Malaysian food has come a long way and has firmly stamped its mark on Sydney’s dining scene. Fans of Malaysian food are addicted to its spicy curries, fiery sambals, smoky satays from the BBQ and a host of tasty fried noodles.
There are so many Malaysian restaurants in Sydney’s CBD that are packed with lunch goers on weekdays. Bib-doning executives in business suits tucking into a bowl of spicy laksa are a familiar a sight as well as the clanking noise of fiery woks tossing noodles in the kitchen.
We are in the city on a Saturday with some friends and thought it would be good to pay a visit to the famous Malay-Chinese Takeaway on Hunter street to avoid the weekday lunch crowd.
This family-0wned restaurant has been operating around the Sydney CBD for over twenty years where its first outlet opened at the lower level of the old Carlton Arcade back in 1987.
Most famous for its laksa among its legion of laksa fans, we are greeted by a large blackboard that spells out the different types of laksa on offer. From chicken, beef to vegetarian or a combination of seafood laksa, most people who frequent this restaurant know exactly which laksa they are craving for.
A Cantonese style combination hor fun arrives in its signature gooey egg sauce with prawns, squid and fishcakes over a huddle of wok-seared rice noodles. This interpretation is passable but could definitely do with a bit more “wok hei” (breath of the wok).
The famous chicken laksa is dished out from the kitchen like clock-work because it is easily the most popular item on the menu.
Rice vermicelli is mixed with slivers of chicken, fishcake, beansprouts and deep-fried tofu puffs in a bowl of spicy broth. The noodles are tasty with a few spoonful of the gritty broth that is not overly thick. Its flavour and viscosity are spot on with the right level of chilli, spices and coconut milk. Apart from my favourite laksa, this one is pretty darn good.
A char kway teow has a fair bit of heat with slices of lup cheong, crunchy beansprouts, fishcakes, prawns and nicely seared rice noodles. Apart from it needing a bit more “wok hei“, I dislike chicken slivers in my char kway teow which is definitely not a usual ingredient in this dish.
The Satay chicken is deep-fried rather than charcoal grilled and the absence of smoky aromas of grilled meat which Malaysian satays are so famous for is obvious.
There is a fairly good crowd this Saturday and they consists mainly die-hard Malaysian food lovers.
I suspect bib sales on a Saturday would not be as high as during business lunch hour on weekdays.
Did I say the laksa is popular at this restaurant?
It seems like Lipton Ice Tea is also a popular method of cooling off after downing this bowl of spicy goodness, especially on a cold day.
So dear readers, do you have a favourite laksa in Sydney that you would recommend and share with us?
Shop 1, 50 – 58 Hunter street
Sydney, New South Wales 2000
(Closest intersection Bligh street and Castlereagh street)
Tel: + 61 2 9231 6788
Business hours: Monday – Friday 11am – 7pm, Saturday 11am – 5pm, Sunday closed.