Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ton Ton

I recently discovered a little Japanese restaurant in the Chifley Plaza food court called "Ton Ton". They have gorgeous udon noodle soups and a whole array of ramen noodle soups that are just utterly drool worthy. Ontop of that, they have little bento boxes and other prepacked meals ready to go for anyone who is in a rush. I haven't tried any of their bento boxes and other hot meals yet since I'm always craving for their noodle soup.

The food at Ton Ton is supplied and made by Azuma which probably explains why it tastes so damn delicious! And it makes sense as well, since not everyone has the time or money to spend on a sit down meal at Azuma's during lunch. To have a quick, cheap and delicious little take away shop for the average worker to go to helps to boost their profits.

Highly recommend their udon noodle soup (Not the tempura version), Ton Ton Ramen, Shoyu Ramen and Tonkatsu Ramen. MmmMmm

Prepacked meals

Shoyu Ramen

BBQ Pork Onigiri

Ton Ton
Level 1, Chifley Plaza
2 Chifley Square, Sydney

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dragon Star Seafood Restaurant

So I got frantic calls from my parents one night saying that I HAD to go out for dinner in the city. They even changed the venue just so I could rock up. Why? My cousin was visiting from China. He had joined a tour group that was taking him from Sydney to Canberra to Melbourne to New Zealand to Gold Coast and then back to Sydney. Or something along those lines. Because he lost the itinerary. Yes thats right. So he had no idea how long he was going to be in Sydney for so it was our only chance to catch up.

So after my last volleyball game, I grabbed my bag and dashed out, still in my sweaty gear. Ewww.....yes I know...but everyone was waiting for me! We ended up at Dragon Star at Market City since it was the closest restaurant with good food. And since Australia is famous for their seafood, it wasn't surprising that the first dish we ordered was this:

Ginger and Shallot Lobster on a bed of E-fu noodles

MmMMmm Noodles........

I'm actually not a huge fan of lobster which is probably why I ate more noodles than lobster, and they also include these deep fried cloves of garlic thats gone all soft and sweet. I do love lobster sashimi, but cooked lobster is kinda tough and tasteless. I'd much prefer the delicate flavour and texture of crab. And speaking of crab......

Crab and vermicelli hot pot

This dish was a tad dry and could've used a bit more sauce, but I wasn't complaining too much since the vermicelli noodles were deliiiiicious! It might have something to do with the mince and dried shrimp they used to cook it. Or it could be the big globs of crab roe that fell off during the cooking process and got mixed into the noodles. MmMMm

Chunky crab roe!

Garlic Bok Choy

Lotus leaf steamed free range chicken

Steamed gourd with enoki mushroom sauce

The chicken was a bit tasteless since it was steamed ONTOP of all the ingredients instead of laying everything ontop of it so it could absorb some flavour. The veggies were nice and garlicky and hella refreshing after all the seafood. And the gourd......omg the gourd was good. Soft and sweet with the nice enoki mushrooms for a bit of texture contrast. MmMmm too bad I was so full at this stage I only had a small spoonful.

We ended up at our places afterwards having more fruit (not that we didn't have dessert at the restaurant) and got to have a good chat with my cousin. We're hoping his tour will bring him back to Sydney before flying him home. That way we could show him a bit more of Sydney instead of just the touristy things. And maybe I'll take him to a nice non-chinese restaurant!

Dragon Star Seafood Restaurant
Market City
Level 3, Shop 9-13, Hay St
(02) 9211 8988

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Home Cooking vs Eating Out

My parents were overseas for most of October and November leaving me and my grandma at home. Its not too much of an issue I guess, except that I couldn't just call home and say that I won't be home for dinner. I needed atleast a days notice if I don't intend to come home simply because I would need to cook up some food for my granny. On the plus side, if I had enough notice, I was able to go out most nights without having to cop a big lecture from my parents. Yeah I know, I'm 26 and I still get nagged.

So basically me and Moishii went out ALL THE TIME. I was out on a weeknight at a pub drinking. My alcoholism is no longer confined to friday nights and weekends. This also meant that I ate out, ALOT.

The Excelsior Hotel Surry Hills

Tapas plate


1/2L Mango Bier

Schnitzel with creamy mushroom sauce and sauteed potatoes

Usually I wouldn't complain, since I love trying new food and I enjoy spending time with my friends over food. However, a whole month of nonstop pub food and alcohol plus my "I can't be bothered cooking, I'm just going to throw something together for dinner" type attitude, I was missing my mum's home cooked meals. I would get home from work, and I would eat leftovers, or knock up something quick like this:

A cheats bruschetta

Country sausages with sauteed zuchinni and carrot potato mash

Grilled pepper chicken with salad

Then when I've filled up my tummy, I would cook dinner for tomorrow night. I would rarely cook meals that I would eat on the spot since by the time I get home from work, it was close to 7pm. And by the time I finish cooking and eating, it'll be closer to 8. So my solution was to cook the night before, or cook something that requires minimal effort (like pasta). When I could be bothered cooking, it wouldn't really be chinese. I'll cook some of our traditional dishes from my parents villages, but nothing too challenging. I've always made a point not to cook anything too "authentic" chinese, because my mum can always cook better. Well, I didn't want to wait for my mum to come home before I got some home cooked meals. So I decided to tackle the one dish that I've always been hesitant to make. Hainese Chicken/Bat Chit Gai.

1. Its hard to make the chicken cooked and tenderly juicy at the same time.
2. My biggest fear is chopping bones with a cleaver incase I miss and lose a limb or two.
3. This is a "mum" dish.

But guess what? I turned out absolutely perfect! So good infact, when my parents got back the next day, they took one look at it and assumed my older sister cooked it! (Talk about faith...) And when I told them, they couldn't believe it and asked me to go through step by step what I did, to prove that I DID cook it! AND I chopped it chinese style! My mum was soooooo proud!! hehehe

I think I am alot more willing to cook chinese food after that. It was the line I had to cross to make me want to be a chinese cook. It also makes me appreciate home cooking a lot more. The fact that I couldn't be bothered cooking any of our traditional dishes says a lot about my attitude. It was always easier to knock up a pasta, or grill some chicken and fish, throw together a salad etc than it was to cook a home cooked meal. Theres no extra effort involved, just that its not my first instinct. Maybe its the eating out all the time and always eating something not chinese that has got me thinking the way I do. It may sound silly, but for me to make the chicken so easily had me thinking why don't I cook things like that more often? Why don't I spend more time learning all of my mum's recipes? Why is it every time I cook a meal for my family, its never chinese food?

Well, I've basically made the decision to make more of an effort to appreciate all the home cooked meals I get and learn how to cook it the way my mum does. Its funny how something as simple as making Hainese chicken can get me to think so much......

Friday, November 24, 2006

Good food, great company

This week as been the most hectic week for me. Ontop of the crazy work schedule, and Moishii's birthday, relos dropping in, a good friend also dropped in from interstate. This basically meant its been a non-stop week of boozing, munchies and catching up. Not that I really mind since great food + great company = enjoyment.

So after my big 3am night out, I was up at 7am again to go to work on the Sunday. After a good solid few hours of work, I met up with my friends for a quick walk around circular quay and then drinks at Lenin Bar. I've been to Lenin Bar before. First time was to go to Minus 5, and the second time was a few weeks ago where we spotted Antonia Kidman and they jumped into the photo. This time, we actually sat down for drinks.

Their cocktails are REALLY REALLY good. A bit pricey, but considering the location and the fact that Lenin Bar is a vodka bar, I don't think they were using the standard Absolut Vodka. We quickly headed off to Newtown afterwards to grab some food. Parking was atrocious as always meaning I had to go all the way back to my trusty secret parking spot. Since my friends whinge and bitch about me making them walk, instead of heading to Thai Pothong, we went to Chedi (Formerly known as "Thailand"), one of my favourite thai restaurants. Not only is there the normal seated area, they also have cushions on the floor for those who want to eat on the floor. And the owner, I love the owner. And so does my whole family. Not only is he polite and does everything he can to make your meal enjoyable, he's also Irish, but he speaks chinese! Everytime I go with my family, he has a good banter with my parents and bitches about his wife (In a joking way). I deliberately didn't tell my friends this, so when he walked over, he immediately started speaking chinese and my friend's eyes just popped out of the socket. hehehehe

Now since some of the people who came along were new to me, I decided not to whip out my camera. But their Salt and Pepper squid and Marinated BBQ Pork is highly highly recommended. I'm also going to go back to try their sizzling combination seafood as well. The table behind us ordered the dish, and the aroma quickly spread throughout the whole restaurant. At first everyone went "Oh my gosh!! That smells sooooooooo good!!!" *WHIFF*. This was quickly followed by a "OMG *COUGH* CHILLI!! *COUGH**COUGH*CHOKE* BUT IT *COUGH* SMELLS SO GOOD!! *COUGH*"

The whole restaurant basically had a coughing fit for a good 5 minutes. I ended up having to take a walk outdoors since I was sitting the closest to the sizzle platter of evil chilliness. But damn it smells good. And I'll definately order it the next time I go. I might bring an oxygen tank with me though...

So somewhere along the line, during a scorching hot day, I took my friend out to the Fish Markets. Now this time, since is just us 2, I happily whipped out the camera whenever I wanted.

My favourite seaweed salad

Seafood platter for 2


Salmon and Tuna Sashimi

Table shot: And yes, we finished all 6 bottles!

I found a baby seagull!!!

After completely stuffing ourselves, we decided to walk it off. So it was over to chinatown where we ended up in Market City with some cooling easyway to wait for the sun to go down a bit. Once the weather cooled off slightly, we headed over to the Chinese Gardens.

I haven't actually been to the Chinese Gardens for a good 4-5 years. The last time I was there, was for my brothers wedding. And the time before that, would've been around year 9-10 in High School. The entry fee has definately gone up. $6 for an adult, but it was actually worth it. We strolled around a bit, sat at a pagoda for awhile to chat and have a catch up. I loved the fact that we were in the middle of the city, but it was so relaxing and tranquil, that I felt like I was on holidays overseas.

There was a big Myers sale on that night, so after we did some shopping in Chinatown, we headed over to Pitt St Mall to tackle the crowd at Myers. 30mins later, I had a headache and I didn't want to see anymore clothes/bags/lines for the cashier. Since it was still stinking hot, we decided to head over to Cockle Bay Wharf and ended up at Home Bar for a drink. When the weather cooled down significantly, it was over to my favourite Korean Restaurant. BBQ City.

This must be the first time that I've been where I didn't order my fish egg stew. Since neither of us was really hungry, we ordered the mix BBQ meat platter for 3. Yeh...I can't explain it either. The food never disappoints and I walked away groaning about eating too much again!

After our big day out, my friend insisted that I join him and his friends for dinner again the next night. To cater for everyone, it was Chinese. We opted for Dragon Star at Market City since they had free parking after 5pm. We handed the responsibility of ordering food over to my friend who started pointing at things in the menu randomly. My worst fears came true when I saw the amount of food that came out! I had told my friend that I wasn't hungry and he should only order for 4 instead of 5 people (Knowing he will over order anyway) But I didn't expect THIS:

Steamed barramundi

Ginger and Shallot Lobster

Peking Duck

Stir Fry Duck and Snow Peas

Garlic 4 Season Beans

Crispy Skinned Chicken

The lobster was big enough to feed all of us. We barely got through 1/2 of it. The peking duck was really nice, although I prefer it when they slice it with a tad more meat attached. When you order Peking Duck, the remaining meat on the carcass is usually used to cook another dish, we opted to have it stir fried with snow peas. Somewhere along the line, my friend had also ordered a whole barrmundi (Which the waiter kindly deboned for us at the table), garlic four season beans and crispy skinned chicken that was served with pringles. All that for 5 people! Especially when I made it clear that I wasn't hungry! OMG! We actually ran outta room on the table by the time the fish came out. There was alot of reshuffling, including me emptying a whole plate into my friends bowl since he ordered the food. We ended up having half the food packed into take away containers. We tried our best, but considering the task infront of us, we knew we were never going to finish the food anyway!

Sunday, November 5, 2006

A Dinner Party SoRMuiJAi style

Nothing is never "normal" in my life. And a dinner party isn't any different. When I invited a bunch of friends over for dinner, I told them that the cuisine of the night would be Turkish and Greek. and to go with the theme, everyone was to rock up in costume. Now, Moishii and Christine know me, and they know that I'm not kidding when I'm expecting people to rock up in costume. Whilst Gus, well, I think Gus knows I'm not kidding, but he's hoping to feign innocence and get away without a costume. But I know Gus better, so I had a costume preplanned for him. And the same with Alan, since Alan thinks I'm on acid when I demanded that people rock up in costume. He doesn't actually think I'm stupid enough to go through with it. Well guess what? I'm stupid enough.

I finally get to wear my belly dancing costume!!

Moishii the confused belly dancing terrorist

"OMG you guys are frickin nuts!" Christine

"OK, this toga has lowered my testosterone levels by like THIS MUCH"

"God, why did I agree to come??"

Now since I've got everyone dressed up, and I was doing a Turkish/Greek night, we thought we would take it all the way. We're eating on the floor! Too bad I was missing the traditional turkish cushions. But Moishii helps spice up the place with a whole range of Turkish decorations. But it probably wasn't the best idea to put pointy wooden spoons ALL AROUND THE FLOOR because I practically put one through my foot every time I walked through the place. So we had the belly dancing music pumping through the speakers, a chick in a G-String belly dancing on screen to set all the guys in the mood. The punch was made and the food was ready. Lets chow down!

Setting up on the floor - Note the deadly spoons along the edges


I accidently left the vineleaves soaking in the pot of water I cooked it in for too long. That unfortunately diluted the taste. Might have to make another batch soon to satisfy my cravings.


Now, I haven't made babaganoush in yearrrrrrrrrs. The first time I made it, I didn't roast the eggplants anywhere near long enough, I put toooooo much garlic and I basically ended up throwing the whole pot out. Yes, a pot full. This time, well this time I was smarter. And I came out yummmmm! Even if I do say so myself. I had roasted them over an open fire long enough to make the eggplants soft and silky giving it a lovely smokey flavour. I spiced it up with just enough garlic and lemon to give it a pungent tang. I just had some for lunch and it tasted even better than it did last night. Next time I'm going to make it a day in advance!

Cacik / tzatziki

This was alot easier to make than I expected. I went a bit to happy on the salt though, but definately will make it again next time!!

Coban salatasi (Shepard's salad)

This was my absolute favourite salad when I was holidaying in Turkey. Its simple but oh so yummy. I think it had something to do with the tomatoes. I've never really tasted tomatoes until I had them in Turkey. What we have in Australia is not tomatoes. But this is as close as I am going to get to having the salad without going overseas this year. Its sooooooo simple to make as well! Chopped tomatoes, cucumber and parsley. Squeeze some fresh lemon over the top, mix and eat. MMMMmmm


I didn't realise how hard it is to get lamb mince in my area. I must shop in Auburn next time. I had to pay $14 for a 2kg leg of lamb, ask them to debone it and THEN mince it, leaving me with less then 800g of lamb mince. However, it was worth it. I don't think it would've tasted half as good with beef mince. I think they turned out alright. Moishii reckons they were nice, but something was missing from the just didn't scream "TURKISH!!!" to me. It was probabaly more "turkish" than "TURKISH!!!". But it was still nice. Just not very "TURKISH!!"


A Turkish/Greek night would not be complete without a big tray of hearty Moussaka. Luckily it was rainy and freezing cold on the night as well. The moussaka came out nice. I haven't had an authentic one is so long, I'm not sure how "Greek" it is, but nonetheless, it was good. The egg plant was soft, and the potatoes had absorbed most of the flavour. I'm going to enjoy my lunch tomorrow :D

I was originally going to make galatoboureko, which is the Greek custard filo pastry. But I lost my recipe. I've searched high and low, and I cannot find my recipe. I could probably make it up as I go, but I wasn't in the mood. I was going to ditch the whole dessert thing. But 2 hours before everyone was due to arrive, it suddenly occurred to me, a dinner party isn't a dinner party without dessert! So I quickly whipped up a custard filo tart thing with some fresh fruit.

Now that dinner was over, we decided to watch our holiday DVD which is dedicated to Christine. I previously blogged about our night out at Surfer's Paradise and left out a huge chunk of our night. I can now reveal what happened. We had been walking around with a video camera, and for some reason, when people see us, they all want to say "Hi!!" to the camera. So instead of just saying "Hi!!" to the camera, we asked them to say "Hi!!" to Christine. We gave a whole range of reasons from, its her birthday, to she's been in an accident and is lying in hospital and unable to come to the GC with us.

So we got heaps of footage hey. So we set ourselves a challenge, lets ask someone to flash Christine, on camera. We even agreed that we were NOT going home until someone atleast shows an ass crack to the camera. This is when Moishii starts to scream that we're never going to get home then. So after dinner and multiple drinks later, we started roaming through the streets of Surfers. We entered a bar contemplating having a drink, when we remember they charged us $9 for a shot the last time we were here. So we decided to go to another bar instead, as we step out of the bar, we're standing around discussing as to where we should go when we hear a "Hey!".

We turned around and saw 2 guys sitting on a bench outside the bar. One of them decided to ask us if we're filming a pornography or something. Without thinking twice, I asked him to say hi to Christine, and if he could flash her for us. He stood up, and proceeded to play with the zipper on his pants. The next thing you know, the guy has pulled his sack out. Yes, thats right. Thinking we weren't even going to get an ass crack, we get a sack from the very first guy we asked. And he didn't think twice about it! He stood up, whipped his sack out, and waggled it around infront of the camera. We make a quick get away whilst laughing our heads off. This is going to be one of those nights. We immediately went to have a shot of alcohol after getting a sack in our face. The rest is a bit of a blur, we basically here is a run down of what happened after the sack.

- We got an ass crack
- We had a shot
- We got a nipple
- We got 2 sets of boobs
- We had a shot
- We got more ass
- Some guy told me he wanted to put his penis between my boobs
- We had a shot
- We got accused of being terrorists
- Some guy wanted to lick my arm
- We had a shot
- We got the sausage
- We had a shot

And so on and so on. All of them dedicating their wangers to Christine. And all captured on film. How good are we?? So when we were trying to find a souvenier present for Christine, we knew exactly what to get her:

"Open it!! open it!!"


Then some smart arse decided to throw it onto my ceiling......

Its hanging by the nuts!


We spent a good 10mins waiting for the damn thing to fall off the ceiling! Who knew that you could be hanging by a nut for so long? We were going to try and grab a ladder to pull the thing off (Since I didn't want my parents coming home and seeing a wanger growing from the ceiling!!" when it finally came off! Then it was a whole "hot potatoes" thing where it was throw from one side of the room to the other. Somehow, we found the whole throwing of a fake limp sausage highly amusing......

Like I said, nothing is never normal in my life. Not even a dinner party.