Don’t you love that feeling when the oil from your food lingers on your lips and tongue and keeps you thinking of the food you just ate and wanting more? Like the food version of “minty freshness”, except oily and tantalising? Let me show you where you can find that.
Hidden in an alleyway off one of the main streets of Parramatta lies Temasek, a small Malaysian restaurant. Busy is an understatement; they have tables inside and out and when we arrive, we still have to wait an additional 10 minutes despite having a booking because of the amount of people they are servicing at once. This includes dinner patrons like us but also customers enticed by their takeaway boxes of curries, snacks and desserts on the front table.
The interior is yellow and simple, with standard furniture all clustered together. It’s definitely not a romantic date option so I come to the conclusion that people must come for the food and not the interior decor which many boutique “experiential” restaurants try to capture on.
Singapore Chilli King Prawn – $20.80
Like most Asian dinners, our food is ordered with the intention of sharing. The first of our dishes which comes out is the Singapore Chilli King Prawn. It appears small (or the plate is large) but there is actually quite a lot of prawns on the dish. The prawns are peeled except for the tail and covered in a thick red chilli sauce combined with egg. At first taste, it has hints of tomato before the chilli hits you and lingers in your throat for some time. A very strongly flavoured and delicious dish, my friend who couldn’t hack chilli got flamed by the sauce so only order this if you can eat chilli!
Hainanese Chicken (Whole, Boneless) – $38.00
Following this, a whole hainan chicken and a pot of chicken rice arrived at our table. Hainan chicken is one of the best cooking styles of chicken ever; it is boneless and cooked just enough so it is still soft. The skin is left on to enhance the oils left by the chicken stock and it comes with three dipping sauces – ginger oil, sweet soy sauce, chilli sauce. The chicken rice is cooked with the chicken stock and oils from the chicken so it is oily and bursting with flavour. I personally dip my piece of chicken into all three sauces before plunging it my mouth with a scoop of rice. Oily aftertaste on lips and tongue achieved. This beats food court hainan chicken a billion times through in taste and authenticity.
Sambal Balacaan (Shrimp Paste) Eggplant – $16.80
In our attempt to balance all these oils, of course we also ordered a vegetable dish. Too bad that Malaysian food isn’t known for its health factor and the dish of eggplant we order is no exception – it is covered in oils. The eggplant is cooked until it is soft and tender with subtle chilli flavours which exude out as you bite into the eggplant. Health factor from vegetables gone but compensated by tremendous flavour. Winning dish.
Fried Hokkien Mee Malaysian Style (Egg noodle fried with prawn, calamari, egg and beansprout in black soya sauce) – $14.80
A noodle comes out next, Fried Hokkien Mee, and I now regret ordering this. Basically, it is a fried egg noodle with prawns and seafood in a hokkien style soy sauce. I find that it seems WAY too salty and we end up leaving the bowl half eaten…after picking out all the seafood of course. A massive miss on their menu.
Chicken Skewer (6pcs) - $16.80; **can take up to 20 minutes cooking time
The last dish which comes out are Satay Chicken Skewers. I was quite surprised that this would come last as it really seems like an entrée type dish. The chicken is well seasoned and marinated and is grilled on skewers. Accompanying it is a traditional Malaysian peanut sauce with oh so many peanuts in it! It is thick and crunchy and made the chicken instantly even better than it already was. It was so amazing that I could have just eaten it with plain rice. That’s how good it was.
By the end of the meal, we were all sitting there 10x fatter than we originally were given the high content of oil. But was it worth it? Definitely. Most foods are oily nowadays and if anything, it just adds more flavour. Temasek may not look like a high class restaurant but they definitely know how to create high quality foods! A must visit. But don’t order the Fried Hokkien Mee. Stick with the non-noodles.
71 George Street
Parramatta NSW 2150
Tuesday to Sunday, Closed Mondays and Public Holidays
Lunch at 11:30am – 2:30pm
Dinner at 5:30pm – 10pm (last order 9:30pm)