Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Better Malaysian Food in New York

Duck thigh noodles (ngap tui mee) at Overseas Restaurant, Manhattan by Steven

Living in New York City, there are no shortages of Malaysian restaurants. Nyonya, Penang, Jaya, Sanur and even Singapore Cafe (yeah, even THAT is Malaysian) comes to mind. They serve the average fare: Nasi lemak, assam laksa, poh piah, roti canai and the lot. They are all standard but in search of kuih, a friend introduced me to Overseas on Canal and Ludlow. There, I was brought back to my childhood with their duck thigh noodles and kuih!

As the child of foodies, my parents' idea of a fun Saturday excursion was to drive 4 hours North to the town of Bidor for duck thigh noodles ("ngap tui" mee). Bidor is a former tin-mining town tucked in between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh. There was only one establishment that you'd want to go to, and I cannot remember the name of it, though it is still there today if you were to venture to this sleepy town. It is on the corner lot of a row of colonial townhouses, with cement washed floors and plastic stools. You'd order the cold, barley lemon drink and a bowl of steaming "ngap tui" mee. While waiting for your food to be delivered, you'll peruse the "snacks" aisle, as a portion of the restaurant also doubles as a convenience store of sorts for local snacks like dried cuttlefish, "kai jai peng" (chicken biscuits) and flakey sweet pastries flavored by burnt coconut husks used to flame the fire.

Kuih by Steven

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