Well back in the big smoke, well actually these days it kinda feels like the “not so big smoke”. More and more when I return to the places I used to live, I marvel at how big and sophisticated they felt; now I look around amazed at how little they’ve changed, or how much I have. Restaurants that used to dazzle now pale in comparison to street side stalls and markets, the bustle of a busy street is nothing after you’ve experienced Tokyo or New York at rush hour, most of all it makes me laugh at how big and important I thought my tiny little part of the world was.
But I digress; we were back in Sydney and looking for something tasty and soulful to begin what we hoped would be a fantastic gastronomic couple of weeks (little did we know). Had heard a rumour this little place down on the edge of Chinatown was supposed to be throwing down the real taste of Malaysia, and after 7 months in Japan we were in dire need of those sorts of flavours.
From what we had heard Mamak down on Goulburn street was small, casual and super authentic, sweet! We took a stroll down George St (haven’t missed that) and hit Mamak bang on opening. Just as well we did within minutes there was a good size queue standing at the door wishing they had arrived earlier.
We order a few things to share starting off with the rojak; a salad we first experienced in Singapore. It arrives piled high with a great mix of crispy tofu and prawn cake, fresh cucumber and pineapple as well as a boiled egg, usually the salad is covered in a spicy sour sweet sauce, in this case the sauce was pooled under the salad but the flavours were oh so there.
The next dish to arrive was Roti telur bawang, egg and onion sandwiched between two roti sheets served with two curry sauces and sambal, it’s really hard to describe how amazing the flavours were after so long without.
Then a nasi lemak, usually for breakfast, but it’s always breakfast somewhere right? The plate piled with rendang, sambal prawns, peanuts, cucumber, egg, crispy fish and balanced on the top of the coconut rice a fantastic fried chicken leg. We tried hard not to wolf it all down, but, well, y’know.
Now that we had decided we were full, but not so full we couldn’t manage half a dozen satay sticks. We ordered some up much to the dismay of those still standing in the doorway waiting. The sticks arrived a huge bowl of satay sauce balanced on the satays some cucumber and red onion.
First mouthful and it was instant transportation back to the streets of Jakarta (yes I know it's not Malaysia but thats where it took me), minus the traffic and street dogs but that’s all just atmosphere, smoky, spicy and with a touch of chilli and lemon grass. Oh so good.
When we finally rolled out past the green eyed monster stares of the masses, I was so happy that our former small world still had some big food.
15 Goulburn St,
Open 7 daysLunch: 1130am to 3pmDinner: 530pm to late