Monday, March 31, 2014

Malaysia Beef Jerky

Sometimes you stumble upon places and things that remind you that this city is not dead--yet. Not entirely. And it gives you a flutter of hope. After many years of walking all over town, there still remain entire blocks, even in Manhattan, that are unknown to you. So it was when I stepped into Malaysia Beef Jerky at 95A Elizabeth Street in Chinatown.

Under an awning bearing the silhouettes of a pig, chicken, and cow, the place is a scruffy little hole in the wall, filled with Buddhist altars and the sweet, spicy fragrance of jerky.

The three people behind the counter are businesslike and abrupt. As it should be. An unsmiling woman stands at a sizzling grill in the window, turning thin-sliced squares of pink meat with a pair of tongs.

The meat is then stacked in a glass case, under warming light bulbs, behind signs with their simple, no-nonsense names: Beef Jerky, Chicken Jerky, Pork Jerky, spiced or not spiced.

Five bucks will get you a quarter pound, warm and greasy, stashed in a paper bag. Just the right amount to eat with your hands while you're walking around, looking for more of the hidden city.

(How long before some asshole opens an "artisanal" jerky shop a block away, offering flavors like truffle oil, tarragon, cardamom, and of course the uber-hip sriracha, and then this place will be turned into a macaron shop? In other words, go -- now -- and get some real artisanal jerky. Because, while Chinatown's been slow to gentrify, you never know.)


dmbream said...

One of my favorite places in the city.

Partial to the spicy pork variety.


"Dogblog" said...

Good stuff, but it's no Biltong
I'm just saying...

Caleo said...

Nice find. I'll have to pay a visit, and keep it to myself.

Anonymous said...

Word. The sliced spicy beef is where it's at.

I still can't believe the proliferation of all these artisinal circle-jerky companies that sell for the equivalent of ~$100/lb and taste like crap.

This stuff is actually good and costs a fifth as much.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Too full of coloring and artificial flavoring. If you're willing to wait (there's no physical shop), order the homemade pork jerky from Sam Tan's Kitchen:

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the Asian yelpers poo pooing the Asian beef jerky spots. Have they seen the prices of crappy oommercial jerky and the so called "artisanal" jerky?
The Spicy jerky here is spicy, not sickly sweet spicy. I kinda like the ground patties, it's crumbly with crisp charred edges.

Anonymous said...

"Employees at the diner say the whole building is coming down, demolished for a new condo development."

I live in Gothenburg, a European city that was up to 70 percent demolished in mainly the 60's, 70's and 80's, to much grief.
What I find most surprising about what happens in New York right now is that old buildings are still being pulled down.
Without its pre-modern housing a city loses its soul, and New York IS its tenements! At this late hour, how can you allow this to happen?

Great blog, by the way. Regards from Sweden.