These are a few of my favourite things...

>> Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm taking a break from posting what goes on inside my kitchen so this is a rather random post which includes some food related photos taken recently across 3 cities (Sydney, Taipei and Tokyo). Each item deserve an entry of their own really, but at the rate I'm going, I'll probably never get around to it ;-)'s my list in no particular order!

1. Ding Tai Fung's Loofah (sponge gourd) dumplings - Taipei

The loofah dumpling is a favourite of mine at Ding Tai Fung's - I'm not sure if this is on the menu in Sydney yet? I also saw on the menu there are truffle dumplings! I thought I read it wrong and had to ask my parents to translate the Chinese words for me. They were without doubt the most expensive item on the list (around 4 times the price of the other dumplings)...maybe I should give it a try before I leave!?

Love the translucent skin that you can almost see the green loofah inside!
Delicious dumplings in the making!
2. Dried lychee, goji and walnut loaf - Taipei

It's not hard to notice that everyone's into their bread these days in Taiwan. Why? Because Taiwanese baker Pao-Chun Wu won the championship at the Masters de la Boulangerie in Paris this year. His winning bread contains dried lychee (longan), millet wine and rose - what a combo! While I cannot buy his award winning bread (apparently there is a waiting list), this baker has passed on his recipe to several outlets in Taiwan! I got the longan, goji and walnut loaf from an Tanhou, an organic store recently....divine! I ate the whole thing in one sitting!

It's a lot tastier than it looks ;)
Longan, goji and walnut chewy goodness!
3. Gouter de Roi's Gateau Rusk - Tokyo

If you see an extremely long line at the food section in a department store in Tokyo, it's likely that those Tokyoites are lining up for these delicious rusks! I'm sure if carry one of their bags in Tokyo, you'll be the envy of everyone around you! And if you receive this as a gift from someone, you should feel all warm and fuzzy inside - because someone just waited in line for who knows how long just to get these for you!

These are lovely with just the right amount of crunchy sweetness! I'd happily munch on these if someone is willing to get them pour moi. Are they worth waiting in line for 1+ hours? Personally, I think not. 

4. Oriental and Continental Foods - Sydney 

I'm still trying to find my grounds with spices and would like to incorporate more of them into my meals. So part of the fun for me is to discover spices that I have not used before and test them out in my cooking...which sometimes leads to inedible curries.

Oriental and Continental Foods in Artarmon is where I do my shopping for spices. They have a good range of spices that you can buy in bulk (although not as comprehensive as Herbies) so they're much cheaper than the ones you get in the supermarket. Oh and they have cardamom seeds which I really like because it saves me time from cracking open the pods (and they're much more fragrant than the grounded version).
Loading up on goodies including - cardamon pods, peppercorns, rock salt, henna, macadamia nuts and almond meal!
Nutmegs perfumes my soups and cookies. Gotta love them!
5. Ton Sushi 童壽司 - Taipei

This is one of my favourite Japanese restaurants in Taipei. It's owned by a family friend's sport buddy so this is our usual meet up spot whenever I am in Taipei! All their sushi and sashimi are incredibly fresh and makes me drool whenever I think about them. Like right now.

Treasures of the sea?!
Deep fried shredded burdock with mashed potato and mayo - my favourite!
6. Crocs - Worldwide

Ok, this is not croc meat nor restaurant. But I'd like to say how comfy these crocs are in taking me places during my travels. They haven't been off my feet for the past few weeks. Or maybe I just like to take photos of my feet. Most girls go through this phase apparently in their teenage years. I must be a little bit behind!

7. Pendolino - Sydney

You know sometimes you're just looking for a slightly fancier restaurant in the Sydney CBD but you don't want to empty out your wallet or sit through a 3 hours 12-course meal? I reckon
Pendolino (one-hat) would be a great choice for that occasion! To most people, this Italian eatery is probably more well known for their speciality olive oils that you can purchase them from their gift shop.

It is also at this restaurant that me and my dear friend E made plans for number 8 below. :)

Quaint and warm ambiance
Handmade Half Moon mezzalune ravioli with braised pork cheek, fava beans, crisp pancetta and pork cheek sauce

8. Sepia - Sydney

I used to work at 201 Sussex Street. Sepia is located at 201 Sussex Street. See the connection? No, I never worked there! But this two-hatted restaurant (where owner Martin Benn won the Good Food Guide's Chef of the Year 2011) is housed in a complex where I used to work and I remember times when I walked past and wondered when I'll get to food splurge there.

So one of the first things I did after handing in my resignation is to make a reservation at Sepia. Degustation dinner is $130pp for a 10-course meal or you can get their Winter menu at $80pp. There are also A La Carte's to choose from.

I went for the 10-course set and here are some of the memorable dishes:

Yellow Fin Tuna Tartare, Warm Dashi Custard, Soy and Wasabi Jelly, "Popped Pork" and Nori Salt, Wild Green Elk
Squid pasta with an "apple salad" of Bison Grass vodka and apple mousse, with toasted grains.
Sansho Roasted Pasture Fed Angus Beef Tenderloin, Braised Short Rib, Buffalo Milk 'Tofu', Roasted Quinoa
'Chocolate Forest' - Soft Chocolate, Lavender Cream, Sour Cherry Sorbet, Licorice
9. Bacco Wine Bar Pasticceria's cannoli - Sydney

To get my sugar fix on a working day, I used to walk to Bacco at Chifley Plaza during my lunch breaks. It's a good 20 minutes walk each way, but it's so worth it! They have an amazing selection of desserts including their popular chocolate mousse and strawberry tarts, but my favourite is still their cannoli!

During my last week at work, my lovely colleague B bought some to share with us! /<3

Is there a good recipe out there for this? I'd love to learn to make it.

Cannoli @ $3.50 each! The ricotta filling...hmmmm.
10. Peaches - Tokyo

Sometimes at the end of the day, nothing beats a juicy peach that dribbles down your chin as you bite into it. 


Joanne September 16, 2010 at 9:33 PM  

All this amazing food from all corners of the world is making my stomach growl! Thanks for sharing it all with us!

Julie September 16, 2010 at 10:06 PM  

omg you went to sepia!! I want to go.. I am so jealous oversears again!

Btw let me when you be back here in sydney I want to do stuff (more correctly eat) with you and betty ^_^ haha

chocolatesuze September 17, 2010 at 1:35 AM  

argh i want to go sepia so badly! and now i really want a peach...

Anonymous,  September 17, 2010 at 1:40 PM  

That squid pasta is a work of art!

sugarpuffi September 18, 2010 at 6:44 PM  

omg when did u go to sepia? couldve told us to come along u know :( *heart breaks*

Anonymous,  September 20, 2010 at 11:18 PM  

Oohh I should give ton sushi a go when I go bak next time

Anh Bui September 22, 2010 at 10:02 PM  

You foodtography makes me want to drool!!

Viv September 23, 2010 at 12:01 AM  

Joanne: No worries. It makes my stomache growl at night too!

Julie: Can't wait til the Oct food festival :D hehe sugar hits!

Chocolatesuze: Guess that'll be your next food splurge location?

Crispandverdant: Yes it is!! So pretty and tastes as delicious as it is beautiful!

FFichiban: Haha cools. I'm sure you'll love it (altho it's not cheap and a bit hard to get to that area if you don't have a car).

Anh!!: hehe glad the photos can do that to you ;)

Maria @ ScandiFoodie September 24, 2010 at 10:52 AM  

This is such a lovely collection Vivienne!

Deborah September 25, 2010 at 4:32 AM  

I love to see food from different parts of the world!!

grace September 25, 2010 at 11:29 AM  

mmm plump pinkish peaches....
and oh that loaf looks interesting, longan goji and walnut... never seen gourmet asian bread before! it looks like something you'd bake =P

i can't find the chinese markets in london! do you know where they are??? lucky there was a malaysian food festival on tonight, i bought some chilli / crushed herb sauces

Viv September 26, 2010 at 4:44 PM  

sugarpuffi: hehe let's unbreak your heart and go to quay together early next year yea? :P

Maria: Thanks!

Deb: Yeah me too. Need to travel further out to see more unusual stuff ;)

grace: man you know me too well...i was just thinking about baking that asian bread...already bought the longan + gogi! Yum - better tell us what you end up cooking with your chili and sauces!

Anonymous,  September 27, 2010 at 2:12 PM  

Great photos and all the yumminess!!

Lynne @ CookandBeMerry September 29, 2010 at 7:25 PM  

What a great post, and interesting places and food. I particularly would like to go to Ton Sushi for the Deep Fried Shredded Burdock with Mashed Potato and Mayo, and to Sepia for the Squid Pasta. Your photos do them justice. Thanks.

joanh March 29, 2011 at 5:45 AM  

you'll have to try the longan bread at bread societe too then! (and le gout).

Viv March 29, 2011 at 11:44 PM  

thanks for the tip joanh!! im def going to check out le gout soon (altho it is so neihou ><)

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