Lately, I've been craving spicy Malaysian food as an attempt to warm up from the cold weather. There are many Malaysian restaurants in Sydney, but Temasek is undeniably one of the cheapest and most popular.
I had visited Mamak a few weeks ago, so my friend and I decided to pay a visit to Temasek in Parramatta. Hainan chicken is one of his favourite dishes, and I had heard good reviews about Temasek's version, so Temasek for lunch it was.
We came in around 1:45pm on a Thursday. The restaurant was filled with diners and it took a few minutes for any of the staff to notice us and show us to a table. The restaurant had a plain, simple décor with patterned tablecloths and basic furniture that looked a little outdated.
We were promptly brought copies of the menu and left to peruse them for awhile. After that, it was quite difficult to find any of the staff to take our orders. After about 10 minutes a waiter came over and asked us in a somewhat impolite manner if we had ordered yet. When I said no he mumbled an apology, which I wasn't sure was directed at me or the floor. Another waiter promptly came to take our orders. Although I had read reviews and heard about the bad service at Temasek, it still left a negative impression on me and I think they could definitely do with an improvement.
Initially I had my heart set on trying the Hainan chicken, a dish I always used to shy away from. After seeing that Temasek had my favourite Malaysian dish, mee goreng on the menu though, I couldn't resist ordering it instead.
The Hainanese chicken rice ($13.80) was the first dish to be brought to our table, arriving rather quickly after we had ordered it. I had never eaten Hainan chicken before this, but my friend proclaimed it to be very good quality, and made the right way. The accompanying rice was soft, fragrant and flavoured with Hainanese chicken stock. The chicken had a silky texture and had been completely de-boned. In line with tradition, Temasek's Hainan chicken was served at room temperature. The two sauces, soy sauce on the left and ginger chilli sauce on the right, added some kick to the chicken. The accompanying soup was a thin, lightly flavoured broth.
Hainanese chicken rice.
The wait for the mee goreng ($15.80) was a little long, as we waited another 10 minutes for it to arrive after the Hainanese chicken. While the noodles were soft and slathered in a thick, sweet sauce, the chilli, an optional extra which I had requested, was nowhere to be found. Due to this, Temasek's mee goreng was very sweet in comparison to mee goreng I've had elsewhere, and while I enjoyed this dish, especially the juicy prawns, I would have preferred it a little spicier.
Overall I enjoyed the food at Temasek and would definitely return for the Hainan chicken again.
Where: The Roxy Arcade, 71 George Street, Parramatta, 2124.
Why: Quality Malaysian food at affordable prices.
Cost: Starters $5-$8, mains $12-$25
When: Open Tuesday - Sunday from 11.30 - 2.30 and from 5.30 - 9.30. Closed Monday.