Sydney got its first taste of Malaysian food at The Malaya in the 1960s – at the time, a far more casual restaurant serving laksas, chicken rice and satay to students and curious CBD workers.

Fast forward a few decades, and laksa was appearing in food courts and restaurants all over the city. 

Now, in addition to those classics, we have Malaysian restaurants scattered across Sydney, serving all kinds of different dishes, pulling in influences from the country’s many ethnic groups and cuisines.

In this guide you’ll find Malay, Malaysian-Indian and Malaysian-Chinese restaurants; and even some eateries serving lesser-known dishes from Borneo and Malaysia’s Peranakan people.

Ho Jiak

Restaurant

Three branches with three different missions. Head to the original in Strathfield for cheaper prices and street food classics, to Haymarket for chef Junda Khoo’s homage to his grandma’s Chinese-Malaysian home cooking, and to Town Hall for a more creative take on Malaysian cuisine born out of Khoo’s experiments in his home kitchen.

33/11 The Boulevard, Strathfield
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Mamak - Haymarket

Restaurant

Once an alleyway restaurant specialising in Malaysian-Indian street food, and now a multi-city chain famed for its roti. The Mamak restaurants are still some of the only places to go for roti that’s cooked for every order. Order that plus a few curries and some sambal – it’s all you need.

15 Goulburn Street, Haymarket

Temasek

Restaurant

Technically a Singaporean restaurant (Temasek is an ancient Javanese word for the island) but spiritually close enough to Malaysia to be included here. The several decades-old Parramatta restaurant is particularly famous for its Hainan chicken, Singapore chilli crab (order ahead for that) and laksa, the latter made with curry paste that’s prepped in house the old school way, using a mortar and pestle.

71 George, Parramatta

Albee's Kitchen

Restaurant

It’s incredible that a restaurant with so many menu items and so many different locations (this is the original) keeps it all together. Chef Albee Thu has maintained a strong reputation in the Malaysian community for years for dedicating herself to making an extraordinary amount of dishes (including a full range of Malaysian sweets). She’s committed to recreating her dishes exactingly, so that they taste just like how she remembers them in Malaysia.

470 Anzac Parade, Kingsford

Alice's Makan

Restaurant

The one-two punch of exemplary Malaysian sweets and smoky char kway teow noodles is not one you’ll experience often. But that’s exactly what you get at this unassuming food court counter run by a husband-and-wife duo.

580 George Street, Sydney

Malay Chinese Takeaway

Restaurant

Whenever people debate Sydney’s best laksa, plenty of venues are thrown into the ring. Malay Chinese Takeaway will always be mentioned. This Hunter Street institution is so popular for this dish, there are regular queues out the door and past the neighbours during the weekday CBD lunch rush. The second-generation family that owns this eatery also operate a restaurant of the same name in Darling Harbour, serving the same recipes.

Shop 1 50-58 Hunter Street, Sydney

Cinta Rasa

Restaurant

Probably the pick of Campsie’s Malaysian restaurants. Like many Southeast Asian restaurants in Sydney there’s a massive menu, but don’t let that put you off: everything here is well executed and delicious. All the classics are done well, and there are a few rarities to pick out as well – look out for yam baskets and the homemade tofu hotpots.

140 Beamish Street, Campsie

Istana

Restaurant

One of the oldest Malaysian restaurants in Sydney, and quite a unique dining experience because of it. It seems stuck in the ’90s, but in a good way. Expect waiters with a formal but chatty serving style, old fashioned tunes from the stereo, huge servings, and restaurant interiors the colour of a forest glen.

15/230 Pennant Hills Road, Thornleigh

Peranakan Place

Restaurant

The only place in Sydney, and maybe all of Australia, to try keluak, a poisonous nut that’s boiled and covered in ash so that its charcoal-black flesh can be cooked into a rich, herbal curry. It’s exclusive to this restaurant because it’s a Peranakan dish, and this Auburn restaurant is the only Sydney restaurant to specialise in that style of cooking.

139 Paramatta Road, Auburn

Amah

Restaurant

A brilliant partnership between Ho Jiak and Mr Wong's former head chef, Loong Oon. The menu pays tribute to Oon's grandmother with soy-braised pork belly, a deceptively simple king-prawn black-pepper curry, and a nostalgic soup of hand-pounded fish balls in a delicate clear broth.

436 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood

Penang Cuisine

Restaurant

This small restaurant is famous for its curry laksa, smoky char kway teow (stir-fried noodles) and weekly Penang-style specials. Look out for the assam laksa, a fish-based style noodle soup with a sour broth and thick rice noodles, which originated in the city of Penang.

32/74-76 Rawson Street, Epping

Malacca Straits on Broadway

Restaurant

A lively restaurant, with a legendary laksa, tucked into the courtyard of an apartment complex. It’s got a huge menu inclusive of all the other Malaysian standards, as well as a few rarer dishes such as fish head curry and curry-leaf squid. Also, it’s maybe the only place in Sydney (of any cuisine) where you can BYO crab.

5/66 Mountain Stree, Ultimo

Ikhwan Cafe

Restaurant

It’s odd that, considering the simple fit-out and pay-what-you-want charity dinners, that this is a restaurant officially owned by a massive Malaysian conglomerate. It’s also one of the only halal or Malay-run Malaysian restaurants in Sydney, which means a rare chance to try the butterfly-pea-spiced blue rice with Malay-style fried chicken, and other Malay specialties.

Pirama Road, Pyrmont

Hawker Street

Restaurant

A simple food court stall with a small menu of Malaysian classics. Locals – there’s a sizable Malaysian community in the area – are particular fans of chef Nelson Chin’s char kway teow, laksa and har mee (prawn noodle soup).

4/16 Terminus Street, Castle Hill
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