Monthly Archives

March 2016

In Bread, Recipe on
March 18, 2016

Cob Loaf

The last time I can remember going on a picnic was in primary school. And when you leave 12 year olds in charge of bringing food, all you’ll get are cakes, chocolate and chips (or Korean onion rings because we’re Asian).

If anything, that experience taught me that snacks are no replacement for real food!

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In Dessert, Dining, Lunch on
March 16, 2016

Hakiki Ice Cream, Newtown

I’ve come across Turkish Ice Cream a couple of times during my holidays in Asia, where the bright ice cream stand stood out like a sore thumb alongside endless numbers of Asian snack vendors. Although it would be the last place you’d expect to find Turkish Ice Cream, it always seems to draw quite a crowd with their fun tricks.

Having never tried it myself, I was excited when a Hakiki Ice Cream popped up last year in Enmore- although minus the crowd drawing show.

Turkish Coffee ($3)

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In Japan, Travel on
March 13, 2016

Travel | Japan, Osaka: Kamukura Ramen and Kuromon Ichiba Markets

We wish we had spent a little more time in Osaka, as we found there was not only lots to do, but so much good food that we wanted to try!

Kamukura Ramen

There’s something particularly inviting about this ramen shop, we’re not sure why- but after walking past it the first time, we’d decided we’d find a time to try it out. So after searching for breakfast with no avail, we decide on waiting around for Kamukura to open (they opened at 11am).

There’s two ordering machines outside- one traditional one in Japanese and one fancy touchscreen one with multiple languages. We couldn’t figure out how to work the touchscreen menu so we resort back to choosing of photos on the traditional machine.

Gyoza (280yen)

The restaurant is set up with a large open kitchen in the middle and bar seating surrounding it. Everything is impeccably clean and organised.

The menu offers some “meal deals”, which come with a side and interestingly a plain onigiri. I thought we were big eaters and all, but a bowl of ramen, side and a large ball of rice seems a bit much! We do enjoy the sides though- especially the gyozas, which have beautifully cooked golden crisp bottoms. We also tried the deep fried variety, but we’re much more of a fan of the soft delicate skins on the pan fried version.

Karaage Chicken (300yen)

Perhaps not so much a breakfast food, any time of the day is a good time for fried chicken for me. Light and crunchy without being greasy, we wolf this down in no time.

Oishi noodle (650 yen)

And of course, the ramen.

Kamukura specialises in Shoyu (soy sauce) ramen, and we realise that the three different ramens that we ordered were all essentially the same, only with different toppings. The shoyu soup base is rather light, with the soy adding a light saltiness, without overdoing it. The Oishi noodle is the most basic ramen, with a topping of mostly chashu (barbecued pork) and a generous serving of Chinese cabbage that makes it rather reminiscent of a bowl of Chinese noodles.

Kuromon Ichiba Markets

We’d purchased an Osaka Amazing Pass (would definitely recommend for anyone visiting Osaka!) so we spent the day doing all the touristy stuff. But of course, I like to plan the day around food so we made a point to visit the Kuromon Ichiba Markets for lunch.

The vibe is quite touristy, with many more locals than tourists. There’s a little bit of everything sold here from second hand electronics to homewares. And of course seafood. Lots of it too!

But before getting into the seafood, do try this soy milk store for a really unique soy milk. Quite unlike the soy milk we get at supermarkets here (which I find rather watery) or the Chinese soy milks (which are quite sweet), this soy milk is very thick, not sweetened and has a really strong fragrant soy flavour.

There’s plenty of seafood stores to get your seafood fix but not all have seating. With plenty of tasty options everywhere, we had originally intended to buy a little here and there and eat them at the designated seating area. But finding a seat, even one, was like trying to find a parking spot in Sydney. Impossible.

So plan B it was- visit a store that had available seating!

Scallops (800 yen)

The grilled seafood stores are particularly enticing, with their display of fresh seafood. Scallops and oysters are priced according to size and we almost bought some massive scallops, but the last two were snagged by some other customers so we went to the store across for some big, but not so massive ones.

You can choose to have your seafood raw but most prefer grilled, which is done on a charcoal flame in front of you. The scallops are grilled with a squeeze of lemon juice and a light sear before being served. They’re nice and fresh, but we can’t help but think that the ones we had in Dotonbori the day before had a nicer taste and texture.

Oysters (400 yen each)

The oysters on display were pretty large too, so we decided to try them raw- which was not the best idea as they tasted rather fishy, especially in the belly area. Might give oysters a miss next time- I much prefer Sydney ones!

Salmon Nigiri (500 yen)

There’s also quite a few sushi and sashimi restaurants and stores in the market, but this one drew large crowds when the manager came out with price reduction stickers. Oh the perks of coming in the late afternoon!

We grab a box of salmon nigiri, which has been marked down by 200 yen. It’s nothing spectacular, but you can’t really go wrong with salmon.

Assorted Sashimi (700 yen)

The assorted sashimi is great value, especially after having been marked down by 300 yen, and comes with some salmon, kingfish and scallops. Although it’s probably been there since morning, it still tastes quite fresh with a nice delicate texture.

Tako Tamago (250 yen)

The tako tamago is something I’d been keen on trying in Osaka since reading about it online. Literally a quail egg stuffed inside a baby octopus and cooked in a sweet sauce- don’t tell me you wouldn’t want to try it too?

Unfortunately, this one I tried was cold and the octopus rather firm chewy. Can’t say I’m sold.

Honeydew Melon Soft Serve (300 yen)

I am however, completely sold on these soft serves that I had almost daily in Japan. These come in individual tubs, and are pushed through the soft serve machine which magically turns them into a nice and fluffy soft serve. We tried the honeydew and green tea and loved both of them!

Strawberries

There’s plenty of fruit shops in the market too, but like everywhere else in Japan, fruit is so expensive!

There’s also a supermarket, which sells just about everything (they have a large seafood section of course). We spied these cute pre-packaged burgers and am wishing that we had bought one for taste testing purposes!

They also have an extensive range of bento boxes- and they’re ridiculously cheap too!

Dotonbori Zero Cafe

We were keen on trying Japanese cafes, but they were quite difficult to find in the Dotonbori area, which has many more restaurants than cafes. We spot a large glowing sign for Dotonbori Zero Cafe and decide to give it a try.

Hazelnut Latte

It’s located up narrow hidden staircase right across from an Indian restaurant. The cafe itself equally as narrow as the staircase but is small and cozy with coathangers for coats, and a nice collection of wine and figurines as decor. To make use of the narrow space, most tables are small and set for 2. Perhaps it’s because we visited during quieter hours, but we’re surprised to find that the whole place is run by one guy.

The menu is your typical Asian cafe fare- your standard coffees plus some Asian flavours, some cakes, desserts and light bites as well. We had high hopes for the coffee after having an amazing one at Gigi’s but are disappointed to find it rather watery and bland.

Mixed Mushroom Omurice

We are however, pleasantly surprised at the omu rice, which comes with the rice under the egg rather than being wrapped in it. The egg is amazingly soft and fluffy, and the mixed mushrooms in gravy is seasoned perfectly to accompany the rice and egg.

Strawberry Parfait

The strawberry parfait looks quite extravagant, with the strawberry ice cream served in a cone on top! It’s quite fiddly to eat though and we’re not sure if it’s supposed to be eaten together but it was much easier for us to pull out the cone and have them as if they were two separate desserts. The strawberry ice cream is nice and fresh, but we’re not too fond of the parfait bit which has a little too much cream and strawberry sauce for our liking.

McDonald’s

We’d attempted (and failed) yet again to find a good place to have breakfast, so the only choices we had were either Burger King (with no brekkie menu in sight) or Maccas. Nothing particularly interesting to report on Japanese McDonald’s- the breakfast menu is almost the same as the Aussie version, only less than half the price. Oh and there’s also green tea latte on the menu too (it tasted pretty bad).

We also spied lots of super skinny Japanese people eating ridiculously large amounts of food too. Who needs eating challenges when you can eat to your heart’s content at Maccas eh?

The so called “Big Breakfast” was easily the most disappointing meal of my entire Japan trip- but then again it’s Maccas- what did I expect? Essentially a deconstructed Sausage & Egg McMuffin, minus the cheese, with scrambled egg instead of fried and a side of jam all thrown into the box. Because plating is overrated.

But that’s okay- at least it made more stomach space for more good eats once we got to Kyoto. More on that in my next Japan post!

Kamakura Ramen Shinsaibashi
Japan, 〒542-0071 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, 中央区道頓堀1丁目7−25
+81 6-6211-3790

Kuromon Ichiba Markets
2 542 0073, 2 Chome-4-1 Nipponbashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0073, Japan

Dotonbori Zero Cafe
1 Chome-6-14 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
+81 6-6213-7643

In Asian, Dining, Dinner, Restaurant on
March 10, 2016

Jumak (Drunken Rice), Town Hall

When the Korean food cravings kick in, I’m glad I’m in Sydney, where I’m spoilt for choice with plenty of good Korean restaurants everywhere. And my latest Korean food adventures take me to Jumak, one of my favourite hole in the wall joints in Sydney. Located in one of the alleys off George Street, it makes up for its discreet location with bright Christmas lights and large lit-up menus of their menu.

The restaurant is bigger than it appears at the front, with multiple levels and plenty of large tables for groups. We love the service button on each table which sets off a loud doorbell like noise- saves us from trying to catch the attention of the busy waitstaff as they’re rushing about.

Korean Fried Chicken ($13)

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In Australia, Café, Dessert, Dining, Travel on
March 7, 2016

Travel | Broken Hill: Bell’s Milk Bar

Before I begin, I’ll confess I did find this at the bottom of my ‘drafts’ folder, and may have forgotten to post about it. I’m leaving the best for last I guess?

One of the few remaining 50’s milk bars left in Australia, Bell’s Milk Bar is an attraction itself in Broken Hill. Not only is it fitted out with vintage 50’s style decor- there’s also a milk bar museum out the back!

And what’s a milk bar without milk shakes and spiders? Boasting over 50 different milkshake and spider flavours, the choosing one is definitely a difficult task. And for those who don’t have enough time to try all the flavours, they also have their flavoured syrups for sale so customers can recreate their drinks at home.

Vegetarian Lasagne ($7.95)

We popped by to check it out, but as we had no car our long cycle took left us quite hungry and wanting something a little more substantial than a milkshake.

There’s not much on the menu in terms of food, but there is a small display fridge of pies and other small snacks. The vegetarian lasagne is surprisingly tasty, and quite filling too as it consists mostly of potatoes.

Hawaiian Delite Milkshake (Sml $5.85)

Milkshakes are available in small and large, and after much indecision I settle for the Hawaiian Delite which is a blended mixture of pineapple, coconut and chocolate powder. It’s a rather refreshing combination, and I quite enjoy the addition of chocolate powder- just enough to add some sweetness and flavour without overpowering the classic pineapple coconut pairing.

Peaches and Cream Waffles ($7.95)

Because one visit wasn’t enough to try all the flavours we wanted to, we came back a week later to have another taste of the menu. We’d had our eyes on the waffles from the moment we read their menu online, but unfortunately their waffle machine had been turned off the first time we visited (they turn off their machines about half an hour before closing!) so we returned again at an earlier time to make sure we’d get a chance to try them!

Trash Spider (Small $5.65)

This time we’re after the spiders, which are mostly a mix of their flavoured syrups with soda plus a scoop of ice cream to top it off. I’ve had coke and lemonade spiders before, but nothing like the variety of flavours they offer on the menu here!

In attempt to try just about everything in one go, I try the Trash Spider- which is a mix of every flavour except for Sarsaparilla, Lemon and Ginger Beer (which is just as well as I’m not too much of a fan of those). I can’t say that I enjoyed this flavour combination too much- it’s a bit of a mess as you’d imagine.

Sarsaparilla Spider (Sml $5.65)

Sarsaparilla is a curious flavour offered on the menu- I’m not a fan of sarsaparilla myself, but my friend who ordered this seemed to enjoy it.

Bell’s Milk Bar  
Address: 160 Patton St, Broken Hill NSW 2880
Phone:(08) 8087 5380
http://bellsmilkbar.com.au/