DELICIOUS. It’s our one word review for Ho Jiak. Delicious deserves to be in all caps because we would shout it from the rooftops if we could. Choose to read on if you want, but really instead of saying it at the end, we’ll say it first up, visit Ho Jiak Town Hall and have yourself the most Malaysian experience you’ll get outside of Malaysia.
In light of the current life we’re living – Ho Jiak may be the best, and only option, to transport yourself away for a few hours outside of this beautiful country of ours and remember what it was like when we could just hop on a plane in search of the perfect rendang.
Hi Jiak, the famous-for-a-reason Malaysian in Haymarket, recently opened another location (just before Covid) in Town Hall. The flavours are still, like Haymarket, bustling and big. The new venue is nothing short of beautiful – a reflection of Penang and filled with the truest flavours found in Malaysian food.
The foundations of the menu are certainly traditional, there’s laksa, rendeng and roti – but there’s also some fun and fabulous new innovative twists on the classics.
For instance there’s the Laksa Bombs. These are dumplings filled with noodles, bean sprouts and served in a rich laksa sauce. With a good chilli bite, these are a speciality and a must try ($25).
The roti took 10 years to develop and it’s worth the time spent in R&D! The team have worked out how to create stuffed roti, stuffed full of your favourite fillings along with a dipping sauce. You could choose beef lasagne or cheese and spinach, we chose something a bit more traditional in the chicken curry. The roti is densely packed with chicken and dipped in the sauce it’s a new version of one of the finest exports from the peninsula. At $12 a serve it’s worth a serving each. We shared one and we sorely wish we didn’t.
Ho Jiak specialises in seafood, but we absolutely could not go past the rendeng. The thick, rich curry sauce maximises on the flavours and opulence of the slow cooked wagyu beef and creates a mutli-layered richness and density of flavour to deliver coconut and chilli dish to write home about. The serving is large and enough to share with four, if you select other dishes and try a bit of everything.
The prawn char kway teow ($33) is served with three very large prawns and is a serving size also made to share. The char on the noodles is divine and the flavours again have so much layering. A very authentic dish. It’s really our most favourite thing about the underrated Malaysian cuisine, so much complexity of flavour packed into what may be misdiagnosed as a simple noodle dish.
The belanchan kangkung are vegetables you’ll want to eat because they taste amazing not just because they are good for you. The wok fried morning glory with shrimp paste and chili ($25) are fresh and, again, rich in flavour.
The team at Ho Jiak are wonderfully helpful and also provide doggy bags that are biodegradable
Overall, we think it’s a must do as fast as you can.
125 York Street, Sydney
Hours: Monday – Sunday 11am – 9pm