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Showing posts from April, 2012

Crown Palace, Forest Hill/ South Vermont, Melbourne

The Yeaps brought me to this suburban yumcha place when  I stayed with them. Crown
may look like the typical Chinese restaurant which could be anywhere in the middle of USA or in Australia. There is adequate vehicle parking outside and the Burwood Highway has passing traffic. 
Once you step inside, the staff are generally friendly, the service is mostly quick and the food
comes with a purposeful pace.  You can then be in Chinatown of a capital city, and the tasty
servings do suggest that.  There is however much less noise and chatter when compared to downtown precincts.  Apart from yumcha, they also serve other aspects of Cantonese cuisine.

Business starts early and the place gets going by 11am.  You have the choice of round tables for ten persons to be seated, or smaller tables for two. The restaurant may have decor that may hark back to an earlier, but the trolleys and trays bearing bites of food do testify to the authenticity and experience of the cooks. There is no new fangle…

Balgownie Fish Shop, NSW

Latest Developments , December 2014 - It is confirmed that the location of the Balgownie Fish Shop
is earmarked for construction of a residential building.

I had passed by this main strip in Balgownie Village several times and observed the queue of customers waiting patiently outside this modest and unassuming shop on sleepy Sunday afternoons.
The Balgownie Fish Shop offers mainly hamburgers and fish & chip combinations. Gen Y Craig from up the street at my place had told me recently that in his view, this was the best fish and chips in this region of the Illawarra.  Wow, I had to try this, I thought, and when I did, it is indeed one of the best fish and chips I have tasted. Even if they are nearer the escarpment rather than by ocean side, one bite into the battered fish brings back memories of tender grills, newspaper wrappings and the aroma of the ocean.  Yes, my fish and chips were served on paper, a detail which is very important. Yes, it is open every day, including Sundays…

How Not to Do Business

Traditional business or incorporated private limiteds versus so-called on-line versions. Trade based proprietorships against a team of partners. Family or a group of mates?  However we shape the models, the main aim of having a business is to generate cash flows, and then being able to utilise such inflows for further positive outcomes.  We can call them partner profits, share dividends or co-operative returns.  Underlying such aspirations, to succeed, I believe, are the stringency of some key factors.  They are that the product or service must be viable; there are sufficient synergistic team or personal  drivers; motivating tensions between challenge and reward to overcome roadblocks; and a shared positive purpose amongst the players.  Over two weekends, I had the opportunity to come across a variety of business models and reflect on how not to do business.

Showing a rude face to customers:  The interface between customer and the business can be facial, on-site or through cyberspace. …

First Taste - Box Hill, Melbourne

Claypot cooking is a tradition arising out of cool evenings and the intent for capturing all the goodness and flavours of carefully chosen ingredients to be combined in a one serve dish. The outcome of such dishes, whether as double-boiled herbal soups, rice-based vegetable cuts and meat slices or as noodle creations, is often aromatic. At First Taste, one gets personalised servings, the feel of home cooking and the chatter of an informal community all gathered to enjoy such a common penchant for this style of cuisine. Originating from China, the dishes are as safe and reliable for young kids and elderly nannas. As with Oriental dishes, there are lots of cutting, assembling of the ingredients and consideration for the balance of sensations (sour, sweet, savoury and salty) for each dish created. Shallots, garlic, ginger and bits of red-black Cantonese sausage are often used for garnishing, together with various sauces, ranging from XO to oyster.

Suan and Elaine had accompanied me to …

A Longing, A Special Treat

Penang styled noodles, with prawns, chives and pork slices, in a prawn-based savoury soup, above image, taken at Albee's Kitchen in Campsie south-west of Sydney CBD.
Various types of light and heavy cheese, according to taste preference, accompanied with various types of crackers, dried fruits and bread slices from Brasserie Bread of Botany, Sydney. Curry puffs with sweet potato mash, chicken curry fillings and half hard boiled eggs from Albee's Kitchen. Vanilla bean ice cream with a slice of pie fresh from the oven from Charmaine Wan of From My Home website, accompanied by Easter egg chocs from Haighs of Adelaide SA.

Cappuccino with a big K from Vaughn Turner at Rush, Wollongong NSW. Chili crab, cooked with a creamy egg-infused savoury and spicy sauce in Singapore. Image credit to Ms Auyong Kit Fong.

Somewhere Along the Way Again

At home: I am watching the clouds roll in outside the window.  Cooking on the stove whilst trying to progress on a book.  The television is on, but being ignored by me whilst my on-going attention is on to a more mobile device. At times I wonder why there is a need for me to be in another place, when I can be doing all these things in the comfort and familiarity of home.  The price of petroleum has gradually but surely gone up in the past three months, and captive vehicle users like me suffer in silence. The human condition may have a wander lust, but also treasures knowing where things are, letting our own space nurture our inner selves and having the satisfaction that we can plant where ever we want (like I did, with a magnolia).  And nothing compares with the beam from a full moon shining into a corner of our own special space.
In Campsie, greater Sydney: The lady said she is a Chinese from Samoa. We were looking at the steamed pork dumplings (bao) displayed at a counter in a small…

Cafe L'unico, Warrawong NSW

Since this blog post, Cafe  L'unico has relocated from Fairy Meadow to Warrawong, a suburb south of Wollongong CBD.

My first introduction to Italian dolce was in a Rome piazza and then later occurred late at night on a back lane in the inner west Sydney suburb of Leichhardt. This was my first encounter with tiramisu in the form of a piece of cake. In Wollongong, the almost weekly routine in one year was with biscotti, especially almond flaked versions. (picture above) Sorbet, tartufo and gelato were alternatives to full bodied ice cream flavours from New Zealand and made me withdraw from hokey-pokey. Then came the ricotta cheesecake. I never took to chocolate mousse but could not refuse the mascarpone. So when Peter Cappetto, a neighbour, mentioned about the Cafe Lunico in nearby Fairy Meadow and that their pastries, biscuits and cake creations came from Mezzapica in Leichhardt (another hub of Italian-Australian cuisine and culture), I had to visit the cafe, not far from a string…