Southeast Asia has grasped my attention, particularly ever since I started working around some amazing people in Jean-Georges’ restaurants and lived not far from densely populated Asian community in Queens, NY. Being someone from the southeast United States, I find a few parallels in their culinary communities: spices, tropical fruits, and peanut butter amongst other minor similarities. Therefore, whenever I see or hear of a Southeast Asian restaurant, I am always in for a try.
And that is what led me to Malay, a Malaysian restaurant located in Morristown, NJ. I visited a friend last spring who moved to this town, and we stumbled across this newly opened gem not far from the train station for dinner before a movie. We noticed the packs of people inside so we know we were already up for the experience.
The funny thing about this is that it was so good, that I did not photograph anything. It was one the most eclectic dining experiences we ever had. I remember the dishes so vividly that it took me no time to recollect them as I was writing this post. That’s how good our food tasted.
We started ordering our apps but then we turned to the staff for recommendations on main courses. We were so curious as to what we were going to receive, partly because I haven’t specifically “tasted” Malaysian cuisine in the past.
We basically had the following:
Thai Lettuce Wrap
Malay Char Kway Teow: Stir fry flat noodles with shrimp, squid, bean sprouts, eggs, soy sauce and chili paste
Salted Fish with Eggplant, the special of that night
Peanut Cookies: The best things ever.
The Thai Lettuce Wraps had an spice that lingered in your mouth for minutes, and the mango salad I know for a fact I cleared the plate. The Malay Char Kway Teow had squid that reminded me of my days in Spain and the Salted Fish with Eggplant was clearly the piece de resistance. It served as a full fish along with vegetables and eggplant complimented the fish in so many ways that will never be forgotten. The butteryness of the eggplant and the saltiness of the fish combined to really create a satiating explosion. Okay, I will say it: It was pretty orgasmic.
The best part though was dessert. Mostly because we did not expect this as we were paying the bill. They gave out some Peanut Cookies along with our check, and we were just expecting some pre-made, packaged cookie. This was a melt-in-your mouth, piece of magic that I can still remember the flavors melting and crumbling in the mouth. It was like combining, cotton candy, peanut butter, and shortbread into your mouth. I would return just to take the cookies again and then go home because they surprised me that much.
This restaurant just proved to me that there is always going to be a hole in a wall that clearly defines its place in the world, and Malay knows how to paint a culinary postcard. If you are ever in the area of Morristown, its definitely worth a visit.
147 Morris Street
Morriston, NJ 07960