Our Favourite Malaysian Restaurant in Sydney

It’s no surprise that we love Malaysian food and would go to great lengths to get them – either in terms of traveling the distance or in attempting to replicate them at home. :) Every time we hear of a commendable Malaysian restaurant, we would try our best to give it a try usually during the weekends. Having a toddler though, limits the amount of traveling we can make, especially to the city. Now that Little J is not so little anymore, we venture out to the city more often than before. And the main reason was to try out Hawker, which serves Malaysian street food, in Chinatown Sydney. We have been there twice now, and have never been disappointed with it.


Lor Bak AUD$12

During our first visit, we tried the Lor Bak and fell in love with it! It’s one of the most authentic lor bak we can find in Sydney, with the closest resemblance to the ones we have in Penang. Most places serve only the five-spice pork rolls, and not necessarily good ones, but Hawker also has prawn fritters and fried tofu in addition to their crispy pork rolls. And they have both sweet and chilli sauces as well! I don’t think anywhere else in Sydney serves lor bak as authentic as theirs, and that’s good reason for us to keep ordering that every time we’re there.


Har Mee AUD$13

For mains, I had the Har Mee or prawn noodles, because it’s also something that’s hard to find in Sydney. The ones that I had tried before had little to no prawn taste, so I ordered this with rather low expectations. Imagine my surprise when it came out looking so delicious and tasted really good too! So much prawn taste and the chilli paste was the bomb. I mixed everything up in the bowl and was slurping away like a happy little girl. I enjoyed it so much that I actually ordered the same dish during my second visit there. :)


Char Kuey Teow AUD$13

As for Saucer, his main aim was to try their Char Kuey Teow so that’s what he did. This was, again, another winner. It had all the main elements of a good Penang-style char kuey teow – cockles, generous size prawns, lap cheong, chilli paste, banana leaf, pork lard, grease and everything fried with good wok hei. We really could not find any major faults with this dish, and it’s also another reason why we kept coming back for more. It’s so greasy and oily, it totally brings back memories of eating hawker food in Penang. I love it!


Look at the size of the cockle (si ham)!

One thing about Malaysian hawker food though, is that most of them are hot and spicy, which might not do so well with kids. Both Saucer and I are big fans of spicy food, so it’s a headache when it comes to ordering for Little J as neither of us wanted to give in, and Little J obviously couldn’t finish an adult portion on his own. 😛 Fortunately, during our second visit, we went with another family with kids and both our kids shared the Wat Tan Hor, which was non-spicy. This was essentially stir-fried flat rice noodles with lots of gravy, prawns, pork slices and vegetables. Little J had half of this and loved it! I’m assuming the egg gravy was really delicious because he was just slurping away.


Wat Tan Hor AUD$13

If there’s one gripe about Hawker, I would say it’s the price of desserts. We had tried two of their desserts – the Apam Balik at AUD$6 and Goreng Durian at AUD$8! I don’t know about you but I find paying 6 bucks for one piece of apam balik with a scoop of ice-cream to be quite ridiculous, regardless of how good it is. Also, I think the ice-cream on the side was a bit of a distraction and unnecessary. I’d much rather have 2 pieces of apam balik for the same price, and do away with the ice-cream. As for the Goreng Durian, it was even more ridiculous at $8! There was only one piece of durian (Musang King), battered and deep fried, served with a scoop of ice-cream. Saucer ordered it because he loved durian, but I doubt we’d repeat the order next time.


Goreng Durian AUD$8

Apart from the desserts, we really enjoyed the dishes at Hawker. They are as close to Penang hawker food as you can get in Sydney, and to me, that is pretty damn good. We’ll definitely make our way there again in the not so distant future.

Hawker Malaysian Street Food
Shop G.02, 345B-353 Sussex Street,
Tel. No.: (02) 9264 9315
Website: www.hawker.com.au

Hawker Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Peranakan Food in Sydney

Peranakan cuisine, or food originated from the Straits-born Chinese in Malaysia, is not something that is commonly found in Sydney. So when we found out that there’s a restaurant that specialises in Peranakan food, we made it a point to visit it one weekend. Located along Parramatta Road, Peranakan Place serves nyonya cuisine influenced by the Chinese, Indonesian, Thai and Malay community.


Decorative pieces at Peranakan Place

Locating the place wasn’t difficult, but the same couldn’t be said about finding a car park. There was no street parking available so we had to drive around twice to finally locate an open air car park somewhere behind the restaurant. Since we were early, we were also one of the first few patrons for lunch.


Snacks to keep Little J entertained

We started with the Ngoh Hiang, which is similar to Loh Bak in Penang. This came with only 4 pieces of minced pork, prawns and water chestnuts wrapped in bean curd skin before being deep fried. Although I loved the crispy skin of the bean curd, I found the filling to be a tad mushy and bland. Perhaps that’s why it was served together with the chilli sauce on the side.


Ngoh Hiang AUD7.90

It’s rare to find Yong Tau Foo on the menu so when we saw it, we thought we absolutely had to give it a try. However, what came to the table was different from our expectation. We were expecting a variety of stuffed bean curd items (soup or fried), stuffed bean curd skin rolls, stuffed chillies and the like. But there was only one stuffed chilli and a couple of stuffed bean curds, with a few fish balls and crab sticks(?!) tossed in a dark, peppery gravy. Perhaps this was the Peranakan style of Yong Tau Foo, but it certainly wasn’t hitting my craving spot!


Yong Tau Food AUD15.90

Lastly, we also had the Babi Pongteh, which, I believe, is a true blue Peranakan dish. It’s really a stew dish of braised pork belly, pork trotters, water chestnuts and shitake mushrooms in a fermented soy bean sauce. We have had a few versions of Babi Pongteh back in Malaysia and this, again, did not match up to our expectations. The gravy was watery, almost diluted, resulting in a somewhat bland taste, and the pork pieces were not cooked long enough. They were supposed to fall off the bone easily with a melt-in-your-mouth texture but did not, which was a disappointment as I ordered this dish mainly for Little J.


Babi Pongteh AUD16.90


Portions could have been bigger

Overall, we had a pretty average dining experience in terms of food, even though the service was good. Perhaps we didn’t order the ‘right’ items or perhaps we went on a bad day, but whilst it’s good to know that we have more and more options of Malaysian food in Sydney, the hunt for authentic Peranakan food is still on.

 Peranakan Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cyren at Darling Harbour

As a continuation of Saucer’s birthday celebration, we had dinner that night in the city – in fact, the very first time with Little J in tow! Since it was a Saturday night, most of the restaurants were already packed at 7pm when were there. We approached several of them only to be told that the next dinner seating would be between 8.30-9pm! Obviously, that wouldn’t do with a toddler around. We continued looking and eventually, decided to step in to Cyren. Fortunately, we were informed that the wait was 20 minutes, which was bearable compared to waiting for 2 hours!


The birthday boy

On the way to our table, we noticed how busy the restaurant was! I was thinking to myself that this might mean a long wait time for food to be served, but I was quite wrong. We placed our orders soon, and within 10 minutes, we had the entree and kid’s food served! Saucer loves calamari so it was no question that we would order the Salt and Pepper Calamari served with with ginger, chilli and mayonnaise sauce. We have had a fair share of calamari over the years in Sydney and we dare say that this was one of the best that we’ve had! The calamari was deep fried to perfection – crispy, not oily and very very tender. In fact, I have never imagined calamari to be this tender because they are always a little rubbery (if not very rubbery). The slightly spicy sauce that it came with also complemented the calamari very well, so much so that I almost wanted to get another plate of this! So I guess our only gripe was that the portion could have been a bit bigger perhaps? :)


Salt and Pepper Calamari (AUD19)

We were not sure if Little J would eat what we ordered for ourselves, and since it was a special celebration, we decided to get him his own meal – a Kids Ham and Pineapple Pizza. I loved that the pizza was baked in a wood-fired oven, and was very generous with toppings. Needless to say, Little J was chomping down on this in no time and finished almost the whole thing, bar 2 slices. I was happy to know that they didn’t skimp on ingredients even though this was a kid’s menu item.


Kids Ham and Pineapple Pizza (AUD13.50)

I had the Chargrilled Wagyu Beef Burger that came with tomato, lettuce, sliced beetroot and cheese,  served with chips. I didn’t use to like beetroot, but since moving to Aus, I have come to terms that somehow or other, it would appear in a burger. And it’s actually quite refreshing! The burger was huge, with a nice juicy patty in the middle. However, I don’t think I would be able to tell a wagyu beef patty from a normal beef patty. 😛


Chargrilled Wagyu Beef Burger (AUD18)

Finally, the birthday boy who was craving for a steak got his wish! This was the I’M ANGUS Rib Eye done medium rare, served with mashed potatoes. You know how most steaks are usually unevenly cooked even when you ask for them to be done medium rare? The edges are usually well done and the middle part, usually more bloody and rare. But this rib eye was simply perfect all round! Saucer was very impressed. In fact, he was poking around the steak trying to find areas where they would miss out (it couldn’t have been that perfectly cooked!) but failed. The result was a nice, chargrilled outer layer with tender and juicy meat inside. He was a happy boy! :)


I’M ANGUS Rib Eye (AUD39)


Birthday boy with his steak

While enjoying our dinner halfway, we were greeted with a pleasant surprise! At around 8.30pm, we heard fireworks outside and thankfully our table gave us a nice view of them! The fireworks actually went on for at least 10 minutes, and they were so close too! I was wondering what was the occasion for the fireworks and found out that there’s usually a fireworks display at 8.30pm on Saturday night in Darling Harbour. How lucky were we to be at the right place at the right time? I love fireworks and haven’t seen them up close for a long time! That was a nice ending to our lovely dinner.


Fireworks to accompany us

We totally enjoyed ourselves that night, thanks to Little J who was also behaving himself. I’m sure he enjoyed the fireworks as well, and the company of his two most favourite persons in the world. As for me, I was really glad that despite the lack of planning for dinner, it turned out really well and everyone went home happy and satiated. :)


Family picture

Cyren Bar Grill Seafood

Tel: 1300 989 989
Fax: (02) 9280 2177
E-mail: info@cyrenrestaurant.com.au
Website: www.nicks-seafood.com.au/venue/cyren/

Cyren Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Baron Cafe

Saucer is never a fan of cafe food. He thinks most of the cafe food are simple dishes that could be prepared at home. Therefore, whenever we dine outside, we rarely ever go to a cafe. However, a mother’s group that I joined was hyping about this cafe in our neighbourhood which is supposed to be the best cafe around. Known as The Baron, it is apparently the place to go to for coffee and breakfast. The more I read about it, the more I wanted to give it a try, even though Saucer was not keen as usual. Anyway, we made it there on a Saturday morning a few weeks back. There was a queue at the entrance when we were there circa 10.30am. Since it was still winter weather that time, and there was no waiting area inside the cafe, we had to wait outside in the cold. It happened to be windy and freezing! Not helping when you’ve got a toddler who always attempted walking towards the busy main road just in front of the cafe. We managed to get a table after about 20 minutes of freezing in the cold and I thought to myself, “This better be worth it”.


View from our table

Their concept was an open kitchen in an ex-industrial joint, very hipster indeed. It was as if we were dining at a cafe in Surry Hills. Once we were seated, we placed our orders for brunch and soaked in the hipster cafe atmosphere. I had read so much about the avo toast so I ordered just that – Return of the Avo on Toast. It came with everything that was stated on the menu: avocado, salsa verde, feta and confit tomatoes on spelt rye bread. Was it good? Yes. Could I have made it myself? Yes, but at probably a small fraction of the price. The price tag for this was $14 which I thought was a bit extravagant considering it was really just a slice of toast with avocado on top.


Return of the Avo on Toast $14

Saucer, on the other hand, had the Baron Benny, which had smoked ham, brioche, 63′ egg, hollandaise and English spinach with a side of mustard and pickle. The egg was perfectly poached and the ham nicely smoked. However, most other places that we had brunch at would usually serve 2 eggs, so when we saw just one, we were rather disappointed. Again, this was something that we could have done at home as well, seeing that Saucer had already perfected the art of poaching eggs.


Baron Benny $15

Overall, even though the food here was good, I don’t think I can justify the prices charged for the portion served. There are so many other cafes with similar food at either half the price or serve double the portion. We didn’t even feel full after that, being Asians and all. :) In this case, as much as I hate to admit it, Saucer was right. It wasn’t worth spending close to $30 on a meal that he could have easily prepared himself for less than a third of the price. Still, it was nice to experience being in a hipster cafe, people-watching and spending time with my loved ones. Little J would agree!


With my cute boy

The Baron
Shop 461, 4-16 Castle St,
Castle Hill, NSW 2154
Tel: 0401 498 877
Website: http://www.whoisthebaron.com

The Baron Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Little J Turned 2!

I’ve been meaning to write this post for ages! But every time I got to the process of sorting out the pictures, I was distracted by something else, either at work or at home. But it’s September now and I told myself if I’m still going to blog about Little J’s birthday, I have to do it now or it will be his next birthday soon! So Little J turned 2 in July, and we decided to throw him a little birthday bash. Even though I said we, obviously I was the one who did most of the prep work and the organising. 😛 Anyway, the theme was Minions, just because that movie was popular during that time and it was easy to get their merchandise for goodie bags, etc. :) We held the party at a bistro at Ettamogah Hotel, because we were going to invite a few kids from the child care and thought that a place with play ground and jumping castle would be best to entertain them.

Jared turns 2

DIY Minion invites

The day before the party, I made some cup cakes and the birthday cake. The cupcakes were banana caramel flavoured with yellow icing, and the birthday cake was a super moist chocolate cake. The chocolate cake actually turned out to be really nice and moist, except that I was a bit disappointed with the frosting on top. We used pre-made icing added with a bit of yellow colouring and that turned out well at first – until we started decorating it with M&M’s. We had to do a few tries with some of the letters and hence, reapplied the icing multiple times, creating an uneven surface on an originally smooth one. Oh well, we still have many other birthday cakes to make in the future, this would serve as our practice session. Most importantly, it tasted great right? :)

Jared turns 2

Banana caramel cup cakes

Jared turns 2

Moist chocolate birthday cake

On the day of the party, we arrived earlier to set up the area with the cup cake stand and goodie bags for the kids. Most of our guests arrived on time so the kids had some time to play at the indoor play ground before food arrived. Here are some of the pictures of Little J having fun!

Jared turns 2

Getting ready to slide!

Jared turns 2

Coming down the spiral slide for the first time!

Jared turns 2

Second time around

Jared turns 2

He made it!

Jared turns 2

Trying to climb up with his friends

Jared turns 2

“Mummy, this place is so fun!”

After playing for about half an hour or so, our food arrived and everyone went back to the table. I originally was worried that we might not have enough food for everyone since we had to cater to the parents as well, but we ended up with lots of leftover! We had a platter of sausage rolls, nuggets, pies and chips for the kids, 2 platters of sandwiches for the adults and another platter of wedges for everyone to share. The wedges were really nice and were the first to go. LOL! We prefer finger food like this so that it’s easier for kids to feed themselves without creating much mess. Little J, on the other hand, was more interested in the fruit juice instead of the food. You can see him in the pictures before trying to grab a sip of his juice whenever he could.

Jared turns 2

Food for the kids

Jared turns 2

“Gimme more juice please!”

Jared turns 2

Sandwiches, wraps and wedges

After lunch, most of the kids left since it was close to their nap time. Little J stayed around for a little while longer since our second cousin’s son wanted to bring him to the jumping castle. It was the first time Little J went inside one and he was a bit apprehensive at first. He kept losing his balance and falling down whenever people around him were running and jumping about, but he soon got used to the idea and started jumping and running himself. In the process, he also kept laughing at himself when he fell down. It was such a heart-warming scene to watch him having fun with other kids.

Jared turns 2

At the jumping castle with Michael

Jared turns 2

Holding on for support at first

Soon, it was time to say goodbye to his friends. He was a bit shy at first but he soon warmed up knowing that they’re actually familiar faces he saw everyday in school. He even ended up hugging his best buddy before saying goodbye! Aww…

Jared turns 2

Best buddies

Jared turns 2

Picture with our aunty and her kids

Overall, our little party was considered a success! The kids had fun at the play area, Little J had lots of fun at the jumping castle and he didn’t throw any tantrum at all the whole time! The only regret we had was not taking enough pictures of us as a family. I was so busy taking pictures of Little J playing and his friends that I totally forgot about pictures of Little J with Saucer and I! In fact we didn’t have a single picture of the 3 of us together that day, and we only realised that after we went home and looked through the camera roll. To make up for it, we took lots of pictures back home just the 3 of us, even though it’s not quite the same.

Jared turns 2

Birthday presents!

We had another birthday celebration on his actual day the next day, with a nice home cooked meal. I’m sure Little J won’t remember having gone through all this when he’s bigger but I do hope that he would enjoy reading about it when he’s old enough. Happy Birthday my dear son! We love you very much!

2 Ingredients Simple Char Siu Recipe

Char Siu or BBQ cooked pork is a famous dish back in Malaysia. After moving to Sydney, however, it is difficult to find good char siu that is cooked to our liking. The char siu that we usually have here is of the Hong Kong origin, where the skin is reddish and BBQ-ed evenly with no charred edges. What we love about the char siu from back home is the slightly charred outer layer and the shiny and sticky caramelised skin that bursts into a multitude of sweet and savoury flavour with every bite. Yes, we love that layer of unhealthy carbon on the skin that gives it a slight crunch and even a little bitterness. Yum! So, what do we do in the absence of good char siu? We make them ourselves of course!


Char Siu Chicken

Now by default, char siu refers to BBQ pork, but during my moment of cravings, I didn’t have pork at home so I replaced that with chicken thigh. This recipe works for both pork and chicken, so feel free to use the meat of your liking. :) This recipe is so simple that anyone, and I mean anyone, can cook this! It’s a short cut way to making yummy char siu without remembering complicated ingredients or steps. This recipe only calls for two ingredients. Yes, only two! That’s not including the meat, just to be technically correct. Are you ready for the simplest recipe ever? :)


  • 2 tbs Hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbs Char siu sauce
  • 600g Meat of your choice (pork belly, chicken thigh, preferred)



1. If using pork belly, remove the skin and cut it into fillets about 2-3cm wide. If using chicken thigh, remove bones and skin.

2. Using the ratio of 1:1, mix the hoisin sauce and char siu sauce with the meat in a bowl/plate and cover with cling wrap. Make sure the mixture is thoroughly mixed and rubbed into the meat.

3. Leave to marinade in the fridge overnight.

4. On day of cooking, preheat oven to 180C.

5. Place marinated meat on baking tray, making sure they lie flat and not overlap each other. Make sure all the remaining sauce is poured in as well.

6. Bake for 20 minutes at 180C, then increase to 250C on grill mode (heat from top only) and grill for 5 minutes or until charred edges appear.

7. Remove from oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

8. Serve with cucumber and tomato slices.


Hot from the oven


Easy Homemade Char Siu

Easy Homemade Char Siu
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Malaysian
Serves: 3-4
  • 2 tbs Hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbs Char siu sauce
  • 600g Meat of your choice (pork belly, chicken thigh, preferred)
  1. If using pork belly, remove the skin and cut it into fillets about 2-3cm wide. If using chicken thigh, remove bones and skin.
  2. Using the ratio of 1:1, mix the hoisin sauce and char siu sauce with the meat in a bowl/plate and cover with cling wrap. Make sure the mixture is thoroughly mixed and rubbed into the meat.
  3. Leave to marinade in the fridge overnight.
  4. On day of cooking, preheat oven to 180C.
  5. Place marinated meat on baking tray, making sure they lie flat and not overlap each other. Make sure all the remaining sauce is poured in as well.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes at 180C, then increase to 250C on grill mode (heat from top only) and grill for 5 minutes or until charred edges appear.
  7. Remove from oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  8. Serve with cucumber and tomato slices.

There you have it! Super easy char siu recipe, passed down to me by dear grandma. Always remember the ratio 1:1 and you won’t go wrong! I’ve never tried it with other brands of sauce but if you have, do share your experience with me. I hope you enjoyed this simple dish as much as I did!