05 May 2012

Petaling Street ~ Malaysian Hawker Food - Haymarket

Our recent week of eating in Kuala Lumpur taught us that too much Malaysian food is barely enough, even with stretchy pants. Back in Sydney our Malaysian obsession continues so we try the the new-ish Petaling Street Malaysian restaurant on George Street.

We love the menu at Petaling Street. It's a real big bugger for a Malaysian joint. Many dishes are variations of the same thing, but still, it's a big bugger. To sample all of these dishes in Malaysia we would have to visit dozens of little stalls or restos. Malaysian hawker food is traditionally made by folks specialising in a few dishes, or even just one or two.  But here it's all under one roof. Joy.

We're quite impressed with how well Petaling Street is run. It's open from lunch till late and is always busy, yet the food usually appears fast and the quality is consistent. And the staff use walkie talkies, the coolest things ever to children of the 1970's like us.

The food at Petaling Street is very much in the Chinese style of Malaysian cooking, more saucey than spicy, and often quite naughty. Across the board  we found the food to be pretty dang good.  The place is always busy so it seems lots of other folks agree. Pernickety Malaysian food fanatics may tell you that dish x is better at restaurant y, which may sometimes be true, but we reckon the true joy in Malaysian food is enjoying different interpretations of each dish. We've also been into some more Malay and Indian inspired Malaysian food as of late, we love it all.

Normally after a couple of visits to a restaurant we feel the urge to move onto somewhere else, but Petaling Street kept luring us back with more things to try on that lovely big bugger of a menu, we ate here about eight times in three weeks.

If you walk in find it a claustrophobic, then ask for a table downstairs where there's a little more room to swing a kuching.

Claypot ginger duck yee mee - $11.80. The duck was nice for sure, but the noodles and gravy had Alison doing a little chicken dance of joy.

Loh mee - $10.80. Thick noodles in a lovely thick gravy that magically thins into a soup as you work your way through the bowl. There's a bit of everything in here: squid, fish and pork, we wonder if it has developed from something nanna cooked from leftovers on a Sunday night. Loh mee is becoming a bit of a favourite of ours. We saw it around in KL but never had the stomach room such a hearty dish.

Marmite pork spare ribs with rice -  $11.80. A lovely, rich sweet sauce, almost like a 'dark' Shanghai style sweet'n'sour  sauce, with a slight kick of Marmite, the pommy version of Vegemite. The meat slides off the bone so we guess the pork is slow cooked before being stir fried in sauce.

We'd had a chicken version of this dish in Klang (Malaysia) just a week earlier, we're getting a bit of a hankering for it. We also once had Marmite prawns at Chinese wedding in KL a few years back, it was the first time we'd heard of Marmite cuisine and we thought it was the funniest thing ever. Now we're too busy licking our lips to laugh.

Pork leg on prawn soup noodles - $10.80. Like a har mee (prawn noodle soup) with swine instead of prawns. Three big hunks of pork bone with thick skin that leaves your fingers sticky and just enough flesh to make nibbling worthwhile. A nice prawny broth with thick and thin noodles, just like a har mee. This isn't what we expected but we really liked it.

Roti kosong - $5 - flat flaky bread with a curry dipping sauce (also available with chicken or beef for $10.80). The roti is quite stodgey, not the light, fluffy bundles of joy that Malaysia is famous for, but the curry sauce is rich and delicious. We soaked the roti in the curry sauce then ate it in a spoon of prawn soup broth - yummo.

Hainanese chicken rice - $10.80. Shawn's favourite dish of chicken and rice poached in chicken stock. The chook is moist and plain in flavour, we love the rice and sauces. We think the pick of the chook dishes however is the roast chicken...

Malaysian roast chicken with rice - $10.80. The chook is so rich you could almost pass it off as duck. The skin is drenched with roasted marinade - it's rich, salty, naughty and delicious. Same great rice and sauces as the Hainanese chicken rice.

Malaysian hawker style dry egg noodles with roast chicken (or Hainanese chicken or pork leg) served on the side - $10.80. The same wonderful roast chicken as above (even tastier on this next visit, not as salty) along with egg noodles coated in something lardy and delicious. When we saw this dish on the menu we were fantasizing that it would be something like the hakka mee in KL. And it was. Happy happy joy joy.

Petaling Street Chee Cheong Fun - $6.80. Thick moist rice noodles with fisbhall and seafood extender in a sweet sauce, chili sauce on the side, a nice stodge filler.

Petaling Street style short rice noodle in claypot - $11.80. Lovely thick, short rice noodles with minced pork and Chinese mushroom. It's a meatier, less spicy version of a dish we had in Imbi Market in KL called Loh Shi Fun - which Google tells us translates as rat's tale noodles.

Bah kut teh - $11.80. Pork bones soup with spare ribs, belly and piggy innards with tofu, served with fresh chopped chili and a bowl of rice. The soup has really nice herbal\star anise flavours,  a new hangover favourite.

Fish head soup - $11.80. A refreshing, milky coloured broth with a ginger kick, with vermicelli noodles and some fried pieces of fish head - pieces of cheek bone we guess with a little bit of flesh and lots of batter, like Kentucky Fried fish head. A big serve, very happy.

Steamed fish with Malaysian pickled radish- $14.80, with a bowl of rice. A nice fleshy fish in a pool of dark, sweet soy sauce and coated with a sweet mix of what we assume was fried minced garlic and dried preserved rasdish. The topping was sweet and like crushed peanuts in texture. Very nice.

Sambal four season bean - $14.80. Spicy stir fried green beans. Goes really well with the steamed fish.

Milo dinosaur (cold) - prehistoric molten Milo lava at the bottom, a milky ice age in the middle, and some earthly dry Milo on top. We love putting the end of the straw right where the hot and the cold meet. A Milo dinosaur is yet another treat we didn't get around to trying in Malaysia, so we're happy to find it here.

Prawn noodle soup - $10.80. Alison's favourite, also known as har mee - thick and thin noodles in a broth made of prawn stock with a couple of prawns and various fixins. To get a killer har mee you have to go to somewhere that specialises in it, so while it's not a best-in-town it's pretty good.

Salted fish with vermicelli - $10.80. The thin rice noodles taste fresh clean and light, dang we wish we could cook noodles like this, our attempts always end in gluggy mess. It's a plain dish given a lovely salty kick in the pants with little pieces of salty dried fish, and some chicken and prawns for good measure.

Malaysian Gung Bou (Kung Pao) fish (or chicken or beef) congee - $11.80. Fish, peanuts and dried chili in a rich, dark, sweet and salty sauce; served alongside a bowl of very plain congee (rice porridge). The richness of the fish dish went perfectly with the super plain congee. A new favourite.  We had a similar version of this dish in Jalan Alor in KL many years ago, but with frogs legs.

Curry chicken noodle (dry) - $10.80. Thin egg noodles drenched in Malaysian chicken curry with two nice pieces of chook on top, the curry noodles are most tasty when dipped in the little paddle pool of soy sauce on the side.

Petaling Street Malaysian Hawker Food is at 760 George Street Sydney - phone (02) 9280 1006 -/www.petalingst.com.au/

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  1. I want to try the Asam Laksa here...I've heard Asam is a great Laksa style...

    1. It was sold out when I tried to order, they only make a few per day. Still it gives us an excuse to go back again and again and again...

  2. Ooooo.....a lot of good old favorites here! Loh shi fun is my favourite type of rice noodles....the literal translation is mouse/rat tail noodles! Hahaha...the lor mee looks nice and thick. Oh roast chicken rice....must try that. And the milo dinosaur looks good....tho not enough milo, hahaha yummmmm

    1. Is there ever enough Milo?

    2. I read somewhere that a Milo dinosaur requires several tablespoons of Milo. Is this true?

  3. If you want to make nice light stir fried vermicelli, you need to soak the dried vermicelli in boiled/hot water (don’t boil the vermicelli) and after 5 mins of soaking, they should be soft enough to stir-fry but still firm. In a non-stick wok, on high heat, add oil (doesn’t have to be lots), beansprouts, onions and whatever protein you want and then the vermicelli. After 2-3 mins, add about half a cup of water to the vermicelli and season. Add small amounts of water if vermicelli still needs it to soften up but not too much water as this will make it mushy.

    I normally just use salt, sugar, sesame oil and some soya sauce for my seasoning. Hope this works out for you =)

  4. Wow, great recommendation guys. I went here for dinner last night (a Tues night. Followed some of your suggestions. I had the Hainanese chicken rice (delicious, so moist and full of flavour). My partner had the Malaysian hawker style dry egg noodles with roast chicken. He liked it but I think he prefers his chicken ever crispier so he'll probably try another dish next time. And my friend had a seafood laksa, can't remember which one but he loved it. And we had some Roti kosong to share. And great service. All round it was 2 thumbs up. Going to make this a regular haunt now.

    love the blog!

  5. These guys are from Melbourne and we have 5 outlets here which is awesome. It's one of my favourite places to eat which is good now when I come to Sydney there is one there too!

    1. Yes they have quite a presence down there. We are heading down to Melbourne soon so might get a chance to try it.

  6. Been to this petaling street restaurant but I personally prefer the har mee and hainanese chicken at Nonya located on Dixon St. Prices and servings are more reasonable too.

  7. Had a Char Kew Tiew and Penang Asam Laksa...not bad at all.


Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

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