Nothing takes you into the Asian tropics of Singapore and Malaysia like the heady spice of Malay food. Conveniently, Parramatta’s global cornucopia of restaurants includes some superstars when it comes to this satisfying, mouthwatering cuisine, so you only need travel minutes away.
Devoted diners come from far and wide to taste their way through the menu at Temasek in the centre of the Eat Street area. The menu is certainly an A-B-C of Singaporean specialties such as oyster omelette, Hainanese chicken rice and, of course, glistening char kway teow rice noodles, and these are all served with flair and flavour. Don’t forget some coconut rice and beef rendang for the ultimate in richness and fragrance, paired with flaky roti bread to mop up that incredible sauce, or pop in for a well-priced lunch special if you’re just looking to dip your toe into Temasek’s world.
71 George St Parramatta 2150; Open Tuesday - Sunday 11:30am - 2:30pm and 5:30pm - 9:30pm.
Kopitiam? Coffee, tea, yum.
Grown from a humble coffee and tea shop in a Malaysian town, Pak Hailam Kopitiam in Church Street is now its 12th outlet – and the only one outside Malaysia itself. Rest assured, then, that the food here is as authentic as you can get: a menu of noodles in broths or stir fries, rice dishes including the iconic nasi lemak (coconut rice, curry chicken, fried anchovies, egg, cucumber, nuts and sambal), five kinds of roti bread including sweet treats with Nutella (a big favourite in Malaysia), and all served with complimentary iced Malay coffee or tea (during lunch), although we highly recommend the traditional 'stretched' teh tarik tea.
321 Church St Parramatta 2150; Open Monday - Sunday 8:30am - 10:30pm.
Hawker food and beyond
When it comes to Malay food, Ya-Malaysia gets right down to it – no fuss, just flavour. An extensive menu ranges from simple delights like curry puffs and roti bread/curry combos, through to exotic specialties such as tamarind prawns with okra, or barbecued stingray. Chilli, sambal and salted fish are the kinds of bold flavours you͛ll find here, but balance is found with a choice of jasmine, coconut or chicken rice to accompany your mains, as well as delectable drinks such as sweet rose syrup and lime juice, or the luscious Malay condensed-milk coffee.
312 Church St Parramatta 2150; Open Monday - Friday 11:00am - 3:00pm and 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 11:00am - 10:00pm.
Big and beautiful
For those trying Malay food for the first time, the easygoing chain restaurant Pappa Rich is accessible in so many ways. Firstly, it's part of the shopping wonderland that is Westfield Parramatta and thus makes a great lunch stop, and secondly, the menu is just as accessible. The food remains authentically Malay, though, with a wide array of roti combos (both sweet and savoury options), satay, laksa and noodle dishes spoiling customers for choice. For something different, pop in for a thick slice of bread andkaya (coconut jam) or condensed milk with a soya milk drink or a teh tarik tea –it͛s a real Malaysian shopping tradition!
Westfield, 159-175 Church Street Parramatta 2150; Open Sunday - Wednesday 11:00am - 9:30pm, Thursday - Saturday 11:00am - 10:00pm.