Dear Food Diary:
In honor of Malaysian week, I’m giving one of my all time favorite Malaysian places a shout out, after all, this is where my love of Malaysian flavors started. 10 years ago, when I first moved to NY, they were still at their original Grand St. location (across the street from current). Less fancy, bigger portions and a lot cheaper. Nowadays, they’ve gone the other direction, but thankfully flavors remain untarnished. Here are my 3 all time must order dishes:
Crispy Golden Fried Squid comes packed with flavor. It has a crunchy coconutty flavor on the coating holding the tender squid. After being fried, they are stir fried with chilies and garlic in addictively sweet and spicy dry sauce. Then dip it in a tangy hot sauce before popping them in your mouth. Add to that pieces of sweet pepper, onions and you’ve got a mouthful of textures and flavors, the red onion really makes it sing. This puts any fried calamari, squid dish to shame.
Fried Pearl Noodle comes with shrimp, squid, chicken, pork, egg, onion, scallions and bean sprouts, in a sweet soy base sauce, which they call “special sauce”. The best part are the pearl noodles, each glossy strand is plump and irresistibly chewy. The texture is amazingly toothsome and the stir fried wok flavor adds another layer. Had them at other places and it’s just never the same or as good. For these, I would kiss rice goodbye and stay with pearl noodles forever, ok… maybe not, but I do love them.
Kang Kung Belacan is what veggies should taste like, the hell with boring salads. The convolus, aka chinese vegetable with a hole in the middle, is sauteed with a spicy Malaysian shrimp paste. It’s a little fishy, in the best way possible, pungent and super flavorful. A little salty and spicy. It goes really well with rice or just by the chopstick full like I do. I can probably eat a whole plate by myself.
I also crave their Homemade Roti Canai (indian pancake) in a curry chicken dipping sauce, super crispy and slightly sweet is also a must. Any whole fish is a great bet, and you can’t go wrong with Sizzling Nyonya Tofu, delicately soft tofu is coated with a egg and tossed in a Chef’s special sauce on a sizzling plate. Warmness in every bite. I like having everything with their Coconut or Chicken Broth Rice (in chinese is called “oily” rice) which uses the essence of their Hainanese Chicken, also a great choice for its tender and juicy meat and finger licken’ good special soy garlic dipping sauce and hot sauce. Wash it all down with a Fresh Coconut Drink.
P.S. Chubby’s RATING:
199 Grand St (Chinatown)