Ho Jiak has long been in Strathfield but has now found a second home in the relatively new Haymarket location. Ho Jiak specialises in Nyonya (Chinese Malaysian Cuisine), which which we can only describe as flavour upon flavour and even more flavour! The food is inspired by the Chef’s Grandmothers home cooked meals with exotic ingredients making for a flavorful dining experience.
The interior of the restaurant is set up into two dining spaces. The downstairs portion of the restaurant reflects how we picture the streets of Penang in Malaysia to look with plenty happening – there is a hawker style set up, with splashes of colour everywhere. Beautiful artworks adorn the walls. The upstairs section takes you into Grandma’s home, with some beautiful mosaic tiles imported from Malacca, some elegantly painted family portraits and family photos. There are also Malaysian antique crockery and cookware, adding to the authentic homely feel, it definitely feels like you are visiting someone’s home. The upstairs part is perfect for larger dining groups as well.
Ho Jiak is a licensed venue, so you can enjoy a glass of wine, which the suggestion of Pinot Gris perfectly matched the food. We visited with foodie friends Spooning Australia and e.m.i.l.y_eats which afforded us to try many dishes on the menu. The starters were creative and moreish. The Pai tee was a big hit, with paper thin crisp pastry cups you can fill with a tasty topping, they also come with lettuce cups to make a type of san choy bao. If you want to try something a little different, try the loh bak which is pork jowl wrapped in bean curd and deep fried. It is damn tasty.
We of course had to try some Malaysian favourites, what we know as comfort food including: the char kway teow, this is simple and delicious. This noodle dish could never disappoint. The Ho Jiak version is super tasty and had a good whack of chilli. Their indomee goreng with the inclusion of premium ingredients with the salted duck egg and crab meat elevating this dish to next level and the chilli also providing some heat.
Another display of premium ingredients is the wagyu portion of the menu, the Rendang Gu another traditional meal. This version was made with quality wagyu. This stew was popping with colour, full of flavour and the meat melt in your mouth.
All of the items served were of a high standard, but there were some particular standouts. These included the Sam Wong Dan: a savoury custard made with a trio of egg; the century, duck and humble chicken egg. This dish had amazing flavour and silky texture and is a must order. The most suprising was the kangkung belachan. This is one for the vegetarians. The kiam ah nui squid, stirfried with salted duck egg yolk, butter and curry leaves was a flavour sensation and we would go back and undoubtedly order this. The Laksa is one of their signature dishes, and as to be expected was also very good, and be prepared – this is also hot.
Desserts are inspired by Teh Tarik (pulled tea), or poured back and fourth between two jugs. This is the national drink of Malaysia and is a mellow way to finish after a taste sensory overload from the preceding meal. To sooth the taste buds a teh tarik ice cream or teh tarik affogato made with the teh taic ice cream with kopi(coffee). Ho-Jiak also do a housemade teh tarik liqueur or a cognac hot chocolate to sip on, these options are great if you have gorged and are lacking capacity for dessert.
Ho Jiak is a top spot to get a Malaysian meal. The chef’s inspiration from his Malaysian upbringing evident in the setting. He is passionate about his restaurant and his cooking and this was inspirational to hear. The food is ridiculously good, using premium ingredients and traditional Malaysian flavour. It is at the top of our list for Malaysian food in Sydney. Make sure you pay it a visit.
92 Hay Street,
Haymarket, Sydney NSW
Haymarket, Sydney NSW