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In Asian, Dining, Restaurant on
March 24, 2017

Tawandang, Chatswood

I thought I had posted about Tawandang a couple of years ago but looking through my posts apparently not, so here we go!

If you’ve ever been to Chinatown, chances are you’ve probably walked past Tawandang although you might not have noticed it. It was pretty hard to miss for myself, as my bus stop was right across from the restaurant when it opened, but otherwise you’d be forgiven for thinking it was just your average Thai restaurant. It’s not until you read their menu and realise that it’s so typical afterall- offering not only some more traditional Thai dishes, but also their almost signature dish of German Pork Knuckle. How’s that for something different?

According to their own description, the German component of the restaurant comes from the fact that they are no only a restaurant, but also the first Thai – German micro-brewery in Thailand. I’m not too big on beers so no comment on the drinks, but the food alone is well worth the visit.

We walked past their newly opened Chatswood branch a week ago and would almost have missed it were it not for their big 3rd anniversary banner with their 50% off their pork knuckle dish offer. I was immediately sold and we wasted no time in making a booking…..two consecutive days in a row!

Going by the restaurant’s history, which makes up the first spread of their menu, the restaurant has been quite successful not only in Thailand, but also with its branches in Singapore and now two in Sydney. Whilst the Chatswood branch is not nearly as large as their Thailand branches (which apparently seat 2000+ diners!), but it does span across two levels and is much larger than it first appears. Make sure you ask for a seat upstairs, as it’s a lot more spacious and comfy!

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In Dining, South American on
July 29, 2014

La Latina, Chatswood

We’re not afraid to travel for food (probably because there isn’t really much good food where we live), but thankfully, we don’t have to travel too far to have our first taste of Columbian food. Yay! 🙂

When we visit Chatswood, we tend to go for the many Asian restaurants that are there (of which there are many I’ve yet to try) so I probably would never have noticed La Latina on the side streets, were it not for the fact that we’d bought a groupon out of curiosity to have a taste of a cuisine we’d never tried before.

Passionfruit juice $5

It’s a cute little cafe specialising in arepas, but also stocks plenty of exciting South American snacks and sauces, as well as plenty of interesting fruit juices! The drinks menu consists of plenty of exotic fruits which we’ve never heard of before, making it a difficult decision to choose one– we want to try all of them!

The passionfruit picture on the menu is a different species of passionfruit than what we’re used to, with yellow skin instead of purple- we’re not sure if it’s for illustration purposes, or if the actual drink is made from the yellow passionfruit, but we order it anyway. It’s nice and freshing, with a nice sour kick, but not overpoweringly so, accompanied by a touch of sweetness.

Soursop Juice
I was quite intrigued by the picture of the soursop on the menu, which looked much like a long custard apple to me. The staff tried their best to describe the taste to me (although it is terribly difficult to describe fruits!) and told me it was quite nice, so I decided to give it a go. And I’m glad I did- I really enjoyed it! It’s slightly similar to custard apple, in that it’s creamy texture is similar and you can sort of taste the distinct custard apple taste in it, but it’s quite different in that it is less sweet and much more sour (though not nearly as sour as passionfruit!)
They also stock frozen fruit blocks, which you can buy to take home and make your own fruit juices too, which I thought was pretty cool 🙂
The arepas (grilled corn breads) took a while to come (around 20 minutes), but that was expected, as these breads need to be cooked on low, slow heat. There’s no shortage of options for fillings, but we find it easier choosing off the pictures than the written menu, so we just pick the two pictures which look the nicest (which also happened to be the first two options). 
We were surprised at how much we actually enjoyed the arepas, they didn’t look too exciting, but tasted anything but. The slow cooking creates a soft fluff interior, whilst the exterior remains thick and crispy. The ratio of filling to bread is excellent, and the shredded mince filling is incredibly tasty, with plenty of sauce for the bread to soak up. 
Whilst we prefer the shredded beef filling over the chicken and avocado, the chicken and avocado is still really good, with soft, tender chicken shreds encased in a creamy avocado sauce. Given their small size, they are also surprisingly filling, leaving us a bit too full to head straight over to our next dining destination for dessert as we’d originally planned.
We’d also bought a voucher for Pop, Choc & Rock because no meal is complete without dessert (or rather we didn’t think that an arepa each would be very filling, giving us a perfect excuse to have dessert!). It’s a small cafe/ice cream shop at the edge of the food court at Westfield’s. They also sell some super cute ice blocks too which seemed to be pretty popular with the young kids who walked past (just don’t plan to visit during the school holidays like we originally did because their seating for 8 gets filled pretty quickly with children so you won’t get anywhere to sit down!). 
We got a waffle each, which was surprisingly good, the perfect balance of crisp and fluffy, drizzled with plenty of chocolate sauce. The dollop of chocolate ice cream was extremely chocolatey and would have been amazing on its own, if it had not been overshadowed by the sweetness of the waffle and chocolate sauce. We also tried their coffees, but we couldn’t really taste much but bitterness (even after adding two sugars), after the really sweet waffle- lesson learnt: eat your ice cream and drink your coffee before eating your waffle! 

La Latina on Urbanspoon

In Asian, Dining on
July 17, 2014

Marukame Udon, Chatswood

I’ve been searching up a couple of holiday destinations (dreaming I was somewhere more fun than Sydney haha), especially restaurant/food recommendations there, and came across Marukame Udon a couple of times in different countries. I had yet to visit their Sydney branch since I live so far away from it, so when I visited Chatswood for a shopping trip, Marukame was the first place that popped to my mind when deciding on a lunch destination.

 Bukkake Udon With Slow Cooked Egg (L) $6.9

We arrived early to avoid crowds, but luckily, its large, double storey seating area meant that despite the large volumes of customers at peak hours, the crowd never really built up, unlike it’s neighbour, Mokoto. Because the queue was so short and fast moving, I barely had time to look through the menu, so I ordered my usual favourite, the Bukkake udon with egg. The noodles are deliciously soft and slippery, with the perfect amount of bounce.

 Curry Udon With Beef (M)$8.90

We also try the curry udon, which comes swimming in a pool of tasty Japanese curry. It’s surprisingly filling, and could easily be had a meal of its own. 
Vegetable Tempura and Sesame Chicken

It took all the self control I had not to grab every fried food there was on offer, as I’m a sucker for fried foods- especially if there’s a tempura batter involved! I ended up settling on the the veggie tempura, a big mound of thin strips of various vegetables in crunchy tempura batter (although not quite as big an impressive as my favourite version at Menya Mappen!) and also the sesame fried chicken which was tender and crispy, with its flavour enhanced by the subtle fragrant taste of sesame, which we had originally thought was more for the looks than the taste. 
Tempura Whiting and Taiyaki (Fish shaped cake)

The tempura whiting was nice and light, though concentrate hard when you are eating it, as we were surprised to find a couple of small bones within. We’re not usually huge fans of taiyaki, but we wanted something sweet to end with. Their version appears to be deep fried, with its exterior being incredibly crunchy, whilst its pancake-like interior remains light and soft, paired with a delightful red bean filling. We quite enjoy this version, and definitely would order it again next time! 🙂

Marukame Udon on Urbanspoon