Malaysian And Singaporean Food In Sydney
I’ve spent 80% of my life in both Malaysia and Singapore, and I now call Australia my home. So perhaps I’m qualified and just a little biased when sussing out the best Malaysian and Singaporean restaurants in Sydney.
If you are a Malaysian or Singaporean homesick for a taste of home, or a local wanting to try something new, definitely check out these places below. These places will make you believe for a moment, that you’re taken a trip to the culinary meccas of Malaysia or Singapore with their truly authentic dishes.
It should come as no surprise that Mamak will be in any top 10 list of best Malaysian or Singaporean food in Sydney. During lunch and dinner hours, be prepared to queue for a few hours for a seat at Mamak in Haymarket – it is THAT popular. For the uninitiated, Mamak is a term used in Malaysia used to describe the Indian Muslim community as well as the restaurants opened by these people.
Think of roti canai (fluffy bread with curry dips, almost like a pita bread), Indian rojak (fruit salad), satay (meat skewers dipped in a savoury peanut sauce) and roti tisu (a towering tall dessert made with dough but stretched so thin that it looks like a tissue and is sweetened).
Tip: Head to the Chatswood outlet if you don’t want to be faced with the prospect of a super long wait, and if you have to wait, entertain yourself with the roti flipping theatrics in the glass window.
Address: 15 Goulburn Street, Haymarket Sydney 2000. Also at Shop P9, 1-5 Railway Street Chatswood 2067
Opening Hours: Daily 11.30 am to 2.30pm, 5.30pm to 9.30pm | Fridays and Saturdays from 11.30am till 2am in Haymarket and until 10.30pm in Chatswood
Opened by the same people of Mamak, Hawker sells Malaysian street food, and is just a hop away from the famous Mamak.
This is definitely the place to go to if you are craving you tiao or yau zhar kway (dough fritters) as they are called in the store, although they are a little on the expensive side ($3 each).
I highly recommend the Penang char koay teow (spicy wok-tossed rice noodles with eggs, prawns, cockles, lap cheong and fresh bean sprouts), which is by far the best ever in Sydney. It has the elusive cockles that not many eateries add into their char koay teow, as well as the right amount of wok hei (a smoky charred taste attributed to a hot wok).
Their wat tan hor (stir fried rice noodles in thick egg gravy with prawns, pork slices and choy sum) was also decent, and I enjoyed the Penang rojak, which is a Chinese-Malay fruit salad made with cucumber, fried tofu, fresh yam bean, guava and dough crisps stirred through a delightful sugar laden shrimp paste mixture. Admittedly, this cannot compare to the rojak back in Singapore or Malaysia, but this is perhaps the only place in Sydney where you can get decent rojak at (please correct me if I am wrong).
Wash all your food down with an authentic barley ping (cold barley water) or kat chai suen mui (calamansi lime and preserved sour plum juice).
Address: Shop G02, 345B-353 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Opening Hours: Daily 11.30am to 2.30pm, 5.30pm to 10pm | Supper until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays
3. Malay Chinese Takeaway
The masses of people eating in during the lunch time peak hour is a testament to how good this place is. Don’t get distracted by the wide array of dishes this place sells. Get in, and go straight for two items – the laksa (rice noodles in a curry coconut broth) and the har mee (prawn noodles).
They serve over 10 combinations of laksa – chicken or vegetable or beef or seafood, and the cheapest laksa is less than $10! Watch out for their har mee, which features as a daily special on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Their laksa is one of the best I have eaten in Sydney, and if you want more spice to your laksa, just add more chili, which is available at every table. You can also purchase bibs for $0.30 if you are afraid of getting orange splatters on your clothes!
Tip: Try to avoid CBD lunch time peak hours (that is, between 12-2pm) and you should not have a problem finding a seat. If you can, eat in, because takeaway portions are much smaller than eating in.
Address: 1/50 Hunter Street Sydney NSW 2000
Opening Hours: Mondays to Fridays 11am to 7pm | Saturdays 11am to 5pm , closed on Sundays
4. Malacca Straits on Broadway
This place might be on the fringes of the city but it is no less a gem. My barometer of how good a place is, is usually determined by the people who eat there. Now, if you were visiting Malacca Straits, you will soon find that a great majority of the customers are (surprise surprise) Malaysians or Singaporeans!
They have an extensive menu (which includes Thai dishes), but stick to their Malaysian food. The Hainanese chicken rice, char kway teow and laksa are all decent, but the main draw is their tze char dishes (ala carte main dishes cooked in a Chinese home-style fashion to be shared). Although tze char dishes might be on the expensive side, if you come in a big group, you can probably get away with paying around $15 per person for a good meal of more than 4 dishes. Order their tofu, kam heong baby squid, golden sand prawn and fish curry.
Tip: Bring your own mud crab and pay them $20 to make the Singapore Chilli Crab or Kam Heong Crab for you. It’s delicious! You can also order some fluffy roti canai at $3 to dip with your curries.
Address: 66 Mountain Street (Enter through Quadrant Building) Broadway NSW 2007
Opening Hours: Mondays to Saturdays 11.00am to 10.00pm, closed on Sundays
5. Sambal at Macquarie Park
Although Sambal might not be highly rated on Urbanspoon, this place is always packed during lunch and dinner peak periods! We tried the char kway teow here and it was really good – no cockles but the wok hei and prawns was awesome. It was so much better than many others that we have tried.
The stand-out for us was the Southeast Asian shaved ice desserts – the chendol (shaved ice dessert with red bean, pandan jelly strips, coconut milk and gula melaka (palm sugar) syrup) and the ice kachang. They even use kidney beans in their chendol, which makes them legit in my books. This is definitely one place I’ll return to. You can even drop by Macquarie Centre after your satisfying meal, NSW’s largest shopping centre, which is reminiscent of large shopping centres in Malaysia and Singapore!
Address: 285 – 297 Lane Cove Road, North Ryde NSW 2113
Opening Hours: Mondays to Fridays 11.30am to 2.30pm | Saturdays and Sundays 11.30am to 3pm
Thursdays to Sundays dinner from 6pm to 10pm
6. Peranakan Place Nonya Cuisine
Peranakan Place is definitely a place to keep in mind if you happen to venture to the west of the city. When I first saw the ratings on Urbanspoon for this place, I had my doubts – it had solid 100% likes from the diners who had eaten there. After my visit, I realized why.
The owner Sam is affable, the decor is beautifully Peranakan (minus the dodgy plastic tables and chairs), and the food there is authentic nyonya (Straits Chinese cuisine). I highly recommend their hor fun (flat rice noodles cooked in a thick broth with seafood) and I was told that the broth is made with homemade superior stock with no MSG added. Do try their kuih pie tee (savoury tart shells with jicama filling and peanuts), ngoh hiang (fried spring rolls filled with meat) and ayam buah keluak (chicken braised in a thick tamarind gravy and black nuts from the Kepayang tree, stuffed with paste). If you can stand the heat, order their sambal too – it’s made with homegrown chillies and limau kasturi (calamansi limes) grown in the owner’s backyard.
Address: 139 Parramatta Road, Auburn NSW 2144
Opening Hours: Wednesdays to Sundays 11.30 am to 2.30 pm, 5.30pm to 10.00 pm
7. Petaling Street
Petaling Street is one of the few restaurants that serve up bak kut teh (a Chinese herbal pork rib soup) with you tiao and they serve chee cheong fun too (rice noodle roll). Their rendang, roti and chicken rice are all equally good. The char kway teow here comes with the requisite cockles and pork lard, and the Hainanese chicken rice even comes with a chili and a ginger sauce.
The Chatswood outlet serves up a substantially smaller offering as compared to its Haymarket sibling, and the portions are a little too small for my liking.
Tip: This is a cash-only restaurant so be sure to have cash on you before dinner.
Address: 760 George Street, Haymarket NSW 2000. Also at The District @ Chatswood and Kingsford
Opening Hours: Sundays to Thursdays, 11am to 1am | Fridays and Saturdays 11am to 2am
8. Sydney Kopitiam Cafe
Kopitiam means coffee shop in Malay (kopi = coffee) and Hokkien (tiam = shop). Don’t come here expecting fancy decor or service because this is Malaysian street style food, albeit in a restaurant setting. Their prices are perhaps one of the cheapest on this list, and they serve a mean laksa.
They also have a claypot loh see fun (claypot rice noodles in the shape of ‘rat’s tails’). Do try their roti canai and ais kacang (shaved ice dessert) too!
Address: 594 Harris St, Ultimo NSW 2007
Opening Hours: Daily Noon to 3pm | Tuesdays to Sundays 6pm to 9.30pm
9. Alice’s Makan
This is the go-to place if you are craving for traditional kuih. Different varieties are available daily, but try their kuih seri muka (green/white two-layered kuih in top left of picture), angkoo kueh (red kuih in centre of picture) or pulut inti (bottom left), which are harder to find in Sydney. You can also order mixed platters for 30 pieces or more, perfect for a Malaysian/Singaporean themed party.
They also serve the usual Malaysian fare – char kway teow, fried radish cake and the like, but go for the sweets and drinks.
Address: 580 George Street, HSBC Centre Food Court, Sydney NSW 2000
Opening Hours: Mondays to Fridays 9.30am to 7pm
10. Ito’s Malaysian
The old-timers in Sydney will know that this is the same couple that used to run To’s Malaysian Gourmet in North Sydney before they sold that business away. Ito’s is yet another place selling really good laksa, as well as Penang prawn mee.
If you can’t take spice, try their chicken rice. The chicken is so tender and has a slightly gingery taste, and is super great value under $10!
Address: Shop 5, 201 Elizabeth St Sydney, NSW 2000
Opening Hours: Weekday lunch only
Get your Malaysian/Singaporean food fix today!
So what are you waiting for? Head down to these places and let us know what you think of the food they serve!