I left my heart in Melbourne

This post this not about a particular dish or restaurant, it is about the city I currently live in and why I love it so much. Here you can find some of Melbourne’s best kept secrets.

The Romantic Melbourne:
Take a romantic stroll from the banks of the Yarra River to Ponyfish Island, it’s a quiet little bar located under the footbridge of the Yarra River. Here you can enjoy a drink, admire the sunset and watch the ferries cruise by.

Alternatively you can walk along St Kilda Road towards Queen Victoria Garden, here you can find two hidden lakes filled with beautiful ducks and swans. This place makes a perfect picnic spot, or a great little retreat where you can laze around on the green lawn to catch up on some vitamin D. The Botanical Garden is also only about 5 minutes walk from the garden. Best of all? the romantic Melbourne is free for everyone to enjoy.

Down-to-earth but can be Snobby:
Compared to Sydney, Melbourne is a lot more laid back and down-to-earth. However venues can be quiet selective with their crowds. For example, If a guy would like to enter a venue in Northcote or the city CBD after 5PM he is required to have a collar shirt for entrance. Whereas if he was in Fitzroy (suburb known for the hipster crowd) he would be turned away if he is wearing a tie as he would be considered too overdressed for the venue.

Ghost town of Melbourne:
Located 7 minutes from the CBD is Harbour town, home to the discounted shopping precinct, Costco wholesalers and Medibank Ice arena. I am unsure whether it is the lack of vibe or parking but Harbour town is always quiet. However don’t let that deter you as there are lots of bargain shopping to be found at Harbourtown. Oh also the Melbourne Star (giant scenic wheel) has been out of action for so long no one knows whether or not it is in operation anymore.

Eventful Melbourne:
There are always special events on in Melbourne, this city guarantees to have something to entertainment everyone. Check out What’s on Melbourne website for weekly events. Otherwise visit Federation Square, every weekend there are different events hosted here.

Avoid the city on weekends:
On weekdays the city bars can be fun and classy as it is filled with professionals frequenting for after work drinks. However on Friday and Saturday nights avoid CBD clubs and bars, as everyone from everywhere poured into the city to get drunk and messy. So the locals tends to go to bars in the outer suburbs in Fitzroy, Northcote or St Kilda for drinks and down time.

Coffee Culture:
Melbournians love their coffees, don’t believe me just check out Degraves Lane, Centre Place, Block Arcade, McKillop Street and Manchester Lane to see the coffee clubs for yourself.

Hungry no more:
For cheap eats Asian cuisines can be found on Swanton and Russell street where a hearty feed can be found for less than $10.
For Authentic Italian food visit Lygon Street.
Fancy Greek? walk along Lonsdale street.

Melbourne’s best kept secret:
Melbourne have so many hidden restaurant and bars, that you will need a tour guide to show you around and there is a tour you can go on,otherwise you will not know about them unless you are a local. Here are a list of my best kept secrets:
San Telmo Address: 14 Meyers Pl, Melbourne VIC 3000 Argentinian Bar and Restaurant
Loop: Rooftop bar Meyers Pl, Melbourne VIC 3000
Madame Brussels:Cocktail Bar 59-63 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Cookies: Rooftop bar/ moonlight cinema
Level 7, Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street
Melbourne
Damask Bar – Hidden Rooftop Bars First Floor, 347 Brunswick Street Fitzroy VIC 3065
Golden Monkey Lounge Bar & Asian Tapas 389 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000

When in Melbourne:
They say if you do not like Melbourne’s weather, wait 20 minutes and it will change. This city is known for its 4 season in one day, so make sure you wear layers of clothes, boots and bring an umbrella. It may look warm and sunny at the moment but give it a few hours chances are it will later be cold and raining.

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Secret Garden at Dessert Story

Dessert Story specialized in Hong Kong and Taiwanese home style dessert, what I loved about this place was that they strive to bring dessert that are healthy yet satisfying to eat, their bubble teas range are a lot fresher with less preservatives than other bubble cup stores. However every time I brought my boyfriend and Non-Asian friends here besides bubble tea they were too afraid to try any other desserts here as they ingredients seemed too foreign to them. I was so excited when Dessert Story decided to up their game and introducing more Caucasian friendly and thought provoking treats through their Secret Garden range.

secret garden

At first glance it looks like a fresh pot plant. With the fresh plant itself being used for decoration purpose only, The potting mix however was made of edible Oreo like crushed cookies, underneath the edible dirt diners can chose from 6 dessert options: Creme Brulee, Strawberry Yogurt Mousse, Dark Chocolate Mousse, White chocolate Mousse, Vanilla Ice cream with Red Beans & Poping pearls and Tiramisu.

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So far I have only sampled the Strawberry and Yogurt Mousse and was quiet impressed with the generous servings and the affordable price of this dessert ($8.90 what a bargain) I am so excited to sample all the other flavors. They also make great gifts to colleagues and loved ones.

I felt compelled to write this post as I feel that even though this place has always been busy with the Asian diners, The business still work hard to reach out and cater for the needs of the Multicultural crowd rather than just focusing on one target market. Because of this brave move now everyone from all cultural background and come and enjoy the treats together, well done Dessert Story!

Chicken Feet, Why would you eat that?!?!?!?!

Let me start by saying I LOVE, LURVE, chicken feet! I know what you’re thinking “EEwww! that’s gross! why would you even put that in your mouth? Have you any idea where the chicken’s foot have been? what it has stepped on?” etc. I used to pack chicken feet for lunch and bring it to work with me, the first few times I was apologetic when I see people’s shocked and disgusted face, I would attempt to make an apology “Sorry, it’s nostalgic food” or “sorry it has health benefits and low calories”. After that I would get irritated and at times angry, why do I have to explain myself when I want to eat something I like? So whenever I want to eat the bird’s tooties at work it would have to be consumed secretly in my car alone ( *sings* All by myself!! don’t wanna be..) So I am hoping this thread will help close the culture differences gap by explaining why people eat and love, lurve it.

In developing countries live stock are considered treasured assets. People tend to keep their live stock for as long as they can so that it can help them yield ongoing feed, i.e Chicken for eggs, cows for milk, pigs for piglets to sell or exchange for rice. The only time they would kill a live stock is when there is a very special occasion, because of this people appreciate every part of the animal’s body and will not throw away or waste anything, yes that includes the chicken feet. In a place where food is scarce, a meal containing meat is considered a rare blessing, eating chicken feet helps them savor this moment by slowing down their chow time with the family, as the feet is time consuming yet satisfying to eat.

chickenfeet2

Although the chicken feet does not contain a lot of meat it is full of textures and flavors and can be used in many different dishes.

It is often used in soup to make stock as it is high in gelatin content making the soup more flavor enriched

chicken feet soup

The most common place where chicken feet are found in developed countries are at Chinese YUM CHA/ DIM SUM place (Chinese teahouse restaurants serving breakfast/brunch) Where the claw is being tenderized by hours of cooking in bamboo steamers with black bean sauce

Popular among the street food and hawkers vendors is the deep fried the chicken claw.
deep fried

Deep fried version is full of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) flavors without the need of 11 secret herbs and spices, the complexion is like pork cracklings and is less fatty compared to the cracklings.

whitechicken feet

The white chicken feet also another hit on the street scene. It is boiled for about an hour and pickled in white vinegar and pickles for days before being served with chili ginger sauce.

What was once an underprivileged feed is now considered a culinary delicacy in some regions of the world, most notably in China and South Africa. So why do people eat this? For their medicinal properties, the tootsies are extremely high in collagen making them great for healthier younger looking skin (it is the secret of why most Asians look younger than their real age Shhhh!), hair, and nails, if consumed in large quantities. They are the cheapest natural health supplements available; rich in calcium and protein without the carbohydrate. The Chinese also believed that consuming that part of the poultry also helps slow the effect arthritis and joint pain, improves blood supply by strengthening the blood vessels. You can also eat large quantities and stay slim as chicken feet assist the body to metabolize fats.

Now that you know about the benefits of eating chicken feet would you reconsider giving it a try? Thanks for reading.

You are the Breast!

****** DID YOU KNOW******
Asians (Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino and Korean)are not the only one who loves chicken feet?
It is also very popular in Mexico, South Africa, Jamaica and Trinidad and South America

Tayaki: Koi Fish Waffles

It was Christmas Eve 2012 when I first travelled to Japan. Growing up reading Doremon (a popular Japanese comics/cartoon) comics I thought I knew everything about The Land of the Rising Sun, but boy was I wrong. The reality hit me as soon as I arrived at Narita airport, it was almost mission impossible trying to read the signs as everything was in characters!

We managed our way to Ginza using the subway thanks to Fedja’s (my travel buddy) previous travel to Japan *oh the relief*. As soon as we got off the Ginza station my senses were captivated by this aromatic scent of freshly cooked waffles in the air, my eyes focused like Steiner discovery binoculars as I scan the surroundings in front of me looking for the culprit who made my nose air hungry and mouth salivate, my tummy tightened and ached as if there were hundreds of little minions jumping up and down inside,pulling and tugging it demanding a recharge. My mind was pre-ocuupied with only one thought; fresh waffle thingy or whatever it was…Get in ma belly!

Spotted! A hole in the wall with a line up of people, here I discovered the holy grail of Japan’s sweet treat taiyaki: They are essentially filled waffles koi/bream fish-shaped

taiyaki

the most common fillings was sweetened azuki (red) beans,

redbean taiyaki

Other filling flavours included green tea custard, chocolate, strawberry milk,banana, kokutou (maple syrup) and plain.

Capture

***did you know Taiyaki have been around Japan for 90 years since 1916 found by a guy by named Yanagiya, At a mere 200 yen approx $2 AUD per serving this treat has helped the Japanese people shrug of lingering effects of worst reccession since World War II.

There used to be a desert store in Hawthorn, Melbourne called Heavenly Delicious that used to sell tayaki however it has since closed. So in order to continue to enjoy this snack I managed replicate this treat and found that it was not hard to make at home to share with friends and family, I have shared the process of making taiyaki in recipes page under street food category. You can also find it by typing Taiyaki waffles in search. I hope you enjoy making and tasting this delight snack ^.^

Have you tried Taiyaki? What is your favourite flavour? Do you prefer it sweet or savoury? Let me know. Thanks for reading =)