About Me

Food is one of my many joys in life. It is a common bond I share among my friends and family. Combining food and travel makes it all the more interesting. I enjoy going out for a good meal with friends and family. The array of various cuisines and our fantastic array of produce really makes Sydney such a great city to live in. Blogging is my hobby and my posts on restaurant meals I have had are paid for and not gratis. Any gratis provided to me will always be stated beforehand.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Chinese New Year 2012

Firstly, Happy New Year to all of you who celebrate the Chinese New Year! The Year of the Dragon should be an auspicious one and hopefully the year 2012 will be more upbeat worldwide than it was last year.

My friend CW was kind enough to invite me to her family's CNY dinner celebration. There were 11 adults and 2 kids and we had dinner at Chan's in Lindfield. I had not been there before but CW and her extended family have been there many times and know the proprietors of the restaurant well.

CW's Mum had pre-ordered the dishes so it was nice to sit back and not have to pore over the menu and decide on what to order. It was a nice and relaxing dinner.

CW had been busy trying out a favourite snack of mine, Bak Kua (in English it is called pork jerky). I really liked her version, the plate of Bak Kua she brought to the table was very popular and there was not a smidgen left. Yummy!

The very yummy Bak Kua!
The dishes that were served were:

Steamed vegetable dumplings - these were quite nice. I liked the intricate design of the dumpling edges.

Steamed vegetable dumplings
Peking duck - I always like having Peking duck. It is so synonymous with Chinese cuisine.

Peking duck
Lobster with noodles - I don't normally have lobster. I am more inclined to crabs but this is Chinese New Year, so nothing wrong at all with having lobster. The Chinese style of cooking lobster does add a lot of flavour to it. There is definitely a lot more meat in a lobster than in a crab.

Lobster with noodles

Then there were 2 dishes served at the same time. The first was a Braised pork hock dish with mushrooms and black moss seaweed and the other was Braised dried oysters with tongue and black moss seaweed. Admittedly I stayed away from the dried oysters and tongue. We all had some of the black moss seaweed (or fa cai in Cantonese) as this is a symbol of prosperity.

Braised pork hock

Braised dried oyster and tongue
Steamed parrot fish - light and fresh. A staple Chinese dish typically served with julliened ginger and spring onions.

Steam parrot fish
Peppered beef - I liked how tender the beef was.

Peppered beef

Fried chicken wings - CW had told me earlier in the evening that one of their most popular dishes was the fried chicken wings. Delicious! It was smoking hot and had lots of flavour. As the saying goes, they were finger licking good!

Fried chicken wings

The main courses ended with a plate of noodles. It is a tradition to have some of the noodles. The noodles represent longevity in life. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture but I think you get the gist!

For dessert, there were a couple of requests for fried ice cream and the rest of us had the sliced oranges with coconut jelly. Nice and refreshing way to end the meal.

Fried ice cream

Sliced oranges with coconut jelly
Thank you CW for inviting me to join your family to celebrate ushering in the new year. You are a good friend.

Sunday, 22 January 2012


The entrance

Back in January 2011, I had a lovely dining experience at Becasse when it was still at Clarence Street. But not long after that it moved to the Westfield Sydney food precinct and is now located on the 5th floor of this shopping juggernaut. When I had my dinner then, I was not a blogger yet so I did not get the chance to post about it.

But this time, I brought my camera, took some photos, enjoyed the fine dining, the very relaxed ambiance and the excellent service.

I loved walking down the foyer of the restaurant. It felt like I was walking through an arched walkway of a French garden. Sitting in the restaurant you really would have no clue that it is located in a shopping centre (if you didn't know any better).

The walkway to the main restaurant

Dinner is degustation only, there is the vegetarian degustation or the normal degustation. I took so many photos but I have decided to only add in a few photos. The others will be described without any photos.

My friend SH was running late. I won't digress too much but she got completely stood up by the taxi driver(s). Note that there was more than one call she made to get a cab booking. But the staff at Becasse were so understanding of the delay, they were making sure I was not sitting there feeling bored. I was even offered the chance to visit the kitchen and have a little tour of the other areas of the restaurant. I was stoked about that and I got to meet Monty Koludrovic, the head chef. Cool!

I saw the private dining room too. I found out that it can be used by Quarter 21 patrons for private functions too. Oh, I also saw the diners at the Chef's Table watching the experts at work.

The menu started with snacks, cold dishes, hot dishes and then sweets. So here is the menu:

Snacks: Tapioca crisps, soubise mousselin and Fried bread, and cured lardo. The extra snack we were served (i.e. not on the deg. menu) was Bonito tartare; it has bonito, anchovies and a host of other minute ingredients, all combined to deliver a salty but creamy texture.

Verdict: Loved, loved, loved the bonito tartare. The fried bread with the soubise mousselin worked well and the crisps were great. Lots of flavour!

Fried bread, tapioca crisps at the bottom of the pot

Bonito tartare
There was artisan bread serviced with olive oil butter, followed by a plate of summer radish, melon, oloroso and green zebra gazpacho. The plate looked so pretty with the variety of colours!

The summer radish plate
Then we had the chilled ocean consomme, Pacific oyster, scallop and octopus. The consomme was delicious, very subtle flavours and a perfect summer dish. By the way, I have forgotten to mention that the menu is focused on Summer so the dishes are based on the seasonal produce available each season. In this case, it is summer.

Chilled ocean consomme
Then it was spanner crab, chamomile, young coconut and crab jelly. After which we were served with flame grilled mussels, caramelised calves sweetbread, duck prosciutto and kohl rabi. The sweetbread was surprisingly delicious. We found out that kohl rabi was somewhat like white turnip.

We were served an extra dish of buckwheat risotto. It had pine mushrooms, shiitake and goats curd. I was surprised at how tasty it was. It was the combination of the different flavours that lifted this dish. SH isn't keen on risotto but even she was surprised that she liked the dish, there was a crunchy texture mixed with the creamy risotto. It worked very well.

Buckwheat risotto
To cleanse our palate, the sommelier served us a drink with Egyptian mint. For our protein, I chose the slow roasted suckling pig, with Southern Highlands potatoes and skins. SH chose the slow cooked shoulder lamb shoulder, pine smoked summer heirlooms with cardamom jus.

We tried out a portion of each other's dish. I must say the lamb won hands down. Don't get me wrong, the suckling pig was very nice but the flavours from the lamb was absolutely gorgeous! It was melt in your mouth texture. SH absolutely loved it.

Lamb shoulder with cardamom jus

Sukcling pig with potatoes

We finished with the following desserts:

Zen still life - this is a work of art. Beautiful to look at and very lovely to eat. There was nashi pear compressed with sake, green tea mousselin, candied pea shoots, candied celery, candied apple and black sesame sponge cake.

Zen still life
The extra dessert not on the menu was a milk sorbet served with cherries (both fresh and stewed). I enjoyed it but SH is not keen on cherries so she didn't enjoy it as I did. I must say, it was pretty to look at too.

Milk sorbet with cherries

The final dessert was a choice of two options. I chose the 68% Alto Beni Zokoko chocolate and lemon cadeau, with cranberry and honeycomb. SH chose the Raspberry parfait, poached peaches and lemon balm. The chocolate cadeau was nice but because I was feeling so full by then, I could have done with a dish less rich. By the way, I had edible gold in the dessert. SH's parfait was a hit.

Chocolate cadeau with edible gold

Raspberry parfait
By the time we had coffee served with petit fours, there was no room left in our extremely full tummies. What a splendid evening it was, the food was really good and the attention to service was bar none.

P/S When we paid for the bill, we were presented with a Becasse bag that had a raisin scroll that came from Becasse Bakery. It was a present for us for tomorrow's breakfast. Can you believe it?

Level 5, Westfield Sydney
Cnr of Pitt St Mall and Market Street
Website: http://www.becasse.com.au/

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Fresh sugar cane juice

When the weather is hot and muggy, it is always nice to have a cold and refreshing drink. I was in Flemington this morning and as I was walking up the shops, I suddenly had a desire to have some fresh sugar cane juice for lunch.

When I was living in Malaysia 'way back when', freshly squeezed sugar cane juice was usually bought in a plastic bag with a string of raffia tied around it. But how times have changed. To my surprise, the sugar cane was put through the machine and the end result was a sealed plastic cup filled with the juice and ice cubes. The lady only had to put the cane through the machine, the rest was all done by technology. I was so pleasantly surprised!

Since I had not ordered sugar cane juice in goodness knows how long, I obviously was not aware of this new machine that package the drinks on the spot. How cool! Now I know how the drinks we had at Ms Gs were packaged (see Ms Gs).

I must say it was a good choice...I thoroughly enjoyed the ice cold drink.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Petaling Street Malaysian Hawker Food, Sydney

Petaling Street is a recently opened Malaysian restaurant located on George Street in Sydney. It is positioned in the Chinatown end of the city between Hay Street and Ultimo Street.

The restaurant has been operating in Melbourne on Swanston Street since last year and has other branches in Victoria; and just recently popped up a new branch in Sydney. After hearing about it from some friends who had recently frequented the place, CW and I decided to try it out for lunch today. I am still on my break and CW's office is not too far away for us to meet on her lunch break.

It is a relatively small place. Rather long and narrow but there are enough tables to seat about 20 people. We decided to order Lobak for the entree and had two main dishes to share. For mains we ordered the Hainanese Chicken Rice and the Combination Rice Noodles.

For drinks, we had the black jelly drink. A refreshing choice for a hot summer's day!

Verdict: it is a rather average restaurant. The waiter is obviously not of Malaysian origin as he struggled to understand what we were ordering. That was a little disappointing for us. He also struggled to understand when we ordered 2 of the black jelly drink. This confusion became obvious when only one of the drinks appeared. But he eventually got it!


The chilli relish that was served with the Lobak was not of the right type. It was the chilli relish meant typically for the Hainanese Chicken Rice. So even though the Lobak itself was not too bad in flavours, the chilli did not sit well with that dish and ultimately brought the dish down just a teensy bit.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

The Hainanese Chicken Rice was quite nice. I did like the texture of the chicken. There was a surprisingly sweet flavour in the light sauce the chicken was served in. We think it was kecap manis that was thrown into the sauce. Typically that is not what is added to the Malaysian version of the Hainanese Chicken Rice so CW and I definitely did not take to the sweet flavour but tolerated it.

Combination Rice Noodles

The rice noodles was cooked quite well but could have done with a few more minutes of caramelising the noodles and a teensy bit more soya sauce in the egg sauce would have lifted the flavours even more.

I am beginning to sound just a tad pedantic in my review of this restaurant. But as a native of Malaysia, there are certain flavours that we expect from traditional dishes.

But would I return to this restaurant in the future? I would do so but only to try out the other dishes on the menu. As mentioned before, it is rather average but not enough to put me off from trying it out again. On top of that, the prices were very reasonable. Our total bill was approx. AUD34. Not too bad eh?!

Address: 760 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Website: http://www.petalingst.com.au/

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Monday, 2 January 2012

A picnic at Centennial Park

It was a glorious day in Sydney. It has been really wet and gloomy for most of the month of December 2011 so it did not feel like summer.

But 2012 has started with absolutely glorious weather and this was cemented today. I visited my friends BR and TR at their home in Maroubra. BR decided we should have our lunch as a picnic at Centennial Park. What a lovely suggestion it turned out to be!

To be honest, I have not been to Centennial Park before. I have driven in the surrounding area many times but have not been in the park itself. So I was looking forward to visiting this Sydney icon. The park is reminiscent of Central Park in New York City. Imagine all the green right in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Sydney city. Note: I can't get over how many cyclists there are in the park.

One of the many ponds in the park

We found a lovely spot to park our chairs, blanket, food and ourselves. Their dog, Archie, came along and was happily running around the park chasing his squeaky ball. There were other families sitting around in the shade having lunch, some were playing cricket, others were just relaxing and bonding with their families.

Archie was very popular with the kids. He is such a gentle dog but his physical size can be intimidating to the little ones.

Archie sitting in the shade
 So in the breezy shade, we had nibbles, drank and had a lovely BBQ of chicken and salad. Along the way, we chatted and had a good catch up with each other. What a lovely and relaxing way to spend a lazy afternoon on a public holiday in Sydney. By the way, the chicken was delicious. BR had marinated the meat with garlic, ginger, soya sauce and honey. TR barbecued them perfectly.

After our picnic, we headed back to Maroubra and walked down to the shops at the beach. The whole area was full of people. We had a mango smoothie and had a short walk down the promenade. There were so many people on the beach. Not surprising as it was as high as 30 degrees today. The water looked so inviting.

I was happy to have 'trekked' to Maroubra. It was good to see my dear and good friends and to spend a lovely afternoon with them. Thank you BR and TR for spending the day with me. I had a great time!

For anyone reading this post, I hope you had a good day too!

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