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Feb 10, 2009 01:16 PM

Malaysian at Laut?

Since Franklin Station closed in Tribeca, i'm at a loss for good Laksa and authentic Malaysian food. Someone recommended Laut on 17th st. ,, I looked at the menu and it says malaysian /thai. I assume they mixed both cuisines as thai will get them more business. However, my question is , is the Malaysian there good and is it authentic? I want to take someone who spends half the year in Malaysia there.

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  1. Hey there - I can't speak for Laut (never been there myself) but I was born in Malaysia and haven't stopped eating it since... the best I would say is Nonya in Little Italy. They have great prices, always busy, and I always leave with a full belly.

    Hope this helps!

    14 Replies
    1. re: GirlFoodieNYC

      Maybe I should try Nyonya again. What do you particularly like there? Also, what other Malaysian restaurants have you been to in Manhattan, and what are your comments about them?

      1. re: Pan

        Hey Pan - I got the Rotai Canai, the Chow Keuh Teow, the Hokkien Mee, Nasi Lemak, and the Hainanese Chicken Rice.. alll great! I have been to a few others in the city but I can never remember the names or the food! Not impressive..

        1. re: GirlFoodieNYC

          Is Skyway one of the places you've been to? By the way, where were you born and how old were you when you came to the U.S.? I lived in a kampung in Terengganu for most of Standard 5 and 6 and also lived in KL for a month at the beginning of my stay and a few other shorter trips to there and several other places. That was back in the 70s. I finally returned for a 4 1/2 week visit in 2003.

          1. re: Pan

            I don't think I've been to Skyway.

            I was born in Penang but my mother's side of the family is from Ipoh so I've spent a lot of time in both. I moved here when I was one but with once a year pilgrimages back to Malaysia.

            1. re: GirlFoodieNYC

              Wow, Penang and Ipoh. Sedap sangat! :-)

              I like Skyway and have repeatedly recommended it. As a matter of fact, I had dinner there today and yesterday. Today was asam laksa, which I enjoyed, but I have to say, their nasi lemak yesterday had very dry, overcooked chicken, so that's an inconsistent item there. If you go there, try their seafood dishes in particular and see what you think.

              1. re: Pan

                how's the nasi lemak at skyway? and, any other specific recs?

                also, any preferences for various malaysian or SE asian ice desserts?

                also, does anyone remember that great series of posts that I think silverjay (maybe someone else) did on eating malaysian in nyc? that person hit up the same 3 or 4 dishes at all the spots in manhattan at the time (around 2007 maybe); was looking for those threads, it was so good!

                1. re: bigjeff

                  I wouldn't recommend the nasi lemak at Skyway anymore. The chicken curry that's part of the dish has been too dry. Actually, I've concluded that Skyway has gone downhill some and am now figuring on making more visits to Laut.

                  I have never liked ABC/Ais Kacang, and never loved Cendol, though it can be OK. The only Malaysian shaved-ice dessert I really like is Sago-Gula Melaka, and I don't know of anyplace in New York where you can get that!

      2. re: GirlFoodieNYC

        I went to Laut with a friend from Malaysia. The food was exceptional. They had Thai food as well. We mostly had only the Malaysian dishes. The only Thai was the fish cakes. They were home made and better than even the popular queens thai restaurant .
        The chicken was delicious. The laksa was a little different than i;ve had before but very good. They had pineapple i the laksa and gave us shrimp paste on the side. If they know you are from Malaysia or know about Malaysian food, you'll get things like the shrimp paste, the chicken soup with the chicken dish. Dessert was coconut rice steamed in banana leaf. The chef and most staff are from Malaysia not Thai.The place is great

        1. re: foodwhisperer

          I did a little research, so to save someone else a little time, the place is at 15 E. 17th St., between Broadway and 5th.

          1. re: foodwhisperer

            cool...i'll try you they have a bar there that you can eat it?

            1. re: foodwhisperer

              My girlfriend and I went to Laut tonight. Service was very nice, the staff is Malay-speaking (fun but not essential), and the food was good and tasted right. We got Ikan Asam Pedas, made with skate; Kangkung Belacan; and Pulut Hitam for dessert. The kangkung had a good shrimpy taste and was more or less moderately hot. The fish had a very good taste and was slightly hot. We were given some cili padi (birdseye chilis) to add. I'd like it better if the dishes were simply made with uniform spiciness, but they did have the right taste. The pulut hitam came unmixed but ended up being the best I've had in New York, with a very nice coconut creaminess. I won't say that the food was great, but I will say that it was satisfying and good, and I will be back.

              One tangential comment: The sound track was funny; I felt like I was in a dance club the whole time. :-)

              To sum up, it's a good experience, I recommend it, and I hope that the new addition of sushi that our waitress told us they were inaugurating doesn't end up being the start of a decline in the realness of their Malaysian food. I'm guardedly hopeful.

              1. re: Pan

                maybe this is the malaysian food revolution needed; e.g., looked at menupages and nasi lemak is $12 vs the usually $5 or $6 at most c-town/queens places; maybe malaysian food has just fallen into this rut of budget ethnic meals and not something that you can actually pay $30 a head for and not feel like you overpaid and it was worth it for some elevated form of the cuisine. or, that rents in chelsea are simply more expensive than elsewhere. either way, will check it out. a stretch to call this the rhong-tiam of malaysian food?

                1. re: bigjeff

                  Check it out Big Jeff. i went there with a friend from Malaysia,,,if they know you know Malaysian food they will make it exactly how you expect it to be. They also offer thai food , which i dont recommend except the Tod mon Pla ( fish cakes ) are excellent, really excellent,,,) The people arent thai there, they are Malaysian. If you want a bargain you wont get it ,,but if you want good food you will get that . I went to Malaysian Cafe on UWS for an inexpensive meal of this type ,,,not even close ,,not authentic ,,, I'd rather pay triple for good food. Every dish is good at Laut

                  1. re: bigjeff

                    Jeff, dinner there wasn't expensive. For two dishes plus pulut hitam, the bill was a little over $40 - for two people.

            2. just curious - if this person spends half the year there, why do they want malaysian food here? i see this often .. people will have visitors from country x, and want to eat x-ian food with them. never quite get it..... did they request this?
              not judging, just asking,,,,,

              1 Reply
              1. re: thew

                Thew, when you spend alot of time in a country and you like the food. Sometimes you miss it. But when you do miss it and you find a place that has it , you want it to be good.
                Laut is good. We get cravings for things we know. Right now I could go for a falafel.

              2. Laut's pretty good but I haven't tried a lot of their dishes. I really liked their Nasi Lemak and Roti Canai but it's not my go-to Malaysian restaurant (I too grew up in Malaysia). I second Nyonya. Love the Asam Laksa, Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, Char Kueh Teow, Yong Tao Foo, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Crispy Golden Fried Squid... I could go on and on!! I don't care so much for the Indian Mee Goreng

                1. ate here last night; finally! and was very very happy. we ordered the asam laksa, the nasi lemak, and the okra with belacan; our waitress later commented that we ordered the most malysian of the offerings; the menu is definitely . . . . . and I'm being generous with the word . . . expansive. more like confusing, what with the sushi bar and crap, but, they pretty much fuse thai and malaysian even tho the place is really a malaysian joint (at least all the staff and such are, malaysian-chinese folks).

                  the nasi lemak was great; all of the components very good (the ikan bilis was exceptional, such hard-fried anchovies!) while the chicken curry was alright (they used white meat instead of bone-in dark meat); the rice was nice and overall, quite good. the achat/achar was a little limp tho.

                  the asam laksa was wonderful; very nice thick soup without heaviness, the combination of noodles, the fresh mint, the fish, the major sourness and all the flavors was wonderful. we didn't dump in the little dish of tamarind squid seasoning because the soup tasted fine without it; just an overall very very nice dish, if you like sour and pungency.

                  the okra with belacan was quite good; not spicy, and somehow, could use a shake of salt, but generous with seasonings, the okra was perfectly cooked and just delicious. there must have been a cumulative spice effect because by the end of the meal, there was actually some lingering heat on my tongue, even though I didn't see any chilis.

                  their dessert selection could use some shave ice! really wanted some cendol but they only had different variations of sticky rice desserts which we couldn't possibly eat after polishing off our 3 dishes (plus a side of hainan rice and malaysian ice coffee).

                  had absolutely no problems dropping $50 on this delightful meal for two and the place was quite low-key. almost no sidewalk/street presence but the place was pleasantly crowded so I hope they do well; they've been open for almost a year and the servers and staff were very nice; we got into conversations about food, travel, etc.. the menu looked like they had a lot of different salads which I would like to try next time, and they also serve a rojak off the menu if anyone is into that; our server said they can try to make any dish if anyone has some conception of a malaysian homestyle dish that they left off the menu.

                  thanks everyone for the recommendations to this place; really enjoyed the meal.

                  1. After Penang closed, I've been going to Sentosa on Prince Street in Flushing. The prices are very affordable, easy to get there by LIRR and 7 train and the food is fairly authentic, especially the asam laksa and other noodle dishes. I particularly like the curry mee and the char kway teow and the seafood scramble egg chow fun. The beef rendang tastes like my Mom's. Start with the roti canai and a bowl of hainanese rice to sop up the curry. Some of the rice dishes come out in a ridiculous looking pineapple boat for the tourists but don't let that throw you off. I think the restaurant is Michelin-recommended.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: suelynyeoh

                      roti so good, mee hoon goring boring, not a trace of shrimp paste

                      1. re: suelynyeoh

                        have you eaten at laut yet? what other places do you like for malaysian, in manhattan or maybe elmhurst?