"Three Malaysian chefs make the classics just like they do in M'sia."
Ok so you go to Laksa King for laksa (or if it's too busy, try next door at Chef Lagenda) and Mamak for satay skewers and roti... But that's just scraping the surface of Malaysian food in Melbourne, mates. Here we revisit some inner-city, long-standing faves and some new fams in the neighbourhood. Soon enough more places will pop up, we're predicting, and then none of us will have to go very far for a nasi lemak or char kway teow (CKT). (Please note there's still a sad lack of wonton mee.)
Roti Road — 189-193 Barkly St, Footscray
If you don't live in the west it's worth trekking out there for some choice roti at this place, served on a tin plate with sambal, dhal lentil and curry (the restaurant's hero dish). If you're lucky you'll be able to see the 'flying roti men' in action, flipping some roti dough and doing a dance. They have an extensive menu of traditional Malaysian dishes and also do yum cha - covering all bases.
Blue Chillies — 182 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
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Where traditional meets modern. The menu here is best enjoyed in a small group - and if you feel a little bit fancy they have some banquet options. Seafood and duck lovers will be pleased. The Malaysian-themed cocktail menu is just as impressive as the food one, and they also have a selection of boutique wines.
Hawker Hall — 98 Chapel St, Windsor
This newly opened restaurant comes from the brains behind Chin Chin, Baby Pizza and Kong BBQ. It seems like they won't quit until they've successfully conquered the modern fusion market of every cuisine. The menu is set out like that of Chin Chin and Kong, in lots of sections. You'll want to order everything so go in a group. Come up with a game plan.
Little Peddler — 120 Chapel St, St Kilda
This tiny place sure is intimate - you can see the whole operation from wherever you sit. Three Malaysian chefs make the classics just like they do in M'sia. Our picks are the roti with beef rendang, the mee goreng and Hainanese chicken rice.
Chinta Ria Soul — 94 Acland St, St Kilda
If you're ever in St Kilda and want a great feed head to this cosy place and get the curry laksa, CKT or nasi lemak. For some confusing reason it is loads better than the stall in Emporium.
PappaRich — QV Building, CBD
From KL to MEL. This chain is well loved and offers Malaysian expats, and is a convenient place for Malaysian brekky: mantou, Hainan toast, kaya, soft-boiled eggs, kopi and the like. See also other items left off many other M'sian restaurant menus: pan mee (soup and dry varieties - it's important to have both! Oh, and pickled green chillies), assam laksa, prawn mee, ABC (ais kacang).