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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ayam Goreng 99, Kingsford

Gado gado $7.50
Steamed mixed salad with belacan and peanut sauce

There's a fantastic sense of energy that pulsates on Anzac Parade, a night-time buzz that reminds me a little of the hustle bustle of Hong Kong and other Asian cities that thrive at night.

The convenience stores are all open, the footpath has a steady hum of pedestrian traffic, and each restaurant seems packed with the happy clatter of diners. There's a proliferation of Indonesia restaurants here, although we also spot Chinese, Taiwanese and a couple of Thai places too.

The bright lights lead me to Ayam Goreng 99, a cheap and cheerful hawker-style eatery that the G-man swears does some of the most authentic Indonesian food in Sydney.

Pepes jamur $4.00
Mushroom blended with spices, roasted in banana leaves

Everything here is low-key and do-it-yourself, even the ordering process. It's not until the G-man arrives that I realise each table is supposed to consult the laminate menu and write down their own order, using the long skinny notepads and pencils provided. A nominated runner from your party must then traverse the dining room and present the docket to the kitchen. Why hire extra waiters when your own customers have a perfectly good set of legs, hey?

Cendol Es $4.00
Green jelly with palm sugar and coconut milk

We hand around chopsticks, spoons and tissues from the communal supply on our table and dig into our dishes that arrive sporadically and in a haphazard order from the kitchen.

Duren Es $5.50
Fresh durian with shaved ice and condensed milk

My durian iced drink arrives to the wary attention of my colleagues, some of whom cannot fathom its aromatic allure. There's a huge iceberg of compacted ice to get past, but at the bottom is a muddle of soft and sweet chunky durian segments. It's everything a durian lover could hope for, and before long the table is enveloped in its aroma.

The non-durian appreciaters stick to the cendol ice, a layered refreshing drink of palm sugar syrup, coconut milk, ice and a tangle of flavourless but brightly coloured green starch noodles.

Ayam Goreng (deep-fried marinated chicken) and
Ayam Bakar
(charcoal grilled marinated chicken)
Choice of dada (breast) or paha (thigh) $5.00 per piece

It's the chicken that brings most punters to Ayam Goreng 99. We order both the ayam goreng (deep-fried marinated chicken) and the ayam bakar (charcoal grilled marinated chicken). To my surprise I find myself prefering the ayam bakar grilled version, which is a little bit moister than the thighs that have been deep-fried. The smoky charcoal also seems to add extra flavour.

Cah kangkung $8.00
Stir-fried onchoy with belacan, chilli and garlic

Cah kangkung is a happy jumble of green water spinach flash-fried with belacan shrimp paste, chilli and garlic. The gado gado seems a touch soggy with a thin and too-sweet peanut sauce.

Pepes jamur is a dramatic banana leaf parcel of mushroom slices cooked with chilli and spices. It's the first time I've tried pepes before and although it's a pretty presentation, I can't help finding myself craving a more smoky and robust flavour, like that imparted to the fish paste in otak otak.

Nasi uduk $3.00
Coconut steamed rice

Coconut steamed rice is always a decandent treat. The rice is fluffy and sweet, topped with a garnish of deep-fried red onion shallots.

Soto asam $4.00
Sour vegetable soup

A bowl of soto asam soup is rich with the flavour of prawn, a bright orange colour that is a powerful combination of hot and sour.

Meanwhile the chicken is so good we order another round for the table. It's just as good the second time.

Ayam Goreng 99
464 Anzac Parade, Kingsford, Sydney
(nearest cross-street: Middle Street)
Tel: +61 (02) 9697 0030

Open Wednesday - Sunday
Lunch: 11.30am-4.00pm
Dinner: 6.00pm - 9.00pm

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Indonesian: Cafe Joy, Haymarket
13 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 1/12/2008 05:37:00 pm


  • At 1/13/2008 3:14 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Now what i wouldn't give.. to have something like that here.

  • At 1/13/2008 9:56 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Helen - I just don't understand how people couldn't but love the flavor and aroma of a good durian! =)

  • At 1/16/2008 12:29 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Crunchasarus Rex - The joys of eating vicariously hey?

    Hi KevW - Me neither! lol. It is an acquired taste, and you definitely have to start off with durian flavoured sweets and biscuits I think, and then move to the pungent fresh stuff!

  • At 1/16/2008 5:33 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My Irish boyf has got no problems whatsoever with durian (or belachan or any other exotica; apart from bitter gourd) from the word go. Guess I should be counting my blessings!

  • At 1/17/2008 12:14 am, Blogger Jen said…

    Ahhh! Every time I have come to Ayam Goreng it has either been closed or packed to the rafters. I don't think I have ever seen this place empty, except for when it is closed. I'm glad you got in, because for now I'm living vicariously through this post!

  • At 1/17/2008 2:33 am, Blogger Pancake Queen said…

    Love the Gado-Gado!! Are those keropok on top?

  • At 1/17/2008 8:18 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That looks delicious...

  • At 1/18/2008 12:27 am, Blogger Practical Social Skills said…

    Keep up the great work on the blog! I was browsing the post about the Indonesian restaurant, and the dishes look delicious - too bad it's located all the way over in Australia for us here in the states...


  • At 1/19/2008 6:48 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi gobsmack'd - Lucky you. Nothing worse than being denied life's pleasures :)

    Hi jenjen - We were there quite early on a Friday night. Hope you get in there sometime. Keep trying :)

    Hi Pancake Queen - Keropok indeed. Quite tasty too!

    Hi Sorina - It was a great meal and so cheap too.

    Hi Walter - The grass is always greener. I still have craving for Southern food after some great experiences in the States. Not to mention your ribs! Drool...

  • At 1/20/2008 7:01 am, Blogger Y said…

    Great photos! Especially the colourful one of the gado gado salad. Really should get myself to that area again.. so many yummy Indonesian restaurants to visit.

  • At 1/22/2008 1:03 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Y - I know, isn't that strip of restaurants fantastic? I really should try to get there more often. I really liked the vibe there - plus the fact that everything is always open so late!

  • At 9/06/2009 9:27 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Helen,

    This is such a late post, but did you also get to try the sambal from this restaurant? It's called 'sambal terasi' which is similar to Malaysia's 'sambal balacan', but Ayam Goreng 99's sambal terasis is at least 5-7 times hotter!

    I'll rate the sambal's hotness about 9 out of 10, and trust me I'm a chilli freak :). It's best to eat the sambal terasi with the kecap manis, just delish!

    I always like their chickens and my personal favourite is their grilled chicken because it has this charcoal aroma, yum!

  • At 9/07/2009 12:27 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anon - Wow, the sambal sounds great. I actually have a jar of sambal terasi in my fridge, and I agree, that stuff is pretty potent!

    Thanks for your comments. And charcoal chicken is always a winner!


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