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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Malay Chinese Takeaway, Sydney

assam laksa
Assam laksa $8.50

The last time we'd been at Malay Chinese Takeaway, Mango Man had confided he'd yet to find a good assam laksa in Sydney. My ears had pricked up immediately at this foodie challenge, and off onto the internet I'd went.

Bingo. I found the places, and I made a list. We made grand plans. We would strike them off one by one. Jimmy's Recipe, To's Malaysian Gourmet and maybe Temasek out in Parramatta.

And then I suddenly realised that on the Malay Chinese website, assam laksa was listed as one of their weekly specials. On every fifth Thursday. Nestled in between the mee siam and lum mee, and the mee rebus and beef noodle soup.

The mobile phone rings at 12pm. "Malay Chinese?" is the G-man's first sentence.

"Count me in... hey, imagine if the assam laksa is the special today," I'd said.

You can picture the little happy dance that took place when we neared the counter.

assam laksa chopsticks

Unlike ordinary laksas, assam laksa does not use coconut milk. It's a sweet and sour broth, made using mackerel soup with the distinctive flavour of tamarind (assam). In addition to flaking mounds of mackerel are slivers of cucumber, sweet pineapple pieces, shavings of raw onion and sprigs of whole mint leaves on top.

assam laska stirred

The pineapple flavours really come through the salty sourness, and the rice noodles are thick and chewy like plump albino spaghetti.

"This is very good," pronounces Mango Man.

"Oh my gosh... sooooo good........" wails the G-man.

There's a complexity of flavours to this dish but it's a harmonious balance that pleases the palate. We're slurping up every spoonful. I keep going until I see the white of my bowl at the bottom.

empty bowl
I win. I'm on the left.

Not everyone's gone for the assam laksa today though. And not everyone trusts themselves around big bowls of soup either.

Chicken laksa $7.70
with bib 50c

The G-man reviews his empty bowl with sadness, then suddenly perks up. "You know what," he says, pushing back his chair. "I'm gonna order another two bowls takeaway. I must have more. I'll put them in the fridge. I can't wait another month!"

We can the hear the anguished cry from two blocks away when the G-man texts me. "They've run out of assam! What will I do!"

I know what I'm doing.

I assam I'll be back.

Malay Chinese Takeaway
Shop 1, 50-58 Hunter Street, Sydney
(near corner of Bligh and Castlereagh Streets)
Tel: +61 (02) 9231 6788

Monday to Friday 11am-7.30pm
Saturday 11am-6pm

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Malay Chinese Takeaway, April 3 2007

Cafe Kasturi, Haymarket
Kopitiam Malaysian Cafe, Ultimo, April 2006
Kopitiam Malaysian Cafe, Ultimo, April 2007
Malay Chinese Takeaway, Sydney, April 26, 2007
Malay Chinese Takeaway, Sydney, April 3, 2007
The Malaya, Sydney
Tan's Malaysian, Ultimo
18 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 4/26/2007 11:45:00 pm


  • At 4/27/2007 6:13 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am still very unhappy with them for closing their Castlereagh St outpost and thereby robbing my of my Sunday lunch! Harrumph!

  • At 4/27/2007 8:21 am, Blogger Nora B. said…

    That does look authentic! I am curious to try their mee rebus. I crave my mum's mee rebus sometimes, esp now that it's getting colder. I will have to locate this place, for "research" purposes of course ;-) Oh, and have you herad much about the new restaurant, "Singapore heritage restaurant"? I think it opened in March in Surry Hills. The menu looks interesting (e.g. chilli crab with dragon fruit sauce). So much "research" to do, so little time!

  • At 4/27/2007 9:38 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    now that looks like good assam laksa
    it has passed in terms of looks, need to drag my friends over...

    btw assam laksa at jimmy's recipe is ABSOLUTE RUBBISH! just by looks this one looks 10 times more authentic and tastier.

  • At 4/27/2007 9:50 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    The Chinese Malay has been a favourite Laksa joint of ours for yonkers. Castlereagh closing down has pretty much mean the Hunter St. one is even MORE chockers.

    Will definitely have to try out the Asam Laksa, but even their normal Laksa is well on top of my Sydney list!

  • At 4/27/2007 2:42 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My goodness, it's Assam Laksa! I can tell by the colour of the soup that it is good. I am too, in search of a good assam laksa and mee rebus in Sydney. *drooling*

  • At 4/27/2007 3:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Been reading your yummy blog for a while now. Thanks for making the effort.

    You must try Makan at Alice's @ Thornleigh (very authentic and Alice is Malaysian). She does Assam Laksa on some days and her Har Mee is my all-time favourite ! Prawn noodle soup. Really thick and flavoursome soup. I like all of her dishes actually, including the Char Kuey Teow. She was also featured on the ABC Channel on a food program.

    May : )

  • At 4/27/2007 4:51 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi gobsmack'd - You might have to have a Saturday lunch instead :)

    Hi Nora - I'm assured their assam was very authentic. I haven't heard about Singapore Heritage. Thanks for the tip :)

    Hi Lyn - You'll have to call them to check the next assam day. And yes, we recently tried the assam at Jimmy's. Not very good at all :(

    Hi Mark - I've yet to try the laksa at Malay Chinese. I keep getting distracted by the har mee instead! Soon soon...

    Hi Lin - It was very good. I'll have to try the mee rebus too.

    Hi May - We've been trying to get to Alice's at ages. We even made the trek the other day but it was closed :( We will keep trying!

  • At 4/27/2007 5:11 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    I avoid any food that splashes, since I end up wearing it. Many places don't have bibs, or serviettes big enough.
    I do remember having Chicken el Capitan here for lunch every day, back in 2000 when I was 15kg heavier and none the wiser.

  • At 4/28/2007 12:19 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Scottk - I think Murphy's Law says that the whiter/more expensive your shirt, the greater the chance of splashback. I think that's why I rarely wear white :)

  • At 4/28/2007 5:38 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Helen and Nora - please save your pennies and serenity and NOT go to that Muscle Mary's joint aka Spore Heritage whatever. First of all the servings are microscopic. The service is beyond nonexistent and most importantly the food is hideous. This is based on 3 visits (thought they might've been having teething problems)so I can't be called too hasty in forming an opinion. If that's heritage he/she can jolly well keep it.

  • At 4/29/2007 10:14 am, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    Wow, a laska without coconut milk. Who knew such a thing existed. Must try it.

    Am I the only person who does not like normal laska?

  • At 4/29/2007 7:44 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    (smacking of lips here)...you're reminding me of the assam laksas we had in Penang! such dangerous territory for shirts

  • At 4/29/2007 7:45 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    that last comment was mine, Helen. didnt get space to put details (???)

  • At 4/29/2007 8:16 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi gobsmack'd - It sounds like you don't like the place. lol. And least you were thorough in making sure :)

    Hi Veruca Salt - I find laksa with coconut milk is very rich, and can only eat it when I'm really in the mood. The assam laksa reminded me of beef rice paper rolls with pineapple with shrimp sauce. Similar flavours (kinda).

    Hi Cin - Yup laksa is always dangerous. Esp with those yellow drops of oil :)

  • At 5/03/2007 11:22 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Veruca Salt,

    Hoho..you are not the only person, I don't like normal laksa too. But I can't resist Assam Laksa.

    I was first introduced to Assam Laksa and when someone mentioned laksa, for me it was always Assam Laksa. I didn't know that the coconut milk laksa existed until 10 years ago, when I was in Johor, Malaysia. I ordered Laksa and I expected sweet and sour soup and it came the curry looking noodle. It was such a nightmare.

  • At 5/03/2007 7:48 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Assam laksa will be on special next Thursday. I can't wait.

  • At 7/31/2009 1:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The best assam laksa comes from Penang, and one of the best is in a small town on the west side of the island called Balik Pulau. There's a small coffeeshop with a stall out the front that does it. belissimo! I've since found out that Balik Pulau is famous for assam laksa. So go there - back to the source.

  • At 8/01/2009 11:02 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Lin - Hope you enjoyed your assam laksa!

    Hi Anon - Would love to travel to Panang for authentic laksa. Will have to remember your tip if I make it there. Thanks for letting me know!


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