Friday, 17 October 2014

Hemingway’s Manly, Manly Beach, Sydney

Manly is a suburban beach in Sydney which seems to attract every possible demographic, - tourists, sunbathers, families and people like us who want to get away from city centre and meander along its coastal sidewalks.

View from our seats by the window

We had read about Hemingway’s Manly, a little spot on North Steyne, overlooking Manly beach. It’s a restaurant, café, bar. Yup, whatever you want something to drink or eat, you’ll likely find it here. Hemingway himself would approve of the hours, - opening from morning until late most nights.

The décor is library chic by the bar, and a relaxed beach vibe in front. There was a passage stencilled on the wall from a Hemingway novel describing a scene at a bar, where the protagonist played dice and drank whiskey. I later found out it was from The Sun Also Rises, his first novel published in 1926 which established him as a literary star.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

@Milk and Honey Café, Kiama, New South Wales

I can’t believe it’s been two months since I moved to Sydney. It’s still too noisy, too crowded and too brash. It’s disconcerting that Auckland seemed so metropolitan after Christchurch (and Palmerston North), and now Sydney is another rung on the city scale.

I needed to get away from the city-ness, and so for my birthday, BL took me on a day trip to Kiama. Kiama is a seaside town, 1½ hour south of Sydney and is famous for two blowholes. The blowholes are a geological phenomenon caused by the erosion of basalt rock within volcanic latite rock. The erosion produces a chamber and a collapsed headland forming the blowhole. Waves build up the pressure in the chamber until the seawater erupts through the blowhole. We saw some ‘geysers’, but the photos in the Visitors Centre showed just how tremendous these geysers can be with the right waves.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Noodle Night Market 2014, Hyde Park, Sydney

October is Good Food Month in Sydney, a designated month for gastronomy and gluttony.  There are events galore, special menus, and Sydney seems overrun with celebrity chefs. The headliner is Yotam Ottolenghi, and seriously, who doesn’t love Ottolenghi? I am a huge fan of his wonderfully spiced recipes, but I balk at the over $200 price tag to experience the maestro in chef mode (if the tickets weren’t sold out).

If you’re like me, the most accessible event during Good Food Month is the Noodle Night Market which runs nightly from 10 – 26 October in Hyde Park. There are 43 different vendors, a lot of dumplings and baos, deep-fried morsels and yes, there were even some noodles in the mix. But dumplings and baos rule the roost.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Mamak, Haymarket, Sydney

The first place I made a beeline for when I arrived in Sydney was Mamak. Many years ago (8 years?), Mamak was a fresh face on the food scene and stole the show with their expert displays of roti dough twirling. It is really the best part of ordering roti canai; watching the roti canai maestro twirl the flattened dough in the air several times until it is stretched paperthin, then cooking the folded dough on a hot grill until it is flaky and crisp on the outside. It looks easy enough, but there are very few Malaysian eateries which have mastered this staple of the Malaysian cuisine.

Mamak is a Malay word which refers to the Indian Muslim community, and also denotes the delicious food that this community is famous for. The range of Mamak food is difficult to find in Kuching, where I grew up, due to the very small Indian population, but we always have roti canai.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Moved to Sydney!

Sydney Opera House lit up during Vivid
For those who have been wondering why so few posts in the last couple of months, and why the posts on Sydney eats, it is all because I made the big move to Sydney a month ago. The fiancé, BL, took up an opportunity to transfer within his company in March. After many negotiations, I resigned from my job, sold the house and Sam the beagle is happily ensconced with a new family (who is loving him to bits).

Sam meeting Daniel, his new buddy 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Eating Vietnamese in Cabramatta, Sydney

When I visited Sydney a couple of weeks ago, BL and I spent a couple of afternoons eating our way around Cabramatta, which, for the uninitiated, is the Vietnamese epicentre of Sydney and located an hour by train west of the CBD.

Seriously, you’ll feel as if you’re back in Hanoi, albeit, without all the motorbikes and street stalls. Oh, and the heat… okay, you’re not back in Hanoi, but let’s just say you could pretend you’re in a very orderly Vietnamese city.

There are dozens of restaurants once you step onto the main street of Cabramatta. When we visited on a Saturday, most had queues out the door. Our first mission was to find a bowl of life-affirming phở bò, which is why we could not go past a restaurant that advertises ‘Pho for everyone’. We squeezed in between the small tables laden with steaming bowls of noodle goodness, and was lucky to get a table as there was just the two of us. The menu is on a signboard on the wall, and with a choice of phở, phở or more phở. The small bowls are a steal at < $10.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Instant noodles challenge

I always thought instant noodles were desperation rations for those days when I can’t be bothered to cook, or go to the supermarket, okay, when I can’t even be motivated to leave the house. And it’s certainly not something you brag about eating… even though Indomie mi goreng can be strangely addictive....

Then I chanced upon, and found a whole instant noodle subculture. There are people who blog about these lowliest of foods. Seriously. Guess what, there are some really good instant noodles out there. And the part which truly blew me away was a good number of these impressive ramen came from Malaysia and Singapore. No. Freaking. Way.

How did I miss all this? After a study of the Top 10, BL and I decided to see if we could track a few of them down in Sydney, and found them in the various Vietnamese Supermarkets in Cabramatta where we were visiting for lunch (Prima Taste instant noodles are available at Tai Ping Supermakets, and MyKuali is available from e-pacs in Auckland). These were the three contenders which we picked for the challenge:
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