Archive for the ‘Haymarket & Chinatown’ Category

Word on the street is that there’s a new tea store trying to muscle in on the monopoly that is Easyway. If you’ve been down George St any time over the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed Chatime – the latest tea store to hit Sydney.

Their selection of teas are interesting – amongst them Yakult Lemon Juice, Ichiban Roasted Tea, Lemon Yoghurt Smoothie and Brown Rice Green Tea ……….but do they really beat Easyway?


Since Chatime had a Buy 1 Get 1 free promotion until the 13th November, I was naturally tempted to try their new range of drinks.
Grace had bought a Hawaii Fruit Tea (M – $4.20) the day before, and it had tasted suspiciously like breakfast juice in tea form …but hey! New things might always surprise you :)


Grapefruit Green Tea (R) and aloe vera – $4.70 &
Chatime Roasted Milk Tea (R) with pearls – $4.70

First up on the list of drinks to try was the recommended grapefruit green tea and the interesting sounding Chatime roasted milk tea.
The prices are a little dearer than Easyway, which is often justified with the random inclusion of toppings in some of the drinks (not in this case, though).

I asked the staff if the grapefruit green tea would be sour, to which I was told it would be bitter =[. Had a slight bitter aftertaste, and the aloe vera texture was a little mushy (Easyway’s is definitely better), but if you like grapefruit it’s definitely worth a try.

Chatime roasted milk tea, which is supposed to be green tea based, just tasted like watery coffee. Like, SUPER watery coffee. -_-  The pearls were very chewy though, which is good I suppose, if you like chewy pearls.

Verdict? Grapefruit > Roasted milk

Despite not being blown away by these 2 drinks, Helen & I decided to give Chatime another try with:

Brown Rice Green Tea (R) with pearls – $4.20 &
Tokachi Red Bean Milk Tea (R) included with pearls and red bean – $4.50

Was not really a fan of the brown rice green tea. Tasted like the hot green tea they give you in Japanese shops – the ones that taste like sesame tea instead (which apparently isn’t sesame or green tea at all, but rather the brown rice..so I guess the name is rather accurate). In Helen’s words, is it “infused with smoke” ? =\

The tokachi red bean milk tea came with a serving of pearls and red beans. Red beans were really nice – not overly sweet (Easyway’s milk tea is a thousand times sweeter – although you can adjust the sweetness), and rather small. The milk tea had a red tea aftertaste that could potentially be amazing if you love milk tea.

Verdict? Tokachi red bean > brown rice green tea

Unfortunately, despite trying four different drinks, we still hadn’t found the WOW factor of Chatime ….so one more time.

Longan & Red Date Juice (L) – $4.20

One thing I can say about Chatime is that the descriptions for their drinks are pretty accurate. Although a refreshing drink, there was a definite longan aftertaste that could very easily be overwhelming if you don’t like longans that much. There was a strong date flavour as well (which was only accentuated further by the small sweet date pieces floating around in the drink).

Figured that I haven’t really liked anything from their energetic healthy juice range .. =[ (which this drink came from)

Fairy Vanilla Milk Tea (L) and pearls – $5.20

The WOW factor.
This was definitelyyyy my favourite drink so far! Not much to say other than it’s a vanilla milk tea, and if you like vanilla, you’ll looove this!

As for comparison with Easyway, I suppose it all comes down to whether you have a tolerance for sweet things, and whether or not you’re obsessed with milk tea. While Easyway has a large variety of different drinks, Chatime differs in that they have a few of the populars – e.g. milk tea, green tea – and then a few variations of the same thing.

But speaking of Easyway, did anyone see the episode of the Simpsons where all the shops in some megamart turn into Starbucks?
That’s pretty much the same case with Easyway and George St, with a new Easyway opening up opposite the World Square one and diagonal to the Goulburn St store.


Grand Opening

Oooh, competition, considering this new Easyway store opened up in the same time frame as the Chatime store.

…a store which uses masking tape to hold its sign up.


Anywayyy. If you’re adventurous and really like milk tea, then maybe Chatime’s gazillion different types of milk tea will appeal to you!
If anything, the tea is worth a try at least once – and if you’re not game, you should swing by Easyway Castle Towers for the best Easyway around :D

Chatime (Visited 13/11/09)
Shop 181, 569 George St
Sydney, NSW 2000
(Summit Arcade, opposite World Square)


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My first experience with mi goreng was when a certain acquaintance of mine cooked it at a friend’s birthday, and let me tell you – it. was. terrible. Out of loyalty, I tried to eat the dish, until the cook himself tried it and proclaimed, “Why are you poisoning yourself!? Stop eating this!”
I swore off mi goreng for the next two years …until a road trip down south earlier this year reignited my love for the noodle.

Despite the universal love for instant mi goreng, I know a lot of friends (and by friends, I mean ‘Asians’) who have NEVER bought mi goreng at a restaurant. Why?
Probably something to do with the fact that you can have your own tasty mi goreng for 79c and some hot water, so why bother paying $10+ for the same thing when you’re eating out?

But as you know, curiosity always kills the cat (or the waist line, in my case), and after bypassing mi goreng in favour of laksa at Temasek, we decided to order it this time round.


Mee go reng – $9.80
stir fried Hokkien noodles with soy sauce, curry powder, egg and vegetables

Let me just say now that comparing instant “mi goreng” to restaurant style “mee go reng” is like comparing a walrus to a turtle.
COMPLETELY INCOMPARABLE. Not only do they use noodles from different sides of the universe, Khao Thai’s mee go reng was neglecting the chilli and spice you come to expect of insta-noodle.

Not to say that this wasn’t passable – the chicken was sweet, and although the broccoli, capsicum & carrots were standard and Helen deemed it salty, it was still nice …but I’d still prefer mi goreng.

If you’re looking for Malaysian fried noodle, then HIT the dish (if we’re talking about ‘hit-or-miss’, haha) ! But if you were weaned on 2 minute mi goreng and looking to satisfy THAT craving ONLY, then this dish would be a miss. But naturally, that makes sense, since “mi goreng” means “fried noodle”, and instant mi goreng is …anything, but fried.


Som tum – $9.80
Green papaya salad
peanuts, chilli, garlic, lime juice, sugar and soy sauce

“Hey, there’s this other Thai place nearby .. it’s called Moo Cow or something, the one with tom yum lunch specials! Maybe they sell papaya salad..”

Khao Thai and Satang Thai are both a stone’s throw from UTS library, but the latter doesn’t serve papaya salad! :(

Nevertheless, the one we found was tasty! ..in small quantities only. Although I’d still prefer eating the scent of The Body Shop’s papaya lotion, this salad was deliciously crunchy – but an overdose of fruit in a salad makes you extreeemely full, and will probably kill your palate for anything else :(.

The crunchy strips of papaya were juicy, and the peanuts sprinkled on top provided an interesting texture. The menu said that the dish had lime juice and sugar – the former of which you could taste, and the sugar didn’t make the salad overly sweet at all. Definitely worth getting to share as an entree.



Black sticky rice with custard- $3.50

For $3.50, this dessert is an absolute steal! It’s actually advertised on a piece of paper plastered on the wall, and it was fate that we saw it :D. Although it was advertised as ‘black sticky rice with custard’, the rice was more reminiscent of red bean, and the ‘custard’ was like a gloppy version of Chinese steamed sponge cake covered with condensed milk. To be honest, I’m not a real fan of either, but put it together and this dessert is heaven :D Or maybe it’s because of the super cheap price tag…


My deepest apologies for the dodgy photos – was using my old old phone camera ‘cos I had nothing else! :(


Khao Thai (visited 08/10/09)
Shop 10
37 Ultimo Rd
Haymarket, 2000
Tel: 9212 1080

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There are heaps of places to eat opposite Market City (and inside, as a matter of fact), but I’ve never bothered going into Minh Hai.

Not to be confused with its namesake on George St (or should it be?), Minh Hai is just around the corner from Chinatown, where the staff are friendly (if not persistent), and they know their regulars’ dishes by heart.

The interior is pretty clean for a BBQ shop (I had photos, but as I have complained about ten times already, my phone camera has destroyed them :( ), and there are empty bottles of wine, bamboo waterfalls and various pot plants dotting the back of the shop.

The payment counter is underneath a small pegoda decorated with white Christmas snowflakes, and just behind are brightly coloured photos of pearl milk tea and lemon tea.


What Jenny first thought was rusty cutlery turned out to be gold forks and spoons – an interesting touch.

Also interesting are the mini TVs hoisted up on the walls behind every odd table – we thought we were hearing voices, until we realised it was just an ad from the TV playing in our ear. :S


Complimentary Chinese tea

We were given only a single glass of boiling, almost translucent, Chinese tea, I think because I also ordered a cup of hot honey lemon in addition.


Honey lemon – $3

This teeny tiny mug wasn’t exactly piping hot, and you get an overload of sweet sensation from the very first sip – way too much honey for such a small cup. Then again, if you ask for more hot water, problem’s solved. :)

When looking through the menu, you can see the “Famous Fried Chicken” seal displayed proudly on the top left hand corner, but mindful of the fact that I was in a BBQ shop, I decided to order one of my favourites – stir fried rice noodle with beef – but with duck instead.


Stirfried rice noodle with duck – $10.80 (i think)

The rice noodle was crispy (which IMO is quite irregular for rice noodle), and it wasn’t too oily, either. There were shallots, bean sprouts, onions, and a few pieces of tender roast duck, all sprinkled with sesame seeds and probably cooked in sesame oil. For a BBQ store, the duck was nothing extraordinary, but it wasn’t too shabby, either.


Roast Duck Noodle Soup – $9.80

MSG and oil soup – a signature of any Chinese noodle dish. As well as egg noodle and chewy pieces of duck, there were also pieces of baby bok choy. Just eating the duck made me feel as if I’d kissed a plate of oil (no need for lip gloss at this place :D), but the baby bok choy tasted fresh and crunchy.

For a relatively small place, the service is definitely big-hearted, and definitely a friendly place worth going back to.


BBQ Minh Hai (明海烧腊), Chinatown (visited 01/06/09)
92 Hay St, Haymarket
NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9281 9720

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Gungho, the Eurasian eat in/take away shop for the Gungho Eurasian!


‘Twas the end of another university welcome reception, and while about thirty people from our course had traipsed off to SATANG THAI, Jenny, Chris, Grace & I decided to be trendsetters (yeah, totallyyy) and feast at Gungho.


Gungho is probably one of those places you could walk past a million times, and never notice it was there – until someone talks about it. It’s a very visual kind of place – all the signs are brightly lit with glowing backdrops. And the good thing about the menus here are that there are pictures of food decorating the words, so you have a pretty good visual idea of what you’re going to get.

The place is about 5m wide (lol), and increeedibly squishy. The few times I’ve been here, I’ve been overloaded with laptop bags and coats, so a piece of advice: don’t come here if you have a lot to carry !!



Chicken Spring Rolls – $7.50
mixed vegetables with chicken in flaky pastry served with sweet chilli sauce

Chicken, mushroom, carrot, and lettuce packed into a crispy, crunchy pastry with dipping sauce. ‘Twas deliciousss, I love spring rolls ! :)


Gungho Salad (vegetarian) – $9
Traditional penne pasta, homemade pesto sauce, with rocket, sundried tomatoes and parmesan cheese

Can I just say that the word ‘SALAD’ here was completely misleading ! -_- It was pretty much pasta with sundried tomatoes and a few pieces of rocket salad sprinkled on top …which the description pretty much sums up, I guess.
Too much pesto, though, but it was kind of tasteless and superr oily ..but I loved the sundried tomatoes ! :)


Barramundi $16.80
Grilled barramundi served with tartare sauce, freshly squeezed lemon and your choice of steamed vegies, chips or jasmine rice

I don’t know how else to describe this barramundi than to say ..that it melts in your mouth ?! (yes, this fish actually does lol)
Chris’ second debut on this blog: “a strong palate, fresh seafood-type flavour” ..yah =\ haha, but it was pretty good, and Gungho’s chef has the odd ability to infuse garlic in the steamed vegetables !


Five Spice Beef Brisket with Rice – $11.80
beef brisket, spice, herbs and special Gungho sauce

Very salty, very hot. If you asked what exactly were the five spices, or what the ‘special Gungho sauce’ is, I couldn’t tell you, but if you’re a fan of kidney-shrinking, ’tis the dish for you! (although I love salt, I’d say that you should still make sure that you mix the rice into the brisket first)


Gungho Burger (v) – $8.80
Veggie pattie, eggplant, grilled capsicum, lettuce with sweet chilli sauce, served with chips

The sad thing about vegetable patties is that they never really taste as good as they look. =( Didn’t try this one, though
Chips came with a side of tomato sauce, no seasoning, but salt available at each table to control the flavour hit :)

Chris & I were itching for dessert, and Grace & Jenny couldn’t bear to be left out (despite grumbles about how full their stomachs were), soooo… ! !


Gungho Banana Fritter – $6.80
deep fried banana with desiccated coconut, served with vanilla ice cream

Grace had been on a mission to find a place to eat banana fritter in Sydney, and it just so happened that we stumbled across this on the menu at Gungho! Unfortunately, the batter was kind of soggy, and as banana fritters go, I’ve probably had better :( Banana wasn’t very warm, and there wasn’t really much flavour …but maybe it was an off day for them, ‘cos the presentation looks nice ! teheh …but I do wonder, what is the point of the artificial cherry ! Does anybody everr eat them?


Green Tea Ice cream – $5.50
traditional Japanese green tea ice cream served with red beans

Mild green tea flavoured ice cream topped with whipped cream and a sprinkling of red bean, served in a thick, frosted flower-shaped cup :) yumm ice cream!

Food here isn’t exactly a taste sensation (but that could just be my cold-numbed taste buds talking), but it’s pretty cheap and convenient, so why nott :) They also sell things like taro blended ice, as well as their special Gungho mocktails !

Gungho Eurasian Cuisine (visited 01/06/09)
Shop 9, 107 – 121 Quay St
Haymarket New South Wales 2000
Ph: (02) 9212 3228
Fax: (02) 9212 3998

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Emperor’s Garden Cake & Bakery, home to hot little custard balls, more commonly known as Emperor’s Puffs, and a variety of cheap Asian buns and cakes!


Swiss Cheese cake, Tiramisu, Fresh Cream Strawberry Puff, Eclair ($1.80 each)

The two best things about Emperor’s Garden Cake & Bakery are the variety of cakes and the cheap price. Throw in a 10% discount to celebrate their 30th anniversary, and you’ve got yourself super super cheap cakes !


One thing I have noticed about their selection of cakes is that they’re never the same ! You might endeavour to try allll of them, but the next time you go, they’ve got a new cake selection :D And it’s much more worth it buying their slices of cake for $1.80 apiece, rather than a super huge cake from their birthday cake selection.


Again ..I apologise for the bad quality of photos – using my phone camera againnn :(


Passionfruit & Apricot Mousse – $1.80
Convenient packaging, and a tasty morsel of cake to feast on =9

If you like soft, moist mousse, fruit in your cakes, and a deliciously light and fluffy sponge, then Emperor’s Garden is definitely the place to go to ! The portion is just enough as well, because I don’t think I could eat too much of this cake – although I can never OD on apricot.
I have tried their tiramisu here though, and can’t say I was too keen on it – a bit too much cream for my liking.


A birthday cake we bought sometime in March last year.
If you haven’t noticed, the birthday cakes at Emperor’s Garden are perpetually on discount – I think it’s about 10%.
Don’t remember how much this one cost, but ’twas your typical Chinese cake – vanilla sponge sandwiched with cream and covered in cream, cream buds, and fruit – strawberries, rockmelon, honeymelon, peaches, and kiwi fruit – and layered with gelatin glaze.


For comparison’s sake, and just because I can, here’s a photo of a Mother’s Day cake I bought earlier this year at Montagne Bleue :


Taro Sponge cake – $29
Taro sponge cake layered with cream and covered with strawberry cream, chocolate icing, and fresh strawberries.

The people at Montagne Bleue, although without a fine grasp of English (Mandarin speakers only!), were incredibly hospitable in making this cake – and for $29 too!
I came rushing up on the night of Mother’s Day with a friend, looking for a cake, and the owners here offered to make a cake similar to the one on display for us (for a half-hour wait), and even went so far to ask which shade of pink I wanted (lool – I was having trouble enough saying I wanted a cake in Mandarin).
The front bit was a bit messy, as you can probably tell from the photo, but for a rush job and the hospitality of the staff, I’d definitely go back.


Emperor’s Garden Cake & Bakery (visited 01/06/09)
Cnr Dixon St, 100 Hay St
Haymarket NSW 2000

Montagne Bleue (visited 11/05/09)
45 Dixon St
Haymarket NSW 2000

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Krispy Kreme is having their sixth birthday this Friday (19th of June) … which means …….. six original glazed doughnuts for a dollar !!
YESS that’s right, 6 for $1 !! So if you go in store, you can get a doughnut apiece for the very cool price of 16.67 cents (but only at Auburn, Liverpool, Penrith & the city stores)
Sooooo! if you missed out on the free KFC burger on Tuesday, go buy Krispy Kremes on Friday !! :)

Anyways ..onto the foodie photos :)

Menya is one of those secrets of Sydney – a place that everybody talks about but nobody knows where it is – until, of course, you go there.
The place itself is owned by I’s Group, a company that owns a small chain of Japanese restaurants around Australia (think Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns) – classified into three distinct “class levels” of dining – and advocating their dishes as “a taste of Japanese in Australia”.


The tagline for Menya is the modern ramen restaurant – providing the best traditional Japanese ramen noodles in Sydney at affordable prices ….and affordable they are !

For a Thursday night, the noodle bar is lively and bustling with customers. They have a system, I think, because the moment you step inside, the first thing they ask you to do is ORDER (you can’t even sit down!). It’s like fast food, except with the quality of restaurant food, and once you’ve ordered & are subsequently seated, THENN they bring the food to you ;)


Menus are posted up on the wall ..The vegetarian meal’s on holiday! :O (haha, how cute)


mmm nomnomnom ! The ramen servings look huuuge in this picture, and this man looks very satisfied!
But will we be the same ..?


Menya soba – $7.90
Soy flavoured stock soup topped with seasoned fried bean curd, seaweed, tempura flakes and cooked shitake mushroom

I thought soba wasn’t in soup ! :( (even though the menu clearly says it’s in SOUP) ..But I was probably thinking of yakisoba …but this was nice anyway!
Extremelyyy salty (this coming from the person who used to eat globules of salt by itself), very warm, and very tasty (I think I like soba more than ramen)


Ton-toro ramen (pork) – $10.90
“Tonkotsu” noodle soup topped with lots of thinly sliced roast pork, boiled bean sprout and sesame

Does this not look tastyyy =9 Every meal so far had a generous helping of sesame seeds ..and the ramen wasn’t soggy, either ! A lot of the meat I’ve been eating these days have been reminiscent of those Chinese soup meats ..so a little stewy, but still good nevertheless !


Kogashi-cheese ramen – $9.90
“Tonkotsu” noodle soup topped with lots of melted mozzarella cheese, boiled bean sprout, naruto, menma, and sesame

Mmm… cheesy goodnessss…! With chillis and a sprinkling of sesame seeds …extra chilli sauce available if you’re an extra hot kind of person ;)

Menya also has those loyalty cards, where if you buy 20 meals, you get a free ‘Monthly dish’ ! Unfortunately the monthly dish is limited to about four or five items on the menu, (the menya soba/udon being one of them) …but rewarding your loyal customers, I liiiike it ! ;)


But they don’t let you bring outside food in ..which is fair enough.


Menya Noodle Bar (visited 28/05/09)
Level Ground, Shop TG8, 8 Quay St
Haymarket, NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9212 1020

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I don’t know if you all feel the buzz that comes from grand openings and free food (speaking of which, did anyone try the KFC Cayan Grill Fillet burgers at the burger giveaway today at George st ?!), but talks of a new German bakery opening up in the Central Station tunnel was enough to pull me away from my virgin plans of trying a KFC pocketful (and hash brown!!).


The first time I heard of Lüneburger was last year, when I was working at Challenger. The EY kiddies there were raving about a fabulous German bakery down in QVB, and of course, for lunch we had to try it ! Not only do they do bread rolls and pastries, they’re well renowned for their sandwiches – which were sadly NOT on display at the Grand Opening in Central.


Free coffee was the lure of today’s grand opening.

I just realised the sign said that the world’s barista champion of 2003, Paul Bassett, was on duty ! ..but he must have been on a break when we got there, because sadly enough, my mocha was possibly the most terrible coffee I’ve ever had (and that includes machine-bought coffees) :( .

We reasoned that this was probably because the attraction of today was the baked goodies !!, and not the high quality coffee – not to mention that I saw someone mass-steaming jugs of milk – and someone else pouring the milk into the various coffee cups filled with expresso coffee and chocolate syrup.


Then again, it IS free coffee ! So can’t complain

And I expect it’s hard to continuously produce quality when pouring cups of coffee for hundreds of customers (especially since Lüneburger is situated in the Central thoroughfare – i.e. the tunnel going from Central to TAFE – so lots of passersby itching for their daily coffee fix).


Butter croissant – $2.50

And in the corner, what I think is butter croissant with nut-nougat filling, topped with hazelnut kernel semolina

Phone photo focus is a little soft at the front =[ I should really get into the habit of bringing my camera around with me, haha


Apple triangle (apfelecke), Cherry-hazelnut pastry (L-R) ..not sure what the last one is


Rhubarb buttercrumble (Johannesbeer Butterstreusel) – $3.50

This was extreeeemely tastyy ! Sweet and crumbly, and I really liked the textured icing on top. Apparently it’s a wheat roll (which means it’s healthy! haha but you can’t even tell)


Pudding danish with jam – $3.50

Grace had a pretzel – solid, and lightly salted – kind of like the Pretzel World pastries, and I think Tim had a chocolate croissant (Buttercroissant mit Schokocreme) …which he probably fell in love with after. yumm :)


Lüneburger German Bakery (visited 28/05/09)
Henry Deane Plaza (Central)
Shop 14a1 14-18 Lee St
Haymarket NSW 2008

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