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Cheap Eats 2016: Malaysian

Sep 22, 2016 Cheap Eats


The best places in Auckland to eat Malaysian food for under $20.


17 Mount St, Central City
A magnet for Asian students, Angie’s offers all the nyonya snacks, staples, desserts and kuihs (cakes) they’re used to back home. Especially recommended are the nyonya appetisers — lobak and kueh pai ti, a crispy top hat casing filled with shredded vegetables — and we also like their assam laksa and ayam sambal tumis (chicken drumsticks simmered in sambal sauce). Halal.
Malaysian, vegetarian friendly


454 Dominion Rd, Balmoral
Owners Amy and William Law know their clientele well and tailor most of the menu accordingly, hence the success of their chicken and lamb curries, rendang and assam curry fish, butter prawns and sambal eggplant. Their Hainanese chicken rice, a recent menu addition, is a drawcard in itself — the tenderly poached chicken served with special steamed rice and all the condiments is already one of the best around. Cinta Malaysian now offers lunch.
Malaysian, licensed


102 Pakuranga Rd, Pakuranga
The curry laksa, wantan mee, mee goreng, Hainanesse chicken rice and wat tan hor all measure  up to the hawker foods of the Kuala Lumpur district, from where the owners come. The char kkway teow is smoky and authentic, while the curry laska is full bodied and coconut-creamy. Afternoon tea (2.30pm to 5.30pm) is served in the tradition of the kopitiams: steamed of baked bread; pandan kaya and butter; half-boiled eggs and Malaysian teh or kopi, all for $7 a set. Irresistable.


205 Great South Rd, Greenlane
As an offshoot of Selera in Newmarket, it’s not surprising Mama Rich have replicated their top-selling curry laksa (which happens to be one of the best in Auckland). The char kway teow has now hit top form again with a tweak in wok hei (the breath of a very hot wok) technique where the kway teow is wok-fried first to smoky deliciousness. Other highly recommended dishes include beef-noodle soup, a big bowl of heartiness topped with chunks of marinaded braised beef, and steamed pork and chive dumplings, especially when dipped in the accompanying black vinegar and finely julienned ginger.


Chancery Square, Kitchener St, Central City
Here’s a jewel, shining bright in a corner of the city that has very sadly become neglected. With an always-busy interior and inviting front courtyard, Mamak is one of the best lunch and pre-show dinner outlets around. We’ve long been fans of the chicken curry and the big spicy beef rendang, but our current favourite is char kway teow (noodles with seafood), which they serve with a raw egg. Scrumptious.
Malaysian, vegetarian friendly, licensed


6 Huron St, Takapuna
Jeffrey Ng has just introduced Sarawak laksa to his menu, and what a hit it has become. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is so enamoured with Sarawak laksa, it’s on his personal top 10 list. The spicy gravy features katumbar (ground coriander seeds), a touch of coconut milk and belacan chilli paste. It’s also great to see Hainanese chicken rice firmly established on the main menu. Other popular dishes include nasi lemak, rendangs and curries, mee goreng, char kway teow and freshly made roti canai. Weekdays, end your meal with a towering roti tisu cone (up to 40cm high), which arrives on your table with a side of condensed milk.
Malaysian, vegetarian friendly, licensed


79 Anzac Ave, Central City
Chef Albert Ooi and his largely volunteer staff run a Malaysian kopitiam, or coffee shop, that donates its profits to the A21 Campaign (to prevent human trafficking) and Habitat for Humanity. The king of char kway teow, Ooi’s seared rice noodles feature a delicious smoky flavour. His curry laksa and Hainanese chicken rice are also very popular. A compact menu of classics at a very decent price.
Malaysian, vegetarian friendly, new listing


1270 Dominion Rd, Mt Roskill
Youges Subramaniam is a legend. Her cooking reflects her background (Malaysian) and her native South India, so vadai, roti canai, thosai, idli and uthappam are on offer alongside the curries, nasi lemak and sambal of Malaysia. Goat is a specialty but Santhiya ’s is best known for its weekend offerings: Saturday’s nasi biryani set, and on Sunday, a South Indian feast of rice, lamb and chicken curry, plus four sides and a poppadom. Halal.
Malaysian/South Indian, vegetarian friendly


487 Khyber Pass Rd, Newmarket
Still some of the best Malaysian around, this busy corner in Newmarket remains one of our favourites. The laksa bowl is enormous, and we love it at lunchtime, with its giant prawns and pieces of tofu and perfect amount of heat. We also love the beef rendang, so softly falling apart, fragrant with lemongrass and spice. The perfect pre-movie meal.
Malaysian, vegetarian friendly


356 Karangahape Rd, K’Rd Precinct 
Having opened in 1990, Sri Pinang now welcomes the grown-up offspring of adults who have been coming here for years. With her chef husband Kun, owner Angie Siew knows them all. Their rempah (spice paste) is made fresh every day and is the main reason beef rendang is the most popular dish. The abbreviated lunch menu includes perennial favourite Hainanese chicken rice, which is served only at lunchtime. Go early to avoid missing out.
Malaysian, vegetarian friendly, BYO


59 Queens Rd, Panmure
Yeung Tan’s kitchen dishes up authentic Malaysian Chinese cuisine with hawker flair. Whether it’s char kway teow, mee goreng, Singapore fried vermicelli, wat tan hor, Hokkien noodles or lo mee, each of his noodle dishes has its own grunty flavours. The all-out hawker food approach also applies to his curry laksa, rendangs, and seafood (including assam fish or sambal prawns). If in doubt, go for the nasi lemak — it’s 100 per cent Malaysian.


2/392 Great North Rd, Henderson
The owners of Henderson’s surprise Malaysian eatery come from Kuala Lumpur and offer foods from the Klang Valley such as Hakka braised pork, steamed pork belly with salted fish and bak kut teh. The excellent char kway teow is grunty, seared to perfection in a very hot wok.
Malaysian, vegetarian friendly


277 Karangahape Rd, K’Rd Precinct
Tucked into a nondescript corner of K’ Rd, Uncle Man is a Malaysian favourite. Avoid the Chinese and Western parts of the menu and stick to the good stuff. We love the smoky char kway teow and the roti chenai, especially.
Malaysian, vegetarian friendly


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