Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Eastwood Hong Kong Street Food tour - a TASTE tour

Amongst the multitude of arcades and alleyways, parents and their children hustle and bustle along on their weekly grocery shopping hike.  They stop by for a small chive bun at Yummy Buns, or clutch onto a bag of freshly steamed chestnuts, the paper bag encapsulating that deep caramelised fragrance of the earthen nut at K & J Chinese Takeaway, on the corner of Progress Avenue.  Lunch would be from one of the many BBQ meat shops or from Sydney Best Dim Sim - the place to go if you want the whole Yum Cha menu range on takeaway, and countless fresh seasonal fruit and grocery stores line the streets of Eastwood. 
Grabbing some dessert from Sydney Best Dim Sim - glutinous rice balls filled with red bean paste, coated in sesame and deep fried.  
With big names including Taste of Shanghai, Sakae Restaurant and Bar, and some of Eastwood's favourites like AJ's Indian and Eastwood Garden Peking, the restaurant scape is indeed growing, but Eastwood's rich Hong Kong culture is ever-present.

A day in the life of Hong Kong local would indeed start with the morning tea banquet.  A Hong Kong style morning tea would be incomplete without a piece of fluffy deep fried French toast filled with peanut butter and condensed milk or coconut jam/kaya, and topped with melted butter and a generous serving of golden syrup drizzle

Hong Kong style French toast, once named one of the 50 most delicious foods in the world, takes its influence from Hong-Kong Cantonese and Portuguese cuisine, the fusion cuisine that characterises that of the city of Macau.  Indulgent, naughty, decadent - a true homage to the Macanese way of life.  Tastes like a fluffier and sweeter version of a cross between a Chinese cruller and a doughnut.  Available at Eastwood BBQ kitchen, serving pork and century egg congee, Borshcht soup, pandan leaf wrapped savoury rice cakes, and a whole lot more.
A morning tea banquet, with the obligatory serve of tea.
The next step would include a few peruses through these lively streets, with Asian grocery stores scattered throughout - there can never be too many places to get your quick fix of the Asian snack, those staple condiments, or even a pot sticker tutorial! 

Soon afterwards, it would be time to grab some lunch for the family, and roast pork and roast duck is always an easy go-to option. 
Housemade sausage, Chinese BBQ Pork and roast duck, and special spiced cuttlefish.
But for the family who seeks a more authentic lunch or dinner experience, they will head to Hong Kong Recipe for their array of savoury rice and noodle dishes, coupled with some Hong Kong Yuanyang tea-coffee.
Chewy sliced noodles, that get deliciously chewier the cooler they get.
Hong Kong Yuanyang tea-coffee
And so concludes a snapshot into a day of the life of an Eastwood local, exploring their rich Hong Kong culture and cuisine, courtesy of TASTE tours.


So what are TASTE tours, exactly?  

They are an initiative of Australia's oldest charity, The Benevolent Society, and at TASTE, we are all about bridging divides, diminishing stereotypes of certain suburbs, particularly Sydney's western suburbs, supporting local businesses, and showcasing the authentic cultural experience that these suburbs have to offer.  We also have pop-up kitchens, cooking classes, and in-school cooking class programs as well.

TimeOut Sydney has a nice short write-up about us, and for tour dates, click here.  We have tours throughout Fairfield, Harris Park, Bonnyrigg, and more, and we aim to showcase the rich culture that each suburb brings to their locals. 

For more information on TASTE tours, visit our site here: 


Eastwood Arcade
Shop 4, 183-185 Rowe Street Eastwood
9858 1636

Eastwood BBQ Kitchen
1/ 1 Trelawney St Eastwood
9858 1366

Wang Wang BBQ
Progress Ave, Eastwood
9874 0018

Hong Kong Recipe
Shop 110-111, 52-76 Rowe St, Eastwood

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Tea Diaries: Cupboard tales

Greetings my lovely foodlovers!  Now here's when foodfortina becomes foodforTEAna :)  As the bittersweet caffeinated beverage by the name of coffee has pretty much secured its own entire category in the human food pyramid, I think it's time that we honour the value of its predecessor, tea.  

Brewed in multiple ways and loved by multiple cultures, tea has been the preferred beverage in my household throughout my life.  And that tea stack in my cupboard has been growing constantly over the past two years - so here's a sneak peak at the tea pantry @ foodfortina HQ:

My parents drink tea daily - jasmine tea, Lipton black tea, Chinese green tea, and jiaogulan tea.  They also drink this funky tea called fenugreek tea, which has a truckload of health benefits - from lowering high blood sugar levels and high cholesterol levels to increasing milk flow in women who are breastfeeding.  
Where would one start with getting to know more about tea at the easiest and cheapest places possible? The supermarket aisle of course!  Twinings, Lipton, Dilmah, Bushells.  Every household's go-to brands - and gotta love getting tea samples in the mail!  
But then the tea passion can only go up from there - so the next obvious store to venture to would inevitably be T2. 

I got a few of these boxes as birthday presents, and have started to drink them more throughout this year - I like it since it's a great light drink at night times, and in the mornings and afternoons to give you that light lift and not always have to resort to the heavy kick from coffee.
Being the pho lover that I am, chai quickly became a favourite of mine - did you know that chai spices and pho spices share the three spices of cinnamon, cloves and star anise?  Such an aromatic beverage that warms the body, and T2 loves it so much, they even held The Chai Project on their site.

I'm also a sucker for peppermint tea, as at times, black tea is too strong for me.  I like my tea with a tiny bit of honey, or stevia sweetener (the sweetener that hasn't had too much negative criticism upon it linking to cancers and other dreadful health conditions, as opposed to the ones used in Equal).
At the uni I'm attending, we have a newly made Tea Society, and its president introduced me to The Tea Centre - and so far I've tried the Jaffa black tea (see the first pic) - this tea is probably my first enjoyable multi-sensory tea experience - getting the aromas of the orange and chocolate while tasting a sweet citrus-y and slightly creamy black tea.

Also, when I applied to get a barista licence at the Australian Coffee School, my instructor used this Chai Latte powder which I still use and love til this day - told you I was a sucker for chai!
From the days in my childhood when I first came across tea as an important beverage accompanying Yum Cha to act as a palate cleanser and to digest after every small dish, tea has now become that go-to beverage when I want some warmth and some nice flavours without the unnecessary calories.
Tea is the new black, tea is the new coffee, and tea has upgraded to bringing beautiful multi-sensory experiences as well as expanding its reach - tea isn't just a drink associated with class and elegance anymore, it's affordable, homely, and best of all, there are so many flavours worth trying! 
With this new Tea Diaries blogpost series, I want to share with you some of the best teas I have tried, as well as some new and upcoming tea brands I've come across that are entering our 'teascape' today.

So tell me readers, what's some of your favourite teas, and what brands are they? Are there any new brands that you might like me to review?  I'd love to hear from you :)