Sambal Malaysia

74 Victoria St
Carlton, VIC 3053
03 9663 9993

Sambal Malaysia
As you all know, this year’s focus for my Melbourne food-journey appears to be leaning towards hawker food. I have already checked out Jalan Alor in Chinatown and was quite happy with that visit. Now let’s try out another place that also sounds promising.
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I’ve forgotten how I heard about Sambal Malaysia. Someone told me about it maybe, but I can’t remember who and what’s good there. This place looks quite nondescript and it lies smack along a main road at the city’s edge. I idly wondered how people actually come to know about this place. Goodness knows how I heard about it too!
Sambal Malaysia
It wasn’t that busy at 6.30pm on a weekday evening. Most patrons seem to visit this place for take-away. I think it’s mainly a University student crowd, plus their Asian parents. :) I got excited with the menu, it had a nice long list of classic hawker fare from Singapore and Malaysia. I kept gushing enthusiastically a number of times and got a few looks from the only other 2 diners at the eatery (pictured above).
Sambal Malaysia
Teh Tarik (Malay: pulled tea) just somehow goes well with hawker meals. The drink is described so because of the way it is made. It is basically hot milk tea repeatedly poured between two tin mugs from a height until the mixture froths up. The teh tarik here tasted a little diluted, so it didn’t hit the spot.
Sambal Malaysia
Sambal Malaysia

 Char Kuey Teow $8.80
Authentic Chinese stir fried flat rice noodles with chicken, prawn, fish cake and vegetables in dark soy sauce.
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Char kuey teow is a notoriously difficult dish to cook. The ingredients are so simple so what makes or breaks the dish all depends on how it is fried by the hawker. Sadly, this plate of char kuey teow did not quite hit the mark. There was only a slight wok hei (charred taste) in the noodles, it wasn’t spicy enough for me, and I wished there was more sweetness in the overall dish. I found big-ish pieces of chicken meat in the dish and thought it’d be much more appetising if they were cut into smaller pieces.
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I was idly wishing I’d find some cockles in the CKT, but to be realistic, I shouldn’t expect that from Melbourne eateries. Has anyone eaten a plate of CKT in Australia that also has cockles in it? Please please tell me where from if you did!
Sambal Malaysia
I asked for sambal chilli sauce. I thought since this place is called “Sambal Malaysia”, the sambal should be good. Unfortunately, the chilli sauce I got was very salty and did not really taste like something I would mix into my CKT. Sigh…
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On the bright side, I found zhu yao char (deep fried lard) pieces in the CKT. It did lift the flavour of the dish a little bit.
Sambal Malaysia
Deep fried pork lard, mmm…
Sambal Malaysia
Sambal Malaysia

Prawn Mee Soup $9.80
Spicy prawn broth noodles with prawn, chicken, boiled egg and green veg

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As you can see, my standards for Malaysian and Singaporean food is very high. Please take that into account when you read my observations about hawker dishes in general.
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What’s really important in a good bowl of hae mee is the stock. Oddly, the broth here tasted quite prawny but was also watery. It was spicy but not rich. I once again found big pieces of chicken meat in here, which I just don’t find appetising. In soups, I’d prefer if the chicken was cooked separately, and then shredded into strips and sprinkled into the soup.
Sambal Malaysia
Lately, I’ve been thinking that food posts should be written only after two visits. Lots of places have a number of stand-out items on their menu so it could be a little unfair just making a decision about a place from two dishes or one visit. This might be a difficult objective to achieve for expensive restaurants. But when it comes to cheaper Malaysian food joints, there’s no reason why you can’t just try the place out again and give it another chance. So that’s my new approach. I returned to Sambal Malaysia a few weeks later.
Sambal Malaysia

Picture taken by Haophotos

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The day that I wrote up this post was also the day I returned Mister Wu, my foster puppy. This little sweetie has really grown-up. Two weeks before, he’d scream and whine whenever I left the room. In our modern life these days, pets generally need to cope with the 9-5 work routine of the average owner. A puppy that screams every time it’s left alone will quickly be given up to the shelter.
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So I took the firm and resolute route and encouraged Mister Wu to develop some independence. It was quite stressful, but my efforts did pay off. By day 8, I could leave him alone in his play pen without anymore whining. When I returned him to the shelter, I placed him in his kennel and surrounded him with his toys. He licked my nose when I kissed him goodbye, he cocked his head patiently and watched curiously as I left the room, a little teary-eyed.
Sambal Malaysia

Picture taken by Haophotos

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… I trust that he will be a better behaved puppy now in his new home. And I have faith that his new home will be a good one.
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I had no mood to cook dinner after dropping him off. So I decided to pick up takeaway Nasi Lemak from Sambal Malaysia. This counts as a second visit, doesn’t it? : )

Sambal Malaysia
Nasi Lemak Pack $5
Coconut rice pack with stir fried sambal, crispy anchovies, boiled egg, peanut, hot chilli and cucumber
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I brought the packet home and ate it on my balcony with a bottle of beer. Ha ha, that’s how I unwind from a hectic day at work. I like how this nasi lemak came in a small and tidy packet. Read my Melaka post on nasi lemak to see how I prefer these small versions of the rice dish over a big whopping plate of it.
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Also, nasi lemak is one dish that I don’t really mind eating cold. To me, it’s a ‘travelling food’. It’s a dish that is portable, you eat it as you travel. On some random picnic table along a highway, or while waiting for the bus that could take you far away, or during a solemn train ride…
Sambal Malaysia
Sambal Malaysia
The nasi lemak was quite authentic. I liked it. The rice tasted just how I like it, slightly salty and faintly coconutty without being overly rich. The ikan bilis (anchovies) were crispy indeed, and the eggs weren’t overboiled. The sambal was on the sweet side, but it tasted good. Pay a couple of bucks more to get a piece of fried chicken or fish along with this pack and everything’s peachy. So the nasi lemak here is good!
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Sambal Malaysia