Malaysian food incorporates a number of different cuisines, including Chinese, Thai, Arabian, and Indian. The diversity is due to history and geography—Malaysia was in the center of the spice trade routes.
If you're new to Malaysian food, start with the classics. Nasi lemak is often called the country's national dish: chili paste, fried anchovies, peanuts, cucumber, and hard-boiled eggs over rice cooked in coconut milk. (The chili paste is sambal, a popular condiment usually made with chili, sugar, lime, and shrimp paste).
Asam laksa, a type of noodle soup, is cooked with fish and topped with cucumber and pineapple. Its heavier cousin is curry laksa, made from a rich curry broth with shrimp, fish balls, tofu puffs, eggs, and cucumber.
One Indian-inspired snack is roti canai, a flatbread that can become a meal served with curry, eggs, or other more substantial dishes.
You'll find these dishes (and very many more) at the restaurants below, which serve up some of the best Malaysian food in New York.
Taste Good Malaysian Cuisine (Queens)
Menu highlights: roti canai, beef rendang, laksa, prawn noodles
82-18 45th Ave NY 11373
Curry Leaves (Queens)
Menu highlights: Hainanese chicken, roti canai, pork and taro, curry noodle soup, chicken curry
13531 40th Rd # 1 Flushing, NY 11354
Malay Restaurant (Queens)
Menu highlights: roti canai, curry laksa, satay, chicken curry noodle soup, fish head curry, salt and pepper squid, shrimp noodles
13517 40th Rd Flushing, NY 11354
Menu highlights: asam laksa, sotong goreng (fried squid), curry puffs, Malaysian fried rice
15 E 17th St New York, NY 10003
Fatty Crab (Manhattan)
Menu highlights: beef rendang, chili crab, Malaysian fish fry
643 Hudson St New York, NY 10014