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  • MALAYA 19th


  • 123 Nanyang Lu,
    near Xikang Lu


    10 mins from Jing'an Temple
    Chinese Name: 馬來亞南洋菜
    5290 5919
    Open Since Dec 2023
    10am- 8:30pm (soft open hours)

    Editor’s Description

    Last updated: Jun 25, 2024
    An intriguing storefront with Southeast Asian colonial vibes popped up this past year on Nanyang Lu, opposite where Big Bamboo used to be. Malaya 19th, which opened last December, is a modern Malaysian bistro – modern in that it’s taken a more contemporary approach to traditional Malay dishes. The restaurant’s name refers to British Malaya, and the 19th is a reference to the 19th century, a time when there was the first big migration of Chinese workers to Malaysia.

    Malaya 19th serve up classic Malay dishes like laksa, nasi lemak and rendang, that will likely satisfy most of the Malaysian and Singaporean expat community in Shanghai, especially those that aren’t culinary purists about food from back home. They’ve taken a little creative license on some dishes; their selection of cakes and desserts, for example, are mostly their own original creations, inspired by typically Malaysian flavors and ingredients.

    For mains, their classic laksa (59 rmb) is quite good, served with round rice noodles, thinly sliced fish cake, dried tofu strips, fresh prawns, a flavorful soup, topped with a wallop of sambal sauce. Also good was their nasi lemak (60 - 68 rmb), which they serve with spicy sambal, peanuts, egg, crispy anchovies, and a choice of rendang chicken, beef, pork, chicken satay, or curry chicken.

    A dish I wouldn’t necessarily have ordered on my first visit, but was one of my favorites at Malaya 19th was their curry chicken with a crispy roti prata (58 rmb), which had a satifying contrast of textures and depth of flavors. For dinner they also offer some stir-fries, a memorable one was their sambal chili clams (58 rmb), a dish best paired with an ice cold Asahi on a hot summer day. The prawn paste fried chicken wings (27 rmb for two wings) is another tasty little snack – be sure to give it a squeeze of calamansi on top.

    They have a good selection of cakes and desserts for those with a sweet tooth. Recommendations include their coconut chiffon cake (29 rmb / slice), the kueh seri muka – a steamed layer cake made with glutinous rice, coconut milk and pandan leaves (9 rmb / slice), the kueh bingka ubi – a baked tapioca cake (9 rmb / slice), or any of their chocolate truffles. They all go well with their Nanyang coffees and teas (16 -22 rmb).

    Malaya’s menu offers so many good dishes that for fans of Malaysian cuisine, it will take a few repeat visits to get to everything that may pique your interest. If you’re in the Plaza 66 area, this is a good place to pop in and out for a quick casual lunch or dinner. Malaya 19th is located at 123 Nanyang Lu, and the nearest cross street is Xikang Lu.

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