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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Malaysia Kitchen Food Market


String brightly coloured lanterns across a hidden laneway, add funky mirrored tables and plastic stools in colours of citrus and lime, and you have Sydney's newest food market, Malaysia Kitchen.

For three days only, Sydneysiders will be able to enjoy a tasting plate of three or four Malaysian dishes for only $10, dining al fresco for a weekday lunch or dinner.

Malaysia Kitchen is part of a global marketing campaign to promote Malaysian cuisine, with events already hosted in London and New York. In Sydney, Malaysia Kitchen has been set up in the narrow alley behind the State Theatre, more often used as an emergency exit by theatre patrons.

Malaysia Kitchen Australia entrance

The discreet entrance on George Street (opposite the QVB) is easily missed, but keep an eye out for the ten-foot high blackboard chalked with the names of participating Malaysian restaurants.

Malaysia Kitchen Australia Food Market

It will cost you ten dollars to enter, but then you simply head straight through for a hawker-inspired meal, supplied by some of Sydney's best Malaysian restaurants. The collage of luscious food photos, plastered all down the corridor, will undoubtedly whet your appetite.

Kueh pie tee by Sambal
Crisp cups filled with shredded daikon, carrot and omelette

The media preview event on Tuesday night showcased plenty of authentic dishes, starting with roving canapes that included kueh pie tee, otak otak and satay.

Pisces toast by Chinta Ria
Fish paste on soft bread and deep-fried until crisp

Otak otak
Fish mousse steamed then grilled in banana leaves

Cheong Liew

Plastic stools and mirror tables

Chai tow kway radish cake by Jackie M

We were seated for dinner, sharing a selection of dishes from each restaurant. When Malaysia Kitchen officially opens tonight, the public will receive three or four small savoury dishes, presented together on a tasting plate.

Ayam goreng fried chicken by Mamak

Lobak five spice roll by Chinta Ria

Adam Liaw, MasterChef Australia 2010 winner

Acar awak spicy pickled vegetables by Sambal

Nasi kunyit tumeric rice by Sambal

Hi Mrs Thye! - helping out at Sambal for the launch night

Nasi lemak by Jackie M

Seafood joget spiced seafood on rice by Chinta Ria

Serving the roti canai

Roti canai by Mamak

The team at Sambal preparing sago pudding with gula melaka for dessert

For dessert we moved onto cendol, bubur cha cha, sago pudding and roti tisu. Unfortunately dessert will not be available when Malaysia Kitchen opens to the public.

Roti tisu at Mamak
- the thin dough is grilled to a buttery crisp and sprinkled with granulated sugar

Shaping the roti tisu into a "party hat" on the grill

Twirling the dough into a super thin sheet

Apart from the deliciousness that is Malaysian cuisine, half the fun of this one-off event is eating  outside on stools, illuminated by the flicker of tealights and the gentle bob of lanterns overhead. And there's also something mischievously fun about stealing yourself away in a hidden alley of peace and quiet, only metres away from the traffic and chaos of the concrete jungle outside.

The Malaysia Kitchen Food Market opens at the State Theatre Laneway from 6pm tonight.
Wed 16 Feb  6pm-9pm
Thu  17 Feb 12pm-3pm and 6pm-9pm
Fri   18  Feb 12pm-3pm and 6pm-9pm

Entry is $10 and includes a tasting plate of 3-4 savoury dishes from a rotation of restaurants that include Mamak, Sambal, Chinta Ria, Jackie M, Jimmy's Recipe, Kuali, Kaki Lima and Malacca Straits.

Enter the State Theatre Laneway via George Street, opposite the QVB. The entrance is to the right of Lowes - look for the $10 Men's Haircut sign in red.

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Malaysian - Aseana Food Village, Randwick
Malaysian - Jimmy's Recipe, Sydney
Malaysian - Kopitiam, Ultimo
Malaysian - Makan at Alice's, Thornleigh
Malaysian - Malacca Straits, Ultimo
Malaysian -
Malay Chinese Takeaway, Sydney
Malaysian - Mamak, Haymarket
Malaysian - Temasek, Parramatta
30 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 2/16/2011 02:18:00 am


  • At 2/16/2011 4:39 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    I was looking forward to this, but no dessert? Waaahhhh!

  • At 2/16/2011 7:13 am, Blogger Mel said…

    I can't wait to check this out tomorrow night - looks like great fun. I wonder if you can purchase more food if the $10 fill is not enough?

  • At 2/16/2011 7:22 am, Blogger Monica ^o^ said…

    waaa !! planning to go tomorrow or friday too, but I'm already dreading the crowd -___-
    Thanks for giving us an insight into the foods on offer Helen :)

  • At 2/16/2011 8:25 am, Anonymous Betty @ The Hungry Girl said…

    Looks so awesome! I love the yellow lanterns too :)

  • At 2/16/2011 9:30 am, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    Looks fantastic Helen! I love that they put it in a laneway...adds to the authenticity of eating street food!

  • At 2/16/2011 9:38 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    $10 is a great deal! Hope to make it!

  • At 2/16/2011 9:52 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Looks great - thanks for letting us know where the entry is!
    Bound to be packed out..!

  • At 2/16/2011 10:33 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love love love to go to this place. The food looks superb and I'm all for laneway pop up locations. I hope I can make it in the next few days.

  • At 2/16/2011 10:46 am, Blogger thang @ noodlies said…

    looks great! I'm down tonight will be eating up a storm!

  • At 2/16/2011 11:36 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Gorgeous photos (as usual), Helen! I definitely love the look of the pisces toast and acar awak, thought it breaks my heart to think of desserts not being available. Ah well, I guess I don't actually live nearby anyway :P

  • At 2/16/2011 12:21 pm, Blogger Jacq @ Penguin says Feed Me! said…

    awesome photos helen! I love how they've transformed the laneway with the lanterns and coloured stools - so pretty!

  • At 2/16/2011 1:10 pm, Anonymous Dumpling Girl said…

    I was going to avoid going due to the crowds but you may have now changed my mind now. The food looks amazing.

  • At 2/16/2011 2:35 pm, Anonymous Iron Chef Shellie said…

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm nom fest!!!

    Great photos, I'll be mopping up my drool now!

  • At 2/16/2011 3:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Looks delicious. Thanks for the tempting article/photos.Sorry I cannot make it as I live interstate.

  • At 2/16/2011 7:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was soooooo disappointed with this. I stood in line for over 45 mins only for security to put a rope across the line 5 people ahead of me. That's it, all over. No point staying in line anymore cause they arent going to accept any more people.

    You'd think after being in New York and London, that this would be better managed. But sorely, no.

  • At 2/16/2011 9:07 pm, Anonymous Ken Burgin said…

    I didn't get past the loooong line and hauty reception. Disappointingly small capacity, considering the huge promotion it received. Would be great if the January Night Noodle Market was this good...

  • At 2/16/2011 9:46 pm, Anonymous Min Ai said…

    Ooh I heard about this and particularly wanted to go and support Sambal. Have to say they're my favourite Malaysian restaurant besides Mamak! :) I hear from Suze's blog that they won't be there though.. was hoping to visit on Friday!! Thanks for the awesome review.. I wonder if Adam and Calvin will be there when I go too... ? :P

  • At 2/17/2011 9:40 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Another disappointed person here too - went there last night and got shocked of the queue. The queue was toooo long all the way back as long as to town hall (curved back double queue although)! It should have been done in a larger venue like malaysia festival did in tumbalong park. Ended up going to Chef's Kitchen :(

  • At 2/17/2011 9:57 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Got there at 8, was told it was closed regardless of the advertised closing time at 9pm. For something that is meant to promote a cuisine they sure did a good job in making it rather inaccessible.

  • At 2/17/2011 10:30 am, Blogger Festival Girl said…

    mixed reviews I see, looks like the venue is too small and Too many interested hungry folk - shame. Although, looks very yummy and want to gobble it all up.

    xox Festival Girl,


  • At 2/17/2011 11:24 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Literally hundreds of people in the queue at 5.50pm - no thanks. I see it is being promoted everywhere with not much regard for capacity of the venue.

    Went to Home instead and walked straight in. Amazing meal as per usual :)

  • At 2/17/2011 11:36 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love your work helen. I love malaysian food too. Living in Australia there's no excuse to not embrace the diversity of flavours available in this country. Shame that there isn't much option for vegetarians at this event.

    Looking forward to more events in town!

  • At 2/17/2011 5:46 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do you know that I've lived in Malaysia for ten years and haven't seen Roti Canai being made by someone who is not of Malaysian-Indian descent.
    That's quite an unusual sight for me. I've never seen a Chinese-Malaysian and Malay-Malaysian make this before. I've had my share of Malaysian food and delicacies this past decade. I am actually hoping some Australians will do a sausage sizzle over here one day. The sausages here (many pork-free!) are not quite the same.

  • At 2/17/2011 6:11 pm, Anonymous James Burgin said…

    With such great potential to show off Sydney's lanes like many great cities in the world - including Melbourne - what a pity that this food market was all hidden away and inaccessible even to look at if you were not inside. Black drapes screened the Market street end of the lane :-( Crazy.
    I was also disappointed to not get to eat food that I love - the queue last night was just waaaay too long - I'm sure many more people than me did not get to eat there.
    Let's open up more laneways in Sydney and make this happen all the time.

  • At 2/17/2011 7:03 pm, Anonymous GG said…

    Hopefully a success = larger venue = more opportunity for locals to enjoy Malaysian cuisine without needing to line up+++.


  • At 2/17/2011 9:19 pm, Blogger Taufulou said…

    your photography is good~ really makes me want to be there to dine inthat environment . .

  • At 2/18/2011 2:15 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Wow thanks for posting this. Everything looks delicious. Looking forward to eating here, but I wish there's still dessert!

  • At 2/18/2011 2:11 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As it was advertised from 6 to 9 we dropped by around 8 to see what is happening and were a bit confused to why we were told it was full as people were leaving the venue.
    Definitely could have been better managed especially when it is expected to have quite a few people wanting to get in.

  • At 2/19/2011 10:03 am, Anonymous Su-Lin said…

    That roti canai looks amazing!

  • At 2/21/2011 10:32 am, Anonymous Spud said…

    We didn't go on opening night, but joined the huge queues at 7pm on the following day. The event went until 9pm, but one of the people working at the event walked down the line and kindly told us we had no chance of getting in before the closing time of 9pm because of where we were in the line and that there were only 80 people inside. I've also spoken to friends who turned up just after 6pm on the following day who had the same experience. I think they over advertised - they were unable to cope with the turnout. We were really disappointed and headed to a proper eat-in restaurant instead. I would argue the event wasn't managed well - perhaps they should have ticketed it online, and ran the event for longer, to avoid the huge queues and disappointment.


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