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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Sydneysiders (part 1). The Trip.

My first encounter with Sydney was in 2013, I LOVED it, and had always been wanting to go back to the city ever since. I even did consider moving to Sydney. Thank God, my homesick feeling towards Sydney was ephemeral.

I got the chance to flew back and revisit Sydney and stayed longer than my former trip two years ago.  I’m gonna divide my story about this Sydney trip into three posts. So, stick around.

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Some of my traveling essentials.

I arrived in Sydney on Monday morning, around 11am, after 7 hours of flight from Singapore. The first thing I did was getting a local number at the airport. People told me Optus was the best deal I could get, so I queued for Optus. And they were right, the connection was fast, unlike Jakarta’s provider of course, and it’s quite cheap.

I had to attend Hillsong Conference which was held at the Allphones Arena, Olympic Park (about 40 – 45 minutes by train from the city). From the airport, I went straight to the hotel, Zara Tower, a comfy apartment located at the central of Sydney.

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I just gotta take Bart with me.

The conference was held for 5 days (Monday – Friday) from 9.30 AM to 8.30 PM. So it was quite a tiring trip for the first 5 days, yet was still enjoyable. I loved the train ride experience, I loved the freezin and windy weather, I loved that I got to put some layers on, but at day time, I got to wear shades because it’s sunny.

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Waiting for the train during golden hour.

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Tunnel.

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Park Life. How I wish we could have more of public spaces like this in Jakarta.

Some of the foods I had during the conference were: Hurricanes’s Grill at Darling Harbour, Chat Thai at Campbell Street, Superbowl Chinese Restaurant at Chinatown. The rest of my meals were mostly McDs, some food trucks I found within the Olympic Park, and some snacks I bought via vending machines or at Coles.

Due to the packed schedule of the conference I didn’t get to try more restaurants or coffee shops. And I didn’t get to take a good photos of the foods or restaurants because I was extremely hungry (remember it took about 40 minutes from the Olympic Park to the city, and the conference finished at night, so you do the math. Plus, it was freezin!). But I linked all those restaurants I went to just in case you want to know their menus, addresses, etc. They were all well-known restaurants, nothing hipster about them, but if you’re a first timer in Sydney, I’d recommend those three to you.

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Golden hour at the Olympic Park.

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Taking the train at night to Central Station.

Finally Saturday arrived. I had to check out from Zara Tower very early and moved in to Darling One Apartment (booked via airbnb) with my friend. It was a new experience for me, I had to drag my luggages for a couple blocks, and then waited for a train.

I managed to catch a brunch at Devon Cafe, Surry Hills. I took an Uber to save my time. The brunch was delicate! I’ll tell you more about it in the other post. After Devon, I had to meet my family from my mother side who live in Sydney.  They took me to Bondi, just like last time.

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Bondi Beach. It’s kinda compulsory to visit this beach.

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Me and Grandma.

We had a nice lunch at one of the restaurants in Bondi. And then we continued to meet the rest of my family members and had a Turkish dinner. I went back to the city and joined my friends, strolled around George Street and dropped by at Coles to buy some snacks to be brought back to Indo haha.

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Sydney as snapped from Darling One Apartment’s rooftop.

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Another glimpse of Darling Harbour area.

On Sunday my friends and I decided to go to Sydney Fish Market. I’ve been hooked to its Seafood Platter since my first visit, and had been craving for it since the first day I arrived in Sydney.

Sadly, we forgot that Sunday means crowded house. We should have come on Monday. But never the less, it was still worth our time. I went on a separate way from my friends to meet my best friend, Natalie, who lives in Sydney. It’s her day off so we decided to meet up. She accompanied me shopping in Paddy’s Market, then we strolled around Opera House area, and she took me to try the best scones in Sydney at The Tea Cozy, The Rocks.

After that, we had an early dinner at Menya Noodle Bar, Chinatown. Natalie had to go home, so I went to join my friends at the apartment. Later that night, we decided to hang out at Max Brenner, Central Park.

It was a priceless moment, knowing that it’s Sunday and you didn’t have to worry about waking up early tomorrow for work. The only thing I worried about was how much kilos I gained today. It’s been a full day of non-stop eating and munching. Geesh.

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Sydney Fish Market. My favorite place!

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Sydney Fish Market.

Last day in Sydney was spent with shopping. I woke up early, strolled around Hyde Park, had a pork belly roll from the famous Mr. Crackles, Oxford Street for my breakfast.

I went mall hopping and bought some pants, tees, and shoes. While in Sydney, I surely wouldn’t want to miss the so hype coffee shop called The Grounds of Alexandria. You can read more about it in the other post. The lunch and coffee was splendid.

We continued the day exploring Bondi area, did some shopping again, this time I bought sweaters and shades. Went back to the apartment, had DoDee Paideng for dinner, at Chinatown. This small Thai restaurant is a MUST place to have dinner during winter. They served noddle with various toppings and super fresh and spicy tom yam soup. I literally drooled as I typed this. Sadly, I didn’t take a good photos of the food or the restaurant.

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The Grounds of Alexandria

Late at night, we decided to go for some ice cream. Yes. Ice cream in winter, why not? Thank God, the best gelato in town, Anita Gelato, Central Park, was only a walking distance from our apartment.

My iPhone’s camera roll was full.

My tummy was full.

My luggages were full.

My wallet? Hmm not really.

But more importantly, my heart was full.

Until we meet again, Sydney.

 

HG. (@gersonhenry)