While Laksa King and Chef Lagenda are the known entities around Newmarket/Flemington, M Yong Tofu is another Malaysian eatery just minutes walk from the others and located on the busy Racecourse Road.
One of the things that M Yong Tofu does differently is that it offers ‘Yong Tofu’ which is basically your choice of add ons such as eggplant, wonton, fish stuffed tofu, prawn dumplings, fish balls with your choice of soup (Curry soup/Chicken soup/Tom Yum soup) along with your choice of noodles (Hokkien noodles/rice noodles/egg noodles/rice vermicelli). However, while they do this they also offer the more commonly known Malaysian dishes such as Laksa, Mee Goreng, Char Kway Teow and Nasi Goreng.
Their Mee Goreng is almost perfect, but a bit too wet and a bit too much tomato flavour. It needs that extra wok flavour to make it excellent.
As mentioned before, their Yong Tofu has all these different additions to it that make a nice change to the more traditional curry laksa as it uses a very similar broth. I quite like the curry soup in M Yong Tofu, it’s probably not as creamy as you’d find in either Chef Lagenda or Laksa King but it’s not that different either.
The Assam Laksa broth needed a bit more sourness to it but overall it’s a decent Assam Laksa.
Their Iced Teh Tarik needs to have a slightly stronger tea flavour and it’s a tad too sweet but it’s pretty good.
I quite like the Ice Kacang here and it has everything you need for a great Ice Kacang, except lacking in shaved ice.
All three Malaysian restaurants have their strong points and M Yong Tofu’s is in its Yong Tofu.
M Yong Tofu
314 Racecourse Road
Flemington VIC 3031
Laksa Town is one of the newer Malaysian eateries in Glen Waverley. Located on the popular Kingsway, it offers a variety of Laksa options, as well as Nasi Lemak, and serves Claypot dishes and Bak Kut Teh as well with a selection of classic Malaysian drinks like Teh Tarik and Cendol.
Their Claypot Mee Pok which reminds me of a dry Pan Mee with the crispy anchovies, mushrooms, and mince meat with flat noodles. It’s actually quite nice and I’d definitely go for it on a hot day instead of the soupy Pan Mee.
Their Laksa has a more spice infused broth and not as creamy or rich as you’d find in Laksa King or Chef Lagenda, or even Yong Tofu in Glen Waverley for that matter. It’s not bad by any means, and I think it just comes down to preference.
Laksa Town’s Nasi Lemak with Curry Chicken had a nice flavour to the curry sauce. A tad spicy but lacked the punch from the sambal that is needed for the Nasi Lemak. The fried egg though is a nice touch.
Their drinks menu has the typical 3 Layers, Milo Dinosaur and Teh Tarik. On this occasion, we tried their Ribena Lychee Sparkling and the Cendol Special. The Ribena drink was something I haven’t had since I was a kid, but with sparking water and lychees which had a lovely fruitiness to it.
The Cendol was quite nice actually, the Cendol jellies were soft still and had the nice gula melaka syrup flavour. The addition of red beans and grass jelly was nice too.
Laksa Town does distinguish itself with its extensive variety of claypot dishes but nothing we tried was amazing and I do prefer O’Town in Glen Waverley for good Malaysian food. However, I recommend giving it a try.
Glen Waverley VIC 3150
Malaysian Kitchen on Doncaster Road, Doncaster is another Malaysian restaurant in Victoria. The place is quite spacious having two floors and seems to be quite popular among the locals. During lunch peak time, it filled up quickly. At Malaysian Kitchen, they serve the Malaysian favourites as well as a few obscure dishes.
Ever since having Pan Mee at the now closed Claypot King in Glen Waverley, I’ve always tried to find a place that can match or better it. Chef Lagenda‘s version is decent, but they don’t make their own noodles which Claypot King do. The other Claypot King locations don’t offer Pan Mee either so it is a real disappointment. Malaysian Kitchen’s Pan Mee with the addition of the crunchy anchovies and fried onion creates a wonderfully flavourful soup. The noodles appear to be made with a Pasta maker, the thin long noodles make it a challenge to eat. If it was cut up into smaller pieces, I think it would be much better. However, the noodles itself have just enough bite to them which is all you want. In addition, their Pan Mee includes mince meat, mushrooms and bok choy. Overall, it’s a decent Pan Mee packed full of noodles in a small bowl but I still prefer Chef Lagenda’s Pan Mee.
Their Char Kway Teoh is an interesting thing, as you can see they add strands of Hokkien Mee into this dish. I can’t say I enjoyed this, it really doesn’t taste much like Char Kway Teoh and doesn’t have that wok flavour. You’ll find a better (but not the best) Char Kway Teoh at Straits Cafe Doncaster. The use of fatter noodles adds a heaviness to the dish and really the sauce is too subtle to add anything. Not great.
Malaysian Kitchen’s Fish Head Curry is quite pleasant. The sour soup with the noodles and fish just works. The soup isn’t too sour but that slightly tangy taste that lingers on your tongue is beautiful. The deep fried fish either needs to be taken out quickly or eaten quickly because the crispy fish will get soft and less appetising. I’m not a fan of deep fried fish like this, and here, its no exception and with the plentiful bones to boot it isn’t an enjoyable eating experience to put it lightly. Apart from that, I think it’s a winner, the soup provides that feeling like you’re having a home cooked meal with your family. Familiar and cosy.
Given the food we ate, I’m not quite sure why it’s so popular. Maybe it’s the food we chose but I couldn’t see anything all that special about the Malaysian food here. Maybe it’s because Doncaster or around these parts really doesn’t have great Malaysian food like South Eastern suburbs and even arguably the CBD has. I find it overall decent but I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat here again.
910-912 Doncaster Road
Doncaster VIC 3109
Whenever I go to Flemington, I usually go to Chef Lagenda or ChilliPadi. For some reason Laksa King never crosses my mind, even though when they were in their old location we used to go there all the time. We ventured here once again to give it another go. I always found Laksa King to be the one more popular with the general public, it always seems to be full around lunch time.
Their Chicken Curry Laksa above, is well known, but also very similar to Chef Lagenda. Many would know the story behind it. Compared to some other Laksa’s both Laksa King and Chef Lagenda lean on the creamier side. I used to find it too creamy, however, on my last outing, I actually didn’t mind it for a change. It also had a nice hit of spice to it. I prefer Grand Tofu in Glen Waverley for my Laksa fix, it’s spicier and less creamy. However, this is just fine once in a while.
Thai Fried Rice is a surprisingly common dish in many Asian eateries. Laksa King’s version isn’t too shabby. It has a nice hit of chilli to it, and has that slight tom yum flavour, which gives it a nice sweet and sourness. The prawns were also perfectly cooked. The wok flavour really makes the dish. Overall, it’s one of the better Fried Rice’s around and I wouldn’t mind eating it again even if it’s on the oily side.
Ah Char Kway Teow. You can’t be a Malaysian restaurant without this. You also can’t have a tasty Char Kway Teow without the devilishly delicious fried pork fat. I know, that sounds hideously disgusting but if you have ever tried it, it just adds something special to it. It’s just crispy, fatty goodness. Obviously, I wouldn’t eat this all the time, nor would I eat all the pork fat in the dish but one or two pieces with the noodles just hits the spot.
One thing I didn’t like was that the fried pork fat wasn’t even crispy! What was the point, it was a total disappointment. The Char Kway Teow was delicious apart from that. It had that special wok flavour and had just enough heat. Again, it was on the oily side, however you don’t order this expecting something healthy in the end. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised and wouldn’t mind ordering it again.
We saw people ordering Ice Kacang and it looked huge and delicious to boot. It’s like this large tower but it was so difficult to mix. Since the ice was quite hard, all the ice basically falls on the table. You basically have to dig sections out and mix it in your own bowl. Note to Laksa King, get wider bowls please.
Compared to my all time favourite Ice Kacang from Chillipadi Mamak, this is nearly as delicious but both are very different in taste. Laksa King’s version uses brown sugar syrup heavily as you can see it has a golden brown colour to it. Chillipadi uses a mixture of rose syrup and condensed/evaporated milk. I think any Ice Kacang with nuts added to it is a plus. It isn’t the same without that crunchiness. Although different, it wasn’t overly sweet and had all the other ingredients added to it, such as jelly, palm seeds, corn and lychee.
I’ve mentioned Laksa King numerous times, but first time I’ve actually given it a review. They serve predominantly Malaysian cuisine and don’t skimp on flavour. YMMV, but with the dishes above, most were winners in my book.
I know Laksa King caters more towards the Western flavours and demographic but it still retains the Malaysian flavour which is what most people seek.
6 – 12 Pin Oak Crescent
Flemington VIC 3031
Phone: 03 9372 6383
Everyday 11:30am – 3pm
Mon – Thu 5pm – 10pm
Fri – Sat 5pm – 10:30pm
Sunday 5pm – 10pm
ChilliPadi Mamak Kopitiam’s more spacious locations is situated on Racecourse Rd, and only just a couple of minutes walk from Newmarket Station. I’ve already mentioned their store on Waterfront City, but if you want greater variety of choices then their Flemington restaurant is the one to try. It’s sometimes just hard enough to pick what to eat with all these choices! #firstworldproblems
We have now been there on numerous occassions and staff are always quite friendly, along with decent service to boot. With the various dishes I’ve tried, the majority of them would be something I’d go back for.
Their Nasi Lemak with Beef Rendang is a good pick. Their Beef Rendang is tender, and you can tell it has been cooked long enough for it to soften. Far too many places that have a Rendang option, serve incredibly tough beef so I was happy that is is one of the few exceptions.The sauce is also quite good, it has a good amount of spice and sweetness but it may be too mild for some people.
Of course with Nasi Lemak, they have the standard sambal and vegetables, all quite good and nothing too out of the ordinary. My verdict? I’d probably order it again, but probably after I’ve tried all the other dishes (Might take me a while)
I’ve had some family friends that have tried this and not really liked it. For me, their Har Mee is also fantastic. It definitely is for those that like a spicier soup. It has all the standard Har Mee ingredients such as boiled egg, prawns, asian vegetables, chicken, fishcake and the two types of noodles. All of it was pretty good, but I’ll admit the prawns lacked any real prawn taste but overall I’d also try it again.
One of the rarer dishes that you’d probably be hard pressed to find in your typical Malaysian restaurant is Pasembor or otherwise known as Indian Rojak. Don’t get confused with their other Rojak as it is worlds apart. Their Pasembor contains fried potatoes, prawn fritters, egg, bean sprouts, cucumber and a warm slightly sweet gravy with a hint of Indian/Malaysian spices. This was the first time I’ve tried this so I can’t gauge it’s authenticity but on taste and flavour? It was good, the sauce was flavoursome, but since I’m not a big fan of bean sprouts either raw or blanched, it isn’t a favourite. What I can say is that my mother (born and raised in Malaysia) had ordered it again on another visit here so that’s a good sign.
Lobak! A good one this time. Sometimes I find Malaysian restaurant’s Lobak to be overly dry and lacking in the flavour department too. This on the otherhand was crispy, not too oily, and was cooked well. Plus, the nice sweet chilli sauce gave it the much needed sweetness and slight chilli spice.
I can’t recall the name of this Cucur Udang (thanks Adri) but it’s basically prawn fritters and it’s a specialty item that was served during the Muslim month of Ramadhan (thanks again Adri!) and Malaysia Day period. The batter is quite thick and crunchy and is served with a satay sauce. This isn’t one of my favourites, it’s definitely too oily and too thick for my liking. Even the satay sauce was a bit too thick but on the plus side, the prawns were nicely cooked.
My mother loves Mee Rebus, she used to always go to ABC Cafe in Glen Waverley and order this. She was saddened to hear that ABC Cafe closed down and so she has been on the lookout for another good Mee Rebus. Their Mee Rebus is different to ABC’s in terms of flavour. There is something with ChilliPadi’s sauce that makes the taste a bit odd, I think it might be too acidic/sour but sweet and packed full of spice so it’s an odd combination. It seems unbalanced but maybe that’s how they do it at ChilliPadi. I’ll say I’ve had a taste of a Singaporean restaurant on Lygon St, called Killiney Kopitiam and was surprisingly close to what ABC’s sauce and flavour was like, albeit less thick.
Their Nasi Briyani was also only a specialty item for Malaysia Day, and I was amazed at how good it tasted. The flavours just in the rice was fantastic, we’ve been asking them to put it on their menu but at this point it probably will stay a once off kinda thing. This was much better than Taste of Singapore’s offering, and even that was good. Their Nasi Briyani is very similar to how my mother used to cook it and that’s how I like it!
As with most Mamak stores in Malaysia, one of their main specialties is their Nasi Kandar. Where you are able to choose your rice, curries, meat and vegetables. ChilliPadi’s selection is decent, slightly smaller selection to Old Town Kopitiam but decent. You can pick from coconut or plain rice, a sauce of either Lamb Curry, Gulai Ayam or Daging Masak Kicap, and your meat/protein (Beef Rendang, Daging Masak Kicap, Gulai Ayam, Assam Fish Curry, Butter Chicken or Lamb Curry), and one vegetable (Jelatah, Tumeric, Madras or Dhall Masala).
I’ve been trying all the Malaysian restaurant’s Teh Tarik and apart from Chilli Mama, there haven’t been any really good ones. ChilliPadi’s Teh Tarik is probably one of the better ones I’ve tasted. It has a stronger tea taste, and it isn’t numbingly sweet, it probably could be less sweet (we add a bit of hot water and it’s perfect) but other then that I can’t really fault it.
Their Ice Cendol was something I was looking forward to trying, however it left me a tad underwhelmed. As you can see, it’s quite runny and it has nowhere near enough shaved ice. They also added way too much coconut cream/milk and not enough brown sugar so it’s balance is off. Maybe I got them on an off day, I’ll probably try it sometime in the future but not for a while since I was quite disappointed with how it turned out.
The three layers drink (
Not sure of it’s name three layer tea according to Adri – thanks for the details!), is very tasty. The layers aren’t as divisive as they are supposed to be but what it lacks in aesthetic value, it provides in great flavour. Be warned as it is indeed for those sweet tooth’s. The syrup layer (palm sugar syrup) at the bottom should probably be stirred until it mixes with the other tea and evaporated milk layer as this is where all the sweetness comes from. It’s actually quite similar to Teh Tarik in terms of taste.
I can’t recall if ChilliPadi serve Bubur Cha Cha on their day-to-day menu but they definitely don’t serve the Burbur Cha Cha with Durian everyday. This particular dessert was on their menu during the Malaysia Day festivities and what makes it so different is the Durian paste-like topping. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice their Bubur Cha Cha was. It had all the essentials, diced sweet potatoes, taro and I think yams, with pearls. The warm coconut milk soup was delicious and is probably one of the best offerings I’ve tasted. It even beats some of the restaurants I’ve tried it in, in Malaysia. Only downside would be the diced vegetables are probably slightly too big, I prefer smaller chunks but it doesn’t really take away from the taste all that much.
Now, with the added Durian paste, it’s a whole another experience. I’m actually not a fan of Durian at all, it’s taste or it’s infamous odour but because it comes in this paste, the natural smell is non-existant and the Durian flavour is milder. I only added a bit of the paste stirred into my bowl so it was quite subtle but still noticeable. I’ll admit that I was very hesitant at first to try this but I actually didn’t mind it. Would I straight up order this instead of the original Bubur Cha Cha? Probably not, but it wasn’t bad in anyway.
For the many locals around Flemington this is a good place to go because it’s Halal, and you don’t see many Malaysian Halal stores around Victoria. ChilliPadi has catered for a different demographic to Chef Lagenda and Laksa King and that’s not a bad thing, we wouldn’t want three of the same stores so close to each other and it’s a welcomed change.
My impressions of ChilliPadi on the numerous occasions I’ve been there have been positive. If I had to choose between the three Malaysian restaurants in Flemington, I’d choose ChilliPadi. I’ll reiterate that, if you like more Indian/Malay styled Malaysian food, this is the one to visit so keep that in mind. It offers a great selection of dishes and they aren’t your typical dishes either. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, give it a try!
293 – 295 Racecourse Road
Kensington VIC 3031
(03) 9376 0228