Photos by Kitty.
As I explained in an earlier post, a few days ago I had my first ever breakfast curry. What I didn’t realise at the time was how easy it is to get curry for breakfast in Malaysia.The last two days I’ve had a hearty bowl of chicken and potato curry with two pieces of freshly made Indian roti canai. Talk about a good way to start the day.
Photo by Kitty of Beach Garden Resort’s Roti Canai
Kit and I spent the weekend in Melbourne. One of my favourite things about Melbourne is the food. The variety and quality is hard to beat.
Supper Inn was really tasty and popular on Friday night, they were turning away the crowds as usual. We had salt & pepper king prawns, stir fried kai-lan with garlic (yum) and steamed rice. It was simple Cantonese food, but so fresh and full of flavour. The menu is comprehensive with lots of specialties including crispy pigeon, which we avoided.
Liagon street was as good as usual. We tried Trotters on Saturday night. Nice, but not as good as Tiamos for Sunday lunch. Tiamo’s does really good simple pastas. Tiamo’s sister restaurant, Tiamo 2, is currently closed due to renovations but due to reopen soon.
Flinders street station is amazingly busy. This busyness supports specialist food places, including one that predominantly sells fries. Chips is a better description, fat ones. Handcut and served in either cardboard cones or boxes. Your choice of sauce and less than five bucks.
Brunswick Street Fitzroy, like a lot of the city, was grotty. We still found a great modern Vietnamese place for lunch called Red Rice. Apparently they do red rice, we saw it being delivered to another table. The food was great, not your typical Vietnamese. We had two appetizers each, plus a large serve of Asian salad greens with a Vietnamese dressing.
The only thing I dislike about food in Melbourne is the acceptance of smoking in outdoor eating areas. The weather was beautiful, we would have loved to eat outside except that we didn’t want someone’s dirty cigarette ruining our meal.
At least once a week I order the Bún Bò Huế (Spicy Beef Noodle Soup) from Viet Hoah Restaurant in West End, Brisbane. It has to be my all time favourite soup, words can’t describe the mix of flavours contained. I like it much more than Phở which seems to be more popular here in Australia. Bún Bò Huế contains round rice noodles whereas Phở usually has flat rice noodles.
Viet Hoah charge less than nine bucks for it, which is incredible considering it always fills me up for lunch or dinner. I can’t think of a better way to spend the cash.
With the surplus of working days this leap year, Kitty and I thought it would be nice to have a three day weekend.
After reading so many good reviews we decided to venture the half block to Piaf, a French styled bistro for lunch. Our expectations were sky high and unfortunately weren’t entirely met. I had rice paper rolls to start which were a little too sweet for my taste. I also would have preferred a runnier, homemade sauce rather than the straight thick hoisin (with peanuts) on offer. The belly pork that I had for main was also very sweet. It was a huge serve (of meat) but had very little accompanying green and rice. It would have enjoyed it more if it was three times less meat and three times more green. Kitty’s veg linguine was okay but needed more seasoning and less oil. The interior design and layout is very cool. I love the wood and the simplistic art on the white wall inside. The prices are very reasonable, all starters were eight bucks, light meals twelve and mains sixteen.
Afterwards we had devonshire tea at tealicious which was very yum!
We drove to Byron to stay the night at the consistently good beach hotel.
We had lunch at the Orient Express eatery. They have a weekend yum cha menu where all dishes are $7.90. We ordered gow gee, veg spring rolls, a prawn pancake, crepe wrapped fried rice and a side of green. Most of the dishes were nice but needed more seasoning/herbs for my liking. The supplied hot chili and soy sauces came in handy to smother the food. We ordered a pot of Buddha tears jasmine tea which was superb.
We swam in the pool and the weather was nice as we walked the length of the beach at sunset.
It started to rain on Sunday morning whilst we ate breakfast looking towards the park and ocean.
Arriving back into Brisbane we decided to pick up a late lunch from a local favourite: Viet Hoah at West End.
- Half a bunch of coriander leaves
- Coriander roots from a full bunch
- Quarter of a bunch of mint leaves
- 5 tbsp peanut oil
- Small amount of crushed peanuts
- 5 tbsp sweet chilli
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp light soy
- 1/3 tbsp sesame oil
- Juice of 1 lime
- Suitable for Chicken, Prawns or Fish.
- Wash and finely shred coriander and mint.
- Finely crush peanuts.
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
- Add meat/seafood and leave for about 3 hours or overnight.
- Cook meat on low to avoid blackening.
- A dipping sauce for the meat can made with ½ sweet chilli and ½ kecap menis, strained to remove the chilli bits.
- Kai-lan cooked in a wok with oyster and light soy sauce is a nice vegetable side (see photo below).
Last night we once again enjoyed fireworks from our balcony, this time @ sunset! The sun setting over the mountains in the distance, and the industrial cranes nearby made a special viewing event.
We then ventured to East Brisbane to visit Green Papaya for dinner. Green Papaya is a northern Vietnamese restaurant that always seems to deliver a great dining experience serving fresh food using organic ingredients and local seafood.
The interior of the restaurant is simple but elegant with lots of white and light wood. Green bowls labelled with the restaurant’s name are already present when you sit down, immediately letting you know that all the food on the menu will be best shared. We actually had a discussion about how Asian food generally encourages sharing of food (even when sitting around a small table in a back alley) as opposed to European food (or Australian food for that matter) where each person orders/eats their own meal. I think this is why I love Asian food so much, that and the fact that it rarely makes me feel heavy after eating it. Green Papaya was no exception last night, every item we ate was good enough to share, and light enough to make me feel great after eating it.
We started with Vegetarian rolls and Hanoi rolls. Both were made using rice paper, the main difference was the Hanoi rolls were fried and contained organic chicken mince and prawns. Both items were different enough to be enjoyable together, each containing lots of fresh herbs and flavour.
For our main course we enjoyed coconut prawns cooked with garlic, lemon grass and chilli and served with a sweet coconut sauce. We also had fried barramundi with a dark ginger sauce and organic Vietnamese steak. The fried barramundi was a nice white fish that tasted as fresh and local. We shared our three main dishes with organic wok-tossed rice which had a more subtle flavour. The food was exceptional, all flavours were fresh and distinct, and all dishes were generously sized.
Although the menu contained some nice looking desserts, I was keen to finish feeling light with the lovely flavours from main course still lingering in my mouth.
It was an all round pleasant experience.
An enjoyable recent pastime of mine is eating rice paper rolls and drinking tea in kangaroo point park. There are a series of public chairs and tables available on top of the cliffs that overlook Brisbane river and the city. There are barbeques available to use as well. The cliffs are often used for abseiling and rock climbing, even at night.
Last night we enjoyed fresh Vietnamese rice paper rolls taken-away from ‘Viet Hoa’ at West End, with home mixed chrysanthemum and jasmine tea made fresh using a thermos of water. All whilst enjoying city lights. Yum.
Chilli Rice Paper Rolls
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 tablespoons shredded ginger
5 large red chillies, seeded and shredded
2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
300g peeled small green prawns
4 spring onions, shredded
2 Lebanese cucumbers, shredded
1/3 cup shredded fresh mint
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
12 medium rice paper wrappers
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the ginger and chilli and cook for 3 minutes or until crisp. Add the kaffir lime leaves and prawns and cook for a further 3 minutes or until the prawns are cooked through. Set aside to cool. When cool, combine with the spring onions, cucumber, mint, lime juice and fish sauce. Place a rice paper wrapper in a bowl of warm water for 30 seconds or until soft and pliable. Remove and pat dry. Place a little of the chilli salad down the centre of the rice paper wrapper and fold over one end to make a base. Roll over one side and then the other to enclose the filling.
Roasted peanut dipping sauce
1/2 cup cold water
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Finely diced red chilli
2 Tbsp peanuts, roasted and finely chopped
Simmer sugar, water, fish sauce, lime juice and chilli stirring until sugar has dissolved then add peanuts and pour into small bowls. Cool.
Serves 4 as a starter.