Sedap, Sydney: Penang char kway teow

Rating: 3 out of 5

Regent Place, 501 George Street, Sydney 2000

sedap malaysian

The cinema strip end of George Street has long been dingy and unappealing, but the addition of some great eateries over the last few years has really made the area much more attractive option for a night out. Regent Place is an example of turning a little alley way into a hub of cool.

Sedap has a very clever fit out that makes you feel like you’re sitting at a street hawker stall in Malaysia at night. Fairy lights are strung up on the ceiling, and rustic-style boards hang from the counter listing some of the specialties, like assam laksa and teh tarik. With a small space and loads of diners crammed in, the atmosphere is buzzing. We are lucky enough to snare the very last table available, thereby avoiding a hungry wait.

We are disappointed to see that the dinner menu lacks some of our favourites, which are on the lunch menu, such as nasi lemak and all the laksa variations. So we opt for the char kway teow ($12), which I think is always a good barometer for a Malaysian or Singaporean restaurant’s quality. It’s a famous dish, and one that every restaurant should get right.

The noodles arrive piled on a colourful plate with a generous dollop of sambal on the side. Bouncy flat rice noodles are wok-fried with lap cheong (Chinese sausage), slices of fish cake, bean sprouts, egg and three big king prawns. The noodles are sadly too soft and break up easily, but the flavour is smokey with a warm chilli heat, even without the extra sambal mixed through.

sedap char kway teow

By the time we finish our meal, the restaurant has a queue of people waiting for tables, so we bustle out to free up our table. As we linger by the front of the restaurant, I look over the lunch menu and decide that the next time I come here will definitely be a daytime visit.

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Sambal, North Ryde: Har mee

Rating: 3 out of 5

285-297 Lane Cove Road, North Ryde 2113

har mee sambal

Laksa and char kway teow may be the most well-know Singaporean-Malaysian noodle dishes, but a stand out option for prawn lovers is always the har mee. It’s not for the faint hearted though, since the prawn stock can pack a punch. It is made from the simmering of prawn heads and shells, sometimes with the addition of pork, and the intense prawn smell and taste will overwhelm your senses.

The har mee at Sambal ($13.80) doesn’t quite hit you between the eyes like others that I’ve had.  It still has a lovely sweet, prawn flavour but it is not up there in the intensity scale.  This would be a good thing if this was your first ever har mee and you wanted to ease yourself into it, but for seasoned har mee veterens, this might be a tad disappointing.  It is a light-coloured broth, filled with the typical mix of yellow hokkien noodle and thin rice vermicelli.  It is topped with thinly sliced pork, which is a bit on the dry side, and within the soup you will find a few half slices of prawns, although you’ll be left foraging in your soup for more.  Mixed in with the noodles are fresh bean sprouts for some added crunch.

The service here at Sambal is pleasant and efficient, and even when it is jam packed during lunch service, the meals still come out relatively quickly.  There is a nice buzz and atmosphere here when it’s busy, and they have an outdoor dining section too, which would be fantastic on a nice sunny day.  Overall, it’s a decent Singaporean-Malaysian establishment.  The har mee may not be a huge hit with some, but will definitely appeal to others.  Just in case you were wondering, the laksa and char kway teow here are worth it.

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Temasek, Parramatta: Chicken and prawn laksa

Rating: 5 out of 5

71 George Street, Parramatta 2150

temasek laksa

I love laksa.  It’s a perfect meal in winter, when it’s cold outside and the creamy chili soup warms you up from the inside out.  And it’s also fantastic in summer, when the creamy chili soup makes you sweat and cools you down from the outside in.  I defy anyone to try a laksa and to hate it when it’s the ultimate in comfort food for a noodle lover.

Temasek is one of Sydney’s “go to” places for lovers of Singaporean and Malaysian food, and people will trek out to the western Sydney suburb of Parramatta for a taste of their famous Hainanese chicken rice, along with the usual favourites such as char kway teow, beef rendang, nasi goreng, and LAKSA!

The service was quick and efficient, and our meals arrived very soon after our waitress took our order.

Our chicken and prawn laksa was laden with big fresh juicy king prawns and lots of juicy tender chicken breast (I normally don’t dig chicken breast due to the high likelihood of it being served on the dry side, but this definitely was not the case at Temasek!), along with a generous serving of both hokkien noodles and rice vermicelli.  There were also some fresh bean sprouts for crunchy texture, chunks of fried tofu that soaks up all the delicious laksa soup like a sponge, and a liberal sprinkling of fried onions on top.  The soup was deliciously thick, creamy and rich, with warm heat of the added chili and a fragrant herby and shrimpy flavour.  My boyfriend said that he would have preferred a thinner style soup, but hey, horses for courses.  Pleasingly, the soup was not too oily either, which can be a common complaint with laksas.

This was a faultess laksa in my opinion, and I would happily drive across town for it.  Although some may snipe at the brusque service, well, it’s an Asian restaurant, not fine dining.

temasek laksa

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Temasek, Parramatta: Char kway teow

Rating: 5 out of 5

71 George Street, Parramatta 2150

temasek char kway teow

For me, it’s hard to go past char kway teow on a menu.  Ho fun, or the flat rice noodle, is my favourite type of noodle of all time, and this dish just celebrates it so well.  Eating char kway teow makes me feel like I’m sitting in a hawker stall in Singapore or Malaysia.

Temasek is a Sydney institution for lovers of Singaporean and Malaysian food.  Situated in the western Sydney suburb of Parramatta, the restaurant attracts diners from all over Sydney, a mostly Asian crowd that know and love this cuisine.  It’s almost always bursting with eager crowds, so we were surprised when we easily snagged a table at 12:30pm on a Saturday.

The service was quick and efficient, and our meals arrived only a mere 5 minutes or so after our waitress took our order.  Seeing other tables laden with succulent Hainanese chicken rice and creamy laksa, our appetites were definitely thankful for the short wait!

The char kway teow was a glorious combination of soft, elastic ho fun, stir fried with fresh bean sprouts for crunch, big juicy king prawns, sweet Chinese sausage lap cheong, and was flecked with chopped red chilis for some heat and fire (the chilis are optional, but we couldn’t resist!).  There was a slight sweetness to the delicious salty soy sauce flavour and pleasingly, there was no heavy oily feeling in the mouth.  The smokiness of the well seasoned wok can also be tasted in this dish.

Temasek is hands down my nomination for the best char kway teow in Sydney, and on its own, is undoubtedly worth the trek out to Parramatta. Get to it!

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