Friday, August 17, 2007

Spice Market, Sydney

There are so many Thai restaurants in Kirribilli, which is the area where Gigi lives. Just a 5-minute walk away from her apartment is a short row of restaurants, and three of them serve Thai cuisine. This made me very happy, since I really love Thai food. Gigi first brought me to Spice Market, which is the only one she goes to on a regular basis. She ordered her favorite dishes, which were Choo Chee Fish, and Tofu Stir Fry. I couldn't help ordering a rice dish, so I had some fried rice (so much for the South Beach diet).

I particularly loved the fish, which is Nile perch. Gigi said there is some controversy regarding this fish, involving the exploitation of Africans. (I have to find out more about this and see if this will lessen my desire to eat this fish, which by the way is just yummy.) The Choo Chee sauce, which is some kind of curry, went perfectly with rice. I practically ate the whole rice dish by myself because Gigi was being a good girl and avoiding her carbs.

It was a great meal, and I was very happy with it, despite my awareness of excessive calorie consumption. Well, I'm on holiday and that's the perfect excuse to eat pretty much whatever I want.

Choo Chee Fish

Tofu Stir Fry

Fried Rice

Spice Market
Shop 2, 3A Broughton St
Kirribilli NSW 2061

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pasticceria Papa

On my first weekend in Sydney, Gigi brought me to Pasticceria Papa in Little Italy, which offers a lot of pastries. She was eager to let me try two of her favorite desserts, which were ricotta cheesecake, and ricotta cannoli. We got up early on Saturday morning, so we could have a calorie-laden breakfast. When we got to the restaurant, it was all I could do to stop myself from just grabbing one of each of the pastries displayed on the counter. They all looked so fattening; ergo, good.

Aside from getting a piece of the cheesecake and the cannoli, I saw that they sold florentines as well. I love florentines, and never pass up a chance to have some. I ate all three of the pastries, aside from some pizza that Gigi had for herself. I liked the cannoli best, followed by the cheesecake, then the florentines. I was slightly disappointed in the florentines because they were not sweet enough for me :) I must've consumed the calorie requirements for the whole week in that single meal (if you could call having sweets in the morning a proper breakfast).

Ricotta Cheesecake
Florentine and Ricotta Cannoli

Pasticceria Papa
145 Ramsay St.
Haberfield NSW 2045
Tel: 02.9798.6894

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Yum Cha at Emperor's Garden in Chinatown, Sydney

I'm always up for good dim sum, because it's not that easy to find in Manila. Here in Sydney, you will find dim sum in Chinese restaurants offering "yum cha". At first, I thought that yum cha was simply another name for dim sum, but after some quick googling, I discovered that dim sum (literally "touch the heart") refers to the food itself, while yum cha (Cantonese slang for "drinking tea") refers to the custom of eating small servings of different kinds of food while drinking tea. So, as I understand it, you eat dim sum at yum cha.

Anyway, my friend Kate has a cousin based here named Cel, and she was kind enough to show me the sights by bringing me on a Sydney Explorer tour. The bus tour has 27 stops (each one at a Sydney landmark), and it's up to you when to get off. A bus passes by each stop every 20 minutes, so you can go down wherever you want and be assured of a ride to your next destination. One of the stops was Chinatown, and Cel and I went down there when it was nearly lunchtime. It was also a good place to go shopping, but that's another story.

Fried Shrimp and Scallop Dumplings

Cel brought me to Emperor's Garden Seafood Restaurant, and I was excited to see they had yum cha. The sight of the servers going around pushing trolleys laden with dim sum was enough to make me even hungrier. I ordered some Ha Kao (shrimp dumplings), which I love and never get tired of, some prawn and vegetable dumplings, and fried shrimp and scallop dumplings. I'm always happy to discover new kinds of dim sum, and in this case, I was glad to chance upon those fried dumplings, the kind of which I'd never tried before. Cel and I also had some Chinese broccoli, which we didn't finish, unfortunately. Not because it wasn't good; we were just too full from everything else we'd already eaten.

I love Sydney. I haven't had one bad meal here yet.

Prawn and Vegetable Dumplings

Emperor's Garden Seafood Restaurant
Level 2 Corner Dixon and Hay Street
Haymarket NSW 2000
Tel: (02)9211.2135
Fax: (02)9281.2251

Monday, August 06, 2007

Gigi cooks for me in Sydney, Australia

(I've decided, to heck with chronology, I'm writing in present tense for now.)

I'm currently in Sydney, Australia to visit my friend Gigi. The food in Sydney is great (more on the restaurants later), even when she and I eat at her apartment. That's because Gigi is a fabulous cook. It's a joy to eat whatever she whips up. One evening, after a chilly afternoon walking around town, she made Butternut Squash Soup, which is my absolute favorite soup in the whole world. Another great thing about Gigi is she always makes sure the food is presented well, even when she eats alone. Now that's a way to treat yourself well.

Butternut Squash Soup

Another time, we went to the seafood market to buy some supplies. She got some transatlantic salmon, which I assume, is not farmed salmon. (unless there are transatlantic fish farms? haha) Anyway, she at first wanted to bake it to make it healthier to eat. But we were already hungry so she decided to fast-forward the cooking process by pan-frying it. I thought it tasted great the way she ended up making it.

Pan-fried Salmon

One other thing that she made was Caprese Salad. She said it was the first time she ever made it. We had some the previous evening at an Italian restaurant, then she decided that it was pretty easy to replicate. It was the first time I had eaten this type of salad with greens (it was served that way in that restaurant). Usually it's just tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. This version makes it healthier, I guess.

Caprese Salad