By Peizhao Sun
In Malay, pasar malam translates to night market. The street market, seen mostly in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, traditionally consists a great variety of reasonably priced gift stalls, grocery stalls and sometimes even toy stalls; but what draws people to pasar malams, is the diverse and various, cooked food stalls. Foodies gather for traditional dishes that charm with incredible flavors at excellent prices. The newly opened Pasar Malam in Williamsburg carries the same spirit of the traditional pasar malam, serving palatable signature Malay dishes in a cozy, night-market-resembling space, and is absolutely worthy of curious and spice-loving Manhattanites.
Stepping into the restaurant in Williamsburg, guests are immediately greeted by the traditional Malay themed interior decor adorning the space. Large signs proclaiming “stay” or “Hainanese chicken rice” are mixed with buddhist altars and garlands that beautifully capture the street market’s signature appearance. The rest of the interior is kept simple and minimal, bringing diners’ attention to the many unique bites offered at this haven of Malaysian food.
Pasar Malam mostly serves food that showcases influences ranging from Chinese to East Indian, to aboriginal Malay tribes, and is guaranteed to please with its poignantly tasty and spicy flavors. On the menu, Thai and Indonesian items are included alongside Malaysian dishes.
Roti, a flaky Indian flatbread, is already a crowd-favorite, as Pasar Malam’s rotis are made fresh in house and come in eight different varieties. Roti Canai, one of the more classic roti dishes, is lightly tanned and comes with a tangy coconut-milk curry perfect for dipping. Other dishes also gained popularities among patrons. Rojak is a traditional salad of raw green mango, tart pineapple, crisp jicama and torn hunks of fried Chinese cruller bread, and mixes really well with the belacan sauce. The salad is perfect to precede the nasi lamak , a platter of creamy curry chicken, shrimp sambal, tangy pickled vegetables and a hard-boiled egg presented around a nice cone of coconut rice. There’s also the Malaysian classic chile crab, which is prepared lightly breaded and fried soft-shells, allowing those who rather not combat the shell to indulge in some delicious crustacean. Aside from flavorful Malaysian dishes, Pasar Malam also serves beverage inventions such as the tasty and playful Cincau, with grass jelly and lychee.
Serving traditional Malaysian dishes in a street-market-resembling space, Pasar Malam in Williamsburg truly brings the bustling and the sizzling night market scene to first-timers and Malaysian food loving Manhattanites alike.
208 Grand Street
Williamsburg, NY 11211