Make your own homemade Bubble Tea!

I must confess that my first real taste of Bubble Tea was only just this year. And it wasn't even here in Sydney, it was in Japan. I'm not quite sure what EasyWay or Chatime Bubble Tea tastes like - I'm still to try them - but I only know that the milky, sweet bubble tea I tasted in Japan was pure bliss on a hot, sunny day. A bliss that was made even better with the addition of chewy, sticky, jet black tapioca pearls.

My first taste of pearls, however was 4 years ago in Mango Milk Tea. Not such a good combination, if you ask me, and it put me off them for a long long time. Up until now.

An Asian Foodie Fest in the Sydney CBD: Pepper Lunch & Chanoma

This probably sounds a little crazy but every time I go somewhere new to eat, I get a little tingly feeling that spreads around my body, and this is followed by a strong urge to emit a little squeal of delight. My heartbeat quickens a little and I go all jumpy and buzzy, a knee-jerk reaction triggered by food.

Toco Fresh, Concord

Nothing is more exciting than going out to different places on various eating adventures, so unfortunately we seldom find ourselves eating locally unless its for takeaway or gelato.

Major Bay Road is home to a number of eateries that are great for eating any meal, whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner - Italian restaurants, a steak house and grill, lots of cafes, Thai restaurants and the essential suburb charcoal chicken shop. But rarely do we get the chance to eat in at many of these local eateries. I'm not quite sure why - perhaps it's the attractive draw of venturing out to new and untouched suburbs that are home to a plethora of restaurants that are cheaper, faster and serve food that is just as good. There is something so exciting about taking a family trip out and going for a drive, all in the name of good food.

Sydney Dumpling King, Burwood

Are you someone who love lingering over long lunches, or more the person who opts for a quick, fast meal when it comes to lunchtime? I guess it depends on your day's agenda and current circumstances, but I love doing both. Whether its going out for a family dinner of pizza and pasta, or a quick bowl of Pho for Sunday lunch, weekends are always the highlight of my food week because they're the times when I get to go out and eat something other than a homemade sandwich for lunch. Not that sandwiches are bad, but when you have them 5 days a week they do tend to get a little bit boring.

Whatever tickles your fancy, I find that a number of cuisines either fit into one lunching category or the other. Asian fare, such as Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Malaysian, always makes for a fast, cheap lunch fix, whereas more of the European or Western cuisines - Italian, Greek and modern Australian - will tend to drag out and make for a longer, more expensive and filling lunch. I'm not quite sure whether its the cooking methods of each cuisine and the ingredients they use, or the kind of lifestyle each is associated with, but more often than not it will be the bowl or noodles or rice dish that will take less time to cook and eat than a bowl of pasta or steak and chips. Asian is by far my favourite.

A taste of home at Bills in Yokohama, Japan

After two weeks of travelling around Japan we tourists were in dire need or a red meat fix. Not quite used to the Japanese diet of rice, fish, chicken and seafood every day - with little fresh fruit or vegetables - our iron levels had slowly decreased throughout the trip to leave us slow, tired and lethargic. When we read that Bill Granger, a local Aussie chef, had set up a restaurant in Yokohama in Japan, we made a unanimous decision to eat there and get a taste of home. The restaurant is nestled inside one of two side by side red brick warehouse buildings in the harbour city of Yokohama, about a 40 minute train ride from Tokyo near the sea. We approached the airy, beach-themed restaurant at 11am for brunch, and were told by the hostess that there weren't any tables free until 1pm. Not to worry - there were lots to do in Yokohama (including the famous Cup Noodle Museum!), so we put our names down to return later on for lunch.

Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Buildings

At his Yokohama restaurant, Bill has brought the modern Australian beach eatery to the streets of Japan. The décor, not dissimilar to the sort you would find at a coastal beachfront café, reminded us of sunny Australia and the relaxed, chilled atmosphere that it is ubiquitous for.

Mint Pho & Cuisine, Burwood

Along the main strip of Burwood Road you're likely to find a number of Chinese eateries and shops. A LOT of Chinese shops, in fact - particularly on the southern end of the station (not the Westfield end). It's not hard to find your ubiquitous Asian convenience/grocery store, butchery, restaurant or BBQ meats shop on Burwood Road, which is what draws a large number of the Chinese community to its streets every day. We often visit for a lunch of cheap BBQ Pork and Soy Sauce Chicken with rice at one of the BBQ meat eateries, or to buy some Asian bread from one of the many bakeries along the street.

But what if you felt like something other than Chinese? True, there are lots of good, cheap Chinese eateries scattered along Burwood Road, but a newcomer to the Burwood eating strip is Mint, a Vietnamese joint made modern by its funky, contemporary and slightly less cheap décor. It would be quite easy to miss this small, unpretentious restaurant nestled in among the  plethora of Chinese eateries just up from the ANZ Bank, but upon hearing of it from a foodie friend of mine I was determined to give it a try one lazy Saturday lunchtime. This end of Burwood Road is much quieter than the section of it in and around Burwood Westfield - far more peaceful and much easier to get a parking spot.

A taste of Thai at Buddha Raksa, Enfield

You know those homey restaurants you visit with your family when you're little? The ones you come to so often that you become friends with the owner, who always greets you with a warm and friendly hello each time you visit (although sometimes those visits don't occur for a long time..)? Buddha Raksa, located on the busy strip of Liverpool Road near Enfield, is one of those places for us. I remember going there when I was younger with my family, and even though our visits have become sparse and infrequent, whenever we do go for dinner we're never let down by the high quality of their food and friendly service. The couple who own the place, Teedee and Tep, are lovely people whose warm welcome and greetings always make you feel right at home.

La Disfida Enoteca Pizza, Haberfield

I love Italian food. Being a Chinese-born Australian living in Sydney, I'm exposed to a plethora of different cuisines that are constantly teasing my nose and tastebuds. Despite being an avid Asian food lover, Italian cuisine is also close to my heart, and one of my other favourites. Growing up in the inner west, I would always enjoy the nights when we'd drive to Haberfield for an Italian dinner fix. We frequently went to Il Goloso when it was on the main drag of Ramsay Street (now located in the old post office on Dalhousie st), and also like to go to Napoli in Bocca, with its huge pastas and lovely fluffy pizza crusts. Not to mention Pasticceria Papa, famous for their Ricotta Cheesecake. We love the cannolis, too!

A new discovery we recently started going to this year was La Disfida, further down on Ramsay Street near the roundabout. This little restaurant doesn't take reservations for parties smaller than 5, so there would often be a crowd of people waiting outside on a Friday or Saturday night.

Japanese sweets & street food

Japan is a glorious place if you love trying new foods. Everywhere you wander in Japan, there always seems to be an abundance of snacks and sweets and meals that will stave your hunger at any time of the day. Whether its wagashi, onigiri, bubble tea or ice cream, there was definitely no shortage of delicious Japanese fare on our trip.

The real Ramen experience at Ichiran Ramen, Tokyo (Shinjuku)

Ichiran is ramen on steroids. Gourmet ramen, if you can call it that. An amazing foodie adventure full of ramen, tempura, udon, ramen, soba, rice was the main highlight of our recent holiday to Japan and Malaysia (besides the occasional pizza, which turns out to be not that unusual in Japan..).

One of the most memorable eateries we visited was Ichiran, a popular ramen chain in Japan that focuses on savouring the perfect personalised Tonkotsu ramen experience. So focused on flavour and experience are the creators that most of the seating at their restaurants is single-counter seating at which you are to sit at your own personal booth and be served your steaming fresh bowl of ramen from behind a semi-concealed kitchen that sits just on the other side of the wall partition.

Our discovery of this specialisation eatery started with a queue. We quickly learned in Japan that any place that has a queue must be a hit among the locals, and therefore must serve top-notch Japanese food. One night walking around the dazzling lights and commotion of Shinjuku we came across a line that snaked all the way up the stairs from the basement level onto the street, and all the people in the line seemed to be locals who were waiting to get in for their dinner. Curiosities overwhelming us, we nonchalantly joined the line, the anticipation of what we were lining up for not yet revealed. But alas, once we reached the bottom of those stairs, it became clear that all the commotion and queuing was for the sake of ramen. And why not? The Japanese take their ramen very seriously.

Din Tai Fung and the art of Xiao Long Bao

Being Asian, I'm a sucker for all Asian food - whatever cuisine it may be. We often go to eateries in the suburbs of Flemington, Burwood and Ashfield when we're in the mood for a cheap, wholesome Asian feed and always leave feeling extremely full and satisfied. Din Tai Fung, being the only one of its kind in the whole city, is a little on the higher end of the market and is one of our favourite Sydney CBD haunts.

I don't know whether it's the atmosphere of lining up and waiting for our buzzer to buzz, or the efficiency of the service, or the way you can see the dumplings being made in the steamy windows, but there's always something special about going there.

Cute little Xiao Long Bao man!
A visit to DTF isn't a visit to DTF without ordering Xiao Long Bao - perfectly crafted, pork-filled dumplings that exert a hot, tasty broth when bitten in to - one of their specialties. We've tried various other versions of this dumpling at Taiwanese restaurants around Sydney (New Shanghai, Taste of Shanghai) but it's always Din Tai Fung's Xiao Long Baos that we love the best.

Pieno, Surry Hills

Whenever we are given the exciting opportunity of going out to eat (a much-loved past-time), you'll always find me hastily Googling restaurants and thumbing through my Good Food Guide to scour out new and exciting places for us to venture out to.

I find myself in this situation more often that not, but it always seems to end with us visiting a main eating/shopping strip and simply eating at whatever place we stumble upon that tickles our fancy. It's not that I don't love the places we go often and frequently visit, but the lure of eating at a new, much-talked about café or restaurant is almost too good to resist when presented with the chance to. It's not disappointing, per se, but once in a while I'd really like to visit that place I read about last month in the Good Food, or read about online in one of my many favourite food blogs. I keep many lists of this kind on my phone, whiteboard and notebooks, but whenever the opportunity arises I never fail to find myself caught up in a frenzy trying to decide on a place to go to eat. I really should be organising myself better.

Paris Seafood Cafe, La Perouse

What better day to visit La Perouse than on Father's Day? I'd never visited this area before, but driving through the eastern suburbs to get to there we passed lots of places that I vaguely remember from our previous travels.

We'd planned to go to the area for a nice Father's Day fish n' chips on the beach, a prospect made all the more agreeable given the beautiful weather we were granted with upon waking on Sunday morning. We reached La Perouse just after 1pm, driving up to join a beeline of cars that all seemed to be going to the same place we were, with the same brilliant lunch idea. After we managed to park (following a lesiurely cruise at 5km/h looking for a parking spot), we made our way down the hill to our destination, tummies grumbling, to get lunch.

Hello out there!

Hello all there dear readers!

I'm Maddie, and I've started this blog to document my food adventures. I adore eating and cooking, and am constantly taking photos of the creations I cook and meals I devour. I love taking note of beautiful food and places that I love to visit and eat, and a food blog is the perfect way to record these experiences for both myself and those around me. This isn't meant to be a critical food blog, just one in which I voice my thoughts, opinions and most importantly, my love for food - so don't expect any ratings or scores. I hope this blog will be something that not only tickles the tastebuds, but arouses a curiosity for food, just like the passion that food has fired in me.