Albee's, Kingsford NSW
The wide variety of choices in Chinese Malaysian and Straits Chinese street food and cuisine, first consumed in Campsie, is also now available in Albee's sister branch in the university precinct of Kingsford in greater Sydney. This signifies a widening of options in the Malaysian food scene in Sydney. Previously options were confined to the north-west and there was much lament when compared to what Melbournians had. In the past several months, the variety was made more available in Sydney CBD and now in southern suburbs. When is commercial Malaysian food coming to Wollongong and the Central Coast - that can be a brave question.
Such cuisine can be construed around a five part meal, although any resident in and visitor to Malaysia knows that people there eat anytime around the clock. With Albee's, I can have an entree of chunky vegetarian curry puff (with both potato and sweet potato mush inside and that distinctive one half of a hard boiled egg). Another good starter is the good old reliable satay skewers with an uplifting peanut-based spicy and chili infused sauce. Then I sip my teh tarik whilst going into my mains - usually a clay pot of hot and aromatic noodles, Hainan chicken drumstick rice or a more exotic dish like fish head curry ala south Indian style. Then it is time for some sweetening, and Straits Chinese fare (refer to picture above) are never regrettable. The only common thing about Chinese Malaysian desserts is its extensive use of coconut milk in the various petite creations. I highly recommend the talam cake with its smooth white top and green underbelly. To top it all and then stagger from a Chinese Malaysian meal, wind up with ais kacang - laden with syrupy garnish and mixed with hidden bits of black jelly, cream corn and sago palm fruit. At this juncture, I am thankful that Asian meals are usually communal based and meant to be shared with your fellow diners at the same table - so anyone does not have to eat it all and can sample more food for better variety.
My visit to Albee's in Kingsford for the first time gave me an opportunity to try their curry laksa. Any decent so-called Malaysian street food outlet has this iconic dish - perhaps popularised by the Malay-Chinese chain around Sydney CBD in the nineties, then with 20 cent paper bibs and all to ensure no staining of your corporate tie and suit. I reckon this dish is a good measure of your evaluation of such joints on debut try outs, whether from Jackie's in Concord to Sambal in North Ryde to Temasek's in Parramatta. The all important soup in a laksa should not be over rich with coconut cream but allow the other spices and ingredients to seep through and above any chili effect. The next critical test comes with the texture, freshness and variety of the ingredients accompanying the noodles. Diners should also be given options in what type of noodles and not just given the often standard mix of vermicelli and Hokkien yellow noodles. Personally I prefer Cantonese-fashioned egg noodles to go with my laksa. Any al dente effect of the noodles you get on your bite from your served bowl is a bonus.
On this same visit, I encountered ice cold teh tarik, or latte tea with that cinnamon twist. I took it as an ethnic milkshake, one that was both gratifying on the taste and also went well with the food at Albee's.
Service, as with the Campsie cafe, was quick and friendly. The overflowing number of menu items are also plastered on the surrounding walls but the read hand held menu has been modernised in graphics and presentation. This venue is a welcome place for a family or a group. We did not feel people impinging on each other's space and Anzac Parade outside the door looked safe and suburban.
Albee's in Kingsford is accessible by easy bus routes from Sydney CBD. Parking of your car is also more relaxed when compared to some inner city suburbs. Why just go for yum cha meals on a lazy weekend arvo? Try this Chinese Malaysian option when you can.