Dining Out: Petaling Street, Hawthorn

by April@MyFoodTrail on October 18, 2009

in Dining Out, Hawthorn, Malaysian

Petaling Street
704a Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn VIC
(03) 9818 0428

Cuisine: Malaysian
BYO: Not yet
Prices: Entrées $3-$9.80, main dishes $13.80-$16.80, noodles $8.90-$10.90, rice dishes $8.90-$10.90
Parking: Along Glenferrie Road, large car park behind restaurant

A few weeks ago, I noticed a new Malaysian restaurant on Glenferrie Road in Hawthorn, between Burwood and Barkers Road. The real Petaling Street is the home of Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is infamous for market stalls selling pirated (fakes) clothes, accessories, DVDs and CDs, but the area also has a lot of restaurants and food stalls. At Hawthorn’s Petaling Street, there are no pirated goods, but there is a long list of Malaysian favourites on the menu.

Hubby and I have actually been here twice and I am combining the two visits into this one post. The first visit, we bought a bottle of wine, and even though the writing on the door states BYO, the waitress informed us that they haven’t got their licence yet so we weren’t allowed to open the bottle. The second visit was only two weeks later so we didn’t bother bringing any wine with us.

There is a good selection of individual rice and noodle dishes as well as mains for you to share. We were drawn to the individual dishes both times and got a couple of entrées to share. They always seem to be out of their entrées though – the first visit they had sold out of (or didn’t have) the squid, the lor bak, curry puffs or roti chanai. The second visit they were out of the lor bak and the curry puffs!

On the first visit, we only tried one entrée – the roti chicken roll. It is basically satay chicken, cucumber and tomato with a satay sauce, wrapped up in a roti to resemble a roll. Sounds like a delicious concept, but this roti chicken was just way too oily. The chicken tasted deep fried and I wouldn’t be surprised if the roti itself was deep fried too. We both felt really queasy after eating this from the oil overload.

Roti chicken roll $9.80

Inside the roti chicken roll

The second visit we got two entrées. The first was the deep fried honey squid. I liked the sweetness of the batter but it didn’t go well with the squid. The batter would have tasted better with chicken. The squid was relatively tender, but it was overshadowed by the thick batter and again the dish was swimming in oil.

Honey deep fried squid $6

The second entrée was the roti chanai. I was pleased to see a substantial amount of sauce for dipping, but the curry sauce was pretty ordinary. The roti was lacking the crisp outer so it was more like a pancake.

Roti chanai with curry sauce $5

Over the two visits, we tried 4 different noodle dishes (all requested without bean shoots!). The first dish we ordered was the char kuay teow. Hubby and I both looked at each other and went “Whoa!” when the noodles were placed in front of us – it was HUGE! The noodles had a nice smoky flavour and was very tasty. The huge serving was mostly noodles, but there was also a couple of prawns, some fish cake, chinese sausage and clams. These noodles would have been nice but again, too oily, which ruined the otherwise tasty dish.

Fried koay teow – Malaysia hawker type rice noodles with seafood & bean shoots $8.90

The next dish was the mamak mee goreng. Another huge serving, but mostly made up of noodles and also having a couple of prawns, some fishcake, bits of chicken and tomato. These noodles however, were quite bland – like a number of ingredients were left out of the sauce. We only finished about a third of the dish, partly because we were full from the other food, and partly because we didn’t like it. We didn’t even bother to take the remainder away like we usually would. For a laugh, I used some of the remaining noodles to spell out what I thought of it, but of course didn’t leave it there for the waiters to find! Let’s just say it what I wrote rhymes with ducks.

Mamak mee goreng – Malaysia hawker type spicy egg noodles with seafood, chicken, bean curd & bean shoots $8.90

The combination rice noodles (hor fun) we ordered gave us a bit of hope for the place. Big serve again, but there was more than enough sauce to mix through the noodles. There is nothing worse than not enough sauce for these noodles! We didn’t mind this dish, a bit on the bland side, but at least it wasn’t oily!

Combination hor fun – Malaysia hawker type rice noodles with seafood, chicken & vegetables $8.90

The last noodle dish was the tom yum vermicelli. Tom yum is usually saved for noodle soups, so I was interested to see what this was like. The tom yum flavour was very potent, you could smell it from a mile away, but I actually liked it. The noodles weren’t oily but there were clumps of tom yum paste which wasn’t mixed through the noodles properly. I might return for this dish if I had a tom yum craving.

Tom yum fried noodle – Thai fried vermicelli with prawn, chicken & bean shoots $8.90

Overall: I held high expectations for this restaurant as I love Malaysian food and it is in my local area. Perhaps that’s why I gave it the benefit of the doubt and came back again even though the food wasn’t that good the first time. I normally don’t return to a restaurant if I didn’t think the food was good – I don’t want to waste my precious calories eating bad food! The second visit wasn’t really enough to make me return for a third visit. The prices are good and the serving sizes generous, but their motto seems to be quantity over quality and the food being too oily is a common theme.

The best dish was the tom yum vermicelli and the worst dish was the mamak mee goreng.

Would I return? No, unless I am feeling really lazy and after a quick takeaway dinner close to home and craving Malaysian.

Over & Out, Rilsta xx

Petaling Street on Urbanspoon

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Simon Leong October 18, 2009 at 10:52 pm

that's interesting to see they put clams in the char kway teow. i've yet to find a place in Sydney which adds them to try and match the authentic blood cockles in Malaysia. i'm tempted to check this place out when i visit Melbourne next.


Conor @ HoldtheBeef October 19, 2009 at 1:54 am

I can see your reflection! 😀

I hate an oil overload, it ruins all the goodness a dish otherwise has to offer. Plus it keeps reminding you of its unpleasantness by leaving your mouth all oiled up for ages, and makes my tummy unhappy. Hmph.


Anonymous October 19, 2009 at 9:16 am

Went there last night and was VERY dissapointed…made a wrong food choice and the pork soup was funny tasting. the squid we had too and it was overly oily. we had spring rolls that actually were a little burnt. My friends singapore noodles came on a dirty oil smeared plate and we sent it back. This place was packed but I am very very dissapointed. the food was average and i wont be going back.


Iron Chef Shellie October 20, 2009 at 9:12 pm

well they look good!
I just found a great Malaysian place near my house!

Ahhh…. how I love Petaling St in Malaysia!


Ellie October 21, 2009 at 2:17 pm

I love the name of this place: Petaling Street. So nostalgic!


Rilsta October 22, 2009 at 10:09 am

Hi Simon: I know what you mean – this is the only place in Melbourne that I have seen using clams/cockles. Are they the same thing? Though there was hardly any in the dish!

Hi Conor: LOL!!! At first I thought you meant you could see my reflection because of all the oil, then I realised it was in the window!!

Hi Anonymous: Pity about your bad experience! I think it is packed because it is still new and the prices are cheap. I still hold out hope it might get better!!

Hi Iron Chef Shellie: Ooh, you'll have to let me know where so I can take my parents there!

Hi Ellie: Yes, it's such a famous street!


Anonymous November 2, 2009 at 8:09 am

Hi Rilsta,

I am afraid I disagreed… I think you have too high of expectations for cheap eats! I have been there a few times and was very happy with their dishes for the price I paid for, I think it's personal preference that you felt the dishes were oily as I was fine with them. Growing up in a Kopi Tiam with lots of hawker food stalls in it, I was quite pleased to taste something so close to home in Melbourne!


Rilsta November 2, 2009 at 10:04 am

Hi Anonymous: There is no denying they are cheap and have large portion sizes and try to make the dishes authentic! Perhaps the day I went the chef was overzealous with the oil! Glad to know you enjoyed it though!


PS Fan! November 2, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Hi Rilsta,

I went to this restaurant a few times, I have to say my experiences were rather significantly different from yours.

I have been a Chef for the last ten years and originally from Malaysia, I was very impressed with their hawker food especially the Fried Koay Teow, where it has the wok smell which is something I dearly missed! I was also very surprised to find clams in the dish, I have been looking for a good place to eat Fried Koay Teow, Mee Goreng, Nasi Lemak and Hainanese chicken rice in Melbourne for awhile but none did it for me until I found Petaling Street in Hawthorn!

I supposed from my experience, some dishes are inevitably made oily to add texture to the dish. Perhaps you can order something else healthier in future for your personal choices??


Rilsta November 5, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Hi PS Fan: Thanks for your comment. I did mention that the fried koay teow did have the smoky flavour which many places don't achieve as well as the clams. While their servings are large, the actual ingredients besides the noodles are quite little.

If you read my previous posts, I am not one to choose "healthy" options, but while this is the case, I don't like my food to be covered in oil. Noodles are oily by nature because they are fried, but I found Petaling Streets version overly oily that's all.

It wasn't just their noodles, it was also the squid and the roti chicken roll.


Agnes November 12, 2009 at 7:06 pm

Char kway teow is one of my favourite things to eat, but too much oil can definitely ruin it.

You can get clams in the char kway teow at Old Town Kopitiam in the city, but you have to pay $2 extra. I thought it was pretty good though – not too oily and there were cubes of pork fat (nicer than it sounds?!).


Rilsta November 13, 2009 at 10:04 am

Hi Agnes: Mmmmm… cubes of fried pork fat! I reckon it might sound gross to those who have never tried it in a hawker dish, but it makes the dish taste so much better!

Thanks for the tip about Old Town Kopitiam!


avlxyz November 15, 2009 at 5:17 pm

nice review!
Not the best Malaysian hawker food, is it? Ok ok lah.
Petalaing Street photos from my recent visit

Noodle n Wraps in Syndal used to do the best Char Kuay Teow that was smoky and tasty, and with blood cockles ("see hum") and pork fat! The chef made Penang Coffee House in Hawthorn famous and decided to start Noodle n Wraps. Now, i think he sold the business… boo.

Old Town Kopitiam CKT was ok too, but not great.

If u can be bothered, the CKT at Jade Kingdom in Heidelberg is worth the trek. Lots of other very typically KL-style dishes 🙂


Rilsta November 16, 2009 at 11:01 am

Hi avlxyz: Thanks for your comments and your suggestions! Great photos! Will have to make my way to Heidelberg!


Anonymous April 29, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Rasa Malaya on Blackburn Rd, Doncaster East has pretty good CKT with 'see hum'.


teccoman May 26, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I think we forget the location of this restaurant being in the Swinburne University's precinct and targeting primarily the many, many students and staff of the University who, not unlike myself, only needs to walk a short distance for what I consider as reasonably authentic "old style" dishes from my former hometown of KL.

I've made it a personal mission to try as many of their dishes as I can possibly put away without bursting my trousers at the waist or seams!!



April @ My Food Trail May 28, 2010 at 9:57 am

Hi Anonymous: Thanks for the suggestion of Rasa Malaya. Have put it on my list of places to visit!

Hi John: That's true. I guess their target market would be the students of Swinburne.


Anonymous July 4, 2011 at 10:38 pm

I tried Petaling Street Melbourne. More and more disappointed when I thought this would be an ok place. Ordered hainanese chicken rice again as I thought it was ok the first time and my fave food. The food came, to my astonishment, I could see there was a thick layer of dust on the plate, looked like it gathered dust for years. Wiped the plate with serviette, it was all black and dusty. Complained and sent the food back but the waitress didn't think there was anything wrong or apologize. The place was so crowded and cramped with bad table layouts and had to share table with strangers. Not expecting good service from this place anyway. Will not visit again as it makes me wonder how clean the things are. The food is not consistent too. It is way overcooked. I don't understand why few of my friends like this place.


April @ My Food Trail July 6, 2011 at 10:05 am

Anonymous: That doesn't sound like a good experience for you.


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