Our Man Sietsema Travels to Redang Island
This week, Our Man discovers a Malaysian restaurant called Redang Island in Bath Beach, Brooklyn, and in the process of reviewing it tells us almost everything we could ever want to know about the real Redang Island, including that it's one of the only places in Malaysia to get a drink. No better geography, history or culture lesson than Our Man's columns.
As for the restaurant, Our Man really likes it. Here's what he has to say about the Hainanese chicken (a dish that I sampled in Singapore, and speaking as a non-chicken lover, this is the best way to eat chicken in the world.)
There's an astonishingly good Hainanese chicken ($7.50 for a half-bird)—cold, poached poultry deposited in a rich soy sauce, decorated with fronds of cilantro and slivers of green onion. The recipe is associated with Hainan Island, China's southernmost province, and if cold chicken doesn't sound like your kind of thing, think again, because the sliced bird is spectacular, rubbery skin and all. To enjoy it properly, order a bowl of "chicken rice" ($1.50) cooked in the poaching broth.
He also likes the rojak, another classic.
Redang Island does commendable versions of the strange, sweet salads that Malaysian cuisine is famous for, including Indian rojak ($6.95)—a wild lettuce-less ride of jicama, tofu, bean sprouts, shredded jellyfish nearly indistinguishable from the sprouts, and homemade crackers embedded with shrimp, dribbled with dark palm syrup.