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!
You can even order shisha and smoke up many types of fruit flavoured scent…smoked in a Hookah…for my Aussie friends… it’s a fancy bong, mate!
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:
To date, I’ve been to a mamak only once (by force from colleagues who want to play a truant on me) and ate roti canai only once (thanks to my roti canai loving dad and my anti-roti canai mom).
So reading all of this is very interesting. 🙂
OMG… I can’t believe you’ve never had Mamak apart from the one time!!! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE???!
I might have to hit mamak again for supper this weekend 😉
WuhOoo!! Are u up in Sydney again?
im amazed that with such success, the concept hasnt been exported to the other states, especially with the spectacular margins considering all these are a fraction of the costs in msia!
That is true… we have restaurants that do it here in Melb, but not from the same chain.. we have Old Town and Chilipadi… but Mamak has yet to open in Melbs 🙂
Oh my gosh, it kills me everytime I see desserts like that on blogs, because I’ve never had the chance to eat such creations and I know I’d love the novelty of all the different flavours 🙂
OooOo…. yeah you get pretty much anything and anything goes with our food here 😛
Oh gosh, they toss the rotis right in front of you? Couldn’t get any fresher! I’m soo going on a mamak mission this year in Melbourne!
Yuppers 🙂 This is in Sydney.. but there’s places in Melbs that do it too 🙂
Oooh, the roti looks so fluffy and lovely! 🙂 There oughta be more places that do roti fresh, can’t be that hard to get right! 😉
Apparently it is quite hard … *sigh*
Roti and ice cream, that certainly is interesting!
Wouldn’t mind trying it actually 😀
But but but!!!…. I still prefer/want my curry 😛
I am a huge Mamak fan!
Yayy! Me too… for now!
I have the same reaction as you when i first heard that, do you want to serve with curry or ice-cream!! Also i like the fish curry very much, always asked for second :). Mamak open second branch in Chatswood which is slightly bigger but still long queue during lunch/dinner hour. Worth mentioned is the mee goreng is very delicous! If you are coming to sydney again, try the one in chatswood. Btw. I-hua, i like your blog, so much good foods!
Hi there! Thanks for your lovely view and comments 🙂
Yay! Looks yummy. I would want to try this at home. Thank you for sharing your Roti Prata food experience. 😉
You are welcome 🙂