Authentic Singaporean with ‘cult-like’ following

Always busy and popular with long time customersHidden down an alley way off George Street Parramatta, Temasek is one of Parramatta’s most popular Asian restaurants, filled with everyone from long term patrons to first time diners, on any given day of the week.

Pronounced Tumasik, Temasek means ‘Sea Town’ and is the old Javanese name for the city on the site of modern Singapore. Since opening in 1992, this family run Singaporean and Malaysian restaurant has become a Parramatta institution, with those who once dined as children now bringing their young families along to enjoy a delightful feast.

To be honest, it’s not the décor or the service that keeps people coming back, but the unique flavours of the food with influences from China, India, Thailand. The modest, ‘no-fuss’ interior displays some hints of cultural origin, but is mainly functional – designed essentially for group gatherings around food with lots of opportunities for sharing dishes from the varied menu. Whilst the service could not be described as warm and welcoming, it is swift and efficient in accordance with the amount of customers needing attention.

Rich aromas hit you as soon as you enter, clearly evident of the use of genuinely fresh spices like lemongrass, galangal and chilli.

The most popular dish on the menu is the Hainanese Chicken Rice. Chicken is boiled with Pandan leaves and served de-boned at room temperature with rice cooked in garlic, ginger and chicken the stock. This is then accompanied by homemade soya and chilli sauces.

Beef simmered with fresh ground spices in a coconut brothThe Gado Gado will appeal to lovers of peanut sauce, as this dish is absolutely smothered in it! I’m told that is how it is most loved, but I would prefer a little less, so as to best enjoy the surprising ingredients underneath. Egg, potato, bean tofu, cucumber, shallots and bean sprouts make up this unique warm salad, and if you dish it up from underneath the sauce, you can adjust the proportions to your liking.

The Beef Rendang is another popular choice. Tender beef falls apart amongst the coconut richness of the spicy sauce. While there is an array of flavours evident in this dish, there is only a
touch of heat, providing a stimulating adventure for your palate.

My absolute favourite menu item however would have to be the Kecap Manis Sotong. This is the kind of food that you will daydream about, and something I’m yet to find anywhere else. Squid is coated in a sweet and spicy dressing before being fried resulting in sticky, crunchy, flavoursome bite-sized pieces of heaven, that make you frown when there is no more left on the plate.

Fried Calamari in sweet sauce

There are a number of rice options including Chinese Fried Rice, and the ever popular Nasi Goreng -with optional chilli for those who love to turn up the heat. However the flavours of Temasek’s dishes are such that I would recommend plain Boiled Rice as a balanced accompaniment to the array of spices. For those who are looking for just that extra bit a flavour, the Chicken or Coconut Boiled Rice will add to the overall richness of your meal.

Grass Jelly Drink and Ice KacangDesserts are a like a ‘wild ride’ and certainly calm down the heat and richness of the main dishes. From the Grass Jelly Drink with Palm Sugar over crushed Ice, to the Ice Kacang of Red Bean, Grass Jelly, and Pineapple served with crushed ice and topped with Palm Sugar, Red Syrup, Evaporated Milk and Sweet Corn, or even the Bobor Cha Cha of sweet Poatoes and Yam cooked with Coconut Milk, you will be sure to find a sweet adventure to end your feast.

While Temasek is definitely not the place for a secluded romantic date, the fun social atmosphere is ideal for big groups
or small, and they even offer a separate dining room for parties or special occasions. There is plenty of parking right next door, however two hours enjoying this delectable food will pass before you know it. It’s important to note that they will only accept cash, so come prepared!

For a great taste of Singapore in the heart of Western Sydney, find yourself amongst the local workers and residents of Parramatta who enjoy the flavours of Temasek.

71 George Street
Parramatta NSW 2150
P: 9633 9926
Open: Tuesday to Sunday Lunch: 11:30 am – 2:00 pm Dinner: 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm