Thursday, 23 October 2014

Night Noodle Markets 2014, Hyde Park - Sydney

Novelties, crowds, and lanterns.
Wonderbao's pride: the gua baos.

Lots of lanterns.

I know the post is probably a tad bit late, but Night Noodle Markets in back and it's literally bigger than ever. And more crowded than ever too, apparently. Between big assignments and food poisoning (not fun, believe me), I barely have time to put my feet up and having intimate moment with a bowl of ice cream, let alone visiting this great event too often. I did go twoce though, before things got too hectic and ugly in my life.

I'll let the pictures talk once again, but look out for the red, bold names because they are my absolute highlights and favourites of this year's NNM.


Red lanterns. Lots of them. So great for selfies.

Hoy Pinoy is a new contributor this year, comes all the way from Melbourne. This MUST be one of your priorities as soon as you touch down the park. The pork belly skewers are one of the bests I've tried during my visits; tender and succulent with lip-smacking, tasty marinade. And I was also informed that the marinade involves some banana ketchup. Banana ketchup!

Hoy Pinoy: pork belly skewers ($10 for 2) with rice and unripe papaya/atchora ($3)

The chicken inasals are not inferior either; juicy, boneless chicken chunks with sticky, sweet marinade that will make you seriously consider whether or not you should spend the next $50 on these skewers alone.

Hoy Pinoy: chicken inasal - $10 for 2

Wonderbao stall. Finally we meet!


Did somebody say they've seen too many of these in social medias lately? I don't know what you're talking aBAOt.

Wonderbao, another visitor from Melbourne, is one of the main reasons I have such high determination to visit NNM this year. They offer the gua baos and normal, closed buns, but we settled happily with the gua baos alone.

Eat ALL the baos!

Two of the baos have pork belly, and my preference goes to the braised pork belly with pickled mustard leaves, coriander, and crushed peanuts. Oh that tender pork belly, with crunchy and tangy mustard leaves and some sprinkles of crushed peanuts; too amazing for words. The fried tofu is surprisingly remarkable as well with crispy skin and silky innards. The buns themselves are pillowy soft.

Wonderbao gua baos - $20 for 3

Jackie M's char kway teow is another must-try. It's rather fiery and the wok hei is profound with some lovely charred edges here and there. I wish I wasn't sharing this. Best CKT I've had, hands down.

Jackie M's char kway teow - $18

How pretty are these?


I've been meaning to try Harajuku Gyoza but never got the chance. When I saw the name on the attendance list, I made sure to get everything on the menu. Our best choice is the chicken kaarage; juicy and tender chunks of lightly battered chicken with some aioli. Lots of adoration is poured more onto the moist pork gyoza; perfectly pan fried. The salted caramel gyoza serves well as a light dessert with warm, oozy salted caramel inside the fried jacket.

Harajuku Gyoza: (clockwise) chicken karaage, pork gyoza, salted caramel gyoza with ice cream, duck gyoza



Bao Stop's stall: bao making action.

Bao Stop's baos: fried chicken gua bao (would be much better with some more moisture on the chicken) and braised pork belly gua bao (winner between the two; tender pork belly with perfect amount of fat layer and great condiments) - $7.5 ea


Lion dance!

XLB making action at New Shanghai stall.

Woofy's dogs.

Gelato Messina.

Have you had your Messina today?


Gelato Messina's Lucky Fortune Bar with their epic pot luck creations is beyond popular with sweettooth and non-sweettooth alike. Come late and find yourself across the park lining up for one of their creative products.

I came the second time just for this and really, no regrets. This one's Street Hawker: lime & chocolate brownie, peanut gelato, coconut & caramel jam, fortune cookie clusters, and a giant peanut cookie.

While the peanut gelato is as unbelievably awesome as usual, and all the cookies give great texture contrast, I find that eating the whole thing can be quite a struggle for a person. There's so many things happening in the cup!

Gelato Messina's Lucky Fortune Bar: Street Hawker - $9

Let's Go Yumcha: chicken siumays, har gaos, vegetarian dumpling ($10 for 5)

Because I like stalking other people's food.

Jackie M's roti canai. Looks great.

Korean potato on a stick. Crowd pleaser, as per usual.

Panda lantern on the entry.

And the neko (lucky) cat that cannot be missed!


I barely scratched the surface of the event and honestly, there are so many things I wanna try there. Let's see if I can make another visit before it's gone for another year!

A tip: come early. They start at 4 on weekdays and 5 on weekends, and it would be super beneficial if you can come even earlier than that. Go straight to the stalls that may develop crazy queue soon enough. Some of the food has huge novelty factors but hey, it's an annual event, surely we can all have some fun with some rice burgers and pad thai hot dogs, right?

At least go pay Wonderbao a visit before 26th October!

P. S. Check Michael's (I'm Still Hungry) unbelievably detailed and borderline fanatical post of NNM here. You'll be drooling all over your keyboard.

Currency: $1 = IDR 11,000



Hyde Park
Elizabeth St
Sydney, NSW 2000

Good Food Month 2014
Night Noodle Markets 2014

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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Bun Mese, Darlinghurst - Sydney

Nothing like a mouthful of Vietnamese pork roll after a long day.
Bun Mese's Vietnamese rolls

And maybe a few scoops of ice cream too. But mainly the Vietnamese pork rolls.

I've never been to Bun Mese's actual location in Darlinghurst, but I get to sample each of its roll creation thanks to their generosity. It is said that the three founders and owners, Jada Vi, Huy Nguyen, and Johnny Tran have done their extensive research in order to formulate the best roll with their 'perfect amount of crunch and chew'.

Such generous package!

The menu list isn't like any other Vietnamese bread roll shop; there's no 'chicken roll' or 'BBQ pork roll' on the catalogue, instead, you'll read it with piqued attention to the names of 'Cha Cha Chicken' and 'Pigsy'.

I'll refrain from explaining in great detail for each of them or I'll spend your whole day story-telling.

Just the half of them

Bun Mese's roll itself is very praiseworthy. The bread is as promised; crusty outside and fluffy inside. For those who are fearful of crusty bread cutting your lips and gums, rest assured, this one will do no such sin. The vegetables are given generously; a multitude of pickled carrots, cucumber, shallot, coriander, lovely tangy daikon, and chopped red chillies.

Slathers of mayo, and pate in some, are in a perfect ratio to get the delicious  juices flowing without spoiling the crustiness of the bread.
However, among the six, here's my favourite.

The Pigsy.

When BBQ pork comes into my sight, I tend to overlook other things. The world suddenly rotates around the juicy, (usually) sticky meat and the sparks between us are so tangible.

I'm quite impressed about the amount of BBQ pork in this roll. The irresistible sweetness from the meat is laced firmly on every bite, lifting the overall climax.

Pigsy - roasted pork with pate and hoisin sauce, mayo, cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, shallot, coriander, and hot chillies

As someone who would go to Marrickville just to get Vietnamese pork roll fix, I declare my undying love for the classic pork roll with those three layers of pork squished happily in their colourful friends. Some mayo and pate; I'll be happy to eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Ol' School roll ticks all the right boxes.

And the pate is superb. I usually don't like pate and hate it when it goes too potent on my pork roll, but this one is just right.

Ol' school - the classic pork roll with three layers of pork

The Disco Beef, Cha Cha Chicken and Peaking Duck are no less delightful with each of its own superiority. The beef fillet is tender and juicy, combining gracefully with the creamy mayo. Both birds are also succulent, and although I don't know what exactly the special sauce is, it sure is tasty.

Disco beef - beef eye fillet, mayo, cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, shallot, coriander, and hot chillies

Cha cha chicken - chicken strips in special sauce and pate


Peaking duck - roast duck with pate and hoisin sauce

I actually applauded myself for enjoying the The Vege so much. I'm not usually this excited about vegetarian options but them mushrooms! So juicy and the mix of the sauce intensifies the flavour. And I'm telling you, mentioning this one last doesn't mean I like them the least. Herbivores or carnivores; you'll adore this healthy piece of beauty.

The Vege - shitake mushrooms, mayo, cucumber, carrots, daikon, shallot, coriander, chilli, and special soy sauce

I don't know if it's just me, but I kinda prefer my chillies to be sliced instead of chopped. Personal taste, of course.


I don't give ratings to non-restaurant reviews but I can confirm the rolls' deliciousness. They surely did not do the research in vain.

Disclaimer: Irene's Getting Fat! receives Bun Mese rolls courtesy from Bun Mese and The Bamboo Garden. Thank you guys very much! However, all opinions based on my personal taste.



Shop 2, 304 Victoria Street
Darlinghust, NSW 2010

Phone: (02) 8086 5639

Web: Bun Mese

Bun Mese on Urbanspoon

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Sunday, 12 October 2014

Smooth Chocolate Festival, The Rocks - Sydney

Let's bath in chocolate, shall we?
Baskets of Tejas chocolate - one of the most amazing chocolate shops!

OK, maybe not literally, but with all of those great places and shops, it was hard not to buy and sample each product. It took me my whole willpower not to get diabetes in one day.

Smooth Chocolate Festival is over but I can still feel the hype in my bones. It was a part of the Good Food Month, showcasing the best (both chocolate and non-chocolate) products and also providing opportunity for local business to shine.

The crowd was crazy, to say the least.

Let's do the picture recap!


Humans. So many humans.

More humans.

La Maison De L'Eclair display window. THEM ECLAIRS.

The flavours ranged from mojito, berries, salted caramel, peanut butter. And the list goes on.

I think these ones were dark chocolate & salted caramel, and mojito.

Macarons. Pretty petite macarons.

Mak Mak macarons. So popular.

Lovely friendly ladies from Tejas Chocolate.

They have four types of chocolate: original, coffee, passionfruit, Inca berry.

Because they say life is like a box of chocolate. I wish I have ten lives then.

Oh why hello Vanny!

Honey puffs. Deep fried fluffy donuts with aromatic cinnamon and sweet honey. Moreish.

One of the highlights of the day: Knafeh Bakery (@knafehbakery)

It's mobile food truck specializing in one dish and one dish only.

The Knafeh. Sweet cheese and semolina pudding with caramelized crust on top with some crushed pistachio and sugar. Best served warm, and shared. Definitely recommended.

Of course I spied on others' food. Gozleme was spotted.

The Choc Pot; one of my favourite dessert places. The choc fudge brownie was so rich, chocolatey, and maybe a tad bit too sweet for me. I don't have a strong sweettooth, you see.

Presenting their new products. Chocolate soil, salted caramel spread, and more.

This chocolate drinking soil is included in the hamper sent to me. All we have to do is add hot milk!

Love Dem Apples' display window. They are Granny Smith apples coated in chocolate, cookie crumbs, peanuts; basically anything and everything you can think of. Toffee apples on steroid.

I love the contrast between the tangy apple and the sweet coating, but again, maybe a wee bit too sugary for me. Don't judge. It's still delicious.

Another highlight: The Cut's pork ribs.

And these boys were the best! The original portion only consisted of two ribs but they gave us three.

Three amazing, succulent, smokey, finger-licking good pork ribs = three happy, very happy, girls.

More savouries just because. We hit Korean grill.

BBQ rib wrap - with lettuce, tomato, and aioli. Filling and met our vegetables intake for the day. The BBQ rib was so lip-smacking tasty, I forgot to eat like a proper lady.

Some refreshing lemonade to wash it all down.

Then we head off to Bar 100 to bond over some canapes and chocolate-based cocktails. Pictured are pizza and arancini balls.


My memory fails me and I really can't remember the name of these drinks. We got the tasting platter to try our three new friends here. Each shot was interesting on their own way, but let's just say that creamy cocktails and I don't really make friends.

More spying ensued. Great and fluffy waffle from Pardon My French.

I don't know which one's cuter: the little sweet girl or Serendipity's ice cream on a stick.

Massive hot dogs from Lowenbrau pop-up shop.

Callebaut Test Kitchens, where you watch the chefs taking rabbits out of their hats. I mean, mixers.

I was too busy stuffing myself silly with food I only managed to get into one test kitchen: Dean Gibson's croffle session.

What are those and what is croffle, you ask?

Croffle is a hybrid between croissant and waffle. Served with chilli chocolate sauce (the toothpaste tubes are for this sauce), raspberry caramel sauce, honeycomb, vanilla bean ice cream and salty caramel popcorn. I savoured each bite slowly and ended up craving heavily for more. I have decided that I may like croffle more than cronut.

I guess I didn't eat much chocolate after all, but that festival was so much fun. I also missed on Messina (SAY WHATTT) because the queue was intolerable. I gotta say, though, I started Good Food Month in the sweetest way!


Disclaimer: Irene's Getting Fat! receives hamper and VIP access to Bar 100 courtesy of Smooth FM and Nova. Thank you very much! All other food were bought at my own cost and all opinions are based on my personal taste.



The Rocks
Sydney, NSW 2000

Good Food Month 2014
Smooth Chocolate Festival

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