600 Station St
Melbourne, VIC 3128
Petaling Street has always been a go-to place for me when I want something comforting, hearty and cheap. The food has always been consistent and tasty (if a bit lacking in finesse), and the broad Malaysian hawker menu offers plenty of choice, but not enough to cause pangs of indecision. And now that they have 6 locations across Melbourne, a cheap Malaysian feed has never been easier to get to.
The inside of Petaling Street is a lot bigger than the small store front would suggest. The wooden furniture is polished to a shine, the interior is warm and welcoming, and the chefs can be seen commanding the woks in a half-open kitchen. There’s even an upstairs section to accommodate rush hour traffic.
As tissue guzzlers, we were about to lament the lack of serviettes when the waitress pulled open a little drawer at the side of the table, revealing a treasure trove. I think this is a fabulously adorable idea; cleaner than serviettes in a stack on the table, nicer looking than a metal box (or heaven forbid, a tissue box), and easier than having to ask the busy staff.
|Combination Hor Fun ($9.2)
Being very experienced with portion sizes here, we ordered one plate of Combination Hor Fun($9.2) to share, which came out in less than 5 minutes still steaming from the wok. A generous amount of slippery egg gravy was doused over a plate of rice noodles fragrant with wok hei, topped with an assortment of seafood, some very tender chicken pieces, and crunchy bok choy. It’s the kind of comfort food that you can slurp and slurp until there’s nothing left but a smile on your face.
|Ice Kachang ($4.5)
Of course, we had to leave room for the Ice Kachang ($4.5), a gravity-defying tower of ice crystals coloured with bright green pandan syrup and creamy coconut milk, crowned with a single lychee. Digging into the bottom of the bowl, we found an abundance of red beans, grass jelly, and my favourite creamed corn. We ate until our mouths were numb with cold. And then we ate some more.
It’s rather surprising to see all the negative reviews of Petaling Street floating around. I don’t know if I’m just lucky, but I’ve never had a bad experience at any of the branches, despite being a regular since the first opening in Glen Waverley approximately 5 years ago. Yes the service is lacking (though not unfriendly), and the food can be a bit heavy-handed. But if no one complains about getting a deflated burger, lukewarm fries, and no table service when ordering an eight dollar Big Mac meal, then there’s no reason to complain about an actual meal brought to your table for less than ten.
Rating: 13.5/20 – haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate.