After an amazing eating experience at Lost Heaven in Shanghai, I arrived home hoping Yunnanese food would be Sydney’s next big thing. Enter Two Sticks: a small, fast-paced eatery housed under a bright yellow ribcage, bustling with diners and black-clad staff sporting caps and scout-style yellow neckties.
Sydney's 2014 Chinese New Year Festival, running from the 24th January to the 9th February, is set to be the biggest in our 18-year history, with over 80 events scheduled. Fashion designer Claudia Chan Shaw, one of the City of Sydney’s festival ambassadors, says: “For us, Chinese New Year has always been about getting together and sharing wonderful food with family and friends.”
Lotus Dumpling Bar
Chipping through the brickwork to reveal the Asian heart of Walsh Bay, this new dumpling hot spot is already attracting quite a crowd! The aesthetic is post-industrial Shanghai steampunk, with vintage Edison light globes hanging over a gleaming copper bar, and copper utility pipes echoed in footrests, handrails and shelving.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but if the generic nature of Sydney's café menus is anything to go by, it can be a bit, well - boring. Breakfast at the original New Shanghai outlet in Lemon Grove Plaza should ease any tedium. We’re all down with yum cha, so the breakfast dumpling isn’t a stranger.
Sydney Uyghur Cuisine
Uyghur – to understand this wildly different Chinese cuisine, it helps to situate it – so we’re talking about the northwest corner of China. It’s bordered by Mongolia, India and several of the ‘istans. My Russian cab driver tells me he brings his kids here, because it freaks them out when the Chinese restaurant staff speak to them in Russian.
With the weather taking a decided turn for the worse of late, Lyndey Milan’s latest series Taste of Ireland could not be better timed! It’s currently airing on 7TWO every Sunday at midday until the 17th March. Whilst home-cook hero Lyndey Milan has a knack for making foreign cuisines accessible, if you’re keen to get a taste of simple Irish peasant food without getting your hands dirty, head in to eat Colin Fassnidge’s colcannon at Four in Hand.
Steamboat came to Sydney years ago. I remember it from pre-critic days; mostly as a bland tureen of soup, so large it generally remained the domain of group dining. Later oily, chilli-rich hot pots popped up in Sichuan spots about town; but it was this uber-hip Sydney newcomer that pushed me to finally start ordering them! Economic prosperity has seen individual hot pots grow popular in China for a while, but it took young restaurateur Jiang Jiang and Executive Chef Jason Wong to finally bring them here.
Johnny Wong’s Dumpling Bar
Winter clubbing has never looked quite so convenient, since the emergence of this hip, thirty-seater dumpling bar hidden on the vertical climb to Lo-Fi and The Standard. Sliding onto a stool in the rather snug space, I dive straight into paper trays of Vegetable and Coriander Dumplings ($8.50/5 pieces) and Prawn Gow Gee ($8.50/5 pieces).
Maybe I’ve got a bit of Kath and Kim in me, but I love airports. The holiday starts as I enter the big white open space of a terminal. Once luggage has disappeared, I’m choking in expensive perfume, and eating while jumbo jets take off. It’s my idea of a good time, and at Sydney International Airport, if you bypass the fast-food labyrinth, you’ll find an array of top-notch restaurants and cafés, too.