Backyard hangout in Flatbush

Last night, Chris and I went to an event hosted by one of our favorite New York food people, Auria from Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen, also known as The Sambal Lady, in her huge backyard in Flatbush, Brooklyn. The theme of the event was Malaysian eats, reggae beats, and local beers cohosted by a beer curator/journalist named Josh. Auria runs a small business that really took off during the pandemic, selling her homemade spicy sambal sauces and kaya (a delicious coconut and pandan jam/spread). Her goal with her business was to spread the love for all delicious and authentic things Malaysian to New Yorkers and Americans, as she’s originally from Malaysia. She expanded her operation from being home run to a factory out in New Jersey. Since Chris discovered her last year, she and I have been in contact over Instagram direct message, and I’ve given her some of my footage to include in her promotional material. When she posted that she was hosting this event, we knew we had to go. So I finally got to meet Auria in person, and she really felt like family right away. She was exactly as I imagined: extremely friendly, warm, homely, and kind.

At the event, she served pai tee cups (these lovely fried cups filled with jicama and carrot, topped with shrimp and a sweet-spicy savory sauce), her delicious beef rendang, white rice, and Malaysian style cucumber salad. For dessert, she served a purple sticky rice topped with sweet and salty coconut milk. And her friend Josh provided all the local beers that Chris got to enjoy. She also unveiled her latest projects, which are spice blends in partnership with Burlap and Barrel, a local spice company that seeks to support small-scale farms from around the world. She has three that have been finalized and will be available on October 30, which is also her birthday: rendang (she used it in the beef rendang tonight!), chicken curry, and satay. I’m especially excited about the rendang and satay blends: those are INVOLVED cooking projects normally. I know from experience last year that making satay is intense; I got sore arms and hands from that video I filmed!

It was also just amazing to be in a BACKYARD in New York. I felt like I wasn’t in the city at all, as it felt like a very non-urban, very suburban experience. I also got my share of mosquito bites, unfortunately. I’ve read that mosquitoes particularly love the sweeter blood of pregnant women. What joy for me.

It was a really fun night, and I’m especially happy I got to meet Auria. I love being around people who love food, cooking, and sharing it all with others. If this could be my life, I’d be eternally happy.

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