We don’t usually write about lunch over the weekend, but Saturday was the Eat|Drink|Explore Malaysia Kitchen festival in Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station. There was great food, traditional dancers, cooking demonstrations and more.
If you didn’t get a chance to go, click through to see what you missed – but don’t worry, our sources inside the Malaysia Kitchen camp told me this will likely become an annual event.
The first thing we tried was chicken betel leaf ($3) from Betel in the West Village. This was roasted chicken, shallot & eggplant relish, lemongrass and mint served on a betel leaf. Delicious! The minty flavor and lemongrass accented the chicken very well.
Next up was a coconut laksa soup with crab ($5) from Double Crown in the East Village. In addition to coconut curry soup and crab, there were wide rice noodles, bean sprouts and basil. This was a really good soup, with the basil and coconut curry being the predominant flavors, and a decent amount of crab was at the bottom of the dish.
The last dish we tried we a combination of chicken satay and popiah ($5) from the Ember Room, a new restaurant coming soon from Todd English and Ian Chalermkittichai that will be on 9th Ave between 45th & 46th St.
The chicken satay was brushed with oil, honey & spices, which gave it a nice taste to go along with the grilled chicken. Popiah was a summer roll-type dish with shredded vegetables inside, which was pretty refreshing after the soup and other dishes we had already tried. It was also served in a non-edible leaf-type dish, which was pretty cool.
By this time, we had enough to eat, although there were several other restaurants with delicious looking food that we didn’t get to try. For a final taste, we got a small, sweet dessert from Satay, a pandan cupcake ($1). It was a light cupcake made with coconut that actually had the light green color shown above.
While we ate our cupcake, we watched the traditional Malaysian dancers, which was pretty interesting. Guess the shutter speed on my camera was set a little slow, but I like the way the picture below came out. Sometimes the best pictures are unintentional. It certainly captures some movement.
All in all, this was a very enjoyable way to spend time on a Saturday afternoon.