Last Saturday, Justin, Darien and I took the bus down to Skyway for dinner. It’s been a while since I’ve sat on a bus – I often forget that it is my second favourite mode of transportation. Walking is the first. Subways are fun, cabs are good/bad depending on your driver and companion, or lack thereof. But bus rides are always a blast.
While the rest of the world moves at a fly-by-the-minute, warp fast place, the Bus is forever slow. We do not need to move at lightening speed at all times. Bus drivers are friendlier than train conductors and less harried than cab drivers. And because the Bus is so noisy, there is no point in putting in the earphones to my (now defunct) ipod. It forces one to listen to the outside (or would that be, inside Bus?) world.
Bus rides, as ours was, even more fun with a friends. The M15 took us down 2nd Avenue, across Houston, and then down Allen Street, dropping our little trio smack at the doors of Skyway.
We got down to business. Justin and I started off with glasses of Soy Bean Milk and Grass Jelly – chilly, refreshing. Find my Serious Eats Sugar Rush on the drink here. I used to have this drink in Hawai’i all the time, less frequently in NYC. Here, milkshakes and prosecco seem to be the liquid of choice. You may refer to my rapidly expanding waistline for visual evidence.
The salad includes cucumber, pineapple, jicama and is served with a super SUPER pungent shrimp paste-based sauce. Shrimp paste is mixed with sugar and water, chilies, and sometimes lime juice. They omitted the chili in this case and overdid the sugar.
Next up, Chow Kueh Teow. This dish makes me think of dad because we used to (and still do!) eat it together all the time. In Hawai’i, in Los Angeles, and even once in Paris and long long time ago. It’s high on my list of favourite types of noodles dishes. But then again, I seem to have many “favourites” when it comes to noodles, hehehe. Sanur, another nearby Malaysian also does this dish, Skyway does a better job.
Here we have Poh Piah, which I think of as a Malaysian take on the Vietnamese summer roll. A filling of noodles, jicama, beansprouts are wrapped in lettuce, and then wrapped once more in a poh piah wrapper before a final drizzle of hoisin and chili sauce.
Our Mee Goreng, came fully equipped with a ton of fried tofu. Double win. Darien and Justin both preferred the egg noodles over the wide rice noodles. I like both, but wide rice noodles hold a soft spot in my heart for their tender floppiness and ability to soak up flavours like you’d never believe. Steamed, boiled in soup, stir-fried. You can do no wrong. Plus, they’re so slippery and feel wonderfully easy in your mouth. Everything to love and nothing to hate.
The dish is filled with a mix of jellies and beans, then topped off with shaved ice (rough-shaved, not Waiola’s kind of bliss), and then a pour of sugar syrup and coconut milk.
Towards the end of dinner, Justin realized that Darien and I were seated against a rather odd (as far as Malaysian restaurants go) background. In place of a proper “back”, our bench seats had a white picket fence. Pretty special, eh? Justin said, “pose!” And we did. Darien milked our family cows while I gazed off into greener pastures. We don’t look convincing at all – but we tried, and that’s all that matters :)
Bellies lined with happiness, we strolled over to the Rice to Riches in Soho. Note. This is a rice pudding store. But what they carry is not rice pudding in the traditional sense. Rice to Riches carries PUDDING with SOME RICE. Not rice pudding. There’s a big difference. Nonetheless, I get intense craving for this place about once every two and half years.
11 Allen St
New York, NY 10002
Rice to Riches
37 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012