Where to Get Singaporean and Malaysian Food in NYC
By now, you’ve hopefully seen the movie everyone’s talking about—Crazy Rich Asians—and if you’re like us, after you finished swooning over the love story, the fashion and Awkwafina’s every joke, you felt…hungry. Yep, between the bustling night market and the lavish dinner parties, the movie’s food scenes majorly ignited our appetites.
Until we can explore those famous hawker stalls in person, we’ll be tiding ourselves over with the NYC’s best edible exports from Singapore and its archipelago neighbor, Malaysia (with which the island shares some culinary influences). Forget a massive engagement ring—the key to our hearts is a bowl of laksa.
Taste Good Malaysian Cuisine
The name of this Elmhurst institution (it’s been around since the ’90s) doesn’t steer you wrong. Don’t miss the roti canai (a buttery, doughy flatbread served with curry for dipping) and Singapore kari laksa, a spicy, coconut-based soup loaded up with noodles and seafood.
82-18 45th Ave., Queens; 718-898-8001
This recently relocated Malaysian coffeehouse focuses on Nyonya cuisine, or the eclectic food of the Straits-born Chinese (and chef Kyo Pang’s heritage). Here, that translates to comforting, all-day eats like thick-cut toast with pandan coconut jam, a fried oyster omelet and Penang-style peanut-sesame muah chee (a rice-cake relative of mochi, served hot and gooey).
151 East Broadway; kopitiamnyc.com
Nearby, this popular spot also focuses on its eponymous culinary tradition. Highlights include chow kueh teow (spicy, stir-fried flat rice noodles), prawn mee (a savory noodle soup with shrimp and water spinach) and Malaysian-style spareribs.
199 Grand St.; ilovenyonya.com
Hidden inside an arcade tunnel, this Chinatown staple is well worth seeking out for its family-style fare, including Hainanese chicken (a simple but soul-warming dish seasoned with ginger and scallions) and kang-kong (water spinach fried with chili and shrimp paste).
48 Bowery; 212-964-0284
You’ll find Thai and Vietnamese menu items here, too, but don’t let that throw you off: the Malaysian offerings are the real deal. Don’t miss the lemongrass-and-cumin-marinated chicken satay and rendang nasi lemak (a fragrant coconut rice that happens to be Malaysia’s national dish).
174 Second Ave.; lovemamanyc.com
Focusing on both Malaysian and French food (the name means “with spices”), this cozy husband-and-wife-run spot makes us wish we lived in the neighborhood, so we could eat ikan penggang (grilled fish on banana leaf) and lamb rendang (simmered with coconut, galangal and curry spices) anytime we want.
121 Baxter St.; auxepices.com
Bugis Street Brasserie and Bar
Who’d have guessed you could find a handful of Singaporean specialties in Times Square, of all places? Ignore the tourist-targeted pan-Asian and American sections of the menu and hone in on dishes like Singapore curry chicken and mee goreng (spicy fried noodles).
145 W. 44th St.; millenniumhotels.com
You’ll find both sweet and savory items at this counter-service spot, but we have to give a special shout-out to the desserts—specifically apam balik, a folded pancake that’s a popular street food in Malaysia. The ones here are thin and crispy, served with the traditional combo of crushed peanuts, butter and sugar, or other delicious fillings like pumpkin and ube.
64A Bayard St.; 646-649-4921