Posts tagged Food

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

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

Click to add a blog post for Teddy's Place on Zomato

I like Coffee, I love Tea.. Pu’er, Waterloo

Wagyu Beef Tacos from Puer in Waterloo, $16

…I love the wagyu beef tacos and it loves me.

Really, though. I’m an absolute tea addict. And yes, I’m one of those people who will go to fancy tea places and spend all of my money on tea and tea paraphernalia (there are a lot!). But nothing quite beats the experience of a tea service, and unless your cupboards are filled with warmers and teapots of every kind, this is an experience that’s best left to the experts.

Premium Jasmine, $9Premium Jasmine, $9

At Pu’er, they serve you premium teas with a full explanation of how best to enjoy them. We tried a Premium Jasmine and Osmanthus Phoenix tea. Each one comes in each own tea set. It was explained to us that a 1-2 minute steeping time is optimum, and with these teas, the third or fourth steep is the best. I loved the detail and care that went into the tea service – not once was I left wondering what to do when I reached the bottom of my cup.

The Osmanthus Phoenix presented a surprise to me – I’m not usually a fan of Osmanthus teas in general, but this finished on the palate with such tropical fruity notes that it brightened up my day like a bouquet of flowers brightens up a room. Very nice.

And if tea is not quite your thing, they also do killer cocktails.

Cocktails: Berry, and Coconut DreamCocktails from left: Berry, and Coconut Dream

The Coconut Dream was an absolute standout for me. Young coconut juice is mixed with Absolut’s Wild Tea Vodka and dried apple pieces, creating a cocktail so beautiful I couldn’t even taste the acrid burn of alcohol on the palate after. And that’s pretty impressive considering that I don’t drink for that very reason.

Shanghai, $7Shanghai, $7

And now that I’m appropriately boozed up, on to the food! We begin with a selection of small bites: The Shanghai, $7, and Mushroom Pot Stickers, $7.

Mushroom Pot Stickers, $7Mushroom Pot Stickers, $7

The Mushroom Pot Stickers were filled with a fragrant, savoury filling, and I absolutely loved how the chewy mochi-like exterior gave way to the piping hot insides. The Shanghai was not as fragile or soupy quite as I was expecting, but it’s got fantastic flavour in each bite.

Wagyu Tacos, $16Wagyu Tacos, $16

And then came the first touchdown: the Wagyu Tacos came out on a pretty dish looking like gua baos, but really, I stopped caring what they looked like the moment I realised how delicious these things were. The beef was rich and unbelievably tender, and the salty glaze just the right foil for the sweet, fluffy buns. This is the bit that made me regret that there were four of us, because I really could’ve gone for more than one.

Hong Kong Mini Burger, $15Hong Kong Mini Burger, $15

The Hong Kong Mini Burgers were no slouch either. Sweet milk buns are decadently deep fried to create that golden exterior, giving way to a savoury hoisin sauce and panko crusted pork, the macdaddy of breading. It was all crunch and lusciousness, and it made me feel all tingly inside. It’s something that you can’t really create in a larger form: the ratios were so delicately balanced, and it’s hard  to get the same kind of juiciness if you were to go for a substantially larger piece of pork. No, this was quite amazing the way it is, and every bite was thoroughly delicious. 

Stir Fried Green Beans, $18Stir Fried Green Beans, $18

Three Cup Drunken Duck, $26Three Cup Drunken Duck, $26

For the mains, we were recommended – and rightly so – the Stir Fried Green Beans and the Three Cup Drunken Duck. The green beans were crisp and al dente, and covered in a chilli spiced pork mince “sauce” (topping?) that left us fighting for the last spoonful on the plate. The duck was melt-in-your-mouth tender, and fell apart on the bone the moment our forks pierced the flesh. The savoury umami notes from the mushrooms made the sauce rich, and made for a very satisfying mouthful when mixed in with rice. The only critique? NEEDS MORE SAUCE.

Tea Smoked Watermelon with Kafir Panna CottaTea Smoked Watermelon with Kafir Panna Cotta

And of course, the sweet stuff. Pu’er is all about their teas, and it shows with the impressively dished Tea Smoked Watermelon with Kafir Panna Cotta. The cubes of watermelon sat under a cloche, surrounded by swirling smoke, while the panna cotta jiggled seductively on the side. Smooth and creamy mixed in with crisp and juicy mixed in with sweet and smoky…All watermelon should be smoked from now on.

Coconut and Lime Sorbet with Black Glutinous Rice and Coconut WaterCoconut and Lime Sorbet with Black Glutinous Rice and Coconut Water

The Coconut and Lime Sorbet with Black Glutinous Rice struck a chord with me, with its Southeast Asian influence. It reminded me strongly of pulut hitam – a warm dessert made with salted black glutinous rice and served with thick coconut cream. This version has been augmented with a coconut and lime sorbet, which created bright citrus notes that cut through the comfortingly stodgy texture of the black glutinous rice.

The food was consistently exquisite throughout the lunch, but what impressed me the most, was that the owner, Siev, is actually at the helm, cooking in his own restaurant. Born to Cambodian parents, Siev sees his mother as his inspiration, and what started out as a dream for a teahouse has become a full fledged restaurant with thoroughly deliberate food that is matched only by its detailed and knowledgeable service. And despite the comprehensive background of information that influences his food, Siev is no snob either. When asked about what he chooses to eat, he admits – with some embarrassment – that there have been harrowed moments that consuming fast food has had to be an option, but it only makes me respect him more as a person. The pressures that he faces running a restaurant and keeping a business afloat in these tough times are very real and very human, and I think that he is executing his vision deliciously.

It kinda makes me ashamed that I had not ventured down to this side of Danks St sooner. From their tiny teacups to their beautifully blue and white porcelain-topped tables, Pu’er is a gem of an experience just waiting to be discovered.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Pu’er.

20a Danks St
Waterloo, NSW 2017
Phone:02 8399 1331

Pu'er on Urbanspoon

Feeling Crabby? Singapore Chilli Crab Fried Rice Recipe

Chilli Crab Fried Rice Recipe

I may be a very hardworking *ahem* eater, but I’m actually quite a lazy cook at home. And let me say this:

There ain’t no shame in using modern conveniences!

I do love making a lot of things from scratch, but there are just some sauces that take so much time and effort that it’s really worthwhile getting a good packet sauce mix, for the convenience. Sambal belachan, for example, is one of those that’s full of pungent fermented-shrimpness and takes ages, so JUST BUY THE DAMN BOTTLE.

And Chilli Crab, for me, is one of the other. Sure, make your own when you have the time, but there’s nothing to say that you can’t enjoy a weekend meal on a weekday. You just need a little helping hand. So this Singapore Chilli Crab Fried Rice uses packet Chilli Crab sauce, bottled sambal belachan, frozen vegetables, and a tub of picked crab meat.

And it’s frickin’ delicious, in 40 minutes or less.

Chilli Crab Fried Rice Recipe


[yumprint-recipe id=’3′]

Things You Should Do In Singapore

When friends used to ask me about what they should do when visiting Singapore, I would draw a complete blank. After all, growing up in a country doesn’t necessarily enable you to look at it through tourists eyes. To me, eating has always been the only thing worth doing, and I would always make my recommendations accordingly.
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Singaporean Foods You Should Try

Whenever I mention that I’m from Singapore, I inevitably get asked about Chilli Crab and Chicken Rice. And while they might be our most popular exports, Singapore is so much more than that. Yes, go to your Tian Tian Chicken Rice if you absolutely have to, but trust me, you’ll wanna hit up a few other dishes that you won’t get a chance to try otherwise. Here’s my list of Singaporean foods that will get you eating like a local!

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