Fried Brain leads us to Mamak and Divine Roti

Being a new mother has the tendency to fry your brain, if pregnancy hadn’t already sizzled it away. Getting up several times a night to feed your newborn will do that to you.

being a new mother
She's worth the fried brain

The Fried Brain Mistake

Which is exactly why I left home the one piece of paper that we needed to enjoy our first meal as a family of four.

We were spending the day at Taronga Zoo and felt the perfect end to the perfect day would be to visit a Malaysian restaurant for dinner. Part of being a Malaysian Kitchen Ambassador is that we get to try amazing Malaysian food.

Our experiences at Chinta Ria and Kaki Lima  have had my mouth watering at the word Malaysian.

Taronga Zoo is in Mosman, an exclusive suburb of Sydney and near to the area where Craig spent many years hanging out when he played rugby league for the North Sydney Bears.

There are plenty of beautiful trendy suburbs to visit and I had picked out a restaurant in Neutral Bay a week or two earlier.

As we were driving on the freeway, halfway to the zoo, Craig asked if I remembered to bring the green piece of paper with the Malaysian Kitchen restaurants on them.

“Oh crap! I left it at home. I can’t remember the bloody name of the restaurant either; if I look it up I might remember it.”

After Google searching Malaysian restaurants for an hour, and cursing Australian businesses for not having websites, all I could discover that Ginger and Spice was the only Malaysian restaurant in Neutral bay, except its tag line had it as being Singaporean.

Leads us to Mamak

“You know I don’t think we can risk it. I can’t be sure that is the restaurant. The only one I know for sure in the North shore area is Mamak in Chatswood.

We really wanted to avoid going to Mamak as it is probably the most popular Malaysian restaurant in Sydney and we wanted to give the exposure to someone a little less known.

But, baby fried brain kinda ruined that noble cause.

Mamak Chatswood
The Chefs of Mamak

Mamak in Chatswood is a little lessor known that it’s famous sister in China Town, so I felt a little better about that.

Mamak restaurant Chatswood
Lining up

To Mamak we went and straight to a 20 minute line out the front. I had heard that this was pretty standard with this restaurant famous for its traditional roti and authentic Malaysian street hawker food.

Kalyra dancing
Kalyra entertains us in the line

We were all exhausted and starving after our big day, or should I say extremely big week. Savannah lay curled up in her baby capsule the whole time blissfully unaware of our growling tummies.

Was Mamak Worth the Wait?

We decided that we needed to order some traditional Malaysian food and so ordered some of the Masi Lemak, which is said to be Malaysia’s national dish. It is fragrant coconut rice accompanied by an ensemble of sambal, peanuts, crispy anchovies, cucumber and hard-boiled egg.

Masi Lemak
Masi Lemak

It is so not like what we would normally order. And I wished we didn’t, as I would have enjoyed so many other dishes more.

It wasn’t too bad, just an odd mixture of dishes which we were unsure of how to eat and enjoy it. The sambal prawns we ordered with it were fiery but tasty.

Our Kari Sayur, a vegetarian curry cooked with lentil, carrots, fresh tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant, was extremely spicy but lacking in any other sort of flavour; it was really quite bland.

Kari Sayur
Kari Sayur

Two strikes.

I had a refreshing lime juice with my meal, actually Kalyra’s “I-don’t-like-it leftovers,” and Craig thoroughly enjoyed his Kopi Tarik, a traditional Malaysian white coffee, coming back for seconds.

Malaysian white coffee
Malaysian white coffee

The service at Mamak was exceptionally fast and friendly and the prices of the meal were very reasonable. Definitely the cheapest we had yet, which made our growling tums very happy.

The frenetic pace of the restaurant, the food coming out all at once- in true Asian style-and my stomach so hungry that it was almost eating itself was a recipe for almost meal disaster as I ate far too quickly and did not give myself time to savour the food.

Mamak restaurant
A busy place to eat

Mamak was, however, rescued by the delicious Mee Goreng, which tasted just like Pad Thai. Wok-tossed hokkien noodles with eggs, prawns, fish cake slices and fresh bean sprouts.

Mee Goreng
Mee Goreng

Kalrya really loved this dish. Actually Kalyra devoured not just noodles but roti and rice as well. Any restaurant that can get my daughter to eat like that, without any tantrums, gets a big plus.

And Divine Roti

The real treat to Mamak though was the dishes it is made famous for.

Roti! I had eaten it at Chinta Ria and found it okay, but not really getting the fuss of it.

Mamak taught me what the fuss was about.

Roti Canai
Roti Canai

Our entree serve of Roti Canai, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, came out with two spicy dips and sambal. I could have had several plates of this.  It was the perfect start to the meal.

And then the kicker at the end was the roti desert. Heaven.

It reminded me of banana pancakes on the streets of Khao San Road, Bangkok, except they were fluffy and with the ice cream on top, so much tastier.

Roti Pisang
Roti Pisang

I chose the Roti Pisang which is roti with sliced bananas thinking that would be the bomb, but was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed the Roti Kaya far more.

It was filled with a spread of pandan and coconut and had soft subtleties of sweetness in it; the coconut just made me want to come back for me.

Dinner at Mamak was worth the wait, and was the perfect end to a blissful family day.

I walked out of there with a roti, Makepeace-family love glow!

Dinner with my girls

Mamak: The Facts

Where: Shop P9, 1-5 Railway St, Chatswood  (02) 9411 4411
When: Open 7 days
Lunch: 11:30am to 2:30pm
Dinner: 5:30pm to 9:30pm
Price:Entrees and deserts: $5.50- $11.50 Mains: $8.50- $19

We dined as a guest of Malaysia Kitchen. All opinions are of course my own.

P.S when I got home and checked the green paper, it was Ginger and Spice in Neutral Bay after all!

Have you ever had a fried brain experience before that lead you to great things?

Caz Makepeace is the co-founder of y Travel Blog and has been traveling the world since 1997, first solo, then with her husband, and now with her two daughters. Get her free email series on the 4 best ways to reduce travel costs. Follow her on Google+

10 Comments on “Fried Brain leads us to Mamak and Divine Roti”

  1. That looks like one yummy meal :) I so love trying new restaurants and eating out with my family…and like you – if they eat there meals with no fuss then the restaurant also gets a 5 star rating from our family!
    What a perfect way to end a perfect day :)

    Thanks for sharing

    • It has to be a good restaurant if Kalyra eats and doesn’t chuck a wobbly!! She did so well. It was a really great evening and day.

  2. We ate at Mamak 2-3x when we were in Sydney in Dec/Jan–LOVED it! There we were walking through Chinatown trying to find a good place to eat and stumbled upon LONG lines at Mamak! After seeing that 2 nights in a row, we had to see what all the fuss was about. Amazing food…would definitely go there again.
    Btw, if you liked Mamak, you should try “Home.” It’s a little further down (website is: and the food is just as good (but extremely spicy–watch out!). These two places (Mamak and Home) ended up being our favorite restaurants of the whole trip.

    • Awesome!! thanks for the tip. We are always looking for great Asian restaurants. We go down to Sydney a lot so will definitely check this out. And being Thai too is always an easy sell for us. Glad you liked Mamak. I can’t stop thinking of those desert rotis

  3. Reading this has just completely ruined my lunch of mama noodles, looks delicious!

    • Mama noodles are the best!! Just close your eyes and pretend its something a little more exotic

  4. Just looking at those photo’s makes me hungry :) Looks delicious.

  5. Now that I’m in Sydney as well I CANNOT WAIT to try out some of these restaurants! Maybe I can even persuade you all to do the next travel meet-up at one?

    I love Asian food and all of these dishes look delicious! I’m glad that some good came out of your meal!

    • Would love to do a travel meet up at one of them. Sounds like a great idea. I’m happy that you are thinking of checking these out

  6. hello…i’m nurul from malaysia =) nice blog…

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