Review: Temasek (Parramatta)

Another food blogger catch-up, this time with the Westie gang! I’m glad Julie invited me even though I’m only an Inner Westie because there’s no way I could convince my family or close friends to go all the way to Parramatta just to try a restaurant everybody raves about.

This was my first time in Parramatta and I managed to take the wrong turn outside of the station and arrive a few minutes late to Temasek.

Soon after everyone arrived we started looking at the menus. We had pre-ordered 2 kgs of chilli crab but needed more dishes to fill us up. Fortunately, Tammi and Raff knew what to order (I was as lost as an egg in cebiche, as we say in Peru) and we placed the order.

While we waited I enjoyed chatting with Muppy and Miss Piggy. Then an awkward moment followed: our tightly restrained crabs were brought in a big bowl and put on the table, alive. Some of us would have rathered not seeing them in that state, but at least that gave me the chance to make good wishes for our soon-to-be dinner.

Crabs

Crabs

Food started coming very shortly after. I must say at this point that service is very efficient, and it has to be that way to keep up with demand.

The first dish to arrive was the whole boneless Hainanese chicken. I’ve read a lot about this dish and was determined to not let its unappealing appearance lower my expectations. The chicken is basically boiled in water or stock and oil, and served skin on with three dips: chilli, ginger and dark soy sauce. We had also ordered chicken flavoured rice, which apparently is cooked with the broth that is left after boiling the chicken. The chicken was perfect for food blogging purposes: served cold and in easy to share pieces. But I didn’t find anything special about it. Same with the rice.

Hainanese chicken

Hainanese chicken ($38.00)

The Char kway teow, Singapore-style flat rice noodles fried with bean sprouts, sausage, prawns and black soy sauce, were a different story. They were full of flavour and smokey, reminded me of the stir-fried noodles I used to have as a kid at a Japanese-Peruvian club.

Char kway teow

Char kway teow ($14.80)

The next thing I tried was the beef rendang, medium size beef simmered with fresh ground spices in coconut broth, along with a roti canai to mop up the sauce. I loved the beef rendang, although I haven’t had many in order to compare. The roti was alright, now that I’m going easy on the grains I really didn’t need it but wanted to try it anyway.

Beef rendang

Beef rendang ($19.80)

Roti canai

Roti canai ($2.20 each)

The only vegetable dish of the night was another favourite for me. Thankfully, as Muppy pointed out, the sambal balacaan french beans tasted way better than they smelled.

Sambal balacaan french beans

Sambal balacaan french beans ($16.80)

Another dish that wasn’t very interesting for me was the ngogh hiang, a very fatty deep-fried five spice meat roll.

Ngogh hiang

Ngogh hiang ($19.80)

The highlight of the night finally arrived: the chilli crabs. It wasn’t a very fancy dish to look at, and I certainly had to let go my aversion to get my hands dirty while eating. There was an enormous amount of amazing sweet crab-infused chilli sauce that I couldn’t stop eating. The crab itself was beautiful, but the sauce was beyond that. I realised I was having tons of sugar but it didn’t matter; it was that good. After we were done with the meat there was still a full takeaway container worth of sauce, which Tammi happily took home for breakfast.

Chilli crab

Chilli crab (~$43.00 per pound)

As if it wasn’t enough food, some people dared to order dessert. A bit of a sore throat made me want to try a non-chilled option. The bobor cha cha, a sweet potato and yam “pudding” cooked with coconut milk, caught my eye but a warning from Tammi about its sweetness and heaviness made me change my mind. A few chendol drinks (green jelly mixed with red beans, palm sugar and coconut milk, served with crushed ice in a glass) and ice kacang (red bean, grass jelly, pineapple and palm seeds served with crushed ice in a bowl, topped with palm sugar, red syrup, evaporated milk and sweet corn) were ordered at the table.

Chendol drink

Chendol drink ($5.00)

Ice kacang

Ice kacang ($5.00)

I’m no Singaporean/Malaysian cuisine expert but I enjoyed dinner, which by the way include live entertainment thanks to Raff’s Xbox dance moves. Not a shy guy at all. Due to the table dimensions (huge round 10 seater) I didn’t get to talk to the Suzi, Nicola or Karen this time. Not during dinner, anyway, Suzi offered me a lift to Burwood so I get to know her a bit. It’s always cool to meet bloggers in “real” life!

Temasek
71 George Street
Parramatta NSW 2150
(02) 9633 9926

6 thoughts on “Review: Temasek (Parramatta)

  1. I have spent too much time in Singapore, I like to see what I am paying for when it comes to live (often expensive) seafood. Sounds like it was worth the venture to Parra. Love Singapore style chili crab. Did they give you anything to mop up the sauce with?

  2. I am really glad I met you at dinner, I had a great time. Your photos are excellent.
    I didn’t really mind seeing the live crabs before eating them, and it was delicious.

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