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
Jonker Street in Doncaster is named after a popular street in Malacca, Malaysia which has now taken over the location that Ronz Roti Kaya used to occupy. The menu at Jonker Street is actually quite extensive, they offer an array of noodle and rice dishes, as well as congee which include your Malaysian staples like Nasi Goreng, and Curry Laksa but they also serve mains if you prefer to share dishes and take the opportunity to try a few more dishes at a time.
Not many places can do a good Assam Laksa, it’s usually either it lacks in flavour or their use sardines which often changes the entire flavour of the broth. I found the Assam Laksa here to be lacking in flavour, it tastes slightly watered down which is disappointing. I’d say it’s around 70% of the intensity it should be at.
The Curry Laksa here is surprisingly good, but it isn’t your typical Laksa that you might find in Laksa King or Chef Lagenda that are more creamier. The Laksa tastes like your typical Chicken Curry sauce but as a broth, which has this lovely spiciness to it that it needs.
The Pan Mee here also has the same issues that the Assam Laksa has, which is that the soup base lacks flavour but more so in this case. The Pan Mee broth should have the flavour of pork and dried anchovies, but it really doesn’t have any taste to it at all so I had to add a lot of chilli to give it flavour.
The Teh Tarik isn’t too bad, maybe just a tad too sweet and not pulled enough but overall it’s decent!
The Ice Cendol has the balance of gula melaka syrup and coconut milk all out, it needs a lot more gula melaka.
There isn’t anything that stands out to me at Jonker Street, though the Chicken Laksa is probably one of the better dishes but it seems like they have issues with making their broths more intense in flavour. Maybe their other dishes are better, but at the moment I’m in no hurry to try it again.
84 Jackson Court
Doncaster East VIC 3109
Located in Bayswater, Junior Tan Hawker Kitchen adds to your list of Malaysian restaurants to choose from in Victoria. The decor inside Junior Tan has this colourful 1920’s Chinese era imagery on the walls that I haven’t see done before. On their menu, some of the items have a slight twist to it like Eggplant chips, Balachan chic-a-wings or even a ‘Malaysian’ burger. However, they do also offer the more traditional dishes such as Nasi Lemak, Laksa, Char Kway Teow and Nasi Goreng.
Junior Tan’s Nasi Lemak looked quite appealing, it had all the essential parts to a good Nasi Lemak. However, I found the beef in the curry to be very tough, presumably not cooked long enough. The sambal was also a bit average, it doesn’t quite have that punch of flavour and spice.
The Char Kway Teow had a lovely wok flavour, and spiciness! Although, it was overly oily and wet as a result and the choice of the thin noodles I felt was a bit of an odd choice but overall I was quite happy with it.
Junior Tan’s Murtabak had this nice crispy exterior and flavourful filling. The curry sauce had just enough creaminess and spice to it, and goes well with the murtabak. My only con with it, is that is looks very barebones (styling is leaves a lot to be desired).
Still on my mission to try all the Teh Tarik’s around Melbourne, so how does Junior Tan’s drink stack up? Well, it has that lovely foamy top that is very essential to a good Teh Tarik. A tad too sweet for my liking but tea flavour is just strong enough with the condensed milk.
If I were around these parts of town, Junior Tan would probably be high on my list of places to dine at. However, is it worth the extra effort? Not particularly for me, when there are plentiful of choices around me and in the CBD but as I usually say it’s worth a try.
Shop 25, 7 High St
Bayswater VIC 3153
Funnily enough, I never even knew Kitchen Inn existed until earlier this year. I’ve probably walked past the shop numerous times on Elizabeth Street and yet never has caught my eye unlike Coconut House which seems very prominent towards the Queen Victoria Market side of Elizabeth St. Kitchen Inn serves Malaysian cuisine but more with a focus on Sarawak dishes as they offer Sarawak Laksa and Kampua which you may not find in other Malaysian restaurants.
Kitchen Inn’s Kampua Special is basically noodles with a light sauce served with crispy roast pork, and char siu (Chinese BBQ pork). I must say, aside from the generous use of oil in their sauce, it’s absolutely delicious. The sauce is subtle in flavour, reminding me of a slightly sweet soy sauce and goes well with the noodles. My only other disappointment is the char siu isn’t particularly appetising with its vibrant colouring, and overall fatty cuts of pork. Still, either the Kampua Special or Kampua is one to try here. Just be warned with the smaller serving sizes here.
The Sarawak Laksa is also something I’ve never come across before as I never have visited East Malaysia when holidaying there. Typically, what differentiates a standard curry laksa with a sarawak laksa is it doesn’t have curry as its base but instead it’s a base of sambal belacan, tamarind, galangal, lemon grass and coconut milk. It’s also an acquired taste, but that may be because I’m so used to the flavours of a Curry Laksa or Assam Laksa. It is certainly interesting taste wise with a strong spice backing, so it may not be for everyone.
Kitchen Inn’s Bak Kuh Teh is also slightly different to the typical Bak Kuh Teh that you can buy the pocket of herbs and spices in many Asian groceries in Melbourne. It has a stronger spice to it, presumably from the star anise and cloves and it definitely tastes more herbal. Their Bak Kuh Teh is also laden with oil, possibly from the fatty pork ribs or just added extra with the soup. It would be very welcoming on a winters’ day.
Kitchen Inn overall is pretty good, I haven’t come across Sarawak food before so it may just be me not being used to the style of cooking. However, the standout is their Kampua Special and during certain hours, a few of their dishes are ridiculously cheap. So for something a little bit different to your average Malaysian restaurant, Kitchen Inn is here to serve.
469 Elizabeth St
Melbourne VIC 3000