Thursday, July 12, 2012

Madam Kwong's Kitchen


Madam Kwong's Kitchen
1025 Whitehorse Road
Box Hill, VIC 3128
(03) 9898-8108

I caught up with my parents for lunch last week at Madam Kwong's Kitchen, a cheerful little restaurant in Box Hill serving Penang hawker-style food. Opened exactly one year ago today, (Happy Birthday!), it has become one of my parents' regular haunts, and based on the day I visited, seems to be frequented primarily by middle-aged Hokkien-speaking Penangites. Win! Penang people, especially the older generations, are notoriously fussy about their food, so any place where they congregate to eat must be good. (See Pat Nourse's article on Penang in Gourmet Traveller for an excellent run down on Penang food culture).


Madam Kwong's Kitchen is a small, canteen-like space, selling Malaysian groceries, like frozen durian, dried chillies, hae ko (prawn sauce), sambal blachan etc, as well as some snacks and kuih, and a concise menu of Penang hawker-style favourites. The menu itself is quite specialised, with only five rice dishes, six noodle-based dishes, a couple of snacks and three drinks. (Compare this to say, the gargantuan menus at places like Pappa Rich). They rotate different specials though, and announce these on their Facebook page.

Left: Kuih, Ba Chang & Otak Otak
Right: Curry Puffs
My dad rates their popiah very highly, so we ordered one to share before our meals.
Popiah - Combination of shredded yam bean, beancurd, prawns with a dash of chilli and hoi sin sauce. Wrapped with spring roll skin - $7.00
These were great, with soft and moist skin enclosing a generous amount of filling, and a good amount of spicy chilli sauce. And unlike most Malaysian foods, these are pretty light and healthy - no coconut milk, no deep frying, just fresh vegetables, tofu and prawns.  Popiah are difficult to make at home (all that chopping!), and it's hard to find a good version in Melbourne, so I'd definitely recommend ordering these!
Popiah innards
And here are the noodles we ordered: Assam laksa for my mum, chicken laksa for my dad, and hokkien mee for me.
Penang Assam Laksa - Laksa noodles in tamarind fish soup, garnished with mint, onions, pineapple and lettuce - $10.50
They didn't hold back with the tamarind in the assam laksa, and the lovely sour smell literally makes you salivate. (Or "lau nwa", as my mum says). In addition to the noodles, cucumber pieces and hae ko (the sauce you see in the spoon), this assam laksa included very tasty pieces of deep-fried fish, which I thought was a great touch.

Chicken Laksa - Spiced coconut soup with chicken, bean curd & fish cake - $10.50
I thought that my dad's chicken laksa looked a bit Aussie-style, with its big chunks of eggplant, but had a spicy, rich broth and was fantastic.

Penang Hokkien Mee - Combination of rice vermicelli and Hokkien Noodles, topped with prawns and sliced pork - $10.50
My hokkien mee was awesome! I loved the rich, porky prawny broth, and the generous toppings. (Unlike the super kiam siap hokkien mee I had in Pulau Tikus earlier this year!) This one was very ho chiak!

One of the ladies working there upsold us a tau foo far, which we also shared.
Tau Foo Far with dark sugar - $3.00
I'm pretty indifferent about tau foo far (warm tofu in dark sugar), but this was a good version of it, and worth ordering if you feel like a little something sweet.  It just struck me that tau foo far is vegan, potentially gluten free and high in protein. Who knew a Malaysian dessert would tick all those boxes?

We also picked up some chicken and veggie curry puffs to take away, which I enjoyed with dinner that night.
Curry Puffs - $2.00 each

Madam Kwong's Kitchen is located on a relatively quiet part of Box Hill's Whitehorse road, a little bit away from the Station street cluster of Asian restaurants. However, it is well worth seeking out for its very good Malaysian hawker-style dishes!

Madam Kwong's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

9 comments:

cltyw said...

I can't believe I didn't know/find out about this place till now! Definitely going to check it out very soon!!!

Sophie said...

I've never had true Malaysia Hawker style food but if you say it's good, then it must be!

I'll recommend this to my bf's family next time we need to find a place for lunch. Thanks :)

Shellie said...

I can't believe I didn't know about this place too! Having massive popiah cravings

Not Quite Nigella said...

Look at all of that glorious food! :D I could just dive right into it all!

idreaminchocolate said...

This has been on my list ever since I moved to Box shame they don't have dinner hours :). Can't wait to go! That popiah has my name on it.

myfoodtrail said...

Thanks for sharing this place! I wouldn't have known about it otherwise. I must go check it out. The curry puffs look authentic with the "spiral" look!

cara waters said...

What a great find - love that you eat sitting amongst all the groceries.

Sarah said...

cltw - Well I only discovered it last week too, lol. Let me know what you think; I hope you like it!

Sophie - Thanks! Hope you enjoy it when you visit!

Shellie - I always associate popiah with tedious family gatherings, hahaha, so it's good to have found a place where I can just buy it!

Lorraine - Thanks! I was impressed that we didn't have any dud dishes that day. :)

idreaminchocolate - Yes, I hope they open for dinner soon too!

myfoodtrail - No worries! Hope you enjoy it. :)

Cara - I think it's a clever sales idea, after looking at all the groceries while eating, I really felt like shopping! My dad picked up some Musan King durian while we were there.

xox Sarah

Anonymous said...


Jin S. Kong Daniel n I had char Kwai Teow n it's is not up to expectation. Suez delight is CKT is so much much better. More fragrant. Nasi lemak is bland plus point the beef is tender. Prawn paste Chee cheong fun is nice. I bought kueh talam the white layer taste flat as there is not enough salt n can't taste the coconut milk green layer taste very pandan essence. Ang ko skin is ok but the mung bean paste is not nice. Overall it is not up to my expectation and to the review
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