Progressive Foodie Tour in Sydney Round #1

Some foodie friends and I decided to do a trip to Sydney. We listed a bunch of eateries and although we knew we couldn’t fit in all the deliciousness that Sydney had to offer, we were damn well going to try. With dates locked in for the next trip, let’s call this post Progressive Foodie Tour in Sydney Round #1.

Stop #1 Mother Chu’s Taiwanese Gourmet 

I’m a sucker for fried dough sticks at any time of day, so when we could order them for breakfast at Mother Chu’s I was like ‘heck yes!’. We ordered a small selection of delicious Taiwanese treats to ease us into our progressive foodie tour around Sydney city, but I really wanted to eat more.

Green onion cake ($3.50). This was my favourite pick of the dishes as it seems deceptively simple but had an amazing crunchy flaky texture.Flaky pastry with You Tiao ($5.50 each).Glutinous rice roll with pork floss ($5.00 each)Cold soybean drink ($3.00).

Stop #2 Emperor’s cream puffs

If you can stop yourself at one, they are 35c each but who really has that much self control. For 5 bucks you get a container full of 18 cute little puffs in the shape of a walnut filled with hot custard. CAUTION HOT! It is not as good as Beard Papa, but I’ll take what I can get.

Stop #3 Niigata city

We were on the search for O-san ramen down in Dixon food court only to be met by an empty store. We stood there in disbelief as we didn’t have a plan B. We immediately took to google to find out that the ramen store is safe and well in another location after a kitchen explosion. We headed to Niigata City beating the lunch rush. Knowing the delicious road ahead, we had to opt for half serves ($9.00) but it was very tempting to want more. The broth was slightly thick, very rich and went down a treat with the delicious char sui and bouncy chewy noodles. This place quickly became one of my top 5 places to eat ramen in Sydney.

Around us everyone ordered beautiful bento boxes, I will have to come back and try more of the menu.

Favourite pick: Tonkotsu ramen (which has always been my favourite, although the black garlic did catch my eye). The addition of raw onions did catch me a bit off guard.

Stop #4 Hakkaido baked cheese tarts

This was initially one of our first stops until we realised that they weren’t open yet and we were too hungry to wait around. The opening times were a little unclear, it appears they open around 11:30am until when they sell out (roughly around 4pm). There is a limit of 6 cheese tarts per customer at $3.90 a pop.

After taking a million photos around the stall without annoying other patrons, I took a bite of the luke warm wobbly tart. It instantly reminded me of an oyster mornay (without the oyster of course), it tasted like a bechamel sauce with the burnt spots which then after a subtle aftertaste of a cheesecake. A subtle sweetness that I could get used to.

Knowing that there were still many stops along the way during this hot day, I decided not to order a roadie to see what it tasted like cold. I will definitely be back!

Stop #5 Holy Shake

Next stop – Gimmicky-ville

Did I just buy a honey milk tea with pearls ($6.40) just so I could get a cute light bulb that flashes rainbow lights? Perhaps, but if TimmyC asks, it was purely essential for my hydration levels on a hot day.

At least the milk tea wasn’t too sweet which is how I like it.

Stop #6 Just Fry

We needed something to take the edge of all the sweetness we had been having and Just Fry’s sign had been staring at us, nay TAUNTING us that we had to get something fried. We opted for the Taiwanese chicken nuggets ($6.50), which came in a pre-weighed amount, deep fried and then doused in garlic (amazing!). A handy little savoury snack to keep us going until our next stop.

Stop #7 i-Creamy Artisan Gelato

I had first come across gelato flowers when I was in Europe a few years ago. It appears the craze has finally hit our shores but this time with the option of Asian flavours. My first picks of flavours (raspberry yoghurt and French vanilla) were sold out so I ended up with salted caramel and taro ($6.90), not because the flavours particularly compliment each other but because I had chosen two brown flavours as my second choice and it was pointed out by my server. I panicked and threw in purple into the mix. Some flavours are more suited to the outer petals depending on the ‘hardness’ of the ice cream.

It may be because I’ve been spoilt by Frugii for so many years but I didn’t think the flavours were very strong (I had high expectations and hopes for salted caramel) and within minutes of receiving my ice cream, it started to melt very fast (it was a particularly hot day) and with each lick, the pretty petals melted away to give a brown/purple melded concoction.

I’d keep your money for a better ice creamery, this seems to be purely gimmicky (but very instagrammable).

Stop #8 Uncle Tetsu

Well since we tried one cheese tart, it would only be fair if we wandered across the road and tried the other cheese tart. I was surprised to see that Uncle Tetsu had expanded into three areas; the front main stall was selling Japanese cheesecake with other baked goods, the entrance at the back sold cheese tarts exclusively and down stairs you could find sweets including their matcha range with limited seating.

Uncle Tetsu’s cheesetart ($3.90). Looking at the shell of the tart, I knew it would be more hard and crumbly than the previous one we had tried. This tart had more of a custard tart vibe and didn’t have that light wobbliness to the texture. I didn’t love the crust although the filling was nice but overall I think I prefer Hakkaido cheese tarts. The matcha tart had a nice flavour with a subtle tea bitterness aftertaste.

Stop #9 Black Star Pastry

My foodie friends wanted to try the raspberry lychee cake and it is one of the better cakes to eat on a hot day. I really love raspberry paired with lychee and it did taste a lot like their famous watermelon as they share the same filling, but I think the watermelon version is more refreshing.

Stop #10 Koi Dessert bar

This one deserves a post of its own. Be on the look out for my next post but until then here is some food porn.

Ryo’s noodles

I experience FOMO a LOT, especially when my cousin and sister are surrounded by ramen restaurants and I am not. So when I was last in Sydney, I headed straight to Ryo’s noodles where both of them had been recently.

We arrived around 1:10pm on a Sunday to be greeted by a short line, I started to panic as they shut at 2pm but the line only took 20 minutes to get through. img_9370Maybe I’ll bring someone who can read Japanese with me next time, I hope this is just the menu in Japanese and that I’m not missing out on something awesome.#1 Tonkotsu ramen in salt flavoured soup with roast pork, shallots and sesame seeds ($13.00). I don’t eat the egg and nori so I wanted the basic ramen; it was easy to order for our table, ‘we will have three number ones please’. In a matter of minutes our order arrived. The broth was magical, the noodles were perfect and so was the tender pork. I really enjoyed the broth because it wasn’t really fatty and thick.Gotta love a broth where you can’t see the bottom of the spoon.Home-made pork bun ($4.50). I couldn’t help but try one of their home-made buns, the bun came out fresh and hot with a soft fluffy texture. The pork filling surprised me because it had a pulled pork texture.  Excuse the mangled mess, I ripped it in half to share with my Mumsy.This place is TINY. I can see why there is a wait, the food is delicious but there also not a lot of space to put many tables and chairs.We were in and out in 22 minutes. We weren’t pressured to leave but it was a tight squeeze in the restaurant with people waiting to be seated right next to us. We came for delicious rich tonkotsu ramen and that’s what we got, this is not a place to sit down and catch up.

There is also another Ryo’s noodles located in Bondi Junction.

Venue: Ryo’s Noodles

Address: 125 Falcon St, Crows Nest NSW 2065

Phone: (02) 9955 0225

Ryo's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ramen Ikkyu

It seems like every man, celebrity chef, blogger and their dog have been to Ramen Ikkyu despite having been open for just a couple of weeks. So I did what any sane keen ramen eating blogger would do – I dragged my whole family, including my pregnant cousin to the other side of Sydney to a busy food court to try this place for myself.

I was a bit worried that since Harunobu Inukai, the former chef of the French-Japanese fusion restaurant Blancharu in Elizabeth Bay now turned ramen chef, only made 150 bowls a day. I couldn’t think of anything more sad than if I dragged everyone out to the other side of town and there was only one bowl left and they had to watch me enjoy it. image

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It seemed like an easy system, there were 8 ramen types to choose from and a cute little easy to use touch screen system. Well that’s what I thought until I realised I could only eat 1/8th of the menu (1/4 at the most). Decisions… Decisions…

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Chili oil ramen ($11.50).

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Ikkyu (miso) ramen ($10.50).

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Tokyo (shoyu) ($10.50). It was the special of the day which really swayed my decision. I didn’t think much of the broth, I mean it was better than anything than we have in Canberra but Sydney has so many other establishments that offer a much superior soup base in flavour and in ‘richness’. The pork was very delicious though, with a high fat ratio layered between the meat and the noodles had a great texture, but I find that all three things- broth, noodles and pork need to come together to make a ramen experience absolutely fantastic and magical.

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Ikkyu (shoyu)($10.50).

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Sides~

Cha-shu 3 slices ($3.00), shallots($0.50) and sweet corn($0.50).

The bowl of ramen itself would have been very affordable and considered cheap but I just had to indulge and see what their $14 pork rib was all about. As it sat there on the tray while I waited for my noodles to arrive, all the other patrons would point and ask what that delicious piece of meat on the bone was. All I could think was ‘don’t get grubby fingers too close to my pork’.

A bit dry in areas but that is expected due to the size and the thickness. Not as great as other ramen places but great to nibble on to get some extra pork to your bowl. Maybe share between two people?

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What makes this a unique dining experience is the free extra kaedama that you get with each bowl of ramen so that if you gobble up all the noodles before you finish the broth, there is a round #2.

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I don’t think Ramen Ikkyu lived up to all the hype. I see bloggers and instagrammers posting photos of queues and noodles but I would much rather walk down the street and grab a bowl from Gum Shara. If I get the chance I would come back in a few months to see if anything changes.

Venue: Ramen Ikkyu

Address: Shop F1A, Sussex Centre food court, 401 Sussex Street, Haymarket, NSW

Phone: (02) 9281 0998

Good Food articlehttp://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/eat-out/review/restaurant/ramen-ikkyu-20130716-2q0z9.html?rand=1374101910073

Opening hours: Seven days, noon-8pm until sold out (150 bowls a day)

 

 

Ramen Ikkyu on Urbanspoon

Sushi Tei

When I head to Sydney, I leave it to my sister or cousin to decide where to eat. They always try different cuisines, they know all the new places and they know what I like, so I had no problems when they took me to Sushi Tei in the city.

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They have huge photo books for the menu, it almost felt my Mum was going to read me a bed time story to make me hungry.

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Sushi Sashimi combination plate – tuna, snapper, kingfish, salmon and octopus sashimi, snapper, tuna, salmon, kingfish, scallop, eel, flying fish roe and salmon roe sushi and mini california maki($45.00). Fresh tantalising sashimi and sushi rolls which were served on a huge plate.

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Going through the plate one piece at a time.

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I loved their pickled ginger and they have it on the table so you can have as much as you’d like. image

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Soft shell crab temaki ($6.00). I didn’t taste this hand roll *dirty look at my sister* but it looked fantastic.

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Chashu tonkotsu ramen with sliced roast pork (pork-based or soy sauce-based) ($15.00) – its no Ippudo but it is better than anything we have here in Canberra. 

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Jo Una Ju premium eel on rice ($22.00) Juicy grilled eel on top of a bed of hot rice.

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I don’t think I tried enough food to judge if I loved it enough to brave the terrible traffic and lack of parking in the area but I am definitely wiling to come back again and try more from their menu if someone else drives me. image

Venue: Sushi Tei

Address: 1 Chifley Square, Sydney, NSW 2000

Phone: (02) 9232 7288

Websitehttp://www.sushitei.com.au/

Sushi Tei on Urbanspoon

I heart IPPUDO

Since my Japan trip, I have forever been chasing a close imitation, ANYTHING to mimic the food (especially the ramen) that I had while I was there. I had heard about Ippudo from my sister and cousin who told me that in the New York store had a waiting time of up to three hours! Lucky for me there was one coming to Sydney so I didn’t have to travel so far and hopefully wouldn’t have to wait as long.

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Ippudo pork bun – steamed bun with braised pork and IPPUDO original sauce ($4.00 each). Ok I haven’t tried the world famous Momofuku pork buns but I was utterly blown away but the softness of the bun (I kept patting it like a new born’s bottom) and they were SOOOOOOOOO GOOD!

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IPPUDO Gyoza Hakata style pan fried dumplings ($6.00 5 pcs). Crispy yummy dumplings.

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I love it when the broth is so thick you can’t see the bottom of the spoon. These were amazing and I drank every last drop! After waiting a long time to get in (thanks for pre-waiting in line for us guys!), it doesn’t take long to decide what you want and receiving your order. The only thing I could fault was that there was not enough pork but that is just me being greedy.

We chose a range of ramens

Shiromaru MotoajiIPPUDO original tonkotsu broth served with thin noodles, pork loin, cabbage, black mushroom and shallots. Classic Hakata-style ramen ($15.00).

Akamaru Shinaji – IPPUDO original tonkotsu broth enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragrant garlic oil. Served with thin noodles, pork belly, black mushroom and shallots. A refined, modern style ramen ($16.00).

Karaka men IPPUDO original tonkotsu broth with special spicy miso and ground pork ($17.00).

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Conclusion: not a hype, very delicious, very fast and very addictive. It saddens me to write this post and not be eating ramen. 

Venue: Ippudo

Address: Level 5 Westfield Sydney 188 Pitt St, Sydney, NSW 2000

Phone: (02) 9573 0011

Ippudō on Urbanspoon