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Brisbane butcher+Asian grocery stores (Sunnybank)

typo above should be Lánzhōu. The lāmiàn (拉面) are very nice.

Mar 02, 2014
haynes in Australia/New Zealand

Off to Brisbane for 5 days............ anyone got any recommendations for markets and restaurants

Here's the snapper head.

Feb 18, 2014
haynes in Australia/New Zealand

Off to Brisbane for 5 days............ anyone got any recommendations for markets and restaurants

We (Debbieann and I) tried Alto at the Powerhouse and enjoyed it, though we got in just before closing so didn't get a chance to really give it a good go. Also liked the restaurant at GOMA, Urbane, and Sono Sushi (where we had the grilled head of snapper. Yum.)

Feb 18, 2014
haynes in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne, Thai - authentic pls?

I'm a big fan of the pork shank, and I know people who come all the way in from Footscray to get the kang kong with pork belly (though I think of that as more a Malay dish than Thai.)

Nov 04, 2013
haynes in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne, Thai - authentic pls?

I'm pretty happy with iSpicy in Richmond. Stopped in the first time because I saw khanom khrok on the menu, kept coming back for the quality of the food.

http://www.ispicy.com.au/

Oct 31, 2013
haynes in Australia/New Zealand

Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Shanghai, Fuchsia Dunlop and Wild China

Hey Phil,

You really should have Sichuan hot pot while in Chengdu. Make sure they let you order offal, I found the duck intestines and rabbit kidneys especially delightful, but I'm a big fan of offal. :) They were NOT on the english language menu.

Small warning, even native Sichuanese consider hot pot to have a slightly... purgative effect. :) But so worth it!

Nov 11, 2012
haynes in China & Southeast Asia

Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Shanghai, Fuchsia Dunlop and Wild China

We went to Master of Nets Garden and the Lion Grove Garden, I wish there were a way to visit them with fewer people. We sat in the tea house in Lion Grove Garden and drank tea while we watched the garden and the people.

Nov 11, 2012
haynes in China & Southeast Asia

Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Shanghai, Fuchsia Dunlop and Wild China

We did do a trip on our own to Suzhou after the main tour was over (which was a bit of an adventure in and of itself, since I discovered AFTER we got to Hongqiao train station that I had left my passport in the hotel. Fortunately some of the ticket vendors can be... flexible.)

We managed to visit Wumen Renjia (吴门人家) which was fantastic. I'll be posting photos, but it was a prime example of why it would be better to travel with 10 people. We were only two and ordered enough food for five because there were so many dishes we wanted to try. River shrimp with biluochun tea leaves was probably my favorite. Debbie and I both loved the watershield in egg white - a dish primarily about slippery textures and not flavor per-se.

Nov 11, 2012
haynes in China & Southeast Asia

Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Shanghai, Fuchsia Dunlop and Wild China

I'm angling for an assignment to Beijing (would like Chengdu or Shanghai, but my company has more need for me in Beijing) if so we'd be there for 12-18 months. So - yes, exploring more is high on the list.

One nice thing about Beijing is that so many regional cuisines are represented there. Perhaps not as top-notch as if you actually went to, say Yunnan, but stil quite good. I've heard, for example, that there are provincial offices that have state-sponsored restaurants showcasing the provincial cuisine and that some of them are quite exceptional. Will definitely have to explore more.

Nov 11, 2012
haynes in China & Southeast Asia

Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Shanghai, Fuchsia Dunlop and Wild China

The itinerary made it clear that Fuchsia was not going to spend every minute of every day with us. The tour includes some non-food venues, and I can understand that Fuchsia has no need to see the Forbidden City or Great Wall again, nor would her presence particularly enhance the experience for us. On the other hand, I was impressed at Wild China's ability to be flexible. There were a number of occasions where the group decided that either they didn't want to do something that was on the tour or that we wanted to do something that wasn't (we went to Yellow Fish Noodles instead of Sun Yat Sen's house, we added the Great Mosque in Xi'an instead of the Shaanxi History Museum.) Even outside of the meals Fuchsia was generous of her time showing us local produce and spice markets, artisanal noodle makers, and suggesting interesting things to see and do in the cities we visited.

She even would sometimes come out drinking in the evenings with those of us searching out the best local beer joints. I was entirely satisfied with the amount of time Fuchsia spent with and on us.

Nov 11, 2012
haynes in China & Southeast Asia

Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Shanghai, Fuchsia Dunlop and Wild China

You could certainly do a food trip like this for much less money, staying in cheaper hotels, eating in cheaper places, not hiring a driver, guide, expert, and car for the entire day every day, but that would be a different tour. I personally would have preferred to stay in something other than five star hotels, but if you think about the supply and demand for a small tour (ten people) with Fuchsia Dunlop as the food expert, it's clear there's going to be a lot of demand from western aficionados of chinese food, and of Fuchsia personally.

So from WildChina's point of view, given the large demand, there's no point in making it cheaper. Makes more sense for them to do an upmarket tour with a famous name. Do they also have cheaper food tours? I have no idea.

As for the food specifically, one of the huge plusses for me was that EVERYONE on the tour was keen to try everything. Everyone on the tour was 吃货 (chi huo - "foodie") which meant that all of us got to try the most interesting, most locally authentic foods. I'm willing to pay a premium for that.

Finally, while there is lots of great cheap food in China, there are also unique food experiences that are NOT cheap. On this trip, the Long Jing Manor, Yu's Kitchen, and Da Dong were not cheap, and for me personally Long Jing Manor was the high point of the trip. It epitomized everything about encouraging local artisanal "heirloom" organic farming methods, and using the economic power of a high end restaurant and garden to support it. It's an amazing place and I love what Dai Jianjun (戴建军) is doing.

Nov 11, 2012
haynes in China & Southeast Asia

Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Shanghai, Fuchsia Dunlop and Wild China

HuiRay (are you Hui btw?) It was a considered decision on Fuchsia's part. She had done an earlier trip that was a little longer and tried to include all four of the great cuisines, and it was just a little too long and a little too much. People were burned out at the end. So she chose to do a shorter trip and leave out one of the great cuisines. It wasn't an easy choice! She might do shorter, more focused trips another time - I urged her to do one purely on Sichuan :) but that's my personal preference. (Actually I'd love a Yunnan, Hunan, Sichuan, Chonqing trip.)

Nov 11, 2012
haynes in China & Southeast Asia

Da Noi (Melbourne)

The roast pork *was* incredible. Tender meat, juicy and succulent with crispy salty skin. The fresh fennel was a perfect accompaniment and apparently a Sardinian tradition. I've eaten in Caligiari (where there is a "Da Noi Due" aka "us two" restaurant) and this was a lovely treat.

May 01, 2011
haynes in Australia/New Zealand

Tasmania

I wasn't a big fan of Villino, thought their short mac was a bit thin and watery - not "short" enough. We (Debbie is my partner and those are my Flickr photos...) like Next Door but still looking for my thick syrupy ristrettos. Will have to check out The Cupping Room.

We'll be moving to Hobart for 3 months starting in Jan. Next on the list is Monty's.

Dec 25, 2010
haynes in Australia/New Zealand

[Melbourne] Chowdown with a Canuck

Well, besides eating you can also drink coffee. Melbourne has some of the best cafes in Australia. Proud Mary, Dead Man Espresso, Seven Seeds, Cup of Truth, Three Bags Full, the list goes on and on. You can even combine a market and good coffee - Padre at South Melbourne Market, or Jasper at the Prahran Market are both excellent.

Besides the food, I'd recommend taking the trams, Melbourne has one of the best tram systems in the world - better than Amsterdam IMO. Take the free "Circle Tram" (#35) around the CBD and visit various attractions while you're there.

Melbourne is also great for art and culture. Check out the NGV and then the NGVA at Federation Square. Then afterwards head over to Movida for some of the best Tapas in Melbourne. While you're at Fed Square you can see what's playing at the Australian Center for the Moving Image (ACMI.)

Melbourne's also great for architecture, but since this is Chow I'll just see you on the 4th. :)

Nov 26, 2010
haynes in Australia/New Zealand

[Melbourne] Chowdown with a Canuck

I've always gotten the borek from next door to the bratwurst shop. So tasty and SO CHEAP! $2.50 each.

Nov 26, 2010
haynes in Australia/New Zealand

Can't Decide - Tetsuya's or Quay???

Eh. I'm not a tourist and I don't care for Rockpool or Marque. I like Tetsuya's but think he's lost his edge.

I love Quay. Still. (Well, less when a big cruise ship is docked.)

Oct 21, 2010
haynes in Australia/New Zealand

Cup of Truth (Melbourne)

Yeah, that's the one.

Oct 13, 2010
haynes in Australia/New Zealand

Cup of Truth (Melbourne)

We've also visited The Basement on La Trobe, 1000 Pound Bend, Atomica, Brood Box (while it was there), Sensory Lab, New York Tomato, and a couple others.

Still we go to C.O.T. most mornings for our coffee. The coffee is excellent, and when it's on, it's really on - but the people are what keep us coming back.

P.S. Birdman Eating.

Oct 13, 2010
haynes in Australia/New Zealand

Cafe Lalibela [Footscray]

I make a practice of asking local cabbies where they're from and where I can find their native food whenever I'm in a cab. Recently in Melbourne I had an Eritrean cabbie who suggested I go to Footscray. I had no idea how big the Ethiopian/Eritrean presence was there, but we recently headed out there to check out the Footscray Savers, and decided to stop in Cafe Lalibela which is right around the corner.

It was amazing. The menu had all your standard dishes, Doro Wat, Derek Tibs, Shiro and kitfo, all with injera. But there were two things I hadn't seen before - dulet, an Ethiopian offal dish made with "freshly hand minced lamb topside, liver and tripe, marinated with herbs and spices" that is only available on weekends and St. George's beer, an Ethiopian lager imported by Cafe Lalibela themselves.

So of course we ordered dulet, and kitfo and a St. George's. They brought a platter with two injera on it for the two of us and put the dulet and kitfo (with accompanying crumbled white goat cheese) on it. As is traditional there were no utensils other than the injera.

The kitfo was a fine example of the art, finely minced raw lean beef liberally seasoned with niter kibbeh and chilis. I was most interested in the dulet, since we'd never had it before and we're both bit fans of offal. It had a mild lamby flavor with a flavor of liver that didn't overwhelm the other flavors. The texture was smooth and slightly soft, with a good heat.

The St. Georges on the other hand was a pretty ordinary light lager. Similar to others you can find all over the world, notable only because it came from Ethiopia. On the other hand it went well with the food, and was the same price as the local beers, so I'll stick with it when we visit. They do allow BYO wine, and that might be a better alternative. I'd suggest a dry red that can stand up to spices, and has a bit of acidity to cut through the niter kibbeh.

The only quibbles I might have are that the injera is made with wheat flour not teff, and there isn't any tej. I can't really fault them for that though, as far as I can tell neither teff nor tej are available in Australia - though i'd be pleased to learn otherwise.

In any case, I'm overjoyed to find such good Ethiopian! We'll definitely be back.

Photo, dulet and kitfo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/5043252531/
Link: http://www.cafelalibela.com.au/

Oct 02, 2010
haynes in Australia/New Zealand

Mamasita (Melbourne)

I was with debbieann and was eagerly anticipating what I had heard was the best Mexican food in Melbourne. Being from San Francisco, and having grown up regularly visiting Mexico I was quite hopeful. The food was excellent (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/s... for some photos from the evening.) I was especially happy to find huitlacoche. It WAS the best Mexican I've found in Australia (well, except for when I cook Mexican, but I digress.

)

However the wait, especially standing in a crowded stairwell was so unpleasant that I doubt I'll go back - and I'm a fan of "no bookings." The venue, once we were seated, reminded me of a noisy crowded pub, the seats were uncomfortable and we were seated at a counter after saying we'd rather not sit at the bar. So despite my craving for the great mexican food, it isn't worth it to me to return.

Sep 22, 2010
haynes in Australia/New Zealand

Current favority hawker center/street vendor/restaurant dishes in Southeast Asia

I now have another favorite hawker/street food dish. "Com Hen" in Hue. Tiny river mussels (hen) prepared with cooked rice (com) but "clam rice" doesn't come close to doing it justice. Over 15 different ingredients, a complex blend of different textures: smooth, soft, crunchy, slippery and the flavors! Pungent, hot, savory, aromatic, salty, tart, sweet, nutty. We loved it so much the first time we had to try it again to be sure, and now I'm sure.

If you go to Hue, you must try com hen. Some locals may try to convince you that foreigners cannot eat com hen without getting an upset stomach. Do not believe them.

We had it at Quan Ba Hoa, 11a Truong Dinh.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/s...

Jan 12, 2010
haynes in China & Southeast Asia

Current favority hawker center/street vendor/restaurant dishes in Southeast Asia

Thanks! We're having a blast trying to find the best street food wherever we visit. I've got pictures of Pho Hoa http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/sets/72157623033978965/ and Nhu Lan http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/s... now.

We're in Hanoi, comparing the phở here (where it originated) with the phở in Saigon. So far I prefer Saigon style, but we haven't really finished plumbing the extent of Hanoi phở yet. :) Have been enjoying the bánh cuốn here, it reminds me a lot of chee chong fun, but haven't found one I'd call a "favorite".

Jan 07, 2010
haynes in China & Southeast Asia

Current favority hawker center/street vendor/restaurant dishes in Southeast Asia

Current favorites.

Char Kuey Teow: Outram Park Fried Kway Teow, Singapore [gone?]

Bak Kut Teh: Jalan Macalister near Lorong Baru, Penang http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/4225531472

Hong Kee Clay Pot Chicken Rice: Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/4204496141

Pho Bac Diet: Pho Hoa 260C Pasteur, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon

)

Ban My Thit: Nhu Lan on Ham Ngni HCMC

Aun Kheng Lim Salted Chicken: Ipoh http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/4208537066/in/set-72157622930985047/

Lou Wong Bean Sprout Chicken: Ipoh http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/sets/72157622925522733/

Chung Wah Chicken Rice Ball: Melaka http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/sets/72157623028565912/

Chee Chong Chook: New Lane (Lorong Baru) Penang http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/4221622489

Oyster Pancake: Gurney Hawker Center, Penang http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/4215191936

Char Siu: Yook Woo Hin, Jalan Petaling, KL http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/4202835446

Lechon Baboy: Salcedo Market, Makati (Manila) http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/4...
(also sisig - especially a nice spicy sisig with a cold San Miguel.)

Jan 06, 2010
haynes in China & Southeast Asia