Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Hope you all get lots of pressies and lots of hugs for the festive season.

We're off to Europe for a couple of weeks (*fingers crossed*) so see you all in the new year!!! :)

xoxo bbsnoopy.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Red Spoon - Castle Hill

Red Spoon

We were going to Maccas - but I walked past this new Thai place a Castle Towers and we thought we'd give it a go.

Thai places are aways good for my decision making dilemmas as I order what I usually order - Chicken Pad Thai ($12.90). Pad Thai is alway what my partner orders, but we couldn't both order it and hence, my partner went for the next best thing (according to him) which is the chilli basil noodle with chicken ($12.90).

Both dishes came out nice and hot on big white plates. My pad thai came out nice and hot. Not too oily with side condiments of bean sprouts, lemon, chilli flakes, peanuts and amazingly - sugar. I have never had pad thai with sugar but honestly, I thought that the noodles were sweet enough without these clear sweet crystals. The chicken pieces in these noodles were cut in BIG chunks. Unfortunately, the thai people are unlike the Chinese and their chicken piece tend to be rough and untender. Atleast the noodles and tofu cubes were yummy enough to make up for it!

Chicken Pad Thai - $12.90

My partner was also happy with his chilli basil noodles extra extra hot. Whilst he did not believe the noodles were hot (at all) I saw flakes of chilli all over it. He gobbled up his noodles and were satisfiedly full afterwards.

Chilli Basil Noodles - $12.90

Well overall, there ought to have been a thai restaurant at Towers long ago. Thai is yummy and this restaurant doesn't do it bad. Serving big plates of noodles, these left us extremely filled. Further, sitting in the piazza next to a small water fountain is not a bad place to eat a late lunch.

Food - 8/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 30/40

Red Spoon Thai
Shop 7
6-14 Castle Street
Castle Hill
NSW 2154
tel: (02) 98995669

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mad Mex - Darlinghurst

Mad Mex

Hoping to eat Thai at Yor Yor, we unfortunately found it closed for lunch. As such, due to our laziness and the convenience of Mad Mex, we stumbled in. With supposedly 4 easy steps.
1. choose whether you want a burrito (normal, fajita or "naked" - ie. in a bowl), taco, nacho or quesadilla style
2. you choose your meat (beef, chicken, pork, vege)
3. choice of salsa and other toppings
4. pick your drink

It's actually a lot harder to choose than you think. My partner opted for the burrito with beef ($9.90). This was a soft tortilla type wrap with black bean, rice, pico de gallo salsa, cheese, cream and beef. There were instructions on the serviette on how to eat it so that it doesn't fall apart. It basically tells you to tear the wrapping off (not unlike an icecream) rather than to take the whole burrito out of its red foil.

Burrito - $9.90

My friend ordered nachos ($9.90). Corn chips with cheese, black beans, pico de gallo salsa, lettuce, sour cream and jalapenos (are the fillings sounding repetitive yet?). Guacamole came for an extra $3. I would have to say - nachos normally come with melted cheese. Cheese here was definately un-melted.

Nachos - $9.90

My choice was tacos ($9.90). They come in lots of threes - either soft white tortilla tacos or crispy yellow ones. As my voice was on the verge of being lost, I opted for the soft ones and that was probably a really bad choice. Again - guess what's in the filling... black beans, pico de gallo salsa, lettuce, cheese, sour cream and chicken. I told my friend to take one of my tacos as there were too many. She had a very wise comment - "they probably just taste the same anyway". I couldn't agree more - the same toppings cannot taste too different...right? Anyway - the downfall of my tacos were the shells. The tortilla wrappings were over floury, leaving a powdery unfreshly-made tortilla type feel in your mouth and basically just crumbled. And yes, my filling went basically everywhere as these crumbly floury powdery tortillas were not fit to hold any filling at all.

tacos soft shell - $9.90

Finally, my friend ordered something with fillings other those mentioned above and had cheese which was melted - and that was the quesadilla ($9.90). A large flour tortilla with melted cheese and sour cream and meat and salsa. I have to say - out of all our picks, this one probably looked the worse but possibly would taste the best as it was hot and melty. Downfalls with this is probably the the basket "plate" it comes in as it means that its very difficult to cut properly - unless you're eating with your hands.

quesadilla - $9.90

Overall, I have to say that I don't like Mad Mex and would probably not want to eat here again. However, to be fair, my partner did say that he enjoyed his burrito and wouldn't mind eating it again. But honestly, mexican food can be better - even if it's fast food. I mean - how hard can it be to just melt the cheese on the nachos?

Food - 5.5/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 6/10
Overall - 25/40

Mad Mex
Shop 2
241-247 Crown Street
NSW 2010
tel: (02) 9331 7788

Friday, December 18, 2009

DON's Competition - Closing Soon!!!

Only a few more days to submit your awesome DON's creations!
Submit your entry by Monday 21st at to win a dinner voucher at a restaurant near you!!! :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Yee King - Haymarket

Yee King

Sore throat and barbeques definately don't go well together. As such, my throat and my stomach were craving something soothing and tasty. Hence, I tactfully coerced my partner into stopping in the city for a late night dine.

Looking around, Yee King seemed to offer food at a price I could afford. Indeed, there were simple asian dishes for roughly $10-15. Sifting through our options, the two things we ordered was a small chicken and corn soup ($3.80) and a pork and prawn dumpling ($9.80).

The chicken and corn soup came out sizzling tongue-burning hot. To my sore throat, it was soothing and delicious. Tasty with bits of floating egg, it was an awesome treat for a small dinner snack.

chicken and corn soup (small) - $3.80

The pork and prawn dumplings came out in a heap. These were slightly disappointing. The meat was clumped and almost dry - pretty much no juices at all. Mmm... prefer dumplings in Ashfield. But I guess it may be because their specialty is noodles, not dumplings.

Pork and prawn dumplings (10) - $9.80

The service here at this typical Chinese Restaurant was not abundant but was friendly. What I didn't like about the place was the fact they give you dual coloured chopsticks - one reddish brown and the other normal yellowish colour. They might think it's "cool" but I found it very annoying (and hence, swapped a chopstick with my partner to make it the same again). The soup is good though - well, I liked it anyway (my partner believes he makes better), but dumpling-wise, there's better.

Food - 7/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 27/40

Yee King
408 Sussex St
NSW 2000
tel: (02) 9211 1138

Monday, December 14, 2009

Eaton Restaurant - Ashfield

Midnight snack cravings always take us to either Ashfield or Beverly Hills. We decided that for tonight, Beverly Hills was slightly too far and hence, we ended up at Eaton House. When we first stepped in, we were taken back by the renovations. The shop used to look slightly run down and dodgy, with names of dishes stuck all over the walls. This night, we stepped in and it looked ... nice. Fresh paint on the walls and yeh - very... restauranty feel.

A must order every time we dine here is the "XO fried double noodles". Essentially, this is rice noodles and vermicelli tossed with veges and pork and seasoned with XO sauce. My partner is a lover of XO sauce and hence, and extra plate of this was in order (and yes, given the opportunity, he would eat the sauce by itself). According to my parnter and his brother, it is super super hard to cook this dish as if you don't put enough oil in it, everything sticks to the wok, and if you put too much oil in it, it becomes way too oily to be tasty. However, Eaton house does this dish very well - not too oily and extremely tasty.

XO double fried noodles

Legendary XO sauce

Congee is always an awesome choice when we midnight snack asian style. Crab congee is usually delicious and sweet - but comes in a bowl that's way too big for our party of (not extremely hungry) four. Hence, we opted for the next best - thousand egg congee with extra thousand egg. Whilst this would be pretty awesome congee by normal Australian standards, it was a level under what was tasted at the awesome hawker stall in Singapore. Yummy nonetheless though.

Thousand Egg Congee

Lastly, we ordered a plate of fried flat rice noodles with beef. This was ordinary and like pretty much any other beef flat rice noodle. Quite a good addition to a midnight snack though.

fried beef flat rice noodle

Service here is never too good unless you're a "regular". The seafood here is always fresh though. If you have a chance (and am willing to spend a bit), definately go for the XO pipis with thin rice noodle base and the crab congee. They used to give fruit and a bitter melon jelly (which was super awesome) after the meal, but this night, we only got watermelon. Always satisfies a midnight craving, I think we will definately be back.

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall - 30/40

Eaton Restaurant
313 Liverpool Road
NSW 2131
tel: (02) 9798 2332

The Sultan's Table - Enmore

The Sultan's Table

Having heard fab reviews about this Turkish place - particularly the mixed dips, we decided to dine at the Sultan's Table - even when they made us eat at the early time of 6pm. Seated comfortably, this restaurant has a takeaway front, comfy warm indoor dinning and a chillaxy open dining area out back. Whatever suits I guess. Understandably, prices for takeaway are slightly cheaper than dining in.

We settled and ordered. Was a tough decision with all the choices available. As the mixed dip was highly recommended, a medium one was ordered ($14) with turkish bread ($3). Also, having heard fab reviews about the potato pide ($11), that was definately on the order, along with the Sucuklu ($12) which is a pide with sausage, cheese, parsley and egg. Lastly, we also decided on the falafel ($13).

The medium mixed dip comprised of a colourful array of 8 different dips. There was beetroot, humus, chilli, jajik, parsley, babganush, carrot and ... an unidentified one. LOL. Just too many really. Luckily, it came with a HUGE basket of turkish bread. Whilst the dips were varied and many and quite yummy (most of them anyway), the bread was very much awesome as well. The bread was warm, crispy and crunchy on the outside, and soft and softer on the inside. A perfect companion to the dips - and you get so much of it!

Mixed Dips (medium) - $14

Turkish Bread - $3

The falafel, I thought, was slightly disappointing. It could be that I'm not a deep fried patties of spiced chickpeas but I found these slightly too dry and crumbly and slightly tasteless, even when wrapped in pita-like bread and eaten with salad and hummus.

Falafel - $13

I almost fell out of my chair when the pides came. The four of us, all girls, were basically full after the dips and turkish bread and placed in front of us were two HUGE plates of pide - and I mean HUGE. The egg could be seen seeping out of the sucuklu pide whereas the turkish sausage was hidden within. One bite into a big piece of this pide saw cheese oozing out. Whilst tasty, cheesy, and toasty are attributes that I love - this pide was slightly way too salty. So much so that I could barely stomach the one piece.

sucuklu pide - $12

I decided to give the potato pide a go. This again, was cheese, potatoey and oniony with bits of spinach infused throughout. Again, if without the salt, it would be heavenly. Unfortunately, the chef's overboardness on the sodium chloride along with my stomach's limit following the dips and many turkish bread slices meant that it was a struggle to even finish one slice. Don't get me wrong though - the potato inside was cooked heavenly soft and yummy :)

Potato pide - $11

In all, Sultan's table is a bargain for your money. Lots of food for very affordable prices. Friendly staff who smile and yet, seem slightly on the go go go all the time. Maybe next time, we could ask for reduced salt pides? :)

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 30/40

The Sultan's Table
179 Enmore Road
NSW, 2042
tel: (02) 9557 0229

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Golden Century - Haymarket

Birthday dinner to celebrate one who's 85 years young. Of course we had to order what she loves eating - lobster was definately on the books - and abalone (even if it's just for the grandness).

The abalone was thinly sliced and quickly cooked shabu-shabu style in a sweet sweet broth. Makes the abalone slices light with a subtle sweet taste and incredibly tender and easy to chew through. Whilst I thought it was delicious, it seemed to fail expectations from others on the table. I reckon that it was because they didn't make adequate use of the soy sauce. This soy sauce was most excellent - not overpowering but has a subtle shallot/chilli/sweet taste to it. Very awesome.

Abalone shabu shabu style

With the abalone comes the lettuce, also cooked in the sweet broth made even sweeter by the abalone slices. And the broth afterwards was sooooo soooo soooo sweet.

lettuce accompanying the abalone

Now for the birthday girl's favourite dish. Huge huge lobster on an egg noodle base with lots of shallots and garlic. There were super large chunks of lobster meat galore and the noodles soaked in all the lobster juices making it possibly even yummier than the lobster :) However, the birthday girl only gave it a mere 8/10.

Lobster with egg-noodle base

Now for the steamed coral trout. This was cooked really well. Unlike all the crappy versions of the way this fish is cooked at wedding banquets, this fish was steamed just right - the flesh just slid off the bone and melted in your mouth. It extremely fresh and again, very sweet and very well cooked.

Steamed coral trout

This next dish was no where near up to standards. Supposed to be pan-fried tofu stuffed with fish-paste, it came out as a tofu mess - some bits more burnt than others and fish paste balls shrewn everywhere. Not a pretty sight. Nothing spectacular. Just like tofu drenched in oyster sauce.

pan-fried tofu with fish paste

The presentation of this next dish was also a dissappointment. Green veges heaped with enoki mushrooms and again, drenched in oystersauce. This means exactly the same taste, slightly different texture. For a restaurant which churns out great seafood, they really need to fix up their simple dishes.

Veges with enoki mushrooms

Last dish for the night was the crispy skinned chicken. Luckily, this did not dissappoint. The skin was crispy and the chicken was... chicken-tasting. One fault in this dish was the prawn crackers - they were slightly heading towards the stale end of the scale.

Crispy-skinned chicken

Instead of a birthday cake, the traditional chinese way is the steamed lotus-paste buns. A big one with many little ones encased within. Very cute. The little buns were steamed fresh, not too sweet, not too bland. However, the big one was just for looks - just a bit of tasteless bun outing with colouring.

Lotus paste birthday bun

This popular Chinese restaurant was packed out on a Monday night. Service was very so-so. Seafood cooked pretty close to perfectly but non-seafood dishes are definately worse quality.
So maybe you're ONLY supposed to order seafood here? :)

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 6.5/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 28.5/40

Golden Century Seafood Restaurant
393 Sussex St
NSW 2000
tel: (02) 9212 3901

Istana - Parramatta

Istana Paramatta

Reminiscing the awesome food from Singapore/KL, we stepped into Istana in Parramatta for lunch. I was craving awesome oyster omelette and my partner wanted laksa. But as we were stepping into the place, the blackboard special was hainan chicken for a mere$5.80.

Sticking to our original cravings, my partner ordered a chicken laksa ($9.80) and I ordered my oyster omelette ($16.80). However, the more we thought about it, the more the chicken sounded like a super deal. Hence, it was ordered as an afterthought.

My partner's chicken laksa was nice and fragrant and comprised of a mix of hokkien and rice noodles. No complaints from him - except maybe not chilli enough?

chicken laksa - $9.80

The afterthought came before my oyster omelette. We were seriously expecting just a few pieces of chicken. This - was a whole huge plate of chicken! A super bargain for $5.80 I think. Quality-wise, however, it was nothing really special. Wasn't super smooth or tender. Just average. Still a great deal though!

Hainan Chicken - $5.80

At long last, my oyster omelette came. Whilst huge looking, it was very flat (and hence, deceivingly big). Disappointingly, oysters could not be found whole - it was chopped up into tiny bits and even then, they were hard to find. So really, given that it took so long to cook up an omelette, perhaps they had to run off to the seafood store to just get a couple of oysters which became non-existant after cooked. Honestly, this just did not compare to the one in Singapore where plump oysters in multitude were found in and amongst the egg.

Oyster Omelette - $16.80

Overall, Istana wasn't bad. Service wasn't brill but was adequate. Food was OK apart from my omelette and the chicken was a bargain. However, if on the hunt for hawker-style food, Istana is not really it. However, if you're just out for some malay food, this place is probably adequate.

Food - 7/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 6.5/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 27/40

277 Church St
NSW 2150
tel: (02) 9687 5113

Monday, December 7, 2009

is DON. is Good - Masterchef bbsnoopy v Iron-chef bbsnoopy challenge

(sponsored by Nuffnang -

This is the first of our "Masterchef meets Iron-chef"posts.

The thing is, I'm the kind of cook who experiments and substitutes and ends up with products which never really resemble the original recipe (and hence my food is hit and miss). Because of this, my awesome creativeness, and my never quite sticking with tradition, I hereby name myself, Iron-Chef bbsnoopy :P

My partner, on the other hand, is an awesome cook and is awesome at sticking to recipes. He tends to go out of his way to make sure he gets all the herbs and micro-herbs stated in a recipe and he basically cooks up a storm (and is usually a hit, rather than a miss) and hence, I hereby name him Masterchef bbsnoopy.

So, who is the better cook?

The challenge for today: DONs Strasburg and DONs English Leg Ham

So here's the deal. As we both don on our chefs caps, our first challenge as we enter kitchen stadium is DON’s smallgoods. DONs have an impressive range of continental and salami products which go under the careful eye of the fleishmeister (the meat master). These fleishimeister people take care of the whole meat curing process. They make sure that the right ingredients are put in, that the truly authentic recipes are followed, and that the meats all have its own good time to mature and flavour up. In essence, they ensure that the meats meets standards. There's only six of these cool Fleishmeister people around - and DONs captured four of them... so their meats must be super duper carefully scrutinsed and QCed :P

DON's fleishmeister approved meats

Well - onto the challenge. Iron-chef bbsnoopy goes for an east-meets west type fusiony feel : Pan-fried asian style ham dumpling. (sounds awesome already doesn't it?) :P

The ingredients needed for this dish is:

- DONs shaved English Leg Ham

- DONs Strasburg

- vermicelli

- dried mushrooms (or Shitake mushrooms)

- dried scallops

- shallot (or toothpick <- not to be eaten)

DONs English Leg Ham

DONs Strasburg - diced

ingredients for my dumpling

So essentially, what you have to do is ...

1. soak the dried mushies and scallops and vermicelli in water (all soaked separately)

2. dice the mushies and the DON's Strasburg

3. shred the dried scallops

4. turn on the wok, add a bit of oil, and add the mushies, scallops, vermicelli and DONs ... once the wok is hot

5. Toss the ingredients for a bit (just a bit - as they cook pretty quick) and they become your "filling" for your ham dumplings)

6. Take a slice of ham and put some filling in the middle

7. Thread thinly sliced shallots (or toothpick) to make your dumpling

8. Pan-fry the dumplings.

[note: threading shallots is highly frustrating. The toothpick method is a lot simpler (and possibly easier to eat if you're considering this for fingerfood)]

dumpling fillings after being quickly pan-fried (the filling is already super yummy at this stage)

dumpling fillings in the middle

wrap it all up

and whala! done~

dumplings ready for the pan-fry

As you can see, we experimented with many different ways you can dumplingfy the product :)

So the outcome? I was quite dubious about my own creation throughout the cooking process. But once I tasted it, all doubts disappeared. I tried the dumpling un-pan-fried. It was good. Because the ham is quite salty and I purposely didn't season the filling, they complemented each other very very nicely. My dad commented that it would have been even nicer if I substituted the vermicelli for sharks fin (only if he pays for it!!!). Then I tried the dumpling after it was pan-fried. It was excellente!!! Pan-frying the dumpling added extra flavor (from the juices of the ham) and texture (slightly crispy) and it was super super WOW (even my partner, the rival Masterchef, was in awe).

dumplings after the pan-fry... sooo sooo sooo yummy!!!

Masterchef bbsnoopy could have chosen any of the recipes on the Is DON, Is Good website, but instead, decided to be a bit adventurous and picked a soup.

ingredients for soup

His soup is actually quite simple to make also. Ingredients needed include:

- DON's Strasburg

- consomme (he used beef)

- potato

- leek

- onion

- carrot

To make this soup, all you have to do is...

1. thinly slice the potato, leek and onion

2. dice up the carrot and the DONs Strasburg (we chunked the DON)

3. pan fry the DONs Strasburg til golden brown

4. toss in the leek, onion, potato and carrot

5. put all the ingredients into a pot and pour in the consomme and add water (as directed on the packet)

6. let the soup boil then leave to simmer for around half and hour

7. drink up!

vege and DONs strasburg soup

This soup was very yummy as well. The leek and the onion were super caramelised and gave off a sweet taste. The DONs chunks added substance and made the soup quite hearty. The only down-side to this was that it was a touch too salty. I guess we ought to have added a bit more water... but then it wouldn't have that awesome thin yet semi-thick consistency... Well, I guess it's up to personal choice.

So... as you can tell, there are many more photos of Iron-Chef bbsnoopy's creation. Whilst Masterchef bbsnoopy's soup was appetitisng and yummy, I believe that the 'east-meets-west pan-fried ham-wrapped dumplings" wins hands down (I do need to think of a better name for my dish).

Think you can cook up better DON dishes than us?

If you live in Australia, enter "The DONs ultimate gourmet creation".

Simply by going to the shops, picking up some DONs small goods and whiping up something awesome, you can score yourself one of five awesome dinner vouchers to a top restaurant in your home town!!! =)

Post your creation at and win!

Is DON. Is Good.

The opinions, comments and recipes in this post are the bloggers own and have not been supplied by DON Smallgoods.