Monday, 30 March 2015

Melbourne In A Nutshell

A few weeks back I went to Melbourne. Ate till I was stuffed everyday. Walked around till my feet were numb which is exactly what I do everytime in Melbourne. Through battling temperatures ranging from 16-35 degrees, within a FOUR day period, I managed to pack within my 7kg limit to experience a 4 seasons in 1 day rollercoaster.

So here is my Melbourne trip, summed up .. in a bit more than a nutshell (pic heavy post).

What better way to start a morning, with a 5:30AM wake up call, mad rush to the airport and an 8 something AM flight. I swear Maccas rarely do specials at the airport, so I was seriously delighted to pay only $1 for their greasy hashbrown ... more greasy than normal but pipping hot and crunchy.

Despite the 1hr flight, I was in a "don't touch or talk to me" state  - probably combination of lack of sleep, early wake up call and grease but as soon as I landed, there was no time to waste ! I know this is going to sound somewhat gross, but I had1 burger everyday on this trip.

I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about Huxtaburger ranging from would not eat again to .. best burger ever. Even at peak hour, our burgers were delivered pretty quickly.

My Clair Burger was a tad bit hard to eat with the ginormous southern fried chicken complaints. Lots of flavour in the slaw and the jalapeño mayo though I wish there was more as it got a tad bit dry towards the end. Ordered the Chipotle Fries but would give it a miss next time. Very bland but good value for the size.

Of course the boy had to go for a 'manly' option Theo with a double beef, double cheese, bacon & BBQ sauce.  I actually loved this burger more than my clair burger ... and I didn't find the beef patty burnt like some people said ..

Our dinner stop where I met with some friends, Gami Chicken. Don't be fooled by the small exterior and there are two levels, though it's extremely packed inside and a que goes outside .. so best to book.   Our Seafood Pancake was a little on the small size with not much seafood, so this didn't really amaze me but the crispy edge gave it that tad bit more justice. Oh and TTeok Bok Ki (Rice Cakes) are also a favourite but it's mainly onion than the fish cake/vegetables .... I'm quite confused on how it's actually spelt .... so many variations.

Two of the best combinations in history are Grilled Cheese & Corn which was gone way too quickly.

Not going to lie, I think I hyped up Gami way too much. Their Original Chicken was above average, moist, crunchy skin .. though I found it rather bland.

On the other hand, their Spicy Chicken had my mouth on fire for a while and I was shaking the water bottle up to whoever could come first to give me more water. My favourite was the Soy Garlic where the thick sauce coated the chicken and made it extremely tasty.

And some vegetables .. to make this healthier.

No meal is complete without dessert so I'm at Pidapipo for some gelato - pistachio and ferror rocher (I believe)I had a sample of their blackberry and salted chocolate (yes these two flavours merged together) and it was so confusing on the taste buds, but unfortunately the boy said no.

This is my 4th trip to Melbourne yet my first time to Hardware Societie to see if it lives up to it's hype. I love an Iced Coffee, but this one was literally just milk ... not to mention the degrading paper straw.

Their Baked Eggs gets a thumbs up from me. Don't be deceived by the "small" portion as it's packed with food, good flavours and good cheesyness ... so much potato too.

The boy's Burger (Pulled Pork?)was very hard to eat considering the way it was presented but overall nothing spectacular.

I know we're here for the food, but I did the Great Ocean Road + 12 Apostles Tour later that day. So proud I didn't throw up at all, but the weather was terrible so we didn't get the full experience. None the less, here are what remains.

I was told that "The best pho in Footscray has a cow and chicken" ... but when I got to Footscray .. a lot of places had a cow and chicken. As this was the busiest, I assumed Pho Hung Vuong was the place my friend suggested. I don't know what made me think I was capable of finishing the Large ..... as the bowl was a lot 'larger' and packed with an addictive broth.

A coffee hit calls from Brother Baba Budan as I'm not a huge coffee drinker ... an Iced Latte kept me buzzing for literally the WHOLE entire day.

Before we head to Mamasita's for dinner, we make a quick stop at T by Lux Bite and pick up some divine sweets! I found the Prosperity, a Chinese New Year Special, to be more appealing to the eye, but it became too creamy and sweet from the white chocolate, chocolate firecrackers and chocolate tart. I was actually expecting some orange flavour because it was orange .. silly me.

I much preferred the Calamansi where the tartness from the kaffir lime sherbet helped to balance out the meringue. I appreciate the asian flavours in these desserts, such as using longan and jackfruit with chilli salt and I wish I had the stomach to have more ...

Do not be fooled when you don't see a line outside Mamasita's. The line is actually inside the restaurant up the stairs ... even at 5:30PM. Kicked off the night with some beer and sangria, before face planting myself into their amazing char grilled street corn ... seriously that cheesy goodness and chipotle mayo made it the favourite of my night already.

To share, we had the duck tortillas w/ pineapple, blackbean puree & haberno creama - a bit smaller than I expected, but still delicious to eat ... all it took was 1-2 bites.

Kind of went mad and ordered all the tacos (except the vegetarian one)  - fish, prawns, chicken, pigs cheek and ox tongue. Prawns & pigs cheek were hands down the best as we found the fish a bit bland and chicken rather ordinary.

Our Seafood Casserole was packed with flavour and I was really happy with how the seafood was cooked but I think I was too in love with my seafood taco and grilled corn to find this a mind blowing main.

Last but not least - Sweetcorn Icecream, Salted Caramel & Popcorn. Melted so damn quickly and of course whilst eating manage to drop my popcorn everywhere. I hope this photo shows I am not in the least good with ice cream.

My FAVOURITEEEE brunch place in the whole trip was Operator 25. Don't know how the coffee was but my Balinese Pulled Pork Burger was a flavour explosion cross between .. I'm so full I can't eat anymore.  It's was like ... having curry .. with the juiciness of pulled pork and fatty bits with a runny yolk. Sweet potato fries were also spot on - super crunchy and dipped in the aioli ... heaven.

The boy's House Benedict was pleasant with the runny eggs, lamb ham (I'm so confused .. is it pork or lamb?!) on top of a potato rosti but I think he was jealous of my dish ...

My previous trip to Melbourne a few years back had me in love with Dumpling Plus though either their food standard has dropped .... or my expectations had increased. A decent feed, but wasted stomach space of other amazing Melbourne food. Dumplings were ordinary, very oily and dry ... Wontons were rather nice with the sweet soy sauce .. and noodle soup dish had a kick of chilli but literally felt like I was having noodles and soup only.

This is probably the healthiest thing I had to drink to 'detox' myself from The Tea Salon. The Detox Cooler was literally a cup full of chamomile, spearmint,chlorophyl, mint, cucumbers and lime juice and my body did feel 'refreshed'.

Our last day in Melbourne  .. we hit up Manchester Press. Not going to lie ... I've never had a bagel. Whilst it's rather spacious compared to the other brunch places, I found the food rather average. The boy's blueberry bagel  had a generous dollop of mascarpone but my BLT was rather dry and lacking in 'amazing-ness'.

Coffee on the other hand was given a thumbs up from the boy, and I guess this may be a place with amazing coffee with decent food on the side.

Because it was the last day and the boy hadn't tried all the coffee he wanted, we pretty much smashed 4 cups of coffee in the 1 day ... I warn you this should never be done. Patricia's a little out of the CBD .... but when you see groups of businessmen around you know it's for something worth waiting.

Same concept for Duke's Coffee Roasters except on the main road of Melbourne CBD. Didn't get a photo :(

Quick fruit intake before out plane ride from Cacao Green.

Regardless of the amount of money spent on food and the extreme pain of walking around all day and  having a food baby waddling around, this jam packed trip to Melbourne (4 days technically) made me realise it was all worth it .


As some people have noticed, I have not been posting as much on my blog or instagram as of recent due to personal reasons and the fact that I'm finish off my postgrad uni degree and drowning in work.

Whilst I will try to do at least 1 post a month, I may be going on hiatus for a short while just to get myself back on track with life .

You can still find me on Instagram and Twitter @tangstah either way :)

Till next time xx

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Pappa Rich, Parramatta

Catching up with friends can be quite difficult with the hustle and bustle of everyone’s busy schedules. I see my uni friends daily as we’re slaving away, high school friends quite rare and people from primary (yes I know), roughly once or twice a year but what better way to catch up than over food.

Long over due post, but I first dined at Pappa Rich when they first opened mid last year. 5PM dinner and the restaurant was almost full, but the hype has now died down so the wait isn't too long these days. 

What I also find efficient is the self ordering system. Saves you from having to make that awkward eye contact, hand up in the air like you're still in school move to get some attention.

My friends and I started off the night with a drink each – Soya Milk Pudding w/ Grass Jelly,  Bandung (Rose Syrup w/ Milk) and Teh Tarik w/ Grass Jelly.

My Teh Tarik had an amazing tea flavour and a good amount of sweetness. The slippery chewy bits of grass jelly made me drink slower so I wouldn't spontaneously choke. Let's just say the other two drinks got demolished rather quickly. 

First to arrive was our Pappa Char Koay Teow and I must admit, I was a little disappointed by the small serving size for the price. There was a great ‘wok hei’ to it though, with the tasty sauce coating all the noodles, though a tad bit salty towards the end. 

I'd have to say this is my favourite noodle dish here - Pappa Fried Mee where thick hokkien like noodles are tossed in a tomato-ish based sauce, with chunks of prawn & potato/sweet potato and asian veggies.

Can’t go to eat Malaysian food without Roti Cani & Beef Rendang Curry now can you ? Plus an extra serve of Roti which came out relatively quick. I know it ... doesn't look THAT attractive .. but trust me it's divine.

Couldn’t exactly pin point what the two other sauces were on the plate, but the Beef Rendang shone through with the luscious meat and fat being easily torn apart and that curry sauce giving a kick to the tongue. Definitely not disappointed and a must order dish.

Our Ipoh Kuay Teoh Soup w/ Steamed Chicken  was mediocre ..  I preferred the noodles stir fried than in the soup, though the broth was very light and flavoursome.  

I found the Steamed Chicken a little dry on the inside (the first time I came here but the second time was good), but once you dunk it into the sauce and have a mouthful of noodle soup with it, it’s rather nice, though not mind blowing-ly nice to make it an every time dish for me.

Our level of health consciousness disappeared, because we all did the "Oh I don't mind ordering it ... I'll just have a piece if you want .. " to the Deep Fried Chicken Skin . It's essentially like .. pork crackling (make sure you ask them to make it extra crispy) and sooo darn tasty. One of those "so bad but so good" must orders.

If you're a lover of Green Tea or Black Sesame, I highly recommend their Matcha Rocks (with red bean pieces) or Open Sesame (hidden in this picture) which are both soy based drinks. I love how the drinks stay true to what they actually are .. soy milk with either lots of green tea/black sesame ice cream, leaving the asian flavours dominant and the artificial sweetness to a minimal. 

By the end of this post, I hope you haven't freaked out to think 3 people ate this much, because I came here twice for some consistency. I'm so in love with their drink menu which is somewhat over whelming because they all sound amazing !

Whilst I would come back to Pappa Rich, I think there are other Malaysian places out there that are better value for money as everytime I've been the portions seem to be getting smaller and smaller which saddens me.  In other news, it means more ordering and more trying new dishes so hard to say.

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