Best Malaysian restaurants in Sydney 2014

Laksas, curries, roti... they all come under the banner of Malaysian cuisine. Craving one or the other? Satisfy those cravings at one of the best Malaysian restaurants in Sydney.

Finding the best Malaysian restaurants in Sydney can be a tough gig. Between all the satays you have to sought through, the fish head curries to lap up and the banana rotis to finish things off...

Who are we kidding. Finding the best Malaysian restaurants is easy.

Choosing your favourite? That's another matter entirely.

Mamak

Mamak

  • Where: 15 Goulburn Street, Sydney
  • Opening hours: Mondays to Thursdays and Sunday (11.30am-2.30pm and 5.30pm-10pm), Fridays and Saturdays (11.30am-2.30pm and 5.30-2am)
  • Facebook: Mamak
Mamak

Bring a book — you’ll be in the queue to enter Mamak, Sydney’s mecca for Malaysian roti, for a while. The line doesn’t lie, it’s worth every entertaining minute of having to watch your dinner being rolled and stretched, flattened and flipped in the open-glass kitchen as you wait to be seated. OK, so we lied about needing a book...

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The Malaya

The Malaya

  • Where: 39 Lime Street, King Street Wharf
  • Opening hours: Mondays (noon-2pm and 6pm-9pm), Tuesdays to Wednesdays (noon-2.30pm and 6pm-9.30pm), Thursdays (12.30pm-2:30pm and 6pm-9pm), Fridays (noon-3pm and 6pm-10pm), Saturdays (noon-2pm and 6pm-10pm), Sundays (6pm-8.30pm)
  • Facebook: The Malaya
The Malaya

This one’s for the occasions, the important dates and the luxe nights out. The Malaya is pure top-notch fine-dining, with sweeping water views off King Street Wharf. 50 years on the beat can’t be wrong and with its succulent array of seafood laksas and curries on the pot, we’re drinking to 50 more.

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PappaRich

PappaRich

  • Where: Shop 5/185-211 George Street, Ultimo
  • Opening hours: Mondays to Sundays (11am-10pm)
  • Facebook: PappaRich
PappaRich

Hands up. We’re guilty. This one’s a chain. To be fair, it was bred in the kitchens of Malaysia and has been sweeping the nation (and the world) with its delightful array of rotis, satays, noodles and rendangs like wildfire. Ultimo opened its store early in 2014 and there's hardly an evening goes by when you won't find a line, happily waiting, for the spices and curries that await behind the glass doors. If you're the impatient kind, don't be discouraged, the line moves pretty fast and once you're inside, they won't hurry you to finish.

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Jimmy’s Recipe

  • Where: The Galeries, 500 George Street, Sydney
  • Opening hours: Mondays to Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (10am-6pm), Thursdays (10am-9pm), Sundays (11am-5pm).
  • Website: None

How these little hole-in-the-wall food court havens manage to sneak up on us is beyond our understanding. Jimmy’s Recipe is lost on the street level of the Galleries Victoria. The lunchtime punters know it’s here though and you will too as you add yourself to the back of the line. Follow their lead. Order the laksa. It won’t break the budget, but it will break your appetite.

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Ipoh on York

Ipoh on York

  • Where: Shop 2, Lower Ground 89 York St, Sydney
  • Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7:30am-3:30pm, Sat 11am-3pm
  • Facebook: Ipoh on York
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PappaRich

From the man who brought us Jimmy's Recipe – err, Jimmy – comes another mouthwatering Malaysian outfit: Ipoh on York. They're open before the working hour for punters seeking that much-needed injection of caffeine (FYI normal coffee and Ipoh 'Kopi O' are both available), but come lunchtime and it's Jimmy's bang-on authentic hawker-style chicken laksa, Ipoh Char Kway Teow and Hainan Chicken that you'll be (happily) injecting into your stomach.

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Petaling Street Malaysian Hawker Food

Petaling Street Malaysian Hawker Food

Petaling Street Malaysian Hawker Food

The location is a little busy, the premises small and narrow (a squeeze at best) and the presentation of the food is much to be improved, but the taste is bang-on authentic. Don’t expect your usual line of tourists and novelty followers at the door, this is where the true Malaysians, seeking flavour, taste and the nostalgic hawker-style food they grew up on make a beeline for. Squeeze in.

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Chinta Ria: The Temple of Love

Chinta Ria: The Temple of Love

  • Where: 201 Sussex Street, Sydney
  • Opening hours: Monday-Saturday (noon-2.30pm and 6pm-11pm), Sundays (noon-2-30pm, 6pm-10pm)
  • Facebook: Chinta Ria
Petaling Street Malaysian Hawker Food

Situated on the top of Pyrmont footbridge, it’s difficult to miss this dalek-cum-temple structure, though you may overlook it on-route to dinner thinking it’s something else. Inside is one of the most beloved Malaysian restaurants in the CBD. Founded in 1998 and inspired in design by Wollongong’s Buddhist temples, Chinta Ria TOL specialises in Malaysian hawker-style fodder in a casual, quirky settling. Pop in on the third Tuesday of the month for live jazz.

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Kopitiam Cafe, Ultimo

  • Where: 594 Harris Street, Ultimo
  • Opening hours: Daily. Lunch (noon-3pm), Dinner (6pm-10pm)
  • Website: None

Ideally within walking distance of all the university hubs (UTS, Tafe, Sydney University) Kopitiam Cafe caters to the ‘student diet’ without compromising on the taste. It’s a small cantina that touts owning the best laksa in Sydney. You decide. It also boasts some pretty mean and tasty Roti Canai — and you won’t have to wait as long as Mamak for it, either.

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Malacca Straits on Broadway

Malacca Straits on Broadway

  • Where: 66 Mountain Street, (through the Quadrant Building) Broadway
  • Opening hours: Monday-Saturday (noon-2.30pm and 6pm-11pm), Sundays (noon-2-30pm, 6pm-10pm)
  • Facebook: Malacca Straits on Broadway
Malacca Straits on Broadway

Hidden underneath the apartment complex between Central Station and Broadway, the entrance marked with a purple sign, is Malacca Straits. Book a table — you’ll need it. Expect your typical Malaysian fare and some not-so familiar names from hard-to-find regions. Signature dishes to try are: silken tofu, BYO crab, angel-hair prawn and kuih ketayap (pictured, rolled crepe with pandan juice).

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Temasek

  • Where: 71 George Street, Parramatta
  • Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays (11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-10pm - last orders 9.30pm)
  • Website: None

You’re venturing far. Very far. You’re in the CBD of the west a.k.a. Parramatta and you’re not quite sure why you’re paying more than your food hall price for laksa and rendang. You take a bite and understanding dawns over your face: this is why people like yourself come from far and wide to pay homage to this Malaysian gem of the west. And then you taste the Hainanese chicken — served whole — and you’ll never go back.

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albees

Albee’s Kitchen

  • Where: 282 Beamish Street, Campsie
  • Opening hours: Daily (10am-10pm)
  • Facebook: Albee’s Kitchen
Albee’s Kitchen

Malaysians love their food, there’s no doubt about it and they’ll travel through to Campsie if it means scouring the extensive menu at Albee’s for their favourite dish the way their mama cooks it. Again, don’t expect fancy surrounds, Albee’s a local through and through. But, do expect she is the Best Malaysian Restaurant in Sydney (according to herself). Malaysians, they’re a modest bunch.

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Special mention: Sayong Curry & Laksa

  • Where: 303 Pitt Street, Lower Ground Food Court (Underneath Woolworths)
  • Opening hours: Daily, lunchtime until 3pm
  • Website: None

You’d be hard-pressed to find Sayong on any other ‘Top Malaysian’ list. It’s in the food court underneath the iconic Woolworths building and it’s a hot little Malaysian secret. This writer should know, her aunt and her mum go there regularly. They take their friends there. They purchase extra boxes of the curries to bring home for dinner from there. They’ve probably put the owner’s children through university through their undying need to line their stomachs with happiness. What else can be said of Sayong? It’s really good, really cheap laksa and curry and it really should be bumped to the top of this list. But sometimes we like to keep our food secrets close. Means more for us.

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Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal on hotels or a sale on flights, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too. Though probably not before she buys her own ticket.

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