Brooklyn's Banana Leaf: Five Don't-Miss Dishes

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These ain't no Buffalo wings!


This week, Counter Culture saunters into Banana Leaf, an exemplary new Malaysian restaurant in Brooklyn's foremost Chinatown. Here are the five dishes my friends and I liked the most.

1. Banana Leaf Chicken Wings ($7.95) -- These humongous wings, five to an order, arrive bound like sadomasochists in pandanus leaves, from a shrub also known as screwpine.They're perfectly fried and crisp, with a taste something like savory vanilla. (Hint: Remove the leaves before eating the wings.)


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2. Nasi Lemak ($5.50) -- This omnibus platter of Malaysian goodies makes a perfect lunch or dinner, and includes, starting from the top and working our way clockwise, sweet pickled-vegetable achar, cubed raw cukes, red-skinned peanuts, fish sambal, curried chicken, and boiled egg, with a scoop of coconut rice in the middle.


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3. Roti Canai ($2.95) -- This dish inspired by Indian immigration to Malaysia is centered on the most buttery and flaky flatbread you've ever tasted, with a bowl of chicken-and-potato curry alongside to dip it in.


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4. Poh Piah ($4.95) -- Though it sounds like a Winnie the Pooh character, this pair of spring rolls is a vegetarian delight, stuffed with fried tofu, egg, sprouts, and jicama, and squirted with unrefined palm sugar.


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5. Hot and Spicy Crab ($14.95) -- More often known as chili crab, this chaotic heap of crustaceans smeared with sweet chili sauce is lots of work to eat, but as you do so, it becomes an obsession, and you've never tasted fresher crabs, not even in Baltimore.


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