I knew I was cutting it fine, but I knew the trip to Jackie M Malaysian Cuisine was going to be worth it. Her menu is filled with traditional Malaysian dishes which speak strongly of her heritage and alludes to her skill as a chef. Jackie’s little unassuming restaurant has that feel of Malaysian hawker dining, where strangers feel comfortable sitting on stools, sharing a bench table and talking about their favourite dishes.
I first met Jackie M through Twitter, as she chimed in on a conversation a group of friends and I were having about trying to track down a certain Malaysian dish in Adelaide (we still haven’t found anywhere that does a yam basket!). It was pretty cool connecting with a funky Malay chef who we could talk to about our love for food – the only problem was, she wasn’t in Adelaide.
On a short stay in Sydney, I was stuck for a place to eat in Chinatown (sounds weird I know, but sometimes having too much choice can be frustrating). The places that FourSquare said were popular, were exactly that… the line ups were huge and I was hungry. I turned to Twitter for help, and Jackie came to the rescue, pointing me to look at Japanese options.
To be honest, I had forgotten that Jackie was in Sydney, and it wasn’t until she tweeted me that I remembered she ran a Malaysian restaurant with rave reviews. When I returned to my hotel room, I fired up FourSquare and plotted how I was going to be able to get out to see Jackie for a quick meal before my flight the next night. After a quick exchange of tweets with Jackie, I had booked a table, preordered my meal and planned my travel time. The perfect plan.
“I found I had to learn to make those meals I loved.” -Jackie M
Jackie’s signature dishes such as Hainanese Chicken Rice, Yong Tau Foo and Chai Tow Kway (fried radish cake) are found on her menu along with Malaysian staples like Char Kway Teow, Beef Rendang and Laksa. But for me, it was all about the Nasi Lemak. This dish, which was once only for the poor, has made its way into the hearts and stomachs of those looking for the perfect way to sample Malaysian Cuisine. It’s not hard to find, with each restaurant putting it’s on slight twist to the dish. This means you’re always expecting something a little different at each place you go…
But I didn’t expect this.
Have you ever had that experience where your eyes are opened, and you realise that you should have been eating this dish in this way the whole time? This was one of those moments. I was served a beautiful dome of coconut rice with a wonderful array of usual side dishes, but executed brilliantly. I couldn’t help but smile as I sampled each of the different foods I found in front of me. Even the rice was a pleasure to eat by itself. Simply amazing.
My only complaint was that I couldn’t eat more.
Don’t worry though, after a short breather, the Roti Kaya arrived. Do you have foods that are close to your heart? Kaya is like that for me. It’s one of those foods that will always remind me of family, childhood and the excitement of having my grandmother coming to stay with us from Malaysia. She used to spend hours by the stove making sure that we were loaded up with jars of Kaya before she would return home. When I saw this dish on Jackie’s menu, I have to admit, I was just a little bit excited – I haven’t seen it in Adelaide before, which I now realise is a travesty. The sugary coconut matched with beautifully made roti and two generous scoops of ice-cream was a great way to finish the meal.
As I was making my way through the roti and posting tips and photos to FourSquare, the small restaurant was filling up quickly. I invited a small group of people to join me at my table, and as they started discussing the menu (and stealing my bottle of water, haha) I couldn’t help but chime in with my thoughts on the Nasi Lemak. I imagine, this would be something that would happen a lot here. When you have a great experience, you have the urge to share it.
After saying a quick hello and goodbye to the busy Jackie, I had to finish executing my plan and it was time to jump into a taxi and head to the airport.
If it wasn’t for meeting Jackie M on Twitter, I never would have discovered her wonderful food. All credit goes to her for using social media platforms well. She also has a great Facebook page which she uses to promote freebies for her customers and engages well with a good sense of humor and great content. Check out Jackie M’s website for more info on who she is, and also check out her menu. For a more personal touch, you can also read her blog, “Memories of Malaysia.”