One of my favorite Elmhurst spots for a late night snack is Pulau Pinang, the wonderful Malaysian restaurant in the infamous all-food strip mall on Broadway. My go-to meal is usually char kway teow or assam laksa.
The other night I was out for a solo birthday meal and in the mood for something different, something festive. So gave a dish with the rather unassuming name “Malaysian salt and pepper pork chops,” a whirl. I had a good feeling about it, and I was right.
It turns out to be heap of ruddy colored gloriously craggy deep fried pork. Crunchy, salty, and spicy—I managed to eat every last bit of it, which was no small feat. I couldn’t help but be reminded of crispy Taiwanese chicken and pork, especially since I’m pretty sure one of the restaurant’s owners is Taiwanese as evidenced by the presence of stinky tofu on the menu.
A week or so later I asked Singporean street food guru KF Seetoh about these amazing chops. “I never had that in Malaysia,” he said adding that it reminded him of the fried chicken from popular Taiwanese fast-food chain Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks that has locations in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. I may never know the exact provenance of these pork chops, but I do know they are damn delicious and sometimes that’s all that matters. I plan to enjoy them several times again before I turn 50.
Pulau Pinang, 82-84 Broadway, Elmhurst, 718-672-7380