Winter!

12 02 2017

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おでん, Japanese winter comfort food, which we ate at a cute little Tokyo-style ramen bar we discovered in the “Rat Alley” under the Soho escalator. Perfect for cold nights.





Banh xeo street

7 02 2017

Eating cheaply and well is one of the highlights of any Vietnam trip and we feasted on roadside noodles served with pungent vegemite-y fish paste and sweet pink onions. These were delicious, but would leave me knocked out a few hours later with a blazing MSG hangover. We also saw oysters frying on the street, frog, and ate local specialities like the cao lao noodles in Hoi An, thick and springy with crunchy pork crackling in a fragrant broth, or bamboo soup.

In Danang our biggest discovery was the “Banh xeo” street,  an alleyway really, home to rowdy, napkin-strewn restaurants serving the Vietnamese crepes stuffed with beans and shrimps, accompanied by satay sticks of beef.

Afterwards we would walk up to Highlands Coffee, one of the city’s innumerable high-decibel “ca phes” serving evening crowds sugar-loaded coffee drinks and weirdly, absolutely no food.

For dessert, the place to go was AVA, a tiny patisserie in a mouldy little room that served the absolute best chocolate cakes I have ever tasted.





Hoi An: the white rose

7 02 2017

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Cafe society

27 12 2016

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Camel milk latte at Jethro’s Canteen and kimchi poached eggs at Archie’s.

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Melbourne hipster

25 12 2016

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While back in town, I wanted to see what was new on Melbourne’s hipster strip of Fitzroy. I started with “Easey’s”, a  frankly remarkable bar and burger joint housed in a series of old train carraiges, perched up four flights of grafittied stairs on an innercity sidestreet. Not only is the concept amazing, but the banging nineties hip hop, views, tasy burgers and cute straight bro waiters gave it a fun-time vibe.

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Around the corner on Smith Street is “Hotel Jesus”,  perhaps the kitschiest of the city’s burgeoning crop of Mexican restaurants, designed by the same team as Bali’s (even more riotous) “Motel Mexicola“.

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And finally, way down the end of Johnston Street near the river, is “Admiral Cheng-Ho.” The cafe is named after the Chinese explorer ( more often known as Zheng-he) who led a fleet to Africa in the thirteenth century and could hypothetically have taken coffee back to China. Since the closure of “Lawyers, Guns and Money”, a hipster congee and tripe cafe, this is the only Chinese-themed hipster cafe in Melbourne but to be honest, other than the teas on the menu it was mostly standard (and therefore, excellent) Melbourne cafe fare.

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Thai style

15 12 2016

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I popped into Samsen this week, the buzzy new Thai noodle shop opened by a former chef of Chachawan. Located on one of Wanchai’s most atmospheric backstreets, Stone Nullah Lane in the shadow of the Blue House, it is an appealingly laid out little place designed to look like an old Thai shophouse (a look it pulls off pretty well) and named after the riverside district famous for its ferry stop with catfish milling around the pier and flower markets, home to a Catholic cathedral and the little-visited Thai National Library. The Hong Kong version however is packed with throngs of urbane professionals getting down to bowls of Thai street-style noodles. Fun. I’d go back.

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Iconic

13 11 2016

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Although I was lucky enough to gorge myself on vogueish Thai food ( care of hot new Bangkok import Soul Food) and a gut-busting Indonesian brunch at one of my favourite spots, Potatohead, the weekend’s most memorable South East Asian meal came courtesy of the Philippines – and more specifically its ubiquitous fast food chain, Jollibee. I finally found the HK branch in Central. For 30 HKD you can enjoy a leg of fried chicken, a burger-shaped patty of rice and a dining room ringing with the sound of Tagalog. Something different!