I went to a Malaysian restaurant called Fatty Crab with Michelle, an old family friend from California tonight. The restaurant is located in a New York neighborhood called the Meatpacking District, which I guess was once really where they slaughtered and packaged meat, but it is now full of upscale restaurants and shops full of hipsters.
The restaurant was very small and cozy with exposed brick walls and vintage furnishings and featured some very interesting, spicy, fishy dishes. I have only had Malaysian food about 2 or 3 times before, so I am still expanding my horizons. We ordered the signature dish, the Chili Crab (dungeoness crab, chili sauce, white toast $28) as well as the Skate Panggang (grilled on a banana leaf, sambal udang kering $12) and the Lo Si Fun (short rice noodles, Chinese sausage, shiitake $11).
The Chili Crab was super messy but super fun as well. The crab came in the shell in a bowl full of a sweet and spicy red sauce that came with a few slices of toasted white bread. It was quite an effort to get at the meager amounts of meat inside the crab shell, but well worth the mess and the inconvenience. The skate was cooked perfectly tender and spicy yet fragrant with kaffir lime leaves and creamy with coconut milk. The Lo Si Fun noodles demonstrate the strong Chinese influence in Malaysian cuisine. The noodles themselves resembled Japanese udon noodle, fat with a bit of al dente texture. The sauce was a dark, sexy, salty, fishy concoction with a nice textural and flavor contrast of shiitake mushroom and Chinese pork sausage pieces floating around. We washed it all down with some cold beers. I stuck with my old favorite from Thailand, a Singha.
I’m sure the kind of food served at Fatty Crab would cost a fraction of the price at a street market in Malaysia, but the flavors were very inspiring and the cozy ambience definitely make the place worth checking out. I’m going to have to add some Malaysian dishes to my own personal cooking repertoire now!