205 Russell St, Melbourne 3000
Date visited: 8th September 2013

SugarBun is a fast food chain that originated in Borneo.  Born and raised in Sarawak, not to mention having a SugarBun restaurant literally minutes from my house back home, I practically lived and breathed SugarBun most of my childhood and teenage years.  How many times have we had a meal there, or stopped by the ones in the malls after shopping.  This was before the days of the McDonald's invasion, when SugarBun was the one fast food chain to rule them all.  When I think SugarBun, I always think of the broasted chicken and their lime slush.  I think chicken burgers and fish burgers.  Heck, Dad used to buy the fish burgers and pack them for our "break time food" back when we were in school <ah, the nostalgia!>.

Last weekend, a friend of a friend, also from Sarawak, told us that SugarBun had opened a branch here in the CBD in late August.  I was shocked, but my first question naturally, was "does it taste like back home?"  The friend of a friend replied yes, and it was good.

SugarBun is located in a three level venue on Russell Street.  

We dined on the ground floor, which was rather narrow but cosy, with exposed brick walls, tables with casual stools and bar seats along two walls to accommodate more diners.  

Now they serve SugarBun fare on the ground floor, but have Bak Kut Teh upstairs on the second floor.  We came for fast food, so we focused on SugarBun and SugarBun alone.

I had the Three Layer Tea and MerlinFan had the Tenom Coffee "Cham."

Three layer tea $3.80 (left), Tenom coffee "cham" $3.80 (right)
Three layer tea is tea with evaporated milk and black syrup; the three layers are caused by the different densities of each liquid.  It takes a bit of skill to create the layers and even more to get the perfect balance of flavours once they are mixed together.  Mine was perfect and nicely concentrated.  MerlinFan's Tenom Coffee "cham" (cham means mixed aka coffee mixed with milk tea) was all right although she felt it could be sweeter.

Now the moment we were waiting for - the food.

First up was our Fish Fillet Burger & Fries.  The burger alone is $7 and it's $9 with fries.

Fish fillet burger & fries $9

Ooh, saucy.
Every East Malaysian knows the signature fish burger.  I can't even remember the last time I had a SugarBun fish burger - I think it must have been over two years ago, since I haven't actually been back home since.  I swear what makes SugarBun burgers stand out from the rest is the sauce.  Instead of your regular mayonnaise, they have this thick, delicious concoction made of finely ground coleslaw.  The first thing I noticed when I unwrapped the paper was this familiar pinky, speckled coleslaw oozing out from the burger.  Yes, it was the sauce.  Appearance-wise, the fish burger was a little different from back home.  It wasn't as long and the bun appeared toasted, rather than the super soft bun I remember.  Still, it all comes down to the taste.  

This fish burger did taste like how I remembered!  The fish fillet inside was crispy and perfectly deep fried.  We were glad they were generous with the coleslaw sauce - I scraped every bit off the paper.  The shoestring fries were as good as fastfood fries can get.

The other signature food we came to try was the Broasted Chicken.  You could get them with savoury rice or fries or as a side with two for $7, four for $13 or eight for $24.

It smelt sooo good, exactly like it did back home.  I don't know where they sourced the chicken but I swear these were the smallest chicken thighs I've ever seen.  Ever.  The skin was nicely crispy although a tad less salty than back home, but the insides were juicy and tender.  The pickled cucumbers tasted similar too :)

Now I should mention that SugarBun started off with the traditional Western fast food (ie chicken, fries and burgers) but was modified sometime in the 2000s to incorporate other Malaysian/ Asian meals after the invasion of McDonald's in East Malaysia.  Not that I'd ever paid attention to that part of the menu, I always had the broasted chicken or burgers back home.  Today, Mum wanted to try the Butter Milk Prawn.

Butter milk prawn $12
Okay, I was too busy stuffing my face with the fish burger and actually forgot to take a photo until MerlinFan reminded me.  So yes, Mum had already taken a chunk out of the mixed grain rice on the other side.  The deep fried prawns were coated with yummy, sweet buttermilk sauce infused with curry leaves that gave it a little bit of heat.  

After our lunch, we couldn't resist trying the Ice Kacang from the Dessert section of the menu.

Ice Kacang $6

You may remember, we've tried Ice Kacang at a few other Malaysian restaurants in Melbourne.  Ice Kacang consists of shaved ice topped off with red beans, corn, grass jelly and usually cendol.  The green here wasn't cendol, rather, was colourful house jelly.  Mum especially liked the pink and green jelly.  They were obviously generous with the toppings and the ice kacang was nice, but I still have yet to find an Ice Kacang that is as good as the ones back home.


Ah, the nostalgia - SugarBun sure evokes pleasant memories from our past.  One disappointment - they didn't have our favourite chicken burger!  They did the fish burger well, it would have been amazing if they could recreate the chicken burger too.  Other than that, I would return again when I have a craving for the broasted chicken and the fish burger.  I'd just try not to think of the exchange rate - a price you have to pay for a taste of home, I suppose.  And, I could bring family and friends who come to visit from Borneo for a treat and "surprise!" it's like you never left Sarawak.  Haha.

SugarBun on Urbanspoon

<a href=""><img alt="SugarBun on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;padding:0px;width:200px;height:146px" /></a>


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