After getting a taste of Malaysian food at Mamak, I was eager to explore the cuisine further, especially because my knowledge of local Malaysian-inspired eateries was limited to Fatty ‘Cue. And while researching the Malaysaian street cart, I stumbled randomly upon a brand-new Malaysian restaurant in Flushing called … Mamak!
The restaurant, which is the first of its kind in Flushing, is the full-time home of Danny Lye and Nani Hughie Yusof, who’ve also operated a midtown street cart called Mami Penang. Mamak derives its name from a reference to a Malaysian term describing the Indian culture within the country, and it’s serving what it’s calling “Penang’s Indian Malay Mixed Halal” cuisine. Polaroids line the walls, and tables are outfitted with large circular grills, artifacts of the Korean barbecue joint that once held this address.
The menu does a good job of describing the unfamiliar dishes, and appetizer highlights include the roti canai, a doughy flat bread that comes with a side of chicken curry sauce. Another unique starter, murtabak, reminded me of the Greek pastry baklava in terms of shape and texture, though this delicacy is filled with minced beef and egg.
Main courses are divided into “meals,” and seafood, meat, and vegetables share the spotlight (though offerings are pork-free in keeping with Muslim law), and you’ll find items like fish head curry, fried chicken, and Sambal shrimp. Dishes are less spicy than I expected: Ayam Rendang, a house-recommended chicken curry, is not so much hot as balanced; it’s best ordered with a side of coconut rice to soak up sauces. Likewise, the Kambing Masala lamb dish, which incorporates cumin curry, won’t force you to immediately reach for a glass of ice water.
Mamak is also serving several unique options, including the pasembur salad, a mix of items like cucumber, jicama, potato, shrimp fritters, crab, and octopus, drenched with a sweet potato and nut sauce. Mee rebus Mamak starts with noodles and adds a hard boiled egg, onions, shallots, fried beancurd, and squid, among other ingredients. Doused with a thick potato-based dressing, it was my favorite dish of the night.
Mamak debuted last month, and it’s serving lunch and dinner.