Before coming to Australia I was hit with a roadblock. What exactly is Australia’s food culture like? Are there specialties per city, like in Sydney or Melbourne? So after writing down a few basics – food that I should definitely try and reading countless “Australia has no food culture” posts, I decided to leave it at that and just try whatever seems commendable.
Our first stop was the most populous city of Australia and the home of the busiest performing arts center, the Sydney Opera House. Since Sydney is a place of diverse culture, a walk through its streets will entice your senses to the different cultural communities’ sights and tastes.
Sydney Tower Buffet
If you just landed and are looking for something filling, I highly suggest going to this place. It’s a good introduction as to what you may expect to eat over the course of your travel. There is a lot of variety of dishes but the tastes aren’t exactly overwhelming. You will find yourself immersed in the intriguing taste of Kangaroo and Emu meat, which I think I will never have again. And if it’s not for you, at least you get a lot of other dishes to feast too.
Aside from the huge variety of courses, the restaurant boasts a 360° view of the magnificent city from a 95 story high tower. Just be mindful not to leave your belongings at the side of the restaurant because the floor is revolving, you might find yourself chasing after your bag!
Harry’s Cafe de Wheels
A very iconic place to visit and dine in. It was originally a food caravan designed to actually be moveable as per the requirement of their city council. But now their branches are fixed without losing the caravan aesthetic.
They are famously known for their best selling pie (Tiger Pie) named after the owner Harry “Tiger” Edwards. It is a meat pie stacked with mashed potato and mushy peas. I’m not a fan of peas. In fact, I hate it. But it goes so well with the whole dish. The meat pie has a savory and flavorful filling enclosed in a crisp and light crust. The mashed potato and mushy don’t really give out much flavor without the gravy but it does add a very unique texture.
This was actually one of the dishes I’ve been waiting to try. It was something simple but different and is a fresh take on the classics.
If you’re a sucker for anything matcha, then this might be your version of heaven. It has everything from matcha drinks, desserts, and even matcha soba noodles. We stopped by for dessert and decided to get a Matcha Latte, Black Sesame Latte and the Matcha Swiss Rolls with strawberry.
The Matcha Latte has a perfect balance between the sweet and bitter notes of matcha, it’s something that is very pleasant to the taste while the Black Sesame Latte has a very thick and fragrant smell. I personally liked the Black Sesame better as I find it sweeter and creamier. The Matcha Swiss Roll was very fluffy and moist. The cream was rich but wasn’t overly sweet nor bitter, while the bite and flavor from the strawberry adds a level of texture and contrast to the whole treat.
I don’t think I’ll ever try the matcha noodles though, I didn’t like the reaction from the guys on the other table, di sila mukhang matchaya.
We discovered this store after coming home late one midnight. I was hesitant to try eating from here and had my expectations lowered. But this chain store as much as I hate to admit makes great pies. Their pies are deliciously fresh, savory and moist without losing that crisp texture from the crust. It can be messy to eat on the go as the filling is juicy, contains chunks of meat and it tends to overflow when you bite into it. On top of that, the service was friendly, helpful and fast!
If you’re looking for a quick snack or meal this is to go-to place, they even offer coffee to go with your meal. With the prices, it’s the best that money can pie!
Yellow Deli Cafe
A cafe that is so aesthetically pleasing and mouth-watering that you’ll ignore the fact that it’s run by a cult (as called by others). They have been referred to as that, for the fact that you need to let go of all possessions to your leaders and you need to drop out of society to join one of their communes.
But enough about that, what I really liked about the place is their aesthetic and amazing food. On a cold day, the cafe seems to be the coziest place you’ve ever been into. It has a middle-earth feel to it and the inside looks identical to Bilbo Baggin’s home.
To start we had the Hot “Not” Choco which is a chocolate drink not made of chocolate? The girl who took our order claimed it was made from some kind of carrot, or we might have misheard it because of her accent. This drink was probably one of the best hot chocolates I’ve drunk. It’s not too overly sweet and it has a light and foamy top which highlights the chocolate taste as you drink more of it. Their sandwiches have a fresh and crispbread and vegetables, coupled with tender beef, delightful sauerkraut and a gentle kick from the mustard. And it also comes with a mountain of crisp and a whole pickle. Their sandwich gives an amazing experience to the mouth as every component provides a different flavor and texture.
For their price point, the servings were huge and I had a hard time eating everything. Even a cup of their creamy soup of the day which was filled with a variety of vegetables and meat was a whole meal on its own!
There has been a lot of controversies regarding the Twelve Tribes (child labor and violence, splitting families, sheltering their members from the world, etc), but the food was really good to just pass by. Thankful that we weren’t invited to visit their community for a night of music and dancing. Whew.
Dun Huang Lou Lan Zhou Beef Noodles
Authentic Lanzhou noodle soup on a cold early morning? Yes, please!
We decided to get an order of beef noodle classic Lanzhou style and braised beef noodles. We weren’t disappointed and we were happy to order just those two. The servings were huge and we couldn’t even finish the whole bowl of each. The noodle has a chewy bite into it which I really like, while chunks of meat were very tender and almost melts in the mouth. I just wished the broth had a little more kick or flavor into it but the smoothness makes up for the lack of flavor. It was definitely a refreshing bowl if you needed that wake-me-up-meal.
I had to say, the place looked polished and clean. However, the service wasn’t that great we had to wait for a while at the counter until a staff noticed us as they were busy preparing the kitchen in that early morning.
Doyle’s Fish and Chips
Going down a relaxing ferry trip from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay you will be hit by the smell of the sea and the enticing smell of well-cooked food. Doyle’s is a special long-running restaurant because of their amazing array of seafood and the amazing harbor views.
We decided to try their famous fish and chips. I was surprised by the amount of food there was. There were two huge slabs of battered fish and a huge pile of chips (fries) underneath it. I found the chips crisp but a bit dry and bland. The fish, on the other hand, tasted fresh and delectable with the plum sauce that they provide. The batter was thin and crisp and the fish was soft and moist. It had a great balance between the saltiness of the fish and the batter, the sweetness of the plum sauce and the tangy splash of lemon.
The place is buzzing with people so you’ll need to be patient if you want to dine in. But it was definitely worth it. It’s a great experience enjoying a packed box of fish and chips while looking at the harbor views and avoiding the opportunistic seagulls and pigeons.
If you love anything Asian, this should be right up your alley! Spice Alley is a food haven and literal alleyway that is filled with restaurants of different Asian cuisines. There is an ample amount of seats in the middle and you can settle down wherever. It’s a great place to dine with friends and enjoy a variety of dishes originating from different Asian countries. We had Bang Luck’s green curry, Warung Bali’s nasi goreng, and Alex Lee Kitchen’s Roti Combo.
After a long tiring day of walking, the green curry was a good pick-me-up-dish. It was flavorful, mildly sweet, and very creamy with just the right amount of kick from the chilies. The nasi goreng, on the other hand, wasn’t as spicy as I expected. But, this made it possible for me to taste the great depth of flavor in the fried rice. Now, the roti combo for me was the winner. It was served with three different dips from sambal, curry, and laksa. The roti was still served hot and has an amazing texture of thin and light but still chewy.
The ambiance of the place was another thing to look out for, especially at night. Just be sure to bring your debit/credit card as they do not accept cash!
There is no end as to what you can eat in Sydney. What makes the city special is the fact that discovering different cultures and cuisines is truly effortless.