A Quick Look at the Bryant Park Malaysian Winter Market
When I arrived at the two-day Malaysian Winter Market on the 6th Avenue side of Bryant Park yesterday, it felt as packed as I hear those Malaysian markets get. Everyone was definitely there for the food (and shelter from the wind) and you could see from the lines which places everyone thought would be worth it. But instead of hopping blindly on a line, I scoped out the offerings a bit to try to make my best Midtown Lunch determination of what’s worth going back for today.
New Malaysia is serving up a plate of rice noodles for $5 and curry potato spring rolls at 3 for $2. The rolls looked delectable, while the noodles seem lacking substance. I used the excuse of it having a long line, though it appeared to move quickly, as my sign to move on.
At least two spots have soup dishes for those wanting such things: Laut and Fatty Crab. Laut’s is more of a hearty hot and sour tamarind stew (Choy Cheok Tong) for $5, while Fatty Crab’s egg noodles in a spicy coconut broth (Java Mee Goreng) is going for $7. Laut’s appeared to be serving up a larger portion, but there were Fatty Crab fans waiting patiently for more servings.
(photo courtesy of ‘wichcraft)
‘wichcraft makes an appearance in the back corner with a special sandwich: chicken braised in coconut milk. It costs $7, and seemed to be waiting for a new batch when I passed by.
In the end, I think I happened upon one of the two stalls worth visiting: Penang’s spot in the far back (towards the right when you’re in looking at the stage). It’s beyond a slightly chaotic (and confusing) scene happening in front of the Malaysian Tourism stand. For $6, you get a plate full of what I believe is their Mee Goreng: pan fried noodles with small bites of chicken, potato, tofu, sprout, and peanuts. The sign also says a “squid sauce,” but my experience was similar to Luncher “sparemethecensor” in that it didn’t taste like a squid or general fish sauce. The plate was tasty enough to make me wish I had more Malaysian in my diet and quite satisfying to boot.
The other spot you should definitely check out, especially if pressed for time, is Nyonya. The line there was bit longer–it was the one going out of the tent on the 42nd Street side, but the two dishes they have come to $10 total: Prawn Mee (egg and rice noodles in squid broth) and Nasi Lemak (coconut rice with a medley of things including curry chicken and hard boiled egg).
I think all of the stalls are cash only so hit up the ATM prior. Also, be sure to try to catch a demonstration if you can. The whole shebang opens up again at 11:30am.