Tag Archives: Malaysian

Papparich-7

PappaRich, Northbridge

PappaRich

In case you’ve missed it, Malaysian chain PappaRich has finally opened its doors in Perth.

We arrived at approximately 12:05pm on Saturday. We expected a wait. The queue was long – alarmingly long, by Perth standards – forcing a few ahead of us, and probably more behind us, to shake their heads and say ‘no more’.

I smiled (an annoying, knowing smile, I’m sure), because it reminded me a lot of our visit to Sydney’s much loved Malaysian food destination, Mamak. Lines around the block around their locations are just what you do, and though frustrating, make an excellent hunger-inducing activity.

PappaRich

But we were relieved to find that the wait wasn’t nearly as long as expected (only 35 minutes), and no naps were required for either of us.

PappaRich

The ordering system at PappaRich is simple, and takes ordering anxiety out of the equation with ‘chits’; ordering slips that you use to mark your table number, dishes and quantities on, before passing it on to your friendly wait person – summoned to your table via table bell.

The extensive menu had us both entranced for a good five minutes or so, but we eventually settled on a number of dishes. And when I say ‘a number’, I’m kind of horrified that we ordered that much food.

Between two people.

We did it for science – i.e. this blog, which seems to be a pretty common excuse ’round these parts.

PappaRich

My three layer tea (Teh C special, iced – $$4.50) was the first to arrive, starting from the bottom with a layer of gula melaka (palm sugar syrup), evaporated milk and topped finally with chilled teh tarik over ice cubes. I’m a big teh tarik fan at the best of times, but when this beauty’s on the menu, you can bet I’m going to order it, as that layer of sweet caramelly palm sugar makes an already great beverage even better.

PappaRich

J opted for a classic with a twist – iced soya milk with pudding ($4.90), which came with a snowy cap of whipped cream  and a drizzle of more of the good stuff (gula melaka!). I didn’t get the appeal, but it got his seal of approval. I still don’t understand it, but then, pudding is J’s favourite bubble tea (boba) add-on, so I guess it makes sense.

PappaRich

The food started to arrive quickly, with the first, and probably the most worrying choice of the day: Pappa deep fried chicken skin ($6.90).

As the name suggests, this is indeed a plate of seasoned deep fried chicken skin, and not much else. Well, also sweet chili sauce.

The mere sight of this dish made my heart flutter a little. Perhaps in sympathy for my arteries.

Crunchy, chickeny and just a bit spicy (dusted with some turmeric before frying, I think), this plate of skin could be just your thing. Or your idea of hell.

I honestly thought I’d love it more, being an avid skin-on person where chicken’s concerned. It was good. But I think I could do without it. And the associated feelings of self-doubt and dietary guilt.

PappaRich

When there’s Nasi Lemak ($13.90) on the menu, I’m ordering it.

PappaRich actually offers several options, from the basic fried chicken or curry chicken accompaniment to the ritzy ‘two dish’ option, that comes upgraded with chicken curry and prawn sambal.

I’m always going to choose the classic fried chicken option, as I don’t really like the added curry masking the flavour of the coconut rice or sambal that comes as standard with the dish.

The chicken offered here is dusted in curry powder before frying, so it’s a little spicy but still mild. The classic Nasi Lemak side dishes, sliced cucumber, boiled egg, fried anchovies (Ikan Bilis), fried peanuts and sambal blachan are also included.

The sambal here had a decent chili kick, but I personally found it a little on the sweet side. I’d have preferred a bit more savoury umaminess from the toasted blachan (shrimp paste).

PappaRichI had no idea breakfast carbs were included on PappaRich’s standard menu until we arrived. and I realised that they open from 10.30am.

J just couldn’t stop himself from ordering some steamed mantou with kaya ($4.90). Think of the steamed buns as a vessel for thick yellow slabs of butter and generous schemers of kaya (a sort of custard-like coconut and egg “jam”). They’re really the stars of the show.

PappaRich

We split a mixed serve of satay ($13.90), which looked like one of the most popular dishes that day. Three sticks of chicken and three sticks of beef are served with the classic partners – cucumber, red onion and peanut sauce.

Both the chicken and beef were nicely tender, but I think they could have been grilled a little longer for that great taste you only get from charcoal grilled food.

The peanut sauce wasn’t particularly spicy and would be easily managed by most people. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of peanut taste. It looked like it had been cooked with a lot of onion, which bulks out the sauce once it’s blended. Like the sambal that came with my Nasi Lemak, it was also a little sweeter than I’d usually prefer.

PappaRichAnd with Malaysian appetites that just won’t quit, we figured we’d order a roti canai and chicken curry ($12.90), because, at this point, it was clear that this was one of those meals.

The roti canai was right on the mark with a light and silky interior and crispy, flaky crust. Served with chicken curry, a small ladleful of dhal and another of sambal to amp up the heat, this was probably my favourite dish of the day.

If you eat it with your fingers (in true Malaysian style) and close your eyes, for a minute, you might just forget you’re in the middle of Northbridge, and the memory of the wait to get inside will have all but disappeared.

Papparich Northbridge on Urbanspoon

Note

At the time of publishing this post, the Northbridge store is the only PappaRich outlet in WA. But hold on to your hats, because there’s another store opening soon in Carousel - Shop 1173, 1382 Albany Hwy, Cannington.

The opening date is still to be advised.

 

 

Eating with your fingers is a must

Sri Devi Curry House, Northbridge

When J’s parents mentioned a new Indian Malaysian restaurant, Sri Devi Curry House, had popped up where Mak’s Place and later, Ipoh’s Corner, used to be, and that it was far superior to its predecessors, we were only too happy to join them for lunch to find out for ourselves.

In the interests of science and blog research, of course.

Upon arrival, we bumped into two of J’s parents’ oldest friends, who had decided to drop into Sri Devi last minute. With our group boosted to six, it meant more hands (and bellies) on deck to try out the food on offer.

Lunch at Sri Devi

One of the biggest draws of Sri Devi, for J’s dad, was the Saturday special, fish head curry. As we waited for ours to arrive, we spotted an older Chinese gentleman eating an entire bowl solo, with Just a small bowl of plain rice and a glass of water. A good sign.

Fresh pink snapper heads were used in this curry, swimming in a light curry sauce that packed reasonable heat and a great tang from the added tomatoes, lemongrass and turmeric.

Enjoying fish head curry is a relatively new thing for me – it always used to be “mum and dad food” at home – not a kid favourite, and therefore, cooked with extra chili.

Lunch at Sri Devi

We also shared two serves of vegetarian biryani ($7.00), which came laden with whole spices (cumin, cardamom), with lots of curry leaves and coriander mixed through. I found the biryani a surprise stand out. It was fragrant with just a touch of heat, and would have satisfied my appetite on its own, without the addition of meat or chicken.

Lunch at Sri Devi

J’s mum was more keen on murtabak ($12.00), and now I can totally understand why, after trying this one from Sri Devi.

Lunch at Sri Devi

Minced chicken, onion and egg are wrapped here in a thin roti canai (paratha) dough before being fried on the flat top grill. J’s mum and I got to chatting about the relative merits of murtabak, both agreeing that most places add way too much onion, leaving you with an unbalanced mix of flavours and textures. The onion to chicken ratio here was spot on.

The choice of chicken (instead of the usual mutton) was great too, as I’m not the biggest fan of mutton, generally. And if you’re feeling fishy – there’s even a sardine option too. (I assume ayam brand in tomato sauce? :))

Lunch at Sri Devi

Neither J or I could go past the roti canai, $6.00 for one, served with a meat curry sauce and dhal.

Lunch at Sri Devi

The roti canai here is *almost* as good as my mum’s. Or maybe my aunty’s. It’s smooth and silky on the inside, without a hint of toughness (a sure sign of over worked dough or too little ghee) and fried to flaky, golden perfection.

Frankly, I could eat these unadorned, every day, Monday through Friday – if overconsumption of ghee wasn’t at all a concern.

Lunch at Sri Devi

Teh tarik (“pulled” tea, $3.50) is on the drinks menu, and is the perfect thing to take the edge off the chili heat of your meal.

Alternatively, you might find other Malaysian favourites like Teh ice, Milo tarik or Nescafe (hot or cold), more your thing?

Sri Devi

The food was so good that J and I still weren’t satisfied, a full week after this meal. We found ourselves unmistakably craving roti canai ….

This time, we also sampled the Idli and sambal (a serve of 2 idli, $5.00) a South Indian specialty usually served at breakfast time.

Idli, if you haven’t tried them, are steamed savoury cakes. They’re made from a sourdough-like fermented batter, that contains finely ground rice and lentils. Once they’re steamed, they become light and fluffy, and they’re served hot – usually with two kinds of chutney (one chili-based, and one coconut-based).

Thosai are also offered on the menu – we shared one with J’s parents on our first visit (no picture, because we were too busy eating, sorry). Plain, egg, onion, cheese and masala options are all available, starting at $7.50 each.

Sri Devi

Sri Devi Curry House on Urbanspoon

Noodle Forum, Perth

Noodle Forum

If you’ve visited Malaysia or Singapore, you’ve probably been initiated into the joy that is hawker food. From noodles to deep fried bananas, some of the best food I’ve ever tried has come from these stalls.

Most of the time, each hawker stall only serves dishes that are related, either by cooking method or ingredient. Noodle hawkers make noodles. Porridge hawkers make porridge. And so on.

Though the variety of dishes on offer may be narrow, I find the devotion to a specific kind of food to be pretty special, as it showcases the skill of the cook in using a particular cooking style, method or star ingredient.

Noodle Forum

At Noodle Forum, the devotion to noodles; wantan mee (wantan noodles) to be exact, is pretty clear. Here, chef Erich Wong makes fresh egg-based wantan noodles daily, having perfected his craft over the last 40 years.

There’s no shortcuts here, and you’ll see real eggs being mixed by hand into every batch of noodles made by chef Erich. He’s clearly very passionate about his craft – which you’ll notice easily as you watch him making noodles through the glass doors of the kitchen adjoining the restaurant.

Chef Erich may be focused on his noodles, but he still finds the time to beckon me closer and pop his head out of the door to tell me that it’s fresh spinach being added to this batch of noodles.

Noodle Forum

I only had eyes for the BBQ pork noodles (char siu mee, $11.90), which are always my pick whenever I’m eating somewhere that specialises in this particular kind of noodle.

Noodle Forum

The noodles here are thin with a perfect bite that’s probably best described as toothsome or al dente. They’re tossed in a salty and sweet soy-based sauce.

Though the noodles are without a doubt the star of the show, the char siu (or BBQ pork) is a stunner, caramelised to a deep-dark crunch along the edges, with tender meat that’s rippled with just a hint of fat, leaving each mouthful juicy.

Word of warning: this is not crisp white shirt food. You might need a bib for the inevitable caused by eating with reckless abandon.

Noodle Forum

Like all the other noodles on offer, the Crispy Check Fillet Noodle, is also a bargain at $11.90. The noodles are dressed in the same soy-based sauce as the BBQ pork noodles.

Noodle Forum

But instead of juicy pork, here you’ll enjoy crisp chunks of tender chicken thigh, which are coated in a light crisp coating. The chicken is coated, deep fried, sliced and loaded atop the noodles with a generous drizzle of chili mayonnaise (I’m guessing Japanese Kewpie, spiked with chili).

Noodle Forum

Each bowl of noodles here comes with a signature crunchy cracker – made a dough that’s very similar to the wantan wrappers chef Erich churns out for Noodle Forum’s signature wantans in soup (5 for $5.50).

Noodle Forum

I’m swooning over the whole Exmouth prawn that’s enclosed inside each wantan with a generous mouthful of marinated minced Plantagenet free range pork. The wantan wrapper is silky and smooth, and rolled so thin I’m surprised there’s not a single tear in any of the dumplings.

The wantan soup is a clear broth spiked with loads of sliced spring onions. It’s salty but a little sweet, which is always a good sign in my book, signalling long slow cooking and lots of bones in the stock (here at Noodle Forum, that means Mount Barker free range chicken bones).

Even the salty and sour pickled chillies are homemade here. A good thing too, as they’re essential with noodles like this, just ask my Mum.

Noodle Forum

I couldn’t resist abandoning J for a moment to watch chef Erich making his noodles using a huge bamboo pole. You can watch the super short video I took of chef Erich making spinach noodles below:

Noodle Forum

Noodle Forum on Urbanspoon

Like Noodle Forum on Facebook.

Opening hours 

Monday to Thursday: 11.00am to 5.30pm
Friday: 11.00am to 9.00pm
Saturday: 11.00am to 5.30pm
Closed Sunday

Could this be Perth’s best Laksa?

Laksa from Hawkers Delight, Subiaco

I’m no expert. But I’m definitely a fan of Laksa. Curry Laksa, curry mee, whatever you want to call it. I’ve been enjoying it ever since that first bite I shared with my Mum, when I was nine.

Perth’s Laksa offerings haven’t quite been the same since the old Newton Place stall in an underground food court off Murray Street closed … about … fifteen years ago.

Laksa from Hawkers Delight, Subiaco

If I were forced to name my top pick for Laksa in Perth – here’s my answer: Hawkers Delight.

The coconut-broth kicks you in the pants, and delivers that oh so satisfying back of the throat burn. It’s lemak, but sharp with a tang of lemongrass.

I know my Mum would be impressed and she’s my personal Laksa compass. Why? Because the laksa here at Hawkers Delight has definitely been made with a Laksa rempah (Malay for spice paste), not a repurposed chicken curry.

There’s shredded chicken, tofu puffs, fat bursty prawns, and my personal favourite - yee peng (fish cake) all jumbled up with topped and tailed bean sprouts. Mixed noodles (egg and rice) are the thing here, so make sure you specify if you prefer one over the other.

Now, for the million dollar question … which do I choose the next time I visit Hawkers Delight – the fantastic Nasi Lemak, or the Laksa? #firstworldproblems

Read my previous post about Hawkers Delight

Hawkers Delight on Urbanspoon

Hawkers Delight, Station Street Markets, Subiaco

Hawker's Delight

J and I have been on a bit of a Malaysian food kick recently. All due to one place - Hawkers Delight, located at the Station Street Markets in Subiaco.

It’s hard to talk about Malaysian food without thinking of Char Kuey Teow. Hawkers Delight tick all the boxes with their version of this popular hawker dish.

Fat prawns, sliced lup cheong (Chinese sausage), garlic chives and fat bean sprouts are tumbled together with flat rice noodles and bright yellow strands of egg.

It’s spicy and heady with the essential flavour that only comes from being cooked over a searing hot wok. Don’t worry if you’re not a chili hero – you can choose from mild, medium, hot or searing when you order! :)

The most outstanding part? Fried lard cubes. The crunchy, rich, evil-yet-delectable little pieces of goodness that takes your standard Char Kuey Teow to truly authentic heights.

Hawker's Delight

Another option of course, is the equally popular Chai Tow Kuey, if you’re not in the mood for protein with your carbs.

Chai Tow Kuey uses cubed radish cake in place of the noodles, which are quickly fried in a searing wok with chives, bean sprouts, dark soy, chili and egg.

Hawker's Delight

My favourite dish to order at Hawkers Delight is, without a doubt, their fragrant, totally authentic, Nasi Lemak.

I don’t think I’ve ever met a Malaysian who doesn’t have a soft spot for this, the national dish, and when you taste the Nasi Lemak on offer here, it’s no wonder why.

The rice is rich from the flavour of coconut milk, the odd shred of ginger, and I’m guessing the necessary piece of knotted Pandan for added aroma.

It comes served with the traditional partners: half a hard boiled egg, crunchy Ikan Bilis (the tiny fried fish, served whole) and peanuts, and sliced cold cucumber. Don’t forget the generous dollop of spicy, Belacan rich sambal, and my favourite part – the super crispy fried chicken wing!

It’s a good idea to get your wriggle on, if you’re planning on ordering the fantastic Nasi Lemak at Hawkers Delight. Their crispy fried chicken is very popular (as a snack, and as part of their Nasi Lemak), and sells out quickly.

Hawker's Delight

But if you happen to miss out, don’t despair! The alternative protein option happens to be some of some of the best Malaysian chicken curry I’ve ever had in Perth (that wasn’t cooked by my Mum, or any of my aunties!)

J and I love the sambal here. I wonder whether we could convince them to bottle it and sell it? :)

Hawker's Delight

Another special item on the menu which is worth checking out is the Loh Mai Kai (chicken sticky rice), which features tender pieces of chicken, sweet-salty slices of Chinese sausage (lup cheong) and juicy Chinese mushrooms (dried shiitake) over fragrant, garlicky glutinous rice.

Loh Mai Kai is a steamed in a Chinese soup bowl (or similar), and comes plated with all the protein goodies on top. It’s a filling, satisfying dish that’s great at any time of day – in fact, for the Chews, Loh Mai Kai was often a breakfast special my late grandma would make.

Now that she’s no longer with us, I’m so excited to have found a source of one of my childhood favourites on this side of town!

And if I’m ever in the mood for a late weekend breakkie – Hawkers have it covered, as they’re open early from 9.00am.

Hawker's Delight

After all your chili, if you’re keen for a drink, Hawkers Delight also sell a range of Malaysian favourites, including Teh Tarik, Barley Water, Soya Bean Milk and Cendol. In fact, their Barley Water has become a ‘must drink’ for J and I whenever we visit the Subi markets – whether we’re eating or not!

Hawkers Delight on Urbanspoon

Sassy’s Red, Westfield Sydney

I heart Westfield

During our ten days in Sydney, I was eager to check out the many many eating options at Westfield Sydney. Truth be told, we’re a little starved for variety when it comes to shopping centre eats in Perth… Stepping into our Westfield locations reveals the standards – fast food, doughnuts and the ever ubiquitous kebab.

Westfield Sydney offered a much more exciting array of food outlets, including this beautifully retro step into Malaysia – Sassy’s Red.

I heart Westfield

Sassy’s Red joins restaurateur Simon Goh’s other well-known Sydney locations, Chinta Ria…Temple of Love and Chinta Ria…Mood for Love.

Sassy’s is a beautifully fitted out blast from the past, one which is so familiar to me and yet so foreign. Foreign, for one pretty good reason - because I’m at least twenty years too young.

I heart Westfield

Despite suffering from a significant age gap, I still have a pretty clear mental picture of this version of Malaysia.

My mind is shaped by the photographs from my parents’ youth. Dad with the goofy Buddy Holly glasses and brylcreemed hair. Mum at her wedding – with her long black hair in a bun so high it could have rivaled Amy Winehouse’s and fantastic black-lined eyes.

The decor at Sassy’s also remind me of the comics by Malaysian cartoonist Lat which I read from cover to cover as a kid. I spot retro fonts and design used on the menu boards throughout. There’s vintage looking signs saved from kopi tiams and glamour shots of pretty Chinese ladies, dolled up and dressed up in their best cheong sams.

I heart Westfield

And then of course, there’s most significant thing of all.

The food.

There’s something so comforting about Roti Canai or Roti Pratha. It’s been one of my favourite foods since I was a kid.

Eating the crispy, flaky, buttery layers, reminded me immediately of helping my Mum make this special treat.

We would huddle over our kitchen table, ghee in our hands, meticulously stretching the slippery, greasy dough into paper-thin layers, before folding them into rough circles and frying them on a griddle until golden brown.

I would usually share the first one straight off the stove with Mum – the cook’s treat, of course – with a sprinkling of white sugar.

I heart Westfield

The most important part; as demonstrated by this version from Sassy’s Red, is the final touch – quickly crumpling the fried roti in your bare hands before serving – which unfurls the soft layers inside.

I heart Westfield

The golden roti are perfect enjoyed with a bowl of curry gravy or served with a bowl of spicy dhal.

Taking a bite of roti with the curry from Sassy’s reveals a sauce that’s rich with coconut milk and flavoured with tumeric, lemongrass and chili.

It immediately makes me think of the rhythm of the mortar and pestle going thump thump thump, a sound which transports me into the kitchen of my childhood, and being my Grandma’s kitchen ‘shadow’ while she made the rempah (spice paste) in preparation for the chicken curry we would be eating for dinner.

The curry at Sassy’s will never be my Grandma’s, but its a pretty good start. It’s typically Malaysian – richly flavoured, yet quite liquid in texture – just perfect for dunking pieces of hot Roti.

I heart WestfieldAnd to end my trip down foodie-memory lane? An icy cup of cold sugarcane juice. Perfect. I could be on a street in KL.

Sassy's Red on Urbanspoon

Read about our other food adventures in Sydney

Jackie-M-2

Jackie M Malaysian Cuisine, Concord

Mmm, fried chicken.

I was really excited to be visiting Jackie M Malaysian Cuisine. For this meal, we were meeting two new friends, Craig and Caroline (well, new in that we hadn’t met in person).

With fellow food bloggers at the table, it was comforting to know that cameras were welcomed, and ordering food to share was preferable, to maximise our tasting options. Excellent! :)

Ayam Goreng, 4 for $12

Craig and Caroline had already tried some of Jackie’s food at the recent Malaysia Fest in Sydney, so they had already filled us in on it. And I had been chatting with the lady herself on Twitter, so I was keen to taste her food for myself.

Curry Puffs, 4 for $12

We got straight into ordering, and picked the Ayam Goreng (Fried Chicken) and Curry Puffs to share.

Jackie’s Ayam Goreng is marinated and served piping hot, cloaked in a super crunchy batter. Delectable.

I still maintain there’s no better curry puff in the world than my Mum’s. Or my Aunty Molly’s. (It’s a family recipe!) But if I didn’t know any better, I’d tell you that these were magnificent.

These curry puffs feature a flaky, buttery pastry, and are filled with a spicy meat or veggie filling. Flaky pastry is a personal must when it comes to curry puffs. Nothing’s more disappointing than curry puffs made with rock-solid shortcrust pastry.

Teh Tarik, $3.50

If you need to cool your mouth, then there’s even Malaysian drinks on the menu. I couldn’t go past a Teh Tarik, something I drank all the time when we visited Malaysia and Singapore last year.

Nasi Lemak $15, with dhal, add $5

I couldn’t leave without trying the Nasi Lemak, and I’m very glad I did! Nasi Lemak is my all time favourite Malaysian dish.

Presentation varies depending on where you buy it. It can be simple – brown paper wrapped servings of coconut rice, accompanied by a small blob of sambal and a sprinkling of crunchy ikan bilis and peanuts, and not much else.

Jackie’s version is a more deluxe take on Malaysia’s national dish, featuring fried ikan billis, crunchy peanuts, achar (picked veggies), cucumber slices, boiled egg and beautifully fragrant coconut rice. We decided to upsize and added some dhal.

 Char Kway Teow $14, add chicken $4, add prawns, calamari and fishcake $6

This golden tumble of kway teow (flat rice noodles), egg, chives and bean sprouts were deliciously charry, featuring that great ‘wok hei’ flavour that all good CKT needs.

Check out the bursty prawns!

Naturally, we also added chicken, prawns, calamari and fishcake to our order. I’m happy to report that I stand by this decision ;) Not an overcooked prawn or piece of calamari in sight – everything was beautifully tender.

Roti Canai, $7.50

Roti Canai was definitely on the list of things to try, as it was a favourite of everyone in attendance. Jackie serves her Roti Canai with dhal and sambal, which packs quite a punch. As usual, I was happily munching on pieces of Roti Canai unadorned – I just love it plain.

When made well, as this was, it’s flaky and crispy on the outside, and tender and moist on the inside. I always love the way Roti Canai (or Paratha) is made up of layer after layer of delciously buttery dough. Yum.

But if it’s protein that you want to go with your Roti, then you can’t go past some of Jackie’s Beef Rendang. Tender chunks of beef are simmered in a rich gravy, which has been thickened with toasted coconut (kerisik). It’s also fantastic with hot rice, or coconut rice (we ordered extra! A generous bowl is only $3.50)

Roti Kaya, $8.50

But before we left, we had to try the much talked about Roti Kaya. We were also keen to try the Roti Banana and Ais Campur, but unfortunately they weren’t available that night.

Filled with Kaya, a rich, eggy coconut “jam”, this Roti was a treat for the masses. We sliced it up into pieces to share and it was demolished in minutes. I swear the flaky, buttery goodness of Roti Canai gets even better with the addition of Kaya in the middle.

I think you can guess that by the end we were stuffed!

TFP and I snuck out the back to say hi to Jackie. It was great to finally put a face to a name, and to taste her fantastic food.

Eating this meal made me want to return to Malaysia for another holiday. Or move to Sydney. I can’t decide which!

Jackie M Malaysian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Visit Jackie’s website     |     Visit Craig and Caroline’s blog Damn Fine Food

Read about our other food adventures in Sydney