Note: As predicted, Thai Malay Cafe has joined the pantheon of takeouts that died in Sharon Plaza.
Thai Malay Cafe
Located in the Sharon Plaza Shopping Center
Abbott Boulevard and Warren Ave
Fort Lee, NJ
Normally I have a backlog of restaurant reviews and photos and I get to them when I have time, usually within a week or so, sometimes more if I am particularly busy. In this case, however, I felt the pressing need to tell you about how wonderful this little take-out restaurant is, because the location it is in is, well… Cursed.
You all know, of course, what I’m talking about. All of us know about certain storefront locations in certain towns where businesses open and close within months, be it due to the poor traffic patters, the dynamics and demographics of the neighborhood, whatever. Thai Malay Cafe happens to be in perhaps one of the worst storefronts in Fort Lee, where there’s been no fewer than four (Lurie tells me there’s been six!) takeout businesses in the last two years. But it wasn’t always that way — Saigon R did a strong business there for about three years until the owner moved to Englewood (and then opened up a second restaurant in Fort Lee, Mo Pho, a few years later) and prior to that, a really good BBQ Chicken place did a brisk business for several years as well. So certainly its not impossible for a place with good food to do well there.
In any case, if you’re looking for “The Real Deal” in terms of Malaysian cuisine, run, do not walk, to Thai Malay Cafe. It’s run by two Malaysian Chinese brothers, one of who cooks (and has cooked at some of the best Thai and Malaysian restaurants in the NY/NJ metro area) and the other who runs the deliveries. There’s one small table that can sit maybe four people, the place has no ambiance whatsover, and if its cold outside, the opening of the front door will let a blast of Arctic freezing air in. Pay no attention — you will not find food like this anywhere else in Bergen County, period.
Storefront on Abbott Ave.
Run, do not walk to the Thai Malay Cafe. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for hardcore Malaysian food.
Tom Yum Goong soup. Nice big juicy shrimps, excellent hot and sour broth.
Malaysian Curry Vegetable Soup. Like the Thai soup Tom Kha, this also has a coconut broth base, but with the addition of a curry and peanut flavoring and a strong chile bite. Vegetables included Asian eggplant, green beans, mushrooms, green pepper, and bamboo shoot.
Fried curry puffs, which contained a spicy chicken and potato filling. These are among the best I have ever had.
Curry Puff Closeup.
Thai Talay Dumplings, which were pan fried and were a Chicken/Apricot combination with other vegetables in it. Another winner.
Steamed Dumplings with Peanut Sauce, which were excellent and guarded closely by Rachel.
Char Kway Teow, a Malaysian variant of the Cantonese dish Chow Fun, but cooked with a sweet and spicy Malaysian soy sauce.
A steamy bowl of lamb rendang, a type of Malay curry.
Belachan Shrimp, sauteed in a spicy fermented shrimp paste. The real deal.
Crispy Pork with Chinese Broccoli
“Too Many Ingredient” rice, also known as Hainanese Rice. The bright yellow color comes from tumeric. This can also be ordered with a whole chicken, as Hainan Chicken Rice.
Coconut Pudding with Mango Sauce, a perfect way to end a spicy Malaysian meal.
Roti Canai Appetizer
Eel Dumpling Closeup
Beef Pad Kaprow, ordered extra spicy
Malay Chicken Curry
Green Curry Fried Rice with Pork