which is always served at every Malaysian restaurant I've ever been to in New York. Things have changed a great deal in Terengganu since the 1970s, though.

                                            2. I was not blown away by Skyway. I go to the Brooklyn Nyonya all the time. For a while I thought the Chinatown Nyonya had slipped, but a group of us had a fabulous meal there recently, so I think they've gotten their groove back. So, for food and atmosphere I'd go with Nyonya. This was the first time I had their stingray with lemongrass dish--it was great.


                                              1. A question for people familiar with Malaysian food: is asam laksa supposed to be very spicy? I just had my first bowl of it at Nyonya. The server cautioned me that it was sour (good), and fishy (even better), and very hot (fine by me) and authentic (which is why I'm ordering it, jeez). I liked it, but it wasn't particularly spicy. And I'm also curious what fish is used in asam laksa, 'cause it seemed to be sardines. Is this possible? The downside to the dish, other than its not-spiciness, was that the rice noodles got very mushy during the 10ish minutes it took me to eat it. Mushy rice noodles are not very appealing.

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: small h

                                                  The noodles should be al dente and the broth should be quite spicy, like most Malaysian food. Nyonya is neither very good nor very authentic.

                                                  1. re: Pan

                                                    Thanks. The noodles started out al dente, but they didn't stay that way. Where in Manhattan have you had a good version of asam laksa? I'd like to try it again.

                                                    1. re: small h

                                                      As a former fan of Nyonya who has over the years seen their menu deteriorate into bad tourist fare pretty much like the rest of the neighborhood,I would like to suggest New Malaysian in China town.
                                                      Their Asam Laksa is strong,pungent and quite fiery if requested. The noodles are always firm even after sitting the hot broth and I like that they actually add pineapple unlike some other places I've ordered it. The basic recipe calls for mackerel but it appears to be a larger anchovy of some sort.
                                                      Pan has recommended Skyway in this and other treads and I can't wait to try their Laksa.

                                                      New Malaysia
                                                      48 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

                                                      1. re: Duppie

                                                        Much obliged. I will check out New Malaysia. The fish might well have been a big anchovy, come to think of it. I've been to Skyway and Overseas Asian, but not in several years.

                                                        1. re: small h

                                                          While too much for two diners, I am also crazy for their fish head curry which will all but demand an extra order of rice. Give it a shot if you can.

                                                        2. re: Duppie

                                                          Skyway's laksa is tasty, and the fish is fresh-tasting most of the time, but the noodles are sometimes too soft.

                                                          By the way, I thought Nyonya made solid, dependable food, once upon a time, so I qualify as a former fan, too.

                                                          1. re: Pan

                                                            I've been around long enough to remember when not only Nyonya but Jaya was actually decent and would wait in line for their Roti,rendangs and belancans. No more.

                                                            Jaya Restaurant
                                                            79 Audubon Ave, New York, NY 10032

                                                  2. Nonya is great--but not for real Malaysian food. I agree that anything with blachan and chili is definitely toned down, even if ordered by Chinese or Malaysian customers. The Sino-Malay dishes like the Duck with lotus seeds is wonderful as are some of the fancy fish and shrimp dishes, the roti canai (actually Indian inspired) and many of the noodles. I think the best Malaysian food I have had recently is at Curry Leaf and Malay Foods, both on 40th St. Flushing. Nonya is however a much better place to take new-comers to. Skyway has gone downhill in my experience; New Malaysia (in the Chinatown Arcade) has some great dishes--this is the place to get kangkung with blachan and chili, or okra (called ladyfingers)--but is very uneven.

                                                    New Malaysia
                                                    48 Bowery, New York, NY 10013