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Chinese

No. 1 Malatown (第一道骨汤麻辣烫) – Mascot NSW Restaurant Review

Tucked behind a corner and invisible from the main road, No. 1 Malatown in Mascot is not somewhere you end up accidentally. Sharing a very similar name to the decidedly disgusting but similar in concept No.1 Malatang restaurant chain, No. 1 Malatown’s Mascot store provides most of your ma la tang staples as well as the unusual addition of hot kitchen-cooked a la carte dishes.

The No.1 Malatown store in Mascot is a large store with two separate dining areas. The front room is dominated by the fridge, regularly restocked with frozen meats, fish balls, greens, and noodles, as well as a drinks table featuring two types of citrus infused water, cutlery and crockery.

The selection of ingredients at No. 1 Malatown is perhaps a bit reduced compared to its competitors, however this did mean that I was forced to try different ingredients that I’ve traditionally avoided, like spam. It’s worth a mention that I witnessed the fridges being restocked with frozen meat during my visit. The vegetables and other ingredients were quite fresh.

No. 1 Malatown offers a selection of either bone broth or tomato broth for traditional wet malantag, or dry spicy or non-spicy cooking techniques for stir fry. The bone broth is the spicy “mala” version, however does come with a bit of creamy bone broth flavour. There is no option to have spicy malatang without bone flavour.

I generally enjoyed my bowl of malatang. It’s always nice to try different takes on the same concept. The selection of tofu, something that is a bit of a malatang staple for me, was pretty narrow. There was no fresh silken tofu, only frozen tofu slices which had quite a strange , fish-ball like consistency when cooked. Despite this, the meal was pretty good.

No. 1 Malatown is unique in that it offers other a la carte options alongside its core malatang offering. The lamb skewers are OK, not great. I can’t really explain or express why, but they’re just not as good as what you’d get at a restaurant or stall that dedicates itself to this art.

There is a small board within the restaurant that explains bonus offers for certain purchase amounts. These include things like bonus drinks, bonus wings, bonus skewers for certain amounts of spend. The staff in the store make no effort to mention these bonuses or point out to the sign, so you are shit out of luck if you don’t notice it yourself. It was only while I was getting myself some water, some time after I had ordered, that I noticed the bonus board and asked for my chicken wings. A bit of a strange way to do business, if you ask me.

The chicken wings were actually pretty good, and I’m glad I was able to try them. They were moist inside and appropriately crispy on the outside.

VERDICT
No.1 Malatown is good, but probably not even the best malatang place in Mascot. While their a la carte sides are not bad, it’s clear that they’re not the restaurant’s true focus. The presence of a hidden bonus board put a bit of a bad taste in my mouth – they would’ve absolutely let me leave without my free chicken wings. I did also run into some other first timers whilst I was at No. 1 Malatown – an anaesthetic nurse from RPA with whom I had a brief but passionate discussion about the benefits of the Vygon arterial leadercath. At the end of the day I think Long Men Zhu is probably better, cleaner feeling, and certainly where I would take someone for malatang in Mascot over this place.

3.75/5 – Quarter mark lost for unwelcoming business practices.

No.1 Malatown 第一道麻辣烫+烧烤
Shop 3/260 Coward St, Mascot NSW 2020
0413 070 021

Categories
Chinese

Long Men Zhu – Mascot NSW Malatang Restaurant Review

Long Meng Zhu is one of many restaurants that serve Ma La Tang in Mascot’s recently developed high-rise area, located mere footsteps away from its nearest competitor.

The concept is much the same as every other Ma La Tang restaurant. There is a refrigerated display of a variety of meat, seafood, and vegetables. The selection is a bit narrower than what you would find at a larger competitor like Yang Guo Fu Ma La Tang, but still reasonably appropriate. The meat are fresh and were still being actively topped up by the time I visited at around 10:30PM. What sets Long Men Zhu apart from many of its competitors is the array of soup bases on offer. Along with the classic spicy malatang soup, Long Men Zhu also offers a pork bone broth, a laksa broth, and a chicken broth.

I had a selection of sliced meats, vegetables, balls, and tofu in the pork bone broth. Service was fast however I did notice that one of my fish balls was still cold inside. The rest of the food was thoroughly cooked, and I did not get sick afterwards. The pork broth was quite nice and umami, a lighter option in terms of flavour than the usual malatang soup. It was actually so good that I drank most of it at the conclusion of my meal.

A shoutout should also go to the nice man working front of house, who was friendly and made me feel welcome as someone who pretend not to speak Chinese. He is probably the reason why there is a reasonably multicultural patronage at Long Men Zhu.

VERDICT

Pretty good, worth a try! The boss asked me if he would be seeing me at his restaurant more, and I told him to be honest probably no as I’m moving away from the area soon. I do want to bring my girlfriend back though.

Long Men Zhu
1/56 Church Ave, Mascot NSW 2020
0449 964 886

Categories
Indonesian

ATL Ayam Tulang Lunak Crispy – Mascot NSW Indonesian Restaurant Review

I will readily admit that certain East Asian cuisines hold the lion’s share of airtime on this blog. It’s not strictly abnormal to enjoy the kind of food you grew up with, and I’m not going to go out of my way to eat at and review a restaurant I don’t think I’ll like.

Indonesian food seems to be a particular victim of my East Asian-slanted palate, but in an attempt to broaden my horizons I have eaten at and will try and give a fair review of ATL Ayam Tulang Lunak Crispy, a local Mascot (ex-Kingsford) Indonesian eatery specialising in soft bone fried chicken.

Ayam Goreng Tulang Lunak

ATL’s main attraction is the Ayam Goreng Tulang Lunak (1/4 fried soft bone chicken, $9), served with sambal sauce. As with all of their chicken the diner is given a choice of thigh or breast piece, and I have chosen the thigh piece for all dishes of this review as it appears to be the more popular of the two. Ayam Tulang Lunak Crispy’s chicken is first cooked in a pressure cooker overnight before finished off at time of ordering. It is this pressure cooking process that ensures uniform cooking of the chicken’s meat, as well as gives the bone ATL’s characteristic soft and edible nature. The chicken meat I thought was a tiny bit drier than the best fried chicken I’ve had, but more than made up for by the strange soft bone which was easy to chew and eat. The Ayam Goreng Tulang Lunak was coated in a large quantity of light deep fried batter, which was crunchy and tasty (though only of a salt flavour). I can recommend this dish, if only because I don’t think there’s anywhere else in Sydney to have deep fried soft bone chicken.

Ayam Goreng Telur Asin

The batter of the Ayam Goreng Telur Asin (1/4 chicken with salty egg sauce) was less in quantity than the Ayam Goreng Tulang Lunak, replaced somewhat by a salty egg sauce. This was a relief in and of itself, as I don’t think I could’ve had more of the high-guilt batter after my first piece of chicken. Though eggy, the sauce tastes more or less the same as that of the normal fried chicken – mostly a salt flavour. The rest of the details of the chicken are identical to the first dish.

Coconut Rice

The coconut rice ($4) was really good. It was topped with fried onions and possibly some other ingredients that added a umami kick. In a strange way it provided a bit of balance to the very oily chicken dishes.

The Tahu Goreng (fried tofu – $5) was nice and crispy on the outside with only a light thin batter, and soft and warm on the inside. My partner enjoyed the piece that I took home for her and so did I.

Interestingly my favourite morsel of the meal was actually the Ayam Bakar (1/4 grilled chicken in sweet soy sauce – $9) that I got for takeaway for the following day. Unlike the fried pieces this grilled chicken actually had a flavour other than saltiness, and it also felt less unhealthy. The sweet soy sauce flavour and sachet of chilli sauce provided a much more interesting flavour profile. The bone in this chicken is soft as well, so it would be my recommendation if you were to go to ATL and only wanted to order one thing.

CLOSING REMARKS
I don’t normally enjoy Indonesian food – more of an issue of personal tastes than a criticism of the entire country – but I did enjoy ATL Ayam Tulang Lunak Crispy. I think that while not every dish is amazing and it is probably not the most healthy thing you can eat, ATL does offer something that no one else does in their crispy boned chicken. Worth a visit.

ATL Ayam Tulang Lunak Crispy
1/702-710 Botany Rd, Mascot NSW 2020
(02) 8339 0660

Categories
Indonesian

Mirasa – Mascot NSW Restaurant Review

Don’t deny it. I know you’ve missed my awfully lit photos of food in takeaway containers.

Rather than go out to eat before my first in a run of four emergency department night shifts we decided to get takeaway from Mirasa. a local Indonesian restaurant we have often seen listed in the delivery apps but had never tried. Prices are what we paid Deliveroo. They may very well be cheaper in store.

The Pangsit Goreng ($3 each) were yummy. They are deep fried wontons with an ample amount of filling, which went surprisingly well with the sweet chilli sauce.

The Sayap Isi ($4 each) were not as much to my taste. I’m finding them difficult to describe, but I felt that while the chicken meat was quite tender their outsides had more of a soft steamed or boiled quality, which is not what I would expect from the fried component of “deboned and stuffed fried chicken wings”.

Nasi Goreng

I was hesitant to order the nasi goreng ($15.50), as nothing on their menu suggested that this would not be a vegetarian dish. Thankfully the nasi goreng came with chicken – I don’t think I would’ve liked it otherwise. I did enjoy the runny, soft-fried egg, and think it could have even benefited from an extra egg. The taste of this dish was good, and the box was quickly polished off the following morning.

Nasi Hainan

The Nasi Hainan ($15.50) was not quite classic Hainanese chicken rice. While the chicken was reasonably accurate, the toppings and flavourings are different from what you would expect from the classic Malaysian/Singaporean dish. I understand this is more authentic to the Indonesian style of Hainanese chicken rice. The rice was adequately flavoured, and this dish was my partner’s favourite of our order.

Sup Campur

The Sup Campur ($15.50) is a light clear soup with beef balls, wonton, and fried tofu. I really enjoyed the taste of all of these three components, however the soup itself was too light and watery and left much to be enjoyed. We basically fished out the fillings, drank half the soup, and disposed of the rest. Sorry.

I think overall my ambivalence towards Mirasa is more of a reflection of my East-Asian-centric palate, and probably not anything wrong with Mirasa itself. I personally won’t be eating their food again, but don’t think this means that you shouldn’t if you’re into Indonesian food.

Mirasa
1179 Botany Rd, Mascot NSW 2020
0421 100 085

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Uncategorized

Mascot Kebab & Deli (Bourke St) – Mascot NSW Kebab Review

l’appel du vide (abstract noun, French)
The self-destructive craving for salt, carbohydrates, and fat that can be satisified only by a good kebab.

Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around eating kebabs, often as a reward for accompanying my parents to unenjoyable (for a six year old) activities such as shopping for the week’s fresh produce at Flemington markets. While the prices are no longer $5, and the food hygiene is probably much higher, this love of kebabs has remained with me ever since those formative days.

Mascot Kebab & Deli on Bourke St, not to be confused with Mascot Kebab on Botany Road, is one of the many kebab shops that deliver to my home. It is also one of the best.

This mixed kebab roll with chili and garlic sauces and tabouli ($14.50) is an excellent kebab. The fresh salad and tabouli to meat ratio is perfect. The meat is standard kebab meat for both “beef” and “chicken”, and do not stand out from the crowd. The sauce ratio is perfect, and the size is good. There are no complaints with the wrapping or packaging. I can only tell you what my mouth told me, which was that this kebab filled all the cravings that I had.

The mixed snack pack with garlic and chili sauce ($20) was good but too expensive. I would usually expect to pay around $12 for this size snack pack. Price aside, the chips were fresh and crunchy, despite having been delivered. The amount of sauce was perfect, however the amount of meat was perhaps a bit too high – a rare complaint from me.

Mascot Kebab & Deli good. Salt. Yum.

Mascot Kebab & Deli
59/7 Bourke St, Mascot NSW 2020
(02) 8958 7737