Malaysian Food Kitchen Market

The Malaysian Food Kitchen Market was on in Sydney from Wednesday 16th till Friday 18th February in the State Theatre lane way, off George Street, which if you weren’t looking for it would be easily missed.  And if it wasn’t for some the lovely people I follow on Twitter, I wouldn’t have found out about this event until it was over.  Then I read Chocolatesuze’s, Grab Your Fork and Noodlies’ blog posts on the event and I knew I had to go.

For the past few months, I’ve had a bit of a fascination for Malaysian foods and in particular Mamak, which everyone seems to be raving on about.  But as well as raving about the food, there’s also lots of discussion on the huge lines and queueing required to dine there (at both the Haymarket and Chatswood restaurants).  So when I saw Mamak would be one of the restaurants featured at MFKM and the fact that is was $10 for 4 courses from some of Sydney’s best Malaysian restaurants and I couldn’t let the opportunity go by.

On the day I went  – lunch session on the last day, I made sure I got there nice and early as I heard the queues to get in were really long and each dining session was at capacity half an hour before it was due to start!  So I got there at about 11:15 for 12pm session and there were already 20 people lined up.  Within 15 minutes, the line was already 2 shops long down George Street.  Thank God I got there early!  By 11:40 the line started moving in, we paid our $10 and shuffled into the lane way for the next bit of lining up.

Lining up inside the lane way

After a short wait, we were ushered around the corner to where the tables were set up and the place looked pretty cool.  Yellow and orange lanterns hanging overhead with long communal tables with mirrored tops.  So purty!

We we were finally seated, I found out to my disappointment, there was no Mamak on for this lunch session.  Dammit!! I was really looking forward to their Roti Canai and Ayam Goreng (fried chicken) as seen here and here.  Oh well, guess it just means, I’ll have to join the queues with everyone else to try out the tasty morsels from Mamak 😦

As soon as we sit down, the food comes out.  First dish off the mark is from Kaki Lima.

This dish is Jahoran chicken and beef satay served with peanut sauce, cucumbers, onion and compressed rice.   I luuurved the peanut sauce on this dish, I was dipping everything in it – the rice and cucumbers.  It was sweet with just the smallest hint of heat in it.  The beef was a little too dry for my liking, so it went well when dipped in the sauce.

Next dish to come out was from Malacca Straits.

This dish was my favourite of the day.  It is a Penang chicken Kapitan – a Penang style mild chicken curry with lime juice, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, coconut and candle nuts served with steamed rice.  I definitely had a case of ‘eyes bigger than stomach’ when it came to this dish.  Each plate that was served was 2 servings, as I was dining on my own, I had the 2 servings of each dish all to myself 😀  It was mild (how I like my curries) with just a little bit of heat coming through.  It was fragrant, sweet and coconutty with plenty of chicken thigh pieces as well.  I actually wasn’t expecting as much chicken as I got as usually with these ‘tasting’ plates, you get lots of sauce and a bit of meat.  But I was very chuffed with this dish.  So I ate it all.  Not a good idea with 2 more dishes to come…

Next up was the Nasi Lemak from Jackie M.

The Nasi Lemak consists of fragrant coconut rice with anchovy sambal, peanuts, egg, cucumber and achar (pickled vegetables).  This dish was super tasty, no wonder it’s the national dish of Malaysia.  I loved the combinations of all the diffrerent textures and flavours in your mouth together, the sweet, sour crunchy and soft.  It’s definitely a dish I’d like to try again as I was really getting full about a quarter of the way through this dish.  My most favourite part of this dish was the little deep fried anchovy, I could even eat those on their own as a little snack food with a nice cool beer.  I did find the sambal a little too spicy when I ate it on it’s own, but combined with some rice and the achar, it toned it down a little.

By the time I got half way through my nasi lemak, I knew I was too full for anything else.

So when the vegetarian Gado Gado from Lees Malaysian came out, I knew I was too full for this.  It was a combination of cabbage, french beans, carrots, bean sprouts and crispy tofu with Lees signature sauce.  I had a few mouthfuls just to get a taste of the dish, but I found the sauce really spicy for my liking.  And a part from the sauce, it was just a bowl of blanched vegetables.  And speaking to the group of Malaysian ladies dining next to me, they were saying it wasn’t an authentic gado gado, so after hearing that, and listening to my stomach, I decided I’d had enough for the day and left the rest of the dish.  All I needed now was a fridge trolley to roll me outta the lane way.

All in all, I think the event as a whole was a great success, if the lines to get into each session is anything to go by.  And pricing it at $10 for 4 courses is a great way to introduce the cuisine to people who might not readily try it.

If you missed out this time, keep an eye on the Malaysian Kitchen Insiders Facebook page as they might put on another event later on this year seeing as this was such a success.


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