A Mamak store, is the quintessential spot where everyone goes and hangs out…
It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and most of the year (some close for a few days during the Ramadhan period)… but it is a hang-out spot, where everyone gathers to have good, cheap food along the roadside (or on the roads itself)… It’s pretty easy to get a table… it’s the road after all!
However, when you say Mamak in Sydney, you get a proper air-conditioned restaurant that tries to emulate the whole Mamak culture…
I say ‘tries‘, because it’s not quite the same outside of Malaysia.. you don’t get the dodginess or the grittiness of sitting next to the drains or passing traffic…
There’s no fear of a car speeding next to you or accidentally smashing into the tables and chairs, because the driver was too drunk to realise that it wasn’t a parking spot (true story)…
Malaysians tend to risk their lives for food… we are awesome that way…
Anyway… this Mamak is a lot cleaner, fresher and prettier…
Does it work? I would say so… it’s a place where Malaysians and anyone exposed to the Mamak concept will feel right at home…
Judging by the long queues that form at the entrance during peak hours, I can say confidently, the concept definitely works!
The above picture showcases a full house, and this was at 2.00pm on a Friday afternoon!!!
What about the food, you ask? How are the rotis, satays, curries, desserts, drinks? Does it taste good?
Is it authentic?
We ordered a couple of dishes for our afternoon tea… starting off with a Roti Canai $5.50 (or Roti Prata as Singaporeans call it)…
It arrived all bundled and crispy… with a slightly watery dahl but really awesome fish curry!
They had forgotten to add the spicy sambal with the dish, so it was sent back to the open front kitchen for a quick touch up (Can you spot the difference in the pictures above?)
When I ordered my Roti Kaya $7.50, I was asked if I wanted it with ice-cream or curry… the look on my face must have been one of shock… as the waiter hurriedly said, “I think curry..”… Imagine, eating this dish with ice-cream!!! It’s been westernised for the taste buds here, methinks…
But when it arrived, all misgivings went away, as it was pretty much as close and as authentic you’d get… I was happy
I’ve had horrible versions down here in Melbourne, so I was a bit afraid… but like a good soldier, I gave it a go and was pretty happy with the result!
In an effort to further cool down, we ordered a bowl of ABC (Air Batu Campur) which literally translates to mixed ice…. other people might know this as Ais Kacang $6 (or in Indonesia, it is known as Es Teller)…
Pretty much a funked up snow-cone in a bowl with a lot more ingredients…
For drinks, we had Teh Ais $3.50 (Iced Milk Tea), and Teh ‘O’ Ais Limau $3.50 (Ice Lemon Tea)…
I have to say, the service was excellent. From the moment I stepped into the restaurant, to the time I paid the bill, it was a 110%
It was a 42 degrees Celcius day (heat wave in Sydney) and I had just walked from The Rocks to Chinatown… I was as red as a lobster, and sweating like a pig… I was greeted, and promptly given a whole BOWL of ICE and water to cool down!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They didn’t even do that in Assiette!!! AMAZING SERVICE!
Either that or they must’ve thought I was going to pass out on their floor and they had better take a preemptive first aid …
Part of the authentic Mamak concept is that they have an open plan kitchen out at the front of the store….and you can see them tossing your rotis high in the air as you await your food being served
Would I return? If I had the time, I would… just for an authentic taste catch-up… or to meet up with friends or family over a few cups of drinks, Malaysian style
Much much much better food quality (in terms of rotis) to the Old Town Mamak Kopitiam in QV Melbourne…
*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the service, food and quality
Food/ Cuisine: Malaysian
Dining Style: Restaurant/Coffee Shop
Overall Food Rating (Based on the Dining style): 7/10
Restaurant ambiance: 7.5/10 (It has a nice feel to it and is quite spacious)
Service/ Attitude: 9/10
Value for money: 8/10 (It’s pretty darn affordable, as it’s all about the Mamak concept, whose main customers are made up of students…)
15 Goulburn Street
Haymarket, Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9211 1688
Mamak is open everyday from
11.30am to 2.30pm
5.30pm to 9.30pm
On Friday and Saturday nights,
Mamak Chinatown is open until 2.00am
How to get there: