>> Perfect Taste | Eat the World NYC

12 August 2019

Perfect Taste


A few months after beloved Kopitiam moved to a larger space on East Broadway, Perfect Taste, another Malaysian cafe has decided to give the tiny space on Canal Street a go. It set up a little under a year ago, and seems to have a pretty healthy following, or at least as much as the room allows at any one time. One table with four chairs and two additional small counters allow seating for eight or so, but when that many people are there at once it can be a challenge just to get to the register.

But once you order and settle in, Perfect Taste has a charm to it that is enjoyable. The kitchen is hidden behind a half wall but you can still get a sense of what the chef is up to, cooking dishes one by one as Grubhub and Postmates runners wait impatiently outside. Inside, the man in charge takes good care of waiting customers, passing out water before being asked for it, and making sure things are tidy. The menu, despite being large in size, is small in options and fitting for the space. Hainan chicken, Singaporean laksa, kaya toast, coffee and teas.

If you have not already established the fact, Perfect Taste is not a place to come when you are in a hurry. If you pass this one criteria, and have a love for Hainan chicken, this can be a memorable meal. That most popular dish of Southeast Asia and especially Malaysia and Singapore is featured here, expertly poached chicken served at room temperature with fragrant herb rice that has been cooked with the chicken broth.

The plate of Hainan boneless chicken and herb rice ($11.98, above) is simple in appearance but certainly one of the city's best versions. The rice itself always competes to be the focus of the dish rather than the meat, and the small tray of sauces served alongside it make for a wide array of flavor combinations possible for each bite. The spicy red pepper sauce will almost always need a refill it is so good.

Three strips of the same poached chicken are used in their Singaporean laksa ($10.98, above and below), which is also available served with shrimp. This hearty bowl full of thick egg noodles is soft from coconut milk but edgy from spices and curry. Squeeze the lime they serve with it, as the initial balance favors the savory much more than the sour.

The bowl is a behemoth even if it does not initially appear to be, digging underneath the surface finds enough noodles to fill most bellies.

Pair your meals here with their special Ipoh-style white and black coffees ($4 each, not shown). Ipoh, in inland Malaysia is well-known as a coffee town, and both styles have a special brewing process. The white coffee is not white of course, but lighter in color than the black because the beans are roasted with sugar. The resulting "white" name is given because of the appearance after the mandatory condensed milk is stirred into the brew. It all sounds sickenly sweet to someone who drinks coffee without sugar, but give a try because it actually goes down quite well with the coffee able to shine through multiple layers of sweetness.

Even better than the main courses for enjoying this coffee with is one of their tasty kaya toasts ($4.98 each, below), available with butter, cheese, or peanut butter (shown). Even this dish seems to have a lot of care put into it, perfectly crisp bread holds very even layers of kaya and your choice of accompaniment.

Kaya is a coconut milk spread made green by pandan leaves and said to be an energy booster. It is commonly eaten for breakfast or during afternoon tea for a pick-me-up to get to the end of the day. Stopping in for a quick plate of this with coffee seemed to be a popular snack for several people on the occasion of the first visit here.

It is easy to imagine future visits to Perfect Taste for that sometimes necessary afternoon boost.

Perfect Taste Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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