Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Taste of Shanghai - Eastwood

If you have read my blog for a while now, you would have realised that I love Shanghainese food. It's cheap, it's tasty, it's simply amazingly awesome.

The corner shop in Eastood on Rowe Street had changed management/restaurant ownership non-stop for a while now. This last restaurant - Taste of Shanghai - has been here for a few months. It's Ashfield counterpart is pretty yummy. I've also heard good ish reviews about this one and I was inclined to believe it... until I tried it for myself.

If you're looking for food in Eastwood - do NOT come here. I don't know if it was because we came here on a Monday, or if it was the time of the day that failed for us (3 ish pm) but everything was just wrong!

One of my favourite dishes is normally the Bean Starch with Shredded Chicken ($5). Normally, the noodles are thick, cold and chewy with an awesome slurpy smooth texture. This... well - the noodles were soooooo over-cooked and soggy that it was pretty much moosh. The sauce was watery and didn't taste like much. Not much chicken or cucumber involved. And one word describes it - YUK!

Bean Starch with Shredded Chicken - $5

My mum wanted the pan-fried pork buns ($9.80). These looked pretty poor in presentation - as though they were leftovers from lunch time (or worse, the day before). And instead of being pan-fried slowly, you could definately tell from the super hard crunch that the bottoms of the buns were just deep-fried (for convenience sake). Disappointing

Shanghai Style Pan Fried Pork Buns - $9.80

Another thing we ordered was the Egg Pancake with Deep Fried Dough Stick ($5.80). The deep-fried dough stick was obviously re-deep fried. There was hardly any egg involved and the floury pancake was WAAAAYYY too thick and WAAAYYY too tasteless. It was pretty bad - really.

Egg Pancake with Deep Fried Dough Stick - $5.80

Last but not least, the Pumpkin Pancakes ($7.80). Pumpkin on the outside, red bean paste on the inside and deep fried with sesame seeds sprinkled on top. My dad said it was decent. Appearance-wise, it again looked like leftovers re-heated.

Pumpkin Pancakes - $7.80

So all up - service was poor, food was slightly aweful, ambiance was OK and price? It wasn't the cheapest Shanghainese food in town. So yeh - DON'T come here (atleast not in non-lunch hours).

Food - 2/10
Service - 2/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 5/10
Overall - 16/40

Taste of Shanghai
200 Rowe St
NSW 2122

Tel: (02) 9804 0388

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hong Ha Hot Bread - Mascot

What's making soooooooooooooo many people line up on Saturday (and every other day of the week too)? It's bread rolls. Not just any bread rolls but Hong Ha bread rolls.

Hong Ha Hot Bread

Now, when people generally get viet rolls for lunch (or dinner or a snack), most tend to get pork rolls. I think it's because people like variety and when you get pork rolls, you tend to get three different types of pork slices - along with the creamy white pork lard stuff they put on - compared to just chicken in the chicken rolls. And they're normally right - the pork rolls tend to be super tasty.

True anywhere - but at Hong Ha - the big deal is actually the chilli chicken rolls. My partner, who works at Qantas - really close to Hong Ha, vouches for these chilli chicken rolls - talks them up, and tells me that at their work, they do chilli chicken roll runs where they order hundreds of these rolls. So logically, I just had to make my partner take me here so I can experience what it's all about.

When we got there, line was already long! And alot of people in front of us ordered the Pork roll. But when 100s and 100s of Qantas staff have nothing but the chilli chicken rolls, well, we have to look at the bigger picture and go with the bigger majority. So a chicken roll I got.

Chilli chicken roll - $4.50

I was not dissappointed. The bread roll itself was super crispy, fresh and crunchy, but soft and fluffy inside. There was a whole heap of chicken, carrots, onions, tomato, a long slice of cucumber, and ofcourse - the taste of that lard stuff and that special sauce stuff that they put on top to make it all taste tip top awesomeness. And who can ignore that chilli? (Just me I guess as I got it with no chilli... but my partner's one was HEAPED with chilliness). All this with a drink for just $5.50 (or $4.50 with no drink).

So it tasted awesome, it was quick (once you got to the counter), and it was cheap. No wonder the hundreds of Qantas staff go for chilli chicken roll runs :P

Food - 9/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 30/40

Hong Ha Hot Bread
1151 Botany Road
NSW 2020
tel: (02) 9667 2069

Saturday, November 27, 2010

North and South Gourmet - Carlingford

After church, my friends and I typically go to lunch. Lunch which starts around 2-3pm for around 20-40 people means that we often visit the food court at Carlingford Village. In particular, mostly all of my friends buy from ONE of the takeaways (the one on the right), and from experience, when there's an influx of that many people ordering at the same time, it often means that it takes more than half and hour before we get our food.

As such, my partner and I have recently switched tacts - we buy takeaway from North and South Gourmet and bring it back to the foodcourt to eat with our friends. As we're normally there after 2pm, it means that we're in time for afternoon tea sets - bargain~!

There is a choice of quite a few meals for a measly $6 with a drink. BUT - you add $1 for cold drinks and 50c for takeaway. So, that adds up to $14.50 for the two of us - two meals and two drinks - which is pretty decent. For this particular Sunday, my partner decided to order steamed rice noodle rolls with beef brisket whereas I opted for instant noodles with egg and sausages. Drink-wise, it's pretty averagely decent - my lemon ice tea and my partner's coffee with milk tea mix - both good.

iced lemon tea and iced coffee with tea mix

My partner's rice noodle roll (churn fun) with beef brisket looked slightly average. Presentation is poor but the beef briskets seem tender and there was enough sauce to tastify the noodle rolls.

rice noodle roll with beef brisket

My instant noodles with egg and sausages were likewise OK. It's not authentic instant noodles (Nissin ramen), nor is it authentic instant noodle soup base. But - for $6, I'll take it!

egg and sausage instant noodles

Food - 6.5/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 26.5/40

North & South Gourmet
Shop G2 Carlingford Village
372 Pennant Hills Rd
NSW 2118
tel: (02) 9871 2819

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mission Restaurant and Bar - Chippendale

For an early Christmas dinner with old uni friends, we went to Mission Bar and Restaurant in Chippendale. My friend organised the private function - meaning a private upstairs room with art surrounding us (the Ng Art Gallery featuring Mariola Smarzak's work, Cantata). Lucky for us, our private dining room was slightly sound-proof in that the people downstairs are unable to hear the ruckus we were making :)

To start, we got warm flat lavosh bread with super yummy olive oil emulsion. The lavosh bread was suprisingly floury, but because it was warm and mixed really well with the olive oil, salt and pepper (or maybe, because I was hungry), I thought it was really pretty good.

lavosh bread with olive oil

On our function menu, we had a choice of either chicken liver parfait with caramelised eschallots and chargrilled bread (which I chose), or baby beetroot salad with roasted pecans, grapefruit and goats curd (which my partner chose). Some of my friends managed to get a third option of zucchini flower fritters. My chicken liver parfait was smooth and really rich. Not overly livery, it was subtly tasty - but only when slathered on the bread. Tasted better with the caramelised eschallots which adds a good balance to the whole thing. My partner's salad was pretty big - sure, not the most bling or flash, but I guess it was decently fresh and well seasoned.

chicken liver parfait with caramelised eschallots and chargrilled bread

baby beetroot salad with raosted peacans, ruby red grapefruit and goats curd

For the main, we had the choice of either a Chermoula baked blue eye trevella or a slow roasted lamb shoulder. My fish was cooked well - not too tough, it was still tender and seasoned well. It was sitting on top of a bed of pinenuts, raisins, parsley and preserved lemon curd. I loved the pinenuts, was ok with the parsley, and picked out all the raisins LOL. My partner's lamb was HUGEEEEEEE. It was lamb shoulder shredded with green cardamon, chilli and tahini. Didn't look appetising to me, but my partner said that it was good - just waaaaayyy too much of it :)

chermoula baked blue eye trevella with pinenuts, raisins, parsley and preserved lemon
slow roasted lamb shoulder with green cardamon, chilli and tahini

We had an interesting range of sides to share : green salad and rice. Nothing too exciting.

rice and salad

So the service was pretty good in that they didn't kick us out even with all the noise we were making. The ambiance was good. The food was decent. Overall - pretty good.

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 28.5/40

Mission Restaurant and Bar
3 Little Queen Street
NSW 2008
Tel:(02) 9318 0815

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sushi Tengoku - Kensington

GIANT sushi? Sushi Tengoku is one of the first places that pop into my mind when I think of Giant sushi. Located just on Anzac Parade, it is a popular hang-out for UNSWers. I found it kind of funny how even after leaving uni, we can come back to popular uni-hangouts AND still bump into lots of people you used to know from uni LOL

Sushi Tengoku

My partner left the ordering to me - and so, I picked what I wanted to eat. California big roll ($12) was on my agenda. Big round chunk of eight slices of crab stick, fish roe, lettuce, cucumber, avocado and mayo appeared in front of us. "Is this one or two rolls?" asked my partner - it was just one. Extremely extremely filling.

california roll - $12

Seafood salad ($9) was also in our picks. So it's not as huge as that at Sushi Suma, it was still a decent-sized salad of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, sashimi cubes and a smooth tasty mildly spicy dressing. It was really quite appetising - the type of salad that makes you continually eat it. The dressing was soooo smooth - feels like egg is mixed in with it. Makes the sashimi cubes nice and slimy, with sesame seeds sprinkled on top. Last time we were here, we had the avocado salad. I remember that the avocado salad was pretty decent too :)

seafood salad - $9

We came to Sushi Tengoku for giant sushi - and so, we couldn't leave without having giant sushi! We ordered 3 types of sushi nigiri - the salmon ($3.50 each), the kaibasira (aka sea scallops - $3.50 each), and the unagi ($4 each). Each of these were huge gigantic thick slices of salmon/unagi/scallop, wacked onto a normal sized rice ball. Though not stacked as nicely as before, the scallops were my favourite - big and juicy and lots of it! The salmon was really really good. Thickly cut - it feels as though you are eating fresh sashimi (until you get to the rice).

salmon sushi nigiri - $3.50
kaibasira sea scallop - $3.50

unagi - $4

All up, Sushi Tengoku is pretty good. Sure, service is not the best and I imagine that if you come in peak times, you'll get noisy rowdy uni students. But for the freshness and the hugeness of the servings, it's probably worth the noise :P

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 6.5/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 30/40

Sushi Tengoku
121 Anzac Parade
NSW 2033
tel: (02) 9663 3388

Eats on the Plane

Sydney's cheapest McDouble can be found at the airport~ :)

I'm quite a big fan of Maccas (which really puzzles some of my friends because they don't understand how I can appreciate super high end expensive 3-hat food and still enjoy super oily greasy random fastfood) and of late, I have been taking quite a liking to their McValue menu. Particularly, I was in love with the 'deluxe cheeseburge' when it used to be out (cheeseburger with lettuce instead of pickles... omg yum!), and now, I love their McDouble - not only for it's price, but also for it's greasy meaty tastiness.

Amazingly, I got my McDouble - my two beef patties, slice of cheese, tomato relish and pickles all encased in two super sugared up buns - for $1.80!!! Why? Cos my awesome partner has staff discount - all 20c worth LOL . Laughs aside though, the McDouble I had at the airport is pretty much by far the greasiest oiliest McDouble I've had...


As we were on the night flight from Sydney to Hong Kong, we were fed with a supper and a breakfast.

For supper, my partner opted for a bowl of spiced braised beef and noodle soup with hot bean paste whereas I went for the seared suzuki mulloway with black olive butter, steamed potatoes and asparagus. This was served with a green leaf salad with feta and snow peas. The salad was pretty average. I'm not a huge fan of fetta so to me - it was just a green salad with qantas vinaigrette. My partner seemed to enjoy his noodles OK - it was a bit red but he said that it wasn't chilli. My fish was a little overdone (but what do you expect when they have to reheat it in an oven?) - and just slightly bland I think.

greens with feta and snow peas
spiced braised beef and noodle soup
seared suzuki mulloway

For dessert, my partner had the cheese plate whereas I had a mango and coconut ice-cream with mango sauce. The air hostess apologised profusely for my melted icecream. Horrible presentation aside, I thought it actually tasted really nice~ Like a weiss bar... but with coconut instead of cream! YUM :) In retrospect - I definately should have asked for more hehe :)

cheese plate
mango and coconut ice-cream

Breakfast on the way there was a bit of a downer - they only had a continental breakfast menu to choose from. Ticking away, I had the croissant, a citris fruit bowl, and a hot chocolate. Odd combination - yes, but after a long plane ride, I was feeling a bit too gluggy to care. Afterall, we landed in HK at 4am! Yes - NOTHING was open - not even the buses or the airport express!!! Well, actually, 7/11 was open.

croissant, a citris fruit bowl, hot chocolate

We again caught the night flight back from HK to Sydney. Here, we were served with dinner, instead of supper - which really means you get a choice of entree. My partner opted for a prosciutto and bocconcini salad whereas I opted for soup. I have to say, my soup - which is a duck and taro soup - was one of the weirdest oddest soups I've drank. Why? Well, I normally don't have taro in my soup... However, my partner's prosciutto looked appetising :)

prosciutto and bocconcini salad
duck and taro soup

For mains, I had a roast chicken with creamy sauce, potatoes and beans. My partner had a salmon with rice with bok choi. Remembering my previous experiences with airplane fish, I was happily gobbling down my juicy tender chicken with creamy sauce. YUM :)

roasted chicken
salmon and rice with asian greens

For dessert, it was some sort of cake with fruity bits in it. Don't quite remember what fruits - but it was something I didn't really want to eat. And so, I let my partner have the cake, and I took my fruits. There were meant to be grapes, but as I didn't want grapes, I got extra pineapple! Score! :)

cake and cream
fresh fruit

Breakfast this time did include hot options. My partner went for his museli and fruit and yoghurt and toast whereas I had my creamy eggs, sausages, smoked salmon and potato hash. Between the two of us, we probably ticked close to everything (bread and pastries aside)... but nothing of ours was the same. We have such opposite tastes but I guess that's when they say - opposites attract! Atleast we won't be fighting for food :) In all honesty, the breakfast is GOOD. If it wasn't for me feeling so tired and exhausted and gluggy, I probably would have enjoyed it much much more.

toast, fruit and yoghurt, museli with milk

scrambled creamy eggs, smoked salmon, sausages and hash

Rockpool inspired or not - my plane food experience this time was slightly average ish. Could be better but hey - it's food on a plane so what should I expect?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Japanese food in HK

There are HUGE selections of Jap food in HK. These range from high-class Jap restaurants with harbour views, moderately priced casual Jap restaurants, wwwaaaayyyy too many sushi trains, as well as uber awesome sushi (singular and platters) that you can just pluck from your everyday supermarkets.

Whereas my partner and I usually go crazy on Jap food, on our most recent trip, we didn't get the chance to. Instead, we settled for the casual restaurants, sushi trains and supermarket-variety sushi... which really wasn't bad either! :)

Sashimi set from Kaneda (in Wan Chai)

terriyaki beef from Kaneda
grilled pork neck from Kaneda
Camquat in coke from Watami
Soft shell crab salad from Watami
beef tongue from Watami
mixed rolls from Watami
Potato mornay from Watami
Scallop sushi from Itamae
Salmon sushi from Itamae
Crab roe salad from Itamae
California roll from Itamae
Soft shell crab roll from Itamae
Lobster ship and cheesy flying fish roe ship from Itamae
Unagi sushi from Itamae
Sushi platter from Marketplace (supermarket in Langham)

So the verdict? Well, at some places, the sashimi and sushi is not as fresh or tasty as it is in Sydney (or atleast some parts of Sydney) but... Why is it so cheap?!?!?!

Kaneda Japanese Restaurant - 1/F, Fraser Suites, 74-80 Johnston Road, Wan Chai

Watami - www.watami.com.hk

Itamae sushi -
Shop 1-3, G/F., Excelsior Plaza, Yee On Bldg., 24-26 East Point Rd., Causeway Bay, Hong Kong