Chinese Malaysian

Ho Jiak – Strathfield NSW Restaurant Review

My first visit to Ho Jiak’s Haymarket restaurant last year didn’t leave me with a lot of great feelings, but my most recent visit to their Strathfield food court store did. Barring the involvement of serious live shellfish and other seafood, East and South East Asian food generally has an upper price point that most patrons would be willing to pay. I can only imagine that the higher overhead costs in the CBD are part of what makes Ho Jiak’s Strathfield Plaza branch a more attractive option.

Food is reasonably priced, and service is fast. There is no in-restaurant seating, with only a few tables and plastic chairs outside shared with the kebab shop across the corridor. While some may baulk at this lack of formality, I think it’s important to consider this is the kind of thing that keeps food as cheap and accessible as possible. I’ve certainly never thought that char kway teow needs a tablecoth, though if the presence of a few less savoury characters roaming the halls of Strathfield Plaza could be managed that would be more ideal.

The Bah Kut Teh Rice ($19) was good. From the garlic infused rice to the you tiao to the herbal soup and pork ribs, each bite was full of flavour. The rice was warm and moist, and the serving of pork belly was quite generous for the price. I didn’t quite feel that the bak kut teh was the standard flavour – it had more of a dark soy sauce component – but it was good nonetheless. The you tiao was a bit tepid in temperature, but somehow incredibly crispy, great dipped in the soup or on its own.

If the bah kuth teh rice was good, the Indomee Goreng Salted Duck Egg & Crab Meat ($22) was even better. Every single bite of this was good. The noodles were al dente and delicious, completely transcending the expectations set by its 40 cent per packet price. The rich soy, spicy, and umami flavours of the noodles were amplified by the mince, fish balls, and vegetables, and duck egg accompaniments. The crab meat, though probably the bigger money ingredient here, didn’t really add as much as I had hoped. This was just an amazing dish (if a little salty), though next time I’d save $4 and get it without the crab.

The Inchi Kabin (4 for $13) were Nonya-style deep fried chicken mid wings. Mid wings are, in my opinion, the optimal part of the chicken wing, and I much prefer them to drumsticks. These particular wings were quite good, with a nice crispy skin and moist interior. They reminded me of those at Nam2 in their construction.

The Teh Susu ($3.50) is a very cheap milk tea.

I really enjoyed Ho Jiak’s Strathfield Plaza outlet. The food was great, and the prices quite reasonable. There are both pros and cons to its food court location. We were asked for spare change by the same guy twice during our quick meal.

Ho Jiak Strathfield
Shop 33 Strathfield Plaza, 11 The Boulevarde, Strathfield NSW 2135
(02) 9008 8020


Malaysia Small Chilli – Campsie NSW Restaurant Review

My partner was HIGHLY DOUBTFUL that there’d be any possibility of good Asian food in Campsie. We’d have to go to Burwood, she said, for anything yummy. Boy was she wrong.

The Stir-Fried Pork Belly with Salted Fish on Hot Plate ($23.90) was a very tasty dish that also comes as a cheaper and smaller combination with rice, which we foolishly chose to have its own. It had good but strong salty flavours, though probably not something I’d want again. I’m more of a red braised pork belly fan than a sliced pork belly fan.

The House Chilli Chicken Nasi Lemak ($18.90) was excellent. I must be honest that with my limited understanding of Malaysian food I did not know that this was essentially going to be just fried chicken with condiments. This was a huge serving of fried chicken, with wonderfully umami rich chilli sauce, served with rice seasoned with little anchovies and peanuts. Everything about this dish was so fragrant and delicious that it’s clear why this is one of Malaysia Small Chilli Restaurant’s signature dishes.

Not knowing that the house chilli chicken nasi lemak was essentially fried chicken, we also ordered the Chicken Wings with Shrimp Paste ($14). No one stopped us. I wish they had. There is less chicken than the Nasi Lemak, with less fun taste. Definitely not a double up we needed, and not even a double up we finished.

They didn’t ask how much sugar we wanted in our Iced Teh Tarik (Malaysian Iced Tea – $4.50). It was not too sweet, just as it should be. Excellent.

We had a good meal in Campsie, and hopefully opened my partner’s eyes to eating out in our suburb a little more, without having to travel elsewhere. I’d come back, possibly for their curry chicken, which my Malaysian friend BCSY has recommended.


I wanted Malaysian food again, but was too shy to go back to neighbouring Ipoh Dynasty for the third time in a week.

This Hainan Chicken Rice ($17.90) was actually very good, perhaps the best I’ve had in recent memory. I loved how fragrant and oily the rice was, it being more delicious and more of the focus of the dish than the chicken itself. I’d definitely get this again from here.

The curry chicken signature laksa ($17.90) was ordered following my friend’s recommendation to try their curry chicken but with us not willing to order a full dish of just chicken itself without any roti available on the menu. This laksa was really pretty good, with a huge serving size, a rich creamy broth, and a really large amount of chicken that we struggled to finish, all at a good price. It even had pieces of potato in it. How crazy. Two carbs in one.

Malaysia Small Chilli Restaurant Campsie
148 Beamish St, Campsie NSW 2194
(02) 8068 2433

Malaysian Vietnamese

Ngoodle – Ashfield NSW Restaurant Review

We had a really nice meal at Ngoodle, nice in the sense that the food and service were both very good, but not in the sense that it was overwhelmingly expensive with unnecessary flourishes. It was exactly the perfect kind of niceness for South East Asian cuisine.

We went on the recommendation of the crispy chicken laksa ($19.50), which some guy on the internet said was more expensive than but better than that of Hunter St’s (now relocated to Ashfield, actually) Malay Chinese Takeaway. The laksa was delicious, with such a complex and aromatic arrangement of herbs and spices, and perfect vermicelli. The laksa stood strongly alone without any additional protein, whilst the crispy chicken maryland was juicy and crispy and tender. The combination of the two was of unclear benefit to me, as putting it in the laksa kind of ruined the crispiness of it. I think perhaps a combination or seafood laksa might’ve been the way to go instead, but nonetheless this was a good bowl.

The Pork Chop Dry Noodles ($18) were excellent. The pork chop was a little bit sweet, super tasty with a crispy and melt-in-your-mouth quality. It reminded me of the marmite pork from Albee’s, but just better in most ways. The dry noodles were quite stiff, but pretty good with the sweet dressing and the vegetables – ultimately though the pork chop was the star of this show. It is probably the best fried Asian pork chop I’ve had.

These spring rolls (4 for $7) were super packed with meat and taro, not bad, and good with dipping sauce.

My partner was really impressed with the main lady working at the front, we thought she might be the owner. She speaks multiple, multiple languages (Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, English – and those were just the ones we heard over the course of our 45 minute meal), was super attentive to us filling our carafe up with filtered water with a fresh leaf of mint, and seemed to have a really good relationship and even friendship with her regular customers.

Respect, and can definitely recommend.

234 Liverpool Rd, Ashfield NSW 2131
0490 733 750


Ipoh Dynasty 怡保山城 – Campsie NSW Restaurant Review

Ipoh Dynasty has become one of the most frequent enemies of our shared transaction account in recent times, with my partner having gotten into the practice of ordering delivery on a fairly regular basis. With her interstate on an examination preparation course, and me being at home with little motivation for cooking after working a greater than 1.5 FTE, I ate in at Ipoh Dynasty twice in the same week.

On my first visit I had this Maggie Goreng Mamak ($16.90), a really nice stir fried noodle dish with tofu, large juicy prawns, and chicken. It had only a slightly spicy flavour, and was great with the entire lemon squeezed in, which is not how I normally use lemon at restaurants. I really enjoyed this, part of why I went back for a second visit only days later.

The Ipoh Dynasty Special Curry Noodle (curry mee) ($18.90) were also quite good, this time a larger portion than could be handled by me at 8:30PM on a completely empty stomach barring a protein shake at 7AM. It was just a really huge hot bowl of a curry broth filled with tofu, again giant prawns, and char siu with only rice noodles as they had run out of egg noodles for the day. The broth was really tasty and really rich, and really just quite enjoyable. I tipped them the remaining $1.10 of my $20 note out of the shame of not being able to finish it as a full grown adult.

Other thoughts
I quite enjoyed both meals I had at Ipoh Dynasty, but I feel like they probably only merely tolerate me, which is fine, and probably my own fault for looking like I speak a decent amount of Chinese when I really don’t.

Third visit (within a week)

My partner came back home, and this time we went together, for the third time in 7 days. I essentially can never go back.

The roti canai with curry chicken ($10 or so) was a pretty solid warm bowl of curry chicken with potato and a very flaky and crispy roti canai, with a strong structure and no flop at all. The taste was good, as was the price, though I think with the relatively good sized serving of curry chicken for the price I would advise punters to order an extra roti to make maximal use of the curry sauce.

The roasted pork wanton noodle ($18.90) was a dry noodle dish that wasn’t too dry, with a good slightly sweet and salty soy sauce flavour to the noodles, kind-of harder roast pork (it’s hard to be superior to a place that actually does roast pork as a main attraction), and super meaty pork wontons. Perhaps the star of the dish were the slightly sweet and tangy fermented green chillis, which provided a textural difference and a fresh change in taste every few mouthfuls. Like their other noodles, this was quite a good dish overall.

This Hotplate Homemate Toufu ($19.90) was a combination of mushroom, tofu, and mince on a sizzling hot plate in gravy. The flavour was good, though the type of tofu used was not to my preference. It had a sponge-like texture, essentially what I would expect from firm tofu after freezing, rather than a more silken texture that I would have preferred. I have no idea what is more authentic to Malaysian cuisine, however, so I speak only from personal preference.

Ipoh Dynasty
Shop 2/43 N Parade, Campsie NSW 2194
0439 838 888

Chinese Malaysian

Hokkien Kia – Campsie NSW Restaurant Review

My visit to Hokkien Kia was foretold by both Malaysian and non-Malaysian friends alike, who knew I could not resist a strong recommendation for some good Asian food.

This Duck Egg Fried Kuey Teow ($15.80) is the thing of legends. My friend BCSY, a real life Malaysian, describes this as the closest thing to Penang-style CKT as you can find. I had an extraordinarily large amount of char kway teow during my first two years of med school from a small restaurant near to campus called Pinewood Noodle & Sushi Bar, and while that was a formative culinary experience for me at the time, this CKT clearly blew that and every other CKT I’ve had out of the water. Highlights of this particular char kway teow were the huge prawns and the excellent wok hei flavour, but the most impressive part was the addition of deep fried pork lard, adding crispy and deeply umami morsels into each mouthful. I don’t know that the duckness of the egg was a particular must have, but I’m told it’s part of it. Either way, this is certainly an impressive char kway teow and a must try from Hokkien Kia.

I’ve never had roast pork in laksa before, but Roast Pork Curry Laksa ($15.80) was actually quite good. The laksa had good curry flavour, while the crackling roast pork was of a high quality, with good crispiness to the skin and worthy to be sold on its own at any Cantonese/Hong Kong style BBQ restaurant.

The Kam Heong Pipi ($22.80) is another specialty of the restaurant, with pipis stir fried in an excellent umami and seafoody sauce of dried shrimps, curry powder, shallots, and garlic. It was very fragrant and a little sweeter than XO pipis, with a good pasty texture to the sauce that added an extra dimension.

My partner thought this iced teh tarik ($4.80) was a bit too sweet and not her favourite teh tarik ever, not that she’s had that wide experience with the drink.

I really enjoyed Hokkien Kia’s duck egg fried kuey teow, with its excellent wok hei quality and the absolutely delicious deep fried pork lard making it extremely dangerous to anyone looking to avoid an early cardiovascular death. Whilst the other dishes we tried didn’t wow me so much, Hokkien Kia remains a strong recommendation from me for the strength of its char kway teow alone.

Hokkien Kia
254 Beamish St, Campsie NSW 2194
0403 889 139