Showing posts from July, 2015

L'assiette Cafe & Bistro, Auckland CBD

I am amazed that the pastries are flown in frozen from the French Republic to this delightful gathering place ( a bistro, cafe and bakery all in one) located in Brittomart beside Auckland Harbour.  Ah, the wonders and marvels of air travel - and regular flight connections.  "Bonjour" - my niece and I were greeted when we sat down for a quick pick me up at the L'assiette before 8am.  The dining room is not big but reminds me of an Euro rustic setting with a modern Pacific twist.  Perhaps it is the design of the chairs.  This is not Tahiti nor Paris but the closest Kiwiland gets to such settings.

Once I bit into the crust of my pastry, I felt the crunchiness, light buttery and aroma on my palate. There is an extra feeling of specialness. Coupled with the nippy air outside, it is a moment to relish.  It is not just the ingredients, it must be the baking and the ambiance too.  French speaking staff walk around.  Our coffee orders come so fast, good for the morning rush hour…

Green Peppercorn Civic Hotel - Sydney CBD

Caution  - the chilies are hotter here than in most other restaurants in Australia, but let us proceed.

The Miang Kum or betel nut leaf wraps, with finely prepared fresh ingredients, so easy and light on the appetite, came out like miniature flower bouquets.  Oh yes, there was much generosity in providing so much to wrap the dark green leaves in.  We could detect peanuts, crab meat, fried shrimps, crunchy rice, small tomato cubes, chilli, ginger and lime as we bit into the wraps.   Healthy, exotic and stimulating!

Petite, colourful and healthy, this dish was like eating from garden produce.   However, we were in down town Sydney, with the World Square sign clamouring for attention through our early 20th century bay window, looking down at a busy Goulburn Street leading to Chinatown and Darling Harbour.  We were fortunate to have been allocated a side round dining table, to me it was both at the same time grand and cosy.  After climbing two flights of stairs to the first level, from a…

Bakery Boys Wollongong

There are plenty of Banh Mi outlets around Australian capital cities these days - the quick but wholesome yummy buns have proved to be a good on the run snack, especially at lunch time, with a healthy dose of sweet Aussie produce and Vietnamese flavoured grilled or steamed pork or chicken or in pate forms.  Banh Mi in the Antipodes started life after the arrival of Vietnamese in the early 1980s seeking a safer refuge from the aftermath of the American war in their country of birth.  It is already fusion food when concocted in Vietnam, with French baguettes, Asian sauces, mayo, coriander, chili bits, onion cuts, delightful fresh cucumber and vinegar infused carrot slices all in one bite.

In the Wollongong area, there is a variation with southern Chinese styled roast pork slices (instead of the cold meats) at Sam's Crusty Bread along the Princes Highway in Corrimal, a suburb just north of the city centre.  So it was with delight that another Banh Mi outlet is found in the Bakery Bo…

Wellington Winter


Greater Sydney - Holiday Suggestions for first time visitors

Day 1:   Lots of walking, good shoes required.

Head to the Circular Quay area, northern end of main strip George Street in Sydney CBD.  Soak in the Sydney Opera House and consider to have a guided walk up the arch along Sydney Harbour Bridge (bookings required).  On weekends, you can also explore the Rocks Craft markets and the Rocks hub where the British first settled.  Fridays host the Rocks Foodie Markets.

Jump on to the ferry from Circular Quay to visit the Toranga Zoo at Mosman in the morning and spend an afternoon after catching the jet boat or ferry to Manly Beach, shopping mall, aquarium and restaurants.

Take a cab to the Surry Hills area for pubs, dining and chilling out.

Day 2: More walking -  exploring multiculturalism

Take the free green Sydney Shuttle bus to Chinatown, at the other end of George Street.  Jump on to the light rail to the Sydney Fish Markets and then the Star complex for the food street, upmarket shopping and the casino.

Have yum cha at Eight, on the third …

Cuba Street Wellington


Wellington Harbour Front - June 2015


Auckland Winter - In the City


Old Town Hong Kong Cuisine - Sydney Chinatown

Hong Kong is not just Chinese, this great city echoes traditions and influences from far and near due its entrepôt location, dynamic vibes, its residents being so passionate about business and making money.  It is also subtropical, a hub that is a powerful magnet for immigrants and was a British colony. The Fragrant Harbour has effective transport and international links, is short on land and space, thrives on modern trends and is a foodie heaven.

Old Town in the heart of Sydney's Chinatown provides a plethora of menu dishes that are not merely Cantonese, but also reflect the fusion and intermingling of cooking styles from Hong Kong.  Below is only but a small selection of recommended snacks, before and after you partake the main meals.

Five of us were ushered upstairs to a lovely table at a strategic corner.  Seated below a reproduction of a dragon head motif, I noticed it was a perfect time for a quiet dinner hour though late, between the family dining earlier and the suppers…