NOTE: Ho Jiak is open from 1pm–9pm on Anzac Day (April 25, 2018).
Junda Khoo (from Penang) and his partner William Xie (a Singaporean) are behind this Penang-inspired eatery in Strathfield Plaza. The hall-thin restaurant is modelled on Penang’s hawker stalls and kopitiams (coffee shops). It looks pretty much like a truck-drawn hawker stall has been rammed into the side of Strathfield Plaza, with pictures and trinkets from Penang.
The food is pretty bang northern-Malaysian in style. Khoo learned to cook from his grandma and family. The food is shrimp-y in some places, chicken-y in others and altogether spicy and savoury. Discerning Malaysian food buffs or Penangites will be impressed to see a char kway teow with the holy-trinity of cockles, sweet Chinese sausage and, most importantly, those gooey little cubes of pork fat.
The chickens you see hanging in the window, Chinese-barbeque style, have their leftovers cooked into the Hainanese chicken rice and the congee – it’s what gives them such a strong flavour. For something you won’t readily find in Sydney restaurants, try the Nasi Pattaya, a seafood fried rice mound wrapped in an omelette that comes topped with fried chicken, some crazy succulent satay or sambal prawns.
The drinks bar has kopitiam specials such as teh tahrik (Malaysian frothed tea), air mata kuching (winter melon tea with dried longans) and the strangely named Michael Jackson (soya milk with grass jelly bits).