When scouring Google Maps for restaurant recommendations, it may not cross your mind that authentic Malaysian food in Sydney’s Inner West could be possible. There’s Shanghainese in Ashfield, Italian in Leichhardt, Vietnamese in Marrickville … but one of the best wok-tossed plates of Char Kway Teow in Sydney? This might have not crossed your mind. But in the sleepier suburb of Petersham, Sharon Kwan Kitchen is a community go-to for Malaysian food around Sydney CBD. Garry, a Tastyfoodpixels foodie, introduces.
Genuine Malaysian Food in Sydney
Char Kway Teow is often the first test to see if a Malaysian restaurant meets a mark of quality. When I asked for a menu recommendation, Sharon Kwan, owner of the restaurant of her namesake, proudly committed that “My Char Kway Teow is very good”. With gusto, her staff promptly heated up their wok and after some flourishing tosses, out came a steaming plate of flat noodle goodness. As far as the description of wok hei goes, this Char Kway Teow definitely had the charred flavour which complemented the savoury jumble of noodles, seafood and Chinese sausage fantastically. The taste of the dish conveyed the years of experience Sharon spent imbuing authentic techniques into her cooking.
Being a former Malaysian citizen, Sharon Kwan cares deeply about serving food that is true to her country’s flavour. Her restaurant isn’t big, with only a few tables scattered around a space that is shared with delivery drivers coming in to collect the latest UberEats orders. Eating there, you get a sense for the bustling street-style meals that is often experienced in Malaysia. There is not a huge amount of effort placed in interior decoration and furniture either, with arrangements portraying an “It just works” idea.
Finding Malaysian Food around Sydney CBD
And it definitely works. Whatever effort Sharon Kwan Kitchen doesn’t place in interior decoration, they invest fully in cooking Malaysian food that pays homage to the dishes served in the original country. The community of Petersham, Lewisham and surrounds love the restaurant. Ayam Bakar is a particular favourite. If you’re a fan of meat, specifically chicken, you’ll love it for the sumptuous balance of juicy, tender chicken and crispy skin. Topped with sambal or nam jim dressing, this dish stakes a good claim to being the best flame-grilled chicken in Petersham, if not among the surrounding suburbs. If you’re a fan of Har Mee, Sharon cooks it so that the broth fully absorbs the full-bodied flavour of the prawns. Heart and soul-warming.
Sharon Kwan on the Importance of Social Media
For other recommendations, there is the flaky Indian Roti Canai which is dipped in fragrant curry sauce. The Nasi Goreng and Nasi Lemak present in many South-East Asian restaurants is available too. Generally, the techniques Sharon uses to cook her meat are delicious! For dessert, the sago pudding must be tried for its aromatic flavour and deep taste. Tapioca pearls are submerged in coconut milk and coconut sugar in a family-friendly sharing plate. It’s a great way to top off a savoury experience.
The best Char Kway Teow in Sydney?
Sharon Kwan Kitchen is situated on 726 Parramatta Road, right on a highway of speeding cars, buses and trucks. Logically, it doesn’t make sense that its traction amongst the local community would be so strong. Its neighbours are hardware shops, a completely unrelated industry to the restaurant scene. But dining inside the restaurant, I noticed two characteristics. One, Sharon’s unwavering determination to say hi to all her customers and to spend a few sentences asking how they were. And two, the conveyor-belt regularity of food delivery drivers collecting take-away Asian food for nearby customers. Both of these characteristics embody Sharon Kwan, and her kitchen’s, commitment to the genuine service of Malaysian food to Sydney’s Inner West.