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Mamak Malaysian Restaurant

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by Nicholas Gordon (subscribe)
Freelance writer based in Sydney.
Published September 25th 2011
"Is it worth lining up for?" That's the first question many ask when a visit to Mamak is on the cards. And the answer to that question is yes. Mamak's Malaysian-style hawker food is the best in the city and is authentic, delicious and ridiculously cheap.

Located on Goulburn Street, just around the corner from the hubbub of Dixon Street, Mamak has fast become an institution. What it isn't though is a secret. Just before opening time, a line begins to stretch along the footpath towards Dixon Street as hungry diners vie for the first seats. Standing in line isn't all bad, through the shop window you can see the chefs prepare the restaurant's famous roti canai. It's quiet a spectacle.

Image appears courtesy of Mamak Restaurant website


Once you've navigated the line, the restaurant's bustling interior reveals itself. The room itself is nothing but a long space decked out with as many tables and chairs as possible. The atmosphere is convivial and very, very noisy. Don't suggest Mamak if you want to have a hushed conversation with someone.

The menu is not extensive at all, but every dish seems to hit the mark. First-timers must try roti canai, the Indian-inspired flatbread that everyone adores. It comes in egg, butter and onion varieties, and each serve is accompanied by two curry dips and a spicy sambal sauce. Satay chicken or beef kebabs are another great starter and come topped with one of the most mouth-watering peanut sauces ever.

Image appears courtesy of Mamak Restaurant website


For mains, the curries are a must and come in lamb, fish, chicken and vegetarian varieties. They are all rich, thick and spicy and you can't help but want more. Ayam goreng, Malaysian-style fried chicken, is also popular, as is rojack, a Malaysian salad. The rice and noodle dishes, nasi lemak, mee goreng and nasi goreng, are also well-worth ordering and are the most authentic interpretations of these dishes this side of Kuala Lumpur.

Mamak is not licensed, but does offer BYO, so if you have to drink head around to the nearby Star Hotel for some takeaways. The drinks menu includes Malaysian favourites such as limau ais and Milo ais, as well as a range of Malaysian coffee and tea drinks. Desserts are fairly limited, but your best bet, if you've got room, is one of the sweet rotis that come with fruit and ice-cream.

Image appears courtesy of Mamak Restaurant website


Mamak recently opened up its first offshoot in Chatswood. For those north of the Coathanger, this maybe an easier option than coming into town. It's located at Shop P9, 1-5 Railway St, Chatswood and offers the same menu as the Chinatown restaurant.

Beating the line at the Chinatown restaurant is near impossible, however late Friday and Saturday nights, when Mamak is open until 2am, offers the best chance. Many people also begin queuing before the restaurant opens, which might get you seated a touch earlier than if you join the line mid-sitting.

Image appears courtesy of Mamak Restaurant website


So if you can't make it to Kuala Lumpur anytime soon, do the next best thing and experience authentic Malaysian-style cuisine at Mamak.
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Why? For the best Malaysian in town
When: Daily, 11:30am to 2:30pm and 5:30pm to 9:30pm. Open until 2am Friday & Saturday.
Website: mamak.com.au
Where: 15 Goulburn St, Haymarket
Cost: Entrees $6 to $11, mains $14 to $19
Comments
I love Mamak! The roti canai is so great here :)
By Sarah Han - senior reviewer
Monday, 26th of September @ 03:35 am
The roti telur is so yummy and I was craving more and more of the curry dips that came with it, such amazing flavour. I couldn't go past the Teh Ais to wash everything down, it was very nice indeed.
By Nini - senior reviewer
Tuesday, 27th of September @ 05:04 am
I have been wanting to try Mamak for ages since a girl at work told me it is definitely worth the wait in line. I really want to try the roti canai and some of the colourful desserts :)
By Bec Ninness - senior reviewer
Wednesday, 28th of September @ 12:14 am
Mamak does a good Maggi Goreng and is a great location. A satisfying quick fix if you are craving roti canai. But the accompanying curries are not the best in Sysney and the rotis arent fluffy enough!..
By maryz - reader
Wednesday, 5th of October @ 08:14 pm
I think Mamak is overrated. To be said authentic?? It's far from authentic Malaysian. There are other more authentic Malaysian restaurants with better quality and less price.
By Anonymous
Friday, 7th of October @ 06:01 am
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