Authentic Brazilian Buffet

Saucer had always wanted to try Brazilian BBQ buffet, where waiters would bring over skewers of meat and slice them in front of you. There must be something about meat and men that make them so excited, don’t you think so? :) That’s why when there was a group-buying deal offered for exactly what he wanted, he jumped straight to it. We went to Pau Brasil on one Sunday afternoon for their buffet lunch and were greeted with an amazingly upbeat manager who welcomed us as one of their first customers that afternoon.

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Grilled garlic beef

Our buffet not only included the unlimited skewers, but the hot and cold food bar as well. There was a decent selection of salad leaves with various dressings available, as well as a hot food bar with pasta, fried fish fillets, chips, grilled vegetables and more. Since the skewers would need another 10 minutes to be ready, we were advised to start with the buffet spread first, but “Do not fill yourselves up!” warned the manager over and over again. So we did just that, took a small portion of everything just to sample them while waiting for the main course to arrive.

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Salad bar

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 Some of the hot dishes from the buffet bar

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Mojito

Our deal also came with a choice of drink each, and we could choose any drinks from the menu! Saucer chose the one that tempted him the most, a Mojito, and was given the thumbs-up by the manager, saying that it’s his favourite drink as well. Saucer certainly enjoyed his drink very much!

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Some of the selections from the hot food bar – loved the mushrooms!

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Garlic bread

The first item that came out on a skewer was the Garlic Bread. And I had to give it a special mention because it was so good! It was hot from the oven with gorgeous-smelling garlic and butter that got us salivating. I would have had more if not for the fact that the meat skewers were just coming closely behind.

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Chorizos

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 Tender Chicken Thigh

We had just one serving of each of the meat skewers, and still we ended up being overly stuffed! There were at least 10 types of different BBQ meat being served, not to mention some of the seafood offered. Some of the BBQ meat we had were Garlic Beef, Mustard Beef, Chorizo, Beef Tri Tip, Pork Neck, Chicken Thigh, Lamb Leg, Peri-Peri Lamb and Chicken Wings, just to name a few. Out of all, I found the memorable ones to be the BBQ Pork Neck, Peri-Peri Lamb and Chicken Wings. I loved that each meat had a different marinade and most importantly, they were so tender and juicy! The only one that I remembered being a tad dry was the Garlic Beef, but a small miss compared to all the other yummy meat selections.

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Lamb leg

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Pork Neck

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Various sauces

There were various types of dipping sauce that we could pick from the buffet bar, and I only chose the ones that looked spicy! :) However, I thought most of the meat were good on their own so I didn’t really use much of the sauce at all! The selection of seafood paled in comparison to the meat, but we didn’t have much room left for seafood anyway.

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Gorgeous grilled pork neck

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Some selection of seafood

One item that impressed us very much was the Cinnamon Pineapple. It didn’t look very interesting but when we bit into it, the combination just worked really well. Also, the fact that we had this when we were stuffed gave us a nice refreshing twist to our palate. The pineapple was juicy and sweet with a slight tang, while the cinnamon gave it a nice sweet aroma. Pretty good!

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BBQ Pineapple with Cinnamon

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Saucer waiting for his meat

Apart from the above average food, we were also happy with the service provided, considering we dined with group-buying voucher. The staff were friendly and accommodating, and the meat skewers came as fast as we could finish what’s on our plate. In fact, towards the end of the meal, we had to turn a lot of skewers away just because we were too full. We paid AUD$28/person for this, where it would cost AUD$49 normally. We were overall happy with the purchase and the dining experience and perhaps would consider going again if similar deals come up in the future! :)

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Dining environment (before a party of 30 came in later)

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Pau Brasil Brazilian BBQ Restaurant

Pau Brasil Churrascaria
214 Parramatta Road
Homebush
NSW 2140 Australia
Tel No.: (02) 9746 9046
E-mail: bookings@paubrasil.com.au
Opening Hours: Daily (6pm – late), Sunday (1-3pm)

Pau Brasil on Urbanspoon

Hunt for the Other Half

Hunt for the other half of ice-cream, that is!  Ice-cream has always been my favourite dessert growing up. At the end of each meal, sometimes one might feel too stuffed for something overly sweet like a chocolate moist cake or a cheese cake. But ice-cream? Bring it on! There’s almost always no reason to turn it down, especially in the hot tropical weather like Malaysia’s. Wall’s being one of the prominent ice-cream manufacturers in Malaysia, has come up with 2 gorgeous flavours that would tickle most people’s fancy.

Walls Awesome Mix

One of the two awesome mix from Wall’s!

The flavour that got me the most excited is the Wall’s Selection Oreo! Ever since I was introduced to Oreo when I was a little kid, I was hooked. The chocolate cookie and the sweet vanilla cream just worked wonders. And now, couple that with creamy Wall’s vanilla ice-cream? That’s what I call an awesome mix! I can already tell that I could easily finish a tub of this on my own. :)

oreo

Wall’s Selection Oreo

If Oreo is not your thing (weirdo!), then perhaps Hershey’s Kisses might be your cup of tea. The second awesome mix from Wall’s is the Wall’s Hershey’s Ice Cream. It has not only the delicious Hershey’s Kisses chocolates, but also layered with glorious gooey chocolate syrup in between.

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Wall’s Hershey’s Ice-cream

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Hunt for the Other Half to get free scoops of ice-cream

Wall’s is so excited about the launch of their new flavours that they have created a cute game out of it, called Hunt for the Other Half. It is a quest to help Aiman (the little boy in the game) to hunt for his other half of an ice-cream! And playing the game is simple because you don’t need to pre-register (like many other games) if you don’t want to. Just sign in as a guest and play. Once you start the game, you get to choose your preferred outfit for Aiman, before he starts on an adventure to collect points.

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Choose an outfit for Aiman

Playing the game is easy, one just needs to manoeuvre Aiman using the keyboard arrow keys and bump into a Wall’s ice-cream truck whenever you see it coming along the way. The map is also very colourful and filled with detours known as ‘Awesome Spot’s for you to collect points, such as the Pak Teka & Mak Teki game, which is a series of questions mostly related to ice-cream and chocolates. :) The more questions you get right, the more points you obtain and the closer you are to finding the other half!

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How to play

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Aiman is ready to start his adventure

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Playing Pak Teka and Mak Teki

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Any guess for this question? :)

I had a hand in playing the mini game for a while and found it quite cute. Not to mention that you actually get a glimpse of the 2 new flavours that Wall’s is going to release soon. Yes, it’s all in the game. I managed to collect 211 points after fiddling around with it for about 10 minutes. Think you can do better? Try it out at http://www.huntfortheotherhalf.com.my/.

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My contribution

Remember: The points gained from the games will then be contributed to the Ice Cream meter so that the truck can go around nationwide to give out free scoops of ice-cream. Let’s all contribute to get free ice-cream for everyone!

Yum Cha at Tingha Palace

I’d always wanted to have dim sum for the past few weekends, but somehow, certain events always came up during the last minute and the plan had to be put on hold. That was the case, until last Sunday, when I finally managed to get a leisurely few hours to have dim sum for lunch at Tingha Palace in Parramatta Leagues Club. It was our first time there, and we were unsure of what to expect. Located inside a club, parking was aplenty and free. We made our way to the entrance of the restaurant and were given a number. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait too long before our number was called, and we had a table in a nice and quiet corner.

Pu Er tea

Pu Er Tea

To start with, we ordered the Pu Er Tea to go with our dishes, because Yum Cha essentially means drink tea! The restaurant was busy but under control, with trolleys of dim sum rolling by every few minutes or so. Most of the wait staff who served us were also very friendly and had good service. For example, a trolley with mostly deep-fried items stopped by, but we were not interested in any of the items so we politely declined. But could we please have some Char Siew Pao and Chee Cheong Fun, we asked the waitress? Not only was she not upset that we didn’t pick any of her items, she actually ordered the items we asked for, and they were on our table within minutes. So very efficient! I had actually tried this with a few other waitresses, and all of my orders actually materialized, without me having to wait for the correct trolleys to come by. We were certainly impressed.

Siew Mai

Siew Mai / Pork Dumplings

My favourite item from the visit was the Siew Mai or Pork Dumplings. They were huge and filled with a mixture of succulent prawns and juicy minced pork, nicely wrapped in thin wonton skin. One of the downfalls of the many dim sum places that I visited was that they tend to over-steam the siew mai, making them dark and soggy. The ones we had here were perfectly steamed and served steaming hot.

Har Kau

Har Kau / Prawn Dumplings

Another mainstay of dim sum is the Har Kau, or Prawn Dumplings. These were nicely steamed as well (no breakage of skin), though it would have been better with slightly thinner or more translucent skin. Otherwise, the prawn fillings were generous and succulent, all packed in a huge parcel of a dumpling.

Har Kau

Generous filling of succulent prawns

Saucer noticed a few tables around us ordering the Braised Chicken Feet (Foong Chau) so we followed suit. I am personally not a fan of the chicken feet, but I wouldn’t mind eating them once in a while. I found these to be soft and easy to eat, with quite a nice flavour to it.

Braised Chicken feet

Foong Chau / Braised Chicken Feet

Coming from Malaysia, Lor Mai Kai is a common dim sum item, but when we asked for that, we were presented with Glutinous Rice wrapped in Lotus Leaf (Hor Yip Fan) instead. And 3 packets of them, no less! Man, how were we going to finish them, we thought. These were unfortunately, not as good as lor mai kai, and had a milder flavour with a dry texture. Also, the fact that there were 3 in a steamer made it even harder for us to finish them off, since glutinous rice can be cloying if too much of it is consumed.

Hor Yip Fan

Hor Yip Fan / Glutinous Rice wrapped in Lotus Leaf

Hor Yip Fan

Inside the Hor Yip Fan

Thankfully, the Char Siew Pao (BBQ Pork Buns) managed to save the day. These were served steaming hot and in a reasonable mini size. I loved the fluffy pao with savoury BBQ pork fillings that I could finish in a few bites. Best to be eaten hot!

Char Siew Pao

Char Siew Pao / BBQ Pork Buns

One trolley that we found interesting was the Pan-Fried Chee Cheong Fun, where the waitress fried the rice noodle rolls to order. Since we had never had this before, we ordered a plate to try and boy, was it a huge one! It was served with sprinkles of fried dried shrimps, which gave it a nice aroma, and the noodles had a slightly crispy exterior. It was definitely something different to our conventional Chee Cheong Fun. The only problem was that the portion was way too huge for the 2 of us, and we ended up having to takeaway more than half of it home. These were best eaten either with the soy sauce it was served in, or with the sweet and nutty sauce that came on the side. Eating with the latter definitely reminded me of the Penang style chee cheong fun!

Pan fried chee cheong fun

Pan-Fried Chee Cheong Fun

Finally, even though we were filled to the brim, I simply had to order the Tau Fu Fa for dessert! The Tau Fu Fa lady had already passed by our table many times and when we were finally ready to order, she was all smiles. The Tau Fu Fa or Soybean Custard did not disappoint! It was extremely smooth and soft, but still had a certain amount of firmness that melted in your mouth. Saucer also loved the fact that the syrup was not overly sweet. He almost couldn’t stop himself from slurping the dessert and warned me to quickly eat my share before he finished it all up!

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Tau Fu Fa / Soybean Custard with Syrup

Tingha Palace

Dining environment in Tingha Palace

Overall, we had a pleasant yum cha experience in Tingha Palace, mainly due to some of the good quality dim sum they served, as well as the professional service we had from the wait staff. It was certainly impressive considering the restaurant was full house. For the both of us, the bill came up to AUD$44, and you could see that we really stuffed ourselves silly. For what we ordered, it could easily feed 3 persons! Needless to say, we wouldn’t mind returning if we have more cravings for dim sum in the future.

Tingha Palace

Tingha Palace

  • 20% discount for cash payments during weekdays
  • 10% discount for cash payments during weekends

Tingha Palace
2/13-15 O’Connell St
Parramatta
NSW 2150 Australia.
Phone: (02) 9890 1688
Yum Cha Hours: Mon to Fri (11.00am to 3.00pm), Sat & Sun (10.00am to 3.00pm)
Website: http://www.parraleagues.com.au/default.aspx?id=125

Tingha Palace on Urbanspoon

Cheap Japanese Fast Food

I have always thought that eating out in Sydney is expensive, especially coming from Malaysia where we still tend to convert prices from AUD$ to RM (sometimes it comes naturally!). Of course, I don’t do that now, or I’ll end up staying at home all the time. :) But just a few weeks ago, my cousin pointed me to a place in the city that apparently had ‘cheap’ food. Well she had been in Sydney for a much longer time than me so I didn’t know whether her definition of cheap was similar to mine. Anyway, Saucer and I were in town so we decided to stop by Oiden Bowl Bar. For starters, it was easy to find because it’s situated along one of the main streets in the CBD, George Street. Secondly, it was also a short walking distance from Town Hall train station, so getting there was no hassle for us.

Japanese Curry rice

Japanese Plain Curry Rice

Once we were there, we noticed that there was a queue towards the counter, and it seemed that food was self-served. There was just a one page menu pasted on the wall, with a variety of toppings on rice and different sizes (small, medium, large). We just had to grab a tray, queue up, order, get our order almost immediately and pay at the counter. It was a pretty efficient process because all of the items were prepared on-the-spot by just putting your desired toppings on the rice bowls. It was literally, Japanese fast food. Before you reach the counter, there was also a bar filled with side dishes such as pork katsu (deep fried pork cutlet), chicken karaage (deep fried chicken),  takoyaki (squid balls) and so on. You could choose the sides that you want (or not) and place them on the tray before moving to the counter to pay.

Chicken Teriyaki rice

Teriyaki Chicken Rice (Small – AUD$3.90)

I wasn’t feeling too hungry that day, so I opted for a small portion of Teriyaki Chicken Rice and it cost only $3.90! That has got to be the cheapest meal I’d ever had in Sydney, dining in! The portion was slightly smaller than, say, the Teriyaki Chicken Rice in Sakae Sushi, but it was just right for me at the point of time. Of course, one could choose to have a regular or large size if one is feeling famished. The rice came with skinless chicken breast, which was a very healthy option, on top of some seaweed. It wasn’t great-tasting but it wasn’t bad either. It was certainly good value.

Chicken and pork katsu

Chicken Karaage and Pork Katsu (AUD$4.50 for both)

Saucer had the Japanese Plain Curry Rice, regular size, which was quite huge. That was also the same price as my chicken rice, and was only $2.90 for small size. The curry was thick and flavourful and had a generous amount of vegetables within. It was also a nice comfort food especially during the cold winter days. From the side dishes, we picked the Chicken Karaage and Pork Katsu to share and they turned out to be pretty good. I preferred the chicken to the pork since I found the chicken to be very tender and juicy with a nice crispy marinade. It reminded me of belacan chicken in Malaysia!

Japanese Curry rice

Japanese Plain Curry Rice (Regular – AUD$3.90)

Overall we had cheap and fulfilling meal at Oiden, and definitely wouldn’t mind returning again whenever we drop by the city. It was fuss-free, decent and very good value for money. Just make sure you go before or after peak dining hours because getting a place to sit could be tricky then.

Oiden Bowl Bar
Shop 12, 531-557, George Street,
Sydney
NSW 2000 Australia.
Tel No.: +61(2) 9267 1368
Opening Hours: Daily (11.30am – 10pm)
Website: www.oiden.com.au

Menya Oiden on Urbanspoon

Home-Made Char Kuey Teow

Whenever I describe Char Kuey Teow to someone in Australia, he/she would immediately say, “That sounds like Pad Thai!”. While Pad Thai may have some similar ingredients as Char Kuey Teow, they are definitely not the same dish, in that the sauce and preparation are very different. Having worked in Penang for a good few years before this, I have had my share of authentic Penang Char Kuey Teow (really, the only place to find the best Char Kuey Teow in the world) that I have not been able to find anywhere else in the country. Some versions of Char Kuey Teow in KL were pretty decent, but they were just not quite the same. Now that I’m in Sydney, it’s even harder to find a good plate of Char Kuey Teow, not to mention an authentic Penang-flavoured one! Therefore, I put it as a mission for myself to cook up a plate of Char Kuey Teow on my own, just to satisfy my cravings. Of course, what I get is still a far cry from the original version, but I’d have to make do with whatever ingredients and equipment I have to come up with the best that I can. :)

Char Kuey Teow

Home-cooked Char Kuey Teow

Ingredients:

Chilli paste:

  • 8 dried chillies (soaked in water)
  • 2 fresh red chillies
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies (optional)
  • 1 large shallot or 2 medium shallots
  • Dash of salt

Sauce:

  • 5 tbsp of light soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp of dark soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp of fish sauce
  • Dash of salt and white pepper

Others:

  • 10 prawns deshelled
  • 500g flat rice noodles / hor fun
  • 2 Chinese sausages / lap cheong sliced
  • 300g bean sprouts
  • 20 slices of fish cake
  • 5 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 stalks of spring onions chopped into 4-cm lengths
  • Cooking oil

Char Kuey Teow ingredients

Some of the ingredients – prawns and fish cake slices

Lap cheong

Lap cheong / Chinese sausage

Steps:

1. Blend the ingredients of chilli paste until fine.

2. Heat the wok with 2 tbsp of oil and fry the garlic until slightly golden.

3. Add in the chilli paste and stir fry until fragrant.

4. Add in the prawns and fry until they turn orange in colour.

5. Add in the fish cake slices and Chinese sausages and fry until the fat of the sausages start to melt.

6. Add in the flat rice noodles, give a few good stir and pour in the sauce mixture.

7. Stir fry until the sauce covers all the noodles, and make space to break the eggs on the pan/wok.

8. Break the eggs and stir fry the noodles at high heat.

9. Lastly, add in the bean sprouts and spring onion.

Char Kuey Teow

Char Kuey Teow

The Char Kuey Teow turned out to be hot and spicy, just the way I like it. The drawback though, was that I don’t have a gas cooker at home, only an electric cook top. That meant that I couldn’t use a wok and flame to get the wok hei (heat of wok) that’s required to make this dish brilliant. Given what limited resources that I had, I was pretty satisfied with the outcome, and quite proud of myself too! I’m hoping that in the future, when we do get a gas cook top with a proper wok, I could improve on the taste of this home-cooked Char Kuey Teow. :)

Char Kuey Teow

4.5 from 2 reviews
Char Kuey Teow
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Malaysian
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
Chilli paste:
  • 8 dried chillies (soaked in water)
  • 2 fresh red chillies
  • 2 bird's eye chillies (optional)
  • 1 large shallot or 2 medium shallots
  • Dash of salt
Sauce:
  • 5 tbsp of light soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp of dark soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp of fish sauce
  • Dash of salt and white pepper
Others:
  • 10 prawns deshelled
  • 500g flat rice noodles / hor fun
  • 2 Chinese sausages / lap cheong sliced
  • 300g bean sprouts
  • 20 slices of fish cake
  • 5 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 stalks of spring onions chopped into 4-cm lengths
  • Cooking oil
Instructions
  1. Blend the ingredients of chilli paste until fine.
  2. Heat the wok with 2 tbsp of oil and fry the garlic until slightly golden.
  3. Add in the chilli paste and stir fry until fragrant.
  4. Add in the prawns and fry until they turn orange in colour.
  5. Add in the fish cake slices and Chinese sausages and fry until the fat of the sausages start to melt.
  6. Add in the flat rice noodles, give a few good stir and pour in the sauce mixture.
  7. Stir fry until the sauce covers all the noodles, and make space to break the eggs on the pan/wok.
  8. Break the eggs and stir fry the noodles at high heat.
  9. Lastly, add in the bean sprouts and spring onion.

Vivid Sydney Festival

Last Saturday, Saucer and I decided to head out to the city to catch the final days of Vivid Sydney, a festival of light, music and ideas. Vivid is an annual affair that transforms Sydney into a canvas of light projections and music that display the creativity and ideas of local talents. The colourful festival is set to run from 24 May to 10 June 2013, with lights turning on after dark. Since it’s winter, the sky turns dark pretty early and we get to see the lights turning on starting from 6pm.

 Vivid Festival 2013

Vivid Sydney 2013

We took the train to the city, knowing that traffic would be bad and using public transport was going to be the best way to get in and out of the Sydney. And we were right. The weather was starting to be gloomy when we were in the train in the afternoon, and before we knew it, it started raining. And the rain didn’t stop for most part of the night! It was one thing to brave the crowd, but it was another to go through it with umbrellas tangling into one another along the way. It was indeed quite a challenge with the occasional strong winds blowing our umbrellas away too! I thought that with the rain pouring, there would be less crowd, but clearly the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of many.

Vivid Festival 2013 Opera House

View of the Sydney Opera House

Vivid Festival 2013 Harbour Bridge

Harbour Bridge

Anyway, since we were already there, we persevered and walked along The Rocks to Circular Quay, the Museum of Contemporary Arts and all the way to the Sydney Opera House. The photos were taken with iPhone 5, so pardon the quality. And as you can imagine, there would be a number of photos with umbrellas in it! :)

Sydney Opera House

Umbrellas and the Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Vivid lights on the Opera House

Vivid Festival 2013

Light installations that looked like Light Sabers

Vivid Festival 2013

A light tunnel

An interesting location to watch the lights was at the Museum of Contemporary Arts. I managed to get quite a nice spot to capture the pictures and a video, together with the audio to go along with it. It definitely reminded me of the Symphony of Lights that I watched before in Hong Kong, watching the lights and music working in harmony.

Vivid Festival 2013 Museum of Contemporary Arts

Museum of Contemporary Arts

Museum of Contemporary Arts

Museum of Contemporary Arts

Museum of Contemporary Arts

Museum of Contemporary Arts

Video of Vivid Sydney at the Museum of Contemporary Arts

There were many other light installations that we didn’t get to visit, mainly because of the rain. However, being a first-timer, we were quite happy to be part of the spirited crowd that night, that braved on through the constant rain and wind. Hopefully, before the festival is over, we would get another chance to witness it in a better weather.

Vivid Festival 2013

View of Circular Quay Railway Station

Vivid Festival 2013

View of Sydney Opera House from The Rocks

Vivid Festival 2013

Vivid Sydney Festival 2013

For more information and timetable, visit www.vividsydney.com.