12 Synnot St
Werribee, VIC 3030
03 9731 7877
Fakegf and I received a Facebook message from Lauren one Friday morning, saying that she’d discovered an (OMG!!!) Malaysian Hawker Centre in Werribee and if we’d like to join Dan and herself for dinner there. My eyes lit up like fireworks from that one sentence, I threw out all notions of having a quiet Friday night at home with a mug of hot chocolate, and we all made the trip down to Werribee (with partners in tow) that very night.
And what a hilariously crazy night we picked to visit too, right in the heart of winter on a cold and incredibly blustery windswept day. MiHUB is short for The Migrant Hub and it’s a community initiative helping new migrants settle into Australia. The location varies, but it seemed to have settled nicely into the courtyard of this Werribee brick house which also serves as The Migrant Hub’s HQ. I also hear that the food landscape changes over time, but for the past year it has been Malaysian food.
Otak Otak | Martabak
I must say between the seven of us, we just about ordered food from each and every stall that night (except for Ramly Burgers). It was such a feast, not to mention all the dishes stayed in the range of a very affordable $8. Here, we enjoyed otak otak (barbecued spiced fish chiffon wrapped in banana leaf), martabak (roti stuffed with onion and spiced meats) and popcorn chicken.
Curry Laksa | Chicken Satay
It was very funny in that once the food comes, by the time we were done with passing the dish around the table for photos to be snapped, it had already gone cold! Totally our fault, but that’s all in the spirit of being together as food bloggers united (and their poor disgruntled partners), and us having fun tasting a little bit of each and everything!
We even had cups of teh tarik (traditional Malaysian pulled tea) with our meal, which also went lukewarm pretty quickly. But was still a very welcome warm element to our very frozen bodies, I’d worn three thick thick layers, but my poor poor fingers..!! Can’t believe that guy serving us is wearing a T-shirt!
Roti Jala | Mee Rebus
These two were some of my favourite dishes that night. Interesting that I’ve not encountered roti jala (net bread) before, but I loved how stretchy the (soft and pliable) yellow roti was, and the tangy spiced curry it came with was just delightful. The mee rebus also went very well in the brisk weather, it’s thick egg noodles in a sweetish, peanutty spiced gravy.
Char Kway Teow
And of course we couldn’t dine here without serves of fried kway teow. It’s the saltier Malaysian-style, while the Singaporean version that I grew up eating is usually sweeter with chinese sausage and see hum (blood cockles).
Our final dish (another favourite) was lontong, a light Malaysian vegetable curry with eggs, tofu and steamed rice cakes. So good and comforting in this outdoor Wintry cold.
And here’s the beautiful aftermath of our table of feasting.
We ended with shared serves of various Malaysian kueh (cakes) for dessert. While nice, I think it would’ve been much nicer if we took these kuih home and steamed them or warmed them up before eating. This little dessert smorgasbord has given me the itch to attempt kueh sarlat (that green two layered glutinous rice pandan kueh).
Despite the freezing cold, this has been a very comical and fun expedition for most of us. We were soooo rugged up that we looked like human ketupats (palm leaf wrapped rice cakes). The tentages were pinned down by big drums of water, but there were moments we thought the whole tent sheltering us was going to fly off into the night sky as a huge gust of wind blew at us sending some of the emptied plates flying! What an adventure!
I also should mention that there’s a general feeling of goodwill when dining here, because you’re supporting Melbourne’s migrant community. I didn’t come here expecting a hawker centre experience the way Lauren described it, but the outdoor ambience and casual setting really does feel like a place that one could go to (on a warmer, less blustery night) and have satay and teh tariks whilst chatting the night away with your friends… just like the way we’d do it back in Singapore. And for that alone, I really like this place.
You can also read Lauren’s recount of that blast of an evening here.