As many Sydneysider’s would have realised by now, the weather has been CRAZY cold! Winter is truly here and that has led us to throw our clean-eating out of the windows temporarily and go for comfort food. Mamak is one of our favourite comfort eating spots as it is within a 5 minutes drive from our home; provides reliably warm and tasty dishes; and is relatively cheap and efficient.
So after a long and cold Friday, we decided to celebrate the end of the work week by hurrying over to the Chatswood branch. Compared to the Chinatown store, the line at Chatswood is usually considerably shorter. We got there just after 6pm, and were happily seated immediately. Whilst there are many options on the menu that sounds amazing (and I keep telling myself that I’ll order some next time I visit), I always find myself re-ordering the same few dishes – chicken satay sticks, the amazing rojak salad and the nasi lemak.
Our obligatory entree is always the charcoal grilled chicken satay sticks (only 5 is shown in the photo since M got too excited and ate one before remembering to take a photo). Mamak grills their chicken satay sticks really well, having them grilled over the flaming charcoal at the front of the store. This helps the chicken pieces maintain the sucuclent natural sweetness of the meat whilst coating it with a good balance of smokiness. Also I love the generous portion of the bowl of sweet and spicy peanut sauce that comes on the side. We always end up having some extra leftover that soon gets mixed into any rice (or anything else) we have leftover.
ZOMG the rojak! This is “the” dish that keeps pulling me back to Mamak. Although we do not typically think of salads as a “comfort food” type of dish, this salad is different. The rojak is a Malaysian salad that combines vegetables (such as cucumber and yambean) all mixed in with a thick peanut sauce, hard-boiled eggs, fried tofu pieces and sometimes some other items. Mamak’s version is the best version I have had in Sydney (and kudos for the presentation too). Mamak layers shredded yambean and cucumber pieces on the bottom, and tops it with a layer of fried tofu followed by an impressive amount of thick spicy peanut sauce, and finally a small pile of crispy prawn and coconut fritters. What we usually do is take the fritters off and leave it on the side (so they do not get soggy from the sauce when we mix everything together). We then scoop the mixed salad onto a prawn fritter to eat, so we get a perfect mixture of this saucy and rich salad along with a crunchy base.
The nasi lemak is always my go-to dish regardless of which Malaysian restaurant I’m at. There’s always something comforting about having a large scoop of fragrant coconut rice accompanied by a range of crunchy and tasty sides. At Mamak the lasi lemak consists of a large bowl shaped fragrant coconut rice piles on the middle of the plate, surrounded by a range of simple assortment of goodies (a scoop of their spicy sambal sauce, crunchy peanuts, crispy anchovies, cucumber and a harf hard-boiled egg. To make it a more substantial main, we added a side of their tender, slow-cooked lamb curry and a piece of their succulent fried chicken.
With new Malaysian eateries like PapaRich popping up in Sydney, Mamak still proves to be a favourite with plenty of customers still filling up their restaurants for their reliably comforting and tasty dishes. Now if only we could stop ordering the same few dishes to try out the rest of the menu…
Shop P9, 1-5, Railway St Chatswood
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