Though the restaurant is named after a sour shrimp paste most Westerners find unappetizing (and that the waitresses steer you from), the food at Belachan is astoundingly flavorful. Both market and restaurant, Belachan displays imported Southeast Asian snacks up front, while travel posters adorn the walls. The subtle, custardlike grilled stingray is one of the best offerings on the encyclopedic menu. Equally pleasing are the needle noodles—oily, blackened rice tubes accented with shrimp. There’s also an extensive selection of laksa, a staple Malaysian soup that is part Thai curry, part Chinese noodle stew. Even seemingly normal dishes receive culinary makeovers—fried calamari with brown chili sauce is composed only of unbattered squid legs with the crunch and sultry twang of pork rinds.
6102 Seventh Ave
|Cross street:||at 61st St|
|Opening hours:||Daily 11am–11pm|
|Transport:||Subway: N to Eighth Ave|
|Price:||Average main course: $8. Cash only|