1) Masak Masak, Collingwood:
Mixed Satay with Condiments -- $14
Otak Otak -- $9
(fish mousse, kaffir lime leaves, wrapped in banana leaf)
Charcoal grilled beef ribs, sambal oelek -- $19
Lemongrass lamb belly, green papaya salad -- $19
Kon low mee, prawn wontons (dried egg noodle) -- $8
I think my meal here was a mixture of both good and bad. The food, I must admit was very good. Flavours were true and bold, very much like what you would get back home. Delicious.
However, what I really had trouble coming to terms with that night was just the price and portion of the food I was getting. I thought that the friggin' Satay and Otak Otak was SOOOO expensive for such tiny portions, even in Melbourne. Also, I really didn't like how even with each main dish, it was honestly just a few bites of food and the whole dish was gone. Too small. I felt that even if we had ordered more mains, we would've ended up paying way more and still got nowhere near to being full.
Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely the type that's willing to spend on Food, only if I feel it's worth it. My biggest gripe is that I knew that I was paying for food that's more expensive than usual (for me and most people I know, at least) but still left feeling SO hungry!! This alone left a slightly sour taste in my mouth. I'm not a cheap skate, but it really is all about the Value for Money for me. And I do think that I'm quite objective as I do share my thoughts to the everyday person, from an everyday person's point of view. So, I do think that this is probably what most people on an everyday budget like me would feel.
Sad to say that despite the good food, it did come down to the overall feeling of the place. Paid above average price but still left feeling hungry? We ended up spending $18 here (but I was nowhere near to being full). Take this in comparison to my $17 meal at Chang Go where I had an amazing array of food and was full to the brim. No prizes for guessing which one I'll pick any day.
P.s. I must say that I preferred the Otak Otak I made (as seen on this Instagram photo I posted). The one here had flavour but if you make it from scratch like I did, you'll definitely have more. Also, the texture was quite funny as it was almost like fish cake and pounded too much probably. Not the soft, moist texture you'd expect in most Otak Otaks. Will share a recipe soon.
I did like the food, don't get me wrong. But I don't know if I'll be back.
If you like, you can also check out my buddy Bryan's post on Masak Masak: here
2) PappaRich, Chadstone:
Deep Fried Chicken Skin -- $5.90
The chicken skin was not crispy and in fact was quite chewy and had LOTS of hair that day. Erm.......
Ipoh Hor Fun -- $11.50
(Ipoh koay teow soup with chicken and prawns)
One of my favourite and most comforting Malaysian dishes to eat, by far. However, I didn't really enjoy the one here. First, my noodles were lukewarm and had a thick layer of fats that had cooled down to form a disgusting film as you can see. Erm... Also, I found the broth lacked flavour and the amount of ingredients incredibly little and almost pathetic.
There you go, my first visit to PappaRich.
Although the weird thing about PappaRich is that despite the very average food, you can bet that there's a perpetual line of people waiting to get a table every day that they're open. And you will probably see me joining in the queue sometime in the future too.
Why? PappaRich thrives in Australia by offering a wide selection of food at an average price at the most strategic of locations. They tug on the heartstrings of people (or suckers) like me who misses the taste of home and get so excited by flipping through endless selections of their flashy and perfectly picture menu items that remind us of Malaysia.
And I have a feeling that they know that they're not pumping out the best quality and authentic Malaysian food, but who cares? It really is reminiscent to the shopping mall food chains in KL that serves very average food, but still have incredible business nonetheless (being in Chadstone and all). Just the 64% Urbanspoon rating shows that most of Melbourne would agree.
Most people like me don't get disappointed because we go with a very medium-low expectation of the place anyway. To sum up: It's not the best, but it's good enough.
Also, do check out the ever lovely I-Hua's blog post of PappaRich too in the link: here