Thursday, November 19, 2009

Going Down to Chinatown

Here is a back dated post from a few weeks back...

Being half Chinese and born in Hong Kong, my version of fast food normally comes in the form of a steaming hot bowl of noodles from Chinatown. There are some great little food courts in Chinatown and which one you chose depends on what you are craving. As I was craving a good laksa, Junior and I decided to head to one of my favourites, Sussex Centre Food Court for a quick bite to eat before a movie. Whilst there are many places in Sydney to get a great Laksa, I'd have to say the Happy Chef at Sussex Centre Food Court is a consistent deliverer of quality flavoursome Laksas and they have never let me down in the years I have been going there.

This particular instance, I chose the Spicy Beef, Tendon and Tripe Laksa. Offal tends to be poo poo'd by most Westerners but it's is a real treat when it's done right. The spicy beef is a slow braised brisket which melts in your mouth, with the soft yet firm texture of the tripe to balance out the bitey tendon. Mmmmmm...

Junior's new favourite noodle dish is a old fave of mine and my family's. I know it as Gohn Chow Ngau Hor but I think in English if you order Stir Fried Beef with Rice Noodle, you 'should' get the same thing. I say 'should' because I tend to order Chinese food in Cantonese as that's is the only way I can articulate what I am after. When translated into English it's all over the shop especially at Yum Cha... drives me nuts! The only thing you need to make sure is the type of Rice Noodle they give you- Hor Fun in the thick, flat rice noodle. Like many great Chinese dishes, this is super simple and satisfying and so easy to get wrong in the execution.


The noodles are skillfully tossed in a dark soy sauce so that it achieves a slight caramelisation just before getting burnt. Tender, thin slices of marinated beef are added to the noodles with onion, garlic chives, bean sprouts and topped with sesame seeds. Devour with some chilli paste and it is so so sooooo good. My Dad's version is always a crowd fave and I can assure you that if you snooze, you are sitting there with an empty bowl. It's that simple!

Satisfied with a belly full of oodles of noodles, we saw this on display in Sussex Centre. A GIANT mooncake. Mooncakes are part of the celebrations of the annual Moon Festival (also commonly known as Mid-Autumn Festival). Moon Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar (this year it was 3rd October 2009).

Mooncakes are typically round and about the size of your palm. Inside the pastry is a lotus seed paste encasing a salty duck egg yolk to represent the moon. The lotus seed paste is very sweet and I can assure you that the duck egg yolk is an acquired taste. One I have not managed to get my head around to be honest.

As you can see from the size of Junior's hand, the Mooncake was HUGE indeed!

Verdict: Definitely go to Happy Chef next time you are looking for a soothing, satisfying laksa and unless you can convince my Dad to fry you some noodles, then most of the wok noodle places in the food courts in Chinatown will do the Gohn Chow Ngau Hor justice!

Sussex Street Centre Food Court
401 Sussex Street
Haymarket NSW 2000


  1. erm... so not with you on the tripe... but I love a good Laksa. Will be interested to see what you think of the famous Dickson Asian Noodle House Laksa here in Canbs.. must plan food/road trip for early '10.

  2. LaLa- I figured as much re: the tripe but a side effect of having an Asian heritage means you have zero squeamishness when it comes to offal. Yes food/road trip for sure!


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