Tag Archives: asian

Marigold, Haymarket

Marigold, Haymarket

I first visited Marigold for dim sum over three years ago. When we returned to Sydney last November, it was on my “must visit” list.

Marigold, Haymarket

We’re joined by Craig and Caroline, and Jac’s brother J. My theory is that dim sum is a meal best enjoyed with with more people – you get to maximise your tasting choices!

Marigold, Haymarket

We pounce on a dish of suckling pig. It’s ribboned with delicious delicious fat, tender morsels of meat, and topped with crunchy strips of crackling skin.

Marigold, Haymarket

Fried prawn dumplings aren’t usually my favourite, but I really enjoyed these.

Marigold, Haymarket

They’re golden and crunchy, thanks to the wonton wrappers, and filled with tender and bursty prawns with only the barest hint of binder, such as corn or potato flour, making them light and pleasant to eat.

Pet hate: overzealous use of binder in any dumpling, dim sum or otherwise. It makes me cringe, because it never tastes as good as it looks.

Marigold, Haymarket

My preferred style of prawn dumplings, har gao arrive shortly after. They’re steamed prawn dumplings, wrapped in a sticky glutinous rice flour wrapper.

The best wrappers are thin yet robust, and don’t tear as soon as you try to wrestle them away from the steamer basket. They should be slightly al dente, a sign of the perfect glutinous rice flour dough.

The prawn filling sometimes features coriander, chives, spring onions or bamboo shoots sliced finely, but these are au naturel, just the way I like them!

Marigold, Haymarket

The chive lovers at the table (not me!) enjoy the chive and prawn dumplings too.

Marigold, Haymarket

A crowd favourite is definitely the salt and pepper squid, which arrives straight out of the deep fryer and tongue-searingly hot.

Marigold, Haymarket

When the lady cooking gai lan wheels her cart next to us, Jac and I both respond ‘yes!’ simultaneously.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit, this is probably the only vegetable dish I ever order at dim sum, but it’s one I love nonetheless. The stems are crunchy and the leaves are tender and fragrant.

You can’t help but feel a little more saint-like after eating something as healthy as this. Well, maybe only a tiny bit, given the meat-to-veggie ratio of the rest of the meal!

Marigold, Haymarket

These sui gao are boiled dumplings which I’ve not eaten for years. They’re wheat flour wrapped dumplings filled with minced prawns and served drizzled with sesame oil and a little soy sauce.

Marigold, Haymarket

I find myself marvelling at the perfectly circular shape of these scallop dumplings. They’re deceptively light, with only a thin layer of batter surrounding a sweet, plump scallop.

Marigold, Haymarket

One of my favourite varieties of rice flour rolls also make an appearance, jam packed with pieces of tender char siu.

Marigold, Haymarket

And while we’re on the topic of char siu … the perennial crowd pleaser, char siu pau, was another dish we couldn’t miss.

Marigold, Haymarket

It’s just not dim sum without these pillowy soft steamed buns.

Marigold, Haymarket

Speaking of delicious char siu … check out this beautiful dish of Marigold’s char siu!

Marigold, Haymarket

The dessert cart taunted us as we waited for the savoury options to arrive. But we made sure they stopped at our table once we’d enjoyed our fill of savoury foods!

Marigold, Haymarket

Everyone loved the mango pancakes so much we had to order seconds. And thirds.

Marigold, Haymarket

Marigold, Haymarket

These sugary doughnuts and mango pudding are a less successful. We bite into the doughnuts expecting gloriously spongy soft insides, only to find that they’re mostly hollow, and bland.

Jac’s not thrilled with the mango pudding on this visit, it’s also a little bland, and lacking the stand out flavour of fresh mango.

Marigold, Haymarket

TFP and I can’t go past the egg tarts. The flaky lard-based pastry makes for delciously messy eating, and the creamy egg custard is silky with just the right amount of wobble. They’re the perfect mix of sweetness and salt, as the pastry is not sweet at all.

Marigold, Haymarket

Marigold, Haymarket

I’ve never seen these peanut and coconut dumplings before. They’re wrapped with the same glutinous rice flour dough as some of the savoury dumplings, and steamed in a piece of banana leaf. They sounded like they’d be right up my alley, but ended up being a bit of a fail.

Too greasy from the oil used on their leafy wrappers, and lacking sugar, I found these bland despite their satisfying texture.

Marigold, Haymarket

Marigold, Haymarket

The durian fans at the table (TFP and I) cheered when we were offered these golden puffs. Wrapped in a buttery dough and stuffed generously with fruit straight from the spiky shells, these puffs are highly aromatic, and absolute bliss for durian fans.

Marigold, Haymarket

Our friends and family smile politely, and Craig is even game enough to give one a nibble. But in the end, I’d say this is definitely one for fans only. Not the best way to initiate yourself into the stink-fruit club!

Marigold, Haymarket

And somehow, I also managed to find the stomach space for a bowl of steaming sweet bean curd. Served with a sweet, lightly gingery syrup, the bean curd is lovely and soft. It’s actually a rather refreshing palate cleanser after the rich food that went before.

Marigold Citymark on Urbanspoon

Dim Sum is served at Marigold from 10.00am – 3.00pm on level 5 of the Citymark building in Haymarket.

Dinner starts at 5.30pm and is served until late.

Roasted pork belly for Chinese New Year

Roasted pork belly

Roasted pork belly

Roasted pork belly

My recipe was originally published on The Food Pornographer

For this recipe, I purchased two pieces of corn fed pork belly from Wing Hong Butcher in Northbridge that weighed about 4 kg (raw weight) in total.

Marinade

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 star anise
  • 8 cloves
  • half an onion
  • 4 sticks cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup gula melaka or brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I used some pear cider vinegar)
  • A splash of mushroom soy
  • 2 tb sugar

At least one day before you plan to eat the pork

Part one: marinade

  1. Blitz the onion and garlic in a food processor until pureed. Stir in sauces and sugars.
  2. Place the mixture in a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the pork. Add the whole spices.
  3. Pierce the pork all over the flesh side with a small knife to allow the flavours to penetrate. Place pork flesh side down into marinade. Try to avoid getting the marinade on the skin side.
  4. Allow to marinade for at least six to eight hours.

Roasted pork belly

Part two: slow cooking

  1. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celsius.
  2. Remove the baking dish from the fridge, and cover well with foil.
  3. Do not uncover during cooking. Check after 45 minutes to ensure there’s plenty of liquid in the dish – add a little water if it’s looking dry.
  4. Bake for a total 90 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
  5. Place paper towel on top of the skin, weigh it down (I used two 2.5kg weights from J’s weights set over a baking tray!) and leave the pork in the fridge overnight.

Roasted pork belly

The day of cooking and feasting

Part three: roasting

  1. Remove the weights and paper towel, rub a little vegetable oil and salt into the skin.
  2. Allow the pork to come to closer to room temperature as you preheat the oven preheat to 250 degrees celsius.
  3. Place the pork on a rack in a baking tray, and cook it in the oven for approximately 40 minutes until the skin begins to crisp up. It should start to bubble. If you feel you need more time to achieve better skin, go ahead. Different ovens may need more or less time.
  4. Once you feel satisfied with crispness of the skin, turn the oven down to 160 degrees celsius and cook the pork for an additional 45 minutes.
  5. Rest the pork for an hour before serving. Slice it up using a sharp knife or cleaver and serve. Thank me later.

Carving the pork belly

I started chopping the pork using one of Mum’s knives before realising I would need something heftier… My brother stepped in a gave the cleaver a tone before I got back to work.

Roasted pork belly

Thanks to J for the photos – my hands were full :)

Peanut biscuits for Chinese New Year

Peanuts!

Gong hei fat choy!

As a kid, the wafting smell of roasted peanuts and the whirring of the food processor meant one thing. Peanut biscuits. 

My grandma would pull up a chair, hand me a chopstick, and I’d watch with awe as she mixed together sandy-looking ground peanuts, plain flour, sugar, oil and salt into a pliable dough. It was always even better than play dough.

Together, we’d roll small balls of the soft dough between our palms, placing them on baking trays lined with greasproof paper.

Then, wielding my chopstick, I would gleefully prod belly buttons into each plump biscuit, leaving a perfect circle in the centre of each sweet morsel.

Peanut biscuits for Chinese New YearMost families get together for a ‘reunion dinner’ on the eve of the lunar new year. 

Being big fans of homophones, many of the foods eaten and shared friends and family are symbolic – presented and eaten to ensure prosperity and good fortune in the year ahead.

Making peanut biscuits for Chinese New Year

From left: The perfect sandy texture.
You’ll know the mix is perfect when it looks like this.

Peanut biscuits
Recipe via Billy, A Table For Two!

Makes about 30 – 40 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 300g peanuts, fried/roasted and ground until fine
  • 200g castor sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • about 200ml of canola oil (or other neutral flavoured oil) 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg beaten, for glazing

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and lay out 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. Roast the peanuts by frying them in a frying pan (dry, no oil). Grind the roasted peanuts till fine in a food processor. They’ll need to be quite sandy in texture – it’ll look  clumpy in the bowl of the mixer, but don’t worry. 
  3. Place ground peanuts in a large mixing bowl with the flour, salt and sugar. Mix together until well combined and lump free.
  4. Drizzle half of the oil into the bowl and combine the mixture with a clean hand, kneading gently.
  5. Keep adding a little more oil at a time. You’ll need to keep kneading to ensure the sugar melts and that the mix is soft and pliable, but firm enough that it doesn’t stick to your hands. 
  6. The mix is ready when you can roll the dough into smooth balls that don’t crack. If your mix is still too dry, add a little more oil and mix again.
  7. Take a heaped teaspoonfuls of the mix and roll into small balls. Place on baking sheets. of the mixture into your palm, and roll them into small balls. Place them on the baking sheets.
  8. Take a chopstick, poke a ‘belly button’ into each biscuit, and glaze with beaten egg.
  9. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Making peanut biscuits for Chinese New Year

Use a chopstick to create a ‘belly button’ indent in each biscuit.

These golden biscuits are probably supposed to resemble gold ingots, or oranges. Or so I assume, as I’ve read that the word for oranges also sounds like the word fortune in Chinese. And I think adding the chopstick action kind of makes these look like mini-navel oranges…sort of.

My grandma always used to make dozens and dozens of these every year for Chinese New Year, ready for visiting friends and family, neighbours and greedy grandchildren (that’s me).

They’re delicious with a cup of tea, and good at any time of year.

Sassy’s Red, Westfield Sydney

I heart Westfield

During our ten days in Sydney, I was eager to check out the many many eating options at Westfield Sydney. Truth be told, we’re a little starved for variety when it comes to shopping centre eats in Perth… Stepping into our Westfield locations reveals the standards – fast food, doughnuts and the ever ubiquitous kebab.

Westfield Sydney offered a much more exciting array of food outlets, including this beautifully retro step into Malaysia – Sassy’s Red.

I heart Westfield

Sassy’s Red joins restaurateur Simon Goh’s other well-known Sydney locations, Chinta Ria…Temple of Love and Chinta Ria…Mood for Love.

Sassy’s is a beautifully fitted out blast from the past, one which is so familiar to me and yet so foreign. Foreign, for one pretty good reason - because I’m at least twenty years too young.

I heart Westfield

Despite suffering from a significant age gap, I still have a pretty clear mental picture of this version of Malaysia.

My mind is shaped by the photographs from my parents’ youth. Dad with the goofy Buddy Holly glasses and brylcreemed hair. Mum at her wedding – with her long black hair in a bun so high it could have rivaled Amy Winehouse’s and fantastic black-lined eyes.

The decor at Sassy’s also remind me of the comics by Malaysian cartoonist Lat which I read from cover to cover as a kid. I spot retro fonts and design used on the menu boards throughout. There’s vintage looking signs saved from kopi tiams and glamour shots of pretty Chinese ladies, dolled up and dressed up in their best cheong sams.

I heart Westfield

And then of course, there’s most significant thing of all.

The food.

There’s something so comforting about Roti Canai or Roti Pratha. It’s been one of my favourite foods since I was a kid.

Eating the crispy, flaky, buttery layers, reminded me immediately of helping my Mum make this special treat.

We would huddle over our kitchen table, ghee in our hands, meticulously stretching the slippery, greasy dough into paper-thin layers, before folding them into rough circles and frying them on a griddle until golden brown.

I would usually share the first one straight off the stove with Mum – the cook’s treat, of course – with a sprinkling of white sugar.

I heart Westfield

The most important part; as demonstrated by this version from Sassy’s Red, is the final touch – quickly crumpling the fried roti in your bare hands before serving – which unfurls the soft layers inside.

I heart Westfield

The golden roti are perfect enjoyed with a bowl of curry gravy or served with a bowl of spicy dhal.

Taking a bite of roti with the curry from Sassy’s reveals a sauce that’s rich with coconut milk and flavoured with tumeric, lemongrass and chili.

It immediately makes me think of the rhythm of the mortar and pestle going thump thump thump, a sound which transports me into the kitchen of my childhood, and being my Grandma’s kitchen ‘shadow’ while she made the rempah (spice paste) in preparation for the chicken curry we would be eating for dinner.

The curry at Sassy’s will never be my Grandma’s, but its a pretty good start. It’s typically Malaysian – richly flavoured, yet quite liquid in texture – just perfect for dunking pieces of hot Roti.

I heart WestfieldAnd to end my trip down foodie-memory lane? An icy cup of cold sugarcane juice. Perfect. I could be on a street in KL.

Sassy's Red on Urbanspoon

Read about our other food adventures in Sydney

Arigataya-Ramen-3

Arigataya Ramen, Northbridge

Chicken karaage dipping noodles, $14

Arigataya’s menu proudly proclaims – extra noodles free of charge! This was enough to hook me, let me tell you. But as usual, would my eyes be bigger than my stomach?

Chashu ramen in miso broth, $18.00

We happened to visit Arigataya by accident, after finding the place we wanted to go to busy on a Saturday night. Without a booking and with growling bellies, we took to the streets in search of our dinner…

There were so many options to choose from, and I found myself struggling to make a choice. In the end I went with something I’ve never seen before – the dipping noodles, or, tsukemen (in Japanese).

Several plump and crispy chunks of chicken karaage were served over cool, blanched ramen, accompanied by a steaming bowl of shoyu (soy sauce) based broth for dipping.

I read on the menu that Tsukemen ettiquette dictates that you shouldn’t pour the soup into the noodles, but instead dip each mouthful in the broth before you eat it.

It was a fiddly process, but tasty all the same. My only gripe was that I found the broth to be much too salty to enjoy on its own.

The noodles were served with the usual accoutrements – sliced bamboo shoots, a small sheet of nori, half a soft-yolked boiled egg, bean sprouts and blanched spinach.

Thankfully, J’s Chashu ramen was salty, but not too salty. Dispensing with all western table manners, he happily slurped away at the miso broth. It wasn’t strongly flavoured with miso paste, but I still thought it was more interesting than the uber-salty shoyu version.

Though the miso broth was easier to enjoy, It should go without saying that anyone on a low sodium diet should stay well away from the food here…

The sliced Chashu (rolled pork belly) was tender but a little bland. A shame, as other Chashu I’ved tried elsewhere has been much more flavoursome. 

Despite our unseasonal dinner choice, we had a good time at Arigataya. It’s simple and unassuming, with friendly, efficient staff. Hot green tea is available free, and with so many options on the menu, I reckon there’s something there to satisfy most tastes, even those of you who are die hard rice fans!

Ramen fans … have you tried Arigataya Ramen? What’s your pick from the menu? Did I just choose a dud dish? 

And yes, despite all my gut busting intentions, there was absolutely no way I could fit in a second helping of ramen, no matter how much I might have wanted them!

Arigataya Ramen
62 Roe Street, Northbridge WA 6003

Open Monday to Saturday – 11.30am – 2.30pm and 5.30pm – 9.30pm
Sundays and public holidays – 11.30am – 2.00pm and 5.00pm – 8.30pmArigataya on Urbanspoon

Barby’s, Paddy’s Markets, Haymarket

Asian bakeries make me happy.

Sausage buns are a personal favourite of mine. I was a little disappointed to find a mini-hotdog in Barby’s version of this classic, instead of the alternative – a canned cocktail weiner.

I think I enjoy the Plumrose style dog because it reminds me of childhood. When I was little, I remember the pantry being full of strange and mystical cans – one of my favourite things to do was to rummage in there, looking for weird and wonderful things to eat, or inspirations for the next dish I would ask Mum to make.

Results varied – sometimes I’d find gold (canned mango slices, anyone?), other times, a savoury treat. That’s where the Plumrose mini-frankfurts come in! A favourite activity was making mini-franks in blankets, using buttered sliced white bread. Not the most nutritious snack, but hey, I was ten!

This bronzed beauty is a BBQ Pork Bun, which featured a coarsely chopped mix of pork, onions and some green peas thrown in for good measure. Tasty, if a little sweet, like all these buns are.

Stinky, but wonderful. That’s really the only way to describe this to all you durian neophytes. The thin, soft crepe we have here is wrapped around a tasty filling of fragrant durian flesh, mixed into freshly whipped cream.

It’s been wrapped up with a small log of chocolate sponge cake (a strange choice, but I think that’s what it was), which helps this fluffy pillow keep its shape.

Thoroughly enjoyable, and worth trying if you’re a durian fan! Though J found the aroma pretty strong, he agreed it was a pretty tasty way to enjoy durian.

Barby's Bakery on Urbanspoon

Read about our other food adventures in Sydney

KFC-1

Korean Fried Chicken: The other KFC

This weekend I made some Korean Fried Chicken. The other KFC.

I was inspired to make these after watching Maangchi’s awesome KFC video on youtube. But upon realising mid-recipe that I didn’t have the required Korean chili paste, I decided to improvise with a non-spicy version of crunchy crispy wing goodness.

Making this chicken was also a reason to use some of the Doenjang we have sitting in the fridge.

Sticky soy Korean Fried Chicken

Makes 10 pieces (enough for two small portions, or one hungry person)

Ingredients

Chicken marinade and coating

  • 5 chicken wings
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp Doenjang (Korean fermented bean paste)
  • A splash of light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • Oil for shallow frying
  1. Rinse chicken wings and chop at joints into three sections, discarding wing tips.
  2. Place wing pieces in a medium bowl and add salt, Doenjang, a dash of soy sauce, and oyster sauce. Mix well, leave covered in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in a deep pan (I use my cast iron dutch oven for this).
  4. Add potato starch to wings – mix thoroughly with your hands, it’ll be sticky and look like a mess, but fear not!
  5. When oil is hot (test by dropping some coating in the oil, it should sizzle), add wings (do this in two batches if your pan is too small).
  6. Fry once until the outer layer of chicken cooks but before the chicken browns – this will take about 7 – 10 minutes (depending on how big your chicken pieces are).
  7. Don’t worry if it seems like you’re losing a lot of the coating, or if they’re sticking to the base of your pan. It will all come good!
  8. Remove and place over a colander/strainer over a bowl. Turn off the heat, and rest chicken for about 3 – 5 minutes.
  9. Reheat oil, once hot again, return chicken to pan and let the wings fry again until well browned and crispy. Drain, and set aside on paper towel.

Sticky soy sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 tb Doenjang
  • 2 tb oyster sauce
  • 4 tb honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • Salt or light soy to taste
  • A little vegetable oil
  1. Take a small saute pan or frypan and heat a little oil. Add garlic and fry until golden.
  2. Add sauces, honey and vinegar.
  3. Heat until bubbly. Remove from heat.
  4. Take cooked crispy wings and toss around in the pan, coating them in the sticky soy sauce.

Enjoy!

These wings were fantastic with a light drizzle of Sriracha chili sauce over the top. But you can omit that if it’s not your thing.

Sydney-Madang-1

Sydney Madang, Sydney CBD

Follow your nose down a dark laneway along Pitt Street, and you’ll be rewarded at Sydney Madang.

Jinro Chamisul Soju, $15

There’s a lot to like about dinner at a Korean barbecue joint. The aroma of charred meat. The cheesy K-pop tunes. The cheesy K-pop singers on bottles of Soju.

Korean barbecue is a fantastic meal if you’re in a group. The theatre of cooking your own meal brings out the cave man in you, and it’s a fun way to enjoy a meal with your nearest and dearest. Though you’ll leave smelling like you stuck your head in a chimney.

It’s wiggle room only once your meat arrives with an array of colourful complimentary banchan (side dishes).

These include the ubiquitous bean sprouts, crispy fresh spring onion, sweet salty potato chunks simmered until tender, cold mashed potato ‘salad’, and my all time favourites – kimchee, salty bean paste and fragrant garlic oil.

Complimentary banchan selection

Beef ribs, $22.00
Marinated chicken, $15.00 

The spiral-sliced beef ribs unfurl into rosy ribbons which grill to a beautiful crisp. The marinade is sweet and salty, with a flavoursome kick from the generous amounts of onion and garlic that are included in the mix.

We enjoy the slices of tender marinated chicken still sizzling from the grill. The marinade they’ve been steeped in is mildy spicy, so this one’s a good option if you’re not a chili hero.

Beef bulgogi (centre), $15.00

Sticky sweet beef bulgogi is an all-time favourite of mine, and something I will gladly order at any Korean restaurant.

The best bulgogi is made with wafer thin slices of beef, which is marinated in a mix of soy sauce, sugar, garlic, sesame oil and pepper. Some marinade recipes also include grated nashi pear, or other fruits like papaya or kiwifruit which contain enzymes (papain and actinidin) that act as natural tenderisers.

The staff at Sydney Madang are on the ball, and quickly replace charred grill plates as you cook, particularly when they notice too much smoke drifting from the centre of your table.

Soybean soup, $13.00

We also decided to try a soybean based soup (sorry, this is where my Korean food names fail me!), which is one we’ve enjoyed at restaurants in Perth too. The soybean paste used in this soup is similar in flavour to Japanese miso.

It’s a comforting mix containing soft sliced cucumber, pillowy white chunks of silken tofu and a generous sprinkling of fresh green chiles. There’s only a gentle chili-zing, thankfully, which helps me enjoy the savoury warmth of the soup.

This hit of pure umami is also amped up by the addition of beef bones to the murky brew. We fish out tender pieces of slow cooked beef, enjoying each morsel .

This soup is fantastic spooned over rice ($2.00 a bowl), or enjoyed on its own on a cool night.

Sydney Madang on Urbanspoon

Read about our other food adventures in Sydney

Jun Kushi Yaki Restaurant, Perth

You’d be forgiven for assuming this alleyway is just a mugging waiting to happen.

Just past the former site of the old Town Hall McDonalds on Hay Street, next to a foreign language bookshop, you’ll find total culinary gold, hidden down this dingy alley.

J and I arrived at our destination after a post-work drink at a nearby hotel. We were the first to arrive at opening, but a steady stream of city workers done for the day and larger parties celebrating birthdays arrived in a matter of minutes, all in search of good grub.

We settled on a few (ha) items from the quite extensive menu, starting with the sashimi of the day, $25 – featuring fresh tuna, salmon and scallops.

The fish and scallops were meltingly tender – a sure sign of fresh product, and beautifully sweet, like all good seafood should be. I loved the slightly gelatinous, sort of silky texture of the raw scallops.

We also chose the Yakitori assortment (10 sticks for $18). It smelled amazing upon arrival – a sure sign of the deliciousness ahead!

Clockwise from bottom left – chicken meatballs with ginger and Teriyaki sauce, Teriyaki chicken skin, Teriyaki pork belly (slightly nibbled by me, oops!), Teriyaki chicken thigh, Teriyaki chicken thigh with spring onions, chicken with plum sauce, salted chicken giblets, salted pork belly, salted chicken skin and finally, a salted chicken wing!

Check out the char!

My favourites were the classic Teriyaki chicken, Teriyaki pork belly and Teriyaki chicken skin. The sweet and salty Teriyaki sauce had caramelised to a delicious char, something I personally favour on anything labelled ‘Teriyaki’!

J really loved the salted meat sticks – we both thought the simple seasoning combined with the char-grilling really enhanced the flavour of the meats. The chicken wing was a particular stand out, with crispy skin and super tender meat.

This visit to Jun was my first, but the second in less than a week for hungry J. He’d discovered the place last week during a work lunch break, and raved, telling me it was ‘the best EVER’.

He insisted that we order the Chicken Karaage. Large chunks of crispy, golden chicken thigh arrived, looking like the ultimate fried chicken. The “secret spices” in Jun’s chicken? Generous helpings of ginger and garlic in their seasoning. Utterly delicious dipped in the Japanese mayo served alongside. Evil. Totally artery clogging. But oh so good.

We couldn’t pass up on ordering the butter corn, which is something we replicate often at our house! We originally got the idea to season corn this way from TFP and Jac, following their successful visit to Jun a number of years ago.

It’s simple and hardly warrants a recipe – but totally moreish and delicious. Jun pan fry corn kernels with a little butter and a dash of soy sauce, and voila! Butter corn.

We also enjoyed some grilled fresh shiitake mushrooms which were part of the daily specials. At $3 a stick, these weren’t very cheap – but wow. The umami-ness of the mushrooms was beautifully enhanced by the charcoal grill. Though tender, they were satisfyingly toothsome – something which J, the mushroom-texture-phobe, really appreciated.

J loves Jun!

We also topped everything off (or is that held everything together?) with rice and miso soup. All up, our bill came to about $70. Not bad considering the fact that we definitely over-ordered! :)

Jun is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the Eastern end of Perth. It’s quiet and unassuming, but delivers tasty treats which are further afield from the standard sushi and katsu combos that are ubiquitous to most Japanese restaurants and takeaway shops in Perth.

The fact that the restaurant is tucked away in an alleyway really only adds to the charm – but you’ll only know you’ve stumbled on a gem once you visit!

Jun on Urbanspoon

Open Monday to Friday for lunch (limited menu)
Open Monday to Saturday for dinner from 6pm

Hawkers-Cuisine-5

Hawker’s Cuisine, Northbridge


Hawker’s Cuisine is a gem of a place, hidden in the alleyway behind The Shanghai Shed (officially called The Old Shanghai Food Court) in Northbridge. It’s not far from Perth’s favourite destination for all night eats – Billy Lee’s.

I imagine there must be lots of people around who haven’t heard of it, even though it’s been around for a number of years.


Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by a glass-fronted chiller, filled with fresh fish, individually wrapped soft-shelled crabs, and large banana prawns.

Business is bustling. The waitstaff are quick on their feet, ferrying hot plates to waiting tables, and clearing away dishes from groaning diners.


I personally love the bright orange walls and the fruity decorations hanging from the ceiling.

TFP, Jac, J and I arrived on a busy Saturday night. After quick deliberation, we settled on some dishes – a mix of old favourites and things we’d never tried before. It’s been at least a couple of years since I last ate at Hawker’s, so I was very keen to sample some of the dishes I loved so much the first time around.

The drinks menu at Hawker’s includes all the Malaysian and Singaporean favourites, from iced tea to Horlicks. We went with Iced Lychee (TFP), Iced Lemon Tea (Jac), Iced Longan (J) and Iced Teh (me).

In my previous post, a visit to Mak’s Place for Malaysia Kitchen Summit, I mentioned my love of super-strong Teh. This one from Hawker’s was a cracker – perfectly brewed to a deep brown and sweetened with the addition of condensed milk.

One of my personal favourites is the hotplate tofu. Though I’m not sure if it’s strictly Malaysian, this popular dish seems to appear on the menus of a number of Chinese-Malaysian restaurants around town.

Soft, pillowy pieces of Japanese egg tofu are lightly floured and deep fried, placed over a hotplate-fried egg and covered in a thick sauce flecked with pork mince.

This was the dish that changed my mind about tofu. Sure, I wouldn’t call myself a fan by any means, but we’ve come to an arrangement now. If served like this, then we definitely get along. It’s perfect served over hot steaming rice which soaks up the flavoursome sauce perfectly.

Top row: Marmite Chicken, bottom row: Salted Egg Yolk Soft-Shell Crab

Marmite Chicken is a favourite in Singapore and Malaysia, featuring – you guessed it, Marmite! In this dish, the addition of Marmite enhances the sticky, savoury, salty and sweet sauce. The chicken pieces, which had been coated in a light batter and deep fried, were tender and juicy despite the two-step cooking process. A triumph for chicken fans!

As a kid, I used to regard Salted (duck) egg yolks as a total food fail. Inserted into my favourite Moon Cakes, they created a clash of sweet and savoury that my ten-year-old tastebuds could not handle. The slightly sandy, usually crumbly texture of the yolks was also weird. Who wants a dry yolk? Not I, sir.


Now, almost 15 years later, the presence of salted egg yolk dusting crunchy deep fried crab is a total delight. The golden crumbs which coat each piece only add to the deliciousness. They’re really only delicately salted – most of the salt which the eggs are ‘cured’ in seeps into the egg white, leaving the yolk with a hint of salty tang.

The yolk which the fried soft-shelled crab was tossed in was both pretty and delicious to eat, adding (more) richness to the dish. These soft-shelled crabs were lovely – nicely tender and meaty.

In the interests of eating a more balanced meal, we also ordered the stir-fried vegetables of the day with garlic. Saturday’s offering included crunchy kai lan, sweet bok choy and tender choy sum. Even the stringy-vegetable fearing Jac and J were able to eat this, with only a few pieces rejected on the grounds of being a little too stringy. J remarked that it was definitely the generous addition of garlic which helped him enjoy the greens.

The fresh leaves and crunchy stalks had been helpfully sliced into perfect bite sized pieces; the ideal when wielding chopsticks.

To top things off, we had also ordered the Sarawak Pork. I’ve never visited East Malaysia (where the state of Sarawak is located) and I’ve never heard of this dish before.

Strips of poached pork belly in a sweet soy-based sauce were swaddled by fried firm tofu and perfectly cooked hard boiled eggs. The sauce was flavoured with star anise, cloves and cinnamon.

It reminded me very much of my Grandma’s favourite one-pot dish, pork and chicken in soy sauce. She used to cook it for the family most often on a Saturday night, a dish she could cook earlier in the day and serve for dinner, usually with hard boiled eggs, dried bean curd sheets (foo chok) and dried Shiitake mushrooms. It was nice to be reminded of it! :)

Jac found the pork too fatty for her liking. The meat was rippled with fat, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I love the combination of the spices used in the sauce – they really complement meat well.

Ice Kacang is a technicolour shaved ice confection, usually eaten as a snack or dessert. Kids love it – I know I did, and it’s obvious why. Covered in sweet rose syrup and usually evaporated milk, the shaved ice sits over a mound of black grass jelly, creamed corn, attap chee (palm seeds soaked in syrup), and mashed sweetened red beans.

Hawker’s serve a slightly different version to my old favourite, instead including red beans, creamed corn, canned lychees, jelly bits and black grass jelly, with the ice well covered in rose syrup and coconut milk.

You’ve got to eat it fast. We decided to share – TFP speedily dished out our portions into smaller bowls. As you can see from the photo above, it really is eat or you’ll miss it, as your once beautiful snowy pile of ice and syrup turns into slush.

I was pleased to find a good mix of classic Malaysian and Singaporean favourites on the Hawker’s menu. From drinks to mains, there’s plenty of things on the menu to satisfy the purists and Malaysian food newbies alike.

I’m so glad that the food is just as good as I remembered at Hawker’s Cuisine. I’ll try not to let two-years come between me and the next visit!

Hawker's Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday

Juji Chews dined at Hawker’s Cuisine as a guest of Malaysia Kitchen.

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