Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chatswood Thursday Street Markets,

All right. While in Sydney, one of the beautiful things here are street markets. On designated days of the week at various locations there are temporary street markets set up. It is beautiful as there are varieties of shops and all very casual. While there are many markets at various locations, the ones I can recall are at Chatswood, Milsons Point and Glebe.

Today I would talk about the street markets arranged weekly on Thursdays outside the Chatswood mall. I have been visiting these markets for the last 5 years now. This temporary shops are set up around 4 or 5 pm. I love this markets among  various others. Basically for the food. Great variety.  I come here all the way from Strathfield just to have the great food.

To begin with, the market is situated on the road which comes out of the Chatswood station and goes towards the Westfeild mall.

There is a stall set up for the garlic prawns and chorizo. A Spanish shop which is simple and yet very popular. It sells garlic prawns and sausages. Now I haven't tried the sausages but can vouch for the garlic prawns. This is simply awesome and amazing. I can come here again and again. They simply grill the prawns with this special salsa sauce which is homemade and serve it with the bread and a lemon wedge. Costs about $11 for a full plate of garlic prawns and very good value for money. Right opposite to the Westpac ATM.


The next one is a Turkish shop which serves freshly made Gozleme. The shops run by middle eastern house wives, makes gozlemes with various fillings. The one I usually have is the spinach and cheese mushroom gozleme. Its beautiful and delicious. On a cold night a piping hot gozleme just warms the soul. Pretty cheap in terms of cost. All gozlemes are $7-$10. There are many variants which cheese only, cheese and mushroom, minced meat etc. Well that's it. Highly recommended is the cheese spinach and mushroom gozleme.

Next in the line is shop called the German Hut Dogs. As the name suggests it serves hot dogs. Now as I have previously mentioned in my previous post, the love for hot dogs and the fact its primarily beef or pork restricts my options. Of the very few places which serves chicken hot dog, this is the place.  a hot dog on white or whole meal bread with a chicken frank and topped with saukerkrat is simply awesome. I ask them to put in some hot mustard. They have again a number of variants with chilli beef, New York style if you would prefer the meat sausages. Well the chicken hot dog with hot mustard is just too good and a zinger. When you take in that hot mustard on a cold night, it just flares up and rings your bell as a wave of heat goes from your tongue to your head, ears, nose, and eyes. Its a temporary madness. Amazing. Costs about $9. Top it with a glass of lemonade and its perfect.
So far its been the ones I have tried and I love and recommend.


There are a few others 
- Taiwanese pan cakes: that's a nice one. Small pan cakes with a bit of a cream filling
- another Asian shop which makes crab balls. Its basically deep fried balls of some meat. Tried a few but didn't like too much although its quite popular with Asians.

- Seafood Paella: next on my list to try.

All in all a great street market with great variety and good cheap food. For me, its a ritual to come once a month from Strathfield just to have the prawns, hot dogs and gozleme. Highly recommended.

The markets is on Thursdays and Sundays. Although I havent seen it on Sundays and I am not too sure. So Id probably think Thursday is always a safer and better bet to visit.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Jaipur

All right, slightly different format from previous posts. Experimental. Intent is to expand the coverage of this blog to include a bit of travel with the basic underlying theme being food. Lets see how this goes.

Jaipur, pink city, capital of rajasthan, erstwhile princely state of rajputana. Best time to travel Monsoons and winter. Avoid april-june as it is the peak heat and almost unbearable.

Love this city. Memories of my trip with my dad a few times, one girl friend from this city and another girl friend who used to transit from jaipur to kota.

If I were here, these are the places Id visit.

Nero's at Paanch Batti- an old set up from british time and one of the high end restaurants. The raputana laal maans and the chicken ala keiv are a must have. The chicken kiev is an interesting one as I have never had any chicken keiv anywhere else. If I am in Jaipur I have to have this dish. Its a crumb fried chicken mince cylinder with a stuffing of butter. This is one of the best dishes I have had and Highly recommended.

Talk of the town- now being a non vegetarian foodie, jaipur does present its challenges as it is primarily a vegetarian set up in view of the jains and guptas. There is a majority of marvadis who are vegetarian. One of my friends Ritik took me to talk of the town. Its a small takeaway shop that specialises in only a few variants of chicken tikkas and fish tikkas but they are perfectly gtilled. Very economical and I would again highly recommend. I have been here close to four years back and I still remember this one. It is close to hotel khasa kothi.

Rawat ke Kachori- this is one of the mostfamous and memorable eat outs and very popular. Located close to the bus stop, for decades Rawat specialises in pyaaz ki kachori and mave ki kachori. There isnt much to it. Simple shop. Most economical and affordable. People from all strata of the society can be found here eating together. Not too much of ambience but for the love of kachoris anything I say. Highly recommended.

The next door shop serves lassis. Huge glasses of lassi and kachoris go perfect hand on hand on a summer day. My personal preference is the pyaaz ki kachori.

Rtdc restaurant at Nahargarh fort: another one I can recall from close to ten years back was a rajasthan tourism restaurant situated at the Nahargarh fort.  Elegant open air and with wrought iron chairs in a cortyard with green trees overshadowing. I recall having the non vegetarian thali and it was really yum. Not sure if they still have it.

Lakshmi mishtaan bhandaar or LMB at the city is another old sweet and snack shop. It is an old institution which signifies class and age old heritage. While they have  a vast array of sweets and snacks, if I were here, Id always buy a sweet called the ghevar or the malai ghevar. The namkeens or the savouries are all in desi ghee. The samosas kachoris are pretty good.

Chowki dhaani is one of the landmarks of Jaipur now. What started as a small concept close to 13 years back has become a 5 star resort specialising in rajasthani culture and food. In the lunch or dinner there is a entire array of vegetarian rajasthani food served. From makke and jowar rotis to gatte ki sabji and loads of white makkhan. This is a place worth visiting.

Aapno gaon is another such rajasthan culture set up which was started again about 15 years back. Eventually chowki dhaani became what it is now and the rest became non descript.

All in all Jaipur has its own charm. From a strong influence of its heritage and the walled city to the modern GT or Gaurav Towers. It beautiful. At times rustic but it has its own charm. A beautiful blend of modern and old world. For food it has its own style and taste. Well if you are a hard core non vegetarian you may not get extensive choice. But there some really good joints and if you move into the vegetarian fare loads of choices. The rajasthani cuisine, the marwaari cuisine.

A place I love to visit again and again.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Mamak

Mamak. Where do I begin with this one. A sigh and reminder of all the memories of the great food. This is one of the best joints in Sydney City region. Malaysian Food. 

Situated on Goulburn Street, this is a joint, where I have visited innumerable times in the last 4 years. In fact one of my most favorite joints. Usually they have timings for lunch and dinner. If you land a the wrong time, you may find the restaurant closed. It is one of those rare places, where you would find a long queue of people waiting outside on the street, waiting to be seated. if you happen to witness a long line, don't be put off or depart. The line may look long, but inside the restaurant, there is a service so fast, it is difficult to describe. You may have to wait 10-15 minutes in the queue to be seated, but once in, food is swerved almost instantly. Interiors, nothing too special or luxurious. Just basic, loads and loads of tables and wooden stools for seating. In fact you'd be amazed at the number of people seated close to each other in the various table. Multiply it with the chitter and there is an electrifying buzz that charges up the atmosphere.

Now for those acquainted with Malaysian cuisine, you'd probably know what a roti is. However, for the Indian counterparts, specially from northern India, the Malaysian roti probably equates to the Indian version of the parantha. The North Indian roti or the Phulka is totally different. The Malaysian Roti is like a parantha. In fact for those who know, it is like Mughlai Parantha. Normally, Bengalis might be aware of what a mughlai parantha is, as it is usually made on special occasions and Durga Puja. What is unique about this restaurant Mamak, is that while you wait on the line outside the shop, you can see the chefs, flatten a dough and make a thin and stretched layer of roti and its amazing when they toss it in the air and it flows down like a silky scarf.

Mamak makes a number of  variants of Roti's- the buttery roti, egg roti, egg and onion. They also have the murtabak which is a roti, filled with minced chicken or lamb, cabbage, eggs and onion. The rotis are served on a steel plate with two curry dips and the sambal sauce. The roti's are just amazing and a must have. My favorites are the egg roti, the egg and onion and the murtabak. There is also the roti which is paper crisp and conical which is served with the ice cream.

In starters, I usually go for the chicken satays- half a dozen. Grilled chicken with the peanut sauce, the onion and cucumber. It is a must that I have. 

Next comes the chicken curry. No matter how much i praise it, it is less. the chicken curry - the malaysian version is actually and unbelievably so similar to the Indian chicken curry that is made in our homes. Chicken curry with boiled potatoes and coriander.  Usually this goes well with both the rotis as well as the rice.  This is a must must must have.It is called as the Kari Ayam

The lamb curry is another variant and I am telling you this is heavenly as well. Although it looks like similar to the Indian curry's, it is moderate in taste and not spicy to be honest. I just love it. So much to the extent that I usually don't ever have lamb outside because it is too chewy and it is too smelly. But not here. It is simply so exquisite. The lamb is  so soft and perfect. Highly recommended. This one is the Kari kambing.

Another dish is the bite sized Malaysian style Fried chicken with spices. Now this one is a surprise. When it is served, you will probably be knocked off to the floor after seeing the size of the chicken pieces. Huge. It resembles a bit like the KFC chicken. Delicious it is, and the word of caution is to know it is as good as a main and hence it is in the mains section.

Another one is the nasi  goreng, which is again good. the malaysian fried rice version.

In the drink section, my favourite is the Ice Milo which I most definitely order.

If you havent figured it out, this is one of the best places of food I have ever had, especially in the city and that too for Malaysian food. The prices are a steal. Very reasonable and the one of the best value for money. Service is amazingly fast and all in all the place where I would go again and again.

Highly recommended.

Chinatown
15 Goulburn Street,
Haymarket, Sydney
T: (02) 9211 1668
No reservations

lunch 11:30 - 2:30 
dinner 5:30 - 10:00 
supper til 2am (fri & sat)

a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/70/751428/restaurant/Sydney/Chinatown/Mamak-Haymarket">Mamak on Urbanspoon

Kammadhenu, Newtown

All right. This one is about Kamadhenu. Its a Sri Lankan joint. For people from the subcontinent, you'd probably know that Sri Lankan style of cooking while distinct is quite similar to the Indian style of cuisine and even more to the south Indian style of cooking.

Just like Janini, this one is one of my favorites. I have been here a number of time and tried a few things. The dosa's are simply awesome. Crisp and well spiced. They have variants such as the chicken dosa etc but I prefer the good old masala dosa. Very affordable and good value for money.

Next comes the Chicken Kotthuparantha. Kotthuparantha is a variant that i had tried and discovered in Chennai. It is basically Parantha, along with chicken, eggs, coriander chillies shredded together and served as a mixture. Back in Sydney, I was pleased to see this variant in this shop. Pretty good and once again recommended. Over here they call it as Kothu Roti

Next comes the Biryani. As in my previous post on Biryani's, there are various styles of biryani with various spices. Lets go with the Sri Lankan form of biryani or may the Kamadhenu style of Biryani. It comes topped with fragrant and brittle rice, long grains and multicolored- white and orange. topped with cashews pieces, fried onions and a few raisins. There is a full boiled egg visible as well. I had ordered the goat biryani. A few spoons and then you realize, its probably mildly flavored rice. you begin to wonder that this is different- mild flavor, a bit sweet etc, but then suddenly you hit the goat meat and curry within the rice.Yes, there is a strong south Indian flavored goat meat with thick gravy.  Its simply awesome. When you mix the white rice, with the strong flavored goat and the boiled eggs, it was perfect. I love the biryani here and I would recommend it highly. A surely a must try.


The Masala tea is pretty good, although I wish, they also had the filter coffee in the south Indian style. 

At another instance, I have tried a few other things. The crab curry is a disappointment. I have been searching for crab curry for quite some time. The crab curry at Janani is perfect and Awesome, but the one at Kamadhenu wasnt good at all. Too watery and I think they don't use the mud crabs but rather the blue schwimmer crab.

The starters such as the Fish Fry are good but very less in quantity.

Overall, this is one of my favorite spots. Id love to come here again and again. I have memories with a special friend who introduced me to this place and we have had a number of memorable evenings here. With family and other friends, this is the place. Not too expensive, and very popular. Id highly recommend this place.

Kammadhenu
171, King Street, Newtown

Kammadhenu on Urbanspoon