Tag Archives: chicken


Izakaya Fujiyama, Surry Hills

What do three hungry food bloggers and the super-patient fiance of one of said bloggers order when visiting Izakaya Fujiyama? The tuna jaw. Naturally.

We joined Grab Your Fork at Izakaya Fujiyama, a new Japanese Izakaya located in leafy Surry Hills.

Asazuke, $4.50

We started with a bowl of Asazuke, a salt-cured jumble of crunchy cabbage, cucumber and carrot. I loved the tangy strips of crisp cabbage leaves, fragranced with a smoky sweetness from the addition of sesame oil.

Omakase sashimi plate, $24.50

Next to arrive was the beautifully plated Omakase sashimi plate, the Chef’s special of the day.

I could see J’s eyes light up when he spotted the ribbons of silky smooth salmon, kingfish, mackrel and tuna.

We enjoyed the cool fish with thinly grated daikon and fresh wasabi. Everytime I taste fresh wasabi, I find myself wondering why anyone bothers with the reconstituted “post mix” kind!

Kenji’s fried chicken, $13.50

Kenji’s Fried Chicken ticks all the boxes, if you ask me. We swooped on the sizzling chicken like magpies, enjoying the crunchy pieces with house made ‘Kewpie’ mayonnaise.  A drizzle of lemon juice added some welcome acidity, cutting through the richness of each mouthful. 

Crispy pork belly with yuzu pepper, $24.50

If only you could have seen the gleeful looks on our faces when this beautiful crispy pork arrived!

I was pleased to find generous chunks of meltingly tender pork beneath the crisp golden tiles of crackling. The tender meat was delicious with a smidgen of the tangy and hot yuzu pepper paste.

Teriyaki beef kalbi, $28.50

When I spotted the Teriyaki beef kalbi on the menu, I knew we had to try it.

Beef ribs are a favourite of mine, and these didn’t disappoint. Marinated in sticky sweet Teriyaki sauce and grilled to bronzed perfection, these ribs were beautifully tender and moreish.

You’ll need to fight it out to see who gets to enjoy the tender beef straight off the bone, Flintstones style.

 Tuna jaw, $38

The Tuna Jaw is a foodie’s scavenger hunt. It’s quite a sight, arriving on its own chopping block, with an astringent mound of freshly grated daikon on the side. Two bowls of dipping sauces are also provided, adding a kick of umami salty savoury goodness to each bite.

We dispense with all table manners and go for the gold, aiming to extract the tastiest morsels from the jaw.

It’s messy work, but it’s worth it. With a little patience, and the help of our trusty chopsticks, it’s easy to uncover tender pieces of tuna that are slick with a collagen-rich natural glaze.

And don’t forget the crispy wings – like fishy crisps, they are absolutely worth trying!

Fujiyama Jaffa, $13.50

It’s a struggle to make it to the end, but even so, we carried on. To end our evening, we decide to share the Fujiyama Jaffa.

This pretty dessert features frozen chocolate cake, a light yoghurt ice cream and smooth chocolate ‘yogo’. Sour and sweet cumquat sauce is drizzled over the dish with a sprinkling of sweetened popcorn.

A great end to a really memorable meal!

Izakaya Fujiyama on Urbanspoon

Read Grab Your Fork’s post

Read about our other food adventures in Sydney


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


The perfect roast chicken

If you ask me, a simple roast chicken dinner is a beautiful thing.

My favourite method to achieve delicious sticky, crispy, browned skin is pretty simple.

Take a free range chicken which you have cleaned and patted dry with paper towels.

Separate the skin from the flesh by running your fingers between them. I refer to this as the Jamie Oliver method, after first watching him do this on his second season of the Naked Chef, many moons ago.

I think I first watched this when I was 13 or 14 … which now seems like a long time ago…

To make this particular roast, I mixed a herb butter in place of Jamie’s proscuitto and lemon mix, by blending fresh thyme, sage, parsley and basil with four garlic cloves and some pepper into salted butter.

I prefer using salted butter for this particular recipe as it means I don’t need to add additional salt to the bird before baking.

If you’ve watched the YouTube clip above, you’ll get what Jamie’s method involves – basically stuffing the flavoured butter between the skin and flesh of the chicken.  

Once the bird is buttered, I place it in a hot oven (180-200C) for 30 minutes per 500g. I also like to add potato chunks to the baking dish, as they get a really nice flavour from the inevitable melted butter!

Mmm, buttery potatoes

To go with my lovely roast, I also quickly blanched some fresh green beans and broccolini, leaving them just a little crisp for maximum effect. The greens were so good we actually ate them all, even though I cooked extra with the intention of leaving some for J’s lunch the next day!

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

Tuesday dinner surprise

Last night, J cooked dinner…

It was delicious. Polenta-crumbed chicken with a garlic butter sauce, baked mashed potatoes and a fresh salad with home grown lettuce and tomatoes. Fine polenta makes an amazing “crumb” coating – super crunchy!

What made this dinner so surprising?

Besides the fresh lettuce from our garden, J also found a teeny-tiny baby carrot! We have other carrots growing, probably closer to full size, but J knows he lives with a food blogger, and deemed this too good a garnish to leave in the ground. And after a long day, it was the perfect thing to cheer me up :)



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.

If you enjoyed my post, please visit Malaysia Kitchen Blogger Summit and vote by clicking like!


In May, J and I got engaged.

We decided to celebrate with a small group of family and friends earlier this month. It was a great day – sunny weather made it’s first appearance for the month, shared with our nearest and dearest (well, those in Perth, anyway), with lots of food, fun and ball sports (for the kids). J and I had been prepping for about two days solid, but it definitely paid off in the end – as you’ll see below…

On the menu… 

14-hour pulled pork sandwiches with home made barbecue sauce

My honey-soy-garlic-everything chicken wings, German-style potato salad,
fresh garden salad and fresh bread rolls

My Mum’s famous wantans, fresh fruit,
chocolate macarons with peanut butter ganache
and red velvet cupcakes topped with cream cheese icing 

Photos courtesy of the family photographer, my sister, TFP. Instagram-ized via hack from Daniel Box.



Lunch at What the Pho? Northbridge

Crispy chicken with dry egg noodles, served with soup (Mi Kho Ga Chien Dong)

This week J and I visited What the Pho, as a last hurrah on the final day of our extra-long-long weekend.

We arrived at around 1.45pm, well after the lunch rush, having spent our respective mornings getting a massage (me) and putting together IKEA furniture (J). Life sure is tough for some :)

I started with a refreshing and caffeine-charged Vietnamese Iced Coffee ($3.80). Sweetened and whitened with condensed milk, this was the perfect pick me up – strong, sweet and cold. J enjoyed one of his favourites, a bottle of Little Creatures Pale Ale.

Crispy Duck

J couldn’t decide what to order – there were lots of options which sounded tasty, and after his long morning of flat-packed furniture building, he was tired and just ready to eat (and not much else).

Luckily for us, our friendly and efficient wait person was well-versed with which number went with each respective dish – so when the Pho neophytes (us) asked for number 31 and 35, he knew exactly what we meant! :)

Egg noodles with soup

J decided to try the Crispy Duck with egg noodles ($13.90) – it comes in either a dry or soup version. J was very keen on soup noodles, and these quickly arrived steaming; sprinkled with fragrant fried garlic, chopped spring onions, garlic chives and coriander. We both marvelled at the preparation that went into each bowl – J noticed each mung bean sprout had been carefully top and tailed (I was happily savouring each morsel of golden brown garlic).

Each piece of crispy duck had a gloriously burnished layer of skin, well caramelised with a great crunch which only comes from a well prepared bird (with the excess fat well rendered). The duck had also been well seasoned with savoury soy, star anise and cassia bark, with a delicate sweetness from the meat and the glazed skin.

Crispy chicken

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – how can you go past crispy chicken? Once again, I couldn’t (surprise surprise). My workmate N told me a few months ago about this dish, and I carefully banked the description away in my mental food encyclopaedia – ready to order it when the moment arose.

The tender chicken was moist and enhanced by the salty crackle of chicken skin. The frying had left each piece with a super-thin layer of skin, free of excess grease. It went beautifully with my egg noodles and side bowl of clear broth.

The egg noodles were very tasty and moreish, having been tossed in a soy based sauce, fried garlic and topped with fresh chopped herbs.

Don’t let the appearance of this clear broth fool you. Though it may look pretty bland, it definitely wasn’t. I think it was built on a good homemade chicken stock, well flavoured after hours of simmering and made even better with the extra sprinkling of fresh spring onions and coriander.

We were too stuffed for dessert – but next time I plan to wear my eating pants and try the Banana Tempura with Ice Cream ($10.00)!

What the Pho on Urbanspoon

Open for lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday

Potato-topped chicken and mushroom pie

There’s nothing quite like a hot meal after a long day at work.

Last night’s dinner was a potato-topped chicken and mushroom pie served with fresh green beans and corn. To the chicken stew I also added some chopped carrot, a rasher of bacon (what was left in the fridge!) and fresh thyme from our veggie patch.



Saffron Fine Persian Cuisine

Meet my new Monday-itis cure.

J knows all too well that when I have a bad day, there are only a few things in life that can perk up my spirits. One of those things is food. It could have been homemade mac and cheese (my standard low-mood lifter), or even what my friend J’s daughter calls ‘Devil’s food’ (McDonalds). Instead, J suggested that we try a new Persian restaurant, Saffron, which had opened in Morley – not far from us.

We arrived at Saffron and were immediately greeted by friendly staff. A good sign. Check. They seated us promptly, gave us menus and gave us cold water for the table. I was taken aback at the level of service, to be honest, not expecting things to run so smoothly early on (when we visited, it was day 12 since opening).

We decided to start with some bread, which was a puffy, light and pleasingly chewy naan-style flat bread, sprinkled generously with sesame and nigella seeds, which were deliciously fragrant from baking. To go with the bread, we were also given a side dish of fresh mint leaves, brine-soaked walnuts and almonds, and a small rectangle of feta cheese (or something that resembled it!).

We both loved munching on the fresh and warm bread, and the mint and nut accompaniments were perfect partners with the briny and sharp cheese. Had I not already ordered a main, I would have happily gorged on a bread only meal…

J selected a beef stew, cooked with yellow split peas, tomato, eggplant and dried lime – Google tells me it is called Khoresht-e Bademjan. He loved every last drop – from the tender beef, to the cumin rich sauce – this was right up J’s alley, and is now definitely on his list of ‘favourite things’. It seemed like the perfect cold weather comfort food – the sort of rich stew you would hope to come home to on a cold night. I thought the dried lime added a really interesting acidic note to the flavour – something really unique to this particular style of cuisine.

I chose the Zereshk Polow - a special dish I remembered eating as a kid at a Persian wedding. The chicken served here was so incredibly tender – just look at the pic above!

I loved how the chicken skin had also been rubbed with a chile paste – it really added an awesome punch which I really enjoyed. Just the thing to kick me out of my bad mood.

The rice, studded generously with dried barberries, slivered almonds and bright green pistachios was incredibly well flavoured. The tender rice grains were also a sight to behold – I was amazed at how long the individual basmati grains were!

And of course, we couldn’t leave without sampling a traditional drink.

Not attacted by the carbonated yoghurt drink on offer, we both went with a sour cherry cordial instead – an excellent choice to go with our rich meals.

One sip and we were hooked! I must keep an eye out for this stuff.

The restaurant was bustling on Monday night – no mean feat in suburban Perth. I’ll be keen to see how things are going in a few months time. The local Iranian community (I have heard) have been really enthusiastic about this place – even recently celebrating new year at the restaurant.

I confess, something that initially attracted me was that the head chef at Saffron is none other than Jason Aghamiri who was featured on the Persian Food Safari on SBS.

I’m very pleased that this restaurant is brightening up our local area – the food is great, affordable, and the service is friendly. Definitely a good thing to have only ten minutes away!



Saffron Fine Persian Cuisine on Urbanspoon