Cheap Eats: Mamak

Ever walked down Goulburn St into Chinatown at ANY time after 5pm on ANY day of the week? You’ve probably spotted a massively long line outside Mamak, the atrociously popular Malaysian restaurant near World Square. I’ve always looked at that line and screwed up my nose, my craving for roti isn’t THAT bad, I tell myself, I will survive.


Well last night I caved and stood in that line. I was going to get my roti on and I didn’t care how long I had to wait.

I had dragged A with me, and knowing we’d be waiting a while (it was Saturday night), I had bought a packet of Doritos at the 7/11 for sustenance. Yes, I brought food with me to wait in line for food. Yes, I’m that girl.


The wait ended up being almost 45 minutes but they took our orders quite quickly and the food arrived shortly after that, all and all it was about an hour from the end of the line to our first round of roti and oooooooh was it good roti!


The first to arrive was the roti canai ($5.50), a plain roti that was equal parts crispy and fluffy and absolute comfort in every way. It was served with a mild lentil curry dip (the lumpy looking one), a slightly spicier mango curry sauce and a tiny dollop of spicy sambal, all of which I lapped up happily.


Before we knew it, our lamb curry (Kari kambing – $16) had arrived. It was spicier than I expected, but I love chilli so did not shy away from the complex flavours and tender lamb that easily pulled apart using just a spoon, it was joyous. I don’t recommend this if you’re spice-sensitive though, it packs a punch.


Our second roti, Roti Bawang ($6.50), arrived, accompanied by the same curry dips and sambal as before – but this roti was packed with thinly sliced red onion. It was delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it didn’t have quite the same impact on me as the first roti.


Finally, we got our chicken satay ($9 for 6 skewers) and not a moment too soon! The spiciness of the lamb curry was becoming a little overwhelming and the milder satay sauce helped cool our tongues down. The satay was excellently chunky and had a great peanut taste that I couldn’t get enough of. I may have finished off the rest of it with a spoon… No regrets, right?

Mamak was everything I hoped it would be, it met every single one of my expectations and while I totally think we over-ordered and I developed a food baby as a result, it was totally worth it (and I danced it off later at the Palms, anyways). I’ll be back, I want to bathe in that satay sauce more than anything in the world.

Mamak is located at 15 Goulburn St, Sydney, or if you prefer, you can visit them on the north shore at 1-5 Railway St, Chatswood. Be prepared to wait for a table.

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