AUCKLAND – Ask any Malaysian what they miss most about their mother country and chances are that street food comes out top on their wish list.
In food-mad Malaysia locals have a tendency to partake in up to six small meals a day, because they are drawn to the ubiquitous hawker stalls where the food is cheap and super tasty.
Robin Annadass and his wife Amanda Annie, who hail from Kedah in Malaysia and who are newcomers to our shores, are a classic example. The pair was craving ‘mamak style’ street food (a delightful blend of Malay and Indian dishes) so much that they decided to replicate the food stall concept with the opening of ‘Kedai Mamak’ in Three Kings, Auckland – offering Malaysian prices for their meals, an authentic taste and a rotating menu of must-have comfort food.
“I reckon that we are the only ones doing exactly what ‘kedai mamak’ stalls offer in Malaysia and Singapore. So now people don’t have to travel in order to get the same quality, the same flavour and the same food right here in New Zealand,” he chuckled.
So what is the success secret of this popular eatery, which has customers fighting to get through the door for their traditional breakfast and lunch menu offerings (by the way, plans are underfoot to stay open till late)?
“Firstly, our prices are so reasonable that most of our customers dine in and get takeaways as well,” noted Annadass. “Secondly, they love the home style food.” A good indication that their food is authentic is the fact that Malaysians make up the bulk of their customers.
According to Annadass, the favourite dish on their menu is Nasi Lemak, unofficially the national dish of Malaysia. The basic version offered here features coconut flavoured rice, a dab of sambal, a sliced-up hard-boiled egg, cucumber, ikan bilis (deep fried anchovies) and toasted peanuts. You can add fried chicken to the set.
Then come the noodles – Kway Teow Goreng (fried flat rice noodles with a generous helping of sambal), which will make you drool, followed by Mee Hoon and Mee Goreng.
A breakfast treat that tends to run out quickly is the addictive Roti Canai (pan-fried flatbread made with flour, eggs, fats and water), served with dhal curry. And for the sweet-toothed there is kueh lapis (a coconut layered dessert) and kueh seri muka (which combines glutinous rice, coconut milk, sugar and pandan leaves).
The Saturday lunchtime treats are biriyani or ghee rice and goat curry. Fish curry features on Wednesdays and Fridays. Chicken and lamb curry, fish and quail eggs sambal also pop up on the rotating menu.*
And yes, ‘Teh Tarik’ (the famous frothy ‘pulled tea’ that combines black tea and condensed milk) is available here too, at a very reasonable price of course.
Kedai Mamak, 540D Mt Albert Road, Three Kings Plaza. Tel: 09-624 0011.
*Please check their Facebook page for daily specials and opening hours.