Feb 04, 2014

    Malaysian eatery in NY gets Michelin star


    HARDLY a year since its debut in New York City, Malaysian restaurant Mamak Malaysia has been awarded a one-star rating by the Michelin Guide, the international benchmark for good food.

    Owned by chef Nani Yusof Hughie, a former journalist of national news agency Bernama, the restaurant serves up popular dishes identified with Penang's Indian-Muslim community. It was listed in the guide last month.

    "I am surprised and honoured by the recognition, as I am not a professional chef, and that includes my kitchen team. Furthermore, I am very new in this restaurant business, (it's) not even a year," she told Bernama.

    Mamak Malaysia serves mixed Indian, Malay and Chinese cuisines which are popular in Penang, she said.

    "We are famous for our shrimp nasi kandar, beef nasi kandar, squid nasi kandar, crispy okra and lamb rack with rendang sauce," she said.

    Born and raised in Penang, Nani moved to New York in 2005 and is the creator of Mami Penang Cooking Inc, the registered company that runs Mamak Malaysia, the first fully halal Malaysian restaurant in New York City.

    The restaurant is located at 35-20 Farrington Street, Flushing, in the north-central region of the city's borough of Queens. Within three months of its launch, it received rave reviews from various media, such as The New York Times, The New York Magazine, Chopsticks And Marrow and Chowhound.

    Mamak Malaysia has attracted royal diners, foreign dignitaries and celebrities, and Nani had the honour of serving Brunei's Prince Abdul Mateen Bolkiah and his delegation during their visit to New York City in November. Malaysian ministers, MPs and celebrities are also among her distinguished diners.

    Nani, 42, said her entrepreneurial skills were developed from when she was a teenager.

    "During my college years, I started my own street burger business, which is still operating after more than 20 years," she said.