Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New Malaysia - Chinatown, NYC

We were out shopping at the 33rd St Macys in Midtown til pretty late a few weekends ago. By the time we actually left Macys, it was already 9pm or so. We still haven't had our dinner, so our choices were to either settle for some bad greasy pizza in some random shop nearby, head over to Koreatown, walk uptown to Times Square (decided that it's a bad idea, too many tourist on a Saturday night) or take the train downtown to Chinatown. No prize for guessing where we ended up :P

Of course we ended up in Chinatown! Both Kevin and I totally loveeeee going to Chinatown. The good combo of cheap and yummy food always works for us :D By the time we got to Chinatown, it was way past 9:30pm. Most of the shops on Canal St were already closing for the day but we knew that if we walked along the smaller winding streets, we could find many all nighters still open. It was pretty cool actually (maybe a tad bit foolish too) and kinda exciting to walk along the dark, quiet and narrow streets of Chinatown in the middle of the night. It was a way different feeling than walking amidst the hustle and bustle during the day. It felt as if we might run into some Chinatown triad gang around the corner :P While walking down Elizabeth St, we saw a sign that caught my attention immediately. New Malaysia Restaurant. Hmmm, I wonder if it's even open.

We looked down the long dodgy looking alley way and saw some lights at the end. I guess it must be open. Wonder if it's safe? The alley way looks kinda errr scary :P We decided that it should be safe, putting into consideration the that 5th Precinct Police Department was just located directly opposite this Chinatown Arcade place. Oh and for those of you wondering where exactly this is, it's actually on the same road, just a few shops down from the super famous Jing Fung (some say it has the best dimsum in the whole of Chinatown) restaurant.

Ahhh, the restaurant at last. Looks pretty decent. In fact, it looks more than decent. There were all kinds of awards/articles/write ups pasted on the window, raving about how good this restaurant was. Hmmm, looks like we might have stumbled upon a hidden gem! You could actually also enter the alley that leads to the restaurant from the other end, via the 46-48 Bowery St entrance. I later found out that there is a little bit of history behind this particular address. It was actually the site of the 18th century Bulls Head Tavern. It is said that it was George Washington's regular watering hole, back when he was living at 3 Cherry St. In 1826, the Bowery Theater (America's first gas lit theater) opened at this site and in 1827, the first ballet performance ever to be held in America was performed here. Cool, eh?

When we walked in, we were surprised to find it packed! Let me remind you that it was already almost 10pm and the place was still packed! We were pretty lucky to get a small table by the side, cos the people that walked in a few minutes after us had to wait for a table for quite some time. About 90% of the customers were Malaysians (well, maybe Singaporeans too, I don't know...but definitely from South East Asia). The other 10% were either friends or spouses of the Malaysian customers :P The decor also reminded me of a typical Malaysian eating place. No frills, nothing. Just tables and chairs packed close to each other and a counter at the front of the shop. You can also see them making drinks there, just like a regular Malaysian coffee shop.

When we got the menu, I took a quick glance at it and was pretty impressed to find all types of Malaysian dishes that we usually cannot find in other Malaysian restaurants. The price were pretty reasonable too. I saw things like Grilled Stingray in Banana Leaf, Curry Noodles with Duck Blood, Sabah Mee, Yam Ring...just to name a few. I also checked out the Claypot Curry Fish Head that the guys from the next table ordered. It looked sooooo good. I must try to gather a bigger group of people and return the next time around to order rice and dishes. Since it was just the two of us, we shared a Pataya Fried Chicken (6.95) and had a noodle dish each. The Pataya Fried Chicken is actually mamak style fried chicken. Chicken pieces marinated with turmeric and deep fried. It was so so so goooooood. It really tasted like it was served fresh out from a Malay stall or mamak. Very very nice.

No prize for guessing what Kevin ordered. Yup, of course the Char Koay Teow inspector must order his Char Koay Teow ($6.50). Depending on how good the Char Koay Teow is, that will be his benchmark in rating how good a particular Malaysian restaurant is :P The CKT here didn't look all that yummy, so I initially didn't even bother to try it. Kevin asked me to try a mouthful and wow! It was good! It doesn't look that great but it tasted so good. Really really authentic.
If Kevin is known as the CKT inspector, then I would be known as the Fish Head Noodles ($6.95) inspector. First off, I must say that the portion was huge! Not only that, there were lots of fish and salted vegetables in the soup. Yummmmy yummy stuff! The noodles didn't really stand out as extraordinary but it was good. Nice creamy soup with the the right amount of saltiness from the salted vegetables. Definitely on par with the Fish Head Noodles from Penang Restaurant (currently my fav place to go for fishhead noodles). I am really glad that we found this hidden gem, deep in the heart of Chinatown. Authentic Malaysian food, at a reasonable price. Will definitely return to try their rice and dishes. The only downside was that the service was really slow. Oh well, maybe they were having a bad day. Who knows. I guess we would have to return to find out.

New Malaysia - Chinatown, NYC
46-48 Bowery Street
Chinatown Arcade #28
New York, Ny 10013
Tel: (212) 964 0284/2257


ICook4Fun said...

We love the food here. Is a must eat for us when we visit NY.

Charlene n Kevin said...

Yeah, the food is pretty awesome! Have you been to Sanur? I heard that is the only Malaysian restaurant that sells those Nyonya type kuihs in NYC. Gotta try it one day.

ICook4Fun said...

Oh yea, it is not too far from this restaurant. They sell all kinds of kuehs and also 'chap fun' there. Try out their sambal ikan bilis and udang kering. They are good.

Charlene n Kevin said...

Ooooo sounds good. Must try one day!!