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Foodies, June

Food 101 – The Malaya Restaurant celebrates half a century of Sydney dining


In August 2013, The Malaya Restaurant on King Street Wharf celebrates 50 years of delighting Sydneysiders with its unique Southeast Asian cuisine. This remarkable achievement can be credited to The Malaya’s formula of quality and service that continues to attract new customers while maintaining the loyalty of three generations of Sydney diners.

The Malaya will celebrate this significant milestone throughout the month of August with a variety of events to thank its loyal customers for their ongoing support. Diners will have the opportunity to relive the restaurant’s history with a selection of ‘Through the Decades’ menus. These special anniversary menus have been designed to showcase the variety and development of the restaurant’s exceptional cuisine over the 50 years and are made up of a number of The Malaya’s signature dishes, both past and present. Available on Thursday and Friday nights throughout the anniversary month of August, the set menus will feature nine dishes including the original curry and laksa recipes of 1963, revived culinary highlights from the restaurant’s past, and current favourites such as the salt and pepper scampi.

Other events will include a Cullen Wine Dinner held at the restaurant on August 7 and hosted by Vanya Cullen, one of Australia’s most respected and celebrated winemakers.

Owner Lance Wong said, “We are delighted to be celebrating our 50th year. We are very proud of this achievement and know that it has only been made possible by the support of our loyal customers. We’re thrilled to be continuing the tradition that my father started in 1963.”

The Malaya’s success began in the early 1960’s with the vision of Mr Wong Tai See and his commitment to creating a unique Southeast Asian dining experience. Wong Tai See, a merchant seaman, migrated from China to Sydney in the 1940’s, at which time Southeast Asian and Nonya cuisine had not yet been introduced to the wider Australian dining public. With rented premises at 787 George Street Sydney, The Malaya opened for business in 1963, challenging the then conservative Australian palate with authentic spicy dishes based on traditional Southeast Asian cuisine.

As a pioneer of Southeast Asian cuisine in Sydney, Wong Tai See shipped in numerous spices from Singapore including dried chillies and ground turmeric, chilli and curry powders, which were not available in Australia at the time. His commitment to the cuisine required him to modify and adapt some recipes to work with the limited ingredients available. There are a number of dishes that remain on the menu at The Malaya today that have stayed true to these original recipes, including the iconic laksa which is still made with cow’s milk rather than coconut milk.

A true family business, Wong Tai See’s son, Lance Wong, took over management of the restaurant in the early 1980’s and later bought and renovated the George Street restaurant delivering a more contemporary Malaya to the marketplace.

Chef Mustapa Jaffar joined the restaurant in 1987, taking over as Head Chef in 1996; a position he still holds currently. During the late 1990s the city expanded towards the harbour and in 2001 Lance relocated The Malaya to 39 Lime Street, King Street Wharf.

A unique and tireless member of Sydney’s dining scene, The Malaya has evolved over the years whilst staying true to its roots. 2013 marks 50 years of The Malaya in Sydney and August will be a month of celebrating this momentous milestone.

The Malaya ‘Through the Decades’ special anniversary menus:

Menu 1 – available on Thursday 1st, 8th, 15th and Friday 2nd, 9th, 16th August

Menu 2 – available on Thursday 22nd, 29th and Friday 23rd, 30th August

The Malaya Restaurant

39 Lime Street, King Street Wharf Sydney

Phone: 02 9279 11710


Twitter: @the_malaya


Lunch Hours: 12pm – 2.30pm Monday to Saturday

Dinner Hours: 6pm – 9pm Monday, 6pm – 10pm Tuesday to Saturday, 5pm – 8.30pm Sunday

About Editor

One British girl who wants to live life to the max and make the most of now! This isn't a dress rehearsal!


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