Saturday, March 31, 2012

Temasek, Parramatta

I truly think that we here in Sydney are spoiled for choice when it comes to international cuisine. Case in point: I dined at Temasek in Parramatta a few weeks ago, and had what I felt was an authentic Singaporean/Malaysian meal...after driving for a mere 20 minutes from my place!

The restaurant was recommended to us by a family friend whose daughter seriously loves the Hainanese chicken rice there. We've heard recounts of the wee lass demanding to eat chicken rice and nothing. else. will. do! *insert girlish tween tantrum*. Because I was dining out with a large group, we decided to order half a chicken on its own with a steamer of chicken rice separately, rather than a single serve of the dish.

Hainanese chicken

  Chicken rice

The chicken was served cold, which I didn't mind. It wasn't as meltingly tender as some of the best renditions of the dish that I've tried, but still good. The chicken rice was a bit bland, not really having much of a chicken flavour. When I make chicken rice at home, I fry the uncooked rice in butter before putting it into the rice cooker with a few cups of chicken broth (from cooking the Hainanese chicken). When I open the rice cooker, the aroma is absolutely indescribable (as is the pain of having one's face scalded by chicken-scented steam, but let's not go into that). Anyway, sorry for bragging xD Next up - the beef rendang.

Beef rendang

 In spite of the crimson pool of oil floating on top, the beef rendang was only mildly spicy. The beef was fall-apart tender. I particularly enjoyed the odd bits of tendon and fat that added flavour and texture. The curry broth/sauce was aromatic with coconut and spices. One of my favourite dishes of the night. I mopped up the curry with bits of roti:


Ah, the roti! I could only imagine the amount of fat that went into the dough to make it so deliciously flaky. That knowledge wasn't enough to stop me from shoving piece after piece of beef rendang-soaked roti into my pie-hole. Look at them, stacked atop one another so innocently. I would have quite happily made my way through the whole plate, if it wasn't for the dishes that were yet to arrive.

The satay pork probably wasn't the most photogenic dish of the night, but boy did it taste good. It also provided an alternative for dipping my roti in :)

Mee goreng

Temasek's mee goreng is rave-worthy. I've never been a fan of noodles or pasta, but the sweet soy sauce, the juicy pieces of prawn and tomato, and the 'bite' from the egg noodles transformed this into something far better than a plate of insulin-spiking refined carbohydrate for me. 

Same with the char kway teow! Not being familiar with the concept or taste of the 'wok hei' (the smoky flavour that gets imparted to the dish by the intense heat over which the noodles are stir-fried), one of my dining companions commented on the "slightly burnt" flavour. It didn't taste burnt to me :D Rather, there was indeed a nice, smoky aroma to the dish.

The satay chicken skewers came with a peanut sauce that I mopped up with my second round of roti.

The lemongrass king prawns were succulent, and nicely crisped on the outside. I thought the serve was a bit small, though.

 Ah, the piece de resistance! The Singaporean Chilli Crab arrived last, in all its scarlet-hued glory. I admit to being a bit scared by the size, and wondered if we could even make a dent in it after stuffing ourselves on all the other dishes. We did end up taking a lot of this away with us, as well as leftovers of the other dishes. The crab meat itself was sweet and tender. I wasn't too crazy about the tomato sauce it was drenched in. 

We were definitely too full for dessert, but the next time I go to Temasek (and, mark my words, I will be back!) I'll make it a point to order the ice kacang!


The Roxy Arcade
71 George St
Parramatta NSW 2150

Phone: (02) 9633 9926

Temasek on Urbanspoon