Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chinese Noodle Restaurant 2, Town Hall

Have you ever walked past Chinese Noodle Restaurant at the Prince Centre in Haymarket with the plastic grapes inside and the violin player at the front? And it's sister restaurant (Chinese Noodle House) on the right that looks exactly the same in everything except for the name? Well the same restaurant has recently opened another branch further up in the Town Hall area on Bathurst Street called Chinese Noodle Restaurant 2. Or Chinatown Noodle Restaurant according to the sign at the front...in Town Hall. Though the restaurant menu listed it as Chinese Noodle Restaurant. Confusing much? Thankfully the confusion ends there with it's expansive menu of yummy dishes. Since I don't go to the Haymarket/Chinatown area as much except for Friday evenings and weekends, it was a delight seeing this restaurant slightly closer to where I work.

Chinese Noodle Restaurant and it many other branches across the city specialises in Northern Chinese cuisine particularly from the Xinjiang region. This includes the popular steamed, pan-fried and boiled dumplings as well as epically large servings of hand made noodles. 

For some reason, I always have cravings for pan-fried dumplings and pork buns. Here, it was the crisp base that is always the winning element for me. When you order dumplings, you get the choice of ordering the full amount or half of it. While I ordered the half-servings, it was still got me filled up thanks to the doughy texture. With these pork buns, be careful when you attempt to bite into them because hot broth can squirt out from the top! I learned it the hard way...

Pan-fried Pork Buns (5 p - $5.50, 10 p - $9.80)

I guess it didn't help when we also ordered the renowned handmade noodles. This version is stir fried with capsicum, onion, mushroom, celery and your choice of meat (I went with lamb lol). If you only want to order one dish here, this should do you good for lunch and dinner. If you want to order many dishes, bring a few friends because the serving size is suitable for at least 2-4 people. As for the noodles, they were too greasy for my liking but the texture of the handmade noodles is thick, soft and chewy - which is what I loved in this dish. Been addicted to handmade noodles for a while and this is one of my fave places for this type of food so far.

Xin-Jiang Hand-made Stir-Fried Noodles with Lamb ($10.80)

After reading through the menu and wanting to try some of their dishes, I returned for a second visit a few weeks later. In Northern Chinese cuisine, one of their well known food was a hamburger-like bun filled with your choice of meat. I've seen a similar version elsewhere but was disappointed by it however this version was so tasty and addictive. This version was also toasted which adds a crunch as you bite into the bun. The meat was fairly tender with bursts of spices in its flavour. Will consider order this again next time.

 Toasted Xi'an Bun with Lamb ($6.50)

While I did order a half serving of 6 pieces, I was pretty surprised when the full load of 12 dumplings arrived to the table. Like the pan-fried pork buns, these dumplings have that crispy bottom that I prefer as well as the piping hot broth. I also enjoyed the filling of the dumpling as it was tender and juicier than dumplings at some other restaurants where the texture of the same filling was tough. The dumpling dough was thick so this gets you full very fast even if you order just this one dish alone, half-servings or not.

Lightly Pan-fried Pork and Chive Dumplings (6 p - $5.50, 12 p - $9.80)

That crispy pan-fried dumpling base!

These noodles may not look pretty but of course it's the taste that matters the most. This certainly delivers with this particular dish. The minced pork scattered on the handmade noodles reminded me of spaghetti bolognaise. This is combined with fresh sliced cucumber that tastes nice together once the amount of minced meat, oils and carbs from the noodles gets too much to handle.

Beijing Combination Noodles with Pork Mince and Shredded Cucumber ($9.90)

The service has its ups and downs at times. While I have been greeted with a smile by the staff member sometimes, there was that mishap with the ordering of the pan fried dumplings as mentioned above but it didn't fuss me in the end. Sure the food may not look pretty or fancy, but what really matters is delivering generous portions of food and quick speed for extremely affordable prices. It's that cheap and cheerful vibe that gets me going back to this restaurant fairly often these days. And while the plastic grapes may not be hanging on the ceiling like at the Haymarket branch, the violin-playing owner pays a visit every now and then to impress the diners and anyone walking past the restaurant on the street.

Chinese Noodle Restaurant 2 (aka Chinatown Noodle Restaurant)

77 Bathurst Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Chinese Noodle Restaurant

Shop 7, 8 Quay Street, Haymarket NSW 2000
(02) 9281 9051

Chinese Noodle Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant, Chinatown

Just like how there are so many Chinese languages, there are numerous different regional Chinese cuisines. Cantonese, Shanghai, Taiwanese, Hong Kong, Xin Jiang, Fujian and many more. Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant specialises in Sichuan (aka Szechuan) cuisine. This type of cuisine emphasises on bold and strong flavours in their food especially the use of pepper, spices and garlic. It also has a surprisingly large number of branches across Sydney including two in the Haymarket area which made things very confusing when we were trying to find the restaurant. 

Apparently the restaurant we went to was the fancier looking Harbour Plaza Branch as opposed to the other Haymarket branch which was situated upstairs somewhere on Dixon Street. From the reviews it looked like most of the food was the same at all Red Chilli Group branches. Although it was a Saturday night, it wasn't too packed though still fairly noisy at times.

When your restaurant has the word 'chilli' in it's name, you know what to expect. However if you cannot handle spicy food at all, there is a guide in the menu that shows which dishes are spicier by the number of chillies next to the menu item. 

All the dishes we had were shared mainly due to huge portions of most plates. The guys were keen for the lamb with onions and cumin spice. The meat was succulent that I ended up being quite greedy and trying to grab every lamb piece for myself (and yes I love the taste of lamb). It also came with assorted veggies, cashew nuts and capsicum stir fried together along with dried chilli pieces, which added a generous amount of hotness to the dish.

Lamb with Onion and Cumin Spice ($22.30)

The prices were quite intriguing. While it looked small in the menu photo and the price was much cheaper, the portion was generous and great to share with a few friends. The noodles were slippery and spicy with the amount of chilli contained in the soup. The minced pork and cabbage on top of the noodles was my favourite part of the dish for the extra texture and meatiness when the chilli oil takes over.

Spicy Dan Dan Noodle ($6.80)

I had not tried anything with duck egg yolk before but the guys were keen on trying it. Upon seeing them coughing when they tried a piece, I was initially hesitant to try one myself however it had no effect on me. Actually I thought that it was incredibly tasty with the sticky, crispy and crumbled duck egg yolk. So addictive that I wanted to try more from this dish. The pricing was confusing since the portion was smaller than the previous dish but the price was much higher in contrast. 

Stir fried prawns with duck egg yolk ($20.80)

If the many chilli dishes scare you to bits then fear not. With the huge amount of chilli dishes that we had devoured, these mild dumplings were actually much needed to sooth our tongues. I actually had not tried boiled dumplings before but was delighted at the slightly thick, cooked dumpling skin with the hot broth inside. We still made good use of the soy sauce and vinegar for the added flavour but perfect to have if you don't like any spicy dishes. Certainly a surprise hit for the table.

Boiled Dumplings with Cabbage and Pork ($9.90)

Another relatively mild dish that we dug in was the salt and pepper squid. Thanks to its lightly crispy batter, these were popular at our table. While it was scattered with sliced capsicum, it was still fairly mild in comparison to other dishes. At $26.60, we thought it was a tad pricier compared to some other dishes with larger portions and lower prices. 

Salt and Pepper Squid ($26.60)

Recently, I returned again for another visit after seeing the amount of other dishes that I wanted to try from the menu. Been a fan of bean noodles since starting my diet earlier this year thanks to my parents' dinner suggestions.Red Chilli Sichuan's version was served cold and incredibly slippery. So slippery that sour and spicy (chilli oil) sauce was splashing every across the table including my phone screen. While the bean jelly noodles were soft and served cold, the peanuts gave it a decent crunch which was also a relief once the spiciness hits you. Again, the serving was more generous than I expected so will recommend this as a shared dish. 

Sichuan Bean Jelly with Sour and Spicy Sauce ($8.80)

The generous serving also applies to the below dish. I was so addicted to the egg yolk batter from the prawns that it got me curious enough to try the stir fried corn with salted egg yolk dish...even if though it is not doing your weight loss any favours. Still, I adored the crumbly and sticky batter that  rubs onto your tongue.

Stir-fried Corn with Salted Egg Yolk ($16.80)

After loving the boiled dumplings on our previous visit, I was compelled to attempt the sweet and spicy version. The serving size was smaller than the non-spicy version but packed with tons of flavour including from the chilli oil to the sweet sesame sauce. The dumpling skin was firm, silky, thin and packed with pork inside - reminded me of a won ton dumpling actually.

Boiled Dumplings with Sweet and Spicy Sauce ($7.80)

While the food was nice and unique to what I usually had, the service could have been better. For a restaurant in the Chinatown/Haymarket area this was expected however at one point, we also ordered rice but it did not showed up at our table yet we still got charged for it. Thankfully this was fixed as we were full as well. Also, there were a few staff members who thought that I was Chinese. The communication barrier is pretty evident here since my friends communicated their orders in Chinese and there were a few wait staff who didn't understand me when I made my order. Despite that, we enjoyed the food even though the prices were leaning towards the expensive side on some dishes. Since most of the dishes were made to share with its large servings, the prices can be reasonable if you are here with a medium-large group of friends if you are keen to try as much as you can. 

Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant
25-29 Harbour Street, Harbour Plaza, Haymarket (also at Dixon Street, Haymarket; Chatswood; Glebe; and Burwood in NSW)
(02) 9211 8130
Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Saigon Bay Restaurant, Darlinghurst, Online Ordering Courtesy of Menulog

For those who know me personally, you may know that I was incredibly busy at work last month due to staff shortage. This often meant spending my lunch time at work or doing overtime every now and then. I'm sure something like this has happened to every single one of you reading this post. While I usually bring home-made lunches, there were days when I felt like eating out but there were many days when I didn't have the time to do that.

Thanks to Menulog, I was given the opportunity to try out their online system for my next delivery order. The Menulog website makes online takeaway ordering easy to use with over 2000 restaurants to choose from, free usage and an SMS confirmation that your order has been processed. 

Whether you are ordering from home or at work, you can just simply begin your order by entering the post code to see which restaurants are available for delivery in your area. If you are a returning customer, you get the option to log in if you wish. 

The navigation of the website is easy and straightforward for first time buyers. None of that messy, cluttered stuff. Most restaurants offer promotions for your order and depending on which restaurant you choose, you could also get discounts or freebies such as 10% for your first order at the restaurant of your selection. If the results were too broad, you can refine your search using various filters such as Type of Cuisine, Specials or entering the Restaurant or Dish name in the search field. With this website, you can browse menus, read or write your own review, rate the service and speed or check out the minimum order for free delivery.

While there are hundreds of restaurants available for pick up, I was surprised that there wasn't as many that offer delivery. There was even much less restaurants that do delivery for lunches but thankfully Saigon Bay was one of those places that do this. 

At Saigon Bay, you get a couple of promotions including 30% off for your first order. This was on top of the $25 voucher that I received from Menulog. Thankfully the sub-total price is still included in the minimum order which is $30 so you don't need to order anything extra once you get the discounts and vouchers. Also, if you order from this restaurant 7 times, then the 8th order is free. To start, simply choose the dishes you would like to get from the menu. These selected dishes will then appear on the right of the screen below the 'Your Order' tab with discounts and total price.

After finalising your order, just enter your delivery address, contact details, delivery time and voucher details at the checkout. 

Finally, enter your payment details whether you choose cash, Mastercard, VISA, American Express (depending on the restaurant).

Now that the order has been placed, the best thing to do is just wait for your order to arrive. Or in my case, just continue working. Since I knew how busy I would be over the next few days, I actually made my order a few days before in advance and not worry about it on the day. You also get a confirmation via SMS the following day which stated what time my delivery will arrive and the contact number for the restaurant if any issues occur. 

Although I made my order to arrive on Wednesday, suddenly on Tuesday I got a phone call from the delivery guy who said that my order is here. I was surprised since I did not expect it on that day (and I had my own lunch with my work colleagues due to Melbourne Cup). While I was glad that it did arrive at 12:45pm on the dot, I was concerned that the order will still be pending for the following day so I had to call up the restaurant and Menulog to ensure that the same order and delivery did not arrive on the original date. Thankfully that was rectified by the staff.
So lesson learnt: order on the day or the day/night before NOT two or more days before in advance (doh).

Now onto the food! I was quite surprised to hear that Saigon Bay Restaurant has actualy been around since 1993. This is on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst where many restaurants on that street do not last too long. After seeing it pop up on various food-related websites and the fact that they order lunch delivery for the CBD area, it got me curious enough to order food from this restaurant. The food arrived in a massive brown paper bag containing boxes with cutlery and food that was steaming hot. It felt like I was inside the restaurant and the food just arrived to my table.

Vietnamese Crispy Duck Pancake ($14.90)

While I've always tried the Vietnamese Pancake (Banh Xeo) with prawns, I actually have not got the chance to try it with duck. The batter was so crispy as if it was delivered straight from the kitchen. Also much more oily than what I'm used to. Ended up making good use of the greens from a separate box including the salad and mint to accompany the pancake.

Salads and Vietnamese Mint for the Banh Xeo

When seeing this dish on the menu, I could imagine how good this dish would have looked at the restaurant. Was disappointed that it did not came with rice paper rolls as this was mentioned on the menu. While the beef was not as tender as I preferred, it was still full of flavour with its crunchy yet mild onions. It also came with a deep, beef broth that was well-matched with the peanuts and tomato slices. 

Special Camp Fire Beef ($22.90) 

I often thought of papaya salad as part of Thai cuisine but then I have seen my family serving their own papaya salad back at home. Unlike the Thai version, the Vietnamese papaya salad was much less spicy and milder in terms of flavour. Saigon Bay's version demonstrates this. While the salad needed some fish sauce for added flavour, the prawns were fresh and plump and the shredded papaya retained that nice, sweet crunch. 

Papaya Salad ($18.90)

Apart from the mishap with the date of delivery (which the staff fixed it up quickly), everything else went smoothly. The food was delivered on time, the food remained delicious and held up well even though it arrived via delivery. With an easy-to use website and a mobile app, I wouldn't mind trying out Menulog again for ordering take-away online whether it's home delivery or pick up especially with the many restaurants available on the website. Will recommend this if you are too busy to go out for lunch or you want to eat restaurant food for dinner without leaving your house. 

Disclaimer: The Random Foodie received a voucher courtesy of Menulog. Opinions remain personal.

Menulog website: http://www.menulog.com.au/

Saigon Bay Restaurant in Darlinghurst
249 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
(02) 9360 3220
Saigon Bay Restaurant in Darlinghurst on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Let's Do Lunch: Fix St James, Sydney CBD

One of my favourite events of Good Food Month was the Let's Do Lunch specials. It is where you get to sample a dish at the participating restaurant for only $38 including a glass of Brown Brothers wine, Coopers beer, sparking or still water, tea or coffee. More than 70 restaurants were involved in Let's Do Lunch this year so you have a wide range of choices on where to go for a decadent lunch feed. So sad that it's over for another year but at least you get an idea on what dishes to expect when you head to one of these restaurants between now and next year's event.

At Fix St James, the crowd is predominantly corporate office workers, lawyers, business people and the like who are working nearby. Don't expect to rock up here in casual gear. Still, the vibe is more casual and social than your usual hatted restaurant like Quay, Rockpool, Sepia with its minimal decor gearing towards modern and contemporary dining. Bonus points for friendly and attentive service.

For starters, Fix St James offer a slice of foccacia bread. While the texture of the bread was slightly tough, the highlight was the garlic flavour on top as you bite into it. Would have been nice to have a small bowl of extra virgin olive oil as a dip.

Complimentary foccacia bread

Fix St James' offering was the duck confit with new season carrots and boozy prunes which showcases the restaurant's focus on delivering European cuisine (with a focus on French and Italian) with a modern flair and bold flavours. This was certainly displayed in their prunes delivering a strong fruity flavour. The veggies were well-cooked and ripe while the duck was seasoned and gamey with a slight crispiness in the skin. I can imagine this hearty dish would be perfect for one of those cooler days and you don't want to resort to carbs for a warm feed. Overall, the serving was enough to get you full and satisfied for a few hours until dinner. 

Duck Confit with New Season Carrots and Boozy Prunes ($32 on the regular menu)

My choice of complimentary beverage that day was a Brown Brothers red wine (think it was Shiraz if memory serves me right) to match with the duck. It had that rich, full, intense and fruity  flavour as you taste the wine for the first time. Quite nice to have while digging into your main dish. Since the restaurant is also a wine bar, it's no surprise to discover that they stock at least 200 different types of wine! With the owner, Stuart Knox, knowing a thing or two (and much more) about wines; you know you are onto a good start for your alcoholic beverage needs.

Brown Brothers Red Wine

There is heaps of other food that I'm keen to try on the regular menu including the beef tartare, the 'Ode to Fergus', and Coorong Steak Tagliata. Will definitely be making more visits since it's close to work. The prices are leaning towards the more expensive side but at least the substantial portions for most of the food makes up for it. Definitely recommended if you are looking for a place to dine for a business meeting or having fun with your colleagues for lunch or after work. 

Fix St James
111 Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9232 2767
Lunch: Monday - Friday 12pm-3pm
Dinner: Monday - Thursday 5:30pm-9pm, Friday 5:30pm-10pm, Saturday 6pm-9pm
Fix St. James on Urbanspoon 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Night Noodle Markets, Hyde Park, Sydney CBD

It was that time of the year where more than 200 000 hungry foodies check out the annual Night Noodle Markets. In 2013, Night Noodle Markets (NNM) ran from 9th October to 26th October on weeknights and also Saturday nights for the first time ever. Sadly at the time of posting, it was already over for another year but hey you gotta cherish the memories. One of the memorable aspects this year that was popping up everywhere on social media has been the many lanterns hanging about near the entrance close to St James Station. It actually feels like the bright and pretty lanterns are stealing the spotlight from the food. Almost.

Although the Night Noodle Markets is actually only 5 mins from my workplace, none of my colleagues were keen at all about checking it out this year. As crazy as it sounds, it is also believable that some may avoid it. This includes the crazy lines for many stalls, prices (e.g. "I can eat that same dish for cheaper in my local area!") and of course the limited seating. Some of the most notorious queues I've sighted were for Mamak (nothing new lol) and surprisingly, On Ramen's Ramen Burger. Despite the queues, the hawker-style atmosphere and entertainment made up for it and kept us relatively calm as our food is getting prepared.

While the seating is still limited, there were more options this year than previous years including the Citibank VIP area, the Channel 7 seating area (which is open for everyone), Brown Brothers seating area and the seating area near the Rekorderlig bar. Speaking of bars, there was a generous array of bar areas to choose from with specific joints serving more products under that brand...

Passionfruit Rekorderlig Cider - can never ever get sick of it!

Even spotted a celebrity or two including Gary from Masterchef.

More lanterns!

Colour-changing lighting on the trees...kinda like a mini-Vivid Sydney

What's a Night Noodle Market without Dragon dancers? Spotted a few of them parading around the festival with loud banging instruments in the background.

But what about the food?! Hold your horses it's coming right now! With about 40 stalls at NNM this year, there is so much to choose from especially if you can only attend this event only once this year with cuiines ranging from Thai to Chinese to Vietnamese. 

First is the now infamous ramen burger that has garnered some notoriety overseas when we first heard about it. For NNM, a little known ramen shop, On Ramen, decided to create their ramen burger for the hungry masses. The moment that the media heard about the 'First ramen burger in Sydney at NNM was when the crowds flocked to this stand, eager to check out the hype. It was better to go there earlier because the food preparation takes a very long time not to mention the growing queues as the night went on. I waited about 20 mins when I ordered it at 5:30pm on a Saturday while my friends, who arrived late, had to wait for more than an hour for their burgers at about 6:30pm.

Ramen Burger by On Ramen

Was it worth the hype and the queues? It wasn't bad but it wasn't that amazing either. As you can see, the crispy noodles were battered and fried and then a meat patty was stuck between the battered noodles. Eventually, the noodles were falling apart so I had to rely on the toothpicks to keep it together. It was also too oily but the salad and the watermelon on the side helped in balancing those flavours. While I don't mind trying it again as I did enjoy the crispy noodles and the juicy meat, I wouldn't be keen to wait more than 60 minutes for this.

 On my first few attendances, I've noticed that the price of the rolls at Poklol were about $7 however when I decided to order it on the first Saturday of NNM, the prices have already increased to $10! Despite that, the meat cuts (marinated pork belly in this case zomg...) were decent in terms of quality. While the bread was tougher in texture, I really enjoyed biting into the fillings for this pork roll. Plus the kimchi slaw gave the traditional pork roll an exciting kick in your taste buds with a bit of Korean fusion. Still can't stop thinking about the Cabra pork rolls but for a pork roll shop in the city, it's not bad actually.

Pork Belly Roll with Kim chi Slaw by Poklol

I've been disappointed by various restaurants serving banh xeo (Vietnamese pancakes) in the past mainly because it was way too oily for my liking. Also, mum's version is generally the best. However, this version by Rolls Vietnam (containing pork and prawn in pancake batter made from tumeric, crispy rice flour and coconut milk) was actually much lighter and not as oily. The batter wasn't too crunchy though still quite crispy to enjoy with fresh greens, mint and lettuce wrapped around it

Banh Xeo by Rolls Vietnam

By the way, just a side note: was it me or were there heaps of Vietnamese food stalls at NNM this year? Anyway there was Bar Pho, a Vietnamese street food stall, which was unfortunately not getting a crowd (thanks to being next door to the Mamak stall). Due to the limited seating, it is actually harder trying to eat a bowl of hot beef noodle soup on the grass. Thankfully it was earlier on so I grabbed a nearby available table. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this pho. Sure it's not the best compared to the Cabra/Canley/Bankstown/Marrickville/Flemington ones but the essential flavours, ingredients and textures were there especially the fragrant broth, the silky slippery noodles and the tender beef. R tried the pork roll at this branch and gave it the thumbs up even though there was no queues compared to other stalls.
I saw this stall again when Chinatown was doing their own street food festival a week ago and there was a much bigger crowd of people waiting in front of it so I reckon the less queues at NNM was because of Mamak next door. 

Beef Pho by Bar Pho

It may not look like much but peking duck pancakes were tasty to have for a snack in-between larger dishes. They were popping up throughout the markets but the version below were from The Eight Modern Chinese Restaurant in Haymarket. Loved the crispy duck skin and the accompanied greens. I particularly liked the thin floury pancake that made me want for more after I finish my share.

Peking Duck Pancake by The Eight

I have already mentioned in previous posts on how amazing the pork buns from Ippudo Sydney really were (yes they were there too!). It was no surprise how much CC loved them when she finally got to try them for the first time. Especially the juicy pork belly and the slightly spicy secret sauce.

Ippudo Pork Bun by Ippudo Sydney

One type of food that I've been having many times throughout NNM were dumplings. So addicted to them! There were delicious dumplings as well as a few disappointing ones.

The pan fried pork and chive dumplings from the Taste of Shanghai/Shanghai Stories 1938 team were crispy to my liking but also too doughy and thicker than I expected. Was surprised about the crispy prawn crackers on the side but they were quite tasty.

Pan-seared Pork and Chive Dumplings by Taste of Shanghai/Shanghai Stories 1938

Was more satisfied with New Shanghai's dumpling offerings. The pan fried pork buns were not too thick and doughy and they had that essential crispy and golden base with a bit of hot soup inside the buns that squirt out...watch out! While 4 of these pork buns may sound small, they are actually very filling and moreish thanks to the thick batter. The xiao long bao were nicely formed with the right amount of meat and juices inside the thin casing. Might need to get better packaging because the soy sauce and vinegar were seeping through the edges. Most likely my fault because I was pouring too much of it.

Pan Fried Pork Buns and Xiao Long Bao by New Shanghai

The New Shanghai stall also featured a special of truffled pork xiao long bao dumplings which caught my eye instantly. Seriously my eyes go wide open everytime I see the word 'truffles'. Not too pricey either though more expensive than most other dumpling dishes that New Shanghai were offering at NNM. I was expecting to see some pieces of truffle scattered with the pork but instead all I saw was pork. I wasn't sure if I got the right dumplings even though I paid for the special but there was a slight hint of truffle eventually. My guess was that it's just truffle oil but was again disappeared because of my excessive use of soy sauce and vinegar...again.

Truffle Xiao Long Bao by New Shanghai

Working hard and making dumplings at East Ocean

At East Ocean Restaurant, they offered a few decadent combo deals including the Dim Sum Box where you get 8 pieces for $15. Better than just $2 per piece because you get to try all of their dim sum dumplings and morsels. I even opted for another peking duck pancake on the side. It was enjoyable trying out the 4 different variants of siu mai dumplings including pork, chicken, beef, and even seafood and corn. Enjoyed the plump prawn har gow dumpling even if the skin was slightly thick. Was really surprised at how much I liked the texture of the vegetarian dumplings as well as the BBQ pork bun. Wished the pork bun has more filling though. 

Dim Sum Dumpling Box and Peking Duck Pancake by East Ocean Restaurant

Been eating way too much Din Tai Fung especially the xiao long bao dumplings lately thanks to the Westfield branch located less than 5 mins walk from work. Compared to the other dumpling joints, Din Tai Fung is renowned for their silky and incredibly thin dumpling skin especially in their xiao long baos. This time, I decided to go for the Jiao Ze dumplings instead. The thin, smooth and silky skin applies to this type of dumpling. So good when you poke through the skin and then the meaty juices oozes out. Can never ever get sick of Din Tai Fung dumplings.

Shrimp and Pork Jiao Ze Dumplings by Din Tai Fung

Haven't tried the below dish at any Din Tai Fung restaurants before so this got me curious. Unlike the other dumplings dishes, this one uses tangy dip (I think it's mayo) on the side instead of soy sauce and vinegar. This was a great match in combining the crunchy dumpling with the zesty smooth mayo dip. 

Fried Shrimp and Pork Won Ton with Tangy Dip by Din Tai Fung

One of my fave stalls at NNM this year was from Jackie M Malaysian Cuisine. Not only do they make amazing food with heavenly aroma that drives you to the sand, they even have the owner herself, Jackie, working tirelessly every single event. Plus I wanted to try everything on the menu but the servings are incredibly generous so I ended up ordering takeaway each time. The fried radish cakes immediately reminded me of my trip to Singapore so I opted for this instantly. These were absolutely delicious from the piping hot radish cakes to the stir fried egg, bean sprouts and chives. Loads of carbs but such a guilty pleasure. 

Stir fried Radish Cakes (Chai Tow Kway) by Jackie M Malaysian Cuisine

I returned back to the Jackie M stall in one of my last visits where I got to try the Char Kway Teow that I've seen the staff cooking near the front of the stall last time. I've heard from a fellow blogger that this is one of Jackie's signature dishes which aroused my curiosity especially after seeing different types of noodles tossed and wok-fried with passion. The noodles were well-cooked and worked well with the other ingredients (bean sprouts, chives, egg and chicken) to make it a delicious dish full of flavour. Hope to try many of Jackie M's dishes again when I go to the restaurant which I believe has moved from Concord to Darlinghurst recently according to the website.

Char Kway Teow by Jackie M Malaysian Cuisine

Last but not least (zomggg) was from Longrain Sydney. I wanted to try the curry dish but the weather was incredibly hot throughout the duration of the NNM so eventually I went with their Hot and Sour Salad of pork, glass noodles, peanuts, mint and coriander. This ended up being on of my favourites for this festival because of the many flavours, colours and textures balanced together in this dish. After eating so much oily and carb-tastic foods, it was nice to have something refreshing like this. Despite its name, it's not even spicy but they do have chilli on the side if you want a bit of spice. Will definitely make the trip to Longrain one day to try their dishes.

While the Night Noodle Markets in Sydney is sadly over for another year, I hear that Melbourne is doing one right about now so this should give you an idea what to expect, my fellow Melb readers :). There were lots of delicious food stalls to discover and surprisingly not enough time to eat everything. Lines are still annoying though but since most stalls were from restaurants, it gave me an idea on which ones to check out post-NNM. Looking forward to Good Food Month again next October. Hurry up already!

Sydney Night Noodle Markets
Hyde Park North, Sydney 
October 9-12, 14-19, 21-26
Mon-Tue 5-9pm, Wed 5-10pm, Thu-Fri 5-11pm, Sat 4-10pm