Hawker | Malaysian Street Food – Sydney CBD

In Malaysia, hawker food is King. The best food in Malaysia isn’t found in fine dining restaurants but on the street-side coffee shops, food halls and food carts set up by the roadside. Most of the hawkers are poor, hard workers with little to no education, hence setting up a food stall is the only way to make a living. By selling the same dish over and over again for decades, many hawkers had honed their skills and perfected their own signature dishes. That’s why Malaysians love hawker food and have the nose to sniff out the best ones around town. When a new Malaysian restaurant named Hawker just popped up in Sydney recently, many of us hoping that this place will be the answer to all our cravings for Malaysian hawker food.   Hawker is the sister restaurant to the forever heaving Mamak restaurant on Goulburn Street. This new restaurant doubled the space of Mamak, situated on Sussex Street where Kofoo Korean Food once lived. There is no highly energetic roti twirling action by the front window, but a more subdue slow pace crepe Apam Balik station. This restaurant definitely has the vibe of a hawker centre, is loud, is noisy, faux melamine tables (at least is not greasy) and hard wooden chairs that my bum went numb after sitting for so long. Just like Mamak, the menu is short with a few Malaysian classics and a few rare ones that you don’t normally find in Australia. I am already eyeing a few dishes that I would like to try, and between the two of us, we are ready for a feast. First to arrive is the...

Three Lanes Seven Alleys – Haymarket, Sydney

(小吃 – Xiao Chi ) means “small eat”, it is a popular food culture in China (I know that because I have just visited that country recently) where you don’t feel like a big meal but just want something light. It can be street food where you just grab and go, or hanging out with a group of friends in a cafe house to share a few small plates with. Either way, this popular food culture has finally reached our shore and now you can also try a few Fujian specialties here at Three Lanes Seven Alleys, a new eatery recently opened on Dixon Street at Haymarket Chinatown. The restaurant name is derived from the historical street district in Fuzhou, Fujian province, the Three Lanes and Seven Alleys is the largest well-preserved historical heritage site in China, with the layout dates back to the Tang (618-907AD) and Song (960-1279AD) dynasties, almost 1,000 years ago. It is a popular tourist spot where many flock here to admire the ancient architecture while chowing down some local snack food. “Ni Hao!” The waitstaffs greet us enthusiastically (and loudly) as soon as we step into the restaurant. The decor is simple but effective, the famous Fuzhou street scene is chalked on the black walls, mismatch funky furnitures are scattered around the dining area and make sure to pay a visit of the restroom, you will feel like walking through a zen garden with pebbles pavers. We are sitting right at the back of the restaurant and occasionally we will get a waft of that distinctive pungent stench coming from the kitchen which we can’t quite put our fingers around it; until we read the menu and figured out what the smell was....

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken – Sydney CBD

We have just finished a 3-hour Karaoke session and perhaps a little tipsy after a few drinks, so it makes perfect sense to go and look for some greasy food to offset the alcohol. I ain’t craving for shish kebab, meat pie, gravy chips or Turkish gozleme; I want to slap my face with one of those humungous piece of golden fried chicken that everyone’s been talking about. Good thing is that the shop is only a stone throw away from George Street, so we follow the smell of deep frying wafting through the air and find ourselves at Hot Star large fried chicken shop on Liverpool Street. Taiwan is famous for street food and I am just so glad that they finally slowly make their way to our shore here in Sydney. While Sydneysiders are still can’t get enough of Xiao Long Bao, Gua Bao, Bubble Tea and Herbal Dessert; a new kind of street food made famous in Taipei Shi-Lin Night Market is now the new kid on the block – deep fried chicken (steak) that is larger than your face, or a chihuahua. Hot Star came with few different franchise locations, currently only one in Sydney and two in Melbourne. The Sydney branch tend to get rather busy on a Saturday night, seems like everyone has the same idea as me, to munch on some fried chicken after a big night out.   For $7.90, you get to choose your chicken in “original” or “crispy”, then you also get to choose the seasoning that you want on your chicken – spicy chilli powder, salt and pepper, or plum salt. I like my food...

Mr Wong. – Sydney CBD

Many moons ago, me and Helen shared a meal together at Mr Wong. This restaurant is shy from public eye and tucked in the back alleyway that is Bridge Lane, but that doesn’t stop food aficionados to track it down for a good feast of modern Cantonese fair. This restaurant is always full so best to make a reservation in advance if you want to make sure there is a table ready for you. But that night must be our lucky night as it was an impromptu dinner for us; we walked straight in and scored ourselves a seat at the communal bar table. The restaurant is massive, converted from a former nightclub, the venue can house close to 240-seats over two levels. It is not your typical cheap and cheerful Chinese restaurant, the clienteles here are mostly businessmen from the financial district, hence you would expect to pay a little bit more for the food. Led by executive chef Dan Hong, you can pretty much expect the menu to be a little unconventional. The dishes may sounds familiar, but are they? We clinked glasses to some pre-dinner drinks; not Chinese jasmine tea but fusion Asian cocktails featuring fruit, herb and spice found in different regions of China.We tried Hainan province cocktail which is a concoction of Otokoyame sake with Paraiso lychee liquor, rhubarb bitters and homemade ginger syrup; a refreshing sweet cocktail with a subtle heat of ginger; and also Anhui province cocktail; an intriguing cocktail of using hoisin bitters which gave it a savoury note amongst the complex flavours of Wyborowa vodka, sochu, lemon juice, lemongrass, ginger, shiso leaves and a Sapporo top; yep, beer...

Lynn Shanghai Cuisine – Sydney CBD

“You sure you want pig ears?” The manager, Theresa, couldn’t believe it when I order pig ears for the group of six of us; she looks at me and then at the other four caucasians in the group. I reassure her that yes, I would like to order pigs ears and yes, they will eat it. I guess I am pushing the envelope, I know my Caucasian friends (including The Pom himself) will give it a try, but to actually enjoy it is another question. I guess we will soon find out. If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you would have known that I set up this little group called Gay Boys Supper Club (G.B.S.C) where just a bunch of good friends get together for dinner outings. Sadly life has been hectic for everyone and we haven’t had the chance to meet up for quite some time until now. I finally able to round up a small group of friends to have dinner at Lynn Shanghai before we lose one of our members to Melbourne! I have to thank ChocolateSuze‘s mum for the recommendation of this restaurant. Just like her Instagram’s handler, Aunty Irene is always eating and sharing her dining adventures around Sydney with everyone. Lynn Shanghai is one of her favourite haunts so it is no surprise to find Mr and Mrs Thye are actually already in the restaurant, “kicking table leg” and having dinner. Lynn Shanghai has been established for 7 years but somehow it has been staying under the radar and not many people actually know its existence. You probably have walked past...