cheap beer

If you can read Chinese, you will understand the sign at the bottom half of the whiteboard that got my friends all excited. They kind of missed the point of being at Skyway, touted to be the best malaysian restaurant on the island by alot of chowhounders, but its reassuring to know that even if the food the food disappointed, we would always have inexpensive beer. rendang

Luckily for us, Skyway does serve some decent chow that is on par with the tze char stores I sometimes frequent when at home in Singapore. That is admirable because Skyway’s menu is at least twice as long as a regular hawker store that tends to specialize. You seldom find a shop in Singapore or Malaysia that sells rendang along with oyster omelette, but you have that in Malaysian food restaurants overseas who have to cater to every form of culinary homesickness. Usually it means some dishes are dunces, but we must have ordered well because both the beef rendang, slow-cooked to melting softness in a rich, piquant sauce, and the oyster omelette studded generously with plump, fresh oysters were extremely well-received. We were also pleased with the char kway tiao that was coated in oil and sweetish yu shengblack sauce, had a springy bite and suffused with the “parfum de wok”; a soon-hock (marbled goby, a freshwater fish commonly found at Chinese dinners in SE Asian) cooked two ways, its head immersed in a spicy curry broth and its body simply steamed cantonese-style; and a deep-fried yam basket filled with sauteed vegetables and seafood.

I felt compelled to order the yu-sheng, a celebratory raw fish salad created in Singapore and Malaysia couple decades ago, it being Chinese New Year and all, and it was overpriced good fun as expected as my friends and I tossed the profusion of colorful vegetables with the 10 odd slices of thinly sliced salmon and abalone into the air while half-heartedly muttering some auspicious sayings. It should be disclosed too that while the lady was extraordinarily accomodating for a chinatown establishment, she also did her best to upsell us some special New Year dishes that have slightly higher margins. Besides the yu-sheng, we did get the fish (30-40% of our total food bill) and a huge chicken dish with vegetables, stuffed mushrooms and an ostentatiously lucky-sounding title that was tasty, but probably no more so than if we had gotten a platter of plain old hainanese steamed chicken at half the price. And a deep-fried squid dish was pretty tasteless. But with so many rights offsetting a couple of wrongs, its not difficult to imagine another visit to Skyway in the very near future.

Skyway Malaysian Restaurant

11 Allen St (near Canal St)

(212) 625-1163