The Eat and Be Merry Crew are fundraising for SecondBite - an not-for-profit organisation that redistributes surplus fresh food to community food programs around Australia. The food is donated by farmers, wholesalers, markets, supermarkets, caterers and events. This high-quality surplus food is redistributed to community food programs that support people who are homeless, women and families in crisis, youth at risk, indigenous communities, asylum seekers and new arrivals.
As part of this, we're encouraging our Aussie readers to purchase a membership to the 2017-18 Entertainment Book. By buying a membership, you can provide 30 healthy meals for people in need.
Ever felt like taking a break from the responsibilities of adulthood to experience again the wonder and excitement of childhood? On a day when miserable weather made me abandon the Auckland Coast to Coast walk, I found myself in the rather grandly named Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT). This is the type of place you take your children when you have exhausted all your school holiday ideas before the holidays have ended. And when you get there, you realise that it should have been at the top of your list, not at the bottom. There are lots of interactive displays and rides that engage both the young and the young at heart; and it’s not all history: many exhibits focus on the future – one even gives you hands-on fun with one of those new-fangled 3D printers.
Beef burger and chips
And when eventually the kids’ attention turns to food, there is the MOTAT café, also known as the Araroa Tearooms. Fortunately, it is open until 4pm, for those times when lunch is late because the kids won’t leave the exhibits.
There’s an Indonesian-language church in Randwick, and after Sunday Mass families often go out nearby for lunch. When I lived in Sydney years ago there were three Indonesian restaurants serving this trade, and it was noticeable that Java was always the first one to fill up, after which people would head to the other two.
Mrs Leghorn and I dropped in for Sunday lunch during a recent visit to Sydney, to see how Java was going.
We ordered our three favourite dishes: petai goreng (stink beans), ayam bakar (Balinese grilled chicken) and kangkung cah terasi (water spinach stir-fried with shrimp paste, tomato, chilli, and onion).
Stink beans (as their name suggests) have a very distinctive taste. At Java they’re served with a thick black soy sauce mixed with chilli and other ingredients. The strong and bitter taste is something you either love or hate, and we love it.
How can anyone resist a window display packed full of Italian sweet treats? An Italian pasticceria is surely a wonderous thing. Even better, if the pasticceria is also a gelateria!
Mio Dolce is clearly very popular with the Moonee Ponds locals – a constant stream of people, including many who were clearly regulars, ordering special celebration cakes, making selections amongst a huge variety of biscotti to take home, and settling down for coffee and a pastry. The two cheery servers made sure everyone was well looked after.
Melbourne’s foodies have embraced unusual dining locations: dingy laneways have become ‘iconic’, containing many enticing destinations; rooftops host hip bars and casual eateries; open fields morph into hawker markets – just add food trucks. All of them are guaranteed to attract a crowd.
Soi 38’s location, however, is a different matter. It’s in the former office of a multi-storey car park, with views limited to the entry/exit ramps, boom gates and lifts. Raw concrete surfaces reflect the stark glare of industrial fluorescent lighting – direct sunlight does not penetrate this far into the car park. The café interior is a bit gaudy with inexpensive Thai-themed decorations draped around an otherwise utilitarian space, and metal tables and stools (not chairs) painted bright red and blue.
Boat noodles pork sen lek kruk krik
The good news is that what Soi 38 lacks in ambience, it makes up for in the food and the prices. “Cheap and cheerful” sums it up nicely.
As a north side of the river gal, it was a nice change to travel ‘south side’ to dine at the House of Hoi An in Windsor. Located in a side street off Chapel St, you can’t miss it with its colourful mural on the façade and bright lanterns hanging above. Inside the restaurant it’s large and open, with the tables well spaced out. There has been a lot of attention paid to the décor which is definitely a cut above the standard Vietnamese eatery.
The restaurant specialises in dishes from the city of Hoi An, and is owned by famous Vietnamese chef Ms Vy who owns a cooking school and four eateries in Hoi An. Wanting to avoid the standard Vietnamese dishes, we asked our host to recommend dishes that are typical of Hoi An cuisine.
First up we started with an entrée of Fried Wontons with Crabmeat (Hoanh Thanh Chien). These were deep-fried wonton wrappers topped with crabmeat that was sautéed with spring onions and tomato. The crispy texture of the wonton wrappers worked well with the tasty and slightly sweet crabmeat topping. It was light and fresh, and a perfect way to start a meal.