Spicy Pork Jerky from Malaysia Beef Jerky
In the summer I get antsy. It’s hard to sit in a restaurant for too long when it’s gorgeous out, especially this year in New York when the number of sunny days are eclipsed by rainy ones. I want to be outside and feel the sun on my face. As a result, I find myself grabbing quick eats best enjoyed sitting on a park bench or lounging in the grass; a bagel here, some Mexican corn there, and when the carnivore in me demands it, jerky from Malaysia Beef Jerky.
At Malaysia Beef Jerky, squares of meat (chicken, beef, or pork) are marinated, slow-cooked in an oven, and grilled to achieve sweet smokey red sheets of portable sustenance, caramelized at the edges. Malaysian jerky is softer than the leathery American kind, which by the way I love also. I would say the texture is somewhere between American jerky and thick-cut ham; it’s that soft. The store also sells more free-form jerky that aren’t perfect squares and are a tad chewier, called “sliced jerky,” but I always get the squares. Spicy Pork Jerky ($4.25 a 1/4 LB, or around $1 per piece) is my favorite. It’s not too spicy, but you get a little bit of heat if you keep eating it. The regular beef and chicken jerky ($4.50 a 1/4 LB, or around $1 per piece) are tasty also, but I find the pork more tender and more flavorful. I hear the squares are good for sandwiches, but why bother when they’re delicious right out of the wax paper sleeve? No bread or condiments needed thank you very much.
After the jerky, if I need a little fruit, a block or two further south in Chinatown, there are numerous street stands selling white peaches, lychees, and longans. This time of the year though, jackfruit is in season. Jackfruit looks somewhat like durian, but less spikey on the outside, firmer and more fibrous in texture on the inside, and definitely not as odiferous. The taste of jackfruit is a cross between pineapple and banana, whereas durian is a flavor amalgamation of onion, garlic, and tropical fruit. Walking along Canal between Mulberry and Mott Street, several fruit stands sell whole jackfruit either by the pound or in small plastic containers with just the pods for $4. The containers of jackfruit are perfect for on-the-run snacking, and also good for those with new fruit commitment issues. Which is OK, summer was made for flings, including the edible kind.
Malaysia Beef Jerky
95A Elizabeth Street (betw Grand and Hester St, but closer to Grand)
New York, NY 10013
Fruit Stands with Jackfruit
Canal Street (betw Mulberry and Mott St)
New York, NY 10013