Last Updated on June 6, 2015 by Chef Mireille
Several years ago, I tried Malaysian food for the first time and I was hooked. I was lucky that my first try was at a wonderful, authentic restaurant with excellent cooks – Nyonya. It is located on Grand Street and Mulberry, on the borderlands between Chinatown and Little Italy, here in NYC!! Roti Canai, Green Beans with Shrimp Paste and Chili, Lychee Juice are my staples I get every time I go, along with my entree which changes every time until I try everything on the menu! So when I was invited by a friend to dinner at a restaurant that features Malaysian and Indonesian (another favorite of mine) food, I did not have to think twice to accept. Although I had never heard of Sanur, some of the best dining gems in this city are little hole in the walls that only a select few know about.
First of all, it is located behind God’s back (as my grandmother would say). A good 10 minute walk from either East Broadway or Canal Street train station. The bus does stop nearby, but the driver did not even know where Doyer Street was! If you have to work this hard just to find the location, the food better be well worth it! Unfortunately, I was sadly disappointed.
I was looking forward to my Roti Canai which I had not had in a long time. They overfried the bread. It was crispy! The curry sauce did not have the depth of flavor that Nyonya’s has, nor did it have any chicken in it – just 1 piece of potato. My shrimp entree tasted good enough, but it was so much work to eat. It was covered in a flavorful sauce, which would have been fine if the shrimp had been shelled. I had to dig in the sauce with my hands to remove the shells and not just the tail, but the shell of the entire shrimp. Using a fork or chopsticks was pointless. Two of my friends ordered crab. The shells were not cracked and they did not have the utensils to crack them – the only utensil available to use was your teeth! One of my friends ordered the Indonesian Fried Chicken – I have Indonesian family and this certainly is nothing that I would classify as Indonesian!!
Service did not improve the experience. We had to practically beg for water at the table.
If you want to try really good Malaysian food, stay far away from Sanur, – Try Nyonya at 194 Grand Street and for really good Indonesian food, try Bali Nusa Indah at 651 9th Avenue. If you make Sanur your first exploration into Malaysian cuisine, you are missing out on the best this cuisine has to offer.