Tag Archives: Sydney

A food-obsessed guide to Sydney’s Inner West

Let’s get one thing straight before corrections pile in and objections are made (as if I had the reader base): we are not experts on the Sydney food scene yet. In fact, we’ve only been here for two months, give or take a week, and while we do tend to plan every outing around some food destination or another, we have only just begun to discover the best bits of our own neighborhood. Sydney is a big place, and clearly has a fantastic, diverse, exciting food scene for those who like to try out new cuisines from around the world.  These are just our initial impressions.

The farmers’ market scene in Sydney is serious. There is a market in pretty much every suburb you can think of.  Near us, the Eveleigh (Carriageworks) market is probably the biggest, and it’s every Saturday, so we frequently end up buying our produce, bread, and meat there.  Most of the vendors give out samples, too, so you can taste before you buy.  If you go, check out the bread selection at the La Tartine bakery stand. It’s the cheapest and best of all the bakers at the market.

Saturday 8 am – 1 pm, 243 Wilson St. Eveleigh NSW

The Marrickville market is a bit more fun, and has a greater variety of (non-edible) goods. It’s a bit crunchier, but it’s a better lunch destination, and seems to have more variety in terms of produce.  As we’ve found, most Australian farmers market producers aren’t particularly adventurous with heirloom fruits and veg, which is a shame, really.  But that may just be a seasonal thing.

Sunday 8:30 am -3 pm, Addison Rd. Community Centre, 142 Addison Rd. Marrickville NSW

Campos coffee gets my vote for the best coffee in Sydney. I know people who make it a destination for the weekend, and there’s always a long line out the door if you want to actually sit in the tiny cafe.  The coffee rivals some of the Kona coffee I’ve tried, and is about as expensive as all the other beans in this city. Dark City is my favorite so far, but the Obama blend is pretty nice, too. Another plus? They roast the beans in our neighborhood, which means they’re always fresh.

Various locations. Mine is 132 Missenden Rd. Newtown, NSW.

Mamak is closer to the CBD than Newtown, but I’m including it because it’s one of those places that you line up for without regret.  They make the best fresh rotis in town, and rival even the Deep South (USA, folks) for their fried chicken. Their curries are pretty tasty, too. Their prices and late night hours on Friday and Saturday (2 am closing time) demand repeat visits.  Even better, they are BYO, with a $2 corking fee, so the absence of a wine list really isn’t an issue.

15 Goulburn St. Haymarket, Sydney NSW.

Other places to check out:

Dae Jang Kum Korean BBQ Restaurant, 35 Goulburn St. Haymarket. Excellent and affordable Korean BBQ. Bring friends.

Doythao Thai, 343-345 King St. Newtown. Try their Massamann curry or spicy noodles. Order less rice than you think you’ll need.

Istanbul on King, 159 King St. Newtown. Excellent pide, and a funky little dining area (past the flouro takeout counter in front) featuring Turkish music videos and intricate carpets.

Pho 236, 236 King St. Newtown. Excellent pho for cheap, BYO. This place is always packed, despite a less than charming atmosphere.

Happy Chef Chinese, 264 King St. Newtown. Cheap, delicious, and not necessarily greasy.  Order noodle soups with veggies — they always taste fresh and are properly cooked.

(Brasserie Bread’s soy and linseed loaf)

Sydney has a decent selection of artisan bakeries. None of them make the crackly, almost burnt crust you crave after a trip to Paris, but they do seem to do a decent job with sourdough loaves. Brasserie Bread makes a good soy and linseed loaf, but is otherwise not really worth the price. Sonoma bakery has some decent whole grain loaves, as well. Bourke St. Bakery (633 Bourke St.) is the best for the price, and often has interesting loaves (fig and barberry was one of my favorites, with big, juicy figs throughout the loaf for just $4.50). There’s a line there, too. La Tartine is also similarly price, and has the best loaves across the board. I get their bread at the Eveleigh Markets (see above).  Other notables are Le Pain Quotidien (yes, it’s a chain, but it’s an excellent one) and the Paris Patisserie Francaise (no bread, but their tarts are decadent; 91 Bondi Rd. Bondi). There’s also one across the street from the Kings Cross Farmers market whose name escapes me, but they make the most heavenly almond croissants I’ve ever tasted.

Finally, this is our awesome spice rack, made of a “Victorian whatnot” from Mitchell Rd. Auctions (one of our favorite places in Sydney), spice jars left over from our wedding decorations, and spices from random places around Sydney. Which reminds me: if you’re ever in need of 5 kg of smoked paprika, or any other spice, flour, or grain, visit Fiji Market (591 King St.). If you only need a pinch, try the Alfalfa House Organic Food Co-op at 113 Enmore Rd, Enmore. Join for a 10% discount, and bring your own containers. Yes, we are members, and yes, we have purchased everything from cacao butter to spinach pasta from this particular bulk food paradise.

That’s all for now… I’ll try and keep you posted on our current discoveries, but am in the midst of a new, exciting project that’s eating up some of my time. More on that soon!


Filed under Australia, Beginnings, travel

First impressions of Sydney

View of the City

Apologies for the picture quality, and for the pause, everyone, but moving is chaotic (as all of you probably know), and we have yet to buy rechargeable camera batteries. We’ve been in Sydney for a little over two days, and so far, life hasn’t been too bad. But moving countries is nothing like going on a holiday, even if you do have a nice view from the balcony of the place you plan to call home for maybe a week or two. I figured I’d record a few random thoughts about my new surroundings, more for my own amusement than anything else.

  • Clothing-wise, the shiny : non-shiny ratio is much higher here than in the states. Also, hot pants seem to be in? Either that or people just wear them because they can. Excessive temperatures seem to lead to bravery in terms of the amount of skin people are willing to show, but anyone who has been to LA knows that already.
  • You can buy sunscreen in bulk. Correction: I will be buying sunscreen in bulk.
  • Who gives a guy a lap dance in the front window of a fast food place? I mean, seriously – at least find somewhere a little further from the checkout counter if you have the sudden urge to simulate sex in public.
  • Government bureaucracies are a pain in the ass everywhere, particularly if you don’t easily fit into the boxes said bureaucracy must check in order to help you do whatever it is you need to do.
  • Being on a temporary visa means you have two governments to deal with, both of whom will take full advantage of the fact that it’s rather difficult for you to complain when they make you jump through hoops and still tell you it’s impossible to actually give you what you need.
  • Being a citizen doesn’t guarantee that things are any better, at least at first. On that note, how is a 6 month lease and a utility bill more of a guarantee that you’ll stay in your country than the fact that you can no longer legally work anywhere else in the world?
  • Finding peanut butter without Emulsifier #417 (whatever that is) is virtually impossible. We finally discovered that health food stores are the place to look, though you shouldn’t expect that it’ll taste the same as the stuff back in the States. Maybe they grow a different variety of peanut here?
  • Live on a train line in Sydney, and for the sake of your own sanity, pick one that gets frequent train service. I cannot tell you how long I have waited for trains collectively here, mostly because the suburb I’m staying in is at the end of the line. And that’s only in the last two days!
  • I want to live close to the city, but not in it. This may partially be due to the fact that I haven’t yet internalized walking on the left side of the street, and constantly feel like I’m playing chicken with oncoming pedestrian traffic.
  • Malls often involve a wide variety of food stores, including a grocery store that competes with butchers, fruit stores, and bakeries positions just outside of its entrance. Usually, the grocery store stuff is nowhere near as pretty as the stuff in the specialty shops, so prepare to browse.
  • EVERYTHING is expensive here. For some things, the prices are a factor of 3 or 4 times what I’m used to paying. And everyone seems to pay cash or uses debit cards. It’s going to take a little while and some planning before we figure out how to live cheaply here, and discover all the best places to buy whatever food we normally buy.
  • American != Australian.
  • Newspaper-wise, The Australian is like Fox News in print. The Sydney Morning Herald is more my style – it seems like they actually take themselves (and the ethics of journalism) seriously, though that last point will take a little more research.
  • Sports make the front page. Top fold.
  • I cannot wait to have our own apartment. These corporate apartments are nice, but they aren’t home. Of course, I may revisit this when we sign a lease and find ourselves sleeping on camping mats on the floor until we find a bed we can actually afford.
  • Cricket IS sort of like baseball. Though they run back and forth instead of around in circles, bat underhand, and can take anywhere from 4 hours to something like 15 days to finish a game, depending on which game you’re watching. Maybe I’m oversimplifying?
  • People are genuinely nice here. I’m going to have to get used to people actually being friendly, because all this greeting and looking people in the eye for no other reason than to smile and be neighborly is shocking to someone who has been living in the North East for a decade.
  • Nothing is particularly modern or efficient here. It’s like a 1950’s movie version of the US, except with accents and costumes designed by Britney Spears (ok, maybe only in Cronulla).
  • As James said, Australians don’t seem to require the same attention to detail as Americans require. Mostly because we are trained from birth to pull out legalese to get our way, I suppose.
  • I find myself suddenly caring about how my toenails look.  And when did I get so pale? Not that I could ever be considered “tan”… Maybe lobster-like.
  • The artisan bread movement has not yet made serious in-roads in Australia. I can tell we’re going to be doing a lot of baking once we get settled.
  • Customs and immigration were a lot nicer than I expected them to be. I think they’re more suspicious if you’re coming in for a quick visit than if you’re moving to Australia for a while.
  • Why, oh why, do referee reports always come in just after they would have been convenient?

That’s all I have for now. I promise pictures and more once I get a little more settled.


Filed under Australia, challenges, stories