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An Insider’s Guide to the Best Malaysian Restaurants in Auckland

In New Zealand, there’s no better place to find Malaysian food than in Auckland.

Malaysia’s unique multicultural history plays a large role in the diverse dishes that come out of our kitchens. From Malaysian-Chinese-influenced noodles dishes to the Malaysian-Indian ‘Mamak’ style, there’s something for everyone to love.

Whether you’re from Malaysia or sampling our cuisine for the first time, this list will inspire you to try some new places.

Grouped by dish, this is the ultimate guide to the best Malaysian restaurants Auckland has – written by a local Malaysian, for anyone that enjoys good food!

The Ultimate Guide to Malaysian Cuisine in Auckland: Explore Plate by Plate

Looking for some Malaysian favourites?

Nasi Lemak

This classic dish carries the exquisite flavour of Malaysia on a plate and is usually served up for breakfast. But don’t let that stop you from ordering it for lunch or dinner!

Photo credit: Su-lin.

First you are presented with a dome of aromatic coconut rice, the namesake of this dish which translates loosely to ‘fatty rice’. Working our way around the plate, we have ikan bilis or fried anchovies, roasted salted peanuts, an egg (usually boiled or fried) and finally the ultimate crown in a nasi lemak: the sambal.

Sambal, the holy grail of Malaysian condiments, is a chilli paste with a complex flavour profile and can have regional differences, which brings me to my next point.

Every sambal is different. Taste it on its own and let it rest on your tongue. Is it sweet? Is it spicy? Does it have the crunch of ikan bilis or the syrupiness of caramelised onions? I couldn’t tell you because every sambal is different.

The Best Nasi Lemak in Auckland
Kedai Mamak

Kedai Mamak in Three Kings is a popular newcomer on the Malaysian scene with their cheap but tasty food. Their nasi lemak comes biasa (plain in Malay) or with crispy ayam goreng (fried chicken) on the side.

540d Mount Albert Road, Three Kings, Auckland 1042

Sim’s Kitchen

And finally, we have the hidden gem – Sim’s Kitchen in Onehunga. It was included in Metro Eats (for under $25) so you know you’re in for a treat. Inspired by their hometown island of Penang, they serve their nasi lemak with some of the best chicken curry that I’ve ever had. Their Hainanese Chicken Rice and Char Kuey Teow are also popular.

1/59 Victoria Street, Onehunga, Auckland 1061

Char Kuey Teow

Literally translating to ‘fried noodles’, char kuey teow is a plate of flat rice noodles packed with bean sprouts, fishcake, egg, slivers of Chinese sausage and coated in a sweet soy sauce.

It is a dish that appears simple but is deceptively hard to achieve, primarily because of a cooking technique we like to call ‘wok hei’. This phrase is used to express the smoky almost scorched flavour you get when cooking at high temperatures.  

The char of the noodles elevates this dish into outer space, making it almost my favourite Malaysian dish. 

Plate of char kuey teow at Sim’s Kitchen. Photo credit: Nicole Sebestian.
Where to Find a Great Char Kuey Teow
KL Kitchen

Hidden away in the Chinatown food court in Burswood is KL Kitchen, where I’ve had a fantastic version with the familiar smokey flavour and kick of spice.

262 Ti Rakau Drive, Burswood, Auckland 2013

Newton Cafe and Noodle Bar

Then we have Newton Cafe and Noodle Bar in Eden Terrace. This is a popular takeaway spot that is known for its generous portions and fair pricing. They even won the 2021 Iconic Auckland Eats award for their tasty chicken laksa and serve western food (perfect if some people in your group don’t feel like Malaysian cuisine).

110 Newton Road, Eden Terrace, Auckland 1010

Pro Tip: You can ask for extra spicy at most restaurants and they will happily oblige.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Originating from Hainan in China, chicken rice is extremely popular across Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore. You start with fragrant rice packed with the rich taste of garlic, ginger and lemongrass then bite into the most tender delicate poached chicken dressed in a sweet dark soy sauce.

This dish is usually accompanied by a salty broth that is made with the stock from cooking the chicken. You might also get a side dish of crisp beansprouts drenched in a salty soy sauce. A tangy chilli sauce ties it all together, infusing the chicken and rice with a good hit of ginger.

Altogether, this dish is humble and striking at the same time. A good chicken rice can heal your soul, which is why this takes the position of my all-time favourite Malaysian dish.

Chicken rice with all the sauces at Sim’s Kitchen. Photo credit: Nicole Sebestian.
Amazing Hainanese Chicken Rice in the City of Sails
Ipoh Malaysian Cuisine

Ipoh Malaysian Cuisine in Remuera makes a very tasty rendition of chicken rice. I also have it on good authority that their wan tan hor and char kuey teow are well worth ordering.

598 Remuera Road, Remuera, Auckland 1050

Mamarich

Hiding on the ground floor of a corporate building in Greenlane, Mamarich is another great choice if you’re on the hunt for chicken rice. They also make a very good laksa and nasi lemak.  

205 Great South Road, Greenlane, Auckland 1051

Yummy Kitchen

This is a bit more of a hidden gem but our favourite takeaway in Manukau is Yummy Kitchen; their chicken rice is my go-to order. They also make a mean Kampung fried rice according to my insider sources.

726 Great South Road, Manukau City Centre, Auckland 2104

Curry Laksa

A good laksa can be identified by scent. First, a heady punch of spice that hits you in the back of your throat, before it’s quickly soothed by creamy coconut milk.

The laksa starts with a rempah (spice paste) which is a blend of onion, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, chilli and shrimp paste. It’s then simmered with stock, before a heavy lashing of coconut milk is added for that classic laksa flavour.

Nowadays you can pick a chicken, seafood or vegetarian laksa. However, a classic laksa would usually feature fried tofu puffs, an egg, fish balls, fishcake and beansprouts.

You might also receive it with a garnish of sambal on the side or on top for a more Singaporean twist.

The Best Curry Laksas in Auckland
Selera

All Malaysians in Auckland know of Selera which has two branches in Newmarket. It’s a great place to head if you’re looking for an authentic, tasty laksa.

487 Khyber Pass Road, Newmarket, Auckland 1023 & Westfield Newmarket, Newmarket, Auckland 1023

PappaRich

If you’re after an expansive range of Malaysian food, PappaRich is a good choice – plus with a number of restaurants in Auckland, these restaurants are easy to find.

We love their curry laksa. It’s a gentle introduction to the richer flavours that Malaysia is known for.

219 Don McKinnon Drive, Albany, Auckland 0632

Botany Town Centre, 588 Chapel Road, East Tāmaki, Auckland 2016

Shop N208, Sylvia Park, 286 Mount Wellington Highway, Mount Wellington, Auckland 1060

Kita Café

Kita Café in Morningside is also known for its excellent laksa, along with meat-free dishes and a range of classic café plates (such as homemade pies and eggs benedict). It’s a great choice if you have a range of tastes to appease.

10D Morningside Drive, Morningside, Auckland 1025

Roti Canai

Originating from southern India, this flaky flatbread is ubiquitous with Malaysian breakfasts. Walk into any Mamak hawker centre and you will hear dough smacking against the metal counter as the uncle folds, flips and flings the roti to a paper-thin consistency before it is fried on a hot griddle.

Plain roti canai, also called roti prata in Singapore, is usually served up with a simple dhal or chicken curry. Or you can pick from a number of flavoured options – egg, onion, cheese, banana and straight-up sugar.

This fluffy, crispy-around-the-edges and so-buttery-that-it-melts-in-your-mouth flatbread is so much better than any dry piece of toast.

Where to Get Your Roti Canai
Uncle Man’s

Try delicious roti canai at Uncle Man’s which has branches right across Auckland.

They offer a variety of roti including murtabak (which is roti packed with chicken, egg and onion) and dessert in the form of the sweet and crispy roti tissue, which, unlike the name suggests, does not involve any tissue whatsoever.

277 Karangahape Road, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010

100 Halsey Street, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010

Eastridge Shopping Centre, 215 Kepa Road, Mission Bay, Auckland 1071

Southpoint, 652 Great South Road, Manukau City Centre, Auckland 2104

Tastes of Malaysia

You can also find a delicious roti canai being made before your very eyes by the friendly owner at Tastes of Malaysia at the Manukau Food Junction.

615 Great South Road, Manukau City Centre, Auckland 2104

In the mood to share?

These dishes are perfect or order amongst friends or whānau.

Beef Rendang

Known for its complexity and depth of flavour, beef rendang is an aromatic dry curry that will send your tastebuds reeling. Meat so tender that it flakes apart is cooked down in a rich aromatic sauce that’s packed with cinnamon, star anise, cardamon, lemongrass, galangal and more.

While this beloved Malaysian dish originally came from Indonesia, you can now find excellent renditions of it in our very own backyard.

Photo credit: Alpha.
Amazing Beef Rendang in Auckland
Sri Pinang

The legendary Sri Pinang has been stationed on K’ Road for over 20 years, serving up the best beef rendang of 2021. They are also known for their roti canai with chicken curry and a wide range of vegetarian options.

Make sure to book in advance as this is a popular BYO spot amongst locals!

356 Karangahape Road, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010 

Nasi Kandar Pulau Pinang

Another winning beef rendang can be found at Nasi Kandar Pulau Pinang in Panmure.

This restaurant was an instant hit, having started as a stall at the night market. Try their traditional and authentic take on the nasi kandar; a Malaysian dish consisting of rice with an assortment of curries, sides and condiments.

24 Queens Road, Panmure, Auckland 1072

Nestum Prawns

I’ve seen these called many different things – cereal prawns, oatmeal prawns, nestum prawns, butter prawns with egg floss – the list is endless. The end result though, is always delicious. Succulent prawns are cooked in butter and tossed with crisp curry leaves and a cereal/oatmeal crumb that leaves them crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

If you’re not a fan of deshelling some fat juicy prawns, don’t worry because most places serve alternative versions with chicken or fish.

Amazing Auckland Nestum Prawns
Sri Mahkota

The nestum prawns at Sri Mahkota in East Tamaki are a favourite order. This is a popular spot so book ahead of time if you’re going with a group!

22D Torrens Road, Burswood, Auckland 2013

Petaling Malaysian Restaurant

A growing favourite in the Malaysian community, Petaling Malaysian Restaurant is a foodie haven on Dominion Road. They offer a variety of options of dishes with nestum cereal (such as chicken, fish, squid and prawns) but their other dishes are also top notch, including their marmite chicken.

248a Dominion Road, Mount Eden, Auckland 1024

Marmite Chicken

You don’t have to like marmite to like this dish. With its unapologetically sweet and savoury goodness, the faint hit of caramelized marmite elevates normal fried chicken to something incredible. Served on a bed of lettuce, these chunky morsels are just a step away from addictive, especially on a bowl of steaming white rice.

KK Malaysian Cuisine

Find marmite chicken at KK Malaysian Cuisine in Epsom, although you’ll notice they call it Mummy chicken.

They also make a tasty kangkung belacan, which is a seasonal spicy vegetable dish that can be hard to find in Malaysian restaurants.

463A Manukau Road, Epsom, Auckland 1023

Blossom Court

If you happen to be in Panmure, Blossom Court is a local favourite. It’s well known for its authentic and affordable food. Their marmite chicken is a people-pleaser but their individual dishes such as their Hainanese Chicken Rice and Wan Tan Hor are also popular.

135 Queens Road, Panmure, Auckland 1072

Sizzling Tofu

The sizzling tofu is something you hear coming before you see it. If the sound of the gravy and eggs sizzling on a hot plate isn’t loud enough to completely halt the conversation in the restaurant, you need to leave and find a better dish.

Pillows of soft silky egg tofu coated in a thick savoury sauce and tied together with a surprise omelette at the bottom of the dish. What more could you ask for?

Caution: This dish comes out piping hot – tucking in right away is basically swallowing lava. I would not recommend eating it immediately.

Sizzling tofu at Treasure Kitchen. Photo credit: Nicole Sebestian.
The Best Sizzling Tofu in Town
Treasure Kitchen

My family and I had a fantastic sizzling tofu at Treasure Kitchen in Ōtāhuhu, served with minced pork and button mushrooms. Their butter and egg floss prawns/chicken were also phenomenal. If you ever make it there, I recommend pre-ordering their yam basket for another authentic taste of Malaysia.  

6 Station Road, Ōtāhuhu, Auckland 1062

Special Mentions

XO dishes

I couldn’t help but include a special mention of this delicious dish. XO sauce comes from Hong Kong; it is a spicy seafood sauce that’s packed with sweetness and umami – and it’s 100% delicious!

Where to Find XO Dishes in Auckland
Bunga Raya

Out west, you’ll find the Malaysian institution of Bunga Raya where they serve up an incredible range of XO dishes. The owners are friendly and passionate about the food they serve, and will be more than happy to share some recommendations.

They are also known for their homemade tofu dishes, oatmeal prawns and beef rendang. Plus, they serve up generous portions.

2a/3062 Great North Road, New Lynn, Auckland 0600


Wherever it is that takes your fancy, there’s something on this list for everyone to enjoy.

Be adventurous or indulge in the familiar next time you’re out enjoying Malaysian food – the choice is yours.

And if you find yourself enjoying it, remember to say ‘Terima kasih’ (thank you in Malay)!

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