A lot of Sydney’s Malaysian restaurants serve the same thing – char kway teow, chicken rice and laksa. There’s a reason for that: almost all the restaurateurs are Chinese-Malaysian. But this place has a different menu.
Wow Malaysia is run by Azman Shari, Ruby Hamid and their family. They are Malay – the ethnic majority in Malaysia. Like Chinese-Malaysians and Indian-Malaysians they have their own distinct cuisine.
Wow Malaysia serves hard-to-find Malay dishes and almost everything – the curry pastes, sambals, spice mixes and sweets – are made on-site by Hamid and her two sons.
In the bain-maries there’s gulai ikan tempoyak (a fish curry made with fermented durian) and gulai nangka (young jackfruit curry). On another day you might find cassava-leaf yellow curry, tamarind-stewed stingray or sweet and sour mussels.
There’s also an a la carte menu. Try a central Malaysian sour asam laksa made with blended fish and Vietnamese mint. The nasi lemak is spiced with pandan, an aromatic Southeast Asian leaf. There’s also keropok lekor (dry-fish sausages) and kacang phool (an Arabic influenced bean and meat stew).