Sunday, August 30, 2015

Laksa King, Flemington MELB

Winter is reaching its final phases in Melbourne and it's giving us a last taste of it via frequent downpour-ing throughout the week. Doubt I will miss getting rained on so often but I may miss the feeling of tucking into a warm bowl of soup to curb this chilly cold weather. I mention may purely because I know I may succumb to temptations and end up with it anyways irrespective of the scorching hot temperatures.

Laksa King has been around for some time and you can tell - that's when most of your Malaysian friends chirp it's name at the mention of laksa. The restaurant is usually busy so do book in advance if you are planning to rock up with a big group of people.

Service is fast - place your order and in about 6 minutes or so, voila, lunch/dinner is served. I would caution that the ambiance here is a far cry from peaceful so if you are trying to impress at a first date, be prepared vocally.

Combination curry laksa ~ the broth was rich and oozes a good punch of spices. Feel free to request for some belacan that you can mix in to increase the level of spiciness. Ticks all the right boxes for a good laksa and at about $10.8, it is a value for money deal.

Belacan kangkong ~ slightly (probably 1/10) spicy and garlicky, this is a typical vegetarian dish in Malaysia that's best enjoyed with a bowl of steamed rice.

Roti canai with curry chicken ~ despite Laksa King specializing in all variations of laksa dishes, they do serve non-laksa inspired dishes. As curry laksa may be heavy for some, this is a lighter option that will still give you an equally satisfying experience. The curry chicken's sauce was thick, smooth and extremely indulgent. I was expecting a measly portion of it but they proved me wrong by feeding me with 3 medium sized (delicious) pieces of chicken fillet.

Verdict? Worth the hype for sure;)

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Pancake Dessert House Eatery, CBD MELB

It appears that just about every nook and corner of Melbourne has something interesting to offer. The bunch of us found ourselves in this eatery that has been established more than five years ago and were pleasantly surprised at the ease of communication amongst ourselves.

Menu wise, there are plenty of options to choose from, bearing in mind that the final decision lies on whether one prefers rice or noodles as the main carbohydrate meal.

Iced milk tea and iced lemon tea ~

Fried radish cake in XO sauce ~ a dish that all of us were craving for. Albeit not identical to the ones we are able to get back in Malaysia, the pillow-y soft radish cake does satisfy our cravings.

House special fried rice ~ I have a longtime obsession with fried rice and found myself easily polishing off an entire plate of this (approximately four bowls of rice?). It tastes decent and at less than $10, I had no complains.

Noodles with spam, fried rice and vegetables ~ the menu at this restaurant strangely reminded me of Hong Kong whereby eastern food fuses with western ingredients/ style of cooking.

Lemongrass pork chop with fried egg on rice ~ Prepared as how you would have it at home, no fancy smancy ingredients necessary.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Menya Sandaime and Satu Produk Durian, CBD MELB

Enrolling myself into the work field meant that I have limited time to wander around late at night. Gone are my erratic sleeping days and hello to regular sleep/wake hours that I have been religiously following for some time. And to think an alarm could not wake me up for school back then ha!

And so, when I do find time to sneak out late at night, there is a tendency for me to have a light supper afterwards. Which brought me to this brightly lit, animated atmosphere restaurant that sits along Russell Street.

There was a queue and yes, I was standing in line too! Menya Sandaime is a 24 hour ramen shop that not only serves ramen but also light appetizers such as gyoza and chicken karaage.

Ramen - Al dante noodles, charred slice of pork, bits of veggies all in a slightly heavy broth. By heavy I am referring to the consistency of it. Not bad at all.

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Up next would be something sweet to wrap up the night with. Whilst I liked the Satu Produk Durian's concept, much improvements could be made in execution of the dishes.

Durian crepe cake ~ not too bad but missing out on a few aspects.

This sweet soup with two dollops of durian was one of the most expensive items on the menu. Not something I would order again but if you are feeling adventurous, go for it.

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Ipoh kai si hor fun recipe

I am nowhere near as adventurous when it comes to savoury food as opposed to making edible sweets. Rather, I tend to stick to simple, fool-proof recipes that won't make me cringe as I eat my way through it for the rest of the week.

This is a recipe that I have been meaning to attempt for the longest time but procrastinated, mainly due to the fact that I am not sure how it will turn out. Plus point is that it worked fine. Only downside is that prawns are not exactly a cheap ingredient. Be sure to keep track of prices prior to conjuring up this dish!


4 chicken carcasses - depending on how much stock you want
Enough water to cover the chicken carcasses
1kg tiger/ large-sized prawns

1. Bring chicken carcasses and water to a boil. Allow to simmer (this helps construct the soup's flavour profile). May take at least 1 hour. Season with salt and sugar.
2. De-shell and de-vein the prawns. Fry prawn shells in about 6 tbsp of oil until you get a vibrant orange colour in the oil. Press on the shells to extract more flavour.
3. Once soup is ready, add prawn shells and oil. Give it a good stir and allow to simmer for an extra 30 minutes.
4. Blanch chicken meat and prawns in soup until cooked. Set aside.

Shredded chicken meat
Thin rice noodles
Soy sauce

1. Soak rice noodles in hot water until it softens before cooking them in the soup.
2. Serve in a bowl, garnish with shredded chicken, prawns and chopped chives.
3. Thinly slice chilli and serve as a dipping sauce with soy sauce.

And that's about it really. Very simple and surprisingly good!:)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New Shanghai, CBD MELB

In my humble opinion, dumplings can be categorized as a fun dish - easy to share around with friends, comes in a variety of fillings and relatively affordable. Hence, if in doubt, always suggest dumplings.

I chanced upon this place during my never-failing Google search for budget dining in Melbourne and was convinced to give it a go. Yet another reason to visit Emporium in the CBD region.

Packed full at 2pm, we waited for about 15 minutes before our number was called. Blown away by the vast array of choices available, it took us longer than expected to digest the menu.

Drunken chicken - basically chilled chicken soaked in Chinese wine with herbs. A cold appetizer best enjoyed in a dip of vinegar. I am not a fan of this in general, but found it very palatable.

Stir fried spinach with garlic ~ something to freshen us up!

Stir fried Chinese rice cake with XO sauce and shredded pork ~ I loved the spongy texture of the rice cake but found it a little bland when paired with the XO sauce. The sauce tasted lovely but sadly, these flavours did not get absorbed into the rice cake.

Crab meat xiao long bao ~ thin, steamed pastry layer enclosing a teaspoon quantity of soup and a dainty portion of meat filling. Favourite dish that day - broth was warm and flavourful, meat was kept succulent.

Pan fried pork dumpling ~ I love the crispy texture of the pastry side that had rested on a heated pan. The meat was still very succulent despite the frying and even had half a teaspoon worth of broth in it. Yummy!

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Thursday, August 13, 2015


Melbourne's Emporium shopping mall never fails to surprise me in every aspect be it for fashion, food and the general layout of the entire mall. Just about every Melbournian that I have spoken to claimed Emporium as their second home. Looks like I will be sharing my home with the entire population of Melbourne, ey?;)

A friend once told me that just about every cafe/ restaurant located in Emporium fare from good to excellent so regardless of where you choose to have a meal, you will not be disappointed.

As we were in a Vietnamese frenzy, the bunch of us mutually agreed to testing out the pho bo wagyu here - talk about leveling up on the pho scale! Once you had placed and paid for your order, you will be given a buzzer device that will notify you (in a not so discreet manner) when your order is ready. Pretty simple, yes?

Pork belly noodle salad ~ oh yummm every slice of meat was juicy and had the perfect amount of crackling attached. The assortment of vegetables had definitely freshened up the dish and if you want a bit more chilli kick, feel free to squeeze a few squirts of sriracha.

Pho bo wagyu ~ for $15, this could possibly be your most expensive bowl of pho yet. If you have a huge appetite, this is not for you. Whilst the wagyu meat was fresh, the broth could do with a bit more improvements. However, worth a try if you're not feeling excessively hungry!

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Europe - Churros in Spain

Traditionally consumed as a breakfast, snack or dessert staple in Spain, this freshly fried, elongated piece of dough happens to be a very popular dessert option in both Adelaide and Melbourne. My trip to Spain would not be complete without clarifying the finer details on churros; from how it should be consumed to the texture and quality.

Chocolateria San Gines, Madrid

Tucked away in one of the little streets near Mercado San Miguel, this place was still packed full of both locals and tourists at 2pm. Service is very fast and simple: place and pay for your order at the cashier, show one of the waiters your docket and he will get you seated. Within a few minutes, your order will sail onto your table.

Unlike in Australia where we tend to jazz up our desserts with additional condiments, that is not an option here. You will get straight up churros - no filling/coating whatsoever. Feel free to sprinkle it with some sugar and be sure to order a side of melted, warm chocolate to go with it. Hot chocolate is not wasted here and we have observed the locals ordering a horchata (a drink made of ground almonds or rice) and pouring some chocolate into it.

Churros was definitely freshly prepared and not overly chunky in terms of measurements. Best enjoyed immediately!

Horchateria Santa Catalina, Valencia

Yet another famous horchateria but this time, located in Valencia. Famed for it's horchata, fartons and churros, be sure to not miss this place. If you are really into the churros hunt, Horchateria El Sigho is located across Santa Catalina so you could easily have a churros ball there:)

Food in Valencia costs less than in metropolitan Madrid (a note for the budget travellers out there). Unlike the baton sized churros in Madrid, the ones here have their ends touching, forming an "O" shape. Equally as good as the one in Madrid but probably a lot more space to breathe here. Fartons are a must have in Valencia. This thin and light buns can be dunked into the horchata or consumed just by itself.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I Love Pho 264, Richmond MELB

This is probably the third time this month that I find myself searching for a tummy warming bowl of beef broth. Can you blame me though? Winter in Melbourne is just unbelievably chilly over the past few weeks brrr!

Having little to nil dining experience in Richmond, I was surprised at the number of Vietnamese restaurants and grocery shops along Victoria St. Springvale the real Vietnam town in Melbourne?;)

Enter the front door and behold, the place is packed full of hungry diners. Hence, one needs to have a little patience and you will be rewarded with a seat. Service is fast and friendly but be mindful of how close you are seated next to your neighbour!

Chicken and beef pho ~ subtle broth flavours and decent portions of meat included. Not too bad for $10.

Sugarcane juice ~ freshly squeezed that day.

Three colour bean drink ~ My Asian heritage taught me to appreciate beans in every meals and so, here's one for the records. Not overly sweet but would have liked a little more balance in terms of the ice, coconut and bean mixture ratio.

Pork and prawn cold rolls ~ My recent go to meal when I am not feeling peckish or if I need a vege pick me up. The pork pieces were thickly sliced and perfectly wrapped with the cabbage, mint and rice noodles.Dipping sauce wonderfully balanced aka not too acidic, sweet or bland.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Breakfast Thieves, Fitzroy MELB

Finally, finally, finally I stepped into Fitzroy, a very upbeat suburb with lots of exciting cafes/ restaurants mushrooming in every corner. Albeit the 40 minutes travelling distance via public transportation, it was still a worthwhile visit on a lazy Saturday morning.

This outlet was packed full of people at 12pm and seemed almost impossible to secure a table. Thankfully, we chose to sit outdoors and were immediately seated within 5 minutes. Probably a good idea if you are starving like us and the cold does not bother you at all.

Freshly squeezed orange juice and chai latte ~ my chai latte came in a powder blue teapot and gave me 3 rounds of drinks for just $4.

Croissant with berry jam and butter ~ the housemade croissant was filled with buttery goodness and had the trademark flakiness that is vital for a good croissant. The berry jam was not overly tart nor sweet and had a good balance of chunky berries in it.

Eggs benedict ~ I do not have anything against this dish but for $17, I would prefer to have ordered a different brunch option that comprised of an assortment of toppings/ ingredients and would have involved a lot more technique/ creativity into prepping it. It was a really simple dish, tasty, but not something that I would re-order I am revisiting.

Brioche with poached pears, green tea mousse, black sesame paste, candied bacon and raspberry puree ~ if you like having sweets for breakfast, this is a pretty damn good option. I love the vibrant colours on my plate and yes, the various textural elements on it too. Go on. Dip a small piece of buttery, crunchy brioche in the silky smooth mousse, tart raspberry puree and make sure you pair it with a slice of sweet pear flesh and savoury candied bacon. Truly delicious.

Botak Chin congee ~ I rarely order congee dishes as it's something that I often have at home. I would make this an exception in my case. The congee itself was bursting with flavour just by itself and the addition of a sweet-ish honey braised pork belly boosted this dish by miles. The crunchy mushroom crisps, peanuts, pickled ginger and egg were extra treats in the bowl. Highly recommended.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Rice Paper Vietnamese Restaurant, CBD MELB

Whenever I am in the city, I tend to nibble on junk food on the go. Technically speaking, this is clearly not the best option in my books but junk food always seems much more convenient for a fraction of a price.

I have stumbled upon this place numerous times before and finally decided to walk in after a friend suggested to her partner that she wanted to have lunch here. Dear friend is a fellow Melbournian all her life and I have faith in her taste.

The restaurant is not massive but can comfortably seat around 30 people. There is a section at the front of the shop dedicated to take-away spring rolls, something ideal for customers on the go like yours truly.

Seating near the kitchen gave me an insight of how organized these fellas are. Materials for takeaway meals are neatly set aside and staff in the kitchen are not screaming at each other ala "Kitchen Nightmares" style.

Free flow of tea and it is good (not too diluted as can be found at other establishments).

Avocado smoothie and four colour bean smoothie ~ I could choose a three colour bean smoothie but decided to test the four coloured version (both costs the same). Not the best smoothie I have tried although it does fix up any cravings.

Sugarcane prawns, $8 ~ $4 for a stick is steep and so, every single bite needs to be savoured properly. The addition of crunchy nuts and pickled carrot slices was a refreshing addition to the sugarcane prawns.  The prawns were fresh and nicely caramelized all round, taking note that the prawn filling was not overcooked to the point of a desert at all.

Soft shell crab rolls ~ I love soft shell crabs and this is no exception. Would have liked the pieces of fried crab to be a bit more bigger but that's my only negative on it. Not excessively oily and certainly a healthier option than those junk food meals that I cyclically binge on.

Special broken rice with pork chop, egg, shredded pork skin and meat loaf ~ This is not a bad dish although it is not the best one that I have tasted. The shredded pork skin and meat loaf ticked the right boxes but we found the pork chop lacking. However, I would still be happy if presented this on a day where I need my comfort food-hommies haha.

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