PappaRich, Chatswood, Sydney

PappaRich, a Malaysian restaurant franchise, is burning a path across Australia with 15 branches across 4 states and counting. Their very enthusiastic ambassador is Poh Ling-Yeow, Masterchef Season 1 runner-up (and whom I believe, along with many other viewers, should have been the winner). I’m a staunch believer that any success for a Malaysian restaurant is a success for Malaysian cuisine, but then again, as a typical Malaysian, we are the harshest critic when it comes to the delivery. Continue reading


Gumshara Ramen, Haymarket, Sydney

Gumshara Ramen is the star of Eating World Harbour Plaza Foodcourt in Chinatown. In this somewhat ordinary foodcourt, the red banners, massive signage, and a queue direct you to this small stall, famous for tonkotsu ramen. Tonkotsu is an uber rich pork broth; the bones are boiled for so long that the marrow and pork fat emulsifies into the stock. Gumshara does not serve tonkotsu ramen between 3-5pm when they replenish the bones and prepare the soup for the dinner service.

I like fat, who doesn’t? The very best flavours are carried in fat. But this is so fatty that tonkotsu has to be eaten hot otherwise the fat starts to congeal, and can be unpleasant. Continue reading

Dos Senoritas, Crows Nest, Sydney

My expectations of Mexican food is pretty low at this, the wrong side of the Pacific Ocean. Auckland goes for the hip and trendy Tex-Mex or fusion versions, which is fun and tasty, if somewhat manufactured and more focused on getting imbibed than the food. I haven’t really acquainted myself with the Mexican food scene here in Sydney, as the ones named on the ‘best of’ lists seem to be in the parts of town where the cool people hang out and parking is a mission in itself.

Dos Senoritas, by sheer luck, is a 10-minute walk from our apartment. You don’t need a booking even though it is a popular eatery, service is quick and friendly. The original branch is in Gladesville. Servings are massive (even by BL’s standards). Dos Senoritas claim to bring authentic Mexican cuisine from the streets of Guadalajara. The walls are decorated with depictions of Mexican images, expect Mayan temples, Day of the Dead art, ponchos and sombreros.

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Hemingway’s Manly, Manly Beach, Sydney

Manly is a suburban beach in Sydney which seems to attract every possible demographic, – tourists, sunbathers, families and people like us who want to get away from city centre and meander along its coastal sidewalks.

View from our seats by the window

We had read about Hemingway’s Manly, a little spot on North Steyne, overlooking Manly beach. It’s a restaurant, café, bar. Yup, whatever you want something to drink or eat, you’ll likely find it here. Hemingway himself would approve of the hours, – opening from morning until late most nights.

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Noodle Night Market 2014, Hyde Park, Sydney

October is Good Food Month in Sydney, a designated month for gastronomy and gluttony.  There are events galore, special menus, and Sydney seems overrun with celebrity chefs. The headliner is Yotam Ottolenghi, and seriously, who doesn’t love Ottolenghi? I am a huge fan of his wonderfully spiced recipes, but I balk at the over $200 price tag to experience the maestro in chef mode (if the tickets weren’t sold out).

If you’re like me, the most accessible event during Good Food Month is the Noodle Night Market which runs nightly from 10 – 26 October in Hyde Park. There are 43 different vendors, a lot of dumplings and baos, deep-fried morsels and yes, there were even some noodles in the mix. But dumplings and baos rule the roost.

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Mamak, Haymarket, Sydney

The first place I made a beeline for when I arrived in Sydney was Mamak. Many years ago (8 years?), Mamak was a fresh face on the food scene and stole the show with their expert displays of roti dough twirling. It is really the best part of ordering roti canai; watching the roti canai maestro twirl the flattened dough in the air several times until it is stretched paperthin, then cooking the folded dough on a hot grill until it is flaky and crisp on the outside. It looks easy enough, but there are very few Malaysian eateries which have mastered this staple of the Malaysian cuisine.

Mamak is a Malay word which refers to the Indian Muslim community, and also denotes the delicious food that this community is famous for. The range of Mamak food is difficult to find in Kuching, where I grew up, due to the very small Indian population, but we always have roti canai.

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Eating Vietnamese in Cabramatta (Pho Ann & Phú Quôć), Sydney

When I visited Sydney a couple of weeks ago, BL and I spent a couple of afternoons eating our way around Cabramatta, which, for the uninitiated, is the Vietnamese epicentre of Sydney and located an hour by train west of the CBD.

Seriously, you’ll feel as if you’re back in Hanoi, albeit, without all the motorbikes and street stalls. Oh, and the heat… okay, you’re not back in Hanoi, but let’s just say you could pretend you’re in a very orderly Vietnamese city.

There are dozens of restaurants once you step onto the main street of Cabramatta. When we visited on a Saturday, most had queues out the door. Our first mission was to find a bowl of life-affirming phở bò, which is why we could not go past a restaurant that advertises ‘Pho for everyone’. We squeezed in between the small tables laden with steaming bowls of noodle goodness, and was lucky to get a table as there was just the two of us. The menu is on a signboard on the wall, and with a choice of phở, phở or more phở. The small bowls are a steal at < $10.

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Lynn Shanghai Cuisine, Sydney, Australia

Having been exposed to Shanghai cuisine from restaurants along Dominion Road in Auckland, I was expecting the food at Lynn to be the standard fare – large serving of nondescript tasting food that seem somewhat uninteresting compared to the more commonly available Cantonese cuisine. Well, I was in for a surprise, and a treat.

Prior to heading over to Sydney, I was under orders to head out to Din Tai Fung to try out their famous xiao long bao. Din Tai Fung has been reviewed previously so there is very little for me to add other than that their xiao long bao makes the ones in Auckland (found in most Chinese yum cha restaurants) look like cheap imitation and do not reflect what a real proper xiao long bao should be. After my dining experience at Din Tai Fung (World Square branch – this place fills up by 6pm; it’s that popular), a Sydneysider friend told me about another Shanghai restaurant that makes comparable but cheaper xiao long bao. That restaurant is LYNN Shanghai Cuisine. So a date was set for a group dinner there. Continue reading

Café Cre Asion, CBD, Sydney

Ever since I went to a macaron demonstration, and failed thus far to make these French treats with wrinkle-free shells, I have been searching out commercial offerings to see what I like (read, what I should be aiming for).

I read about Café Cre Asion from a Sydney blog, chocolatesuze, and since I was going to be in the neighbourhood, I couldn’t resist the detour. Café Cre Asion (21 Alberta Street, Ph: 04 0494 1528) is a little gem tucked in a side street, a hop and skip from the Museum train station. This place is so tiny; it only seats 8, albeit on the cutest modernist plywood stools.

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Din Tai Fung, CBD, Sydney

I love variety in food, which explains why I love dim sum (and tapas and izakaya-style dining). Din Tai Fung is a Michelin-star chain of dim sum restaurants with its roots in Taipei. Lucky Sydneysiders now have three outlets to choose from; the flagship at World Square Centre, 644 George Street (02-9264 6010), in the foodcourt of Westfield CBD, Pitt Street, and the latest one at Star City, Pyrmont (02-9660 9084). There is a branch at Chatswood Westfield.

Din Tai Fung is deservedly renowned for its xiao long baos (soup dumplings). These are made to order in front of curious passers-by to an exacting standard, – the wrapper dough must weigh 4.8 – 5.2g, the dumpling must be exactly 6cm in diameter and must weigh 20.6 – 21.4g once filled. A dumpling house run by engineers!

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