food

Best Dumplings in Sydney ….

Best Dumplings in Sydney ….

Dumpling bars seem to be a dime a dozen these days. If Sushi was the food fad of the 2000′s, dumplings have taken over this decade. But you won’t hear me complaining, to me dumplings are the best thing since sliced sushi and I can’t get enough of them. You know what they say, the best things come in small packages (perhaps I would like to believe that being about 5″4 tall).

I have prepared the list below as a work in progress, I don’t plan to leave a dumpling, dim sum or gyoza in Sydney unturned without eating them… so suggestions are more than welcome and if they are better than great, they will be added to the list. But, so far, here are Sydney’s best dumplings (in no particular order)….

1. Lotus Dumpling Bar

My office is located in a great spot, right on the harbour somewhere between the City, Darling Harbour and Circlar Quay. I know i’m spoilt but with this “somewhere in the middle” location means lunch choices are limited and the ones on the limited list are generally underwhelming. UNTIL… Lotus Dumpling opened just down the road in Walsh Bay. These dumplings are amazing, with service and fit out to match. Understated, funky and damn delicious. The xiao long bao steamed soup dumplings are the winner for me – go for the chicken and be warned that there is soup inside…. I learnt that the hard way. Hot tip – take a nibble from the top, slurp the soup and devour the rest.

Lotus Dumpling Bar on Urbanspoon

2. Harajuku Gyoza

Gyozas are Dumpling’s japanese cousins. What is the difference?… there isn’t much of one. Dumplings traditionally came in many forms and flavours and back in the day gyozas were traditionally just pork. Nowadays, gyozas come in all different varieties, and the best place to witness this is Harajuku Gyoza. Not only do they specialise in the fun size treats, but the atmosphere is electric. You are always greeted with a belting “MOSHI MOSHI” and if you order sake (which you must), you enjoy an entertaining song and dance with it. The best menu item is definitely the grilled chicken gyoza, and for those with a sweet teeth, they even have nutella and banana dessert gyozas. Food aside, this place is fun the perfect place to enjoy some drinks and food with friends before a night out.
Harajuku Gyoza on Urbanspoon

3. East Ocean

Imagine an ocean full of yum cha… well that image in your mind is very similar to East Ocean itself. Although very unassuming from the front, once you step inside you are ushered by the friendly staff all communicating by very serious looking headsets to your table which will be about 1 of 1000, the venue is seriously huge. The dumplings are plentiful and the menu is lengthy to say the least. But I can highly recommend their Shanghai style dumplings filled with pork or their seafood with snow pea dumplings. East Ocean is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late into the night, so no matter what time of the day you are craving dumplings, you can always rely on East Ocean.
East Ocean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

4. Kam Fook

Kam Fook’s popularity in Chatswood was so positive the friendly people there decided to open up shop in Bondi Junction (hoo-ray!). Kam Fook has fulfilled many a hangovers and cravings I have had over the past year since moving close by. I think there is no better way to start the day than with their traditional chinese broccilli with a table full of dumplings. There is plenty of yum cha options to choose from, but I always order two or more servings of their prawn and chive dumplings, even better when washed down with some tea of Sing Tao (hair of the dog).
Kam Fook Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

5. Wagamama

Before you turn your nose up at this chain restaurant suggestion, hear me out. This western spin on traditional Japanese is an old time favourite of mine, mainly for one reason and that is their duck gyoza. The deep tried bag of gyoza-goodness is filled with succulent duck and spring onions and is accompanied by a sweet batch of hoisin sauce.
Wagamama - The Galeries Victoria on Urbanspoon
Wagamama on Urbanspoon

6. Din Tai Fung

Some might say this renowned dumpling hut is the dump-King of the dumpling scene. This king originated as a humble little street stall on the streets of Taipei and is now a global business with an unrivalled committment to dumpling precision. Aside from their attention to detail, the taste is what brings me back here time and time again. My favourite is the Jiao Ze (steamed pork and prawn). You can enjoy these dumplings in Style at their George Street or Star restaurants or grab the on the go at Westfield Sydney.
Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon
Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon

Do you think you know where to get the best dumplings in Sydney? Well send your suggestions my way… always happy to do this type of market research… the things you gotta do!

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Cheap Eats Bondi – Meals under $10 ….

Cheap Eats Bondi – Meals under $10 ….

Nachos – Amigo Jims
Who doesn’t love nachos? They make eating corn chips acceptable at lunch and dinner, and for that, I am eternally grateful to them. I often indulge in my favourite nachos from this Bondi Road hole in the wall. Homemade corn tortilla chips topped with a slow cooked shredded beef stew, cheese and sour cream. Don’t let the $9.50 fool you, this meal is HUGE!
Amigo Jim's on Urbanspoon

Amigo Jim’s - 200 Bondi Rd  Bondi NSW 2026

Hand rolls – Myoko Sushi Bar
Tucked away in the quiet end of Gould street, Myoko is home to some to the freshest, tastiest sushi in the Eastern suburbs. The hand rolls are huge and you even have the option of having them made to order with brown or white rice. You can get prawn tempura, perfectly battered with avo, fresh or cooked tuna and teriyaki chicken. You can get two rolls for $10, and if you’re feeling adventurous I recommend forking out the extra $2 for a miso soup too.
Myoko – 72 Gould Street, Bondi Beach 2026
Myoko Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

Chicken Pad Thai – Bangkok Bites
Hungry at lunch and pinching the pennies has never tasted better. Bangkok bites has various lunch time specials including a generous helping of chicken or beef pad thai for only $9.90. The noodles are thick, the chicken tender and the sauce a perfect blend of sweet and spice. Grab a seat outside and enjoy the sunshine, people watching but don’t expect a bucket of Redbull and vodka… unless you go to White Revolver.
Bangkok Bites – 95 Hall St Bondi Beach NSW 2026
Bangkok Bites on Urbanspoon

Mixed Plate – Sabbaba
The beach might be hot, but the Middle East is even hotter. You can combine both by grabbing a mixed plate from Sababa with falafel, tabuli, grilled meats, salads and dips for under $10. The ingredients are fresh, healthy and most importantly, dirt cheap. This place is so popular there are franchises everywhere, so if you’re skint around town, check out there other locations.
Sabbaba Bondi Beach – 82 Hall St Bondi Beach NSW 2026 Sydney,
Sabbaba on Urbanspoon

Jaffles – Neighbourhood
The new kid on the block in the Bondi neighbourhood is, Neighbourhood. The team here are as trendy as they come and are making the good old fashioned jaffle sexy again, god bless them. You won’t find baked beans and spaghetti here though; combinations include pulled pork with BBQ sauce and baked beans and my favourite the Philly cheese steak. A party in your mouth for only $10… Winning!
Neighbourhood - 143 Curlewis Street Bondi Beach, NSW
Neighbourhood on Urbanspoon

Bircher muesli – Bru Coffee
Broke but fanging for a tasty breakfast? Never fear, Bru is here. This hole in the wall is a local favourite and constantly has Bondi’s beautiful people. The food is beautiful too, thankfully. For only $10 you can reward yourself with a regular coffee and bowl of nutty bircher muesli which is arguable the best you can get anywhere!
bRu Coffee – 4/101 Brighton Blvd, Sydney NSW 2026
bRu Coffee on Urbanspoon

Rice Paper Rolls – Miss Chu’s
The self-proclaimed queen of rice paper rolls set up shop in Bondi over a year ago and has taken the beach by storm. Her rice paper rolls are the taking the beach by storm with gourmet combinations including prawn with green mango, roast duck and banana flower and vegetarian with avocado, omelette and caramelised onion. All that goodness for only $7.50… you’re pretty much making money.
Miss Chu Bondi Tuckshop – 178 Campbell Parade Bondi Beach NSW 2026
Miss Chu on Urbanspoon

Panino from La Macelleria
This butcher slash heaven on earth is a food snob and meat lovers dream, with prices to show for it. But never fear, lashings of organic prochitto is in reach for the tightest of wallets. Here you can choose from 11 different paninos which only cost $9.00. Some menu favourites include the warm beef brisket, the herbed chicken with mayo and chilli and the roast pork with fruit mustard. If stoned baked buns aren’t your thing (freak!) then try the quarter roast chicken with roasted veggies – only $10.
La Macelleria - Shop 14, The Beach House, 178 Campbell Parade
La Macelleria on Urbanspoon

Pizza from Gourmet Slice
Pizza is a friend and a faux to me, I love the crispy cheese deliciousness of this Italian staple but find it hard to stop after a couple of slices (I have empty plate syndrome). But thanks to the genius behind gourmet slice I have enjoy a huge slice of pizza for a fraction of the prize and with the guilt of eating a large pizza all to myself. All slices are under $10 and favourites include pepperoni, garlic mushroom and spicy lamb.
Gourmet Slice - 87a Gould St Bondi Beach Bondi Beach, NSW 2026
Gourmet Slice on Urbanspoon

Lock’n’Load from Lox, Stock & Barrel
Lox Stock & Barrel brings a little bit of Manhattan to Bondi’s sunny shores. The menu is filled with NYC classics like bagels, pastrami sandwiches, smoked wagyu brisket and rueben sandwiches. If you’re feeling skint, you can enjoy your choice of bread (sourdough rye, challah, panini or GF) or bagel (plain, sesame, poppy, seeds & spices, onion) and a delicious potato hash with lashings of smoked salmon with a lime and creme fraiche
dill dressing. Perfect way to start the day, and only 10 big ones.
Lox, Stock & Barrel – 140 Glenayr Ave, Bondi 2026
Lox, Stock & Barrel on Urbanspoon

Pork Po Boy from Panama House
It may not look like much, but this po boy will have you returning to Panama time and time again, I promise you. It is a super soft and sweet sesame seed bun filled with lashings of tender, juicy pulled pork teamed with shredded lettuce, tomato salsa and a tangy chipotle mayo. But wait… there’s more… every table at Panama has 4 homemade salsas to choose from ranging from sweet pineapple to blow-your-socks-off habanero, and it will only set you back $9.50.

Panama House – 251 Bondi Rd, Bondi 2026 – Full review here.

Panama House on Urbanspoon

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Lime & Pepper Vietnamese Chicken Salad ….

Lime and pepper chicken

Spring has officially sprung, although it feels a lot like summer at the moment. And we all know what that means… sweltering days, shedding of clothes and body-friendly meals. So, you will be seeing a lot more healthy recipes pop up from me in the near future. To start, here is a simple, juicy, fresh and healthy salad that is not only quick and easy, but tastes amazing.

What you need:

  • (1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp finely grated lime rind
  • 1 long red chilli, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 200g green  beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 2 baby cos lettuces, trimmed, shredded
  • 200g punnet grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups trimmed bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 Chicken breasts cut in half, length ways

What you need to do:

  • Combine lime juice and rind, chilli, fish sauce, pepper and sugar in a bowl. Add half the mixture to chicken and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
  • Cook beans in  boiling water for 3 minutes or until bright green
  • Combine beans, lettuce, tomato, bean sprouts and mint in a large bowl
  • Cook chicken in a saucepan the slice thickly
  • Drizzle remaining lime juice mixture over salad and toss to combine.

The foodies guide to Adelaide (and Beyond) ….

A city that boasts is history of non-convict English settlement, surrounded by crystal clear coastal waters, rolling hills covered in wines and wide country town streets with warm hospitality, there is plenty of places to find a good time and a great meal. To make things easy for you, I have picked some of the best food around time, and the state.

Queen Street Café

Queen Street is location in Adelaide’s up-and-coming, trendy suburb of Croydon which is home to great architecture, retro shops and one of the best cafes in town, Queen Street Café. Here, you can sit inside or outside, both as comfortable as the other – with large bay windows and street side tables, watching the world go by is possible at any angel. The menu is full of fresh breakfast options like avocado, lime and pepper on rye and crab omelette. It is fairly pricey for a breakfast but the quality makes up for it.

Queen Street Cafe on Urbanspoon

 

Red door bakery

Gone are the days when a white roll or pink finger bun would excite people – the trend of artisan and gourmet bakeries stays strong and there is no better example of this than Red Door Bakery. There are now two locations where you can find the cabinets full of sweet treats like crème brulee tarts and hazelnut scrolls to get your sugar fix. But the real shining star are the good ol’ fashioned, but a little gourmet, pies and sausage rolls. The highlights being the morrocan lamb sausage roll and the Angus beef and Coopers stout pie, both available with homemade chilli jam.

www.reddoorbakery.com.au

Red Door Bakery - Goodwood on Urbanspoon

Red Door Bakery on Urbanspoon

 

Adelaide Central Markets

No South Australian food experience is complete without a trip to the Adelaide Central Markets, or what I refer to as, foodie heaven. There are rows upon rows filled with fresh produce and flavours from around and more cheese than you can poke a cracker at. My recommendations would be Asian Gourmet for a delicious thick noodle laksa, a pizza from Adelaide’s first ever pizza bar, Lucia’s and refuel with a tea from T bar, the Prosperi-T being my favourite  (best served with warm milk and honey). Or if you’re in the market for supplies you can find the best at The Smelly Cheese Shop, the Taste of Marrakech or The Olive Tree.

www.adelaidecentralmarket.com.au

Asian Gourmet on Urbanspoon

Lucia's on Urbanspoon

T Bar on Urbanspoon

 

Star of Greece

Star of Greece could quiet possibly be the jewel in the south Australian crown of South Australian food royalty. Hugging the cliffs of port Willunga with 180 degree views of the turquoise ocean, this casual but classy beach shack is not to be estimated. The menu is impressive, paying homage to its surroundings and full of seafood and local produce. Changing seasonally it is likely every visit will be unique, to this day I still think about my roasted stuffed chicken with popcorn (strange combination that hit it out of the park!). Book ahead, this is not a destination to be missed.

www.starofgreece.com.au

Star of Greece on Urbanspoon

 

Burger Theory Co.

There is no doubt about it, the food truck scene in Adelaide has exploded. There are more than 30 food trucks to enjoy around town, so it is hard to know which way to go. So, let me make it easy for you – Burger Theory. The menu is short and sweet (two burgers in total), but you can’t go past the No. 2 – Crispy pancetta, onion confit and Adelaide Blue cheese sauce. A life changing burger that will leave you waiting more and perfectly accompanied with fries and truck sauce, if my taste buds serve me correctly this is a delicious blend of T-sauce and mayo…. Genius!

www.burgertheory.com

Burger Theory on Urbanspoon

 

Maggie Beers Farm Shop

Maggie Beer is the Queen of the Australian food scene and has been cooking up a storm in the Barossa Valley for many years. You can’t have a well-rounded South Australian food experience without visiting her farm shop. Here, you can stock up on artisan products or buy a premade picnic hamper with matched wines from the surrounding vineyards – it doesn’t get much better than that!

www.maggiebeer.com.au

Maggie Beer's Farm Shop on Urbanspoon

 

Almalfi Pizzeria Restaurante

With 30 years cooking experience behind them, it is no surprise that Almalfi’s has become one of Adelaide’s favourite restaurants. With sauces, stocks, pasta and bread made fresh in-house daily, you won’t leave disappointed. The menu has all the classics and more,  their Con Pollo is a must try – rigatoni pasta teamed with pancetta, mushroom, chives, apricot, pepper in a cream sauce. Belissimo!

www.amalfipizzaria.com.au

Amalfi Pizzeria Ristorante on Urbanspoon

 

Vale Inn

The McLaren Vale could be my version of heaven on earth, rolling hills covered in vines, crashing waves of the ocean nearby and most importantly, lots of beautiful food. The Vale Inn is a revamped pub that blends the old and the new seamlessly, not the mention the home to my favourite beer of all time – Vale Ale! You can expect the seasonal menu to include a variety of gastro pub food options like duck fat potatoes and pizzas with pekking duck and red currant, oysters done four ways or a share plate filled with gourmet goodies.

www.mvbeer.com/vale-inn/

Vale Inn on Urbanspoon

 

Vintners Bar & Grill

No South Australian food experience would be complete without a trip to the famous heart of the state, The Barossa Valley. One of the best places to enjoy a meal here is the Vintners Bar & Grill which offers excellent regional food combined with local wines. Highlights include the pork and quail spring rolls and the rib of beef for two teamed with a variety of mustards and green peppercorns, and you won’t find it hard to find suitable sides to go with it. The restaurant which is set amongst a picturesque vineyard setting can be enjoyed year round with large outdoor courtyards for summer and a huge open fire in winter.
www.vintners.com.au
Vintners Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

P.s I travel to Adelaide often, so please let me know if you have any suggestions for me to try on my next visit!

Mamak….

If you walk past Mamak in the morning you will think it is just another run of the mill drab Asian restaurant in Chinatown, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Come lunch or dinner time, Mamak has millions of pigs waiting patiently to taste the infamous Roti bread this Malayasian haunt has become famous (and hatted) for.

Thankfully, if you are brave enough to wait in the queue you can be entertained by the two roti chefs in the window flipping, folding, throwing and rolling roti in many different formations. Once we enjoyed the show and finally got seated it didn’t take us long to order the traditional roti with chilli sauce and a spicy lamb curry. The Roti is everything a good roti should be – warm, flaky, doughy and delicious. Despite all the hype, the real winner of the evening was the lamb curry which was light, tangy, hot and filled with fall-apart-with-a-fork lamb.

When it came to ordering dessert there wasn’t any doubt about what would be ordered… another roti but this time it was filled and fired with banana and perfectly accompanied with icecream and an iced Milo. After the curry I was no longer curious about how such a basic restaurant could be award with a prestigious hat. Do yourself a favour, wait in line, order the curry and enjoy!

The Bitter: The waiting….. waiting…. And more waiting…
The Sweet: I have had dreams about that curry… undoubtedly worth the annoying wait
The Damage: Cheap as roti chips – about $20 to leave stuffed<
Oink oink,
Truffle Pig.
Mamak on Urbanspoon