On one of many trips to Belachan Restaurant for Malaysian food, the shiny storefront just south down the block beckoned. A handwritten sign in Chinese hangs in the window, punctuated by a child’s drawing of two thumbs up — a convincing endorsement.
The shop, called Gourmet Maylin Inc., is squeaky-clean and spare, with just two tables pushed to the side of the room. On the opposite wall are two refrigerators, containing mainly frozen fish balls, along with some other foods. Containers of red-skinned peanuts line the walls. There’s no English menu (actually, there doesn’t seem to be any menu at all), and the friendly proprietors don’t speak much English, so it was mainly a charades game of point-and-smile. With enthusiastic effort on both sides, we managed to establish that they are from Fujian, and that yes, I like fish balls.
On display are big bags of those fish balls, and various plastic containers of rice and porridge. I pointed at one, and the smiling woman warmed it up for me.
The porridge ($3) has a clean aroma like Cream of Wheat, but its agreeably starchy-gluey consistency and mild flavor led me to guess that it’s made of taro root. In any case, it’s wonderfully warming and sweet, with crunchy nuttiness from the sesame seeds.
And then there are the fish balls ($3) in a salty, cloudy broth with scallions. One order nets you nearly a dozen of the bouncy orbs, each one filled with a delicious, juicy pork filling. The balls are springy but not tough, playing nicely with the richer meat inside — a great feed for a snowy day.
Gourmet Maylin Inc.
6124 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn