Malaysian cuisine is a multicultural melange of influences from Thailand, China, Indonesia and India. If you’re not already acquainted with Malay food, the PappaRich chain are a great place to start your journey. Their latest (and Australia's twentieth) venture is located in Bankstown’s newest shopping and food precinct, Little Saigon Plaza.
Also housing an office of Settlement Services International who support asylum seekers and refugees, this modern plaza boasts its own melting pot of cuisines, including another Sydney CBD favourite, Chefs Gallery.
Listing over 160 items, the menu at PappaRich can be overwhelming unless you’re dining with a group where you can really go to town. If you’re eating solo, the Pappa Special: Nasi Lemak with Curry Chicken and Sambal Prawns ($16.50) gives you a nicely balanced meal, with lots of diversity. The two dishes are presented with an array of sliced cucumber, fried anchovies and peanuts, and a hard-boiled egg around a mound of fragrant coconut rice, accentuated by a dab of sambal (a rounded chilli sauce).
Pappa Chicken Rice with Steamed Chicken ($13.90) also works as an inexpensive meal-for-one, with tasty chicken rice, chicken soup, bean sprouts, and boiled chicken slices with chilli/ginger and dark sticky soy sauces for dipping.
Travellers on the shared route inevitably begin with platters of Mixed Satay ($25.90/12) offering up both chicken and beef.
As a Halal restaurant, you won’t find pork or booze on their menu, but there’s still fun to be had in the brightly coloured drinks section of the nicely photographed tome. Fruit-packed glasses of freshly squeezed Watermelon Juice ($5.90) and icy, lychee-topped Mango Mania ($6.90) are sweet enough to hover between drink and dessert.
No Malay meal would be complete without roti canai; flaky, multi-layered Indian-influenced flatbreads. They’re served here in 16 different ways, running the gamut from mini-meals of Roti Canai with Tandoori Chicken ($14.90) or Roti Telur with Curry Chicken ($13.90) (roti telur has the addition of fried egg); all the way to dessert roti decked out with banana and ice cream.
Sitting somewhere in the middle, Roti Planta ($8.90) conceals a dash of sugar (Malay diners have a definite sweet tooth), which makes for interesting combinations with the accompanying lentil curry, curry sauce and sambal.
Deep Fried Chicken Skin ($7.50) is another crowd-pleaser, as are the generous plates of noodles and steaming bowls of laksa that keep trotting out from this fast-paced kitchen.
Sitting at the casual end of the market, PappaRich is unlikely to win awards, but it does represent good value for a fast, flavoursome, family-friendly feed.
Shop G13-G14, Little Saigon Plaza, 462 Chapel Road, Bankstown
Ph: (02) 9709 4147