Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mamak - Haymarket, Sydney.

Question: What’s better than going to Mamak once a day?
Answer: Going twice.

C and I had some time to burn before our organised sugar hit at Swissotel (coming soon) with friends including FFichiban, so decided to spend the time queuing for the expectedly long line that had already stretched to the corner of the dumpling house at 6pm. Seated within less than 20 minutes for our party of two, we had already decided what to order.

Here Comes The Food

Mamak – The First Encounter:

Nasi Lemak ($6.50): Fragrant coconut rice accompanied by an ensemble of sambal, peanuts, crispy anchovies, cucumber and hard-boiled egg. Whilst I’d be hard-pressed to say this is one of the better dishes that Mamak offers, I would be more willing to say that it does it better than most places if you are looking at the Sydney CBD region only. The ‘nasi’ (rice) is not as flagrant as it could be when compared the places such as Ayam Goreng 99 (link), which in my opinion, delivers a better quality of flavour and authenticity overall. But this aside, the sambal is true to its expectations and would easily satisfy any demanding-South East Asian palette.

Kangkung Belacan ($12): Stir-Fried water spinach with chillies and shrimp paste. The veggies are generously served with shrimp paste and the chilli offers the right amount of spice that makes you reach for water and more spinach at the same time – it’s a confusion of needs.

Roti Canai ($5): The original roti – crispy on the outside; fluffy on the inside. We recently learned that you can ask this dish to be served with condensed milk (not on the menu) as a supplement or an addition to the standard serving of curry and sambal. However, since trying the condensed milk and roti canai combination – I will probably never go back. It’s a perfect match for those with a guilty sweet tongue: the flurry roti soaks up the condensed milk, which enhances the dishes flavour that was not possible with curry or sambal.

Mamak – The Second Counter:

With our senses comforted by the cocktail from Swissotel’s Sugar Hit, the question arose what could make it just right? ‘How about more food?’ – Perfect. ‘Where?’ Mamak – Let’s go.

We arrived at 10:30pm and once again attached ourselves to the queue which was still present. However, no sooner we were seated (coincidentally at the same table C and I were sat for dinner) and orders were made.

Rojak: Staying true to his love of this dish, FFichiban was literally torn between Rojak or one of the numerous choices for Roti. You should have seen his frustration – definite Kodak moment. However, he eventually went with Rojak :). This is his recount from a previous occasion, which has not changed since: “This salad is an automatic order for me when I come to Mamak. The sweet and spicy peanut sauce with sesame seeds just swirls and engulfs you into a world of flavour. And the textures... the soft tofu to the crisp cucumber and yambean and the crunchy deep fried coconut and prawn fritters. Everytime I take a bite I can't help myself but let out a small 'MMmmmm'.” The “MMmmmm” could be heard across the entire restaurant.

Teh tarik ($3.50): Classic Malaysian sweetened tea which is pulled a great length so that it’s not scolding hot when drunk. The ‘air-time’ between the two cans when the drink is pulled literally removes the unwanted heat from the drink, leaving it frothy and perfect when sipped on.

Roti Canai with Sambal and Curry.

Roti kaya with condensed milk ($6.50): Roti filled with a spread made from pandan and coconut. C and I decided to once again go with condensed milk to see how it complemented this dish. Perhaps not a good choice as the pandan’s honey-like sweetness when combined with condensed milk make this unbearably sweet – like ice cream with too much strawberry syrup. However, on its own, the Roti kaya is a great dessert!

15 Goulburn St, Haymarket, Sydney
Open 7 days
Lunch: 1130am to 3pm
Dinner: 530pm to late



Anonymous said...

I have a serious love for roti with sweetened condensed milk. I can see how Kaya Jam would work too but I agree separately is best. I really ought to try Mamak out, I only tried their stuff at the Indonesian festival but your dishes look great!

Karen said...

I went to this place once after my cousin told me to (he knows the owner I think). Roti was fantastic and their Nasi Lemak was good but not the best (Temasek still wins).

Hehe everything tastes good with condensed milk! Especially Man Tao (a la Superbowl). Oh I miss Tea Tarik sooooooo much! I'm still kicking myself for missing the Malaysian festival :(

flapflap said...

Your persistence in obtaining delicious food is impressive :) I personally hate waiting for a table... but mamak is worth it! I liked the roti cone with ice cream!!

You can get the roti at the Friday night markets at Chinatown too :)

Anonymous said...

Hahah thx should've taken a photo :P I still going in at midnight on Fri/Sat as there are surprisingly very few people. If this was in Asia it would be such a hotspot since few places are open at that time!
Rojak priiddee!

foodie.jenius said...

I was there again last night. Gosh, I am building up an unhealthy obsession with their roti tisu...