Lunch with my friend Gerry is always a treat and since I picked the place last time….Gerry took the reigns and introduced me to a cuisine I have never eaten before… Malaysian food. So with an address in hand I biked over the Manhattan Bridge and descended onto the bustling Bowery ready to eat. Gerry is a big fan of Asian cuisine so I leapt at the opportunity to try something new (I know my Chinese and Japanese food but everything else? completely foreign!).
For those unfamiliar with Malay cuisine here is what I learned: it bears many similarities to Indonesian cuisine, and has been influenced by Chinese, Indian, Thai and many other cultures throughout history, producing a distinct cuisine all their own! Gerry told me it would be spicy but not overwhelming and I was counting down the minutes till I could eat!
New Malaysia is very secluded, I had the address in hand but I didn’t realize I had to go inside a mall/tunnel to find it! When you walk inside it doesn’t seem like anything special but as soon as you see the dishes surrounding you at every table you know you are in good hands. But the food doesn’t just look great, it tastes great! But I was new to this cuisine so Gerry ordered for the both of us!!!
Even though I didn’t take a deep hard look at the menu I noticed how affordable everything was! I mean a whole fish costs just $15! The portions are decent, and I would suggest going with at least a few people and sharing a variety of dishes. I had Gerry to guide me but if you need any help with ordering, the waiters are quick to help you out!
So anyways on my culinary journey to Malaysia, Gerry introduced me to the following:
Indian Pancake with Chicken Curry
You all know roti…this crispy thin bread comes out piping hot but the curry that came with it!? omg. i need this on everything I eat!!!! Even after the roti had gone, I was using my fork, my finger, anything I could to get the last bits of this spicy dip!
*Baby Oyster Omelet*
Thank God I had Gerry order for me because I would have NEVER ordered this! Eggs and oysters? Not my first choice, not even my tenth choice! But once I took a bite, it was all downhill and I attacked it like it was the last omelette in the world! I can’t have an omelette without cheese but this was absolute perfection with just a few eggs and a whole lot of oysters (and a few spices)!
Again another dish I would never order, but I knew Gerry would not steer me wrong. Sambal is basically a chili based sauce that is then sauteed with a variety of vegetables and proteins. This specific sambal came with giant squid bodies and tender pepper and onions. Accompanied by rice this dish was a revelation… very light, mildly spicy and intoxicatingly fragrant. I loved every bite but focused most of my attention on the oyster omelette!
We spent $17 bucks each and I could barely get my butt over the steepest hill of the Manhattan Bridge! New Malaysia is legit…. the restaurant is great because it isn’t a quasi ethnic theme food restaurant, I mean the place was filled with Malaysians so you know it’s been vetted! New Malaysia is cheap and the food is great. I highly recommend bringing out-of-town friends since its location is kind of hidden… I am sure any visitor (or resident) would love thinking they know about a secret underground place!
New Malaysia Restaurant
48 Bowery (between Bayard and Canal) *in the Chinatown Arcade