Progressive dinner – Sydney edition 

When I’m in Sydney, I try to eat what I can’t get in Canberra, foods like ramen, fresh sushi, good Thai and of course dumplings. So when I had limited time in Sydney and had only eaten ramen and sushi so far, there was nothing else to do but drag my friends for a progressive dinner to tick more boxes from my ‘to eat’ list.


To go to somewhere new, where over half the menu really excites you but you know you can’t order that much was really hard. My friend was telling me about Petaling Street, an awesome hawker restaurant and I was keen to make it the first stop during our progressive dinner in Sydney.

A few key dishes (and drinks) were chosen and enjoyed by everyone but my favourite dish was the roti canai with curry chicken. The roti was nice and flaky while the curry had lots of flavour with tender chicken.

Progressive dinner stop: #1

Venue: Petaling Street: Malaysian Hawker Food

Address: 760 George Street, Haymarket, Chinatown, Sydney,NSW

Amount per person: $10.00

Cheong fun, roti canai with chicken curry, char kway teow and Hainanese chicken rice.
Petaling Street: Malaysian Hawker Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


This was an unexpected stop as a fellow foodie pointed out that we were in close proximity to a Thai place, which did cheap small bowls of noodles. It sounded like a perfect addition to the progressive dinner and I was keen for some Thai food anyway.

Do Dee Paidang have tom yum soups, all with different meats, a choice of noodle and different levels of chilli. I along with the other non-chilli eaters stuck with the tom yum soup with tender pork rib and fresh noodles. We enjoyed the sour taste of the tom yum with the delicious meatiness of the pork ribs, while the hardcore chilli eaters went with the level 3 soup (out of 7). Watching one of the chilli eaters sweat and struggle with the heat of the soup made me curious about how hot their bowl was. I coated my spoon in a little bit of soup (I’m not crazy enough to actually drink any of the soup) and licked it, immediately I could feel the heat on my tongue which quickly spread to the back of my throat. Whoa, that was intense, I wonder who actually eats level 7!

Feeling bad that we were taking up a table even though we just wanted noodle soup, I order entrée of chicken satay skewers ($8.90), which were more expensive than our noodles ($6.00) but were really really delicious and I don’t usually eat satay.

Progressive dinner stop: #2

Venue: Do Dee Paidang Thai Noodle Bar & Cafe

Address: 9, 37 Ultimo Rd, Haymarket NSW 2000

Amount per person: $4.20Do Dee Paidang Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


We were told that they were no longer selling Papa roti for the day and my smile quickly turned into a frown. I was really looking forward to eating a coffee bun with a delicious buttery aroma.

Progressive dinner stop: #3

Venue: Papa Roti

Address: 663 George St, Haymarket NSW 2000

Amount per person: five sad faces 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦


Din Tai Fung was along the way of our progressive dinner and it would have been ridiculous not to stop. The hard part was not ordering any fried rice, although my friend couldn’t help but order a pork bun too.

We ordered 24 dumplings (and drinks) between the 5 of us and savoured each and every bite.

Progressive dinner stop: #3

Venue: Din Tai Fung

Address: 644 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Amount per person: $13.00Din Tai Fung Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


You are wondering how we were able to eat more after 3 stops already, but remember we were sharing one delicious original Hot Star chicken ($8.50) between the 5 of us. We tore it into 5 pieces while it was still really hot and it was a few bites of heaven.

Progressive dinner stop: #4

Venue: Hot Star

Address: 96 Liverpool Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Amount per person: $1.70Hot Star Large Fried Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


TimmyC and I were all Aqua S-ed out as we had been there for the past two nights and had already eaten all the flavour combinations but it didn’t stop everyone else from enjoying it. I was surprised TimmyC preferred the pandan ice cream over the lychee (dairy free) but I think it was because of the creamy ice cream texture.

Aqua S change their flavours every Thursday.

Progressive dinner stop: #5

Venue: Aqua S

Address: 27/501 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Amount per person: $5.00Aqua S Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


A friend of ours popped into Black Star Pastry’s pop up store in the Kinokuniya earlier in the day and got some goodies to share. He got their famous strawberry water melon cake ($7.50/slice) and a caramel panna cotta ($9.00).

Progressive dinner stop: #6

Venue: Black Star Pastry (pop up)

Address: The Galleries, 2/500 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Amount per person: $4.80Black Star Pastry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


I had promised to take TimmyC to Messina and a promise is a promise. Everyone else had returned to their hotels and while TimmyC and I light railed our way straight to The Star.

We had chosen ‘Gay ol’ time’ which didn’t taste anything like a gaytime but TimmyC still really enjoyed it.

Progressive dinner stop: #7

Venue: Messina

AddressCafe Court, Level G, 80 Pyrmont StreetPyrmont NSW 2009

Amount per TimmyC: $4.80Gelato Messina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


I was really impressed with the amount of stops we were able to make without being ridiculously full. We got to eat a lot of variety and the best of what every venue had to offer. Tell me dear reader, have you had a progressive dinner?

 

Goodgod – Belly baos

When it comes to eating Asian food in Sydney CBD, I foolishly thought I knew it all.

I keep tabs on whenever a new ramen place opens up, I keep an eye out for new dessert crazes and I’m all over dumplings like ants on a toffee apple. So when my friend wanted to take me to a place for bao, I was sceptical about this random bar but remained hopeful because I love a good bao. Goodgod is an underground bar located just past World Square towards China town and I would have walked past a million times without realising it and you may have too. Belly baos is the food side of things and they have a line which is separate from the Goodgod bar, which will mean you need to divide and conquer between you and your friends.

The Goodgod drinks menu.Cherry Melon Pop freshly juiced watermelon and green apple popped sweet with Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters ($9.00). Goodgod have an interesting list of alcoholic mixed drinks in jugs with funny quirky names but the non-drinkers don’t miss out because they also do several non-alcoholic quenchers both in jug and single cup sizes. This tasted like watermelon juice with a cherry aftertaste that was borderline medicinal.We get there insanely early but we are headed for Russell Peters later on at Olympic Park so we wanted somewhere close and fast. The place was quiet but that meant no lines and fast service. I looked at the menu and realised that I could easily eat everything if I didn’t squeeze in that delicious fried chicken snack, so I conservatively order only four baos to share between TimmyC and myself.

Belly Bao’s bao menu, what would you have chosen?Mmmm baos!Soft Shell crab watercress, chilli aioli and lemon vinaigrette ($7.50). We started off with the soft shell crab and in hindsight it was probably for the best as it was my least favourite. The flavours were nice but there was just a sad small piece of crab off to one side of the bun and I just didn’t think the filling to bun ratio was right.Panko crumbed chicken breast lettuce, pickled radish, secret sauce, coriander and chilli aioli ($6.50). I had a bite of my friend’s panko chicken and it was temperature hot, crispy and the chilli aioli gives in a nice chilli kick; definitely worth ordering!Slow braised pork belly pickled mustard greens, coriander, crushed peanut and kewpie mayo ($6.50). I had food envy while a friend was eating his bao; he enjoyed it so much that he ordered another and after he finished eating it, he had food regrets and probably didn’t need that extra bao.

Crackling roast pork belly crackling, pickled radish, coriander and kewpie mayo ($6.50). They have placed the crackling well so that almost every bite had some crackling, yum! I might be biased because I love pork, crackling, coriander and kewpie mayo but I really liked this bao!Slow braised beef short rib kimchi, spring onion and sesame mayo ($6.50). It would be hard for me to choose a favourite between the crackling roast pork and the beef short rib, so I won’t. The meat in this one was probably had more flavour on its own and didn’t rely on the sauces and condiments. It was so tender and tasty *licks lips*.I like how they have re-purposed old oyster sauce cans.Dessert bao (yes you read that right)~

Strawbelly bao golden fried bao with vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberry slices, drizzled with condensed milk ($6.50). How cute is the name? I was so caught up with the fact that there was dessert bao that I didn’t notice until friends pointed it out. This sounded good in theory but it was hard to eat without cutlery or a million wet wipes. TimmyC enjoyed the strawberries and ice-cream more while the Asian part of me really enjoyed the bao and condensed milk because it reminded me of fried mantou. There wasn’t that many strawberries and we probably should have gone with the ‘baonana split’ (golden fried bao with vanilla ice cream, fresh banana slices, salted peanuts, drizzled with Nutella) for a more decadent dessert.

The baos here might seem expensive by Sydney standards but for these Canberrans they were a steal (our bao prices are $9 each). The baos themselves were all soft, smooth and pat-a-licious (Michelle and Eileen know what I’m talking about).

Because we went while it was still quiet, we didn’t have any waiting troubles, issues with staff or seating limitations. In fact getting there before everyone else meant that we had clean bathrooms, fast food and we could hear ourselves think. I like the funky layout of the place and they also run interesting trivia nights; if I lived in the area, I would definitely come here more often.Venue: Goodgod bar (Belly Bao food)

Address53-55 Liverpool Street Sydney, NSW

Phone02 9267 3787

Opening hours:

Wednesday – Friday 5pm til late (Belly Bao is open until 10pm)

Saturday 6pm til late (Belly Bao is open until 10pm)

Belly Bao            Belly Bao on Urbanspoon

Goodgod bar    Goodgod Small Club on Urbanspoon

Melbourne long weekend – HuTong Dumpling Bar

To complete the Melbourne experience, of course we had to eat some dumplings in China Town. I was sad that we couldn’t get in to HuTong Dumpling Bar on Saturday night because they were fully booked out but that didn’t stop me from trying again for the Sunday.

It was a little hard to find the restaurant between all the different little laneways between Bourke and little Bourke street, but when we got there we headed straight up to the third level. Despite having the bigger tables it was away from all the hustle and bustle of the other floors and dimly lit which was great for ambience, but not so great for food photos.

image

Fresh homemade dim sum~

Clockwise… Shao-long bao (8 pieces – East China $11.80) *signature dish*  It wasn’t as good as Din Tai Fung but nonetheless better than anything that we have in Canberra. Served hot with the delicious soup enclosed in each dumpling, try not to burn your tongue or loose the soup while picking one up. Be sure to try it with the Chinese vinegar and a few strands of freshly sliced ginger.

Spring onion pancake (2 pieces $6.50) *signature dish* I might have eaten one or two (or 50) shallot cakes in my time and when I saw this on the menu as their ‘signature dish’, I had high expectations. When I had half, I thought it was too oily and not salty enough.

Boiled dumplings stuffed with spinach (12 pieces – North China ($13.20). This seemed to be everyone’s favourite but I prefer my spinach dumplings with a bit more garlic or a bit of prawn.

Pan-fried dumplings (8 pieces – Shanghai $13.20) *signature dish* Crunchy, delicious and with a little bit of soup. The perfect dumpling.

Mains~ apologies for the pictures

Clockwise…  Stir fried string beans with minced pork in chilli sauce ($15.80 – Szechuan) *signature dish*. We all don’t eat that much chilli but we couldn’t come here and not eat a ‘signature dish’ as a main. This was not hot at all as long as you stayed away from the dried chilli, the beans were plump and juicy. I really enjoyed this dish.

Honey chicken ($20.80). Don’t judge me, this was ordered at other people’s request. I did like the fact that it was more chicken than fried batter unlike most places.

Crispy fragrant duck ($25.80 – Shanghai). The skin was lovely and crispy, there wasn’t that much special for the actual duck meat. Duck is a very boney animal, just a heads up for people who haven’t ordered a whole duck before.

Sautéed snow pea shoot in garlic ($16.80). A very Asian dish and not for those who are going on a make out spree later. I really enjoyed it, it had a good dose of garlic and a delicious way to get my greens uptake.

Sautéed beef fillet in a black pepper sauce ($32.80). This had a soft tender beef but the sauce was loaded with black pepper. I order this dish a lot and this is the most peppery version I’ve eaten and I also thought the price was a little steep even for beef fillet.

We were too full to eat dessert but we were all thoroughly satisfied with the food and the portions. The service was somewhat attentive and even though we were supposed to be out before 8, we weren’t rushed out the door.

I didn’t realise that there was a minimum charge of $25.00 per person for bookings of 6+ people, luckily that wasn’t a problem for us with the amount of food we ordered.

Venue: HuTong Dumpling Bar

AddressCBD, 14-16 Market Lane, Melbourne, VIC« be sure to book the right one as there are two locations!

Phone: (03) 9650 8128

Websitehttp://hutong.com.au/

HuTong Dumpling Bar on Urbanspoon