|Juicy, tasty and uplifting - the roast chicken from Sedap.|
For many in mainstream Australian society, the sight of white looking steamed chicken with skin on may not be priority, unless the potential consumers have been familiar to Singapore and recognised this significant dish so commonly available in many of the island nation's food courts. This same dish is given a twist, served with an attractive looking and actually yummy roast chicken - your choice of breast or leg - at the level 4 food court at the Westfield in Chatswood, 20 minutes by car north of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Just the chicken itself is worth visiting Sedap, which gets busy at meal times and opens late till evening on both weekends and weekdays. The roast chicken has oomph, a good bite on the palate and at the same time is moist enough below the skin. KFC better watch out! KFC is only a shopfront away, with the nearby pet shop and Virgin Australia phone shops as triggers if you are looking for where Sedap is located.
|Kopitiam or coffee shop selections from Sedap.|
The decor at Sedap is colonial Penang, with shutter windows and white facades. The kitchen is not transparent to the public though, with freshly cooked food coming out of a small outlet. The nearby Lang Suan Thai cafe is also owned by the same people who run Sedap, but the Thai place is made out with a street side stall atmosphere, replete with zinc roofs, a rustic feel and more brown in colour impact. Penang food traditions, especially with its Peranakan or Straits Chinese or Straits Indian heritage, can be a fusion and this is evident in Sedap - for example, dry served Cantonese inspired noodles are also made available with chicken curry, the same ones usually eaten in a nasi lemak combo. There is a drink of three layers in tea, with the green bits of cendol as the main anchor. 'Sedap" simply means tasty. Malaysia is currently the source of immigrants in the top ten list by country of origin to Australia ( at Number 8) and it can be no surprise to know that more than a few Malaysian food outlets have sprouted up in the past two years in Sydney.
|The pork laden deep fried roll - lobak - an institution of Penang street food.|
The ais kacang is said to be small for the asking price and the har mee may have more than a few finding the soup too sweet instead of just prawn perfect. Most of the customers on the Sunday I tried Sedap with Joyce and Andre and their children were Malaysian immigrants of Chinese origin. A mother and daughter speaking in Fujian ordered the chee cheong fun, more of a Hong Kong Cantonese domain, but in Penang this is served with some startling good sauces instead of just thin slices of char siew. Apart from the outstanding chicken roast, I would highly recommend the tender and moistly grilled pork satay - a combination that would have made a great day in Sedap. There are a variety of other deep fried stuff sitting beside the lobak I saw, more like snack happy crispy bite food on the go, more suitable if you do not want anything heavier and prefer to eat whilst walking along. Sauces are charged by Sedap, but the chili sauce is worth trying.
|Holding the kong kong, or the enamel coated mug, akin to the Aussie swagger's billy drink holder. Photo credit to AM.|
There are a few more dishes I aim for on my further visits to Sedap - another Penang iconic dish, the char koay teow, the mamak styled roti canai and the Kuala Lumpur signature Chinese street food - wanton mee, or soy-sauced mixed egg noodles served with veg, pork char siew cuts and steamed dumplings. Sedap projects itself as a Penang food specialist - and expectations are high, with most Penangites, past and present, being very critical of the quality of their home island's hawker food, having been blessed with a variety of terrific street food. Those city dwellers who cannot bring themselves to Chatswood can now savour the same menu choices from Sedap and its sister operation Lang Suan in the CBD below ANZ Tower at 161 Castlereagh Street, as well as at Regent Place at the corner of George and Bathurst Streets in Sydney CBD.