Most popular Asian restaurants are pretty hectic come lunchtime – but few compare to the frenzy at Malay Chinese Takeaway.

The original, now-closed Hunter Street location was legendary among city workers and laksa addicts, famed for a recipe that went unchanged from 1987. The name has lived on at multiple addresses, but the current stable includes an eatery on Liverpool Road in Ashfield, and this heaving noodle bar in Circular Quay's Sydney Place dining precinct.

Laksas come from a salty, coconut-based stock with a slightly granular texture from the addition of dry curry powder. There are several to choose from, including chicken (we love the fatty, fall-apart drumstick), king prawn, and the chef’s favoured iteration ferrying chunks of Rendang-like beef.

Otherwise, it’s a greatest-hits selection from the Malay-Chinese canon. Smoky char kway teow involves thick strips of wok-fired rice noodles spun with chicken, prawns, Chinese sausage, egg and chilli; while the Hainanese chicken and combination rice dishes are intensely comforting and classic.

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Updated: May 8th, 2024

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