Date Archives March 2015

Wok On! March into Merivale

Charsiu, stirred noodles and cucumber salad

If nothing else, Merivale sure knows how to throw a fantastic party. After the resounding success of the first ever Coogee Foreshore Festival – a little rain can’t stop them! – they’re following it up with another showcase of their renowned restaurants, this time in the form of Wok On! held this time, at the Establishment.

Part of the annual March into Merivale celebrations, Wok On! transforms the Establishment into a marketplace, where Mr Wong, Sushi E, Sunee, and Ms G offers up samples of their best and most popular, saving you the hassle (and budget!) of visiting every restaurant individually to try their wares.

Clockwise from top left: Salt and pepper chicken wings with tofu mayonnaise (4 wings), Ocean trout, green papaya, green nahm jim, guacamole, Stirred egg noodles with barbecue pork, cucumber and coriander salad, Snapper sashimi with white soy dressingClockwise from top left: Salt and pepper chicken wings with tofu mayonnaise (4 wings), Ocean trout, green papaya, green nahm jim, guacamole, Stirred egg noodles with barbecue pork, cucumber and coriander salad, Snapper sashimi with white soy dressing

Clockwise from top: BBQ chilli prawn with chilli and lime dressing, Steamed scallop and prawn shumai, Steamed wild mushroom with water chestnutsClockwise from top: BBQ chilli prawn with chilli and lime dressing, Steamed scallop and prawn shumai, Steamed wild mushroom with water chestnuts

Standouts for me include the Sweet and Sour Lamb Ribs from Ms G’s, the BBQ Prawn with Chilli and Lime
from Sunee, and the Steamed Wild Mushroom with Waterchestnut dim sums from Mr Wong. The Lamb Ribs were shiny and sticky sweet, with a fragrant freshness of the coriander it was topped with. The tender meat clung to the bone in a futile attempt to resist, while the crisp outside stoically provided much needed texture to cut through the sweet soy glaze. The BBQ Prawn, while simple, used the firm sweet meat of the prawns to their full potential, with a bright, acidic dressing to provide a foil to the smoky, lightly charred exterior. And the Wild Mushroom and Waterchestnut dumplings were a surprise favourite. I was so gunning for the Prawn and Scallop Siu Mai because it was just so epic when I had it at the Coogee Foreshore Festival, that I was blindsided by mushroom dumplings that just exploded with a rich savoury flavour, before giving way to the light crispness of the waterchestnut pieces. And in a David vs Goliath sorta situation, the Mushroom dumplings very cunningly and slyly slid into first place.

But really, when the giants of Merivale come together in an event like this, there are only winners. And I’m coming out on top because I have dumplings.

If you’d like to join the festivities and check out what else is going on for March into Merivale this year, you can pop on over to their website for more information.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Merivale.
Ms G’s
155 Victoria St
Potts Point, NSW 02011
Phone: 02 8313 1000

Ms.G's on Urbanspoon

Mr Wong
3 Bridge Lane
Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: 02 9240 3000

Mr Wong on Urbanspoon

Sunee’s Thai Canteen
330 George St
Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: 02 9240 3000

Sunee's Thai Canteen on Urbanspoon

Sushi E
252 George St
Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: 02 9240 3041

Sushi E on Urbanspoon

One a penny, two a penny: Hot Cross Bun Cocktails!

Coming from a country that isn’t all that into Easter celebrations, I think I’ve properly embraced this time of year since moving to Australia. As soon as the last licks of Christmas clears off the shelves of the supermarket, Easter charges right in, with Hot Cross Buns and so much chocolate and related confectionary you can see children’s footprints trailing up the walls.

I love a good spiced fruit bread, and hot cross buns to me are convenient, travel sized portions for all your fruit bread needs. Inspired, I decided that those flavours would work fantastically in a cocktail, served (of course) in an Easter Egg.

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Le Bon Ton, Collingwood

The smoker's lot - Beef brisket, chicken, pulled pork and pickles

Fire, smoke and brimstone charcoal – is there anything more glorious than a good barbecue? Le Bon Ton in Collingwood is serving up American style barbecue and sides, and we took a trip for some of that deep south.

Crab CakesCrab Cakes – Gulf style with streaky bacon, bell peppers, celery & Old Bay aioli, $16.50

The Smoker's LotThe Smoker’s Lot, $49

Jerk Seasoned Onion RingsOnion rings – Beer battered & jerk seasoned, $10

Potato Salad with Spring Onion, Dill, Pickles and MayoPotato Salad with spring onion, fresh dill, pickles and mayo, $8.50

The Smoker’s Lot is a fantastic tasting platter to begin with, if not a bit on the measly side. The meats were not particularly mind blowing, but it was of a very decent quality. If this was just based on the meats alone, I think The Erko comes out on tops. The Onion Rings were an extremely pleasant surprise – super crisp and light, with a killer aioli on the side spiced with the all-famous Old Bay Seasoning. They also brought a pretty strong potato salad game too, with pops of acidity from the pickles cutting through the creamy potatoes and mayo.

Service wise, it was polite, if not a bit absent, which I can understand because there didn’t seem to be many members of staff around for a packed outdoor AND indoor area. You get more bang for your buck if you’re sharing with friends, and it’s a great atmosphere, especially if you’re sitting outdoors.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get my hands on some potato salad.

This meal was paid for independently
Le Bon Ton
51 Gipps St
Collingwood, VIC 3066
Phone: 03 9416 4341

Le Bon Ton on Urbanspoon

Did someone say roast duck? BBQ One, Eastwood

Roasted Duck on Rice, BBQ One, Eastwood

Before there was all the ramen, food festivals and fine dining, there was meat on rice. From charsiu to siu yok to braised duck, this simple combination represents a staple-turned-addiction that has contributed to my ever-burgeoning muffin top.

Complimentary Pork Soup, BBQ One, EastwodComplimentary Pork and Peanut Soup

BBQ One in Eastwood is the closest I’ve had in Sydney to the favourites I grew up with, displaying their selection of meats on steel hooks in front of a glass window, beckoning to passers-by like hookers in the red light district of Amsterdam.

Roasted Duck on Rice, BBQ One, EastwoodRoast Duck on Rice

The Roast Duck Rice consisted of a generous serving of rice and duck maryland with skin the shade of orange that you might mistake it for an oompa loompa. No need to adjust your television sets though, it’s perfectly normal. You can’t really go wrong with roast duck in my books, but what I really enjoyed was the lightly oiled rice drizzled with a soy based dressing, which I’m pretty sure contains some of the master stock used to braise some of the meat items on the menu.

It’s like an absolute meat fest in there, and it’s amazing.

Braised Offal on Rice, Barbecue One EastwoodBraised Offal on Rice

For the more adventurous, I strongly recommend my usual order: a selection of braised offal on that same oiled rice. Pork stomach, tongue, ears and intestine are roughly chopped and laid over rice, drizzled with that same master stock dressing that comes with all the dishes. It may not sound pretty but if I could find the budget or the diet that allows me to have this every meal for every day of the week, I would. Pro tip: order a side of ginger and shallot sauce for an extra $0.50 – the amazing aromatics of the sauce augments all the savoury meaty flavours on the plate.

The service is efficient and civil, and the portions are large enough to feed two moderately hungry people with one plate. It’s not a five-star date night place, but it’s a favourite with the locals for the super simple, quick, in-and-out sort of dining.

Okay, so maybe it could be a date night place.

This meal was independently paid for.
181 Rowe St
Eastwood, NSW 2122
Phone: 02 9874 5332

BBQ One on Urbanspoon

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Spectrum Now

Mary's Cheeseburger

Man, I really LOVE food festivals. From Taste, to Good Food Month, to the Lunar Markets, anytime I can food crawl without moving more than 2 steps between stalls is a good time indeed.

Needless to say, when I got
the invite to sample the stalls at the Nosh Pit for Spectrum Now, I was absolutely chomping at the bit to get sown there.

Pork belly and Fried Mushroom Gua Bao from Bao StopPork belly and Fried Mushroom Gua Bao from Bao Stop

Curated by Luke Powell of LP’s Quality Meats, the Nosh Pit consists of two rows flanking either end of Spectrum Now, and features heavy hitters like black Star Pastry, Mary’s, and of course, LP’s Quality Meats.

We begin the night of binge feasting by tucking into a selection of Gua Baos from Bao Stop. Originating in China, Gua Baos consists of savoury fillings sandwiched between an oval shaped soft milk bun. Pork belly is most traditional, accompanied with mistard greens and thick brown braising gravy.

And we don’t want to break tradition.

Their pork belly bao was fall-apart tender, juxtaposed with the crunch of the pickled mustard greens. The Mushroom was my favourite, with battered oyster mushrooms smothered with a satay-type peanut sauce. Maybe it’s the chilli – and we always give extra points for chilli – but I would happily take the mushroom over the pork any day.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Bao Stop
Bao Stop
Location Varies-See Fb
Sydney, NSW
Phone: 0420 305 355

Bao Stop on Urbanspoon

Seared Salmon Salad from Bondi's BestSeared Salmon Salad from Bondi’s Best

With the indulgent comes the healthy, because.. eat your veggies.

Chicken Egg Wrap from Bondi's BestChicken Egg Wrap from Bondi’s Best

I had heard that Bondi’s Best was known for their seafood, but the surprise of the night was actually their gluten free egg wraps for me. Instead of a flour wrap, they used a thin sheet of fried egg to roll up ingredients like poached chicken, or persian feta and spinach. Served cold, it was a fantastic light option that would be amazing on a warm balmy day. I was really impressed that the egg wrap wasn’t dried out, but was still strong enough for the wrap not to fall apart. Well done.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Bondi’s Best
Bondi’s Best
Shop 1 39-53 Campbell Parade
North Bondi, NSW 2026
Phone: 02 9300 9886

Bondi's Best Seafood on Urbanspoon

Sandwiches from LP's Quality Meants

Of course, if you are a fan of smoke, you can’t walk past LP’s Quality Meats without getting a little something something. And we got it, in the form of a Smoked Sausage Roll and Smoked Beef Roll. The sausage was nicely paired with a nice harissa, but I much preferred the smoked beef. There was a comment that it was a bit like corned beef, but you know what? Corned beef brings back all sorts of comforting memories of Saturday morning brunch with my mom whilst my dad was playing golf. So it’s a good thing.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Lp’s Quality Meats
Lp’s Quality Meats
12-16 Chippen St
Chippendale, NSW 2008
Phone: 02 8399 0929

LP's Quality Meats on Urbanspoon

Hoy Pinoy Skewers

And the stall that puts smoke inmy hair and a smile on my face: hoy pinoy!! I know I’ve had my fix about a month ago, but really, how can you ever get enough of their sticky sweet glazed pork belly and chicken, barbecued to smokey charred perfection. Yum. Consistently good, and totally worth the queue!

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Hoy Pinoy
Hoy Pinoy
Location Varies- See Facebook
Melbourne, VIC 3000

Hoy Pinoy on Urbanspoon

Mary's Cheese BurgerMary’s Cheese Burger

Newtown favourite Mary’s has brought their famous Cheese Burger to Spectrum Now, with a Pizza Sub that was sadly unavailable when I went.

They’ve done well, serving up exactly what you’d expect – a good burger. Was it mind blowing? Not exactly, but then again, I’m a Mister Gee Burger sorta girl, so I might not be the droid person that they’re looking for.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Mary’s
6 Mary St
Newtown, NSW 2042
Phone: 02 4995 9550

Mary's on Urbanspoon

Pedal for your coffee

We needed a break after the first wave of eating, so we took the opportunity to explore the rest of Spectrum Now at the Domain.

There are interactive art installations aplenty, and SBS has put up a hipster coffee area, where you can get a free iced coffee…but you have you blend your own by pedalling on a bike-powered blender. Novel idea, and a way for me to work off the guilt food.

Hendricks Parlour of CuriositiesHendricks Parlour of Curiosities

Even if you’re not an alcohol consumer, take the time to hang out at the Hendricks Parlour of Curiousities. The aesthetic reminds me strongly of American Horror Story: Freakshow, and delightfully so. It was whimsical tents and gnarly 1930s style furniture with the odd skeleton in a glass jar.

I absolutely LOVED IT.

Mr Wong's from Gelato MessinaMr Wong’s from Gelato Messina

But we can’t stay away from the food for too long. Back to the nosh pit we go, and this time straight to Gelato Messina’s Milk Bar and N2 Extreme Gelato/BlackStar Pastry.

N2 and Blackstar Plum DessertPlum Slinger from N2 and Blackstar

Brokeback Moment from N2 and Blackstar

N2 and Blackstar Watermelon and Rose CakeStrawberry Watermelon Cake from N2 and Blackstar

N2 and Blackstar Cake SmashCake Smash from N2 and Blackstar

These dessert headliners put up a spectacular showing, but the slap-the-table-it’s-so-good dessert winner for me was the Cake Smash. Created on the first night of Spectrum Now for Spectrum Now, this beautiful franken-dessert involves freezing the famous Strawberry Watermelon Cake from Blackstar with liquid nitrogen, and literally smashing it into one of N2’s gelatos with the merciless beaters of a standing mixer. With more liquid nitrogen, of course.

It was hands down the best of both worlds, with all the delicate rose and fruit flavours of the cake, and the frozen liquid velvet of the gelato.

My mind was blown.

Liquid nitrogen creates a super smooth frozen treat, as well as creates this dramatic fog that spills out of the mixers, and that Strawberry Watermelon cake was all sorts of floral and fruity, and the thin layers of cream and light sponge just made for such a well-balanced bite, that was augmented by being flash frozen by liquid nitrogen. If nothing else, this is the thing to get at Spectrum Now.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of N2 Extreme Gelato and Blackstar Pastry
N2 Extreme Gelato
43/1 Dixon St
Sydney, NSW 2000

N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

Blackstar Pastry
277 Australia St
Newtown, NSW 2042
Phone: 02 9557 8656

Black Star Pastry on Urbanspoon

If you’d like to get your fix of Spectrum Now, it runs at the Domain from now till this Sunday, 22nd of March.

Goldilocks and the…: Teddy’s Place, Sydney CBD

Trio of desserts from Teddy's Place on George St in Sydney

It really is a small world in the food industry. I do some casual cheffing work on the side, and along the way, meet some really interesting people who are passionate about food and cooking. We don’t always keep in touch, and as is the custom of casual work, you just move on to the next job, the next adventure.

So imagine my surprise when I stepped in to check out a brand new dessert house on George St, and out comes a familiar face! Turns out, I know the owner of Teddy’s Place, a brand spanking new dessert bar located on busy George St, across from World Square. I very nicely got given a sample of desserts to try – thank goodness I had my camera on me!

Rhubarb Strawberry TorteRhubarb Strawberry Torte

Triple Chocolate MousseTriple Chocolate Mousse

Pandan Caramel CustardPandan Caramel Custard

The Pandan Caramel Custard looked super cool in its “tin can” mold, and did taste delicately of pandanus leaves, a popular Asian aromatic. The custard was a bit too well-done for my taste, but I really like the idea of serving up traditional creme caramel in a different way. If you’re looking for something rich and decadent, the Triple Chocolate Mousse cake is soft and velvety, like Triple Chocolate anything is wont to be.

But the crowning achievement of all, I have to say, are the gelatos. The fruit flavours are especially good, bringing out fantastic flavours of summery fruit. The Watermelon and the Guava are my top picks, and the serving sizes are pretty generous, too. Service staff are extremely friendly – and this was before we found out that I knew the owner – and I think they’re off to a good start. Can’t wait to see how the store matures.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Teddy’s Place.
Teddy’s Place
569 George St
Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: 0423 489 901

Teddy's Place on Urbanspoon

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5 ways to save money at the Taste of Sydney

Roast pig on a spit, from 4Fourteen

I’ve been going to the Taste of Sydney just about every year since they’ve launched, and I can say for sure that it’s gotten wayyyyy more pricey to enjoy the day. It went from budgeting about $10 for a portion, to $15 a portion, to about $20 a portion. So, being the ever hungry but cheap bargain hunting person that I am, I’ve come up with a few ways you can stretch your dollar at Taste.

1. Go with friends

A photo posted by Tammi Kwok (@insatiablemunch) on

The number one way to try more food while spending less money? Split the bill! Find similarly minded foodie friends who share your bargain-hunting instincts, and go together! Besides, festivals are always more fun with friends anyway.

2. Plan your menu

A photo posted by Erin Van Der Meer (@erinvdm) on

Source: erinvdm

Taste always releases the menu ahead of the opening, so have a look through and see what you’d like to try! It saves you wandering around and spending more than you wanted to, to begin with. You can find the Taste of Sydney 2015 menu here!

3. Try to get free tickets in!

A photo posted by Tammi Kwok (@insatiablemunch) on

It costs $30 to even enter Taste, which means that you are losing out on yet another dish you could have had! But there’s hope: so many competitions run leading up to Taste, giving away free tickets. Take the 2 minutes to sign up – you never know how much you can save on entry!

4. Look for flash sales

There are flash sales leading up to the festival all the time. Sometimes you can get tickets half-priced, or bundled with crowns for a wayyy better price than just rocking up at the door. Keep a lookout for these sales – you can save heaps!

5. Get your money back!

A photo posted by Milly (@missmilstagram) on

Source: mismilstagram

The currency at Taste are Crowns, and these get loaded on to a card for you to spend at the festival. But whatever you put on there, is completely refundable. That’s right, if you feel like you’ve had enough and want to bail, you can just rock up to one of the “Crown Banks” and get your money back. All of it. Don’t feel the pressure to spend it all just because it’s loaded onto the card.

But if even if you did spend every last dollar on there, don’t forget to return the card to the bank – there’s a $1 deposit on the cards which you can get back if you just give them back!

March into the Coogee Foreshore Festival!


If Jordan Toft wasn’t going to be a chef, he would have been in drama, admits the executive chef of the Coogee Pavilion, somewhat sheepishly. “Not Drama as in Beverly Hills Housewives drama, but drama as in high school Drama. It was a big part of my life.” And it’s this eye for drama that has helped him shape the dining experience of Merivale’s newest addition, located right by the roaring waves of Coogee beach.

Merivale certainly is known for their complete experiences, curating restaurants with very distinct personalities and food to match, in order to transport you into a different world. The Coogee Pavilion boasts a three story building – with a dedicated raw bar and oyster counter – and the vision is to create an environment where dining and the beach merges into one relaxed balmy day in the sunshine.


Jordan comes back to Merivale – he previously worked at Est – after a long stint in America and Europe. He says that Europe really opened his eyes up to the beauty of the seasons, and how that affects the produce. “I started going to the markets and it was the first time I saw real seasonal changes. And that has transposed to what my real ethos is now. And that’s not just the food, but the story behind it.”

It then goes from the produce, to the menu, even before he heats up a pan. This is really where the experience shows, because to Jordan it’s very important to consider how the menu reads to the customer who is making their choice for dinner. “You might be able to cook something beautiful, but if it’s not interpreted to the customer properly on the menu, then it’s never going to get ordered”.


So what’s going to be on the menu for the Coogee Foreshore Festival? Cuttlefish with with chilli, garlic, and lemon, and Hot roasted leg ham with salt and white pepper crackling and a soft bun are just a couple of what the Coogee Pavilion will be serving up, alongside some of Merivale’s brightest chefs in this two-day bustling one stop shop for foodies.


I can’t wait to see the Coogee Pavilion transformed into a marketplace (with jugglers and stilt walkers oh my!), and with chefs like Jordan behind the pass, I know I’ll be in good hands. If you’d like to book tickets to the festival ($45 will get you 8 tokens for food and drink), you can pop over to the March into Merivale website, where you can also find the full menu.

Do you know what a ring burner is? Do Dee Paidang, Haymarket

A chopstick lifting out strands of rice noodles from the Supernova level 7 spicy noodle from Do Dee Paidang in Haymarket

I like my chilli like I like my war, nuclear.

…Wait, that didn’t come out right.

But I do like my chilli hot, and Do Dee Paidang in Haymarket has certainly thrown down the gauntlet, serving up a bowl of spicy noodles that have beaten many a food. Their Supernova Noodles are labelled as Level 7, for the 7 spoonfuls of chilli that they put in it.

Supernova Level 7 Spicy Noodles from Do Dee Paidang in HaymarketSupernova Level 7 Spicy Noodles

When you place the order, the waitress doesn’t just give you the dubious look that she saves for drunk men trying to pick her up. No, she first assumes that you mean something less spicy, and she points to the Level 3 and Level 5 options on a menu so filled with pictures it looks like a child’s storybook. I firmly stand my ground, and point to the Level 7, and her eyes widen slightly as she’s processing what I just said, and then followed by a look of uncertainty. “Are you sure?” She asks, “There are 7 spoons of chilli in that one. It’s very spicy”. I reassure her that it’s okay, and she shrugs and takes the order, recommending rice noodles as the noodle option.

And the rice noodles arrive, shrouded in a fiery red soup, and topped with fish balls, pork ribs and crispy deep fried wonton skins. The first chopstickful looks very promising – the chilli flakes cling to each strand like an over-the-hill woman going through a mid-life crisis clings to a man. I bite into it, and well, I didn’t exactly get swift kick in the pants that I was expecting. I wanted my mouth to feel like it was on fire, and my eyes to start tearing…not this slow burn business.

To be fair, it does build up slowly, but beyond causing a bit of a coughing fit, I don’t actually think it was all that spicy. In fact, I was more distracted by the slightly burnt aftertaste of chilli flakes that had been roasted too far, and that acrid bitterness was just something I couldn’t get rid of. Just a touch disappointing after all the chilli hype.

The fish balls and pork ribs were tender and delightful, and the wonton skins did add a nice touch. Especially with the Som Tum Pu we ordered – a Thai Papaya salad with fermented crabs.

Som Tum Pu Papaya Salad from Do Dee Paidang in HaymarketSom Tum Pu (Papaya Salad with Fermented Crab)

This dish is not for the faint-hearted. By all western standards, this dish stinks like a fish rotting in a sewer, but for me, it was all sorts of salty deliciousness that I crave on hot days. Sour, tangy, salty, spicy, Som Tum consists of shredded green papaya, carrot, green beans, and fresh tomatoes, pounded in a mortar and pestle with lime, fish sauce, sugar and chilli. This particular version includes fermented crab the colour of a rotting corpse on NCIS, and I particularly enjoy sucking out the salty juices from the tiny pointy legs.

What can I say? The stereotype is true that Asians will eat anything.

Durian and sticky rice dessert from Do Dee Paidang in HaymarketDurian and Sticky Rice Dessert

And because the portions here are similar to what you get in Thailand, we order a dessert as well. Durian and Sticky Rice brings back comforting memories of family trips to Thailand, where my parents and I would share a small plate of this food hall staple while taking a break from all the sightseeing and shopping. Here, it’s served in a bowl, probably because the durian is pulpier in texture due to the difficulty of getting fresh durian in Sydney. It’s still every bit as comforting as I remembered, though. Warm, sticky glutinous rice is topped with creamy durian and coconut cream, lightly salted to bring out the sweet. At Do Dee Paidang, they finish with a small pinch of Foi Thong – golden strands of egg yolk made by drizzling a mixture of duck and hen yolks into a hot sugar syrup. So rich, so addictive.

The food here really reminded me of food that I had in Bangkok, and I especially enjoyed the portion sizes. It may seem stingy, but really, the small order of noodles is only $5.50, and it allows us to try more things off the menu. I left feeling full and satisfied, but not wishing that there were napping options right in the middle of Chinatown for me to nurse my food coma. The service was well, what it was: not entirely attentive, but not rude either. It took awhile to get someone’s attention when it got busy, but once you got a hold of them, you never had to ask twice for what you wanted. Efficient.

We really enjoyed ourselves at this little eatery on Ultimo road. Makes me wonder what the grilled menu items are like.

This meal was independently paid for.
Do Dee Paidang Thai Noodle Bar & Cafe
9/37 Ultimo Rd
Haymarket, NSW 2000
Phone: 02 8065 3827

Do Dee Paidang Thai Noodle Bar & Cafe on Urbanspoon