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Nyonya Review with Photos and Question


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Nyonya Review with Photos and Question

foodmonk | May 2, 2007 06:40 AM

"National Foodmonk Week of Malaysian Restaurants" continues ...

I visited New Malaysia in the Chinatown Arcade on Sunday:

On Monday I went to Nyonya at 194 Grand, between Mott St. and Mulberry. I realize that these places are old stomping grounds for some folks here, but this is the first time that I have been to any of them and I was rather excited to try them out.

So, here is the review.

After eating in New Malaysia on Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised with the decor and ambience of Nyonya. New Malaysia certainly wasn't bad -- just basic -- but it seemed like the Nyonya folks put a bit more attention and effort into the interior. Nice wood paneling, comfortable seating, fish tanks with live fish, etc. Also, there was plenty of leg-room, which is also nice.

Service was pretty good. The place was packed to bursting with hosts, waiters and bus people rushing to and fro. A teenager who worked there saw my new camera and came over to my table and asked me a bunch of questions about it. Everybody spoke English. I felt very comfortable.

Here is what I ordered:

* Roti canai
* Achat
* Nasi lemak

I thought I might order a dessert afterwards, but I was simply waaaaay too stuffed by the time I finished the nasi lemak to contemplate eating anything else.

The achat came to the table first. (This is the cold salad of pickled vegetables.) I think that this is my favorite thing that came with the meal. It was quite -- but not extremely -- spicy and came in a sugary red sauce with sesame seeds. I could have eaten it for days. In fact, they served me a portion that could easily have fed two people and I ate the whole thing.

A commenter on my previous post mentioned that the roti canai at New Malaysia were probably frozen and pre-packaged. I thought they were heavenly anyway. Oh, well. :) The roti at Nyonya were definitely a different beast. Instead of a flaky, thick round of dough, this one was a very thin, almost translucent sheet that was stretched out and crumpled on the plate. It was good, but definitely not as buttery as the New Malaysia version. It came with a small bowl of spicy curry sauce with some boiled potatoes floating in it. This was good, but at New Malaysia, the curry had a chunk of chicken in it and I think I might prefer the frozen, factory-made roti anyway. Eek.

The final course was the nasi lemak, something that a commenter on my first post suggested that I try. Another huuuuuge portion, with a large mound of rice that could probably serve three people. Seriously.

Apparently, "nasi lemak" refers to the rice itself, which is soaked in coconut milk before being steamed. To be honest, it tasted to me like ... steamed rice. Heh. I would order this again, though, because of the other stuff that came with it on the plate. This included another pile of achat, something that I presume was chicken rendang, some sliced cucumbers and eggs and ...

A small portion of sambal ikan bilis, a salad made out of tiny fried whole anchovies and onions and I think various other things.

As I mentioned above, there was so much food already that I was not able to order anything for dessert. Too bad.

I had a very nice dinner at Nyonya and the food was delicious. I don't know enough about Malaysian food to compare it in authenticity to what you might get elsewhere, but I left satisfied and happy.

Click on a photo below to view.

Okay, here is my question. I wanted to try the asam laksa, but the description on the menu said, "Please ask server for advice before you order." So, I was scared off. What is so unusual about this dish that they would try to discourage you from ordering it?

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