Malaysian Kitchen Market – but don’t bring your vegetarian friends here

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Nearly a quarter into the year and this year is crazily moving a little too quick for me yet again. I remembered thinking that I should post the photo above in early January and almost 2 months later here we are.

Malaysian Kitchen Food MarketSo what’s new? Sydney seemed to have really picked up recently with the Malaysian Kitchen Market a fortnight ago, Sydney Cellar door this weekend and  a million other things popping up on a weekly basis.

Malaysian Kitchen Market

Brilliantly evocative of a Malaysian pasar malam or hawker market, the three-day Kitchen Food Market will take visitors on a mouthwatering culinary journey through the many sights, sounds, smells and sensational flavours found in Malaysian cuisine via some of the greatest chef and restaurant exponents in Sydney and beyond.

Sponsored by the Malaysian government, the event was part of their international drive to promote Malaysian cuisine and local restaurants. What I didn’t count on was the sheer number of people waiting in line. We waited for well over an hour, before the line behind us were forcibly cut off. When we were finally ushered in to the alley way it was an absolute relief to finally sit down.

Malaysian Kitchen Food Market

I loved the concept of the Malaysian Kitchen Market. Tucked away in a tiny little alley way by the side of the State Theater, yellow and orange lanterns were strung out above long glass communal tables while music filled the space. Definitely a step up from your typical Malaysian alley way dining experience, but oh so atmospheric.

Malaysian Kitchen Food Market

For an entry fee of $10 you were given three set meals from various Malaysian restaurant around town such as Mamak, Chinta Ria, Jimmy’s Recipe, Sambal and Jackie M. Hands down it’s the cheapest meal you can find around town. The menu on the night included chicken satay with roti (Mamak), Nasi lemak (Jimmy’s Recipe), Salmon curry (Chinta Ria) and Chicken laksa from Jackie M.

Malaysian Kitchen Food Market

Nasi lemak

Malaysian Kitchen Food Market

Malaysian Kitchen Food Market

Salmon fish curry (stand out for the night for me)

Malaysian Kitchen Food MarketThey also had two vegetarian options that unfortunately ended up being just one. Vegetarian curry and Sambal eggplant (needless to say the sambal contained prawn paste). What was a tad frustrating were the wait staff in general. It could be that our waiter was especially clueless and had no idea what the names of the dishes were as he kept referring to them by numbers rather than names.

Us: “We’re still waiting for the Nasi Lemak”

Waiter: “Oh, is that dish number one or number two?”

<combined puzzled faces all around the table>

Trying to get any type of confirmation on which dishes were vegetarian friendly or not was a nightmare for our vegetarian friend. Again because the waiters had no idea what the dishes were. One of the head waiters / organisor finally came to our table at the very end of the night and admitted there was an oversight on the menu and the vegetarian sambal eggplant was not actually vegetarian. She offered to check the next night’s menu, but agreed that if we have any other vegetarian friends, that their options were limited…

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Categories: Food, Sydney

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2 Comments on “Malaysian Kitchen Market – but don’t bring your vegetarian friends here”

  1. February 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    I was surprised by how quickly word had spread leading to its popularity. Epic queues for all sessions I heard! Shame that some of the waitstaff weren’t so cluey – it wasn’t like they had a full menu to learn, nor did they have to take orders.

    • February 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

      Same actually found out from two different sources and that’s before I saw the Timeout article. Not enough staff briefing I guess, but it was surprising that a number of the waiters were not familiar with Malaysian cuisine at all!

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