Last year Mamak made a splash by being nominated as a Vendy Award Finalist in the Rookie of the Year category. We enjoyed their chicken rendang last summer, and they recently tweeted about a new menu.
The new menu still has some of the same appetizers, plus chicken and beef rendang (a type of stew), but now you can get it over rice or in a noodle soup. Chicken is $7 and beef is $8.
The noodle soup sounded good, but we ran into a snag. The guy in the cart said they had soup, but the owner forgot to put the noodles in the cart that morning. He laughed and said “the boss probably partied too hard last night”, which was great for him, but sucked for us.
We ended up ordering the beef rendang over rice, and the server gave me a small cup of the soup to taste.
The curry puffs looked really good sitting out front, so we ordered one of those too for $3.
Curry puffs are like Malaysian empanadas. This one had a light, flaky crust, and was filled with curried potatoes. We also tasted lemongrass, and saw a bay leaf in there too. This was a good start to lunch.
Rendang is a slow-cooked stew, and the beef was very tender. It was fairly spicy by itself, but if you wanted more heat, there was chili paste on the side.
In addition to stewed beef and rice, there were pickled vegetables and pineapple on the side, crushed peanuts, a cucumber slice, and half a hard-boiled egg. Nice variety of flavors and textures.
After finishing the beef rendang, we tried the small cup of soup. It was a curried fish broth, and was also slightly spicy. It would have been very good with noodles, beef rendang, and all the other ingredients.
Mamak is a true original on the NYC streets. There are plenty of Korean and Thai vendors, but they are the only ones serving Malaysian-style rendang, or rendang of any style for that matter.
You can find Mamak on Twitter here or on the Mobile Munchies Twitter feed. There are currently two carts, one is usually parked on 21st St & 5th Ave, and one is parked at 7 Hanover Place in FiDi, but check Twitter to be sure.