Investigating The Underground Indonesian Food At Chinatown’s Sanur

Most people looking for Malaysian food in Chinatown head to Nyonya on Grand St. which is slightly classier than other places in the neighborhood. If you’re looking for a more bare-bones experience that requires walking down a steep flight of stairs, you may want to consider Sanur which serves some Americanized Chinese food, but specializes in Indonesian and Malaysian food. At first it was unclear if I was walking into a travel agency or restaurant due to the number of travel posters in the stairway. I can confirm that cheap Indonesian food can be found at the bottom of those steep stairs leading to Sanur, and it’s a nice change of pace from all of the Chinese options in the surrounding area.

Above is my order of mee rebus ($5.95) which is a pile of thin egg noodles topped with a sweet and spicy sauce, jalapeno, bean sprouts, pieces of hard boiled egg and some fried tofu, capped off with a couple of pieces of fried tofu skin. They were out of my first choice which was the Indonesian standby rice dish nasi goreng, so I guess the key is to go earlier than 1 p.m. if you’re particular about what you want.

This was a great change of pace from Chinese lo mein or hand-cut noodles, or Vietnamese bun dishes. I liked the sauce over it which was bright tasting and not at all heavy or greasy. Dare I say this was a healthy lunch?

Sanur’s probably not going to offer you the cheapest lunch experience in Chinatown, but if you work near the courthouse or other government buildings it’s a short walk and the Indonesian and Malaysian options are a nice change of pace if you’re not for walking up to Nyonya.

Sanur, 18 Doyers St. (btw. Bowery & Pell St.), (212) 267-0088


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