5 Tips for Visiting Sea World, Gold Coast

After checking in on our first day, we took a nice nap, freshened up and went for dinner at a Japanese restaurant nearby. It was also raining so we didn’t do much afterwards but stayed in and watched some TV. The next morning, we woke up early because we were heading to the Sea World theme park! The morning looked quite unpromising with clouds looming above, but we persevered, thinking that the weather might change once we got there. The drive took around 20 – 30 minutes and once we started our journey, it was pouring! It was heavy rain with thunderstorms as well, so my heart started to sink. I still had a tiny hope inside that the weather would change for the better in half an hour’s time, and sure enough, it did! In fact, the sun started to come out after we parked our car and the sky continued to stay bright and clear for the rest of the day!

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Penguin Encounter at Sea World

We thought there wouldn’t be that many people due to the unpromising weather in the morning, but we were wrong! There was a long queue just to get tickets at the counter so we had to stand in line for almost 1 hour! The good thing is that the ticket we bought was a multi-park entry, so when we went to the Warner Bros Theme Park the next day, we didn’t have to queue for tickets anymore.

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Swimming penguins

Once we’re in, the first stop we went to was the Penguin Encounter. It was the first time I saw a penguin in real life! In fact, when I first saw them, I had to look really hard to differentiate whether they’re real or fake. LOL! But a closer look revealed smooth, shiny, waxy feathers, which was unreal! They look so pretty in real life, them penguins. The penguins area was also one of the few that was indoors and hence had air-conditioning, which was very welcoming in the hot and humid weather in Queensland that day! Little J was excited to see these cute-looking birds swimming and waddling around, he kept reaching out to touch them!

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Penguins on ice

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Little J admiring the penguins

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What a beautiful penguin!

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A different species

Right after that, we had to make a pit stop for some frozen yogurt, because the weather was getting too warm and we were all sweating. The frozen yogurt was just next to this place where they had helicopter rides, so we got to see one family take off in it. It didn’t seem like a long ride though, for I saw it coming back down maybe in less than 15 minutes?

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Helicopter ride

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I want ice-cream mummy!

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Little J and pelicans in the background

There were also cable car rides and the monorail rides, which were the more popular ones in the theme park. Since we were traveling with a young toddler, we didn’t want to spend so much time queuing under the hot sun so we had to give those a miss.

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Cable car rides

Instead, we went for those little kids rides which had somewhat shorter queues, such as this Merry-go-round here. Little J was a little apprehensive at first, but soon warmed up to the idea of horses moving around and up and down, so much so that he refused to leave afterwards! We could have gone for a second ride if we wanted to, but we were in a rush to watch some shows!

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Merry-go-round

The first one we went to was the Dora the Explorer show, which was mainly a musical with songs and dances around. It was quite a hit with the kids around but Little J was not paying much attention to her. LOL. So we stayed for about 10 minutes and left to go to another show.

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Dora the Explorer

The Dolphin show! We heard so much about the dolphin show from friends and colleagues so we made it a point to fit it in our schedule. Sure enough, the arena was packed to the brim when we reached! Luckily we still managed to squeeze in between some empty spots in the middle rows. The show was pretty entertaining with dolphins flipping and flying about, and performing tricks according to the instructor’s cues. It was nice to be able to feel like a kid once in a while. :) Little J was still too young to appreciate shows like this so he started getting restless after a while but we managed to bribe him with some snacks and drinks.

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Dolphin show!

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Dolphin flip #1

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Dolphin flip X 2

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Dolphin flip #3

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Anyone care for a dolphin ride?

We continued walking around the theme park after the show, and decided to have lunch. It was bad timing because everyone who just came out from the show decided it was time for lunch as well, and there were limited choices available. The most popular joint was the burger fast food which had almost 10 lines of at least 20 people each! It was already past noon so we had to get something to eat anyway and Little J was getting hungry so we decided to brave the crowd. It took almost half an hour to finally get our food and they’re not cheap too! I think we ordered 2 sets of burgers with chips and drinks which came to AUD$40+! I guess that’s to be expected whenever we get food from theme parks, prices are usually marked up really high because we’re left with no choice anyway since we’re not allowed to bring outside food in. But if we do return next time, our tip would be to buy the food way before lunch time (11am or earlier) so that we could avoid the long queue. We could always keep the food for consumption later if it’s still too early for lunch but at least we didn’t have to fight with the rest of the hundred people in the queue!

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Riding with daddy

After lunch, we continued our tour around and saw this airplane ride that wasn’t too busy, so Saucer went in the queue. It was getting really warm and you could tell from Saucer’s wet shirt. LOL. We also went on another Merry-go-round ride after that, but didn’t manage to take any pictures.

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Up, up, in the sky

Last but not least, we went for the last show that we had planned to watch, the Sea Lion show. This was also quite popular as the arena was full but it was a much smaller arena compared to the dolphin one. I didn’t find this as entertaining as the dolphin show, maybe because there wasn’t much action involved with the sea lions. It was mostly about them trying to get fish from the entertainers.

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Sea lion show

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Where’s my fish?

By the time we’re done, it was close to 3pm and everyone was tired from the hot weather and walking around. I could tell that Little J was already getting tired because it was way past his normal nap time, but he couldn’t nap in the stroller because it was just too warm and uncomfortable. So we decided to go back to the hotel since we had covered most grounds and watched all the shows we wanted to anyway.

5 tips for visiting Sea World Gold Coast

If we do return to Sea World in the future, these would be the 5 tips for visiting Sea World, Gold Coast that I would want to keep in mind:

1) If possible, buy the tickets from the counter a day before the actual day, preferably in the afternoon so that there won’t be any queue. It is usually more value for money to get multi-park multi-entry tickets that are valid for a few days (at least) anyway, so it wouldn’t matter if you lose one day by getting the ticket earlier. It saves so much more time when you enter the theme park on the actual day itself, because with a ticket, you go through a different queue which is much faster.

2) Bring a large bottle of water that can be easily refilled. There are some (not many) water fillers around the theme park and having a bottle to fill up would be very useful especially when it’s a hot day. Otherwise, there is also unlimited soft drink tumblers available from the fast food joints/booths. If you plan to get the soft drink tumblers, it is more value for money to get them earlier in the day so that you could get more refills throughout. :)

3) As mentioned above, buy your lunch earlier to beat the crowd! If you go during weekends or public holidays (like I did), there’s bound to be a crazy queue at ALL restaurants around. So if you don’t want to waste your time queuing in hunger and sweat, buy your food earlier and keep them in a bag until lunch time.

4) Plan your schedule in advance. Other than rides, there are also multiple shows in the theme park. Each show usually happens twice a day, so try to look at the timetable and work out which shows that you want to watch and keep time. There are some shows which do not allow entries after they start so it’s important not to be late.

5) Bring a change of clothes (even for adults) because some of the rides could end up getting you wet! We made the mistake of not bringing any extra clothes and got soaking wet at one of the rides we took! So we had to buy shirts from the souvenir shops, which turned out to be overpriced (as you would expect).

There you have it, our experience visiting the Sea World theme park in Gold Coast and what we learnt from it. It was overall a fun experience especially for families with kids because it’s a very family-friendly place where strollers could go almost anywhere and had designated parking areas. We would certainly return when Little J is a little older and learns to appreciate more of the rides and shows!

Holiday in Gold Coast

During the long Easter weekend a few months back, our little family had a short getaway to one of Australia’s most popular holiday destination – Gold Coast! I have been meaning to blog about the trip much sooner but there was always something that got in the way. Anyway, as they say, better late than never. :) We only went for a 4-day trip, and being our first domestic vacation that required a flight, we, especially Little J, were particularly excited! Everything was pre-booked, from our airport car park, accommodation, car rental, travel insurance and of course, flights. Yes, even though it’s just a short domestic trip, there are lots of things to arrange!

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Grumpy face at the airport

There were plenty of flights from Sydney to Gold Coast daily, and I chose the 11+am flight allowing us enough time to drive to the airport, park, and take the shuttle to the departure gate. We left home at around 8.30am, thinking there should be plenty of time for us to get there since we only needed to be there about an hour before departure time. However, as luck would have it, Saucer missed a turn into the tunnel when we were about 10km away, and we were stuck in terrible traffic then! The traffic was so slow and clock was ticking (we found a stalled car in the middle of the road after ages!!), so needless to say, I was getting really worried about missing our flight! Also, because we wanted to save on the expensive car park fare, we had pre-booked to park at the Blu Emu car park which was a few kms away from the airport. We were also meant to take the shuttle from there to the airport, which meant extra time that would eat into our buffer. I think we eventually parked with about 45 minutes left to departure! We quickly removed all our luggage and a stroller from our car and ran to the shuttle, which was thankfully making its rounds just then, and just prayed for the best. By the time we reached the check in counter, we saw a message saying flight delayed for 30 minutes! Never was I so happy to see a flight delayed in my life! :) At that point, we heaved a sigh of relief and just continued queuing in our line.

After about 5 minutes or so, there was a ground staff walking up and down the line, asking if anyone was going to Gold Coast on a specific flight. It turned out to be our flight! So she asked us to move straight to the front of the counter and allowed us to check in straightaway. I love how the Australian airports operate – when it’s near the gate closing time, they would just give priority to whoever was still in the line queuing and allow them to check in first. I’d say I’d rather they do this than to keep everyone in the plane waiting!

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Much better :)

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Daddy and Little J

Once we’re at the gate, Little J was curious with everything and sat on various seats just for fun. Thankfully, the flight itself was short, about 1 hour plus, so it wasn’t too tough to handle the toddler. We kept him occupied with iPad and snacks most of the time. Once we reached the Gold Coast airport, we had to call our car rental company for them to come and pick us up to their depot. It only took 5-10 minutes for them to arrive and their depot was less than 5 minutes drive away. So it wasn’t that much of an inconvenience for almost 1/3 of the price compared to rentals at the airport!

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Waiting for our rental car pickup

We stayed at the Meriton in Broadbeach, which was rated #1 in TripAdvisor. Unfortunately, our check-in experience was far from #1. We arrived at around 1.40pm and were told that our room would take about 20 minutes to be ready. That was fair enough because the standard check-in time according to their website is 2pm. I was hoping to get the room by then so that Little J could have his nap. However, more than 20 minutes had past and still no one came to inform us that our room was ready yet. I got a little annoyed and asked Saucer to check with the counter again. He was told that the room was being made up so we just needed to wait for another 5 minutes or so. Needless to say, 10 minutes passed and still no word. Worse, we saw people who arrived after us getting their room keys! At about 2.30pm I was getting quite frustrated because we had already waited almost an hour and still no room. The guy at the front counter told me that it’s going to need another 20 minutes (!!!) and apologised for the delay because we requested for a baby cot so that needed extra setup time. By then, we were hungry and tired and Little J was getting cranky too. Finally, at about 2.50pm, we got our room keys! Once we got in our room, what do you know? The cot was not even there!!! I was furious to be kept waiting for more than an hour, to be told that our room needed more time due to the cot, only to find that the cot wasn’t even there in the end. Anyway, no point getting angry at the start of the vacation, so I just quickly let Little J nap on the king size bed. The cot eventually only arrived when we were out for dinner, and only because I reminded them again by then.

Chilling at the lobby

Chilling at the hotel lobby

Making himself very comfortable :P

“I can slide down this!”

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Selfie!

Other than the sour check-in experience, the stay at Meriton was pretty pleasant to be honest. I loved how the rooms were kept tidy and modern, how the kitchen was so completely equipped with lots of utensils, gas cook top, range hood, microwave, oven, full-size fridge, toaster and dish washer! Basically, everything you need is there. The living room floor was still damp when we arrived, which meant that it had just been mopped minutes before we entered. The room’s bed was as big as a King-sized one, but it was really 2 king single beds joined together (a shame). Otherwise, the pillows and sheets were plush and comfortable. There was also a fully-equipped laundry room with a washing machine, dryer, laundry basket and detergent provided. It was so convenient because we were sweating every day from going to theme parks, so I could do all my smelly laundry before heading home!

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Kitchen and dining area

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Living area (floor still damp)

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Bedroom

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View from the balcony 1

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View from the balcony 2 – Jupiter Casino

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Balcony

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Toilet and bath

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Shower too!

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Laundry area

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Utensils

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Cooking utensils

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More utensils!

Our room was situated on the 20th floor and boy, was it windy at the balcony! Saucer and I used to live in high-rise apartments back in KL and we never had problems with height. However, after a few years of living in a landed property here, suddenly we were terrified when we were standing at the balcony! LOL! We also made sure Little J never stepped out to the balcony because it just felt so open and insecured with the strong wind.

Another plus point with the Meriton was the proximity of the beach. It was merely a few minutes walk to the famous Broadbeach and we took a walk there before our dinner on the first night. The weather was nice and cool but not freezing in autumn. Little J was so happy to be walking on the super fine sand on the beach that he didn’t want to leave. Our only regret was not allocating more time to go to the beach during the day time because we spent most days at the famous theme parks in Gold Coast. Will write about them in the next few posts!

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Chilling at the beach before dinner

Home Made Yong Tau Foo

Sorry for the longest hiatus! I can’t believe I have neglected my blog for almost 2 months now, longest ever. I suppose life with a young kid and a full-time job doesn’t leave you with much free time for anything else! Anyway, I would just like to document a very proud attempt I did a few weeks back due to a certain craving for … Yong Tau Foo! If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically a Chinese dish of tofu stuffed with fish paste. Over the years, we have improvised and stuffed fish paste in everything that can be stuffed (LOL) such as chillies, eggplant, bitter gourd, bean curd sheets, you name it! Living in Sydney, Yong Tau Foo (YTF) is hard to come by unless you make it yourself. So when I saw pictures of friends making YTF on Facebook, I told myself that I just had to make it too! The hardest part about making YTF is really getting the right texture, consistency and taste for the fish paste. For this experiment, I applied the tips from my dear grandma who still makes YTF paste by hand! I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as I did! :)

Yong Tau Foo

Yong Tau Foo

Ingredients:

  • 500g mackerel fish
  • 50g minced pork (optional)
  • Fried tofu puff
  • Sliced bitter gourd
  • Bean curd sheets
  • Chillies
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oil for frying

Sauce:

  • Hoisin sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Chilli sauce
Yong Tau Foo

Tofu and everything else stuffed with fish paste

Steps:

1) Remove bones and skin from mackerel, leaving only the fish meat.

2) Place the fish meat on a chopping board and start chopping the fish meat until it becomes a sticky paste. (You could also use food processor to save time).

3) Halfway  chopping, add in a pinch of salt and pepper to the mix. If the paste becomes too sticky, occasionally sprinkle the mix with some salt water.

4) If you’re using minced pork, add in the minced pork to the mix as well.

5) Once the paste comes together, form it into a ball and throw it into a big bowl. Continue doing for a few times, for this is believed to make the texture more bouncy.

6) Now the hard part is done, and the fun part begins! Start stuffing the tofu with the fish paste. Slit the centre of the tofu enough to stuff in the fish paste.

7) Continue stuffing other vegetables you have: chillies, bitter gourd, egg plant, okra, bean curd sheets, etc.

8) Once that’s done, you can start frying the YTF in hot oil. Once the YTF floats in the oil, then it’s done.

9) Place the fried YTF on kitchen towels to absorb excess oil

10) For the simple sauce, mix 1 portion of hoisin sauce to 1 portion of oyster sauce. Add some chilli sauce on the side for some heat.

11) For the perfect meal, serve this with your choice of soup and yam rice.

Yong Tau Foo

Crispy Yong Tau Foo

Yong Tau Foo

After deep frying

Yong Tau Foo

Place on paper towels to absorb excess oil

Yong Tau Foo

Serve with Yam Rice

Needless to say, it was a very satisfying meal that got thumbs up from Saucer and Little J. Unfortunately, due to the amount of time required for prep, I don’t think this is something that I will make often. It’s not just the time to make the fish paste, but the process of deep-frying that ends up making my kitchen smelling of oil! Still, it was well worth the sacrifice when I see the happy faces of my two boys. I hope you enjoy it too!

Yong Tau Foo

Dinner is served!

4.0 from 1 reviews
Home Made Yong Tau Foo
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese Malaysian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Yong Tau Foo
  • 500g mackerel fish
  • 50g minced pork (optional)
  • Fried tofu puff
  • Sliced bitter gourd
  • Bean curd sheets
  • Chillies
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oil for frying
Sauce:
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Chilli sauce
Instructions
  1. ) Remove bones and skin from mackerel, leaving only the fish meat.
  2. ) Place the fish meat on a chopping board and start chopping the fish meat until it becomes a sticky paste. (You could also use food processor to save time).
  3. ) Halfway chopping, add in a pinch of salt and pepper to the mix. If the paste becomes too sticky, occasionally sprinkle the mix with some salt water.
  4. ) If you're using minced pork, add in the minced pork to the mix as well.
  5. ) Once the paste comes together, form it into a ball and throw it into a big bowl. Continue doing for a few times, for this is believed to make the texture more bouncy.
  6. ) Now the hard part is done, and the fun part begins! Start stuffing the tofu with the fish paste. Slit the centre of the tofu enough to stuff in the fish paste.
  7. ) Continue stuffing other vegetables you have: chillies, bitter gourd, egg plant, okra, bean curd sheets, etc.
  8. ) Once that's done, you can start frying the YTF in hot oil. Once the YTF floats in the oil, then it's done.
  9. ) Place the fried YTF on kitchen towels to absorb excess oil
  10. ) For the simple sauce, mix 1 portion of hoisin sauce to 1 portion of oyster sauce. Add some chilli sauce on the side for some heat.
  11. ) For the perfect meal, serve this with your choice of soup and yam rice.

 

Sweet and Sour Chicken by Air Fryer

Who doesn’t love sweet and sour dishes? Growing up, sweet and sour pork used to be my absolute favourite dish. If I was asked by grandma what I wanted to have for dinner, I would always answer ‘ku lou yoke’. Even to this day, I still have a soft spot for sweet and sour dishes whenever we dine out at Chinese restaurants, simply because I find it really oily to deep fry at home. Well, not until I have discovered the joy of an air fryer! I have had my air fryer for almost a year now and I keep finding new ways to fall in love with it. For starters, it’s great for frying ‘ikan bilis’ or anchovies for nasi lemak, plus I don’t have to constantly monitor it.

This time, I experimented cooking Sweet and Sour Chicken with it. I would have used pork but chicken was all I had that time. :) So, chicken it is. The recipe can easily be replaced by pork if that’s your fancy. The thing I love about using the air fryer was how I could just leave everything enclosed inside, doing their thing, and I could do something else at the same time. For instance, in this case, while waiting for the chicken to be fried, I was cutting up the vegetables and ingredients to make the sauce. And by the time my sauce was ready, the chicken was ready too, so I was actually cooking this dish with half the time I would have used if I did it the traditional way.

Sweet and Sour Air Fried Chicken

Sweet and sour chicken using air fryer

Ingredients:

Marinade:

  • 600gm chicken thigh (or your preferred meat) cut into pieces
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Fried chicken flour (enough to coat all the chicken pieces)
  • Olive oil spray

Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tomatoes cubed
  • 1 capsicum sliced
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped finely
  • 3-4 tbs tomato ketchup
  • 50ml water
  • 1 tsp sugar

Sweet and Sour Air Fried Chicken

Air fried chicken pieces

Steps:

  1. Marinate the chicken pieces with all in the ingredients in the marinade section except for flour and olive oil spray.
  2. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Then coat the chicken pieces with flour, making sure each piece is covered.
  4. Place chicken piece into air fryer, ensuring they don’t overlap each other for optimum browning. Separate frying into 2 batches if required.
  5. Spray the chicken pieces with olive oil (or similar).
  6. Set air fryer to 180C for 10 minutes, then increase to 200C for another 10 minutes.
  7. In between the switching of temperature, remove the chicken pieces from the air fryer and toss them around before placing them back.
  8. Once 20 minutes is over, remove chicken and place them on a plate to cool.
  9. While chicken is cooking, heat a frying pan with oil.
  10. Add in chopped garlic and fry until brown.
  11. Add in tomatoes, onions and capsicum and fry for 2 minutes.
  12. Then add in ketchup and water and bring to boil.
  13. Add in sugar to taste and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
  14. Add in fried chicken pieces when the sauce is ready and give it a good toss.
  15. Serve while hot.

Sweet and Sour Air Fried Chicken

Sweet and sour chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken by Air Fryer
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Marinade:
  • 600gm chicken thigh (or your preferred meat) cut into pieces
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Fried chicken flour (enough to coat all the chicken pieces)
  • Olive oil spray
Sauce:
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tomatoes cubed
  • 1 capsicum sliced
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped finely
  • 3-4 tbs tomato ketchup
  • 50ml water
  • 1 tsp sugar
Instructions
  1. Marinate the chicken pieces with all in the ingredients in the marinade section except for flour and olive oil spray.
  2. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Then coat the chicken pieces with flour, making sure each piece is covered.
  4. Place chicken piece into air fryer, ensuring they don't overlap each other for optimum browning. Separate frying into 2 batches if required.
  5. Spray the chicken pieces with olive oil (or similar).
  6. Set air fryer to 180C for 10 minutes, then increase to 200C for another 10 minutes.
  7. In between the switching of temperature, remove the chicken pieces from the air fryer and toss them around before placing them back.
  8. Once 20 minutes is over, remove chicken and place them on a plate to cool.
  9. While chicken is cooking, heat a frying pan with oil.
  10. Add in chopped garlic and fry until brown.
  11. Add in tomatoes, onions and capsicum and fry for 2 minutes.
  12. Then add in ketchup and water and bring to boil.
  13. Add in sugar to taste and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
  14. Add in fried chicken pieces when the sauce is ready and give it a good toss.
  15. Serve while hot.

There you have it! Sweet and sour chicken without the mess of deep frying. They did turn out to be golden with a crispy outer layer too, so I was pretty happy with that. Most of all, I was happy with how I could make this a healthier version compared to the traditional oil deep-frying version, and could happily serve this to my kid.

Pancakes on the Rocks

Having lived in Sydney for 3 years now, one thing that I really miss from Malaysia is the variety of food that you can get even in the wee hours of the morning – nasi lemak, char kuey teow, roti canai, wan tan mee, you name it. Unfortunately, the only food we can get at 8am in the morning is usually from fast food joints and the occasional cafe that starts early. Even yum cha (dim sum) places don’t start until 10am. That is, until I found out that Pancakes on the Rocks near our place actually starts at 7am (the one at The Rocks opens 24 hours!)! My oh my, finally, a nice change for breakfast at a decent breakfast time. :) So of course, we went there during the weekends (plural term because we went there a few times now) with Little J.

They have an extensive pancakes menu, a kids menu and also a breakfast menu (which is served all day). Since we were there for breakfast, we ordered from the breakfast menu. I had the Pancakes ‘n’ Sausage combo which came with 2 buttermilk pancakes topped with whipped butter and a side of sausages, fried egg and grilled tomato. My oh my, the pancakes were oh-s0-fluffy! I absolutely loved the soft, cottony and airy texture that melts in your mouth with a nice sweet aftertaste. Oh did I mention that every pancake dish also comes with a little jar of maple syrup? That’s perfect with the pancakes! Sure it might sound a little weird to have something sweet and savoury on the same plate, but really, I think the combination works for me.

Pancake on the Rocks

Pancakes ‘n’ Sausage (AUD$13.95)

Saucer had the Aussie Sunrise which came with 2 buttermilk pancakes topped with whipped butter, bacon, fried egg and grilled pineapple and banana. I thought his combo was the winner – you’ve got the nice fluffy pancakes (which is a must), the crispy bacon, the runny egg and the sweet pineapple and banana to balance them all up. This would totally be my next order there.

Pancake on the Rocks

Aussie Sunrise (AUD$14.95)

On a different visit, we also tried the Pancake Egg ‘n’ Hash, which came with buttermilk pancakes topped with whipped butter, hash brown and a fried egg. As much as I love hash browns, this was the one thing that didn’t fit in my books. I thought the potatoes in the hash brown were too coarsely shredded, didn’t stick well together and were not fried enough. The whole combination just resulted in hard potato shreds that even Little J didn’t enjoy, which was a shame. Otherwise, the pancakes were gorgeous as usual, so was the runny sunny side up!

Pancake on the Rocks

Pancake Egg ‘n’ Hash (AUD$13.95)

Pancake on the Rocks

Trying to grab this little monster before he escapes!

Overall, we had an enjoyable experience at POTR. The pancakes were lovely and more importantly, the environment was really kids friendly. Almost half of the tables were filled with families with kids. We will definitely return, maybe next time for something sweet!

Pancake on the Rocks

One for the album

For more information: www.pancakesontherocks.com.au

Pancakes on The Rocks on Urbanspoon

Black Sesame Balls / Jin Dui Recipe

About a few weeks back, Saucer suddenly said to me, “Could you make me those black sesame balls that we had from the restaurant the other day during lunch?”. He was referring to those deep fried glutinous rice balls coated with sesame seeds with a black sesame paste filling. Most yum cha places here have them and we almost always order them. When weekend came and Little J was having his nap and Saucer was out for his weekly squash, I thought, maybe I should do it and surprise him when he’s back. :) So here’s my rendition of the Deep Fried Black Sesame Balls or Jin Dui as we call it in Cantonese. Obviously, I did my research the day before and picked bits and pieces here and there (depending on which method is the quickest 😛 ), plus modified the recipe based on what I had at home, so I really didn’t have high hopes for the end product. LOL. Much to my pleasant surprise, the balls turned out really well! Maybe it’s beginner’s luck or maybe it’s not, perhaps you could try it out and let me know. :)

Deep Fried Sesame Balls

Deep Fried Glutinous Rice Balls / Jin Dui

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 250g glutinous rice flour
  • 1 tbs corn flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Sesame seeds for coating
  • Water
  • Oil for deep frying

Filling:

  • 50g Black sesame
  • 4 tbs honey

Steps:

For Black Sesame Paste Filling:

  1. Blend the black sesame seeds until they are fine and somewhat oily.
  2. Add in honey one spoon at a time and mix it with the ground sesame seeds.
  3. Store the black sesame paste in the fridge if it’s not used yet.
Deep Fried Sesame Balls

Black Sesame Seed Paste

For the dough:

  1. Peel and cube the sweet potato into small pieces.
  2. Steam the sweet potatoes for about 20 minutes or until they are soft enough to be mashed easily.
  3. Mash the sweet potatoes in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add in glutinous rice flour, baking powder and corn flour into the mixing bowl and knead all of them together.
  5. Add in water gradually until everything forms a manageable (not sticky) dough. You should not need to use more than half a cup of water. If you accidentally add in too much water, you can adjust by adding in more glutinous rice flour to adjust.
  6. Depending on your preferred size, pinch a ball of dough and roll it into a sphere.
  7. Make a well in the sphere and fill it with the black sesame paste made earlier.
  8. Gently wrap the dough around the paste and roll it so that it forms a ball again.
  9. Roll the ball on a plate of sesame seeds and make sure every surface is covered.
  10. Repeat steps 6 – 9 until all dough is used up.
  11. Heat up a sauce pan filled with oil enough for deep frying (enough to cover the size of the ball).
  12. When the oil is hot enough, turn the heat to low / medium, and place the balls into the oil.
  13. Gently toss the balls around when they are frying.
  14. Remove the balls once they start to float in the oil.
  15. Place them on kitchen paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  16. Serve while it’s warm!
Deep Fried Sesame Balls

Mashed sweet potato

Deep Fried Sesame Balls

Finished dough

Deep Fried Sesame Balls

Balls coated with sesame seeds

Deep Fried Sesame Balls

Deep drying at medium heat

Deep Fried Sesame Balls

Floating balls means they are ready!

Deep Fried Sesame Balls

Golden deep fried sesame balls

Deep Fried Sesame Balls

Sesame balls with black sesame paste filling

I was really surprised with the outcome, which I thought was really good for a first-timer. The black sesame paste almost melted in my mouth upon my first bite. The sweet potato gave the ball a nice flavour, plus, if you run out of black sesame paste filling, the sweet potato balls on its own taste delicious too! Needless to say, Saucer was a happy man when he was back from squash that day. :)

4.0 from 1 reviews
Deep Fried Black Sesame Balls / Jin Dui Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Chinese
Ingredients
Dough:
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 250g glutinous rice flour
  • 1 tbs corn flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Sesame seeds for coating
  • Water
  • Oil for deep frying
Filling:
  • 50g Black sesame
  • 4 tbs honey
Instructions
For Black Sesame Paste Filling:
  1. Blend the black sesame seeds until they are fine and somewhat oily.
  2. Add in honey one spoon at a time and mix it with the ground sesame seeds.
  3. Store the black sesame paste in the fridge if it's not used yet.
For the dough:
  1. Peel and cube the sweet potato into small pieces.
  2. Steam the sweet potatoes for about 20 minutes or until they are soft enough to be mashed easily.
  3. Mash the sweet potatoes in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add in glutinous rice flour, baking powder and corn flour into the mixing bowl and knead all of them together.
  5. Add in water gradually until everything forms a manageable (not sticky) dough. You should not need to use more than half a cup of water. If you accidentally add in too much water, you can adjust by adding in more glutinous rice flour to adjust.
  6. Depending on your preferred size, pinch a ball of dough and roll it into a sphere.
  7. Make a well in the sphere and fill it with the black sesame paste made earlier.
  8. Gently wrap the dough around the paste and roll it so that it forms a ball again.
  9. Roll the ball on a plate of sesame seeds and make sure every surface is covered.
  10. Repeat steps 6 - 9 until all dough is used up.
  11. Heat up a sauce pan filled with oil enough for deep frying (enough to cover the size of the ball).
  12. When the oil is hot enough, turn the heat to low / medium, and place the balls into the oil.
  13. Gently toss the balls around when they are frying.
  14. Remove the balls once they start to float in the oil.
  15. Place them on kitchen paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  16. Serve while it's warm!