Malaysian Noodles @ Food Alley food hall, CBD, Auckland

As much as we try to jazz it up, Malaysian food is renowned for having glorious fast food (or, as we call it, hawker food). In Malaysia, these are located in large hawker centres, where you get a bewildering number of stalls specialising one particular dish,  the recipe having been honed and perfected over many years. In NZ, we tend to find Malaysian food in food halls, where the proprietors have to re-create a large number of Malaysian dishes across various ethnicities.

Food Alley (9 Albert Street) has been around as far back as I can remember. There used to be a lone Malaysian eatery, Malaysian Noodles, but there is now a second level with a second Malaysian kitchen (Kampung Delights).

I was here to sample the offerings at Malaysian Noodles. The proprietor recommended the laksa, and I was surprised to hear his accent. I queried, and was told that he and his family are from Bangkok, and purchased the eatery 10 or 12 years ago. He had never even stepped foot in Malaysia. I was suitably intrigued, would Malaysian food cooked by someone who wasn’t Malaysian or had visited the country be authentic?

The verdict? Yes, it passed muster. And admirably so.

There were about 30 dishes (and variations) to choose from, costing between $9 – $12. It took a while to make our decision, and we were pleased with what we ended up with.

The char kuey tiaw with chicken, prawn and squid ($10) had the requisite smokey flavour, with the right amount of kicap manis (sweet soy sauce). It was not oily, and the two prawns, although somewhat dry, had their shells mostly removed (what a great idea!). I would have liked more egg and beansprouts, and the use of chives rather than spring onion, but that would be quibbling.

The chicken curry nasi lemak ($10) came on a large platter. It consisted of creamy coconut rice with a generous blanket of curry gravy, a large serving of the chicken curry, achar (vegetable pickles), crunchy roasted peanuts and deep-fried ikan bilis (anchovies), half a boiled egg and some julienned cabbage and carrots (the last part is a Kiwi addition). Malaysians will note the lack of sambal bilis, though the nasi lemak was very tasty and is enough to share.

Malaysian Noodles doesn’t serve desserts or drinks, – these have to be purchased from the drinks counter. We ordered teh tarik ($3.50), and when they arrived, wished we hadn’t. These tasted like frothy chai lattes.

If you are in the CBD, Malaysian Noodles is a good, cheap, tasty option.

easyfoodhacks dined courtesy of Malaysia Kitchen Programme.

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