Friday, October 9, 2015

Night Noodle Markets 2015, Sydney

Cebu-style Lechon from Hoy Pinoy
One of the most anticipated events of Good Food Month is here! The Night Noodle Markets has become one of my favourite events of this food festive month. The street-like dynamic vibe  and 50 stalls across Hyde Park is a sight to behold. There are newcomers like the famed Black Star Pastry/N2 gelato collaboration, Devon, Ramen Zundo and the popular Neutral Bay Japanese establishment - Jugemu & Shimbashi. Hoy Pinoy from  Melbourne is back and bigger with two stalls including Cebu Lechon at the main stall (yes, just like last year just follow the smoke!).

We arrived before 5pm on the first night to avoid the big crowd and long queues. I knew that 50 stalls of Asian, Pan-Asian and fusion cuisine to chose from would be quite overwhelming. So I created a narrowed down list of stalls to visit:

Lechon with rice and lechon sauce

When I found out that Hoy Pinoy was bringing Cebu Lechon ($15 with rice, atchara and sauce) to event, it sealed the deal for me. The extra tender flavoursome meat was amazing! The meat was the highlight as I could taste the distinct garlic and herbs stuffing flavour in the smokey meat, which is what Cebu-style lechon is known for. It came with a sweet liver-based sauce. I was in happyland whilst devouring the lechon! The lechon is only available Thursday to Sunday during the Night Noodle Markets. 

Pork bbq skewers

Their famous large pork bbq skewers ($12 = 2pcs with rice and atchara) were also available. This time the meat was more fatty and juicy. The sweet banana ketchup based bbq glazed was spot on and legit as usual! 

Bao Chicka Bao Bao

Gelato Messina's Lucky Fortune Bar is back with their Asian-themed gelato desserts including fried gua bao desserts. Messina gave me a sample of their sexy Bao Chicka Bao Bao dessert ($12). It consists of peanut gelato, peanuts, and melted milk chocolate in a fried gua bao. The peanut gelato went so well with gua bao that was crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. This is one item you should not miss. 

Brokeback moment

Strawberry watermelon cake

Then there's that awesome plate combo ($25) plate from the Black Star/N2 collaboration, which consists of the Brokeback Moment, Teafogato, and strawberry watermelon cake. When those two get together, delicious culinary alchemy is born. The Brokeback is a lovely vanilla gelato with bites of honeycomb, choc topped and pipette of salted caramel sauce. Most of us know the Black Star's beautiful classic strawberry watermelon cake, which has layers of almond dacquoise, fresh whipped cream, watermelon, pistachios, strawberries and rose petals. The Teafogato was absolutely beautiful! It consists of strawberry watermelon cake smashed N2 gelato drowned in Tippity Hibiscus Rooibos Tea Soda with freeze-dried cherries.

Here are other dishes that we tried:
Roti making action at Mamak stall
Roti Canai from Mamak

Gyozas from Harajuku Gyoza

Flavoured edamame from Jugemu & Shimbashi

Okonomi pork belly pita sandwich from Jugemu & Shimbashi

Ramen fried chicken from Everybody Loves Ramen (From the folks that brought us Hoy Pinoy)

It feels like the Night Noodle Markets gets better every year! The event will run from October 8 - October 25, 2015 and the entry is free. But get there before or by 5pm to avoid long queues on weeknights. 

Night Noodle Markets
Hyde Park, Sydney (closest train station is St James Station)

October 8–25;
Mon–Tue 5pm–9pm,
Wed–Thur 5pm–10pm,
Fri 5pm–11pm, Sat 4pm–10pm,
Sun 4pm–9pm

Friday, October 2, 2015

Shangri-La Sydney Philippine Food Week Buffet 2015

Cebu pork belly lechon
It's been over 20 years since I left the motherland and moved to my new home Sydney. But my love for the Philippines and its culture will never fade. This may sound bias but the delicious comfort of Filipino cuisine never fails to bring joy to my heart. From the sizzling sensations of sisig to the sweet cool delight of halo-halo, Philippine food no doubt rocks!

It's that time of the year again when Shangri-La Sydney kicks it off with Philippine Food Week! I was invited along with other food loving people to try Shangri-la Sydney's Philippine Food week buffet. Here's what to expect from the buffet including some highlights:
Bopis (Pork innards cooked in vinegar and radish)

Pata humba (Pork hock braised in sweet soy sauce)

Adobong kankong (Water spinach cooked in shrimp paste)



Tokwa't baboy (Fried tofu and pork)

Embotido (Minced pork wrapped in Crepinette) and banana ketchup

Lumpiang sariwa (Fresh vegetable spring roll)

Steamed fish
San Miguel beer

Ihaw--ihaw (Grilled bbq dishes: pork skewers, chicken bbq skewers, chicken inasal, baby back ribs, lamb chops and boneless beef ribs)
Chocolate fountain station

Turon (Banana and jackfruit spring roll)

Puto (steamed ground rice cakes)

Sans Rival slices

Fruit salad


Kare kare

I can confirm that the Kare Kare here is legit! The oxtail meat was totally tender and the veggies including banana blossom were perfectly cooked. The peanut and annatto based sauce was creamy with light sweetness. Try it with a bit of bagoong (sweet shrimp paste) to give the sauce a flavour lift.
Lechon kawali sisig
 I really enjoyed their version of sizzling lechon kawali sisig (sizzling fried pork belly pieces). Some chilli was used for some mild heat. The balance of sour and salty flavours was nice for cutting through the pork belly and pig's cheeks meat.

The dinuguan was also a hit at our table. For those of you who love English black pudding, this pork dish with blood jelly based sauce is a must! The chilli pepper and vinegar in the dish perfectly cuts through the rich elements of this dish.
Kilawing Tanguige (Photo Credit: Adobo Down Under food blog)

The Kilawing tanguige (Spanish mackarel) was amazing! It's a Philippine ceviche where the raw mackarel is cooked in citrus juice and vinegar. I just adore its freshness and delicate textures.
Cebu pork belly lechon carving station
Pork belly lechon and puffed crackling

Crackling from the pork belly lechon

The Philippine lechon (suckling pig) is my ultimate favourite Filipino dish. It's my first time to try a rolled pork belly version of it, which hails from the city of Cebu. Cebu is known to have the tastiest lechon in the Philippines. This version doesn't even require the usual lechon sauce as the fatty tender meat is packed with flavour from the garlic herb stuffing. It is said that it closely resembles Bali's babi guling. The crackling was gloriously crispy.


Last but not least is the "make your own halo-halo" station!! No Filipino buffet is complete without halo-halo. No rules, anything goes with what you want to put in this sweet shaved ice delight. As long as you finish off your creation with ube (purple yam) ice cream and leche flan on top!

The Philippine Week buffet will run from 2 October 2015 to 10 October 2015 at Café Mix. Buffet lunch will be available at $55 per person from Monday to Friday, noon to 2:30pm, and from 12:30pm to 2:30pm on Saturday and Sunday. The buffet dinner is available all week from 6pm to 10pm for $75 per person.

Ramen Raff was invited at Café Mix as a guest of Shangri-La Sydney.

Café Mix
Shangri-La Sydney
Level 1, 176 Cumberland Road
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 02 9250 6260