With Jonker Street seemingly always busy, we decided to try Meals At Jackson’s. I believe it changed management in recent times, but I never actually dined there before the change. Meals At Jackson’s offers a selection of Chinese and Malaysian style dishes like Laksa, Nasi Goreng, Lemon Chicken and Sweet & Sour Pork.
I tend to order a Laksa at Malaysian restaurants I’ve never been to before, it seems to be a decent indicator of the quality and authenticity of Malaysian dishes. The Chicken Curry Laksa at Meals At Jackson’s, is unfortunately a disappointment. It has a generous use of curry powder, and lacking in pretty much any other flavour. The shrivelled up long beans don’t make things better either. I guess one of the pluses is that it comes with a lot of chicken pieces.
Their Ipoh Combination is decent. Though, an odd addition of Char Siew (BBQ Pork) instead of the typical chicken, or beef which adds this weird sweetness to it. The noodles also lack some of the “wok flavour” too.
The Fish Head Noodle Soup was also lacking in flavour. It’s “milky” but it doesn’t have the required sourness from the preserved vegetables and tomatoes to balance it. Quite average.
I hope Meals At Jackson’s Chinese style dishes are tastier because their Malaysian dishes are truly mediocre.
Meals At Jackson’s
52 Jackson Court
Doncaster East VIC 3109
Straits of Malacca opened last year in Box Hill, in a place I never knew could even house another restaurant. Situated on the far eastern side of Box Hill Central, close to Station St and with entrances from Main St and Station St, it’s easily accessible. Straits of Malacca in Glen Waverley, didn’t overly impress me on my initial visit but you can definitely find a pretty good meal there.
The Box Hill outlet may not match Glen Waverley in terms of tastiness but it does come close. Their Indian Mee Goreng has all the ingredients for a great Mee Goreng and has a subtle tomato flavour to it but doesn’t overwhelm the dish with the other spices and sauce.
Their Nasi Pataya isn’t quite as good as Petaling Street in terms of their fried rice incased in the egg, but they also do it differently with the addition of a salad with crispy fish and crispy spring rolls. The egg wrap is also very thing (just how I like it) with enough sweet chilli sauce to bring it all together.
Funnily enough, it was their Teh Ice that I enjoyed the most. It has the right amount of tea flavour but not overly sweet. How it should be!
Straits of Malacca sprinkles a bit more of Malaysia into the Box Hill food scene, and although it seems many aren’t too taken by it. I find it to be overall quite decent in flavour, not as great as the Glen Waverley outlet but definitely not bad as its made out to be on Urbanspoon. Would dine again.
Ho Chak opened last year in Glen Waverley, where the Hakka Tea House restaurant was located. Ho Chak serves Malaysian cuisine and apparently have a seafood specialty. We have visited there a couple of times and more often than not, the food served is more than satisfying. It’s also not as crowded along Railway Parade as it is on Kingsway so that’s always a plus during peak lunch and dinner periods.
One of their interesting dishes is the Marmite Pork with Fried Egg on Rice (pictured above), I recall eating something very similar in Ipoh, Malaysian a couple years back and might I say that was a delicious mix of ingredients. The dish here isn’t quite the same but the slight saltiness of marmite added with the sweetness really does make for a wonderful treat. It’s not often you find these dishes that seem out of the ordinary that pleasantly charm you.
Their Vermicelli and Rice Noodle with Egg Sauce as it’s called on their menu (aka Seafood Char Hor Fun) is also another tasty dish. I believe when we last visited there, they used both the flat rice noodles and the vermicelli which is commonly used for Mee Hoon. It’s also quite rare that you see these two noodles mixed together in a Hor Fun dish in Melbourne. This, and Straits of Malacca do indeed have both noodles which is delightful.
Ho Chak’s Curry Laksa isn’t one of my favourites, unfortunately. I found the curry sauce to have too many spices added to it, it was way too overpowering. It was a bit off putting to be honest. I like my curry laksa’s to be more on the creamier side but not too creamy that it makes it hard to stomach the richness of the cream. The plus side is that it’s a very large serve, it can feed two people quite easily. Some people may like it, but I’m not too fond of this variation to be honest.
Their Curry Chicken on Rice is nearing towards small for its price, but the curry sauce here is actually quite pleasant. It has a aromatic spiciness to it, and the chicken was well cooked but I’m really not fond of fried chicken. A lot of the dishes that Ho Chak serves is mostly fried so it’s just a caution for those that are like me and don’t like deep fried meat all that much.
Their Fish Fillet Congee can serve a few people too, or one if you’re particularly famished. The congee was on the plain side, you do need some fresh chillies or soy sauce to add the saltiness and kick to the dish. I guess it’s a good thing for those that want to add enough flavour to their liking but if you’re paying for food, you kinda want it to have some taste.
Ho Chak impresses with its different dishes that departs from the norm, but also retains the common Malaysian cuisines to cater to the majority. I have slightly mixed feelings about Ho Chak, but overall I think it’s earned its place in Glen Waverley. They also have fried durian, for those wanting their durian fix. Ha!
25-27 Railway Parade North
Glen Waverley VIC 3150
Straits Cafe near Knox is a popular Malaysian eatery, mostly known for it’s tasty Char Kway Teoh and overall good food. It’s extremely difficult to get tables during the weekend as the place doesn’t cater to many people (space is small) and well, people just enjoy going there to dine.
Sometimes Straits has specials on posted at the back whether it be main dishes or entrees. We ordered their Friend Chicken with Sambal seasoning. It was served fresh and straight from the fryer and was quite tasty. The skin was crisp and crunchy, and the chicken was cooked well. I couldn’t really taste the, I presume, spicy seasoning but for Malaysian Fried Chicken it was tasty nonetheless.
I believe they are quite well known for their Char Kway Teoh because of it’s authentic Malaysian flavour and one of the more spicy offerings around. There is just something I can’t really put my finger on it, that gives it that extra hit. It’s that special “wok” flavour but it’s so vague and indescribable that it’s best not to talk about that any further. You really are hard pressed to find a Char Kway Teoh as flavourful, spicy and overall tasty as this. I’d say Claypot King in Glen Waverley had nearly or even just as good of a offering as Straits but they no longer operate so the crown goes to Straits.
Their Char Hor Fun has stir fried hor fun noodles which are always a delight. The egg sauce is delicious, and I believe they put in the deep fried diced lard but I can’t be certain. Everything here was tasty, the seafood and chicken cooked nicely, and a good serve of vegetables. My only criticism, even if, ever so slight, is that they put the preserved (vinegar) chopped green chillies on the plate as well. So if you don’t like your sauce a tad sour, it can make the sauce kinda strange as somehow the chilli flavour spreads throughout the whole sauce. Again, nothing to make a fuss about, but it may not be to people’s likings.
One of their main specials was the Tok Tok Mee, which is apparently Penang Style. I can’t vouch for that as I have never tried it in Penang but this dish sure looked delicious. It had a wide selection of toppings from the steamed chicken, char siu pork, crumbed chicken, boiled wontons and vegetables. It really had it all.
For a sweet warm dessert, Pulut Hitam hits the spot. My mother does an excellent Pulut Hitam, that is much less sweet and actually tastes better as a result (Go figure) but for a restaurant offering, it’s quite nice. It has those black sticky rice that give it that added texture and the coconut cream provides the creaminess that is much required. Overall, it’s a pretty good Pulut Hitam as many places don’t offer it, although slightly too sweet for my tastes but maybe I’m just spoilt with my mother’s delicious cooking.
Straits Cafe offers a good variety of Malaysian dishes and most of them do hit the spot. The authentic Malaysian flavours is what people come back for and you can certainly see why. On weekends it was definitely is preferable to book ahead as without a reservation you may be waiting for quite some time.
241 Stud Rd
Wantirna South VIC 3152
Jalan Alor is small Malaysian restaurant in Melbourne’s China Town. It’s part of the renovated walkway that once held Village Cinemas, if you can remember that far back! At times you might be hard pressed to find seating as this restaurant seats is extremely low. If you do get a chance to eat here, it is worth it.
Their Curry with King Prawns tastes just as good as it looks. With the tomato and eggplant giving it a nice flavour, along with the pleasant curry taste. It is a surprisingly good dish to order.
I found the Char Kway Teoh on this occasion to be slightly overcooked. It had a slight burnt taste to some of the noodles but it didn’t spoil the whole dish so I set the few strands of noodles aside. Other than that, it was quite tasty. It had the crispy lard that not many places cook with so that sets it apart from other Malaysian restaurants. I asked for spicy but it was not spicy at all so not sure what happened there. Overall, it was nice but there are some let downs as I mentioned before.
Their Char Hor Fun was quite nice. There are some varying styles of this dish, some don’t cook the kway teoh in the wok as much (or at all) but I prefer it when they do. Jalan Alor does this and it’s great. It has that nice “wok flavour” as some puts it. The egg base sauce is also tasty. It is definitely hard to do a bad egg sauce though.
Iced Red Bean Drink with Coconut Milk is also another winner. It’s not too sweet, nice and chilly on a warm day. The red beans add the sweetness to the drink, and the coconut milk add that creaminess. I’d order it again!
The food at Jalan Alor is quite good, along with their drinks. However, I found their service to be slightly lacking. The waitress’s didn’t know what fresh chillies are. For a Malaysian restaurant, I feel that’s severely disappointing. When we asked for a plate to put the rice on for the Curry with King Prawns dish (the bowl was too small!), she didn’t know what we were talking about and had to ask another one of the staff. The other staff asked if we would like a small plate and it seemed like it was a lot of effort for them to bring one out.
Other than that, I’d go back again. I have been there a couple of times, but this was my most recent experience.
7/206 Bourke St
Melbourne VIC 3000