Sydney, New South Wales

This culinary institution was introducing intrepid diners to Nonya fare long before Sydney's love affair with spicy Asian food began.The Malaya is among Sydney's most exalted Asian restaurants, and with almost 50 years to its credit it has status and history that few Sydney establishments can compare to.
Opening Times

General info


39 Lime Street,
King Street Wharf
King Street Wharf Sydney NSW 2000


King Street Wharf Sydney



Asian, Malaysian

Price Range:

$$$$ ~ $$$$


Fully Licensed (no BYO)

More info


The Malaya was founded in 1963 by Wong Tai See, a merchant seaman who migrated to Australia from Hong Kong in the 1940's. It began business by challenging the conservative Australian palette with authentic spicy dishes based on traditional south east Asian cuisine. The Malaya has evolved with the times with its sweeping water views, a contemporary restaurant space and a new range of seafood dishes from Head Chef Mustapa Jaffar, that reflect its new harbourside location.


For a restaurant that has been around since the 60's, The Malaya is showing no signs of slowing down in middle age. Established at a time when the average Australian palate didn't have the appetite for Asian fare that it does now, The Malaya's spicy cuisine still managed to tickle the tastebuds of diners traditionally accustomed to meat and three veg. Fast forward a few decades and our love of spicy food is legendary, and The Malaya is still there to keep hungry Sydneysiders very happy.

Though The Malaya has a new waterside location at King Street Wharf (it moved just in time for the Olympic onslaught of 2000) the restaurant is still in the hands of the founder's family and the food is as delicious as ever. Good examples of Nonya cuisine, which draws from not only Malaysian but also Singaporean, Indonesian and Chinese roots, is still rather difficult to track down in Sydney. But The Malaya was and is still the front-runner when it comes to this elegantly spiced cuisine style. The signature dishes have truly earned their reputation; the laksa passes up coconut milk for the real McCoy, which results in a lighter style of soup that is still fabulously aromatic and loaded with king prawns. The Szechuan eggplant is another tempter, dry-fried with shallots, cashews and chillies on a bed of English spinach. Do yourself a favour and take along as many friends as you can muster; The Malaya is perfect for groups and has an impressive selection of banquet menus to feast upon with a strong Australian and New Zealand wine list to match.

Specials & Events

This restaurant has not scheduled any event.


Please contact the restaurant for further information.
300 pax
The Malaya can hold sit down functions for up to 200 guests and cocktail events for up to 300. When combined with the Spice Room (the large open-plan space that occupies the north end of the restaurant), seated functions of up to 300 guests can be accommodated. The interior of the Spice Room can be used to hold functions for 80 guests, and when combined with the private balcony outside the entire space can fit up to 120. Private dinners on the balcony only comfortably seats 20-40 people and 60 for cocktails.


Accessible by water taxi
Fixed / set price available
Suitable for Groups of 10
Waterfront Dining
This restaurant does not have any awards.


This restaurant has not being recommended yet.
HAVE YOU DINED AT The Malaya?Write your review
Best Restaurants of Australia invites your comments on your dining experience.
You are welcome to share your views with our many readers under our conditions of use*.
(will be displayed on the site)
(will NOT be displayed on the site)
* This is not a forum for rants and other unhappy patrons to complain. We invite not only those with a positive experience but also constructive criticism. We reserve the right to cut comments we estimate too long. Defamatory comments will not be published. All views expressed are those of the writers and may not be the views of publishers of Best Restaurants of Australia.
Carol Embleton - 5/04/2013
I dream about eating pork sambal I wish I had the recipe it is unbelievable with a flavour that hangs in there for hours. Captain prawns and chicken laksa are also winners. Have been eating at the Malaya for over 20 years. I drive over 100 kilometres to enjoy the experience