If waiting in a queue for a restaurant should inspire anything, it’s curiosity, appetites and an agitated anticipation, and that’s exactly what Chinatown’s Mamak does. The street-facing kitchen only exacerbates hunger and desire, with almost everyone in line staring in, trying to deduce the dish that will become a flavoursome feature in their immediate future.
For many, this includes the simultaneously flaky and fluffy roti, either in sweet or savoury form. But the curries, noodles and satay have gone a long way to lengthening that queue outside too. The ayam goreng is everything fried chicken should be: generous in portion, crispy in skin and tender in flesh. Tisu roti, served in the shape of witch’s hat, usually earns a few curious glances. While it looks extreme, it’s actually a light dessert for anyone forgoing the iced concoctions. The vibe inside is energetic with perpetual chatter and staff streaming between tables.
Mamak hits an essential note in the symphony of Sydney’s dining scene. It’s good food at a relatively low price point, and because of this, the queue at Mamak will be an unavoidable ritual. Thankfully, the line moves fast.