Lee’s Malaysian – Not the Best Laksa Near Wynyard

It had been almost 5 years since I had laksa at Lee’s Malaysian, despite going past it all the time in Sydney CBD. For those who haven’t been – it is right on the corner of George St and Hunter St right near Wynyard Station.

Lee's Malaysian Chicken Laksa
Lee’s Malaysian Chicken Laksa

If you read my old review, the basic story was that Lee’s made a good laksa, but definitely not great

So the big question was – have they gotten better since 2011?!

Lee's Malaysian Chicken Laksa close-up
The bowl of laksa I ate at Lee’s back in 2011…

Unfortunately for me (and my mate that I dragged past Chinese-Malay)…

 

I think the laksa has actually gotten a little bit worse.

I do love the fact that Lee’s have a dedicated laksa station and you can help yourself to fried shallots, coriander and sambal… But the base of the soup is just lacking.

There is no grit and the only colour and texture comes from the two spoons of sambal I added myself. If you go there you will see the soup looks a little bit sad and anaemic.

The taste is milky and didn’t seem to have much proper coconut milk richness or chilli flavour or shrimp.

C’mon!

Lee's Malaysian Chicken Laksa - mixed
Lee’s Malaysian Laksa – lacks the depth of a good laksa

So it isn’t a terrible laksa, but given how many awesome laksa options you have so close by there isn’t much reason to go to Lee’s.

If you are in the AREA and see Lee’s, I’d have to recommend going to Malay-Chinese Takeaway or CBD Noodles instead.

 

Current Ranking: See the FULL LIST to see where Lee’s Malaysian is ranked right now!

Last Eaten: March 2016

Price for Chicken Laksa: $9

Laksa varieties: Chicken / Prawn / Curry Beef / Veggie and Tofu / King Prawn / Seafood

Chilli: Mild

Find Lee’s Malaysian:

Ito’s Malaysian – Could it be the Best Laksa in Sydney?!

Ito’s Malaysian is actually run by the To’s – the laksa legends who were behind the original To’s in North Sydney. After retiring for a while, they came back and I’m pretty damn happy about it!

Ito's Chicken Laksa - the best laksa in Sydney
Ito’s Chicken Laksa – could it be the best laksa in Sydney?

The shop is located near Hyde Park in a small food court below the Starbucks. There are a couple of other restaurants down under street level, but with Ito’s there I haven’t really noticed who or what!

 

Ito's Malaysian Chicken Laksa
Ito’s Malaysian Chicken Laksa

The laksa here is spicy (could use a bit more chilli) and packed with flavour. Proper flavour and I think more ‘fresh’ herb flavour than Malay Chinese. The soup is on the thin side, but has some real grit to it… My only complaint is that the servings are a bit smaller than average!

Ito's Malaysian Laksa Bowl
Ito’s Malaysian Laksa – empty bowl after a job well done

Right now, I think this is one of the best laksas in Sydney.

If you haven’t tried their laksa yet, go there. Now.

Current Ranking: 2nd

Last Eaten: March 2016

Price for a Chicken Laksa: $10.50

Laksa Varieties: Chicken / Prawn / Seafood / Curry Beef / Tofu

Chilli: Medium

Find Ito’s Malaysian:

PappaRich Macquarie Centre – Good laksa in North Ryde

Today’s laksa is from PappaRich Macquarie Centre. For those who haven’t been to a PappaRich yet, they are a chain with locations in Chatswood, Broadway, Parramatta, Bankstown and in the ACT + Melbourne too. You can usually spot them by their weird choice of decor and the long-ass line out the door. They do pretty good Malaysian food but I’m still confused about why exactly they are so popular – and this goes for several of their stores not just Macquarie…

Maybe it is good marketing? The deep fried chicken skin? Or because they are oddly clean and spacious for an Asian restaurant!?

PappaRich Macquarie Centre - Chicken Laksa
PappaRich Macquarie Centre – Chicken Laksa

The PappaRich Curry Laksa comes out in a big bowl that is wider than normal, but not more shallow which makes it a bit difficult to finish without getting soup everywhere. They serve their chicken laksa with fishcake (good) but there are a few non-traditional additions:

 

  • Deep-fried eggplant chunks (bad). OK so the eggplant is actually nice but pretty gigantic chunks and quite plain tasting – so it takes away from the laksa. The photo below probably doesn’t reflect the size well as the bowl is so wide – but they gave me about 1/3 of a large eggplant
  • Deep-fried beancurd skin (good). I liked this and they still had a couple of tofu puffs of course
  • They also only serve it with hokkien noodles which I didn’t remember from my last visit
PappaRich Macquarie Centre - Big, Wide Bowl of Curry Chicken Laksa
PappaRich Macquarie Centre – Big, Wide Bowl of Curry Chicken Laksa

It has a bit of an orange glow but overall is on the mild – medium side when it comes to chilli. The sambal (of which I added a bunch) seems to be made on site, but is also not that spicy.

The soup is in the middle when it comes to consistency – not overly thin like some, but not creamy or as rich as others. The flavour is good, but definitely on the low side. In fact, that is the biggest problem with PappaRich’s laksa. It needs more flavour.

The grit and spice is just not there.

The fact that their soup is a bit lacking in flavour is not helped by the addition of eggplant, using only hokkien noodles or the fact their tofu puffs had not been cooked for long enough in the soup.

So it definitely isn’t bad, but it has a way to go. Since it is a pretty large chain I am sure they aren’t planning on changing their recipe any time soon. I do like it better than Sambal at the moment, so for anyone who works or lives around there, check out PappaRich and let me know what you think!

 

Current Ranking: Find out where PappaRich sits in the rankings here

Last Eaten: March 2016

Price for Chicken Laksa: $13.80

Laksa varieties: Curry Laksa – Chicken, Vegetable, Prawn + Assam Laksa

Chilli: Mild

Find PappaRich Macquarie Centre:

Malay-Chinese Takeaway – The Best Laksa in Sydney

OK so Malay-Chinese Takeaway on Hunter St is no secret to Sydney Laksa eaters. It is the defending champ and has been called “the best Laksa in Sydney” (or at the very least, one of the best) for years. The recipe hasn’t changed and either have the long lines if you go at lunch time during the week!

Mid week either early (before 12pm) or late (after 1:30 pm) tend to be a little bit better.

The Best Laksa in Sydney - Malay Chinese Takeaway
The Best Laksa in Sydney – Malay Chinese Takeaway

So what makes the malay-chinese takeaway laksa so good?!

 

The broth is super tasty and spicy – definitely makes you break a sweat and awkwardly choke on chilli flakes a few times each bowl. I like to judge a laksa by how ‘gritty’ it is – and the Malay Chinese Takeaway laksa is right up there…

It’s simple.

When there is grit – you know the soup is going to be tasty.

 

If you have had a laksa that tastes like plain coconut milk and chilli – you’ll know what I’m talking about! I bet the bowl is clean afterwards.

Malay-Chinese Takeaway is also one of the most consistent restaurants I have been to. It’s probably coming close to 20 years and the laksa is still basically exactly the same is always.

They never have off-days and have a reliable and stable team, so if one person was off sick, the laksa can still go on without them. That is pretty damn impressive…

Would it be better if it came standard with hokkien noodles in the mix? I think so – but it is still awesome and the one to beat.

If you haven’t been to Malay-Chinese Takeaway for their laksa – get down there and let me know what you think!

Malay-Chinese Takeaway - still making one of the best laksas in Sydney!
Malay-Chinese Takeaway – still making one of the best laksas in Sydney!

Current Ranking: 1st

Last Eaten: March 2016

Price for Chicken Laksa: $9.70

Laksa varieties: Chicken / Skinless Chicken / Drumstick Chicken / Prawn / King Prawn / Beancurd / Seafood / Chicken and Prawn

Chilli: Hot

Find Malay-Chinese Takeaway:

See the full list of all the currently ranked laksa in Sydney.

If you agree with me or don’t – let me know in the comments below!