Sydney’s Exploration: A Small Alley, A Night Market, and Plenty of Sushi Kiosks

Sorry for the long absence. For the first time in forever, managing this blog and consistently creating content for The Perks of Being 20 become quite challenging. But here I am, trying my best to fight through!

Right now I’d like to write about this little alley, called Spice Alley, located in Kensington Street, Sydney. This particular alley is a home for 6 hawker-style eateries, decorated with artistically painted walls and glowing lanterns. You can find Singaporean dishes at Alex Lee Kitchen, Thai cuisines at Bang Luck Thai Street Food, Malaysian spices at Old Jim Kee, Cantonese street food at Hong Kong Diner, Japanese foods at Kyo-to and Vietnamese fares at Viet. Vogue magazine even recommend this place as one of the top 5 best date night places in Sydney.

Although I’ve been to Sydney three times, it was only until last year that I knew this place exist! It’s located very near to one of my favorite ice cream spot in Sydney, Anita Gelato. Thanks to my cousins, Omar and Berra, who took me here after our short exploration at the Wedding Cake Rock.

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Although I was extremely starving when I got there, I was a bit stuck deciding on what to eat. If you know me well, I’m the kind of person who could order a lot of foods for one meal. So having too many (food) options was never easy for me. After strolling around a few times, I decided to order from the Hong Kong diner, simply because I’ve been to Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and I’ve eaten plenty of Japanese and Vietnamese foods in Indo.

I ordered the Beef Brisket Noodle and BBQ Pork Bun. As you can see from the photo below, they serve the beef brisket very generously! The broth was very comforting especially in the middle of Sydney’s winter breeze. Sadly, I was so gassy I could not finish them all, I even had to take home the buns. I’d definitely go back here during my next visit to Sydney, which I don’t know when.

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While I’m at it, I think it’d be harmless if I share to you another culinary spot that I really love to visit whenever I’m in Sydney. It’s the night market at Chinatown, which only happens every Friday night. If you are really hungry, you should pay a visit at this uber nice Chinese restaurant, Superbowl. But if you’re like me, who can’t resist buying a lot of different variety of foods at the same time, then you should enjoy the food stalls.

My first go to stall is the Emperor’s Puff. This one is to-die-for! I’ve never seen this stall without a long queue. It’s best to enjoy them during winter, because the puffs are always freshly baked. You’d love the warm vanilla filling inside the puff! The price is also very cheap as you can see in the photo below.

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My second must-have at the Chinatown Night Market is the pork bak kwa (barbecued pork jerky). I forgot how much it costs, but everything in this area is pretty much cheap so you wouldn’t mind spending a little bit more here to indulge your tastebuds and tummy.

After having those two, I just let my feet take me around the area, and let my eyes picked random stall that looks appetizing to me. Some of my highlights were the large potato stick, they are super crispy and savoury; and seafood takoyaki. By the time I finished my bowl of takoyaki I was already bloated, and most of the stalls were already closing down.

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Now, if you are an avid fan of sushi like me, you would love Sydney because in almost every mall or public place it’s easy to find a sushi kiosk. My favorites are Sushi Hub and Hero Sushi. I spent my last day in Sydney literally having Sushi all day, twice at the Westfield Paramatta, and one big closure at the Sydney airport while waiting for my flight. I’m definitely one happy kid when it comes to enjoying sushi in Sydney!

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Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

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While in Sydney: Getting On Top Of A Wedding Cake On A Winter Day

“Do you have any particular place that you want to visit this time?” My cousins (Omar and his wife, Berra) asked me via Whatsapp when they knew that I have arrived in Sydney. Since it was already my third visit, I kinda felt like I had no specific place that I should put in my itinerary. All I wanted to do was to meet my family who live there and spend a good time with them.

My cousins ended up recommending me some good places for trekking and sight-seeing: Blue Mountains, The Wedding Cake Rock, Barrnejoey Lighthouse, Balmoral Boatshed, Lincolns Rock, Wentworth Falls Lookout, Zigzag Railway and let me decide which one to visit. So, I ended up Google-ing those places and chose the Wedding Cake Rock. It promises a nice view through a short-trekking route. And, since I’m always a fan of going to high places, might as well doing it in a new place like Sydney. Besides, I’ve explored the cityscape quite enough during my last two visits.

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The route to the Wedding Cake Rock took about one hour by car from my cousins’ apartment, which was in the Sydney Olympic Park area. We dropped by at McDonald’s to get some soft serve and light bites. The entrance to the wedding cake rock was located within a real estate. We parked our car at the nearest empty parking spot that we could find.

I don’t know what I was thinking when I picked my outfit that day. It’s like I completely forgot that I was about to go for a trekking. I wore the wrong shoes, I wore a three-layers of knitted t-shirt, short-sleeved shirt and a parka (considering that it would be windy and cold), completely ignoring the fact that hiking would make me sweat. While my cousins walked comfortably wearing running shoes, training pants, tee and jacket, I was busy regretting my choice of outfit. Especially the moment I saw the entrance, which was a narrow path of sandy floors. Well, the city was one hour away and I couldn’t order a Gojek to bring the proper outfit for me. So better make it count!

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The Entrance.

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Oi Oi Oi!

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The Tasman Sea

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Berra with her selfie-stick

 

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The trekking took about 30-40 minutes depend on how fast you walk. On your way there, you will pass The Balcony, a nice stop for you to enjoy the scenic view while (of course) taking photos.

Wedding Cake Rock (also known as White Rock), is actually a sandstone rock formation located in the Royal National Park, near Bundeena, New South Wales, Australia. The height is only about 25 metres above sea level, but still, falling from it would cause you death. The rock was actually fenced due to safety concerns, because according to a survey, the rock was unstable and it would collapse into the Tasman Sea within the next decade.

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The Balcony

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Omar and Berra

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Posing at the balcony with the Tasman Sea as my background

However, when we got there, all the tourists were already on the other side of the fence. Apparently they climbed it and already queueing for photo opp. There were even little kids and old people (I wonder how did they climb the fence). Anyway, of course my cousins and I joined the crowd. While at the same time hoping that there will be no security whatsoever.

Trust me, I’ve been on the top of high buildings, volcanoes, hills, etc, but this one is different. It’s a cliff! With an edge, where the only thing that separates you from death is your balance. I started to walk very slowly and cautiously towards the edge, carefully placed my ass until I sat comfortably and couldn’t even dare to look down. We spent quite some time there to get all the beautiful photos we could possible get.

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I rarely hold my phone with two hands, but this is an exception. Sitting on the edge of that cliff was scary enough, holding my phone with one hand was scarier that’s why.

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Do you guys see any resemblance?

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Berra was the most excited one to see the wedding cake rock. But not until she had to sit on that cliff. She crawled her way to the edge, and almost cried sitting on top of it. 

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Missing these two already, even though I just met them last week in Bali.

After about half an hour we decided to walk back, this time we walked faster because we were all hungry. On our way back to the car, Berra spotted this swing inside a house. Berra wanted to take a photo with the swing, and insisted that the owner would let us get in. Omar refused the idea, but as always.. happy wife, happy husband. Next thing I knew, we were already inside the front yard, while Omar knocking on the front door. There was an old man showed up and with his permission, we were allowed to take some photos in his property.

What a good day to be remembered indeed!

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Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

Postcards From Sydney: Fallin’ In Love For The Third Time Around

“Sydney? Again?”
Most people reacted like that when they heard that I’m going to Sydney for the third time. They failed to understand why on earth would I keep coming back and forth to Sydney.

“If I were you, I would use the money to travel to other cities on earth,” so they said. As much as I agreed on their comeback, somehow, there’s something about Sydney that makes me feel like it’s always a trip to second home (probably, partly because I still have a close family who lives there).

Now, after the third visit, I departed from Sydney shedding a little tear wondering whether I can come back for more or not. How about I just spend the next season of my life in Sydney? It’s all in my head. Not sure whether I should act on it right away.

This time in Sydney, I found comfort and felt confident in wandering around and exploring the city alone. I enjoy every single experience of getting the wrong bus, walking a bit too far because I took the wrong turn, hopping on and off the trains all by myself. Will tell you more details about this trip, but for now, please do enjoy some photos I captured from this beautiful city.

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First time witnessing double rainbow at Shelly Beach. 


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Captured this by iPhone 5S. One eye-spoiling sunset!


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Symmetrical. Captured this when I took the wrong train to Macquarie.


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Stumbling upon this “urban”-ish and “instagenic” train tunnel.


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In Indonesia, I had to hike to high places to watch sunrise. In Sydney, I woke up and opened my eyes to this beautiful sunrise from my cousin’s apartment. 


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Marchin’ on a hill.


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Sunbathing. Not On A Sand. But On A Grass Field.


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Climb Up, Climb Up.


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Nap Time At The Park.


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Should I Dip My Feet On The Water?


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Architectural.


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Temptation For A Munching Machine. 


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Reminds Me Of That Groceries Store Corner That I Saw Once In Monocle.


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The Popular Bondi Beach.


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What You Lookin’ At?


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Will I Find Love Inside?

 

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

The Flat White Culture

Hello everyone! This is going to be my very first post on this blog and let’s talk about coffee, specifically the flat whites! What can I say about Aussie’s flat white, except that it is the most amazing 6.5 ounce cup of coffee.

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Posin’ in front of Single O

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Bonnie Coffee Shop

I just recently came back from Aussie, I went to Melbourne and Sydney. Naturally when I’m in Aussie, all that I drink was their coffee. I myself love pour over coffee, whether it’s a batch brew or freshly made over V60. But then, when in Aussie, flat white is a must have. Why is that? Because it’s the best! Here’s the thing, you should know that in order to brew a good cup of coffee, there are many factors to consider.

From the altitude of where the beans were planted, the moment the beans were picked out in the farm, to the drying process, roasting and whose the roaster, then to the grinder which is actually more important than the espresso machine, then of course to the hand of the barista who pull the shots from the espresso machine, and also how the barista froth the milk.

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Patricia Coffee

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Kingswood Coffee Shop

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Reuben Hills Coffee Shop

Now, in between these important process, other factors that can produce a nice velvety cup of coffee are both water and milk.

Water and milk in Aussie are just different than the ones we have here in Indonesia, well actually the beans as well, but we can always buy the better beans. You see water and milk are something we can’t just bring back here. They delicately filtered their tap water into their machine. I heard they even do cupping for water, isn’t that extreme? LOL. Their milk contain different protein level, fat percentage, and consistency than ours here, so it gives out a different kind of sweetness in your cup of coffee. Because of all this, their flat white has unique taste. I know for sure that you can’t find it anywhere else in the world except in Aussie. Even the flat whites in Melbourne and Sydney tasted differently.

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Market Lane Coffee

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Duke’s Roaster

Let me describe the taste; first when you sip that velvety thick brown coffee it will surprise you with a nice aroma of either yummy bread or floral scent. As you swirl it in your mouth the taste will start to dance in your taste palette. Either it’s very sweet like biscuits or it’s very fruity and juicy. Then as it finishes, the after taste is clean and satisfying. Imagine that!

Not all coffee shop there serve this kind of flat whites, but here’s a few of good places where you can try for a good cup of flat white. When in Melbourne, go to: Bonnie Coffee, Duke Roasters, Proud Mary, Patricia, and Market Lane. When in Sydney you can try Single O, Reuben Hills, Paramount, Campos, and Kingswood.

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Melbourne Finest Art

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The quiet side of Sydney

I’m guessing ever people’s experience on their cup of coffee is different. For me coffee is life, I can hardly function without it and I so happen to own a coffee shop with my husband. We try our best everyday to serve the best out of what we have and we invite people to experience coffee through our coffee shop. We try to educate each customer that come into our place by giving them selections to what they want to experience that day.

So… I hope you can experience good coffee and have an awesome day!

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Meet the backside of my husband, Alfred. LOL.

Talk to you later,

SC. (@callistasarah)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Postcard from Australia: Fashion, Generations Apart

As interesting as Australia was, it wouldn’t be as much interesting without its people. I personally think the variant type of people in Australia is the reason behind such an lively country. Take a day out in Melbourne or Australia and you can spot different kinds of people with their own fashion expressions and freedom. Unlike Jakarta, we are so much condoned to the norms of looking good.

It doesn’t stop in fashion. Stroll around, take time to talk to new people and you will find their independent expressions through their speech and opinionated conversation, which are harder to find in Asian countries.

During my 2 and a half weeks of roaming through Melbourne and Sydney, I had the most fun exploration because of its people. As much as possible I will try to talk to them, get to know them better and explore their principles that created such strong standpoints in their day to day life. Believe it or not, I came back with stronger conviction and higher level of ignorance towards what people say about my life.

Who says traveling doesn’t teach you anything?

Anyways, here is a postcard, dedicated to the locals of Australia who are bold enough to stand for what they believe in, yet humble enough to accept differences.

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Because deadline doesn’t stop chasing during lunch time.

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They say denim is democracy.

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Cause and effect: booze

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Toothy smile, don’t care.

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Afternoon walk.

 

 

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He’s halfway to become Gandalf.

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She’s the older version of J.K. Rowling.

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The world will just have to wait.

 

I am going to stop before I start rambling on and on about my love towards Australia, you have probably read that enough from my travel blog.

Anyway, wish us the best of luck as we hike Rinjani tomorrow morning! We would really love to stay alive and write more blog posts for you.

 

Keep exploring,

DR. (@demasryan)

Sydneysiders (part 3). Layers.

Traveling to Sydney during winter could be quite tricky and challenging. The temperature could drop to below 10 degree celcius in the morning (and at night), with a super cold breeze slapping your face that could possibly make your skin feels numb. But, at day light it’s mostly sunny, and you just wanna take off your jacket that you wore in the morning, hang around in tee and put your shades on.

The challenge was real. I felt like bringing my entire closet, but I also wanted to travel light. So I just brought two parkas, some shirts, one skinny jeans, two sweaters, one knitted shawl, and two pair of shoes to survive the whole 9 days in Sydney. How did I survive? Mix and match of course.

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Sweater: Topman; Long Sleeved Denim Shirt: Topman; Shades: H&M; Skinny Jeans: Topman; Kicks: Nike

First OOTD picture in Sydney. Found this half bricked walls with some shadow play. A little tips to get a good OOTD photo: be aware of your surroundings, any stairs, any cool background or walls, if it’s shadow-ish (not compulsory) there goes your spot.

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Another shadow play

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Yeap. And, another shadow play. Turtle Neck Sweater: H&M; Parka: Pull and Bear.

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And, another one HAHA. Accidentally wearing all stripes and black outfit with my troops. Shawl: H&M; Stripes Tee: Topman; Kicks: Nike Airmax. 

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Parka and Kicks.

Below is one example of my mix and match game. I’ve worn the long sleeved denim shirt before with a sweater to gain a preppy look. In this look below, I wore the same shirt, but I only buttoned the first two buttons, wore a black long tee inside, and paired it with my black parka (rolled it up a bit to show the long sleeved underneath) to gain a street style look. Put on a snapback to complete the look, and a high-top white kicks. Voila, there I was enjoying the night scene of Sydney’s downtown.

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Mix and match game strong.

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Exploring Hyde Park. Round Hat: Paddy’s Market; Parka: H&M; Tee: Topman; Kicks: Adidas

There were plenty of sale in almost every malls and shopping center, which made me broke. One of my takeaways from Sydney was this pair of navy blue suede Adidas Pro Model Vintage DLX.

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And I just had to wear it right away.

If you’re into shopping, other than malls and stores, you might wanna try to check out the Paddy’s Market where you can get some cool stuff with friendly prices. You could also check some cool stores in Bondi area, and also The Rocks market which are only available on weekends.

I was being so blessed, because my cousin, Omar, who’s a Sydney based shoe and leather goods designer gave me a pair of suede Oxford shoes and a leather wallet from his own brand, Seer. So I came to Sydney with two pair of shoes, and I went home with four pair of shoes. Life’s just beautiful. LOL.

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New hat. New shoes. New wallet

So to close this post, here are some tips that you might find useful for traveling, especially to Sydney:

  1. Do some research. What are the current trends in your destination, how do people dress themselves in your destination. You wanna blend in but you also wanna stand out at the same time. You don’t wanna look underdressed but you also don’t wanna look overdressed. So yea.
  2. Make an outfit plan. Know what you wanna wear every day during your trip because will help you to pack better.
  3. Shop in advance. Sydney’s winter season is in mid-year, while the rest of the winter countries are in the end of the year. So if you visit Sydney during winter, don’t go looking for a new coat or jacket or any other winter outfit just few weeks before you depart. Go shop in December, the latest in February (sometimes the product you want might already be in end of season sale).
  4. Do an online window shopping before you go, check out what are the cool stores or local brands that are not available in your country. Shopping is always permitted during holidays, but there’s no point in buying things that are already available in your own country. Right?
  5. Bring plenty of underwear and socks!
  6. Bring at least two pair of kicks, a comfy ones, that won’t make you feel cranky after having a long walk.
  7. Shades is a must. Be it during spring, summer, fall or winter. Everytime the sun is up, the shades is on.

 

HG. (@gersonhenry)

Sydneysiders (part 2). Tonguegasm.

So, as I’ve mentioned in the first part of my Sydney trip post, I’ll be dividing the 9 days stories of my second visit to Sydney into three posts. I’ve posted the whole sums of the trip and you can check out some places that I visited (I linked em all to their website) in Sydney.

Now, I’ll share with you 5 other highly recommended places that got me hooked and made me wanna come back next time. The places that were not only Instagrammable but also served various scrumptious dishes and coffees and desserts that had given me a tonguegasm experience.

First up is Devon Cafe in Surry Hills. Located in one of the hippest places in Sydney, Devon was really easy to find, and was actually very near to the Central Station.

Their tagline, “Asian fusion food and coffee in a hip hangout with graffitied walls and a private courtyard,” just really says it all. My friends and I ordered three kind of dishes and just decided to share it, because their portions were undeniably big. We ordered Truffle Fries (which was probably the BEST truffle fries I ever had), Eggs Blini (salmon on a pancake), and their signature dish, Breakfast with the Sakuma’s (roasted king salmon served with potato noodle, clam and miso butter, onsen egg, furikake, enoki and chives).

We were all got so blown out by our first bite of the Breakfast with the Sakuma’s! It was beyond words delicious that we wouldn’t want the experience to end. I just had one of the best tastebuds-pampering brunch in my life.

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Eggs Blini

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The tonguegasm trinity: Breakfast with the Sakuma’s (left), Eggs Blini (center), Truffle Fries (right).

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Devon Cafe. Address: 76 Devonshire St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia. Phone:+61 2 9211 8777. Hours: 8AM – 3.30PM.

Next up is my “must-visit-place-in-Sydney”, the Sydney Fish Market, which, as stated on their website, offers six wet fish retailers offer Australia’s biggest variety of fresh seafood. SFM also features numerous restaurants and cafés, bakery, butcher, gourmet deli, greengrocer, bottle shop, fishing supplies store and gift shop.

My friends who live in Sydney told me to just grab the seafood platter from Peters (one of the six retailers in SFM) which could be consumed by 4-6 people, and some sushi from the Sushi Bar.

You can enjoy the yummiest fresh seafood at the outdoor area.

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The seafood platter from Peters.

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Sydney Fish Market. Address: Bank St & Pyrmont Bridge Road, Sydney NSW 2009, Australia. Phone:+61 2 9004 1100. Hours: 7AM – 4PM.

Third up, is Mr. Crackles! So it was my last day in Sydney, woke  up feeling hungry and wanting to have a good breakfast. A friend of mine mentioned this yummy pork roll in Oxford Street, so off I went.

Mr Crackles is a mini open-front shop that sells cup of pork crackles, pork belly rolls and chicken katsu rolls. Mr. Crackles’ famous for their exquisite pork belly which takes 3 days to prepare, as quoted from their website, followed by 10 hours of slow braising to create the melt in the mouth texture.

And no kidding! I ordered the Crackles Classic, and when they gave it to me, I immediately wanted to finish it off. That’s the reason why I only could take one good photo of it, because as soon I had my first bite, I just wanna stop taking photos and really treasure my pork belly rolls.

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Mr. Crackles. Address: 155 Oxford St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia. Phone:+61 2 8068 2832. Hours: 11.30AM – 9.30PM.

Now, after Mr. Crackles, The Grounds of Alexandria was next. The place was actually an old pie factory turned into an area of cafe, semi-outdoor restaurants, and stalls, interiorized in brick walls and an organic garden.

The Grounds served homestyle food and, as they say, the best specialty coffee in town. So what’s for late lunch? The Grounds Burger for sure, a cup of coffee (I ordered flat white), and some tartlets (I ordered a salted caramel tartlet, while my friend got a mixed fruit tartlet).

The place was super nice, you can also get a homemade donuts with choco spread inside, and fresh lemonades at the stalls around the cafe.

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The famous green cup

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the Ground burger

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Mixed fruit and salted caramel choco tartlets

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Homemade donuts.

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Fresh lemonade! The Grounds of Alexandria. Address: 7A, 2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015, Australia. Phone:+61 2 9699 2225. Hours: 7AM – 4PM.

Last but not least. After a full day of indulging myself with delicious foods, I chose to spend my last night in Sydney trying the famous Anita Gelato. Ice cream on winter night, why not? Hashtag while in Sydney haha.
This ice cream shop offers various flavors of Italian style ice cream. After being confused for like 5 minutes, I decided to go with my all time favorite flavor, Salted Caramel, plus White Chocolate, plus Pistachio. Yes, sweet tooth gone wild.
HG. (@gersonhenry)
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I just wanna try everything.

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Anita Gelato. Address: Ground Floor, Central Park, 28 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2006, Australia. Phone:+61 2 8097 8508