One of my mom's best friends slash my godmother is Malaysian. She speaks pretty fluent Cantonese, albeit with a funny accent on her tones, but she also maintains Malaysian culture and visits often. When I was about 8 or so, she took us to a Malaysian restaurant in Chinatown and there are three experiences from that lunch that I remember. First, I remember eating this delicious flatbread, which was a bit unusual of Asian food because most of the carbs are rice or noodles, unless you are at a bakery eating bao. Second, I remember eating something entirely bizarre for dessert: a slushy ice thing with red bean and sweet corn kernels and jelly and probably other weird stuff. Finally, I remember that sometime during the course of lunch, someone spilled ice water on my lap and it was really cold and uncomfortable for the rest of the day. Hmph.
There are a few dishes that I looooove. First, the roti canai. It's a fried, puffy, flaky, greasy bread that comes with a curry dipping sauce. Sometimes if you're lucky, you'll get a chunk of potato or chicken in the curry. The roti is a very communal family-style food, as are most of the dishes here, and it's kind of fun to rip off little shards of the hot bread - crispy in some parts and pillowy in others. One day, I will end up making an entire meal of roti canai.
Something a little less mainstream than chicken is the sarang burong, a mound of taro shaped into a bowl and deep fried into crispy perfection. Then the bowl-shaped interior is filled with vegetables, shrimp, chicken, and cashews. There are only two ways to get me to eat taro: mashed and deep fried or in bubble tea/ice cream form. Luckily, the sarang burong takes care of one of these items.
My dad was just suggesting to me today that we should do another family dinner at Nyonya for graduation/celebrating my sister coming home from college. I'll try to get a more precise analysis of the menu this time...but for now, go enjoy some of that roti!