Good Food Month: Night Noodle Markets

October in Sydney is one of my favourite months. Top three. Top two even. It is the start of all-day beach sessions; it’s when pants (bane of my existence) give way to short dresses and most deliciously, it is Good Food Month. Nom.

The self-described landmark of the event is the Night Noodle Markets and I cannot wait to eat my way around the stalls.

First stop…Zilver.

A long time fan of Zilver’s yum cha menu, I was surprised to find Peking duck as their main offering at the markets, though admittedly, it’s an easy-to-eat and slightly more impressive market food.

peking duck zilver night markets

Soft, plump and juicy, while the presentation lacks the glamour of a full duck ceremony, it’s definitely a great nibble.

prawn dumplings zilver night markets

The prawn dumplings, however,  are still the star of the show in my books; perfectly cooked with just that hint of translucency. Shame they stick to the takeout cardboard boxes.

Zilver

477 Pitt St
Haymarket, NSW
Australia, 2000

[02] 9211 2232

OPENING HOURS
Mon – Fri
Lunch 10:00-15:30
Dinner 17.30-23.00

Sat – Sun
Lunch 9:00-15:30pm
Dinner 17.30-23.00

Zilver on Urbanspoon


On Ramen has imported New York’s latest food trend  to create the buzz for this year’s market, the ramen burger.

on ramen burger

Cooked ramen is pressed together and fried to make the crunchy buns of this spicy creation.

The beef patty carries the ramen soup flavour but for those who don’t eat meat, there is a vegetarian option. Topped with mayo, corn and some slices of tomato and lettuce, On Ramen seems to want to fit an entire ramen meal into a burger. Sides included.

While the burger  definitely falls on the side of greasy street food, it just wouldn’t be ramen if you don’t walk away wondering if there might have been a lighter option.

On Ramen on Urbanspoon

On Ramen
181-187 Hay St
Haymarket, NSW
Australia, 2000

[02] 9211 6663


As a product of #hashtag culture, internet acronymania and what’s been described as a ‘comfortably racist’ society, the humourously titled Poklol stall easily secured my attention. Then my eyes fell on the Gay Ol’ Time (#OMFG!) and I knew I must have it.

gay ol time poklol

gay ol time poklol

Fusing two iconic Aussie brands into one dessert is an enticing idea and indeed, being both sweet and textured, the gay ol’ time is a tasty treat (#nom). Ultimately, however, nothing beats the original and the letdown of this dessert is that its 3 nutty/biscuit layers do not create the satisfying crunch of biting into a Golden Gaytime (#sadface).

Poklol sells at the Kirribilli Markets, 4th Saturday of the month 7am- 3pm.

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N2 Extreme Gelato

A stroll down Chinatown’s pedestrian lane will find you curiously entranced by wafting fog that pours off bench-tops and into the street. A closer look will show beakers colourfully gleaming with intrigue. The laboratory-esque shop is a gelateria and if there’s a fine line between brilliance and madness, the folks at N2 Extreme Gelato found it…and subsequently built their shop on it.

N2 Extreme Gelato Shop Front

N2 Extreme Gelato kitchen aid mixer liquid nitrogen fog

Their trendy method of blending liquid nitrogen into an ice cream recipe isn’t just what sets N2 apart. Quirky flavours such as Thai Basil or Chinese cough medicine will keep you coming back to try each limited creation. Anatomy-themed decorations may send you outside to eat it..but luckily there’s a lovely patch of (greener-than-green-should-be) astroturf. Make any time Summer-time: sit yourself down and enjoy some of the creamiest, most decadent and authentically-flavoured gelato in Sydney!.

N2 Extreme Gelato earl grey flavour
These scoops were made for sharing. A scoop of Earl Grey Caramel ($6)

Recommended flavours: Buttered Popcorn (with real popcorn pieces!) & Earl Grey Caramel

N2 Extreme Gelato

43/1 Dixon St
Sydney, NSW
Australia, 2000

Opening Hours:
DAILY: 1PM – 11PM

N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

Posted in Chinatown, Dessert, Gelateria / Ice Creamery, Review | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

RECIPE: Lap Chang (Chinese Sausage) Fried Rice

There are plenty of traditional fried rice recipes floating around the Internet. Here’s another (with lap chang sausages)!

Lap Chang (Chinese Sausage) Fried Rice Recipe

lap chang fried rice recipe

Cooking Time: 15 mins

INGREDIENTS:

2 lap chang (臘腸) Chinese sausages *
1 stalk shallot (green onion)
4 cups cooked white rice
2/3 cup frozen green peas
2 eggs
2/3 cup frozen corn
Cooking oil
Dark Soy Sauce
Sesame Oil

METHOD:

  1. Slice the lap chang sausages into pieces about 5mm in width.
  2. Finely chop a handful of the white shallot stalk and set aside. Chop a handful of the green shallot stalk. Set them aside, keeping them separate from the white shallot stalk
  3. In a small saucepan, boil peas for about 1-2 minutes until soft and cooked. Leave to drain in a colander.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok/pan then add beaten eggs. Stir-fry, breaking up large chunks with a wooden spoon. When the eggs are scrambled but still slightly runny, transfer to a bowl and clear the pan.
  5. Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok/pan, add in the lap chang sausages. After a minute, add in the frozen corn. Stir for half minute before adding the peas and white shallots.
  6. Quickly add the scrambled eggs and when everything is mixed, add the rice. Combine.
  7. Shake in a few dashes of soy sauce (2-3 for a light flavour and more if you like a heavier flavour). Toss and coat rice. Drizzle in sesame oil (1 teaspoon for a light flavour and up to 3 for a heavier flavour). Toss again, mixing thoroughly until all the rice is the same colour.
  8. Stir in the green shallots and serve hot.

* Usually about 15cm in length, lap chang is a smoky, sweet pork sausage high in fat content. It can be found at most Chinese grocery stores.

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RECIPE: 西红柿炒蛋 (Tomatoes & Eggs)

Living in China has certainly made me want to cook more Asian food. Luckily for me, most recipes are quick and easy! Tomatoes and eggs can be found in almost every restaurant- large or small. It’s no wonder when it only takes a few minutes to throw together!

tomato egg chinese recipe

西红柿炒蛋 (Tomatoes & Eggs) Recipe

Cooking & Prep time: 6 minutes

Ingredients:
4 large eggs
Half a head of garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder
3 dashes dark soy sauce
1 heaped teaspoon brown sugar
250g tomatoes*
1/2 cup of water
Some (about 2 teaspoons) chopped spring onion- half green, half white
Olive oil to cook with

Method:

  1. Slice the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and finely chop the garlic
  2. Beat 4 eggs in a bowl, adding the sesame oil, and pepper powder.
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar into the dark soy
  4. Heat up a wok/pan with oil to medium heat. Quickly fry the the garlic. When it starts to brown, add the egg into the wok, using a spatula to break up the large lumps into bite-sized pieces. Cook until the eggs are still SLIGHTLY runny
  5. Clean the wok/pan and add more oil. Cook the tomatoes for a minute before adding the soy sauce/sugar mix. Add half the water. Cover and cook for half a minute.
  6. Add in the eggs, spring onion and rest of the water. Fry for half a minute on high heat until most of the water has evaporated.
  7. Dish and sprinkle with chopped green spring onion if desired.

* Usually large – sized tomatoes are used but I prefer cherry tomatoes as they are sweeter

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Top Halloween Costumes For Foodies

So it’s November 1 and Halloween has come and gone. Aside from the bountiful amounts of candy (can you tell I’ve been spending a lot of time around Americans?), the other awesome part of Halloween are the costumes.

Foodie costumes come in all shapes and sizes so I’ve rounded up a few of my faves that are floating around the web- and no doubt your inbox too- to create my Top 10 Baby Costumes, Top 5 Couples Costumes and Top 5 Singles Costumes!

Top 10 Aww-worthy Foodie Baby Costumes

Lobster Baby Halloween Costume
Lobster Baby

Watermelon Baby Halloween Costume
Watermelon Baby- Props to this mother for placing baby in situ

Halloween Sushi Baby Costume
Sushi Baby- All ready to be eaten!

Halloween Spaghetti Baby Costume
Spaghetti Baby

Halloween Pumpkin Baby Costume
Pumpkin Baby- Small enough to fit in a pumpkin!

Halloween Starbucks Baby Costume
Starbucks Baby- Love the brown coffee onesie and whipped cream cap!

Halloween Chef Baby Costume
Chef Baby- This little dude seems exudes the charisma of a chef greeting his guests

Burger Baby and Hot Dog Halloween Costume
Burger Baby- Made more adorable when alongside the ‘Hot Dog’

Potato sack Halloween baby costume
Potato Sack Baby

Peanut Baby Halloween Costume
Peanut Baby

Top 5 Foodie Couple Costumes

Halloween Peanut Butter Jelly Costume
Peanut Butter & Jelly Time!

Halloween Ketchup and Mustard Couples Costume
Ketchup & Mustard

Fork and Spoon Halloween Couples Costume
All ready to nom

Bacon and Eggs Halloween Couples Costume
Who doesn’t love brekkie?

Sriracha and Tobasco condiments costumes
Possibly the least (read, maybe I should find me a boyfriend so I can steal this idea) cheesy couple costume is Sriracha and Tobasco sauce

Top 5 Single Foodie Costumes

Sandwich Halloween Costume
Sandwich man, who deserves some applause for committing his ENTIRE body

Halloween Apple Costume with worm
Apple with a worm. Adorkable.

Chinese Takeout Costume
Chinese Takeout

 

Halloween Spam Costume
Spam. The question remains, however, who would love Spam so much as to honour it so..?

Halloween Taco Costume
Taco Man. Love the ethnic touch.

And if you had too many Halloween Tacos.. it’s always good to know where the Halloween toilet is…..

Halloween Toilet Costume

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Ocean Room, Circular Quay

I only had a few days in Sydney during my most recent visit but did manage to finally graduate (hurrah!), squeeze in some beach time, and hang out with some of my good buds. Oh, and eat. Lots.

And nary a person was going to stop me from indulging in one of my yearly traditions, Sugar Hit. A creature of quirky habits, I’ve only ever attended the Sugar Hit events hosted at Sydney’s hotels but as a way to drink in as much of my beloved city as possible, I was happy to go along to a restaurant with a Harbour view.

Beauty over proven substance, however, is never quite the right choice to make.

Directly across from the Opera House, Ocean Room is a Japanese restaurant with arresting interiors.

Its ethnic roots are reflected in the menu and for Sugar Hit, the restaurant has put up a fusion offering, Gorgonzola panna cotta with caramelised banana, Junmai (a brand of sake) jelly and shoyu (soy sauce) caramel, topped with Persian fairy floss; with a glass of Brown Brothers dessert wine ($20).

Gorgonzola panna cotta with caramelised banana, Junmai (a brand of sake) jelly and shoyu (soy sauce) caramel, topped with Persian fairy floss; with a glass of Brown Brothers dessert wine ($20)Gorgonzola panna cotta

Like most other Masterchef fans, I’m drawn to the unique use of out-of-the-ordinary ingredients. It’s a shame when a dish is put off balance by an unusual element but for me, it’s most disappointing when the taste of the ingredient is so masked, everything that is special about it has been stripped away.

While the Junmai jelly was light and in the way that alcohol always is, bitterly refreshing, there was no hint that gorgonzola was used in the panna cotta, nor any traces of shoyu in the caramel. The Persian fairy floss and caramelised banana were nice but I don’t think I needed to have left my house for that. The most enjoyable part of the experience was unfortunately enjoying a glass of moscato by the harbour’s edge.

Ultimately, Ocean Room’s inspiration is apparent but the execution seems to fall short. If I’m not mistaken, it’s the restaurant’s first time to participate in Sugar Hit. I hope it stays the innovative path as showcasing new tastes is one of the highlights of the annual event. I will, however, always remember one of my most enjoyable Sugar Hit desserts is a bread and butter pudding- traditional in all senses, it was simply exceptionally well made.

Ocean Room
Ground Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal
Circular Quay West
The Rocks, NSW
Australia, 2000

(02) 9252 9585

Opening Hours:
LUNCH: Tue – Fri: 12:00 to 14:00
DINNER: Mon -Sat: 18:00 to 22:00

Ocean Room on Urbanspoon

Posted in Dessert, Fusion Australian-Japanese, Review, The Rocks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chatime, Australia

I’ve been travelling around Asia now for a good 6 weeks. From Singapore to Hong Kong to Beijing (where I’m currently based), I’ve certainly had a lot of milk tea on my trip. But one particular incident stands out in my mind…

On the way home from a Beijing club late one night (or is it early?), I found myself craving the creamy beverage. Thank God for 24 hour McDonalds and their Sino-fied menu. One McMilk Tea, please!

….two weeks on from this incident, I still wonder if the woman working the midnight shift hates me for what appeared in place of my order was a cup of cloudy water amongst which floated some sludgy rocks. This terrible brew had the power to simultaneously cause me to gag and choke.

As I gasped for air, my life didn’t flash before my eyes. Rather, I thought about how much I missed Australia. More specifically, I thought about how much I missed Chatime.

Chatime's Westfield Sydney storeChatime’s Westfield Sydney store

Milk tea (or bubble tea as I’ve sometimes referred to it since my tweeny bopper days) can be found all over Sydney but making it well takes real skill and care, especially at a store like Chatime, where there seems to be an infinite amount of customisation possibilities.

chatime tea hub
Chatime teas. L-R: Brown Rice, Jasmine, Roast Tea, Oolong, Assam Black Tea, Premium Black tea. Assam, brown rice and premium have the strongest flavours, whereas jasmine and oolong go well with the fruitier flavours.

With each variation in topping, tea type and the amount of ice or sugar, the brewers must know how to adjust the rest of the drink for premium taste- and they get quizzed on it!

chatime jelly toppings
..and all the toppings! L-R Red bean, fig jelly, coffee jelly, sago, lychee jelly, egg pudding, grape jelly, pearl, rainbow jelly, grass jelly,, aloe vera.

Chatime uses real tea, real milk and real fruit juices, reflected on first sip when what’s been described is what’s been delivered. Not too stiff and not too squidgy, the tapioca pearls on each visit have always been perfectly chewy and soft. Brewed and set in a procedure that takes 4 hours, a lot of effort seems to go into such a small cup!

shaken, not stirred
Shaken, not stirred

Expanding beyond milk tea, Chatime has a great variety of green and black teas as well as some fruity Summer blends and a warm Winter range- I’m particularly excited to watch how the espresso tea line, which uses extraction process much like that of espresso coffee, will progress.

espresso tea line

chatime tea range
Chatime is not just milk tea!

onceuponafoodie recommends..

Dessert drink: Roasted milk tea with red bean, sago and egg pudding
Refreshing summer brew: Passionfruit jasmine tea with lemon jelly and aloe vera
Afternoon pick me up: Cherry Blossom from the espresso tea line
Sweet treat: Matcha Latte
Coffee addict: Coffee smoothie with coffee jelly

Worth mentioning: Green apple green tea with fig jelly

Chatime stores (pronounced Char-time) can be found across Australia and internationally. For more information, visit www.chatime.com.au. Much thanks to the team at Horizon Communication Group for organising my visit.
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