Travel is great for putting things in perspective. I found Hobart likeable but small and quiet obviously compared to Melbourne. We saw one Thai restaurant, one Indian, one Singaporean and one Malaysian (of course in only 3 days of wandering around we couldn’t say we had seen everything in the CBD), but your choice when hankering for spice seemed limited.
We tried Sawak Malaysian for lunch one day and were glad we did because it was excellent. The laksa featured housemade laksa paste and a pungent prawny broth, and the fish curry was full of delicate fresh fish and okra that was soft but still firm and not too mushy.
Positively reviewed by two locals in 2010, Foodtrail and Bri-eats, Sawak has evidently survived in a location one reviewer describes as having been the home of several food businesses in recent years. It’s a sign of some significant achievement when a cafe can turn a failed location into a success. If you’re visiting Hobart and want some genuine Malaysian food, Sawak is the place to go.