Monday, May 31, 2010

Rhodes Phoenix (2) - Rhodes

We were eating dinner at Rhodes Phoenix with a purpose. It was a slightly scary moment for both my partner and I. So scary, in fact, that I felt nervous in pulling out my camera and demanding for each dish to be snapped before being touched. And... as such, not every dish was snapped LOL

These are the photos I could manage on the night. More than just these dishes were ordered but I guess, the overall gist was - the food was good.

As we got seated, the big decision of ordering food was placed on us. I knew my partner silently wanted lobster... but... it was pricey and hence, forgone. Instead, we ordered a live fish variety ($98/kg). This was cooked two ways. One was filleted and stir-fried with veges. The other type was deep-fried then sauced over. I have to say - the fish was really really good. It was tasty. It was sweet. It was really tender. I personally prefered the lighter, less sauced-up version as I think that the sweetness of the fish really shines through. My partner preferred the sauced-up version. Whilst it had bones galore, it was really really tasty.

Fish cooked 2-ways

My choice for the night was a prawn and vermicelli hot pot. This didn't turn out as I had expected. I had expected it to come out in a brown sauce and for it to be drier. But - it came out looking white and soupy. It still tasted pretty good though. Just different to my expectations I guess.

Prawn with vermicelli

Another dish I managed to photograph was the soy-sauce chicken. I like my soy sauce chicken completely drenched in soy sauce, but that's not how normal people like it. Most people probably prefer it like this - tender tasty chicken with soy sauced skin.

soy sauced chicken

There was also a tofu vege hotpot. This was pretty normal. The good thing about it was that it wasn't drenched in inch-thick oil nor was it msg-loaded.

tofu hot pot

The last dish I managed to snap was a pork chop dish cooked in a sweet ish sauce. It was actually pretty crunchily nice on the outside and when eaten with crisp deep-fried seaweed, it was actually pretty damn good.


Other dishes we ordered on the night include stir-fried pork neck and wasabi-ish flavoured beef.
These were both pretty decent.

My overall impression of the restaurant was good. The dishes came out hot, tasty and not packed full of MSG. The portion sizes were likewise good. Ambiance is awesome (for a Chinese restaurant) and the service was so so.

Will we be back? I believe so - along with over 300 wedding guests I believe.

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall - 30.5/40

Rhodes Phoenix
Level 5, Rhodes Shopping Centre
1 Rider Boulevard
NSW 2138
Tel: (02) 9739 6628

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Taste of Shanghai (3) - Ashfield

For a girls catchup dinner, my friends and I decided to do it cheap but tasty at Taste of Shanghai in Ashfield. As there was only 3 of us, we decided to order three dishes.

We ordered a noodle dish - the shredded duck and veges stir fried noodles. This was pretty averagely tasty. A little on the oily side. Duck didn't taste like much but... I'm a noodle fan - I like pretty much all noodles.

shredded duck noodles

We also decided to be healthy and order a vegetable dish. It turned out to be possibly the most unhealthy dish of the night! It was bok choi with tofu puffs and the layer of oil that came with this dish??? Unbelievable. I reckon it was more than 1 cm thick. Underneath all the oil, it tasted like... well... still oil LOL

veges (super oily - do not order)

Last but not least, how could we come to Ashfield, eat Shang, and not have steamed mini pork buns? The mini pork buns here were really quite good. A good flour wrap/soup/pork ratio and it was really really tasty. Pork-tasting and not overly oily.

steamed mini pork buns - $8.80

So the lesson to be learnt here? Go all out on the dumplings and the meat!

Food - 7/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 6.5/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 26.5/40

Taste of Shanghai
264 Liverpool Road
NSW 2131
tel: (02) 9798 2877

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Eats on the plane and around airports

My partner works for an airline - so to fly, we are always on Standby tickets. What this means for us, is a lot of wait, anticipation, running around, and flying to different cities before getting to our final destination.

To get to Seoul, we flew through Tokyo. To get back from Seoul, we flew through HK. So yes - that means a few more hours flight time and a few more hours in intermittent countries. But what it also meant for me was - more food!!! :)

At Narita airport in Tokyo, we stopped by for breakfast. My partner was a bit sick at this time, so foodwise, it was just me eating. I walked around and was AMAZED by the variety of jap food available. After much deliberation, I chose this little takeaway joint which offered what I thought was a GIANT sushi (for just ~ $12).

This GIANT sushi was made fresh and wrapped delicately in multi-layers. The sushi had many fillings (eg. egg, crab meat, cucumber, pork floss, capsicum etc etc etc). It was basically impossible to fit in my mouth. It was pretty crazy. It was extremely tasty and extremely filling. After eating three pieces, I was pretty much gone LOL. Yummy though - so I pushed on and expanded my waist line :)

GIANT sushi

On the way back, in HK airport, my partner ordered a pork-chop rice from Maxim. The pork-chop was actually very tender. Super tomatoey in terms of the sauce and overall, seemed well-balanced and was super delicious. Not bad really.

baked pork-chop rice

I opted for something that I miss from Sydney - good quality asian dessert. At the airport, there was Hui Lau San dessert house. My partner chose the pompello mango coconut sago dessert. It was really rich in coconutty flavour, had lots of mango in it, and also a mango sorbet which made the dessert nicely icey and added another texture element. Delicious!!!

pompello mango coconut sago

But not as delicious as my drink! My aloe, mango, coconut sago drink is simply AWESOME~ I could drink this daily. The aloe jelly is smooth, the mango puree is thick and rich and sweet and the coconut flavour really blends and pushes everything together to make what possibly is the world's best drink :)

aloe, mango, coconut sago drink

So that was our airport adventure. What did we get served on the plane?

On the way to Tokyo, upon Qantas, we had a choice of mushroom chicken with pumpkin puree and beands or the pork udon. I chose the pork and udon. The pork was sweet and sour but the udon was bland and somewhat rubbery. Mmmm... not that great. Hence, I stole bits of my partner's chicken and mushroom. This was creamy and tasty. I didn't touch the pumpkin though :P

dinner on Qantas
pork with udon
chicken and mushroom with pumpkin puree

As it was an overnight flight, we also got breakfast on the plane. There was a choice of salmon fish cake with rice, or the hot breakfast with egg, sausage, potato stacks, sauteed spinach and roasted tomato. The asian salmon fish cake pattie was... umm.... weird? Fishy in taste but the texture was rough and not quite right. And the rice was stickier than normal. My western breakfast was not much better. No escaping from the airplane type feel - oily yet bland.

Jap style breakfast
Western breakfast

So airplane food on Qantas didn't meet my fancy, but on the way to Seoul from Tokyo, we boarded JAL. The meal on JAL was pretty WOW. We actually got a bento box comprising of diced salmon, pickled veges, egg and salmon roe, egg and fish cake on the bottom right hand corner, and a japanese green tea jelly and tin peach on the upper right hand corner. I was pretty blown away. It was tasty. It was yummy. It was definately above my expectations for plane food. It also came with miso soup or green tea! Now if only their entertainment system was better...

miso soup
bento box on JAL

On the way from Seoul to HK, we went on yet another airline carrier - Cathay Pacific. The meal here was either beef with rice or chicken with rice. The rice on Cathay was better than that on Qantas. And the meat was tender and tasty. But still was oily and not 100% appetising.

meal on Cathay Pacific
beef with rice
chicken with rice

Our last leg was from HK to Sydney. Being an overnight flight again, we got dinner and breakfast. Luckily for us, we were able to get upgraded to business class. The quality of the food upon business class was much much much better than that in economy and, it was Rockpool inspired.

For dinner, entree was a choice of either drunken chicken salad or mushroom soup. My partner's drunken chicken salad was really lovely. The chicken was tender and juicy and smooth. Rich with xiaoxing wine flavour and eaten with fresh greens, it was a delight to eat.

drunken chicken salad

My mushroom soup was likewise - divine!!! Filled with mushroom flavour there were tiny blended mushroom bits throughout. This gourmet mushroom was really smooth and really creamy and really really mushroomily tasty. The accompanying salad was fresh and the bread was soft and fluffy and worked well with my soup.

mushroom soup

Next was the main. My partner opted for the beef fillet. He said that his steak was better than some he'd eaten from restaurants. That's a big call! The beef was cooked medium and had lots of beef taste and was rather juicy. He liked it and gobbled all of it.

beef fillet

I chose the salmon fillet encrusted with herbs. The salmon was good but not excellent. A tiny bit dry and slightly bland, it was still pretty good for airplane standards. I liked the veges though. The potato was yummy and the asparagus was clean and non-oily.

herb-crusted salmon

And for dessert, my partner ordered the cheese platter whereas I ordered the fruit platter. Fruit platter is pretty norm - watermelon, rockmelon, pineapple. The cheese platter was also pretty good. I liked the tasty cheese. But the blue cheese was waaaaaayyy to strong for my liking :)

Cheese platter

In terms of breakfast, we could tick as much or as little as we liked from a list of food. My partner's choice breakfast was beans, sauteed spinach, smoked salmon, tomato, toast, fruit salad, orange juice and coffee. My choice was similar - sausages, scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, spinach, pork and chive bun, juice and coffee. Everything was pretty decent. However, my eggs were slightly overly creamy and the bun was really thick floury.

breakfast on Qantas

So all up, we've had some good and some bad plane meals. And though we had to wait excess time at different airports, we got to sample meals from Japan and Hong Kong :)

Eating our way through Seoul (2)

Now during our time in Seoul, we didn't manage to eat Korean food everytime - especially not at breakfasts (as we woke up late) and not at themeparks. So instead, we ate bread and burgers and buffets :P

First off - I have to say that Koreans really lucky to have have much much better coffee compared to Sydney-siders. The coffees, both hot or cold, is simply divine. Full of rich coffee flavour, smooth and really, just deliciousness. They also have super yummy rich smooth super chocolately milk. Mmmm...

chocolate milk
iced mocha
iced latte
hot latte

There are lots of bread bakeries in Seoul which serve deliciously soft yummy flavoured buns. One of the buns I had was this sausage hot dog type bun. Frankfurt in the middle, lots of mustard, topped with melty cheese and really soft yummy bread. Winner for me :) I'll be happy to eat it for breakfast all the time.

hot dog bun

At Everland (theme park in Seoul), we opted for a burger joint. My partner chose the Premium Big Burger whereas I opted for something lighter (we were going on crazy rollercoasters and stuff). The burger tasted... healthy! OMG - no excess dripping oil. The patty was still juicy. It was an okay good burger. My chicken popcorn pieces was also very yummy. Similar to KFC popcorn chicken but less greasy. Everything else was pretty average.

burger cafe
popcorn chicken
premium big burger

Now onto gourmet burgers. One burger joint which is present all over town is Kraze Burger. The burger here was served on a super super fluffy soft yet crisp bun. Everything was executed well. All the flavours blended well together. And it felt really healthy. My only qualm about it was the beef patty. It was a bit grainy - didn't stick together as well... probably coz it's premium and does not have much fat in it. Suits well for a change for a healthy diet I guess :P

Kraze Burger

The dinner of choice for our last night in Seoul was a seafood and sushi buffet at Todai in Myeongdong. What can I say? I was completely flabergasted by the huge array of choice at this place. I was soooo blown away! There was a whole huge aisle of sushi - every kind of sushi I could image pretty much. Unfortunately, whilst there was so much food - the quanty almost overwhelming - the quality of the food was only average. In fact, the salmon sashimi tasted frozen and slightly watery. But other sashimis (such as the flat fish and the white fish) was much much sweeter and better textured. In all, seafood in Seoul is just a so so. But we were impressed by the amount and variety of food offered. Maybe if Todai was in Sydney (with Sydney standard seafood), it will be a complete winner!

Todai sushi bar
sashimi, suchi and antipasto veges
mussel, seafood pastry, prawn and pork ribs
sushi galore, pork belly, clam skewer, seafood stirfry, tuna tataki
fresh seafood stirfry, pan fried beef, fried prawns, prawn tempura
alaskan crab
prawns, ribs, chicken wings, eel
crab mushroom soup
deep fried stuff
freshly cooked seafood pasta - super YUM :P
cream of mushroom and chive soup - super super YUM
dessert plate