Tag Archives: Australia

Jakes’s Sunday Post: ATTRACTION

Jake is back and for his Sunday Post Challenge, and he asks for a tourist attraction that draws people there. I have selected Uluru (formerly known the Ayers Rock), not only because it is an icon in the Australian landscape, but also it is such an attraction that many a tourist has to go out of the way in the travel itinerary in order to see it, and this means spending an extra three days in the region to make the trip worthwhile. Getting to Uluru requires flying and travelling by bus if one departs from any major city in Australia. Although you are watching the same rock, the price of the tour varies depending on whether you want a glass of champagne in hand with a selection of canapes, or a cup of coffee or tea with nuts and chips.

I am presenting here Uluru at dawn, early morning, midday and at sunset.

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MacDonald’s Multi-cultural Menu

Thanks to fellow blogger Gary for mentioning that the lamb burger is available at MacDonald’s in Australia,  I went to try one after I had completed my race at the Sydney Running Festival when I was visiting Sydney Australia earlier.

This is the Serious Lamb Burger, although I wonder how a non-serious lamb burger, if there is one,  may differ. This serious lamb burger is much bigger than the MacDonald’s burgers in North American. The patty is juicy and tasted ‘lamby’. It also comes with a fried egg, a piece of beet and tomatoes and greens. I quite enjoy it.

This burger reminds me of the lobster burger I tasted at a MacDonald’s in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada. It is served on a hot dog bun. There are chunky pieces of lobster mixed with seafood sauce–a very tasty creation!

When I went to Hong Kong, I checked out the local menu and was pleased to discover an indigenous offering. There on the breakfast menu was chicken cutlet and spirali. Do not be mistaken that Uncle Ronald is importing Italian cuisine to China. In fact, the locals like to have either noodles or pasta. such as macaroni, in a broth for breakfast, and MacDonald’s creation is really popular. In the combo, the coffee and hash brown are typical MacDonald’s basics.

There is also teriyaki burger on the menu and apparently this is also available in Japan. However, I am  too full for another burger after my pasta.

Talk about globalization in the business world. MacDonald’s multi-cultural menu is a good example of how to successfully secure its business in the local community. Now my personal goal is to try MacArabia when I have a chance to travel to the Middle East one day.

Chan’s Garden Restaurant: Suburban Chinese Cuisine in Sydney

It is universally acknowledged that wherever one goes, there is bound to be a Chinese restaurant, be it a chop suey takeaway or a seafood diner. Chinese restaurants outside of Hong Kong, Taiwan and China are undergoing a revolutionary movement to modernize. They make the best of local ingredients while preserving the traditional cooking methods such as steaming, deep frying and braising. Chan’s Garden Restaurant in suburban Burwood, less than half an hour from Sydney, Australia does just that.

On entering the restaurant, I was not surprised to be in a rather non-descriptive dining hall. Seasonal specialties were posted on the wall. Two big aquaria spoke for the freshness of the day’s catch. The ambiance is typical of Chinese restaurants in small towns, just plain.

I was invited for a “light Chinese meal’, which in fact was an oxymoron. First to appear was the “wet fried” (i.e., with gravy) flat noodles with beef and scrambled egg–soft noodles, tender beef and a gravy that was not thick. The chef had good control.

This was followed by fried rice with diced salted fish and chicken, and a fried vermicelli with shredded pork. The rice is not sticky and taste was well-balanced. The fried vermicelli remained crunchy even after the sauce with shredded pork, mushroom and bean sprouts was poured over it.

We ordered black bean chicken and stir fry gai lan with ginger and wine. The chicken tasted a bit over powering to me, probably I was  tasting it with the more subtle flavors of the vegetables.

I could not wait for the eel to arrive. It was an over 1 kilogram live eel that we picked at the beginning of the meal and it was prepared two ways–steaming and deep frying with garlic salt. These dishes were the highlights of the meal.

The special dessert was a rare offering of black jelly, which would normally be found in Chinese herbal stores. It is made from boiling the shell of turtles to extract the gelatin parts and then the liquid is chilled like jello. It is served with a clear syrup and is believed to be good for one’s complexion. Like the tropical fruit durian, you either like black jelly or not, because it has a medicinal after taste.

It was a pleasant meal. Overall, the atmosphere was casual, though not lackadaisical.  I think that the owner and staff were aware that their regular customers would come back regardless, because they knew the food was good. The food was indeed delicious, and never felt heavy to the palate given the amount we had eaten. However,  in this relaxed atmosphere, the presentation was sometimes sloppy. Besides, they did not seem to pay much attention to the order of the food to arrive, and yet I could not complain, because light Chinese meals were supposed to have all the dishes on the table at once, so that everybody could dig in together. Unless you are inviting guests and expecting excellent service, this restaurant is still worth going to for a hearty family meal.

Chan’s Garden Restaurant, 78-82 Burwood Road,m Burwood, NSW 2134, Australia.

Chans Garden on Urbanspoon

Bushland of the Eastern Australian Beaches

When I visited Bondi Beach and walked along the Eastern Beach Trail, I was impressed by the force of Nature–the wind, the waves, and the sand, all salt-laden too–that etched its mark on the landscape. I was more amazed to see some flowers and plants around. Be it natural or cultivated, the vegetation must possess some special characteristics to survive the harsh environment.

The wind has pruned the plants to various heights on the slope. The climate is dry. Apparently, they either have small, hard leaves or fleshy and waxy leaves to prevent water loss or to preserve water. Besides, they have hairy or shiny leaves to reflect sunlight. Their fruits are also hard to conserve water.

The flowers are small and different from the larger foliage of the native flora. One can only imagine their toughness hidden inside the fragile appearance.

 

There is a concerted effort to revive the local bushland. Australian has been exemplary  in preserving and protecting its indigenous flora and fauna. I think this is achieved through a vision that man and nature are shared owners of this land. It is a partnership, not rivalry.

Graffiti Art at Bondi Beach, Australia

When tastefully created, graffiti is an art form, and not vandalism. Graffiti art tends to give the impression of an individual intrusion into public spaces, claiming a sense of shared ownership. It is personal expression for public consumption, whether you like it or not. The graffiti art on the walls surrounding Bondi Beach, near Sydney Australia was a delightful discovery on my part. The wall stood out in its surroundings. The graffiti was more a contribution than an intrusion, I think.  There were some quieter images among the louder ones.  I was even fortunate enough to watch an artist at work.

No graffiti? An irony all right.

Exlounge: Hidden Gem in Bronte, Australia

 

We were looking for a place for lunch after walking 3.5 Km from Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach on the east coast near Sydney, Australia. The front of a quaint restaurant caught our attention and we walked straight in.

The menu on the wall  presented an attractive selection of salads, sandwiches and entrées.

 

I ordered a sandwich with wagyu beef and brie in quinoa bread. It came also with roasted onions and an arugala salad. The beef was tender and the bread was a healthy choice. I was also happy with the long black (coffee) with milk.

 

 

My husband chose the haloumi salad. It was a colorful dish with a vinaigrette dressing–delicious too.

 

Despite its rather stark decor, the quality of the food was a pleasant surprise. It turned out that the proprietor was French and its service staff were also French-speaking. That probably explained the more European style menu compared to its neighbouring restaurants which offered all day breakfast, American style. I was really pleased that as a total stranger to this area, I discovered this a unique hidden gem of a restaurant at Bronte Beach.

The Exlouge, 471 Bronte Road, Bronte, NSW, Australia.

The exlounge Bronte Beach on Urbanspoon

The Marigold Restaurant in Sydney: Dim Sum, Entrees and More

The Marigold Restaurant in Chinatown, Sydney Australia specializes not only in seafood. I like to go there for dim sum (food served in small baskets or small dishes) and yum cha ( drinking tea). Essentially, dim sum and yum cha are two inter-related brunch activities conceptually and gastronomically, because when I go yum cha, I always order dim sum. In a big Chinese restaurant, there is a dim sum chef who specializes only in the dim sum menu.

The restaurant preserves the tradition of displaying the dim sum on a trolley which is pushed around the dining hall.

 

Diners pick what they like. Dim sum includes different bite size food, such as steamed dumplings, steamed buns, custard tarts, as well as the more exotic chicken feet and trite. A few orders plus a pot of tea, the flavour of which you can choose from a wide selection and which is constantly refilled will keep you there for for hours.

 

Dim sum aside, I also like the other meat and vegetable dishes when I dine at the Marigold. It is always safe to order the soya sauce chick, roast duck and sweet and sour pork. The meat comes in tender and juicy.

Braised seasonal vegetables are delicious because they used a good broth. Another ingenious way to enjoy the vegetables is to dip them into the soup that is order with some fried dumplings.

 

 

 

The restaurant is generous with their fruit platter and dessert platter. One of my favourites is baked sago and yam with a hint of coconut milk.

 

 

Given this is what I have tasted with my family and friends in Sydney over my two weeks’ visit, you can probably understand why I comment that you have to return to the restaurant again and again to try it all.

The Marigold Restaurant, 683 George Street, Sydney, Australia.

Marigold on Urbanspoon