Saturday, March 12, 2005

Jaya Malaysian Restaurant

90 Baxter St @ Canal St, 212-219-3331


Cost per person: $12
"YGWYPF" factor: 8.2/10 (you get what you pay for)
Food: 7/10
ambiance: 6/10

My favorite Malaysian place sits right in Chinatown, with great places like the Marco Polo Noodle Shop, Pong Sri, and some great Thai places all around it. Which makes it all the more difficult to make up our minds about the place to choose, since all of them are exceptionally good, considering the price they charge and the tastes they deliver.

Jaya runs as a sidewalk cafe in the (rare) summer months (naturally, I am writing this in late winter, when it looks like summer never happened). The interior is nice and cozy, in an efficient lunch-like way, and not in a romantic dinner date way. Waiters are prompt, and the food comes fast and hot.

I absolutely recommend the Homemade Roti Canai Indian Pancake - this comes in a yummy chicken curry flavor, and a vegetarian variety for those who must. The paper thin, crisp bread and the spicy gravy makes my day, albeit a little on the oily side.

While you are having that, and need to parch yourself, and feel the free green tea to be too hot, order one of their refreshing fruit drinks - among the ones I have had and highly recommend are the watermelon, longan, lychee, and the rambuttan. If you have never heard of these fruits before, then take a walk around the area - the fruit stands on Canal and thereabouts have these fruits in stock, season permitting.

Among the food - I have had a large number, and liked everything, so take your pick. Do remember, soups that cost around $5 are large enough for one person, without anything else. Portion sizes are generous for most items. And yes - when the description says spicy, it is spicy - I've ordered dishes that had as much red pimento peppers as squids, volume for volume. If you must have me recommend something, I'll suggest trying any of the soups.


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