It was only a few years ago that I was whinging about the lack of proper Malaysian restaurants in Sydney, as they were mostly food court or takeaway affairs which made it hard to find a restaurant to have an actual sit down dinner in. Then along came the incredibly successful Mamak, with its eternal long queues which were a necessary evil to confront if you wanted to get a fix of their signature paper thin roti – but if you’re keen to avoid the long queues for tasty Malaysian food then head down George Street to Petaling Street at Haymarket and you won’t be disappointed.
I had heard about Petaling Street awhile ago but for some reason hadn’t tried it until this year and I wish I hadn’t waited so long because it has quickly become one of my favourite cheap eats in Sydney. They have a much more extensive menu than other Malaysian restaurants, covering the full spectrum of roti, laksa, fried noodles, curries, satay skewers – you name it and they probably have it. At first I thought that they only had limited seating as when you first walk in through the narrow corridor next to the open kitchen, there’s only a few tables inside but later on I discovered there’s a spacious dining area downstairs with plenty of seating available.
Tonight I am dining with a large group which means we get to try out more of the dishes on the menu in one go, starting off with some Roti Kosong to share before the rest of our friends arrive. The handmade Roti bread isn’t quite as thin as Mamak’s, but the mild curry sauce which comes with it is addictive and I can’t stop mopping it up with the flaky, buttery pastry.
Roti Kosong, $5.80
Next up we nibble on some Satay Chicken Skewers which have been lightly grilled to perfection with a tasty peanut sauce to complement the tender morsels of chicken on the skewer.
Satay Chicken Skewers, 4 pcs for $6.80
The Penang Asam Laksa has been raved about by several of my friends and surprisingly, in all my years of eating laksa I had never tried this particular version which features a hot and sour fish broth and thick vermicelli, as opposed to the usual coconut milk and sambal in traditional Malaysian laksas. The sourness of the laksa means that it is an acquired taste for many and I found that I still preferred the savoury spiciness of conventional laksas but my best friend is a huge fan of Penang Asam laksa after just returning from a trip to Malaysia and she was quite impressed with Petaling Street’s rendition of it.
Penang Asam Laksa, $11.80
To satisfy my craving for traditional laksa, we ended up ordering a Chicken Laksa too which was pretty decent too, with a lovely mix of thick egg noodles and vermicelli soaking up the coconut milk and chilli sambal paste in the soup.
Chicken Curry Laksa, $10.80
In terms of sweet things, I am a fan of their Teh Tarik which comes served hot in a traditional metal cup and is full of sweet milky tea goodness. It serves as a good partner to their Roti Kaya which has layers of the rich South East Asian coconut jam encased in their handmade buttery bread, for a slightly guilty dessert to finish off a wonderful night of feasting on Malaysian fare.
Roti Kaya, $5.80
I will most definitely be coming back to Petaling Street for my fix of Malaysian hawker style food as there’s so much on the menu I still haven’t tried like their Hainanese Chicken Rice and Char Kway Teoh. The servings are very generous here and you will leave with a satisfied bellyful of delicious food which won’t break the bank.
Petaling Street: Malaysian Hawker Food
760 George Street
Haymarket NSW 2000
Phone:(02) 9280 1006