Noodlies, Sydney food blog’s pick for Good Food Month 2013
The Filipino community is one of Australia’s largest cultural groups, it’s our eighth most spoken language. Their food is interesting and complex, influenced by Chinese, Malay, Spanish and American flavours. Noodlies is currently a little obsessed with Filipino cuisine in Sydney.
For a complete tour-de-force of Filipino food head to Flavours of the Philippines at Cafe Mix, Shangri-La Sydney – thanks to three guest chefs from Makati Shangri-La, Manila. This annual event attracted some 1,400 hungry diners last year and is one of the more successful cultural food festivals in town.
Here are a few highlights from noodlies’ recent visit.
Lechon de leche is a visually stunning and not less impressive in the mouth. The Spanish might have introduced suckling pig (lechon) but the Filipinos have embraced it with gusto. The shinny skin is impossibly thin and crispy, strips of meat tender and juicy.
May the pork love continue forever – sisig station is a must-visit. Here, pork belly strips are fried with loads of garlic, shallot, soy, vinegar and topped with mayo – right before your eyes. Ask for extra spicy, it’s worth it.
How could you resist this visual delight, tender lamb and pork belly pieces resting over banana leaves in a large flat pan. Choose from three types of sauces with varying shades of spiciness.
It’d be wrong to only pick just the mussels that have been steamed in ginger, tomato and other vegetables. Why? Because you’ll miss out on the rich, sour and moreish broth – grab a soup bowl for the full experience.
Kare kare is a Filipino favourite – oxtail stew in rich peanut sauce), have it with either white rice or the dangerously addictive garlic fried rice.
Oh, and you’ll love the mind-blowing range of desserts – including a halo halo station – pick your ingredients, jack fruit, jelly, coconut, creme caramel and mix with crushed ice. Remember to save room for buko pandan; young coconut with screw pine jelly and mixed fruits with cream and condensed milk, and then there’s turon; banana and jackfruit spring rolls.
Another year and this food festival grows from strength to strength. The Campsie Food Festival attracted over 20,000 visitors this year with lots of activities for the family and food, lots and lots of food – over 30 stalls serving up everything from paella, bulgogi, gozleme, Dutch pancakes, Korean pancake and much more, showcasing Australia’s diversity with food from Thai, Chinese, Turkish, Dutch, Portuguese and of course Korean cultures and more. To see just some of the deliciousness on the day, see the featured noodlies video above.
Noodlies, Sydney food blog would like to say “thank you, thank you, thank you” to all the wonderful people that turned out to watch me MC the popular eating competition this year.
You are all amazing! And thanks too everyone who entered the competition, many, many more missed out and all I can say is “come back next year!”. This year’s featured food for the eating competition were kim chi and pizza.
Every year we see some characters enter, and this year was no different. The eating competition is now one of the most popular events of the Festival and I’m happy to see the contestants and crowd getting more and more engaged each year.
Behold the winner of the Campsie Food Festival Kim Chi Eating Competition!
If you missed it, see the featured noodlies video above to get a sense of the food excitement – and see you next year!
The Campsie Food Festival was held on Saturday, 1 June and noodlies, Sydney food blog is a proud media supporter for the third consecutive year.
Noodlies, Sydney food blog will be there, hosting the eating competition.
Get set for food, festivities and fun! The Campsie Food Festival is on again giving food lovers from across Sydney a chance to satisfy their cravings for foods from all over the world.
Visitors, and their taste buds will enjoy an amazing variety of food from the stalls lining Beamish Street or they can head to the Kitchen stage in Anzac Mall for some great cooking demonstrations and food tasting. There will be over 30 food stalls serving up mouth-watering food; paella, bulgogi, gozleme, Dutch pancakes, Korean pancake and much more from a diverse range of cultures; Thai, Chinese, Turkish, Dutch, Portuguese and of course Korean.
Read noodlies, Sydney food blog round-up of the excitement from last year’s Festival and prepare for lots of family fun on Saturday, 1 June. See noodlies’ video highlights from 2012 below.
The Kitchen Stage this year will feature exciting chef, Jay Lee from the Korean Cultural Office who will prepare Braised Ox Tail as well as a Korean Rice Cake Soup for the audience to try. Jay Lee has worked in some of Australia’s best kitchens so I encourage everyone to join us in the Anzac Mall for what should be a real culinary treat.
Yes, it’s back, the Campsie Food Festival Eating Competition is bigger than ever and noodlies is back to MC this popular event. Check the noodlies video highlight from last year’s eating competition below.
On top of great food, there will be plenty of fun, especially for the little ones with a host of free rides in Anzac Park, opposite Campsie RSL.
Check out the local restaurants for a great multicultural feed
There are some unpretentious, authentic eateries to sample while you’re in Campsie, Da Da Vietnamese is just one example, see noodlies video review below.
Prepare yourself! Check out the Campsie Food Festival website and see you on the day.
The Campsie Food Festival in on Saturday 1 June in Beamish Street, Anzac Mall and Anzac Park Campsie from 10am – 4pm and is proudly sponsored by Campsie RSL, Korean Cultural Office, Telstra Campsie, AFC Asia Cup 2015, Torch and Valley Times, noodlies, Uncle Simo’s Lebanese bakery.
This family-run restaurant business has been around for almost 30 years in different locations. For the past six years, Da Da Vietnamese restaurant has been a local favourite in Campsie. Search ‘Da Da restaurant” and you’ll find a short review on foursquare but no reviews on Urbanspoon or other review sites, not even a food blog review.
Da Da is your typical unpretentious eatery serving Vietnamese standards that quickly satisfies. Favourites like pho and other noodle dishes, fried, dried or soup as well as popular rice dishes like broken rice and pork chops. This is humble, honest food; the place is bright and clean, with efficient, polite staff. Come as yourself, even in trackies if you want a good, honest feed that’s not too taxing on the finances.
Cheap-and-cheerful but the food is served with lots of pride, owner and head chef, Jennifer Nguyen fusses over her food and eager to please. The customers love her tomato rice pork chops, not trice-cooked or tricked-up, it’s still a stunning dish to behold; glistening, glowing marinated pork with moist, tomato coloured and flavoured rice.
The rich and lively fish sauce is crammed with shards of pristine white garlic, pickled carrots and burning chilli – it’s a good indicator that Jennifer has no intentions of dumbing-down her home style Vietnamese. Sure the pork chops are grilled and a tad shinny with oil, but in typical Vietnamese style, that’s balanced with fresh mint, vegetables and springy vermicelli noodlies. Drown the dish in fish sauce to really experience home-style Vietnamese.
Jennifer proudly exclaims “you won’t get this mi kho bo luc lac anywhere else”, marinated stir-fried beef noodles usually come with rice and served with salt and pepper in lime juice dipping sauce. Here, the rice is replaced with egg noodles soaked in beef juice, it’s a clever, moreish bowl.
Da Da’s crispy chicken is another subtle twist, rather than steamed rice or egg noodles, Jennifer serves it up with rice noodle soup, providing a ying-yang contrast of dry chicken spiced with fish sauce versus wet and sweet, but relatively plainer, clear soup.
If you’re ever confronted with crispy chicken and rice noodle soup, check out how to tackle a bowl in the short noodlies video above.
If you’re coming in a group consider the mixed entree, there’s something for everyone, spring rolls, fresh rolls, bo bia (with pork skin) and money bags (ahem, not strictly Vietnamese) each with their own dipping sauce.
It’s days like these that makes blogging worth living for, discovering surprising, authentic, unpretentious gems like Da Da Vietnamese restaurant, the owners have been at it for almost three decades – the past six at Da Da Vietnamese restaurant, yet they’re still unknown outside the local community. Days like these make me smile, being able to share this gem to to the world.
Time for you to check it out and let me know what you think. Canterbury Council’s annual and hugely popular Campsie Food Festival is on Saturday, 1 June, why not make it a day trip!
When you get there, say hello to Jennifer (below right) and her daughter, Kim (left), true salt-of-the-earth, warm and decent Vietnamese-Australians. Oh, and that’s me in the middle – beast among the beauties.
Da Da Vietnamese Restaurant
172 Beamish St, Campsie
Ph: 9789 2928
Noodlies is a media supporter of Campsie Food Festival for a third consecutive year. This year, it’s on Saturday, 1 June.
Noodlies, Sydney food blog and guest experienced this authentic delight courtesy of Da Da Vietnamese restaurant and Canterbury Council.
A Taste Of... at InterContinental Sydney to showcase some of Australia’s best produce.
Noodlies, Sydney food blog gets a preview.
Sydney’s undisputed king of butter Pepe Saya has been called on by the chefs at InterContinental Sydney’s as the first producer to feature in a new series of seasonal culinary experiences.
Executive head chef Tamas Pamer and executive sous chef Julien Pouteau have created an exclusive degustation menu, where each dish celebrates Pepe Saya’s (pictured) renowned hand-churned butter as the core ingredient.
Available February 25 to March 17, the A Taste of Artisan Butter with Pepe Saya experience features canapés and four courses, such as Shiro Kin Wagyu beef with truffle beef pie (see video below), butter roasted airloom carrots and crisp dumpling and a kouign amann dessert, using Pepe Saya’s velvety mascarpone, golden apple and salted caramel ice cream. Each dish will be complemented with wines from around Australia
The talented chefs have been utilising the locally-made butter in the hotel’s fresh market-style Cafe Opera restaurant since Pepe Saya’s full scale production began in Sydney’s Tempe in 2011. It was from this humblest of ingredients, and a desire to showcase the finest local and seasonal produce, that the chefs created the A Taste Of concept.
“We have a great relationship with Pepe Saya, whose passion for local produce and top quality cuisine mirrors our own,” Julien said.
“His beautifully-made butter already has a cult following among Sydneysiders, but the way in which they will experience it through the new A Taste of Artisan Butter degustation will be something new altogether. Growing up in Brittany in France, I was raised on butter. I used this experience to create a menu of traditional Brittany dishes which will be new to many Australian palates in terms of taste and texture.”
A Taste of Artisan Butter with Pepe Saya is the first in InterContinental Sydney’s new A Taste Of series, whereby the chefs have selected their favourite local producers to celebrate across four themed degustation experiences.
Each of these seasonally-focused menus will be available for a limited duration at different stages throughout the year.
Other degustation dinners include: A Taste of WA with Marron Crayfish (May 6 – May 26); A Taste of Perigord Truffles by Lowes Mount Truffiere (July 1 – July 28); and A Taste of Native Bush Tucker with Outback Pride (October 21 – November 10).
Available for $85 per head or $115 with matching wines,A Taste Of dinners will be served from 6.00pm in Cafe Opera, located on level one of the hotel’s stunning circa 1851 Treasury Building. Guests can enjoy the experience in the elegant main dining room or alfresco in the dining court of the hotel’s historic sandstone arcades. Bookings are essential.
Pepe Saya butter is lovingly crafted by artisan producer Pierre Issa. Born to an Australian/Scottish mother and a Lebanese father, Pierre is a food lover who enjoys making products traditionally, with love, and without cutting corners.
Pierre devised the Pepe Saya brand in 2010 after mastering his butter-making hobby. The product first went to the market in June 2010 before going into full scale production in 2011. Pepe Saya began supplying nationally in January 2012.
Pepe Saya is the ‘alter ego’ of Pierre Issa. The name comes from his nickname ‘Pepe’ which was imparted on him by his beloved grandfather whom, as a child, Pierre would watch spread butter thickly onto his bread. ‘Saya’ is a made up word which according to Pierre is representative of an island in his mind – an escape to calm and tranquillity.
Pepe Saya’s butter is lovingly made by a small team at his factory in Tempe. Pierre lives with his wife (who he likes to call Mrs. Pepe) and his two children in Sydney’s inner west.
Pepe Saya butter is hand churned, cultured butter made from single-origin cream from grass fed cows. Pepe Saya sources cream from just two farms – Country Valley Dairyin Picton, New South Wales and Allansford, Victoria though the two creams are not mixed.
After arriving at Pepe Saya’s factory, the cream is cultured over a two week period before being churned into butter. The butter is then washed and hand kneaded with Australian salt flakes before being individually foil wrapped.
Pepe Saya butter is a deep yellow colour, attributed to the fact that the cream used by Pepe Saya comes from grass fed rather than grain fed cows. The yellow pigmentation comes from beta-carotene which is ingested by the grass fed cows and not the grain fed.
Jeff and Carol Proctor have been farming marron for over 20 years. In 2010, the couple launched Western Australia Marron, a marketing co-operative representing marron farmers in the region. Jeff and Carol continue to farm marron at their farm, The Advance, approximately 200 kilometres south of Perth.
Marron are farmed in clay-walled ponds filled with fresh water. Marron farming has two seasons, after eight months of ‘trapping’, the farms have a four month ‘drain-down’, period whereby the water is drained from the ponds and the marron are harvested by hand. The marron are then transported into ‘purging tanks’ before being cooled and packaged for sale.
Western Australia produces approximately 50 – 60 tonnes of marron per year. Jeff and Carol’s farm, The Advance, produces four-and-a-half tonnes annually and their co-op WA Marron represents over 50 per cent of the total state production.
Marron are freshwater crayfish native to the south west of Western Australia. Marron are a superior tasting crustacean because they do not burrow, resulting in a cleaner, more delicate flavour. As a freshwater crustacean, the flesh is sweeter than crayfish and is more comparable to lobster. Marron are generally smaller than saltwater crayfish but are large for a freshwater crustacean. Marron are harvested from 130 grams but can grow to be over a kilo in weight.
Lowes Mountain Truffiere is a family owned and operated truffle farm based in Oberon, New South Wales.
Owners, Sue and Col Roberts, established the truffiere on their farm in 2002 as an ambitious ‘retirement’ project. A forester by profession, Col has extensive experience in tree growth which contributed to his interest and success as a truffle producer.
After a few years establishing successful growth, the hard-working couple commenced commercial production of the truffles in 2008. Lowes Mount Truffiere is a small scale production with a farm of approximately 500 trees (in comparison, Australia’s largest truffle farm, The Wine and Truffle Co. in Western Australia have approximately 13,000 trees).
The Roberts’ black Labradors, Morris and Sully, are integral members of the family and the business helping to seek out the elusive truffle.
Lowes Mount Truffiere’s black Perigord truffles are similar in taste to their French counterparts. Truffles have a strong aroma an earthy flavour that enhances many foods and are best grated or sliced thinly over hot dishes.
The truffles are harvested for just three months of the year, from June through to August, making them a highly seasonal product. Once removed from the ground, truffles are best eaten within seven days but can also be preserved or frozen.
Mike and Gayle Quarmby established the Outback Pride project in 2001 following the tragic loss of their 20 year old son. The couple wanted to become a positive influence on the lives of other young people and believed that the Indigenous youth of remote communities were the most in need.
The Quarmbys have since worked tirelessly, and at their own expense, to help establish native food gardens in these communities. Drawing from Mike’s knowledge as a horticulturalist, the Quarmbys teach the communities how to farm the bush foods. The Quarmbys then purchase the produce from the communities to on-sell commercially.
Outback Pride is based out of the Quarmby’s home in Reedy Creek South Australia and the network includes farms in 26 remote Aboriginal communities.
Since forming Outback Pride, Mike and Gayle have driven hundreds-of-thousands of kilometres to the communities where they have helped plant over 500,000 bush food plants.
Mike and Gayle’s Reedy Creek Nursery is a wholesale nursery which produces much of the fresh bush leaves and other Outback Pride produce. The nursery also provides the base for research and development of the Outback Pride project.
Many of the native bush foods rely on specific conditions to flourish and cultivating them on a large-scale is uncharted territory. The Quarmbys and their co-op farmers face a lot of trial and error and with that comes rewarding successes but also some failures. For example, a number of the bush foods are desert plants so overwatering is an easy mistake.
From the networks organically-grown bush foods and wild edible weeds, Outback Pride offer a range of products including dried herbs, sauces, cordials, pickles, relishes and spreads. Outback Pride also commercially supplies a range of fresh and frozen native herbs, fruits and greens. Items which feature in InterContinental Sydney’s A Taste Of Native Bush Tucker with Outback Pride include:
Sea parsley, featuring in A Taste Of with Paperback smoked emu and Margaret river oyster, grows along Australia’s south coast and has the appearance of shiny, dark-green parsley. The sea parsley’s coastal location with exposure to the salt water, sand and sea weed is what gives it its special flavour. This fresh, oceanic flavour lends the sea parsley to seafood, soups, dressings and white sauces.
The tart flavours of Quandong bread, which will be showcased as an accompaniment to macadamia crusted kangaroo. An important, traditional Aboriginal fruit, Quandong are small, red fruit with a high vitamin C content. Quandong grow on small trees in the desert and are ready for harvest in spring. The pleasantly sharp tasting flesh is suited to savoury sauces as well as a desert sauce or jam.
Finger limes, grown in sub-tropical northern NSW and Queensland, are used to complement olive oil poached crayfish. The brightly-coloured finger limes are filled with dozens of tiny beads that contain the citrus juice. As well as being enormously flavoursome, the beads, which are similar in appearance to caviar, enhance the visual appeal of a dish.
Additional Outback Pride products which feature in A Taste Of include; mountain pepper leaf,lemon myrtle damper, native spinach,paperbark, bush rub,samphire, native apple (muntries) chutney, mountain pepper, salt bush leaves and wattle seed.
Lunar New Year is very much part of Australia’s events calendar, there are at least 12 festivals held across Sydney to celebrate the Year of the Snake. Opinions about luck in the snake year is mixed, the Sydney Morning Herald quotes Taiwanese and Hong Kong experts who are on pessimistic – the last two snake years brought September 11 and the Tiananmen Square government crackdown. I’m more optimistic, as a snake sheds its skin – 2013 could be a year for renewal and rebirth. In any case, if you’re worried about luck, then noodlies, Sydney food blog recommends these eight lucky foods for the coming year – that should do the trick.
Retailers are also recognising the importance of Lunar New Year for their customers and the bottom line. World Square Shopping Centre, just off Chinatown has held celebrations for the past seven years – the main feature, a spectacular lion dance, seems to get more and more hair-raising. Ben Davis, World Square’s Centre Manager speaks to noodlies about their celebrations in the video below, watch ’til the end for some spectacular leaping lions.
World Square obviously recognise the potential for bloggers to amplify their message, noodlies was invited to the lion dance and Lunar New Year lunch at Din Tai Fung. Famed around the world, this Taiwanese chain has been credited with spreading the love of dumplings. It’s Friday lunch time prior of Lunar New Year and Din Tai Fung has to employ an army in the kitchen to keep up with demand.
Noodlies, particularly likes the juicy pork truffle dumplings, noodle and dumplings in a crimson spicy Szechuan pepper sauce and fried rice, which comes ‘bowled’ but separates easily into grains – a nice touch as noodlies is not a fan of soggy, clingy fried rice.
Want to experience the fun and excitement of the Year of the Snake? 2013 Chinese New Year, Tet, Lunar New Year falls on Sunday, 10 February. There are at least 12 celebrations held across Sydney, Parramatta in the west, Rockdale, Kogarah and Hurstville down south, Chatswood up north, Burwood and Ryde in the inner west, with the largest in Sydney’s CBD.
Dragon and lion dancing, visits by the god of wealth, art exhibitions, fireworks and of course, lots and lots of food – the noodlies video below, from the 2011 Lunar New Year Celebration in Hurstville, gives you a sense of the excitement and colour – that Lion Dance was breathtaking, one of the best I’ve seen. To find out more about about the Year of the Snake and food you should eat for good luck, check out an earlier noodlies post on Lunar New Year.
Noodlies has compiled a list of the major Lunar or Chinese New Year, Tet festivals in Sydney below. Enjoy!
15 Jan-3 Mar Hurstville, Lunar New Year Festival, Hurstiville Council
This Festival is first off the block with the main event, a Street Festival on 2 February featuring Dragon and Lion Dance, Street Parade and Chinese and Korean entertainers. Other events include an Art Exhibition and Lunar New Year Concert at the Hurstville Entertainment Centre on 16 February.
1-3 Feb Fairfield Showground, Fairfield, Tet/Lunar New Year Festival, Vietnamese Community
Organised by the Vietnamese Community in Australia (VCA), this is an annual fundraiser for them and the largest Vietnamese celebration in the state, attracting over 60,000 visitors. Tet festivities extend over three days, including Friday and Saturday evenings. Food is a major feature. This is the one to go to if you want to see how the Vietnamese celebrate new year – see noodlies video round-up from the 2011 Tet Festival below.
8-24 Feb Sydney: Chinese New Year Festival, City of Sydney
In its 17th year, the Festival is organised by the City of Sydney and is by far the largest Lunar New Year celebration in NSW; from entertainment, arts, food, markets, tours and workshops. Popular events include Dragon Boat Races, Chinese New Year Markets, Twilight Parade and Dragon Ball, a new event that recreates the premier event of the local Chinese community’s social calendar from the 1930s-70s at Sydney’s famous Trocadero, where Chinese girls made their debut and Sydney-siders enjoyed glamorous evenings of big-band swing, dancing, supper, cocktails and fancy frocks.
9 Feb Saigon Place, Bankstown, Lunar New Year Festival, Bankstown Council
All of the traditional elements will be there including Lion Dances, lucky envelopes given by the God of Good Fortune, New Year card making, New Year flower making and Chung cake making classes. Calligraphy by the Learned Scholar and fruit carving demonstrations are always popular and intriguing the New Year Garden is expected to delight festival goers once more. Non-stop stage entertainment will reflect the diversity of the local community with a range of multicultural performances. Children will enjoy the magic shows, face-painting and other hands-on activities.
10-23 Feb Eastwood Plaza, Eastwood Lunar New Year Festival, City of Ryde
The Festival is an equal partnership between the City of Ryde and local Chinese and Korean communities in Ryde. The flagship event happens on Saturday, 23 February where a large number of cultural performances takes place at Eastwood Plaza. The popular Cooking Competition is held on Sunday 10 February.
15 Feb Church St Mall, Parramatta: Lunar New Year Festival, Parramatta Council
Watch the Lion and Dragon parade, Chinese Acrobat, Lee Mohtaji, listen to Erhu Music and take part in interactive workshops including Chinese Calligraphy, Face Paining and Fortune Telling.
15 Feb King Street Place, Rockdale: Chinese New Year Festival, Rockdale Council
Workshops are on at the Rockdale Library from 12-15 February on Chinese Calligraphy, Chinese Drawing, Flower Arrangement and Author Talk. The Festival goes from 4pm to 9pm with something for everyone from food stalls to lion dancing.
16-17 Feb Cabramatta Freedom Plaza: Lunar New Year Festival, Fairfield Council
A lower-key event compared to the Council’s huge Moon Festival, this one has a Vietnamese flavour. Festivities include cultural performances, food competitions, cooking demos, children’s entertainment, workshops and craft activities and martial arts. A Buddhist Blessing Ceremony takes place on 17 February for world peace, harmony in the family and good fortune for the local community.
Calvert Street car park, off Illawarra Road, Marrickville: Lunar New Year Festival, Marrickville Council
Enjoy free entertainment; Lion and Dragon Dancing and a visit from the God of Wealth.
16 Feb Chatswood Mall: Chinese New Year Festival, Willoughby Council
Chatswood Mall will be transformed into a festive path of good luck and fortune, decorated with lanterns, firecrackers and lucky scrolls to welcome the Year of the Snake. The Festival features up to 30 specialty stalls selling Chinese products, food as well as information and services.
16 Feb Burwood Park, Burwood: Lunar New Year Festival, Burwood Council
Entertainment starts from 5pm and includes rides, stage and roving entertainment, face-painting, food and merchandise stalls. On stage entertainment will include traditional Chinese musicians and dancers. There will also be a visit from the Chinese God of Fortune as well as other crowd favourites, Lion Dancing and Fire Performers.
21 Feb Kogarah Town Square, Chinese New Year Festival, Kogarah Council
Free entertainment starts from 6.30pm and Chinese culture is celebrated through music, dance, song, martial arts, giveaways and concludes with Fireworks at 8.30pm.
The fun is about to begin, which Festivals will you be going to? Do you know of another Festival in Sydney to add to this list?
8 lucky foods for Lunar or Chinese New Year – Chuc Mung Nam Moi!
The most important festival across Asia, Lunar or Chinese New Year is celebrated in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea and thanks to the large Chinese diaspora, just about any Chinatown across the globe. Noodlies, Sydney food blog has seen this festival grow larger and larger in the West.
There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac and five elements (water, metal, earth, fire, wood). 2013 is the year of the water snake.
Based on the lunar calendar, New Year’s Day is different each year. It’s known by many names:
Chinese New Year (the most popular)
Lunar New Year
Tet (in Vietnam)
Year of the [insert animal sign]
Naturally, the New Year is about family and looking forward. It can be a time of great superstition, people to act, eat and observe traditions to maximise luck for the coming year. Dragon and lion dancing (see video below) is noisy and accompanied by fire crackers for a good reason – the noise and vigorous movement is meant to ward off evil and bad luck.
About the year of the water snake
The last water snake year was 1953. According to Aligned Signs, while Western culture associates snakes with negative characteristics such as being wily and dangerous, they are viewed in a more balanced way in the Chinese horoscope where snakes are associated with long life, protection and good fortune. They’re believed to be related to dragons, the luckiest and most prestigious sign. Because they shed their skins, snakes are also symbols of rebirth and renewal. In Chinese horoscope, they are a part of the natural world, to be respected not feared.
When is Lunar or Chinese New Year in 2013?
Lunar New Year falls on Sunday, 10 February 2013. The festival goes for 15 days, ending with the lantern festival, a time for couples it’s also referred to as Chinese Valentines Day.
Everyone wants good luck in the new year, in Asian cultures that celebrate Lunar New Year, this relates to three main areas: health, wealth and happiness – a common greeting for the New Year. For good luck in the new year, maybe you should try these 8 lucky foods:
Spring rolls, Dumplings: is all about wealth, in addition to being delicious, their shapes resemble ancient Chinese gold ingots.
Fish: for prosperity as it sounds like “abundance” in Chinese, eat whole fish for wealth all year ’round.
Noodles: if you want long life, choose dishes with long strands of noodles, don’t cut them before you eat them otherwise you risk cutting short your life!
Tangerines, oranges: is believed to bring wealth, in Chinese tangerine sounds like “luck”, while orange sounds like “gold”.
Mut (candied fruit): their sweetness brings a sweet life and candied seeds such as lotus bring family happiness through more children (“mut” is a Vietnamese word). See noodlies video below for a visual description.
Watermelon: Vietnamese believe good luck comes to the household if a watermelon is cut during New Year and the inside is red, the darker the red, the greater the prosperity.
Lettuce: sounds like “growing wealth” in Chinese.
Whole chicken: including head and feet: is symbolic of family reunion, togetherness and happiness. Make sure the chicken is as “whole” as possible, including head and feet.
Noodlies, Sydney food blog wishes all our readers great wealth, health and happiness in the Year of the Snake.
Noodlies, Sydney food blog does Fresh from the West
Crave Sydney International Food Festival heads west tomorrow for Fresh from the West, an inaugural community food festival featuring produce grown in Western Sydney. Noodlies, Sydney food blog will be part of ABC 702 Sydney’s outside broadcast talking about great local produce as well as grabbing the being the roving reporter for ABC radio on the day.
Come along and join in the fresh, healthy fun, it’s on between 10am – 4pm, full details about Fresh from the West can be found here.
Two of the herbs I’ll be showcasing tomorrow include:
Tia to (perilla)
A beautiful herb that’s purple on one side and dark green on the other, it adds extra intrigue to any salad. It “has a bold earthy flavour” according to the South-East Asian Greens guide published by Fairfield City Council. I think it’s closer to being a mild bitter aniseed taste.
It’s found in many salads, part of side dishes accompanying spring rolls and meats. It’s the secret ingredient in a good goi cuon, one of many mints that give these fresh rice paper rolls the depth in flavour – look for the purple colour next time you have one. Image courtesy of Lien Yeomans.
Rau Ram (Vietnamese mint/coriander)
Zesty, fresh with a spearmint punch, this is a popular addition to most salads and soups, particularly for poultry to add additional zing to this relatively plain tasting meat. It’s also eaten with balut, to cut the duck flavour and compliment the sweet juice.
Buy a bunch of rau ram and the house will immediately benefit from that amazingly fresh, fragrance.
Come to Fresh in the West and experience fresh local produce and some great multicultural food. If you’re at home, tune to ABC 702 Sydney radio tomorrow morning, Simon Marnie is broadcasting live from Fresh from the West.
Fresh from the West
Sunday, 28 October, 10am – 4pm
Lizard Log Amphitheatre
cnr Cowpasture Road and The Horsley Drive, Abbotsbury
Flavours of Malaysia Food Festival (5 – 21 October)
Noodlies, Sydney food blog is hugely supportive of the Grace Hotel, Sydney and their regular ‘food festivals’ showcasing great food from around the world, past successes include Flavours of Hawaiian and Flavours of the Philippines food festivals. This is the third year of the Flavours of Malaysia food festival. As with most of these things, you may be able to find better executions of individual dishes elsewhere, the benefit of events like these is that you can try a whole amazing range of dishes all in the one place and in a friendly environment for newbies to ask questions.
The of noodlies video above gives you an idea of the range of deliciousness to expect.
And what Malaysian food event would be complete without the charcoal smoked flavours of satay my plate gleams with chicken and beef satay sticks which beg to be dipped in satay sauce. Make sure you grab cucumber and onion pieces to cut the flavour to help you eat even more.
Rich, deep flavours and colour that yield punchy flavours – that’s what i love about Malaysian food.
Where Malaysian savoury dishes are dark, their kueh desserts are almost unnaturally bright, clashing colours, it’s one of the richest, more-ish and addictive in the world.
What I really liked about Flavours of Malaysia is the many opportunities for DYI, why not mix your own rojak (ask the staff to help if you’re not sure) or as I did below, customised a unique noodlies ice kachang.
For a unique, interactive good time with Malaysian food, give Flavours of Malaysia a go. But hurry, the flavours end on 21 October.
The Grace Hotel Sydney, together with The Federal Hotel Kuala Lumpur, in association with Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Airlines presents the Flavours of Malaysia Food Festival from 5 October to 21 October 2012.
Flavours of Malaysia Food Festival (5 – 21 October) at The Grace Hotel
Level 2, 77 York St, Sydney
Bookings: 02 9272 6670
Noodlies, Sydney food blog and friend experienced Flavours of Malaysia as a guest of the Grace Hotel, Sydney.
Noodlies, Sydney food blog, fresh from a recent trip to Malaysia, is excited about a new Malaysian food event. For the third consecutive year, The Grace Hotel Sydney, together with The Federal Hotel Kuala Lumpur, in association with Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Airlines will present the Flavours of Malaysia Food Festival from 5 October to 21 October 2012 as Sydney swings into a month-long celebration of the Crave Sydney International Food Festival this October.
“For three weeks from 5 October to 21 October 2012, the Grace Brasserie will be transformed into a journey to Malaysian food extravaganza as guests are invited to taste an aromatic menu prepared by our Malaysian chefs namely Head Chef Tan Kok Siong, Chef Sharun bin Ramli, Chef Adinnin bin Amat Usop and Chef Tan Kok Sheng. This is an exclusive opportunity to experience the Malaysian cuisines featuring the flavours from the three Northern States of Penang, Kedah and Perlis, inspired by a rich cultural history, at either a lunch or dinner buffet, as these top chefs are flown in from Kuala Lumpur especially for this promotion ” said Mr Philip Pratley, General Manager of The Grace Hotel Sydney.
Enjoy the culinary Taste of Malaysia from well-loved local recipes, authentic Nyonya specialties, traditional rendang, fresh healthy organic ulam salad, and from famed hawker fares, to tempting favourite dishes from the Tunku’s Kitchen, to succulent seafood, tasty meat dishes, and delectable desserts.
The Grace Hotel Sydney has been an amazing supporter of culturally diverse food, successful past festivals including Philippines and Hawaii. The Flavours of Malaysia is an amazing initiative from The Federal Hotel Kuala Lumpur and the Grace Hotel Sydney in conjunction with Tourism Malaysia’s “Fabulous Food Malaysia” initiative which starts this month to celebrate and promote Malaysia’s unique, multicultural, rich food heritage to the world.
Flavours of Malaysia Food Festival (5 – 21 October) at The Grace Hotel
Level 2, 77 York St, Sydney
Bookings: 02 9272 6670
It’s fabulous Cabramatta Moon Festival time again. Now in it’s 14th year, Cabramatta Moon Festival is celebrated as one of Sydney’s premier cultural celebrations attracting more than 90,000 people from the local community and across Sydney.
*** full Cabramatta Moon Festival Program below ***
Moon Festival, also known as Mid-Autumn Festival, is one of the most important occasions in the Asian calendar. It marks the end of the harvest season, a time of celebration and plenty. It falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar when the moon is full and bright. This year, Moon Festival falls on 30 September, 2012 with the Cabramatta Moon Festival being held on Sunday, 23 September 2012, 11am to 8pm.
At the Festival, the streets of Cabramatta come alive with colour, activity and culinary delights ending with a colourful fireworks display. There will be almost 100 stalls this year to help you immerse in this major Asian event, from spicy noodles (bun bo hue), vegetarian temple food fare to Asian crafts and art products.
The crowd favourites will be back: noodle eating, prawn peeling and moon cake eating competitions, plus lion dancing and lantern parade led by the ‘Moon Goddess’. Justice Crew, Australia’s favourite dance crew will be perfoming live and conduct a meet and greet.
Noodlies is Cabramatta Moon Festival 2012 exclusive blogger media partner: I’m proud to announce that noodlies, Sydney food blog has been appointed the exclusive event blogger of this fabulous event, the first ever blogger partner.
Noodlies to MC eating competitions: In addition, noodlies will be MC’ing the noodle and moon cake eating competitions to be held on the main stage between 2.30pm – 3.30pm. Why not enter? Or just come and cheer on the participants, it’s going to be a huge day!
There’s something for everyone. Head down and witness the transformation of Cabramatta into one of Australia’s most culturally exciting areas.
What is a moon cake?
During this time it’s traditional to give and enjoy moon cakes. They usually come in a colourful tin containing four moon cakes. These cakes are round for Chinese and square for Vietnamese. The outside is cakey, especially ornate and a woody brown, the inside is made up of lotus paste with egg yolks, fancier versions contain mixed nuts or even abalone.
Thai food is about variety says David Thompson, “the Thais do not like repetition; in look, taste and texture”. Dishes should come out at the same time and each mouthful should be from a different dish to be eaten with rice of course; in fact Thompson says rice is the main ingredient in a Thai meal. The dishes should all yield a variety of tastes; sour, chilli, salty, sharp and different texture; dry stir fry, thick curry or wet soups.
Celebrated Australian chef, David Thompson should know about Thai food. He trained as a chef in Sydney, before travelling to Thailand in 1986 and falling in love with the country, culture and of course food. A year later he moved to Bangkok and learnt as much as he could about Thai cooking. He returned to Sydney in 1991 to open Darly Street Thai, the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide named it Best Thai Restaurant for the eight years it was open.
Today, noodlies, Sydney food blog is taking David Thompson’s Thai cooking class at theSydney Seafood School, Sydney Fish Market. The School is one of Australia’s leading with a stellar line up of chefs including Matt Moran, Alessandro Pavoni, Guillaume Brahimi, Frank Camorra, Dan Hong and many, many more.
The class is in two sessions; the first is a lecture style demonstration in an intimate theatre that seats around 60 people and features the latest cooking appliances from Fisher & Paykel. Overhead cameras project what’s happening on the long lecture bench over 4 large TV screens above. The second session is in the kitchen area next door with around 10 Fisher & Paykel cooking benches, where we break into groups of 4-5 students to cook the dishes from the lecture. Finally, each group sits down to enjoy our culinary efforts.
In the noodlies video above, David and his assistant, Park, from nahm, Bangkok shows us how to work with a lobster.
Today we learn to cook three dishes selected by David each with a different flavour and texture:
Prawn Curry with Holy Basil, Ginger and Peanut (chilli, sweet, salty)
Salad of Rocklobster and Pomelo (sour, salty)
Braised Murray Cod with Sugar Cane (sweet, clear)
Walter learning how to work a lobster
David really puts us through our paces, we learn to make everything from scratch including curry paste using a mortar and pestle, coconut cream and work with lobster (see Walter’s effort in the video above).
And David’s right, of course, curry paste and coconut cream when made fresh delivers much greater depth and taste that the pre-made product just can’t hope to replicate.
We were all really worried that we wouldn’t be able to dish up something that was even half as good as David’s demonstration, but I’d have to say, armed with the recipe, lecture notes and state of the art utensils and kitchen appliances, our effort wasn’t half bad. Check out the result in the featured noodlies video above, although as I admit in the video, we did have some help
The boys and their lobster pomelo salad (Walter & Steve)
Prawn Curry with Holy Basil, Ginger and Peanuts
I get help from Park, David Thompson's assistant from nahm, Bangkok
“When Australian David Thompson announced he was opening a second site of his successful London-based Thai restaurant in Bangkok, a few eyebrows were raised. Two years later, many will have revised their views, given the quality of Thompson’s high-reaching cooking, which has flashes of haute cuisine without straying too far from tradition. Dishes contrast salty and sweet and hot and fragrant – so while some are delicate, others are punchy and powerful” says the judging panel for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, 2012. This year, David Thompson’s nahm Bangkok made it on the list for the first time at number 50.
Originally the Campsie Korean Food Festival, now it’s even bigger, re-branded recently as the Campsie Food Festival. And it’s been a tremendous success, promoting diverse food, and through food, diverse cultures. This year, despite the rain, the crowds flocked to the festival. Noodlies, Sydney food blog is a big fan.
Long queues for Turkish gozleme
There were over 60 food stalls featuring food from so many different cultures, Korean, Chinese, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Turkish and even Christmas Island. See the featured noodlies video above for some of the colour and excitement of today.
Thang Ngo from noodlies works the crowd at Campsie Food Festival
Noodlies was MC and judge of the eating competition, including kim chi and yum cha eating competitions at the Kitchen Stage. It was a hoot! See all the hilarity in the noodlies video above.
The Kitchen Stage attracted the crowd with many cooking demonstrations including Heather Jeong and Charlie Yan. You’ll see Charlie wooing the crowd in his cooking demonstration above.
Another year, and despite the rain, another success for the Campsie Food Festival. It’s a gem on the Sydney cultural calendar and noodlies, Sydney food blog is proud to be a media partner of this delicious cultural food event.
From 15 to 30 June 2012, The Grace Hotel Brasserie will host the Flavours of Hawaii Food Festival. Hawaiian cuisine is a boiling fusion of many cultures and ethinicities ranging from American and European to Chinese, Philipino, Japanese, Korean, Polynesean and Portuguese. This is an exciting and exclusive opportunity to taste some of the traditional flavours of Hawaii with a feast accompanied by entertainment and Hawaiian cuisine from appetisers to soups, salads, carving stations, mains and a selection of delicious desserts. Noodlies, Sydney food blog is excited!
Renowned Hawaiian chef Alan Tsuchiyama and outstanding international pastry chef David Brown are heading down under for the inaugural Flavours of Hawaii Food Festival at The Grace Hotel. It’s a unique opportunity for food and travel enthusiasts to discover Hawaii’s unique and interesting culinary history, from traditional to contemporary dishes. The Flavours of Hawaii Food Festival not only offers a taste of traditional Hawaiian cuisine, but diners will also experience Hawaii’s wonderful multicultural, modern cuisine.
Win a trip to Hawaii!
Enjoy the Flavours of Hawaii Food Festival at the Grace Hotel for your chance to win a trip for two to Hawaii, courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Oceania, Hawaiian Airlines and The Grace Hotel.
$38* lunch buffet, Tuesday to Friday (12:00pm – 2:00pm)
$48* dinner buffet, Friday and Saturday only (6:00pm – 9:00pm)
*Not available on Mondays 18th & 25th
Flavours of Hawaii Food Festival (15 – 30 June) at The Grace Hotel
Level 2, 77 York St, Sydney
Bookings: 02 9272 6670
Noodlies, Sydney food blog was honoured be present at this morning’s launch of Thai Food Week at Shangri-La Sydney by the Thai Prime Minister, Her Excellency Ms Yingluck Shinawatra. She is visiting Australia to mark the 60th anniversary of bilateral relations between Australia and Thailand. So many things happened at the launch:
Announcement of Thailand: Kitchen to the World program
Awarding an additional 19 restaurants Thai Select or Thai Select Premium status
Som tum cooking demonstration by David Thompson and the Thai Prime Minister
Official opening of Thai Food Week at Shangri-La Sydney (28 May – 3 June)
Thailand: Kitchen to the World
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced a new program, Thailand: Kitchen to the World to promote Thai produce and of course, Thai food to the world. Thai Select is now part of this program; a certification which identify restaurants that use predominantly authentic Thai ingredients.
During the event the Prime Minister announced 19 new Thai Select restaurants, eight as Thai Select Premium and 11 as Thai Select. See the award ceremony in the video below. For more information, visit the Thai Select website.
At the launch the Thai PM also donned an apron and joined David Thompson of Nahm in a cooking demonstration. They collaborated on som tum, that devilishly delicious Thai salad. Watch them in the video below.
And what did we eat at the launch?
Entree: pomelo salad, fish cake and curry puff
Snapper fillet tamarind sauce
Tom yum koong
And outside the function area, several Thai Select restaurants made some wonderful bite-sized snacks for guests, some are featured below:
Thai Food Week at Shangri-La Sydney (28 May – 3 June) – how you can experience great Thai food…
From Monday 28th May, the Shangri La Hotel, Sydney will play host to a festival that will showcase the diversity of Thai food. The hotel’s Mix Cafe will treat diners to extensive lunch and dinner buffets of northern ‘Lanna’ style cuisine, such as Khao Soi and Hunglay curry. There will also be a wok station manned by the two chefs from Shangri La Chiang Mai, so guests will be able to enjoy the theatre involved in creating their food.
Lanna style food hails from Chiang Mai which is nestled amongst the mountains of Northern Thailand. The food is distinctly different to many of the well-known seafood dishes from the coastal regions of the country. Sticky rice features prominently along with pork dishes and Thai salads.
Making the journey from Thailand to ensure an authentic food experience are chefs Sirima Sributta and Chef Sorada Intaprom Shangri La Hotel, Chang Mai. The chefs have both worked extensively in Bangkok and Chang Mai and will work alongside the Shangri-La Sydney team.
The festival will run over lunch and dinner. Cost is A$48 for the lunch buffet and A$68 for dinner buffet. Bookings are recommended.
For bookings: Café Mix at the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney (02) 9250 6206.
This noodlies, Sydney food blog experience was courtesy of Thai Food Week.
Chef Heather Jeong (centre) and Canterbury City Mayor, Cr Brian Robson (right)
Last year’s Campsie Food Festival was sooo much fun. Imagine a festival that features great food from the different cultures in Sydney, it was both fun and delicious. Last year was noodlies, Sydney food blog’s first year as the official food blogger for the event and I’m glad to say the wonderful association continues this year. Check out my video round-up of last year’s Festival.
In fact, this year, I’m MC’ing the eating competition on the Kitchen Stage at 2pm. And I promise fun and frivolity! Why don’t you come along? Full program here. Some of the great local restaurants have got stalls at the Festival, like Albee’s Kitchen, I visited there only last wek, check out the noodlies post on Albee’s Kitchen Malaysian restaurant.
2012 Campsie Food Festival – All About Food.
Join noodlies, Sydney food blog: Saturday, 2 June (10am – 4pm)
Korean chef, Heather Jeong
Chinese chef, Charlie Yan
Sushi making class
Kim Chi and Yum Cha eating competition
Cupcake decoration class
The Mayor of the City of Canterbury, Cr Brian Robson, said he is looking forward to some delicious international cuisine being cooked up on the new Kitchen stage at the 2012 Campsie Food Festival, on Saturday 2nd June from 10am-4pm.
“Now in its 13th year, the Campsie Food Festival has become an opportunity for food lovers to satisfy their cravings and their appetite for foods from all over the world,” Mayor Brian Robson said.
“When people aren’t working over their taste buds at the food stalls lining Beamish Street they should be at our new Kitchen stage in Anzac Mall for some great cooking demonstrations and food tasting.
“One of the highlights at the Kitchen stage will be renowned Korean chef Heather Jeong as she prepares a stunning version of Bi Bim Bap that will feed the big crowd, as well as Korean favourites Bulgogi and Pajun which have made her cooking classes popular with local and international visitors.
“Heather is a real magician when it comes to preparing great Korean food, so all those tastebuds lucky enough to be in the audience are in for a tantalising treat.
“Food artist and Chinese chef Charlie Yan will be on hand to wow the audience with his award-winning fruit and vegetable carvings before preparing hand-made noodles on stage which will be served with seafood and fried sweet potato.
“For those who crave some sushi there will be a sushi making class with local sushi maestro DK from Ashin’s Sushi Train and Japanese Restaurant and one lucky amateur sushi roller from the audience will win a sushi tool kit.
“Garden2Kitchen presenters Phil Dudman and Julie Rey will show what can be done with fresh garden vegetables by whipping up a Lemon, Ginger Four Herb Salad with Lemongrass Chicken Satay Skewers.
“If everyone still has room, there will be free yum cha tastings and for those that have a competitive streak we will be holding our popular eating competitions with Yum Cha and Kim Chi on offer for those game enough.
“The little ones won’t be left out either with cupcake decorating for those with an artistic touch, or a sweet tooth.
“The Campsie Food Festival is a feast of flavours and with so much delicious food on offer, plus great music, amazing performers and a sideshow alley for kids, Beamish Street, Campsie will be the place to be on 2nd June,” the Mayor said.
For more information on the Campsie Food Festival: phone 9789 9300, visit www.campsiefoodfestival.com.au, join our Campsie Food Festival Facebook page and follow us on Twitter/canterburycity.
Campsie is located on the Bankstown train line, approximately 20 mins from Sydney’s CBD.
The 2012 Campsie Food Festival is proudly presented by: Platinum Sponsors: Campsie RSL, Gold Sponsors: Korean Cultural Office, SBS Radio, Torch Publishing, Commonwealth Bank Campsie, NSW Transport, Department of Health and Ageing. Silver Sponsors: Bulldogs, Ayam, Channel 9, and Bronze: Campsie Centre. Our exclusive food blogger is Noodlies.com.
AlbeePhu has always loved to cook. She had a stall in a food court back home in Malaysia and says she never tires of seeing customers enjoying her food. When she came to Australia over a decade ago, Albee thought that was all behind her and resigned to a life of nine to five. Still, she just couldn’t shake the cooking bug. Three and a half years ago, she opened Albee’s Kitchen in Campsie, a Malaysian restaurant in the middle of Korean/Chinese/Vietnamese heartland. It was a risk and in the early days she was kept working at the day job to bring in money to support the restaurant – her night job/business.
Calling her restaurant a “kitchen” sums up this honest, humble eatery. Outside, it’s bright and deliciously tempting, adorned with mouth-watering pictures of just about every Malaysian dish. Walk in and the space is small, with a cluster of tables and little room in between. Penetrate deeper and there’s a small kitchen that’s accessed by two narrow aisles. Go past that and you’ll find two more private areas that hold different sized wooden tables, each room seats around 20 people. Tonight, noodlies, Sydney food blog is dining in the inner sanctum, with our lovely host, Albee herself.
I try loh bak for the first time in that inner sanctum of Albee’s Kitchen. This dish has many close relations in other Asian countries; it’s basically marinated pork mince with various vegetables wrapped in tofu skin that’s deep-fried and served with sweet chilli sauce. It’s tasty but not too spicy, from the outset I sense Albee prefers her flavours light.
Curry puff is another dish that has many different variations throughout south-east Asia and India. Albee’s version is, more-ishly delicious; my weakness is boiled egg, I love it in any and everything. The secret twist in Albee Kitchen’s curry puff is the use of sweet potato instead of potato. Albee says it gives the dish extra depth without the need for added sugar.
It just seems wrong not to try chicken satay sticks at a Malaysian restaurant, or as I like to call it, chick’n on a stick’n. The chicken is golden with lovely blisters and burnt edges. The sauce itself is on plain side. When I query Albee, she says staff can add extra chilli – but you need to ask. Dear readers, I suggest you ask, it will make a pleasurable difference.
Albee also showed me how to eat Malaysian satay chicken, check out the how to in the video below.
Another first for me is the pulut panggang, it sounds raw and real, and literally translates as “BBQ glutinous rice”. Albee says it used to be a popular hawker dish but is getting harder to find because it takes a bit of effort to make; cooking the rice in coconut milk, frying coconut, dried shrimp, chilli and herbs, then wrapping them all up in banana leaves and cooking over coal. The creaminess of the rice works oh-so well with the savoury centre. Delicious without being over-powering.
Asam pedas is crispy whole cod in a spicy, sour sauce made with a tamarind (asam) and tomato base. Devour this dish quickly as the crispy skin soaks in that zesty sauce, extra zing come from fresh onion, shallot and chilli.
Asam curry fish head is my undisputed favourite dish of the night. You would normally not order this dish together with asam pedas, but we’re particularly hungry tonight and, well, I didn’t want to choose. While the Asam pedas sauce is made with a tomato base, the base for this dish is curry-based. It’s magnificently presented in a clay pot and the dish itself is a stunner; dark, deep sauce with so many different ingredients gives a real depth of flavour. Fish head might sound challenging, but the head itself is not that evident, lost amongst the many ingredients that includes okra, one of my favs.
Kuih talam is another dessert that has many different variations across south-east Asia. Here the base is pandan with a sweet and salty coconut head. Where Albee’s Kitchen might be a tad light on flavours when it comes to savoury dishes, their restraint doesn’t extend to desserts. The kuih talam is full flavoured and utterly more-ish.
Tapioca cake (left) has a cute, flaky, indulgent texture and benefits in flavour and in the looks department from the top layer made from palm sugar and coconut. It’s my fav dessert of the evening. The black sesame layered cake (right) is an Albee special, the black sesame is her addition and adds an additional flavour and texture to this dessert.
I’m impressed by the range of Malaysian dishes on the menu, the most popular ones as plastered on the front of the restaurant. But a word of caution, Albee’s kitchen is honest, delicious food – but it’s not fine dining, so don’t expect fancy decor and attentive service. You’re here to eat and leave, longing to come back.
Albee’s Kitchen in Campsie has different specials each day of the week, check out their daily specials here.
Albee’s Kitchen has recently opened in Cabramatta, it’s a smaller kitchen so the menu is limited in comparison. I’ve been three times and while each time has been a better experience, I think it’s still finding it’s feet.
Albee’s Kitchen will have a stall at the Campsie Food Festival this year on Saturday, 2 June 2012. Visit them to try their famous curry puff, chicken satay, laksa, nasi lemak, char kway teow and kuih sweets.
“The rich and sometimes secretive culture often associated with wine can make it a daunting subject, but in creating THE BLOCKS I wanted to celebrate the beauty and romance of this remarkable world”Faye Toogood
THE BLOCKS is a Penfolds and London’s Studio Toogood collaboration creating a world first space in the shadows of Sydney Harbour Bridge completely dedicated to wine, food and design. According to Penfolds, “Through art and design, THE BLOCKS encourages visitors to discover their palettes using sight, touch and smell before tasting some of the world’s greatest wines all matched to distinctive foods”.
Open for strictly three weeks only in Sydney before touring Melbourne and the world, this innovative space invites guests to explore over 260 bespoke Toogood pieces and five installations by Australian artists all inspired by Penfolds wines. Tonight, noodlies Sydney food blog is at the launch event before THE BLOCKS goes live in Sydney from 16th March.
Set in Pier 2/3 in in Walsh Bay, the space is huge but with clever lighting manages to feel perfectly intimate and successfully allows the art installations to be the main focus.
The 5 Oaks is the most interactive of the installations, inspired by the five groups of grapes that’s available for tasting. It consists of five imperious wooden totems that have been impregnated with different bespoke scents.
There are also works by five Australian artists. I was most drawn the works of photographer, Samuel Hodge and his tribute to Glen Innes, one of the highest towns in Australia (see featured video). It was an amazingly close-up and honest portrait of rural Australia. “… I spend my time avoiding inspiration… it has always been about telling the truth and includes sometimes destroying the preconceived reactions and romantic ideas…” says Hodge.
Kit Webster: diamond
Kit Webster’s installation parallels diamonds and wine, both objects of desire, celebrating their shifting and changing beauty, their hypnotic and mesmerising qualities. Sharp shapes and symmetrical surface symbolise the craft of wine making. The way this piece floats enigmatically is a reminder that in art and wine, beauty is found in the intangible (see featured video above).
My friend and food blogger, Daniel a lover of both art, fashion and food shares his experience of THE BLOCKS in the noodlies video below:
And of course, there was food, lots of canapes wagyu beef, crab, pumpkin and my favourite, sorbet dessert below, all prepared by Executive Chef Jock Zonfrillo of Magill Estate Restaurant.
Sweet, sweet canape
And the wine? My favourite was the Penfolds Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz, 2010, romantic, alluring, this deep crimson wine stole my heart on the night. As did all the wonderful installations by featured Australians artists.
The food blogging blokes (l-r): Thang (noodlies), Daniel, Richard and Simon (our wonderful official photographer behind the camera).
While discovering THE BLOCKS, visitors will be greeted by trained sommeliers who will guide guests on a journey through the five wooden totems impregnated with different bespoke scents produced in conjunction with a perfumer for the event.
While entry to view THE BLOCKS is complimentary, the sensory discovery is enhanced by experiencing the creative inspiration, Penfolds wines. An extensive Jock Zonfrillo menu sourced from the best of South Australia has also been designed specifically or the experimental space and to accompany the wines.
Entry is complimentary (not including food and wine), booking is encouraged.
Sydney, From March 16th to April 5th
Pier 2/3, 13 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
Wednesday – Friday 4pm to 11pm
Saturday – Sunday 1pm to 11pm
Noodlies, Sydney food blog and friend attended as guests of THE BLOCKS, by Penfolds.
Nan Tien Temple has been an attraction to locals and tourists from the day it first opened in 1995. Noodlies, Sydney food blog is a frequent visitor – it’s really only a hour drive away from Cabramatta. Today, I’m accompanying Walter, who has been invited to the Nan Tien Institute’s first Open Day where we also saw the formal unveiling of their plan to build a $40m Nan Tien University and Art Gallery by 2014.
After the event, we were treated to a wonderful vegetarian buffet. Knowing they don’t use garlic and onion, I was interested to see if the food was tasty.
The steamed vegetarian dumplings look like mini translucent pillows and had great flavour with large pieces of vegetable and tofu filling. They were warm and delicious with light soy sauce.
Vegetarian spring rolls were crispy and crunchy, nice substantial filling including cabbage – lovely with sweet and sour sauce.
I’m not sure if these satay sticks were meant to mimic chicken, but they looked like chicken and had a remarkably similar taste and texture to chicken.
I loved the fluffy pastry and pipping hot vegetable filling of the curry puffs.
As delicious as everything was, my favourite was the mini fruit jelly; delicate little white and yellow jellies in cute shapes like roses, sea shells and stars. Each jelly contained pieces of fruit like peach, mango and kiwi fruit which were somehow magically suspended inside. The jelly itself was pretty sweet, which wasn’t over bearing because they were small pieces. I think I ate 10.
I should add the food we had was made for this function and is different from what may be served at Nan Tien’s Tea House restaurant.
Nan Tien and the Nan Tien Institute is founded by Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order from Taiwan.
Nan Tien Temple
Berkeley Road, Berkeley
02 4272 0618
For a full list of all 12 Lunar New Year festivals in 2013, please visit noodlies Sydney food blog’s2013 Year of the Snake.
To find out more about Lunar/Chinese New Year visit noodlies’s about theYear of the Snake.
Many refer to this time as Chinese New Year, doubtless because China was the first to adopt the Lunar calendar. Today, this festival is of course, celebrated by Chinese living around the world as well as Vietnamese and Koreans. I’d suggest the most inclusive term for this festival is Lunar New Year.
Noodlies, Sydney food blog took these photos and captured this video at the Vietnamese Tet celebration, Fairfield Showground. The lion & dragon dance was particularly spectacular.
Casinos are the first thing that comes to mind for most people when they think of Macau. For me, it’s fascinating for a different reason, it’s a place of many different, contrasting influences, a former Portuguese colony, it was handed back to China in 1999, and it’s literally a skip from Hong Kong.
Since visiting Macau for the first time in 1999, I’ve been back there six times, we’ve explored the main areas of Macau including the Senado square area (of course), Taipa and my favourite, sleepy Coloane, from where you can literally see China. I fell in love with the place, this is an extract of my post:
“It’s our third trip to Macau, we went on a whim the first time but have fallen in love with this crazy, contradictory place.
A former Portuguese colony, Macau was only handed back to China in 1999. So you’ve got the Western heritage, contrast with Hong Kong influence, which is now mixed with China. There’s the indigenous people of Macau and the newer Filipino working population. It’s a wild and wonderful mix that sounds strange, but I think it’s ultimately very successful.”
This mish-mash extends to religions too. Casinos might be the faith of many visitors, but you’ll notice the stunning architecture of many Catholic churches, thanks to the Portuguese. Glorious examples include Sao Domingo on Senado Square, and Sao Laurenzo (St Lawrence) and of course, the St Paul’s ruins (facade), destroyed some 400 years ago but this place is probably Macau’s most famous landmark.
Then there’s the Buddhist influence. Larger examples include A-Ma temple at Barra, A-Ma statue on the hills of Coloane and Kun Lam (Kwan Yin) statue on the lake off Avenida Dr Sun Yat-Sen. But smaller, neighbourhood temples can be found just about anywhere – reminiscent of the house temples in Cabramatta.
When it comes to food, which is a mixture of Portuguese, Chinese, Indian and African cuisines, here are more recollections from my first visit to Macau:
“Food is a mixture of influences too… custard tarts are warm, melt in the mouth sensations which is widely available and utterly delicious. At Lord Stowe coffee shop/bakery in Coloane you get delicious tarts and great old world Portuguese atmosphere.
Pork schnitzel wrapped in a bread bun is another specialty, of the several places we had it, my favourite was at Margaret’s Cafe e Nata just off Rua do Dr Pedro Jose Lobo.
But food wise, I’d say my favourite was Wong Chi Kei (see video below) Chinese noodle shop off Senado Square. Since 1946 the place has been turning out egg noodle, both thin and thick in the world’s tastiest soup and accompanied by prawn dumplings. We’re regular customers every morning, it makes a great breakfast!”
Oh, and honourable mention also goes to the Macau crispy bun at the aptly named, Macau Restaurant, Praca Da Amizade. Nutritionalists may not recommend this snack, but I can’t rave about it enough (video below).
So in this context, when noodlies, Sydney food blog was invited to the launch of the inaugural Macau Food Week at the Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney I jumped at the opportunity. For the festival, the hotel’s restaurant, Kable’s will offer traditional Macanese menu for lunch and dinner during the week (14-21st October). They flew to Sydney two chefs from sister hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Macau, Gary Wong and Alex Lim especially for the festival.
The sit down launch (I love a sit down do.. so much more civilised and intimate) was a lavish affair. Three courses consisting of three dishes each with matching Portuguese wine, including a delicious vinho verdes.
The Macanese prawns with chilli and garlic dish isn’t a surprise, the Chinese influence shows here. The prawns are crispy and spicy and served with a European inspired salad.
Bacalhau is for some an acquired taste, but is pretty much a staple in Portuguese cuisine. Cod fish fritters with marinated olives, tartare sauce is 100% nod to the Portuguese influence. The olives are greener and tarter than usual, which I’m putting down to the Portuguese love of greener flavours, ala vinho verdes.
Photo’s rarely do soup justice and that’s the problem here. the Caldo Verde: Portuguese style potato and kale soup was delicious, creamy and tasty.
Minchi is a dish made up of minced pork and beef, with cubed potato and bay leaf with fried egg. This dish is pretty accessible, with standard flavours, the fried egg provides contrast in textures, appearance and taste.
African chicken illustrates yet another influence on Macanese food (and Portuguese food). The skin is crispy the meat marinated in different herbs that surprises, strong but not overpowering.
Bacalhau a Bras (not pictured) – is probalby the most challenging dish of all, not that it’s hard to eat but the shredded cod fish sauteed with scrambled eggs offers strong and salty flavours. One of my favourite dishes of the event.
Sadly I had to leave prior to the end of the lunch and missed the delicious sounding desserts:
Serradura – whipped cream layered with biscuit crumbs
Ginger milk curd
Leite Creme – Macanese egg custard with cinnamon
I have always found Macau fascinating and think the initiative to promote Macanese food and culture is great. I hope you’ll support them by attending one of the following events:
Macanese Food Week, Four Seasons Hotel
Bookings and info: 9250 3306 or online
Macau Festival: food stalls, Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour
15-16 October 10am-4pm
Info: 9264 1488 or online
noodlies Sydney food blog was a guest of Macau Government Tourist Office and Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney.
The last Malaysia Kitchen event in Sydney was their pop up behind the State Theatre. It was wildly successful. Malaysia Kitchen is about promoting Malaysian food around the world: London, New York, Canada, New Zealand and now Sydney, Australia. The concept is simple, great food served up by the best local Malaysian restaurants.
Today, this experience comes to Parramatta in Sydney’s west and the local restaurants participating and the dishes offered are:
Oriental Tucker Box: Laksa Ma’Leisia Cafe: Nasi lemak and ais kacang Penang Cuisine: Lobak and roti canal with curry chicken Temasek: Otak otak, chicken satay with tumeric rice Albee’s Kitchen: Malaysian satay, pulut panggang Jackie M: Char kway teow KampongBoy: Ayan bagus, beef rendang, teh ais limau
I devoured Temasek’s otak otak which is a fish cake wrapped and cooked in banana leaves and served with rice. For me it was the prawn paste that made it flavoursome and delicious. The prawn laksa from Oriental Tucker Box was milder than I’m used to, but the lemongrass gave the whole creamy, hearty dish a real lift.
Also on the program is a series of cooking demonstrations by leading Malaysian chefs:
Wanitha Tanasingam (first picture below)
Florence Tan (second picture below)
It’s a great initiative of Malaysia Kitchen to bring great Malaysian food to Sydney’s west as part of the 2011 Crave Sydney International Food Festival. Noodlies Sydney food blog’s participation was courtesy of Malaysia Kitchen Insiders and Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence.
Here’s Wanitha Tanasingam whipping up the crowd during her cooking demonstration. The delightful Wanitha playful introduces herself as the ‘love goddess’ and displays a certain fondness for double meanings “the size of the tool counts..” and “take a firm grip”, were two that come to mind. I love it! Watch an excerpt of her cooking demonstration below with Wanitha and Cr Lorraine Wearne, Mayor of Parramatta and Sara from Belly Rumbles food blog.
And here’s Florence Tan weaving her magic and entralling the crowd.
Noodlies Sydney food blog enjoyed a four hour food fest at the Campsie Food Festival with Walter, Sandy, Jane and very briefly, John and francie. Of all the food we ate, from so many different cultures, I have four favourite experiences which you can see in the video above, and still other favourites in picture form below: Colotako prawn and crab balls: the batter was fried and light, enveloping either prawn or crab meat, it was a melt in the mouth experience, with additional flavour from the mayo/wasabi sauce.
Korean pancake: not pa jeon (another of my favourites) but these flat, savoury pancakes pack strong, substantial flavour.
Fried rice noodles: how can noodlies not like noodles. Although by this time, I was full and we couldn’t fit any more in, but the colour of the noodle and freshness of the vegetables made this stall pop for me. Oh and the fried hokkien noodles and other misc fried foods helped too.
Hungarian Doughnuts: they were the size of a small pineapple, tubular and hollow and covered in sugar and modelled very professionally by Walter… what’s not to like?
Read my round-up of all the food and fun at the Campsie Food Festival.
And my interview with Festival celebrity chef, Alvin Quah.
Alvin Quah was wowing the crowds with his cooking demonstration at the Campsie Food Festival 2011. Alvin talks to noodlies Sydney food blog in an interview live from the Festival on life after Masterchef, his hectic schedule, cooking for Kerri-Anne and burning the candles both ends – see the video above.
He’s quite and acomplished public performer and it was obvious he knows how to get the crowd going.
Read my round-up of all the fun at the Campsie Food Festival
Celebrity cook and 2010 MasterChef contestant Alvin Quah is one of the major attractions of the 2011 Campsie Food Festival.
Alvin Quah and Canterbury Mayor, Robert Furolo
“Now in its twelfth year, the Campsie Food Festival has become an opportunity for food lovers to satisfy cravings and their appetite for foods from all over the world,” Canterbury Mayor, Robert Furolo said.
Alvin will cook two dishes – Malaysian fried noodles and Malaysian chicken curry incorporating products from Festival sponsor, Ayam.
Two other chefs will share the stage with Alvin at the Campsie Food Festival – one will complete a Mystery Ingredients Challenge.
There will also be a noodle making demonstration and samples for festival attendees to try.
“The Campsie Food Festival is a feast of flavours, with over 60 stalls, a cooking stage, the SBS radio stage, cultural performances, eating competitions and rides for kids – it’s the Seoul of Sydney, reflecting our cultural diversity and great community spirit,” Mayor Robert Furolo said.
For more information on the Campsie Food Festival phone 9789 9300, visit www.campsiefoodfestival.com.au join Campsie Food Festival Facebook page and follow on twitter.
The 2011 Campsie Food Festival will stretch along Beamish Street and into Anzac Mall, Campsie, on Saturday, June 4, from 10am-4pm.
The 2011 Campsie Food Festival is proudly presented by: Platinum Sponsors: Campsie RSL, SBS Radio, and Lebara Mobile. Gold Sponsors: Torch Publishing, Commonwealth Bank Campsie, Department of Health and Ageing, NSW Transport. Silver Sponsors: Bulldogs, Ayam, Nandos Canterbury, Channel 9, Noodlies – food blog; and bronze CurlyMoo.