He Tai Open Kitchen Yum Cha, North Ryde

He Tai Open Kitchen Yum Cha

Beautiful wok technique and homemade XO sauce give due justice to these king prawns.
The bonus is tangy finger lime popping in my mouth.

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Sydney’s dining scene has never been so vibrant and competitive in recent years. Each week, new restaurants, cafes and bars are sprouting all over the city like wild mushrooms. Boisterous fanfare and promo by a well-oiled PR machinery is the preferred mode of entry for many restarants, let alone the legion of food lovers spreading the gossip via social media.

So it’s rather surprising that a modern 250-seater Cantonese has slipped into the fray this week without a squeak in the media except for a few dumplings on instagram.

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Firedoor, Surry Hills

Firedoor, Surry Hills

This piece of meat is good but at $138,
it epitomizes the economic concept of diminishing marginal returns.

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There’s apple, cherry, pear, orange, olive and pecan on the menu though it’s not meant to be put into your mouth.

Instead, it’s chef Lennox Hastie‘s range of fire wood to impart chargrill flavours into meats and seafood. Honing his skills with head chef Victor Arguinzoniz at Etxebarri, this wood fire restaurant in the Basque region of Spain collected its first Michelin star and made the World’s Best 50 Restaurants during his tenure.

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Malaysia’s Best Sarawak Laksa

Malaysia's best Sarawak Laksa

The stock is a gritty blend of pepper, chilli, onion, ginger and candle nut
whilst the ingredients could not have been any fresher.

This is truly Malaysia’s best Sarawak laksa.

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“You’re going to be a very lucky boy” she tells me in my face.

“Are you’re finally coming to your senses relenting to that big crush you had on me all these years?” I say to my childhood friend.

She retorts immediately. “You wish … though what I have in mind could be just as tasty!” she teases.

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Food Safari, King Street Wharf, Sydney

Food Safari, King street wharf, Sydney

It has called the eastern foreshore of Darling Harbour home for more than a decade now.

But fast taking shape just north is the much larger Barangaroo retail and commercial precinct with an earmarked 50 new restaurants when it eventually opens in 2018. So, the restaraurants at King Street Wharf are looking to reinvent themselves in anticipation of intense competition from its next door neighbour.

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Book review: The Light Between Oceans, by M L Stedman

The Light Between Oceans

Standing on fine white sand at the edge of the Indian ocean in Western Australia, I gaze at the seaport towards the south. Through misty ocean spray roughed up by the roaring surf, the silhouette of Fremantle reinforces the vast distance of this magnificent coastline.

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Beef tripe salad with coriander and grape tomato

Beef tripe salad with coriander and grape tomato

If you are not a fan of beef tripe, this salad is just as versatile with
charred squid or baby octopus from the BBQ.

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“Thanks Molly for your inspiration” I tell my friend. “I love beef tripe at yum cha and this recipe is right up my alley!”. Continue reading

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Malaysian style fish ball noodles

Malaysian style fish ball noodles

Street food in Kuala Lumpur can be damn tasty.
But nothing beats comfort street food served in the comforts of your own home.

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JPB at Swissotel, Sydney

JPB at Swissotel Sydney

Located high on its eighth level, JPB at Sydney’s 5-star Swissotel has ushered in a new Executive Chef to complement newly refurbished Skyline room and suites with panoramic views of the city.

With a kind invitation from General Manager Mr Christian Hirt, I am here for lunch to check out Joshua Askew‘s new spring menu. Continue reading

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Sarita’s Rocksia Hotel, Arncliffe

Sarita's Rocksia Hotel, Arncliffe

Some thirty years ago when I first came to Sydney, I remember restaurant food within pubs to be pretty mediocre.

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LuMi Bar & Dining, Pyrmont

“If the Indians can eat masala and spicy curries with yoghurt,
why can’t Italians eat this lamb rib with remnants of soybean?”

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Bishop Sessa, Surry Hills

This dessert is refreshingly light where passionfruit infused kiwifruit cheesecake
is paired with biscuit crumb, lightened with a fresh herbaceous basil ice cream.

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Subcontinental, Surry Hills

Subcontinental

Pani puri can be a lot thinner and crisp though a tangy appetizer.

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UPDATE December 2015: This restaurant has permanently closed for business.

First, he co-founded Longrain that showcased why Thai food is so much more than just green curry and kana moo krob.

Then, his hellenic vibe of Apollo brought us taramasalata white cod roe dip and flatbread while paying homage to good old Greek style smoky charred octopus. And Cho Cho San introduced seductive modern Japanese izakaya so sensual on those breezy summer nights in Sydney.

Now, Sam Christie‘s latest foray into modern Indian is adding even more spice to the melting pot of restaurants in trendy Surry Hills.

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Opera Bar, Sydney Opera House

Opera Bar, Sydney Opera House

It’s difficult to find a more quintessential Sydney dining experience than 
fish and chips on a glorious day at the Sydney Opera House.

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Hartsyard, Newtown

Hartsyard, Newtown

 This fried chicken brings America’s deep south to Sydney’s Newtown among
its eclectic mix of graffiti, pink hair, gothic eyes, nose rings and tongue studs.

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Cottage Point Inn, Cottage Point

Cottage Point Inn, Cottage Point

The pairing of pork and scallop has been done to death by Sydney restaurants.
But Chef Zika’s take on this dish is a game changer.

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Caysorn, Haymarket

Caysorn Thai, Haymarket

The smoky aromas of this grilled baby octopus combines beautifully
with a sweet and spicy seafood sauce.

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Hugos Bar Pizza, Kings Cross

Hugos Bar Pizza, Kings Cross
Like the diners around us, these prawns are pretty
though missing charred flavours of the grill.

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After so many years, images of that pork belly pizza at Hugos Bar Pizza one late Saturday evening with the Monk are still deliciously etched in my mind.

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Food Safari Kuala Lumpur 2015

Food Safari Kuala Lumpur

You have limited time and calories during a food safari.
Make it count by eating the right stuff.

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Restoran New Imbi Garden, Kuala Lumpur

Restoran New Imbi Garden

 This famous sang har meen turns out a little disappointing.
Instead, the consolation is discovering one of the best hokkien mee in Kuala Lumpur.

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“I need to go back there …” my long-time friend tells me.

I detect a sense of urgency in his voice though David is a confident and towering figure for as long as I have known him since our high school days at St. John’s Institution in Kuala Lumpur.

He was a judo champion, a prefect and a tennis sparring buddy from school. These days, he’s more a dear friend for being an enthusiastic home cook just like I am. We often exchange ideas and cooking tips across the Australian continent where he lives in Perth with his family.

But tonight, his voice is wavering though I sense his intentions totally focused. It’s similar to the voice I heard so many years ago when we were chasing teenage girls in high school.

“You mean that place in Bukit Bintang where we had fantastic Thai massage?”  I ask.

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Restoran Perlama Seafood, Port Klang

Restoran Perlama Seafood

These mud crabs are fresh and its meat firm and sweet.
I scrap tasty egg yolk off the shells with my teeth for orgasmic end to our dinner.

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Tim Ho Wan, Kuala Lumpur

Tim Ho Wan, Kuala Lumpur

I’ve finally lost my Tim Ho Wan virginity at their Kuala Lumpur branch.
But I’m not sure about all the hype because I didn’t get an orgasm. 

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Restoran Eight Treasure, Kuala Lumpur

Restoran Eight Treasure, Kuala Lumpur

These deep fried baby whitings are delightfully crisp with a tangy chilli and onion salsa.
But the best part is the crunchy head so full of flavour. 

Dear readers,

I am back in this wonderful food haven that is Malaysia. Stay tuned as the next few blog posts will take you on my gastronomical Food Safari Kuala Lumpur 2015.

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From City Slickers To Tree Huggers

From City Slickers To Tree Huggers

“There can only be one captain on the ship”, my sister-in-law tells me wisely.
“And that captain is your brother. He makes all the key decisions for our family.”

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Busshari Authentic Japanese Restaurant, Potts Point

Busshari, Potts Point
Slices of king fish carpaccio is fresh with the umami of dark seaweed,
a tangy tickle of dill vinaigrette and ponzu jelly.

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The Potting Mix, Alexandria

The Potting Mix

 This slow-cooked Wagyu beef rib is succulent and yielding.
But the notoriously long wait might quash your appetite before you even get to it.

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