04 March 2010

Mamak: Sydney's Holy Grail of Roti, Haymarket (19 Feb 2010)

15 Goulburn Street, Haymarket, Sydney NSW 2000

Is this Sydney's best roti?

Before its latest renovations I've been twice to Mamak with family and Malaysian relatives and friends and sadly on both occasions was a bit disappointed with certain dishes like the squid, rojak and a very dryish nasi lemak at the end of a lunch service. I seriously thought the food was overrated by many except for the freshly made-to-order roti. This time arriving at 2 pm I'm glad there's no long wait for a table which is often the case at this very popular restaurant. I sometimes see people queuing outside before it's even opened its doors for dinner. The roti at Mamak would have to be one of the most food blogged in Sydney — it seems like a rite of passage for all food bloggers to visit. I was keen to revisit and try the much loved Roti Tisu I've read so much about.

This time around I thought I'd keep my orders to the classics and thankfully I finally enjoyed what Mamak seems to do best. The Roti Canai came with 2 curries which were somewhat watery but still have enough flavour to be identified. The generous sized Kari Ikan lunch special (fish curry) had decent sized pieces of fish and I actually preferred dipping my roti into this curry which I found more flavoursome. My favourite of the meal was the Ayam Goreng with a tasty and crispy outer shell and tender moist meat inside — just the way it should be. The finger sized Chicken Satay are slightly larger than authentic ones but a lot smaller than westernised ones. They were tender enough with a nice charcoal taste but the peanut sauce was quite sweet and I would have preferred a more smokey peanut taste with more visible crushed peanuts throughout. The traditional onion and cucumber is served with the satay but still no sign of authentic compressed cubed rice cakes (lontong). The reasonably priced Ais Kacang on this occasion was very pleasing with a good hit of rose water which I like. I also really enjoyed the huge dessert finale of Roti Tisu. Both visually appealing and confusing to know how to eat it for the first time. I ended up breaking it down to small pieces and spooning a bit of ice cream on it. Coated in crystalised sugar it's a diabetics nightmare but so addictively yummy — I now know why it's so appealing to so many.

Other Mamak food blog reviews to check out:

PROS: Reasonably priced, Freshly-made roti, Efficient service, Authentic-like
CONS: Very popular so expect long queues during peak times which seems like all the time
MUST TRY: Roti Tisu, Roti Canai, Ayam Goreng, Ais Kacang

Roti Canai $5

Kari Ikan lunch special $10.50

Ayam Goreng: Malaysian-style fried chicken $3.50 each

Chicken Satay $8 (6 pieces)

Ais Kacang $5

Roti Tisu with ice cream $9

2 pm lunch crowd

Closing time near 3 pm

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Mamak on Urbanspoon


Renita said...

Greatest place for some hawker style food! Long lines, but they move quickly... thanks for the roti canai cravings! I'll be paying them a visit soon!

3 hungry tummies said...

Mmm I don't mind some of the roti right now!

ellen said...

I love Mamak! I've learnt from experience that you need to get there early for dinner (i.e. when it opens) and not to have a big group (max 4 people).

Anonymous said...

Yummmm!! I love their roti's and miss them oh so much! BRB, *licking screen*


Nicholas Tan [Foodies N Places] said...

So this is the very famous 1 is Sydney? Hmm.. Really have to find a chance to try it. :)

chocolatesuze said...

hehe mamak is definitely the most blogged about! next time try the roti tissue with a side of condensed milk oh man soooo good!

bbsnoopy said...

Mmm... roti tisu
so sweet and so yummy
yet so bad for you :P

john@heneedsfood said...

I think I've been here 3 or 4 times now. Yeah it's good and the roti is one of the better ones you'll come across in town, but I don't understand all the hype surrounding this place. Is it really that amazing?
I guess it's cheaper than flying to KL

Simon Leong said...

hi renita, they certainly do have long lines. it's good to know they move quickly though.

hi 3 hungry tummies, i wonder if anywhere else in sydney do roti as good as mamak?

hi ellen, it does seem to be hard to sit anymore than 4 people quickly . the more the people the longer the wait to get a seat i guess.

hi debbii, can you recommend anything else on their menu you like?

hi foodiesnplaces, hope your first visit is a good one when you get a chance to try.

hi chocolatesuze, i've seen you guys try with the condensed milk although i really do love ice cream :-)

hi bbsnoopy, definitely so bad but so good hehe

hi john, i wouldn't say it's amazing but they seem to do a good job of the roti and ayam goreng. if you know of any other place that does roti just as well please let me know :-)

Elaine (Three Wise Pigs) said...

Their roti canai is the best roti in Sydney - haven't come across any other roti better than Mamak (not so far at least!).

Anonymous said...

Hey Simon,

You could possibly try the "Rojak" on your next visit! It a Malaysian-style salad with prawn and coconut fritters, fried tofu, hard-boiled eggs, freshly shredded yambean and cucumber, topped with a thick spicy peanut sauce. =)~~

I actually enjoyed the combo of flavours and textures a lot!


Simon Leong said...

hi elaine, keep me posted if you do find a better one. I wonder if Melbourne has any good places for Roti?

Hi debbii, a good Rojak it's a rare dish to find in Sydney. I'll have to get my dad to try it to compare to Malaysia.

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